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Video: Five year-old phenom takes BP and infield

Apr 13, 2010, 9:45 AM EST

Nothin’ creepy about this video. No siree:

My son is going to be five this summer. He has a plastic tee he likes to hit wiffle balls off of. 60% of the time he hits the tee instead and, quite frankly, enjoys it more. I’m not sayin’ that my son is going to be in the stands watching this guy one day instead of competing for a job at shortstop, but I’m not not sayin’ it either.

  1. Funky Jeff P. - Apr 13, 2010 at 11:51 AM

    The New York Yankees are proud to announce the signing of shortstop Ariel Antigua to a lifetime, multi-gazillion dollar contract. He will begin playing sub-rookie ball this season for the Lyndhurst Lollipops in the minor minor minor Jersey No-Cup League, and we expect him to arrive on our AAA Columbus team no later than 2023.
    Thank you. –Brian Cashman

  2. Infinite Wisdom - Apr 13, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    It’s about time you said something poignant. Sheesh..

  3. kris - Apr 13, 2010 at 12:03 PM

    where the hell is this kid’s batting helmet? Yeah, let’s throw 85 MPH baseballs at him without a helmet… REAL SMART

  4. Dangerous - Apr 13, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    If you notice in the video, at 0:33 where the kids is taking swing in the batting cages, it clearly says “ALL patrons MUST wear a batting helmet”. The fact that the owner of The Hot Corner put his name, image and reputation on this video displays their lack of concern for the kids safety. I am shocked!!! Especially for a talented 5-year-old like this. I think it is great he has such talent, but why are you risking the child’s safety by not putting a helmet on the kid???

  5. JoseOle - Apr 13, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    I don’t think a 5 year old hitting out of a cage, or fielding a ground ball is all that impressive. I’ve coached kids that were in coach pitch when they should have been in tee ball but were too good so their parents moved them up. I pitched b.p. to them and would throw it harder to them than the other kids, maybe 55-60 and the kids could hit it. Also some kids are more athletic when they are young so seeing a 5 year old fielding a slowly hit grounder isn’t a big deal. The sad thing is that they are putting this kid up like he’s the next great thing. What if he grows up and is 5’5″ tall? I don’t care how good he is he will not get a look from anyone, no matter how great he was at age 5.

  6. jimbo92107 - Apr 13, 2010 at 12:43 PM

    Isn’t this kid a little young to be throwing a curve ball?
    Prediction: His right elbow will be permanently damaged by the age of 7. He will then throw left-handed, and his left elbow will be permanently damaged by the age of 9. After that, he will grow up hating his father.

  7. Ryan - Apr 13, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    The kid has some tools, but he is cheating way early in order to hit that “85” mph pitch. It’s not a knock, he doesn’t have the arm strength to swing fast enough yet. The idiots touting him as a phenom in the video are placing too much value on the fact that the kid learned to commit earlier to catch up to the fastball. That’ll help when he goes up against a Jamie Moyer and then a Joel Zumaya-type takes over, but he’s average otherwise. I’d like to see him hit against kids his own age to see how he fairs. Somewhere between average and above-average is my estimate.

  8. Joe - Apr 13, 2010 at 1:14 PM

    Why doesn’t this kid have a helmet on? He is talented but won’t be if he gets hit in the head with an 85mph pitch. Shame on the coach… pretty irresponsible… we should call children services for reckless endangerment….

  9. Plotkin35 - Apr 13, 2010 at 1:19 PM

    They should get him a bat that weighs less. He’s getting around a little late. Even in his live pitching, looks like he’s getting around late. But still impressive for a 5 year old.

  10. Craig - Apr 13, 2010 at 1:22 PM

    I wonder how long the kid has been using PEDs?

  11. Some Lame Name Here - Apr 13, 2010 at 1:52 PM

    Seriously, this is the dad equivilent of a pageant mom. This is living your dream through your children. This kid probably loves the attention he gets from his dad while doing this, more than he loves baseball. Have your kid spend his life pleasing his father through sports like Tiger Woods and maybe you kid will grow up to be just like him. How many people have to grow up disfunctional because you have to live your failed dream through them as they grow up?

  12. Omar Minaya - Apr 13, 2010 at 2:02 PM

    I’m gonna give this kid a contract and get him to Port St Lucie tomorrow.

  13. Alan - Apr 13, 2010 at 2:15 PM

    If he were shooting growth hormone, don’t you think he’d be growing?

  14. Todd Marinovich - Apr 13, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    Awesome, hope he goes to USC. Batting helmets are for 4 year olds, quit whining about that.

  15. Pitch a Fit - Apr 13, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    I own a batting cage…no helmet….just stupid….hey coach! One hit in the head and that is it……put a helmet on him and ensure his future…Pitch a Fit

  16. Safety 101 - Apr 13, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    Great. But damn it, 85mph and NO FREAKIN’ HELMET ON? WTF

  17. jwb - Apr 13, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    I hate to rain on anyone’s parade, but this looks kind of hoax-tastic to me. You don’t see any pitched balls – 85 mph is good high school level pitching. Greg Maddux got by with an 85 mph fastball for a few years. Ok, decades. The fielding plays are all in slow motion, so you can’t really tell what’s happening. It’s pretty awesome that he can hit a pitched ball at any speed and throw to first from anywhere, but I ain’t buying it.

  18. Mike - Apr 13, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    Well that just about ruins my day. Next you’re going to tell me there’s no Santa Claus.

  19. Sarah - Apr 13, 2010 at 3:52 PM

    There are so many issues here I don’t even know where to begin, but the two biggest to me are:
    1) NO FREAKING HELMET
    2) What about when this kid gets about two years older and gets to play in little league where they use a pitching machine but the pitches are much slower? His swing is going to be so messed up from the faster machines that he’ll have to learn all over again how to swing. This actually happened to a friend who brought HIS 5 yr old son who is also quite a little talent out to the cages while he was still in t-ball. Now that he’s moved up to little league pitching machines, his timing is off from going to the cages too much. His dad completely regrets taking him.
    There’s no doubt the kid has great talent but maybe we ought to give him a few more years before wetting ourselves over how amazing he’s going to be.

  20. MikeZ - Apr 13, 2010 at 4:26 PM

    Wow you guys are rough. Now that it is spring I am at my kids little league practice/games almost every night. This kid is better then 99% of the kids in his age group. Many kids his age are more interested in catching butterflies in the outfield over baseballs. The kid has crazy focus.
    Dont hate on the kid cause a 5 year old is better at baseball than you ever were.

  21. ltzep75 - Apr 13, 2010 at 4:43 PM

    hits 85 mph pitching eh? whatever, ten bucks says he can’t hit the uncle charlie. plus, how does he react from getting one high and tight? my gut tells me you could throw some junk low and away.

  22. Francis - Apr 13, 2010 at 5:44 PM

    Well, that’s pretty cool. Even if it is a hoax (and it doesn’t look like it to me) and he’s hitting off the slowest setting on the machine and fielding punch and judy nubbers, that’s highly impressive batting and fielding for a kindergartener. His throwing action is awesome.
    As a father and coach of t-ball and coach pitch leagues for kids 5-9, I see hundreds of kids allegedly playing baseball every year. There’s regular coordination and then there’s a higher level of baseball coordination that only comes from crazy repetition and knowledge of the game. Like with golf, you can get the greatest smoothest athlete from any other sport, put them on a baseball diamond, and they’ll transform into a spazz.
    All that said though, I agree that this kid’s father and mentors should slow down the pace with young Ariel. Many baseball motions are unnatural and potentially harmful, especially with a growing boy who truly lacks the necessary muscle and strength for a proper swing, throwing motion, etc. The kids obviously got the muscle memory down for the game. He just needs to grow up and get the muscle.

  23. james - Apr 13, 2010 at 6:27 PM

    Lane Kiffin just signed him to play quarterback at USC.

  24. TC - Apr 14, 2010 at 6:20 PM

    Anecdotal evidence gets the anecdotal retort:
    You say that early batting cage action will screw the kid up. I tell you that Chase Utley, as a child, was reportedly a batting cage fiend. AND NOW LOOK AT HIM.

  25. Wayne - Granada Hills, CA - Apr 15, 2010 at 3:25 AM

    Interesting, I remember watching a 2-year old kid hitting golf balls into a net on-stage on Late Night with David Letterman.
    the kid’s name: Tiger Woods

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