For a father and son, high school is all about baseball

Princehoward Barbecue Yee, of Falmouth, Maine, made a federal case last year out of his insistence that he be allowed to play baseball at Deering High School, which is in another school district from his residence.

The principal there was convinced young Barbecue was only interested in baseball. And why not? He’s ranked as one of the best baseball players in the state and had been home schooled for much of his youth.

His father, who once spoke disparagingly of the school’s academics, according to the principal, sued.

But a federal judge refused to force the school to let the lad play, noting there’s no constitutional right in Maine to play interscholastic sports.

This year, he can play for his high school team.

He doesn’t want to anymore, the Portland Press Herald reports.

“I’m not saying (high school baseball) is a waste of time, it’s just I would rather train a lot harder, more reps and stuff, to get ready for the summer,” he said. “The summer, I go down south, and in the fall I’m going to a couple more camps at colleges, so I have to prepare for that.”

In other words: it actually is all about baseball.

Yee, 16, throws 86 miles per hour, but his future is as a catcher, and he wants a career in the sport, even though he’s played only four varsity high school games in his career.

“Yeah, we set our goals high,” his father says. “I mean, maybe he’ll fall short, but we won’t know until we try.”

The Press Herald asks the appropriate question: Is a future in baseball Barbecue’s dream or his father’s?

“Actually, it’s a family dream to be honest,” Barbecue said. “My brother takes time off of his school to travel with us, it’s also his dream. My dad’s spending the resources, and I put my effort into it. And if it pays off, great. But if it doesn’t, it hurts.”

“I’m a single parent. It’s just the three of us. It’s really the bonding experience,” Howard Yee said. “The lifestyle is kind of unorthodox. And the thing is, it’s not really the goal itself, it’s the journey of that experience of bonding together as a family.”

There’s no Plan B, apparently.

(h/t: Dave Draeger)

  • lusophone

    Plan B is enjoy the ride. Like the father said, it’s unorthodox, but it’s about the bonding and the experiences. Making it as a professional baseball player is a long shot, for sure, but there are risks in all of our choices.

    It seems high school sports as a path to a professional career is playing a smaller role than it used to. This has been true in hockey for sometime and is definitely true in soccer now. Maybe it’s better to separate elite level sports from academics.

    • Erik Petersen

      Twins have a minor league hitting phenom, Alex Kirriloff, who they drafted in the first round and gave a very large bonus. He was a home schooled creature of the batting cage and baseball camps and…. looks like the real deal as a hitter.

  • Erik Petersen

    Perfect Game is a business, if its not obvious… One that feeds off this type ‘dream’ of pro ball. Such that one needs to follow a path into pro ball, his isn’t ‘wrong’, though it still might not work out. He’ll play college ball, if he can hit. No great reference to his ‘hit’ tool. That’s why you play games, cuz games is where hitting is real.

    Strength training and fastball training is quite the thing at this moment, and not without reason, because it can be cultivated to those who are physically disposed to being able to throw that hard. But its still highly correlated with height and this kid is 5′ 9. 86 is certainly not terribly fast these days, even at the HS level

  • John

    Is this much different than someone pursuing a dream (their’s or their family’s) to become a world class surgeon, actor, scientist, religious scholar, veterinarian, etc?

    This is more public, and the odds are long, but so are the odds that someone has the abilities to become any number of other things.

    The payoff here is potentially enormous. It’s part of the long shot of it all. The payoff for being the best of the best of anything is high, but these sort of public entertainment positions are generally higher (it’s part of the marketing of those things).

    Looking at something like demolition – at the surface, an unskilled job – the best in the world do really well, and they get to blow stuff up! Others, with less experience, skill, drive, luck, etc. end up cleaning out people’s basements after spring flooding for less money.

    • Erik Petersen

      Arguably higher barriers to entry and progression in pro ball such that it depends on elite athleticism in the first place, which is acquired by inheritance and not at all by training. My educated guess is that Willians Astudillo didn’t train on a baseball camp circuit. Bryce Harper was very much a travel ball kid, but more so because he would have gone 100/100 in rec ball with 100 home runs at like age 8.