The article is translated from A mound of troubles
The New York Times Magazine--Pat Jordan
Rick says he had a "Tom Sawyer kind of boyhood" in sleepy Fort Pierce. He went barefoot every day, swam in the ocean, dove off piers, fished for snook in the Indian River and put on shoes only to play Little League baseball. He says he wasn't a very good player in Little League. "I was always the smallest kid," he says. "I was terribly shy. Maybe it was because my dad yelled at me so much. I was afraid to mess up."
Rick說他在寧靜的皮爾斯堡有著 "Tom Sawyer (註一)般的孩童時期"，他每天都ㄊㄥˋ洽咖 (台語)，不是在海中游泳，在碼頭跳水，不然就在 Indian River (註二)釣魚，只有在參加少棒聯盟 (Little League baseball，簡稱LLB，國內俗稱威廉波特少棒賽)時才會穿上鞋子。他說他在聯盟中不是很出色"我總是雄細漢ㄟ(台語)"，"我以前超級害羞的，也許是我的父親常對我大吼，我害怕搞砸一切"。
Rick Ankiel Sr. was not an easy man to grow up around. He once worked hanging drywall, and then as a fishing guide, a career choice that led to his last line of work, drug smuggling. He had already been arrested 14 times -- and convicted 6 times -- for such offenses as burglary and carrying a concealed weapon, before he was arrested on drug charges. Rick stood beside his father in court last March, when he was sentenced to six years in federal prison.
"His dad has been his coach, his friend and his foe," says Ankiel's mother, Denise. Rick Sr. said of his younger son, by then in the majors, "He's been rode hard a lot of times."
Rick says: "My dad was hard on me all the time. If I swung at a bad pitch in Little League, he'd make me run wind sprints when I got home. It was always, I could've done better. But maybe if he wasn't hard on me, I would've gone down the wrong path. He always said, 'Do what I say, not what I do."' Rick says his father taught him his smooth delivery, his high leg kick and slow, deliberate motion. He also taught his son "never to show emotion on the mound," Rick says, "which I always thought was strange because I wasn't like that anyway."
Rick回憶小時候 "我爸爸總是很嚴厲地管教我，如果我在聯盟投不好，他就會叫我一直衝刺跑直到回家，所以那時我總是表現不好；但是他如果沒有對我這麼嚴格的話，我可能會走歹路，他總是這樣跟我說:照我說的做，但不要學我的行為" Rick說他爸爸教導他柔軟的出手，高抬腿以及不慌不忙的投球動作。他也教他的孩子"千萬不要在投手丘上透露出你的情緒"不過 Rick不太喜歡，也不懂他的道理。
Like most boys, Rick pitched for his father's approval and, maybe even more important, to avoid his wrath. "I tried to argue with him sometimes," he says, "but. . . . " When Rick wanted to go fishing instead of play baseball, his mother would intercede on his behalf. "If he doesn't want to play," Denise would say to her husband, "Let him do what he wants." What Rick wanted to do at 14 was quit baseball. He told his father: "I'm never going to be in the major leagues. So I'm going to do stuff with my buddies, hang out on the beach, go surfing, go fishing."
每當 Rick想去釣魚而不打棒球，他媽媽會幫 Rick求情，"讓他去做他想做的吧"，Rick14歲時唯一想做的就是遠離棒球。他跟他爸爸說"我以後不可能會上大聯盟，讓我跟同伴去海邊衝浪釣魚吧"
His father was adamant. "That's not gonna work," he said. "If you love the game, good things will happen."
But Rick didn't really love the game. He liked the game the way most boys his age did, but he wasn't devoted to it. By the time he was a sophomore in high school, he was just a decent pitcher with an 84-mile-per-hour fastball. But he was also mature beyond his years. Everyone who knew him described him as a man among boys, thanks to the toughness of his father. Even his father said, "He's a very good young man, a good person at heart, a great kid."
Ankiel and his father(left) by Jason Nuttle/The Palm Beach Post
When Rick was a sophomore at Port St. Lucie High School, his coach, John Messina, described him as "a great kid off the field, but nothing exceptional as a pitcher." Rick's greatest attribute as a pitcher, Messina says, was that "he picked up everything in seconds. He had a mind like a computer." When it came to pitching, Rick says: "I understood things in my head before I did them physically. I picked up pitching quick. Everything else. . . . " He laughs. "Well, I was goofy. I walked like a klutz. I spilled milk at the dinner table every night."
當 Rick在 Port St. Lucie高中時，他的教練 John Messina這樣形容他"一個優秀的投手，下了球場的他是個不錯的少年家"，教練談及 Rick的投球時表示 "他像部電腦，總在短短時間內學會一切 "Rick說"我在做動作前腦中已經理解了，所以我很快地學會投球，以及任何事情"
By his junior year, Rick had grown from "a small kid" into a strapping six-footer. His fastball now cruised toward the plate at over 90 m.p.h. He struck out batters at will, once fanning 14 of the first 15 batters he faced. "I came out of nowhere," he says. "There were major league scouts at every game. I realized I had a chance now for a scholarship to the University of Miami, or a professional contract."
His father became obsessed with his son's career. He went to every game, sat in the stands and flashed signs to Rick indicating what pitch to throw. When Rick struck out the side, he walked off the mound, glancing at the stands for his father's approval, a nod, a smile, anything. In one game in his junior year, Rick was pitching a no-hitter when he heard his father's voice screaming, "Throw him the funk!" This was his father's word for a knuckleball. Rick threw the next batter a knuckleball, and he hit a home run.
"Boy, that ticked me off," says Rick's pitching coach then, Charlie Frazier. "He was always calling Rick's pitches. After a game, he'd tell me I called a lousy game." Rick Sr. was described by one fan as a "borderline problem. He was always arguing with the umpires, coaches, athletic directors. He was a character in town. Boisterous, a drinker, a party guy. Rick tried to play down his shortcomings, and to tell the truth, his dad did try to be a good dad to Rick. He took him fishing, things like that."
Rick的投手教練 Charlie Frazier指出 Rick的父親總是指揮 Rick投球。他父親也時常與裁判，教練，指導員爭吵。
Rick's father wasn't the only one to recognize Rick's gift and try to assert control over it. His coaches, who had previously seen him as just a decent pitcher, now began to treat him like a hothouse flower. They refused to let him bat right-handed (he was a switch-hitter) because they were afraid he might get hit in his exposed left arm.
Rick 的爸爸不是唯一了解 Rick的天賦的人。他的教練們以往都把他看做只是個還不錯的投手，而現在開始像照顧溫室花朵的方式去對待他。他們開始不讓左右開弓的 Ankiel以右打席豋場，因擔心持棒在前的左手會被球砸到。(現在 Ankiel為左打，可能也是由那時開始的)
This special treatment did not go unnoticed by Rick. It dawned on him that he had a special talent, a talent that had to be protected, a talent that he began to fear losing. Rick could see this in the eyes of others, even though he didn't feel special himself. He thought of himself as just "a normal kid" until his senior year, when he was named the best high-school pitcher in the country and realized, with a shock of recognition, that the most prized possession in his life was "my left arm." The only person in his life who didn't define Rick by his talent was his mother. "No matter what you do for your career," she told him, "what you do is just what you do. That's not who you are." Then she asked her husband, "Is he really that good?"