Youth Baseball: Youth Baseball is RUINING THE GAME I LOVE!
Tom Seaver holds the record for most overall Opening Day starts, with 16. He pitched 11 for the Mets, three for the Reds and two for the White Sox. "Tom Terrific" proved successful opening the season, posting a 7-2 record.
He has a couple of quotes, "In baseball, my theory is to strive for consistency, not to worry about the numbers. If you dwell on statistics you get shortsighted, if you aim for consistency, the numbers will be there at the end." and "If you don't think baseball is a big deal, don't do it. But if you do, do it right."
My mom hates baseball. Not really, but she says she does. I grew up on a baseball field, where my dad played independent baseball with his two brothers. My late dad loved his baseball. Dad passed away from cancer when I was 12 following my last season of Little League. When I was playing in little league, he told me some things I remember being told like it was yesterday. One was "The Game Knows." and the other was "Play hard or don't play at all." I was known for playing hard, from baseball to basketball to later slow-pitch softball.
I worked the scoreboard for a friend who was hosting a 13 and under travel ball tournament today. The things I witnessed makes me understand why baseball is collapsing from within.
I have been involved with high school baseball in Tennessee since 1995.
I love baseball. I hate the way baseball, the game, is being treated now.
I have always had my pet peeves, ingrained in me by my dad and from
watching the Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant show every Sunday on TV during
My list has been:
Not showing the proper respect during the National Anthem.
Not running out ground balls or pop ups.
Not being ready on deck or in the hole.
Infielders not having all of their hats and gloves in the same place and outfielders not having all of their hats and gloves in one place to be ready to be picked up and take the field.
Not knowing where to throw the ball when it is hit to you.
Pitchers walking down towards the plate to get throws back from the catcher and then walking back up the mound to get ready to pitch the next pitch.
Players wearing their hats backwards or not even wearing one when on a baseball field.
Please notice I didn't list striking out. I didn't list making an out. I didn't list walking a batter. I didn't list making an error. Baseball is a hard game to play. Men make millions of dollars being successful swinging the bat around one out of every four times. It is the only sport with an ERROR Column on the scoreboard. I get frustrated when I see a kid get mad because he hit a hard line drive at the shortstop. He hit the ball hard. It found a glove. It happens. I get just as frustrated when he shows off at first after blooping one over the shortstop.
A dear friend and baseball coach told me that he had heard that a young baseball player gets beat up four times every game. He beats himself up for making an error or striking out or some other failure. His teammates beat him up in the dugout. His coach beats him up after the game. His parents beat him up on the way home. And we wonder why kids quit playing the game.
Baseball is all about failure. The problem in America today is no one wants failure. Kids can't fail in school anymore. Parents can't handle their kids not being as successful as their friends' kids. For the Yuppie Generation, the BMW was the status symbol. Now the status symbol is your son or daughter getting a sports scholarship. Parents have to blast their kid's latest accomplishments all over social media.
If Tom Seaver was at the ballfield I was at today, he would be shaking his head in disgust. Here is a laundry list of things I saw:
Let me preface this by saying it was hot, around 92 degrees. I am 56 years old. When I was 13 I was hauling hay, picking up 80 lb bails using the twine and knee technique and throwing them to my cousins the stackers on the bed of the truck. We worked from before sunup to around sundown then went down to the city park and played baseball under the lights.
Back to my list:
Dads took turns walking up to the backstop when their son batted, standing about 8-10 feet behind him, with their cell phone cameras videotaping the at bat and giving pitch-by-pitch advice like "Trust your hands, don't roll your wrist". One kid took a key walk in a 1-0 game and his dad muttered under his breath "swing the bat" as he left the backstop.
A mom got mad because the dugouts didn't have electrical outlets for the players' fans.
The coaches warmed up the pitchers before the game and between innings so the catcher could rest.
A pitcher was struggling to throw strikes and someone yelled "Throw it in there!"
A kid came in throwing gas. His first three pitches were higher than the batter's head. He then threw 2 strikes in a row. On pitch 6, a pitch over the batter's head again, the batter swung for strike three. Dad? yelled "The pitcher has a gold chain on!" He didn't yell that while the pitcher was warming up with his coach while the catcher stood next to the coach resting. He didn't yell that on ball 1 or 2 or 3 or strike 1 or 2.
There was a play where the throw took the first baseman over the bag as the runner was getting to the bag and they collided and the ball came loose. The players stood up, dusted themselves off, smiled and gave each other some dap. The mom? of the first basemen screamed "That was over-aggressive! He should be out!" The mom? of the batter yelled back "He has a right to run to first base!" I am wondering what the first mom? thought he could do. Stop via parachute like a funny car? Turn a hard right like an F16 fighter jet? MOm#1? yelled back "He hit him too hard!" Mom#2? seemed to take the high road and not respond.
During a pitching change, the coach came out to warmup the new pitcher and the catcher went and stood in the dugout. One team actually put a pop-up tent IN THEIR DUGOUT!"
During one team's rally, around the sixth batter or so, the catcher called time-out for a water break and his coach brought him a cup of water. Did I mention moms and dads throwing Gatorades over the fence during the game to their sons? Did I mention players didn't bother chasing foul balls out of play?
Again, I know it was hot. I understand dehydration and heat stroke. But we are talking about a 7-inning, 2 hour time limit baseball game. We wonder why kids struggle in school. Where are they learning a work ethic? To overcome adversity? To excel under stress? To adopt to conditions? To accept the fact that you can not be successful every time you do something. If my dad was alive today to witness what I saw he would have left in disgust.
People are ruining the game I love and a generation of kids. A friend uses one word for it. BRUTAL.
I sent this in as a Letter to the Editor to my Local Paper, Letter to editor: Limbaugh on baseball