Do you want little Johnny to be a great ballplayer?

There’s never really been a blog that I’ve come across in all my years of searching the interwebs that taught young and aspiring ballplayers how to actually be ballplayers. Until now. And leave it to one of the greatest teammates I’ve ever had to be the guy to think of the great idea to develop a blog that would educate a young player on everything he needs to know to do just that.

My friend Dave has launched NextLevelBallplayer.com, so please check it out if you haven’t yet. Dave played major Division I baseball at Miami of Ohio with some really big time guys. I played with him from the time we were kids until our last high school game. He was a lot of fun to go through the trenches with.

I spent what seems like dozens upon dozens of games watching him make jaw-dropping plays at shortstop when I was out in left field. There was more than a few times I think he actually bailed me out with a play in short left field (thanks Dave). Beyond his athleticism, he was always an excellent example of a guy who took great care of himself and showed up ready to play. He prepared extremely well, he loved and understood the game, and he was successful at it. This isn’t a guy who hit 10 home runs in little league writing about how to play the game the right way. This is someone who I deeply respect–as well as his knowledge of the game and surrounding aspects.

Recently we were talking about how the game of baseball had given us both such wonderful things to look back on in the way of relationships and stories.

After not talking for some time, I missed a call from him last week. After a little phone tag I got a text back from him: ‘sorry I was throwing BP to Ben Zobrist, my arm feels like it’s going to fall off.’ We had some catching up to do. He had some great stories for me about his buddy ‘Zobie’ as he calls him, as well as his friendship with Dodgers GM Ned Colletti. Reds fans, he’s also buds with former Red Drew Sutton.

Dave is spending the week next week in Florida at Spring Training with Ben Zobrist and the Devil Rays among some other teams. Since we are not lucky enough to be joining him, he’s going to write some posts on Diamond Hoggers about the sites and surroundings in the beautiful Florida sun. This will be great.

Check out his site, or give him a follow on twitter. If I had a son, he would love baseball. And he would be bookmarking Next Level Ballplayer.

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