Ask Cal

Newly elected Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. has a column in the Baltimore Sun answering questions regarding youth sports. I sent in this question regarding my son. You can see the question and answer below as posted in the February 18th, 2007 edition of the Baltimore Sun.

DEAR CAL // My 7-year-old son played baseball for the first time this past fall. When he was younger he would always put his right-hander’s mitt on the opposite hand, so we got him a left-hander’s glove. I also encouraged him to bat left-handed. Now that he is older, I realize he is not a true lefty since he writes right-handed and even throws a football naturally right-handed. He now throws, catches and hits left-handed fluidly, but perhaps his arm strength would be better right-handed. Should he continue left-handed, or is there a test I can give him to see which way he should throw?

Rob Rohm, Orange, Calif.

DEAR ROB // It sounds like you have a good problem on your hands. Most of us wish that we were more ambidextrous or could do more things with our opposite side. I’m a very dominant right-handed person and have had to work hard learning to do things with my opposite hand. It’s difficult for most of us to do, so in some ways your son may be ahead of the game.

I would just suggest that you experiment. Put a right-handed glove on your son and encourage him to practice and to try to play that way. You might find that you have a very special and talented child. I’ve come across a couple of people at the minor league level who could catch and throw equally well with both hands, and I often have wondered how they might do in the big leagues if they could pitch twice as much as a normal pitcher.

Remember that your son is 7 and still developing. You should have him put a glove on the other hand and make an evaluation. Maybe you can find some other people whom you trust in a baseball or sports sense to give you an evaluation as well. Nothing works better than experimentation, so give him the opportunity and see if he feels comfortable. He already is comfortable playing the game one way, so it’s not a big problem if he can’t do it differently. Put a glove on the other hand and see what happens.

Angels Fan Fest 2007

Today was the first day of Fan Fest. It was a great event. I got in early and got a pic of me and my buddy drinking with Mickey Hatcher signed by him. I also got a picture of my son with Scot Shields on the field at photo day.

The Angels alumni had some great names including Rod Carew, Doug Decinces, Clyde Wright, and Bob Boone among others. I was really pleased to get an 8×10 signed by Carew.

I was also excited to get a baseball signed by Alyssa Milano and got a pic with her (see below).

I capped off the day by winning an Erstad Game Used Batting Helmet at one of the Angels Care auctions.

Alyssa Milano and Rob Rohm