Princehoward Barbecue Yee earned national headlines a year ago when he was barred from participating in high school baseball after transferring to Deering (Me.) High School and sued to try to earn back his spot. A year and one failed lawsuit on, Barbecue Yee is back in the national spotlight for his name and back excelling at baseball, still off the field.
Yee, a 5-foot-9, 193-pound catcher, has opted against playing for Deering altogether, instead focusing on his game with daily lessons at the Hitters County facility during the week and traveling nationwide on the weekends.
As reported by the Portland Press Herald, the goal is not varsity high school baseball, it’s a spot on the USA Baseball national 16-and-under team, which Yee will compete for in Florida in late June.
“I’m not saying (high school baseball) is a waste of time, it’s just I would rather train a lot harder, more reps and stuff, to get ready for the summer,” Yee told the Press Herald. “The summer, I go down south, and in the fall I’m going to a couple more camps at colleges, so I have to prepare for that.”
Yee’s approach is novel, it not completely unique. And while it’s much more common in individual sports like tennis, swimming and track and field, success for Yee could show how it’s a viable pathway forward in the increasingly Perfect Game and recruiting showcase-oriented world of prep baseball.
If Yee does make the junior national team, his father Howard Yee could begin to take on a Ron Harper (father of Bryce), Mike Bryant (Kris’ dad) or even Earl Woods (father of Tiger) mystique.
For now, the Yee family’s approach is just a novel adaptation and logical extension of the steady growth of the traveling showcase format. Whether that’s enough to make the critical difference that launches Yee’s international career is anyone’s guess.