Anyone who follows baseball has heard the well-known baseball maxim, “Baseball is a simple game; you see the ball, you hit the ball.” Although that quote comes from the 1988 movie, “Bull Durham,” it’s really an extended paraphrase of Pete Rose’s best piece of advice to aspiring young hitters.
Once you get to know Malik Little, Jr. of the Bergenfield Bears, you could almost hear him whispering to himself those words of wisdom from the MLB all-time hits leader. The succinctness of those words resonates loudly with the Bears’ SS-2B-CF-C-P, who participated on Bergenfield’s first-ever youth travel team to Cooperstown. As with Pete Rose’s advice, Malik keeps his observations short-and-sweet, with a minimum of verbiage. When asked why he likes playing baseball, he replies, “Because I love the game.”
His favorite professional players comprise Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, and Yogi Berra. None of his MLB idols could be fairly described as verbose, not even the belated, beloved Yogi. Malik’s reason for choosing them as his favorites comes down to the simple, direct affirmation: “They are all amazing baseball players with many accomplishments.” Right. No long-winded testimonials, no complications. No wordiness problem.
Malik has played in Cal Ripken, The Rock, Tag ‘Em, Hershey Park, and now Cooperstown Baseball World travel tournaments. He has enjoyed them all because, “The competition is good and I get to play on many different fields.” His teams have “won 3 championships.” The best game he has played came at The Rock, when “I hit a walk-off single.”
Malik is sure to have many ‘best’ games in his baseball future. Wherever he might play baseball and whatever level he might attain, he will surely take the shortest, most direct route there. He has an uncomplicated, direct goal as a ball player, namely “to become the best player in the MLB.”
Along the way, the only problem he might have will not include talking too much or taking too many detours. As Derek Jeter might say, the only problem he might have is not facing enough competition.