Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University and pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeye baseball team from 1971 through 1974.  He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league league umpire for seven years, working in the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA).  He has written for numerous websites and outdoor publications, and for the past ten years has served as a regular columnist and photo editor for Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press.  Widely knowledgeable on that period of American History, Fulks is a frequent speaker on the Civil War at local roundtables throughout the Midwest. He and wife Mindy have two grown children and live in Covington, Ohio.

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To respond to our weekend mailbag following last week’s opening to NCAA baseball, some thoughts on the choice of content, and its relevance to the good of “kids”.

You know the old adage about even when you do a good thing someone’s bound to question?

Such was that waiting in the Press Pros mailbox when I returned from South Carolina last week with the University of Dayton baseball team.  If you didn’t read those weekend posts, one regular reader shared with me this week, “I have no interest in baseball in February”, and words to that extent.  I understand.

But another actually wrote, “I love the site, but I’d have more respect for what you do if I didn’t know you’re just covering the s— you like.  There’s a lot of other teams and kids that deserve it more at this time of year.”

And to his point I cannot disagree, at least the first part.

I’ve never made it a secret that I’m a baseball person, and choose to write about it because very few people in Ohio media actually do…when they have a choice!  They never have.  Yes, they’ll do it in April when there is no football and basketball – when the only choice you have is baseball (or softball) and track.  But generally, when there is baseball content it’s always buried on page 6…while football gets front page headlines.

But there are baseball people, as well.  We know who they are;  we hear from them regularly.  And we do choose to write baseball as early as February, and during tournament basketball season, just to level the playing field, if only a bit.

Because to the point of covering the dual athlete who pursues baseball (over even wrestling) over football in terms of what he does in the summer…when was the last time you saw a feature story on him?  If he sets records for bench press in the weight room he’s at least a three-star recruit.  If he pitches a no-hitter in the state Legion tournament you’ll never know.

And to the premise that other teams and kids deserve it more?  Is 86-16 (actual girls tournament score from last week) what you had in mind?  There’s be similar blowouts this week with first-round boys games.

But the even better weekend inquiry came from a regular reader in Dayton:  “I appreciate that you write about baseball in February, but wonder why?”

Minster's Adam Niemeyer and the Buckeyes play this weekend in the Big Ten-Pac 12 Challenge, in Phoenis.

Minster’s Adam Niemeyer and the Buckeyes play this weekend in the Big Ten-Pac 12 Challenge, in Phoenis.

Well, in part we do it because yes, I like it.  And it’s a matter of choice, where we can choose to be different from the main stream.

Two, I have a very good memory (cynical, perhaps, but good) and I often think of those who thump their chests and declare that more needs to be done for the good of kids.  But apparently not baseball kids!

We wouldn’t think of playing the sectional basketball tournaments this week outside in February weather.  We’d say it was ridiculous to even suggest it.  But in a month we’ll tell those who play baseball and softball, “It’s the best we can do.  We’ve got a calendar to keep.   Cold rainy weather is an Ohio baseball tradition.  You might hurt an arm or pull a hamstring, but there’s just too many obstacles to change.”

And I can’t change that, either.  Summer high school baseball in Ohio is something I’ll never see in my lifetime.

But I can do something about profiling the opportunities , and relationships, between area high school kids who want to play college baseball…and the baseball programs like Ohio State and Dayton that lack recruiting time and budget and won’t know that there’s a kid in Versailles, or Tipp City, who can play – the kid who can’t afford elite summer travel teams where they ‘might’ get seen.  They do want to know about you, especially if you want to play something besides football and basketball.

Sonny_inset0211So to that end we make it a point to get the word out early, and often.  When we wrote about Dayton baseball last weekend the message was – this is a good thing and you can be a part of it.  Don’t overlook that it’s there.

When we write about the Buckeyes playing in the PAC 12-Big Ten Challenge this weekend from Arizona – likewise. There is opportunity there if you want to set your sights early on playing at the highest level, like Arcanum’s Connor Pohl, a freshman on this year’s Ohio State roster.

Likewise, when we begin coverage of area high school baseball in April you can be assured that coaches from around the state can, and will, click on Press Pros to see who’s playing in Miami, Shelby, Auglaize, Mercer, and Darke counties.  Who’s out there that they’ve never seen, or heard about?

Trust it, it’s a good thing being done for the good of kids…baseball kids.  And some people ‘do’ like it.  It’s why you do baseball…in February.

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