The problem with my kids is that, in a tragic Shakespearean twist of fate, they’re my kids, so that’s that when it comes to their dreams of playing Sundays in the NFL.
Put a plainer way, God assigned them a father with all the athletic makings of a future sportswriter, whose greatest contribution to the world of sports is watching others perform tremendous sporting feats, then critiquing the manner in which they performed said feats with an all-knowing smirk.
Sure, they can play baseball like I did, because somebody’s got to hit ninth. They can run cross country like me, because even Forrest can run. Play some doubles in tennis, dabble in some wrestling where the next guy is just as skinny and cauliflowered.
But no football. Their road to the NFL won’t stretch past our front porch, much less the nearest goal line.
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That’s what I thought at least. Until now.
Just in time for the boys to join the concussive ranks of Pop Warner, 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke has revealed to us the surest path to the NFL.
Study his draft-room strategy and examine his selection process, check out who shows up at this weekend’s rookie minicamp at the 49ers Lair in Santa Clara. You, too, will find a sure way to his 53-man roster, even if your little Johnny So-So isn’t the All-SECiest kid in the brood.
Start by developing them into washed-up baseball players. Baalke loves to draft former ballplayers.
Take last week’s fourth-round pick DeAndre Smelter, who was a Georgia Tech pitcher before he became a Georgia Tech wide receiver. He’s just like quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a pitcher drafted by the Cubs, and former receiver Kyle Williams, who was drafted by his dad.
Second, not to go all Kathy Bates with a sledgehammer on the kids, find a way for them to shred the knee ligaments. Dr. Baalke is a sucker for kids with boo-boos.
Meet Smelter again. He has torn ligaments in one of the knees he uses to do football things. Like, run. That’s three straight years Dr. Baalke has drafted a player with a shredded ACL who couldn’t actually play any time soon.
One of them, 2012 fourth-round prize Marcus Lattimore, retired without ever playing a snap.
Then, make sure they’re just bad enough to trade down to get. Trader Baalke loves to let others pick first.
And why not? The players he wants most never seem to be worth drafting where the 49ers draft. Every year, he trades back because — in his draft-value chart — it’s better to have a bunch of sixth-round backups than a quality third-round starter.
“It was all about taking the best player,” Baalke said after the draft.
Remember this when the 49ers still don’t have wide receivers to throw to, or running backs good enough to replace Frank Gore, or cornerbacks who can keep up.
When the 49ers look across the Bay to the Raiders and think, “Lucky!” remember that 49ers overlord Jed York dumped coach Jim Harbaugh and handed all the keys to Baalke.
They seem to think anyone can win with these players. They somehow forgot that Harbaugh took the same players who went 6-10 with Mike Singletary and took them to the next season’s NFC title game.
Do you want to play for a team that just made that call? My kids do. One look at me, and they know the 49ers are their only shot.
Work on their split fastball. Pivot wrong on some artificial turf. Wait for the 49ers to fall back to them in the sixth round of the 2029 NFL Draft.
They can taste humiliating defeat to the Seahawks even as we speak.