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  • A Different Time

    In reading all of these recent threads, we have the extremes of baseball. We have those complaining about showcase teams and then those posting about their 7 or 8 year old. How did we ever make it back in the day?

    I long for some of the past. In my home town, kids signed up for ball at 8 years old and attended the "clinic." It was run during the day. At 9:00 in the morning, parents dropped the first wave of kids off. 15 kids to a team or 30 kids to a group. We did infield/oufield and hitting. High school kids did the instruction but worked for the park department. The next wave came in at 10:30 and wrapped up at noon. Wednesdays and Thursdays were games between the 4 teams. Fridays were "special work" days were kids who needed/wanted more work came in. Any 9 year old could sign up as well from the little league. During the games, the coaches pitched and no walks. The emphasis was fundamentals. Working in this program is where I got the coaching bug. I remember that my boss once said that the only thing that could make this better was if they wore bluejeans to play. I didn't understand what he meant by that then.

    As we grew up, we didn't have travel ball or showcases. We met at a local field and played ball all day. Sort of sandlot if you know what I mean. Everyone knew who the best players were from each part of town as well as who the best players were from other towns. Word got around. When our season ended, we had All Stars. Then, the best got to go play those players/teams in local tournaments. Those all star teams eventually turned into the high school teams. It was common for the high school coach to be in the stands. It was common for all of us to hang together rotating through each sports season. We all dreamed about being pros. We were shocked when college offers came our way. It wasn't our focus. I think my love for the game is because the game was always on my terms. I know it is too simplistic to think that all was so good back then but for me it was. I wish some of today's youth could have the same experiences.


    Take care,

    Darrell
    Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

    I am an ex expert. I've done this long enough to know that those who think that they know it all, know nothing.

  • #2
    Time keeps moving forward. There are pros and cons to each side of the argument. I would say the worst thing that happened to summer baseball was new houses being built with central air conditioning. As kids we went down to the field and played until we dropped.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Cannonball View Post
      I wish some of today's youth could have the same experiences.
      Darrell, come on. Kids today get new cleats and giant bags with wheels, each year, or even each season. They get $400 bats. They go to Cooperstown, to Panama City, to LA and Vegas. Many even get to play in major league parks. Plus, they get a large trophy (plus a pool party) every couple of weeks.

      You old guys had to share one or 2 old wood bats. You probably kept the same glove for 5-6 years (gasp!).

      I, for one, welcome our new baseball overlords.:clowning:
      Last edited by songtitle; 05-16-2012, 09:26 PM.
      efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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      • #4
        Originally posted by tg643 View Post
        As kids we went down to the field and played until we dropped.
        We would play until the baseball fell apart.
        efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Cannonball View Post
          In reading all of these recent threads, we have the extremes of baseball. We have those complaining about showcase teams and then those posting about their 7 or 8 year old. How did we ever make it back in the day?

          I long for some of the past. In my home town, kids signed up for ball at 8 years old and attended the "clinic." It was run during the day. At 9:00 in the morning, parents dropped the first wave of kids off. 15 kids to a team or 30 kids to a group. We did infield/oufield and hitting. High school kids did the instruction but worked for the park department. The next wave came in at 10:30 and wrapped up at noon. Wednesdays and Thursdays were games between the 4 teams. Fridays were "special work" days were kids who needed/wanted more work came in. Any 9 year old could sign up as well from the little league. During the games, the coaches pitched and no walks. The emphasis was fundamentals. Working in this program is where I got the coaching bug. I remember that my boss once said that the only thing that could make this better was if they wore bluejeans to play. I didn't understand what he meant by that then.

          As we grew up, we didn't have travel ball or showcases. We met at a local field and played ball all day. Sort of sandlot if you know what I mean. Everyone knew who the best players were from each part of town as well as who the best players were from other towns. Word got around. When our season ended, we had All Stars. Then, the best got to go play those players/teams in local tournaments. Those all star teams eventually turned into the high school teams. It was common for the high school coach to be in the stands. It was common for all of us to hang together rotating through each sports season. We all dreamed about being pros. We were shocked when college offers came our way. It wasn't our focus. I think my love for the game is because the game was always on my terms. I know it is too simplistic to think that all was so good back then but for me it was. I wish some of today's youth could have the same experiences.


          Take care,

          Darrell
          Sounds pretty great. When I was a kid, I used to hitch-hike to the park, spend all day there and then hitch-hike back. Nowadays, I don't even let my kid walk to the park alone and it's only 4 blocks away. Times are different, but given my kid doesn't know any different, I figure he'll still have the same dreams of playing MLB or other pro sports etc. He actually asked me the other day why I didn't play MLB, he hasn't quite gotten the concept that in MLB it's not a matter of signing up and everyone gets to play
          Never played baseball, just a dad of someone that loves to play. So take any advice I post with a grain of salt.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by pthawaii View Post
            Sounds pretty great. When I was a kid, I used to hitch-hike to the park, spend all day there and then hitch-hike back. Nowadays, I don't even let my kid walk to the park alone and it's only 4 blocks away. Times are different, but given my kid doesn't know any different, I figure he'll still have the same dreams of playing MLB or other pro sports etc. He actually asked me the other day why I didn't play MLB, he hasn't quite gotten the concept that in MLB it's not a matter of signing up and everyone gets to play
            Where the heck did you live at to have to hitch hike to a baseballfield? I'm guessing you hitch hiked in a area where everybody knew each other or you grew up in the 1930's. I cant imagine even in the late 70's and early 80's a kid 12 or under hitchhiking to a baseballfield. Luckily I had fields close to where I lived so I rode my bike but I think that McGruff crime dog taught us well to never take a ride from a stranger.
            "(Shoeless Joe Jackson's fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning." -- Connie Mack

            "I have the ultimate respect for Whitesox fans. They were as miserable as the Cubs and Redsox fans ever were but always had the good decency to keep it to themselves. And when they finally won the World Series, they celebrated without annoying every other fan in the country."--Jim Caple, ESPN (Jan. 12, 2011)

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            • #7
              Hmm... In our neighborhood, kids still get together in the street and play with a tennis ball...

              Comment


              • #8
                1. We didn't have the game consoles they have today, or even half of the entertainment options. Look at the number of TV channels, social media options, and game consoles today vs. then. We HAD TO play outside because that's where the kids were. The kids aren't outside anymore. We could be having the same discussion about driveway basketball.

                2. Dads. How many of us went running to dad with baseball gloves the minute he got home from work? I don't think that happens for very many kids.

                3. Awareness of sex offenders/predators. 'Nuff said. Kids don't run around like they used to.

                It's a different society. Teams used to practice a ton. Some dads/coaches quit their jobs or worked half-jobs in order to practice a bunch, it was all just as political.

                We know from psychology that people remember events from their childhood as being greater than they were in reality. Most baseball fans remember the era during their childhood as being the "best era of baseball", without realizing that when you're 12 everything is the best.

                As a kid, I would have loved travel ball. Playing other kids from other towns, having more practices and more structure, etc.

                LL as a kid was great because it was what we had and it was baseball, and there's just not that many ways to screw up baseball. I'm sure there were kids that thought LL was the worst thing ever. As adults, they aren't talking about it on Baseball Fever.

                Society has changed, folks. It's not baseball. It's society. How many of us at age 12 had a TV/DVD or game console in our room? A computer? A cell phone that had internet access?

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am 44 years old. I don't remember any sandlot games even though there was a field at the local elementary school we could have played on. Perhaps that is why I was never a good baseball player and quit playing at 11 years old.

                  My son does greet me at my car with gloves in hand when I get home from work. I usually put him off until after I eat supper, but we play every day during the season if the weather allows. There is only one boy near my son's age in our neighborhood who plays baseball, but they rarely play baseball together and I rarely see that boy playing with his dad. It is no suprise that my younger, smaller kid is a much better player than his friend.
                  WAR EAGLE!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by songtitle View Post
                    We would play until the baseball fell apart.
                    It's why they invented duct tape. Real hitters can focus on a black ball.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by pthawaii View Post
                      Sounds pretty great. When I was a kid, I used to hitch-hike to the park, spend all day there and then hitch-hike back. Nowadays, I don't even let my kid walk to the park alone and it's only 4 blocks away. Times are different, but given my kid doesn't know any different, I figure he'll still have the same dreams of playing MLB or other pro sports etc. He actually asked me the other day why I didn't play MLB, he hasn't quite gotten the concept that in MLB it's not a matter of signing up and everyone gets to play
                      Where's your trophy?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I remember my summers being as good as it gets. We were at the field playing baseball at 9am. We played until about 2pm when we went home to eat. Then we played Strat O Matic Baseball until it was time for practice or game. After our games or practice we played whiffle ball under the lights in the backyard. Any day we weren't at the field we were at the beach or the lake.

                        My son and his friends played a lot of pickup baseball and whiffle ball. Later in the afternoon they played baseball video games until games or practice. If they weren't playing baseball they were at someone's pool. At night they played whiffle ball or basketball.

                        My kids never had tv's, dvd players and pc's in their rooms until my son was in high school and laptops were a requirement.

                        I've never bought into the world is more dangerous and let my kids go to the ball field. I believe the internet and cable bringing every crime that occurs in the country into our homes on a daily basis has scared the hell out of people. The murders from the book In Cold Blood were as gruesome as it gets. Most people didn't know about it until Truman Capote wrote the book. Today we would see the police live putting up the police tape and a reporter live interviewing a wailing neighbor.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bbrages View Post
                          Hmm... In our neighborhood, kids still get together in the street and play with a tennis ball...
                          We used a "Pinky"
                          "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                          - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
                          Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by songtitle View Post
                            We would play until the baseball fell apart.
                            In my neighborhood, there was abject panic when the baseball went into the weeds. :crossfingers:
                            "Smith corks it into right, down the line. It may go...........Go crazy folks! Go crazy! Jack Buck

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                            • #15
                              My favorite ball for the backyard is a "TAG-lite" yellow foam ball. It has enough mass to fly a little more realistically than a Wiffle ball, and it's a lot more catchable, but it's not going to dent any car doors or break window panes. I'm afraid a Pinky could do some property damage if you connected right.

                              Another fun thing about the TAG foam ball is that you can curve it easier than a baseball, but you have to spin it right; it's not like a Wiffle.

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