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Thursday, April 05, 2012

Kids and sports

To the parents out there: I need help on a very specific parenting issue.  Both my daughter (6) and son (almost 4) really love baseball.  I can take partial credit/blame for their love of the game – I take them to a lot of games, and let them eat just about anything they want while we are there.  Same goes for their favorite team (Angels, like me; my kids have a lot of choices in life, but certain sports allegiances just aren’t among them).  But their choice of their favorite players is completely their own.

Here comes the problem.  In the off season, the Angels signed Albert Pujols, arguably the best player in baseball right now.  He will play first base for the Angels for a long time.  He displaced Mark Trumbo, who happens to be my son’s favorite player.  This means that it is entirely possible that Trumbo will be traded.  As excited as I was that the Angels signed Pujols (sorry St. Louis fans, I have great respect for your baseball city), it was tempered by the fact I might need to have a discussion with my son I am dreading.  I would really rather talk with him about death than his favorite player being traded.  If I need to go there, I’ve tentatively come up on the following rules: (1) we can still hope that Mark Trumbo does well for another team; (2) even if he plays in a game against the Angels, we can still hope he does well, just not so well that the other team wins the game.  I’m leaning toward strongly discouraging rooting for whatever team Trumbo might wind up on, for fear it could create confusion down the road.  Advice?  Am I overthinking this too much?

Posted by Michael Waterstone on April 5, 2012 at 02:23 PM | Permalink


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Remember the Seinfeld rule on sports: you're just rooting for the shirts. It doesn't matter who's wearing them.

Posted by: Jeff Hirsch | Apr 8, 2012 1:09:38 AM

I might add one point to all the excellent advice. Don't video record your telling him and then post it on YouTube, like this mom did: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMZnYOkTaFA

Posted by: MIchael Teter | Apr 6, 2012 8:45:35 AM

All great points. And I agree it is looking less likely that Trumbo will be traded. But it has to sting that they changed Mark Trumbo bobblehead night to Albert Pujols bobblehead night. Guy gets your position and your bobblehead? Ouch.

Posted by: Michael Waterstone | Apr 5, 2012 4:51:25 PM

Hey, I was in my late 40s when Chauncey Billups was traded from the Pistons to Denver, and that was hard for ME, a long-time Pistons and Billups fan. But then we got Allen Iverson, and everything was great -- if by "great" you mean the complete humiliation and destruction of a once-proud franchise. So, um, the moral is . . . you should have gotten that recorded message for your daughter, and if the opportunity arises again, please get one for me too.

Posted by: Joseph Slater | Apr 5, 2012 3:43:51 PM

First of all, I think there is a good chance that Trumbo stays with the Halos and gets a lot of playing time at 3b, 1b (to spell Pujols) and DH. I think the Halos recognize that they prob have 3-4 yrs before Pujols is a full time DH and I can see them holding onto Trumbo for that reason. The odd man out in my book is Bobby Abreu, and really, no love lost their.

Second, this is a very important life lesson. As a lifelong dodger fan with blood going all the way back to Brooklyn, one of the most traumatic events (people should be so lucky) in my childhood in the mid 90s occured when Mike Piazza got traded. Piazza was Rookie of Year when I first really understanding and following baseball. That same week before the trade, I had bought a Piazza jersey, so that added salt to the wounds. I always applauded and continued to follow Piazza's career, but my love for the dodgers always won out and I have been repaid with the likes of Kershaw and Kemp--some new homegrown guys who I hope never face the same fate. Moreover, I know your son is real young now, but you can tell him he can draft Mark Trumbo to play on his fantasy baseball team when he gets older! Or if you play fantasy baseball, you could try your best to get Trumbo on your team!
Just some suggestions to help lessen the blow but I don't think you have much to worry about as I doubt the Halos trade him unless they get overwhelmed with an offer that helps upgrade some other area of the club, and as much as it pains me to say this as a Dodger fan, I really do not see any weak areas where the Halos would need a big upgrade.

Posted by: Daniel Friedman | Apr 5, 2012 3:41:11 PM

I concur with not sweating it, and in fact would go further to say that you must embrace it: an introduction to the harsh reality of human frailty, fickleness, and disappointment, which sport in all its glory does not transcend.

I write as a Clevelander and father of a 9-year-old son/sports addict who was devastated when LeBron took his talents to South Beach. As any Cleveland fan knows, being raised as a Cleveland sports fan is to suffer wave after wave of disappointment and tragedy, mitigated only by the occasional (often delusional) hope and beauty of games not yet lost, or unexpected upsets of the Steelers.

Also, this afternoon is opening day, the sky is blue, and I am sure the Indians will have a breakout season.

Posted by: Jonathan WR | Apr 5, 2012 3:06:49 PM

I wouldn't sweat it too much. My daughter (now 5.5) has been a huge Nuggets fan for a few years. Her favorite player when she first started paying attention was Chauncey Billups. Well, he was traded about a year ago -- and she totally took it in stride. Her favorite player quickly became Danilo Galinari.

(I'll leave out the part where I rode on an elevator with Chauncey Billups several months ago and forgot to ask him to record a message for her.)

Posted by: Denverite | Apr 5, 2012 2:46:12 PM

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