Former MLB player warns parents of ‘specialist coaches’

Former Rangers and Red Sox infielder Jeff Frye (fielder) lives in Fort Worth and uses Twitter to routinely go after youth sports baseball coaches, as well as other developments in the evolution of baseball.

Former Rangers and Red Sox infielder Jeff Frye (fielder) lives in Fort Worth and uses Twitter to routinely go after youth sports baseball coaches, as well as other developments in the evolution of baseball.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Former Texas Rangers infielder Jeff Frye is an ideal reason to join the cesspool that is Twitter.

The retired Major League Baseball player who played eight seasons, including three with the Texas Rangers, has made it a mission to go after the game he loves.

Frye’s Twitter account is loaded with video clips of the way the baseball is played today that make him mad. Sad. sick.

It’s why founded he what he calls #SheGone nation, a “support group” of fans and former players who loathe the way the game has evolved.

Frye, who is 55 and lives in Fort Worth, isn’t exactly a fan of excessive bat flipping, which are not uncommon after a home run.

Those feelings are tame compared to his disdain for the way the game is dictated by statistical analysis, which has resulted in strikeouts galore, shifts, an obsession with power and devout worshiping of numbers.

“There are nine ways for a runner to score from 3rd base with less than 2 outs. I wonder what algorithm the #nerd are using to convince @MLB players that moving a runner to 3rd base with less than 2 outs is no longer beneficial?” he wrote on Twitter.

In the second inning of the Houston Astros’ win against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday at Globe Life Mall, all three Rangers batters struck out on a total of nine pitches. The Rangers did the exact same thing in the seventh inning.

In those two innings combined, there was one strike taken.

According to looooooooooooong time MLB writer Hal McCoy, now semi-retired from The Dayton Daily News, it was the “first time in MLB history two pitchers on the same team did it in the same game this week.

“Houston’s Luis Garcia and Phil Moton performed the feat against the Texas Rangers. Even more incredibly they did it to the same three blushing hitters — Nathaniel Lowe, Ezequiel Duran and Brad Miller.”

If you are going to go down, make history.

“I hope to God this changes because the game is almost unwatchable,” Frye said in a phone interview.

As frustrated as he is with these developments, nothing compares to the disgust he expresses in the rise and exploitation by the “youth sports specialty coach” that has become prevalent all over the US

“It has become absolutely ridiculous,” Frye said. “To think this person, who never played beyond high school — and when he did he wasn’t very good — to pay him to learn how to play the game.”

He’s not naming names.

Go to Twitter and find his account, @O3jfryeyou will see countless examples of “hitting gurus” showing off an array of examples to help a young person become a better hitter.

Examples that he mocks, ridicules and eviscerates.

“HOG WASH! Keep in mind this guy became an expert watching videos in his basement,” Frye tweeted at a video titled “TeacherManHitting”

“He’s now smarter than every hitting coach on the planet. Just ask him!”

What Frye sees is an industry that is taking advantage of parents willing to spend a lot of money on their kid to get better at sports.

One session with a youth baseball hitting instructor can about $100 per hour. Perhaps $150.

The same for pitching where “velocity training” is a thing.

“They got all of this from golf; they took the measurements and all of this and they are teaching a swing, not hitting,” he said. “I know parents are trying to do right by their kid. That or they are helicopter parents who want to live through their kid.

“Most parents fear their kids are going to get behind, so Joey has to get extra batting lessons and the truth is they probably don’t need it.”

Between the proliferation of youth sports academies that charge thousands of dollars for 1-on-1 instruction, or the pricey per-hour personal coach, this business model is driving.

The Driveline Baseball Academy in Kent, Washington, and the new one in Phoenix, have become a national name in baseball, complete with teacher certification training programs. Parents spend thousands to send the next Mike Trouts there.

“They have caused more injuries in young kids than anyone but they don’t care. Just look what they did to the Rangers,” Frye said.

In 2019, the Rangers felt three pitching prospects, CD Pelham, Brady Feigl and Brett Martin, to Driveline.

Pelham was a 2015 draftee, has yet to reach the majors, and is in Double A. Feigl began pro ball in 2012, and has reached as high as Triple A a few times, and pitches in the independent leagues.

Martin made it to the majors, as a reliever and pitches for the Rangers.

Adults can spend thousands to become “Driveline” certified.

To become certified in the “Basics of Pitch Design” by Driveline is $499; certification in Driveline pitch design is $999; certification in Driveline “Foundation of Hitting” is $599.

Driveline “Ax Bat Speed ​​Trainers,” which look like fungo bats, cost $599.99.

In Frye’s estimation, an academy like Driveline is an extension of the personal-coach.

“You can get most done in 20 to 30 minutes, but they have to come up with something to justify charging you for the next 30 minutes,” he said. “For a kid to hit for an hour is ridiculous. It’s too long. They are going to get tired and develop bad clothes.

“Maybe once you are in high school, or college, you can do that. Perhaps. I never hit for an hour.”

Driveline did not respond to an interview request.

The model isn’t changing any time soon, and Frye says there are good instructors out there. It’s just up to the parent to find them.

Ask around. Trust your gut. You don’t need to spend a fortune. The sessions don’t need to go too long.

“I spent one summer coaching (a youth baseball) team. It was like, ‘What are we doing?’ Half these kids aren’t worth a (bleep),” he said. “It’s tough. I understand. You want the best for your kid. Take some time. Look at the odds of becoming a Major League player, or NCAA player.

“What gets lost in all of this is that the kids aren’t having fun. They want to quit. You don’t have to do all of this.”

They don’t.

But they do.

Which is why #SheGone lives.

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Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist who has extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He has covered high schools, colleges, all four major sports teams as well as Olympic games and the world of entertainment, too. He combines dry wit with first-person reporting to complement a head of hair that is almost unfair.
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