Response to weekend youth baseball coverage has been mostly positive, and the negatives point out the fact of why community baseball is struggling, and why more kids aren’t playing.
There were many, many emails, texts, and comments relative to last weekend’s Craig Stammen youth baseball tournament, about 90% positive over the fact that, as one wrote, “It’s good that someone pays attention to the kids when it can make a difference in their future.”
Another wrote: “You’re consistent. You’ve been covering this for years and I think it’s great. Lots of high fives.”
From a dad: “My son was so excited to see his picture on the internet.”
From a mom: “My son couldn’t stop smiling over seeing his name in one of your stories.”
From a critic: “I appreciated that you never mentioned who won the tournament in your articles. I also think you also over-due the baseball pity ‘BS’. Times change, everyone changes with it. If as many kids as you believe wanted to play baseball they’d find a way. Football is the game. Get over it.”
And from another, differing voice:: “Youth baseball is struggling, but some of your points are an old man yelling at the clouds type things. Select ball has really torn up community/rec leagues. Unfortunately, when the good players leave to have [better] competition the rec leagues are stuck with walk-a-thons. But the costs limit access to quality baseball for many families. MLB had to speed up games to have coverage like it used to have, and routine 3.5 hour games suck. That said, plenty of kids and families in Dayton still love baseball. In Dayton’s main two leagues, there are 36 select teams! That’s likely around 400 kids playing select ball in Dayton that are 9 years old, and doesn’t include a single rec ball player. There’s a lot of coaches who volunteer mostly because they love the game.”
Hmm! One line at a time…….
Select ball has really torn up community baseball…as if that’s almost a good thing, which leads to the second point.
When the good players leave to have [better] competition the rec leagues are stuck with walk-a-thons…because, there’s no one advanced left from which the slower, less-gifted kids can learn and imitate. Kids are patient with each other because they grow up together. They never said anything about the discouraging fact of not being asked to play select baseball, just that a lot of families can’t afford it. So what you have here…is the late-blooming kid who doesn’t mature until his junior or senior year is destined to become extinct. And if they don’t play, there’s not much chance of their kids playing high school baseball when it’s their turn. So yes, I think there is some merit for yelling at the clouds.
MLB had to speed up games to have coverage like it used to have, and routine 3.5 hour games suck...which doesn’t make a lick of sense because MLB has more coverage now than ever before. It’s on TV every night. It’s the commercials ($$$) that make 3.5 hour games. Nor do I understand why that “sucks”. People who love baseball enjoy the ballpark experience. Mark my word, you might live long enough to see Rob Manfred suggest the 10-minute inning clock, five minutes per side; with a speed limit on the fastball. Whatever you do in five minutes…counts! That way we can get home in an hour and a half.
In Dayton’s main two leagues, there are 36 select teams! That’s likely around 400 kids playing select ball in Dayton that are 9 years old, and doesn’t include a single rec ball player…what this person left out was whether you should be proud of 400 kids – 9 years old – playing select baseball (that’s 11.1 per team), while another 600 might not play at all…in a county with a half million people. And I’m sorry, but 9 years old is too young for ‘select’ baseball – another reason for burnout by the time they get to high school. There’s a better way for kids to learn and enjoy the game – develop skills – with that same adult supervision.
This person should take up the point of view, because I don’t think I could have made it better.
Making things better in North Star/and the Stammen Classic?
In a text from Craig Stammen over the weekend he mentioned a project in North Star, Ohio (outside of Versailles) to make improvements on the Little League diamond there, to the field itself, the shelter, parking lot, and the overall baseball experience.
“If you want to mention that in one of the articles about investing in the baseball lives of kids that would be awesome,” he added.
I just did…and there will be no shortage of help for what he believes might take a million dollars to complete by the time it’s all in and done – to my point about leadership within the community, and men who experienced the values of community of baseball growing up. If you want more information…if you want to be a contributing partner…go to https://darke.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/list and make yourself available to a wonderful cause.
Of course someone may accuse you of yelling at the clouds.
But…you get used to it.