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Fenway
11-01-2011, 03:07 AM
Much as it pains me to say this, the scout quoted by Bill Madden is correct. MLB has not been able to absorb the last 2 rounds of expansion.


“I maintain that you could drop into any place in America on July 8 and drive in a 400-mile radius and not find a single baseball field with a game going on,” the first scout said. “When I was growing up in the ‘50s and ‘60s that’s all we did all summer. Today, the kids are either working out for football, playing pick-up basketball in the inner cities or soccer. Go to the high school games and it’s frankly hard to watch - infielders throwing the ball around, pitchers who can’t throw strikes.”

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/texas-rangers-st-louis-cardinals-world-series-a-field-screams-article-1.968688#ixzz1cR1b3ZK5

LITTLE NELL
11-01-2011, 06:15 AM
Have to agree with this guy. When I was a kid we played ball everyday after school and all summer long, now the kids play video games.
I don't know if expansion is the reason why the caliber of play in MLB is down, it may be that the best athletes are going to the other big time sports.
Latinos now make up the majority of the starting lineups in MLB and they are very good players but I'm not sure there are enough of them in the Dominican Republic and other Latino countries to offset the loss of Black athletes in the USA who instead of playing baseball are setting their sights on the NBA and the NFL.
The colleges are also another reason that baseball caliber of play is down. The colleges recruit the best athletes to play the big time sports of football and basketball, baseball is not a big time money maker like football and basketball.

soxfanatlanta
11-01-2011, 08:58 AM
I have no proof of this, but I'll throw it out there: does the urbanization of the world population have a negative impact on the game as well? As more people cram into metropolitan areas, are we loosing places to play the game?

SI1020
11-01-2011, 09:47 AM
I have no proof of this, but I'll throw it out there: does the urbanization of the world population have a negative impact on the game as well? As more people cram into metropolitan areas, are we loosing places to play the game? I grew up in crowded urban neighborhoods and we played sports of all kinds constantly. Some of the games biggest stars came from big cities, particularly NYC.

hi im skot
11-01-2011, 10:54 AM
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_7Q-tD8eW2rE/Se9XyXctHyI/AAAAAAAACvY/_pCTgUJR2Io/s400/old-man-with-cane1.jpg

asindc
11-01-2011, 10:55 AM
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_7Q-tD8eW2rE/Se9XyXctHyI/AAAAAAAACvY/_pCTgUJR2Io/s400/old-man-with-cane1.jpg

As cranky as he is, he is right.

roylestillman
11-01-2011, 11:01 AM
To be honest there aren't enough kids around to have the pick up games that we used to have when I was a kid. My eighth grade graduating class was 123. Same school same neighborhood graduated 35 or so last year. Families are smaller and the options are more numerous. Kids after school schedules are packed tighter than a Fortune 500 CEO these days.

ohiosoxfan
11-01-2011, 11:41 AM
What's is really eye-opening is the advent of travel baseball and the "elite" baseball training schools that are out there. For any of you who have youngsters who play baseball, I'm sure you have been innundated with the idea that for your son to even play high school ball, they need to play travel baseball, which can be incredibly expensive and time-consuming for the kids AND their families. They play an amazing amount of games during a summer and somehow as pointed out by this story, the fundamentals are still awful. Unfortunately, it seems as though they play so many games, there is no time to practice; so mistakes aren't corrected, etc. Same situation with these training schools. They convince parents to spend an ungodly amount of cash to put their kids in these schools or sessions and what do you get?

kittle42
11-01-2011, 11:43 AM
Video games, schedules, and the like are not, in my opinion, the reason for the decline of any one sport over another (they should all be affected equally, no?). As was pointed out, kids choose football and basketball over baseball. *That* is the issue baseball has to work on.

asindc
11-01-2011, 12:00 PM
What's is really eye-opening is the advent of travel baseball and the "elite" baseball training schools that are out there. For any of you who have youngsters who play baseball, I'm sure you have been innundated with the idea that for your son to even play high school ball, they need to play travel baseball, which can be incredibly expensive and time-consuming for the kids AND their families. They play an amazing amount of games during a summer and somehow as pointed out by this story, the fundamentals are still awful. Unfortunately, it seems as though they play so many games, there is no time to practice; so mistakes aren't corrected, etc. Same situation with these training schools. They convince parents to spend an ungodly amount of cash to put their kids in these schools or sessions and what do you get?

Sounds a lot like AAU basketball, which has, not coincidentally, contributed to the decline in fundamentals among American players.

pythons007
11-01-2011, 12:07 PM
What's is really eye-opening is the advent of travel baseball and the "elite" baseball training schools that are out there. For any of you who have youngsters who play baseball, I'm sure you have been innundated with the idea that for your son to even play high school ball, they need to play travel baseball, which can be incredibly expensive and time-consuming for the kids AND their families. They play an amazing amount of games during a summer and somehow as pointed out by this story, the fundamentals are still awful. Unfortunately, it seems as though they play so many games, there is no time to practice; so mistakes aren't corrected, etc. Same situation with these training schools. They convince parents to spend an ungodly amount of cash to put their kids in these schools or sessions and what do you get?

Travel baseball was created because certain players didn't get to play or didn't make the all star game. Not every kid is an all-star, just like not everyone is a winner. Travel baseball ruined Little League and Babe Ruth (or whatever Illinois calls it, for ages 13+).

It is also a lot harder to play baseball year round in most parts of the country, not to mention it takes a minimum of 10 people to play the game (9 fielders and a hitter). Basketball can be played by yourself and indoors year round. Football, can be played with less people as well (7 on 7, 5 kids and one of which is "alltime QB"). I grew up playing whiffle ball from sun up to sun down.

I still play baseball and I'm currently 32, in a men's league on Sunday's. Baseball almost needs to be a organized event to what goes into it.

ilsox7
11-01-2011, 12:17 PM
Travel baseball was created because certain players didn't get to play or didn't make the all star game. Not every kid is an all-star, just like not everyone is a winner. Travel baseball ruined Little League and Babe Ruth (or whatever Illinois calls it, for ages 13+).

It is also a lot harder to play baseball year round in most parts of the country, not to mention it takes a minimum of 10 people to play the game (9 fielders and a hitter). Basketball can be played by yourself and indoors year round. Football, can be played with less people as well (7 on 7, 5 kids and one of which is "alltime QB"). I grew up playing whiffle ball from sun up to sun down.

I still play baseball and I'm currently 32, in a men's league on Sunday's. Baseball almost needs to be a organized event to what goes into it.

The bolded statement is the exact opposite of why travel baseball started. When travel teams started to take hold in the early 90's, they were mainly all-star teams from various areas. This expanded into all-star teams from wider geographic areas and eventually teams that essentially comprised the best players in the state. I haven't been around the travel teams and tournaments over the last 10 years, but those years in the 90's, the quality of play was much higher than anything in high school or Babe Ruth ball.

pythons007
11-01-2011, 12:19 PM
The bolded statement is the exact opposite of why travel baseball started. When travel teams started to take hold in the early 90's, they were mainly all-star teams from various areas. This expanded into all-star teams from wider geographic areas and eventually teams that essentially comprised the best players in the state. I haven't been around the travel teams and tournaments over the last 10 years, but those years in the 90's, the quality of play was much higher than anything in high school or Babe Ruth ball.

IMO, it's completely watered down.

ilsox7
11-01-2011, 12:27 PM
IMO, it's completely watered down.

That may be so these days, but 20 years ago, the teams that were put together were pretty impressive.

TheOldRoman
11-01-2011, 12:36 PM
The scout has a point, but then loses credibility when he claims baseball talent is declining because of soccer. You will see many, many more baseball games being played in this preverbial 400-mile radius than you would soccer games. Soccer is still inconsequential in the US in terms of top athletes choosing it over other sports.

Nellie_Fox
11-01-2011, 12:40 PM
it may be that the best athletes are going to the other big time sports. While it's true that kids don't spend the time out running around and playing sports outside that we baby boomers did, I think this is the main reason. I think pro baseball players today are better athletes than they were 50 years ago, but they were better baseball players then.

Yeah, I know: :geezer:

Nellie_Fox
11-01-2011, 12:42 PM
The scout has a point, but then loses credibility when he claims baseball talent is declining because of soccer. You will see many, many more baseball games being played in this preverbial 400-mile radius than you would soccer games. Soccer is still inconsequential in the US in terms of top athletes choosing it over other sports.Oh, I strongly disagree. We're talking about what kids do, not what top athletes choose to pursue seriously. You drive around any town now and you'll see a lot more kids playing organized soccer than any form of baseball.

soxfanatlanta
11-01-2011, 12:48 PM
Oh, I strongly disagree. We're talking about what kids do, not what top athletes choose to pursue seriously. You drive around any town now and you'll see a lot more kids playing organized soccer than any form of baseball.

I agree with you, but I could not find any statistics to back this claim.

Oblong
11-01-2011, 12:50 PM
I think there's many factors at play here.

Lack of kids. Lack of parents willing to take on the task of organizing and running both a league and a team. Too many other things going on to where kids/parents don't have the time to commit to the practices and games.

In our area there's city leagues but they pretty much stop at teh age of 12 or so. Beyond that it's the elite travel leagues. And that is expensive, as noted earlier.

ohiosoxfan
11-01-2011, 12:55 PM
One factor that hasn't been discussed (and I'm sure some will disagree) is that baseball requires the most number of skills to play the game. To be a quality baseball player, you have to hit (probably the most difficult skill in any sport), run, field, throw, etc. Many other sports are more individualized positionally, a lineman in football needs to block and run - never touches a ball, tall players in basketball don't necessarily need great dribbling skills and so on. Soccer is so easy to start playing that they begin organized leagues at about age 3 or 4. A lot of your better athletes get discouraged at not having early success in baseball because of the variety of skills required to stand out when they find it easier to have early success at some of the other sports.

Nellie_Fox
11-01-2011, 01:07 PM
I think there's many factors at play here.

Lack of kids. Lack of parents willing to take on the task of organizing and running both a league and a team. Too many other things going on to where kids/parents don't have the time to commit to the practices and games.

In our area there's city leagues but they pretty much stop at teh age of 12 or so. Beyond that it's the elite travel leagues. And that is expensive, as noted earlier.That's a big part of our point; in the 50's and 60's, we played pick-up ball in empty lots all over town. Parents weren't involved at all. Sure, a lot of kids played Little League, but you didn't need to be in Little League to find a game on a daily basis.

Of course, it was the baby boom era, and there were hundreds of us all over the place, but our parents didn't supervise us like parents do today. The highly-organized activities of kids today were unknown back then, and the idea of "play dates" (that term still grinds me) hadn't even been thought of.

Most families I knew only had one car, and dad had it at work. Mom kicked us out of the house in the morning and we were out running around looking for something to do all day. I kept my glove on the handlebars of my bike all the time, just in case a game (even just three or four guys to play "running bases" or "500") broke out.

ohiosoxfan
11-01-2011, 01:29 PM
That's a big part of our point; in the 50's and 60's, we played pick-up ball in empty lots all over town. Parents weren't involved at all. Sure, a lot of kids played Little League, but you didn't need to be in Little League to find a game on a daily basis.

Of course, it was the baby boom era, and there were hundreds of us all over the place, but our parents didn't supervise us like parents do today. The highly-organized activities of kids today were unknown back then, and the idea of "play dates" (that term still grinds me) hadn't even been thought of.

Most families I knew only had one car, and dad had it at work. Mom kicked us out of the house in the morning and we were out running around looking for something to do all day. I kept my glove on the handlebars of my bike all the time, just in case a game (even just three or four guys to play "running bases" or "500") broke out.

Man, I miss those days - I think our kids really MISSED OUT on those days. . .

ohiosoxfan
11-01-2011, 01:34 PM
Organized youth ball may have been one of the worst things to happen to baseball. . .
I remember when we were of Little League age, we used to go to friend's houses on our bikes to get enough players to play at the sandlots. At one house, the boy said "I can't play today, we've got a Little League game tonight, and coach wants us to rest up"

I grew up in a town with a lake- some coaches made rules that if you went swimming on the day of a Little League game, you couldn't play that night. WHAT THE HELL WERE THESE COACHES THINKING???????

MeteorsSox4367
11-01-2011, 01:43 PM
I think one of the reasons why is that kids do have other options, whether they be video games or phones or computers or whatever else. When I was growing up back in the 70s, I played ball every day in the summer because that was what my friends were doing.

Granted, I was a horsebleep player, but I loved playing the game and watching the game and everything I could find that was baseball-related.

As for travel baseball now, my two youngest nephews are playing and it amazes me as to the time and financial costs associated with it. This summer, I took my middle nephew to his tournament at Notre Dame. Between lodging and food and gas and a trip to the ND bookstore, my VISA was smoking when the weekend was over. My youngest nephew played a tournament this past summer in South Carolina.

When I was a kid, we were thrilled to play in a different park in our neighborhood. Having 13-year-old kids playing in a tournament 800 miles away is crazy. But that's the landscape of kids baseball these days.

Oblong
11-01-2011, 01:48 PM
That's a big part of our point; in the 50's and 60's, we played pick-up ball in empty lots all over town. Parents weren't involved at all. Sure, a lot of kids played Little League, but you didn't need to be in Little League to find a game on a daily basis.

Of course, it was the baby boom era, and there were hundreds of us all over the place, but our parents didn't supervise us like parents do today. The highly-organized activities of kids today were unknown back then, and the idea of "play dates" (that term still grinds me) hadn't even been thought of.

Most families I knew only had one car, and dad had it at work. Mom kicked us out of the house in the morning and we were out running around looking for something to do all day. I kept my glove on the handlebars of my bike all the time, just in case a game (even just three or four guys to play "running bases" or "500") broke out.

Yep, the two car thing is another big reason. Now if one parent is home they have a car. That means they can go run errands. That means kid goes with them. Or both parents work and the kid is at grandma's one day, aunt Julie another day, and in day care/camp another 3 days.

I live across from a park with 3 ball fields. During the summer they are empty all day until the organized city leagues at night. nice fields. With a home plate. When I was a kid a field with a plate was like heaven. Even a few of the kids in my neighborhood who do play baseball in those travel leagues don't play. They're too busy at swimming or football camp.

I don't think my 10 year old son has ever played catch outside of organized ball or with me.

SI1020
11-01-2011, 01:57 PM
Sounds a lot like AAU basketball, which has, not coincidentally, contributed to the decline in fundamentals among American players. I would disagree with that strenuously. One big reason (among several others) I no longer seriously follow the NBA is the decline in the level of play. At least in my view. I know fans of LeBron, DWade, Kobe etc will say I'm full of it.

SI1020
11-01-2011, 02:12 PM
That's a big part of our point; in the 50's and 60's, we played pick-up ball in empty lots all over town. Parents weren't involved at all. Sure, a lot of kids played Little League, but you didn't need to be in Little League to find a game on a daily basis.

Of course, it was the baby boom era, and there were hundreds of us all over the place, but our parents didn't supervise us like parents do today. The highly-organized activities of kids today were unknown back then, and the idea of "play dates" (that term still grinds me) hadn't even been thought of.

Most families I knew only had one car, and dad had it at work. Mom kicked us out of the house in the morning and we were out running around looking for something to do all day. I kept my glove on the handlebars of my bike all the time, just in case a game (even just three or four guys to play "running bases" or "500") broke out. You've got me all teary eyed. "What are you doing hanging around the house on a nice day like this? I've got lots of things to do and you'll be getting in the way. Take your brother with you. I don't want to see the two of you until supper time." Off we went.

asindc
11-01-2011, 02:23 PM
I would disagree with that strenuously. One big reason (among several others) I no longer seriously follow the NBA is the decline in the level of play. At least in my view. I know fans of LeBron, DWade, Kobe etc will say I'm full of it.

How is this a disagreement with my statement?

TheOldRoman
11-01-2011, 02:26 PM
Oh, I strongly disagree. We're talking about what kids do, not what top athletes choose to pursue seriously. You drive around any town now and you'll see a lot more kids playing organized soccer than any form of baseball.Maybe I have lived in strange areas, but I have not seen any of that. Soccer is huge for 5-6 year-olds, probably even bigger than T-ball. However, kids generall move on to baseball or other sports in a year or two. Everybody I knew played soccer when they were five, almost none played when they were 12. There have been only a handful of soccer teams per age group in each city I've lived in, while there were multiple baseball leagues. Aside from travel teams, there was a spring league, a late summer league and a fall league, the first two having 30 teams of 15 or so players each. And as kids got older, they didn't participate in baseball league as much, either. Still, you could drive around and see pick-up games of baseball, but almost never encounter people playing soccer outside of a league.

The soccer renaissance has supposedly been building for 35 years now, but I am not seeing it in non-first or second generation people in the US. I previously gave the example of my parents' neighbors, who are first generation from Macedonia. When the boys were 6 and 4, they were kicking a soccer ball around and wearing David Beckham t-shirts. Now that the kids are in their teens, they are playing baseball and weaing Gordon Beckham t-shirts because that is what all their friends do (they also follow football and basketball). The kids might have stuck with soccer if they lived in an ethnic neighborhood, but in living in a more heterogenic area, they are exposed to other sports which end up overtaking soccer. And this isn't a rip on soccer because I neither like or hate it, but I don't think more kids are playing it than baseball.

SI1020
11-01-2011, 02:31 PM
Sounds a lot like AAU basketball, which has, not coincidentally, contributed to the decline in fundamentals among American players. I guess I read the above wrong.

How is this a disagreement with my statement?

TDog
11-01-2011, 02:57 PM
While it's true that kids don't spend the time out running around and playing sports outside that we baby boomers did, I think this is the main reason. I think pro baseball players today are better athletes than they were 50 years ago, but they were better baseball players then.

Yeah, I know: :geezer:

I agree totally with this.

I would add that I see a few reasons kids aren't playing as much baseball. You need more space to play it, and you need more people to play it. When I was 12 or 13 in the summer, it seemed I would play baseball all day every day that I got the chance. There were people I only knew because they were at the ballfields playing while I was playing. I don't know how many of us were good enough to play competitively, but it was part of our culture.

Where I grew up, there were a few high-ranking junior tennis players who never played because they were prohibited from baseball. There was a championship AAU diver who was only allowed to dive. But there wasn't the specialization thrust on kids competing at the high school level as there is today. In the summer we played baseball. In the fall, we played football. In the dead of winter, we played hockey. Basketball was scattered throughout but usually restricted to simple shooting games. One November Saturday in the early '70s, I found myself in a no-pad, tackle pickup football game with many people I barely knew and a few I knew only by reputation. One had led the local high school Lake Suburban Conference in tackles. My team was quarterbacked by a high school senior who already was headed to Dartmouth on a football scholarship. I can't imagine such an afternoon being allowed today.

One reason that baseball falls out of the mix is that it is more difficult than other sports, given a level of athleticism. It's really unfortunate. If baseball is dying, America will be a lesser nation.

jdm2662
11-01-2011, 03:03 PM
Maybe I have lived in strange areas, but I have not seen any of that. Soccer is huge for 5-6 year-olds, probably even bigger than T-ball. However, kids generall move on to baseball or other sports in a year or two. Everybody I knew played soccer when they were five, almost none played when they were 12. There have been only a handful of soccer teams per age group in each city I've lived in, while there were multiple baseball leagues. Aside from travel teams, there was a spring league, a late summer league and a fall league, the first two having 30 teams of 15 or so players each. And as kids got older, they didn't participate in baseball league as much, either. Still, you could drive around and see pick-up games of baseball, but almost never encounter people playing soccer outside of a league.

The soccer renaissance has supposedly been building for 35 years now, but I am not seeing it in non-first or second generation people in the US. I previously gave the example of my parents' neighbors, who are first generation from Macedonia. When the boys were 6 and 4, they were kicking a soccer ball around and wearing David Beckham t-shirts. Now that the kids are in their teens, they are playing baseball and weaing Gordon Beckham t-shirts because that is what all their friends do (they also follow football and basketball). The kids might have stuck with soccer if they lived in an ethnic neighborhood, but in living in a more heterogenic area, they are exposed to other sports which end up overtaking soccer. And this isn't a rip on soccer because I neither like or hate it, but I don't think more kids are playing it than baseball.

The soccer leagues you are reffering to is the same reason why the local baseball leagues aren't as large these days. Traveling soccer is a big deal, and it can be debated if it's bigger than traveling baseball. I was involved in soccer for 23 years. While your typical AYSO league may be what you are referring to, that is because the best players don't play in them anymore. There are multiple touranments in the area each weekend, and that doesn't even include your regular league games. It is also not unusual to have a town field multiple teams in the same age group as there are different level of leagues.

I played in Elmhurst's first AYSO season in 1984. Three years later, my father co-founded the Hillside-Berkeley league. When I started reffing ten or so years ago, I was amazed how the game has gotten better even in the AYSO leagues. When I did travelling, it was even more amazing. And, I also reffed in two different Catholic school school leagues, a public school league, and high schools. There are also plenty of indoor leagues, etc. To say it hasn't grown as a particpation sport in the last 35 years is very inaccuarte.

Professionally, it will never be bigger than the big four leagues. It had a small chance to over take hockey during the lockout, but that is not happening. The MLS is doing ok for itself, but it's going to be second tier to the big four leagues.

Fenway
11-01-2011, 03:17 PM
The scout has a point, but then loses credibility when he claims baseball talent is declining because of soccer. You will see many, many more baseball games being played in this preverbial 400-mile radius than you would soccer games. Soccer is still inconsequential in the US in terms of top athletes choosing it over other sports.

Then why is the term soccer mom instead of baseball mom?

gobears1987
11-01-2011, 03:35 PM
I don't think little league killed youth baseball. I was involved in little league and still played with my friends. Of course things change in July when each town's little league splits into its All-Star team and the travel season begins. That's where the expensive tournaments come in.

gobears1987
11-01-2011, 03:36 PM
Then why is the term soccer mom instead of baseball mom?

The term is soccer mom, but I didn't know a single person who played organized soccer after they turned 8. Kids play soccer when they are 4-8 because it's one of the few sports they can play at that point in their motor development. Once kids get older, it's pee-wee football, little league baseball, Boys and Girls Club basketball, or pee-wee hockey. I was involved in all four. Even on the playground during recess in elementary school, the soccer field became our football field. Two-hand touch when the teachers were watching, tackle when they weren't. No one played soccer on that field.

TheOldRoman
11-01-2011, 03:51 PM
Then why is the term soccer mom instead of baseball mom?Well, soccer moms would be refering to the women who took their kids to organized soccer games. It is debatable (though flimsy at best) to argue there are more organized soccer teams in the US than organized baseball teams. However, soccer moms have nothing to do with the pick-up games of soccer this scout supposedly sees being played everywhere.

kittle42
11-01-2011, 04:08 PM
If baseball is dying, America will be a lesser nation.

I love baseball, too, but this is quite the bit of hyperbole.

PatK
11-01-2011, 04:08 PM
The reason why it's not as good is because the best athletes don't play baseball anymore.

And travel ball watering down baseball? I know a lot of kids that are now playing baseball in college, and every single one of them played travel ball.

Most sports are year round now. Hell, hockey wasn't popular at all when I was a teenager in the 80s, yet I played year round.

You don't see nearly as many 3 sport athletes in high schools as you used to because at least one of those sports, in order to compete at the highest level, requires one to be playing it or training year round or close to it. Baseball is often the odd man out.

jdm2662
11-01-2011, 04:18 PM
The reason why it's not as good is because the best athletes don't play baseball anymore.

And travel ball watering down baseball? I know a lot of kids that are now playing baseball in college, and every single one of them played travel ball.

Most sports are year round now. Hell, hockey wasn't popular at all when I was a teenager in the 80s, yet I played year round.

You don't see nearly as many 3 sport athletes in high schools as you used to because at least one of those sports, in order to compete at the highest level, requires one to be playing it or training year round or close to it. Baseball is often the odd man out.

And there is your real answer. There is no such thing as an off season if you want to play at a high level. You have to play year round. That doesn't interest a lot of kids. This didn't interest me. I liked doing other things, too.

gobears1987
11-01-2011, 04:20 PM
It's true about the year round aspect of sports. My youngest brother plays football, baseball, and basketball, but the one that dominates his schedule is baseball. It's fall and his travel team for next season just had their try-outs and now he is going to winter baseball clinics. He is 11 years old and chose to do this. He is even dropping pop warner football next year because he loves pitching so much.

SI1020
11-01-2011, 04:41 PM
It's true about the year round aspect of sports. My youngest brother plays football, baseball, and basketball, but the one that dominates his schedule is baseball. It's fall and his travel team for next season just had their try-outs and now he is going to winter baseball clinics. He is 11 years old and chose to do this. He is even dropping pop warner football next year because he loves pitching so much. Good luck to him. The Sox could use him in 10 years or so.

Fenway
11-01-2011, 04:59 PM
In Cambridge all the 'baseball - softball' fields have soccer nets in the outfield now.

As crazy as this sounds where does a kid buy a BAT and GLOVE these days?

A few of the stores still carry them but when I was a kid the prime place to go was Sears which in those days was in the city and not in a mall. There were also numerous mom and pop sporting good stores that also sold hockey gear. They just don't exist anymore.

Even softball is slowly dying.

When I was a kid there was a pickup stickball game EVERY night on my street. We used tennis balls and broomsticks but we played. That era is long gone.

asindc
11-01-2011, 05:19 PM
In Cambridge all the 'baseball - softball' fields have soccer nets in the outfield now.

As crazy as this sounds where does a kid buy a BAT and GLOVE these days?

A few of the stores still carry them but when I was a kid the prime place to go was Sears which in those days was in the city and not in a mall. There were also numerous mom and pop sporting good stores that also sold hockey gear. They just don't exist anymore.

Even softball is slowly dying.

When I was a kid there was a pickup stickball game EVERY night on my street. We used tennis balls and broomsticks but we played. That era is long gone.

We played with whiffle bats and tennis balls when we were not playing in a Little League game.

SI1020
11-01-2011, 05:50 PM
We played baseball and a variation of it called lineball which you could play two on a side. Fast pitch was popular in the school yards which you could play with a bat and a 25 cent baseball sized rubber ball, and just one or two on a side. If there were three of us then we could play running bases. 16" softball was also very popular among us kids and on weekends there were games played for money all over the city in parks and school yards among adult men. Do they even play 16" softball in Chicago anymore? Touch football and tackle in the snow were also popular. Even as late as age 19 I was playing touch football every Sunday with a bunch of guys at Pottawattomie Park no matter how cold it got. Of course horse and real games of basketball. Dodgeball, the killer game banned at many schools was popular at recess and after school. We liked to play it with a brand new 16" clincher softball. Hard as cement and if you got hit in the chest you might feel like your sternum was cracked. I forgot about pinners another Chicago centric school yard game. Does anyone still play that game?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinners

All that and much more without soccer moms and meddling dads. One dad used to organize softball games in our local playground and pitch for both teams. He had one son on one team and the other on another. We never doubted his impartiality as he pitched for both teams. All the other times we kept our own score, called our own outs, balls and strikes, settled our own arguments and managed to finish most all games without a fight. Unstructured play and sports was an important part of our lives.

MeteorsSox4367
11-01-2011, 05:51 PM
We played with whiffle bats and tennis balls when we were not playing in a Little League game.

Yep. We had the regular yellow wiffle bats, the Fat Albert bats, wiffle balls, tennis balls. Whatever we could find, we used.

We also played softball every night in the parking lot at the end of our block. Granted, a brand-new Clincher was hard as hell when we had the money to buy one, but we played. Two kids were captains and we picked our teams.

Another thing I wonder about when watching my nephews play travel ball is if some of the kids are actually having fun while playing. It just looks like some of the kids would rather be doing anything else but playing baseball.

Daver
11-01-2011, 08:58 PM
Youth baseball was in a decline 25 years ago, in the last ten years it has accelerated rapidly, for a variety of reasons, the biggest one being that baseball is not a scholarship sport. Parents will steer their kids into football and basketball in hopes of getting some relief from the cost of a college education, because a baseball scholarship is hard to come by, even in division 3 schools.

LITTLE NELL
11-01-2011, 09:14 PM
We played baseball and a variation of it called lineball which you could play two on a side. Fast pitch was popular in the school yards which you could play with a bat and a 25 cent baseball sized rubber ball, and just one or two on a side. If there were three of us then we could play running bases. 16" softball was also very popular among us kids and on weekends there were games played for money all over the city in parks and school yards among adult men. Do they even play 16" softball in Chicago anymore? Touch football and tackle in the snow were also popular. Even as late as age 19 I was playing touch football every Sunday with a bunch of guys at Pottawattomie Park no matter how cold it got. Of course horse and real games of basketball. Dodgeball, the killer game banned at many schools was popular at recess and after school. We liked to play it with a brand new 16" clincher softball. Hard as cement and if you got hit in the chest you might feel like your sternum was cracked. I forgot about pinners another Chicago centric school yard game. Does anyone still play that game?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinners

All that and much more without soccer moms and meddling dads. One dad used to organize softball games in our local playground and pitch for both teams. He had one son on one team and the other on another. We never doubted his impartiality as he pitched for both teams. All the other times we kept our own score, called our own outs, balls and strikes, settled our own arguments and managed to finish most all games without a fight. Unstructured play and sports was an important part of our lives.

You played the same games as we did in my neighborhood.
I could hit the building across the street when we played pinners, if you hit that stoop with that pinkie ball right square on the bevel, that thing would fly. Lineball was also great for it was made for the alleys of Chicago. Those were usually afternoon games, right after dinner all the kids came out of the woodwork and met at our local Damen ave sandlot and we played 16 inch softball until it was almost dark. Those were great summer nights as a lot of the parents also came out to watch and we actually put on an all-star game in the late summer right before the start of the school year.

Brian26
11-01-2011, 09:23 PM
For any of you who have youngsters who play baseball, I'm sure you have been innundated with the idea that for your son to even play high school ball, they need to play travel baseball, which can be incredibly expensive and time-consuming for the kids AND their families. They play an amazing amount of games during a summer and somehow as pointed out by this story, the fundamentals are still awful. Unfortunately, it seems as though they play so many games, there is no time to practice; so mistakes aren't corrected, etc. Same situation with these training schools. They convince parents to spend an ungodly amount of cash to put their kids in these schools or sessions and what do you get?

Seen this first hand this summer watching some games around here and also in the south burbs. I've got a few theories on it. The first problem is this idea, from a young age, that kids have to be rotated around the field every inning to play a different position, thus not allowing them to be good at anything defensively. Anyone who has ever played the game knows that mastering any position takes practice, and certainly the difference between playing third base and rightfield should be apparent. The second issue, going along with the first, is the absolute emphasis on hitting and little-to-no emphasis on fielding. Teams will go rent batting cages for hours on end, but I don't see coaches spend an entire practice of two hours hitting flyballs and groundballs to kids like our Little League coach did. I saw a game this summer, where, I swear to God, there wasn't a 10 year old kid on the field who could catch a ball and throw it to first base cleanly. The score ended up being 15-10, and 20 of the cumulative runs were probably unearned. Third, most importantly, the coaches now, who grew up in the 80s, have no concept on how to teach the fundamentals of the game. I know my coaches knew what they were doing in the mid 80s, and I've retained a lot of that. Perhaps I was a fortunate exception.

Brian26
11-01-2011, 09:26 PM
Travel baseball was created because certain players didn't get to play or didn't make the all star game. Not every kid is an all-star, just like not everyone is a winner. Travel baseball ruined Little League and Babe Ruth (or whatever Illinois calls it, for ages 13+).

The bolded statement is the exact opposite of why travel baseball started. When travel teams started to take hold in the early 90's, they were mainly all-star teams from various areas. This expanded into all-star teams from wider geographic areas and eventually teams that essentially comprised the best players in the state. I haven't been around the travel teams and tournaments over the last 10 years, but those years in the 90's, the quality of play was much higher than anything in high school or Babe Ruth ball.

You're both correct. Unfortunately the definition of "travel team" has evolved, as now there are private leagues that have formed for kids to play after the regular Little League season ends, but they are by no means "all-star" teams anymore. It's more of a pay-to-play, private club to play deeper into the summer.

Brian26
11-01-2011, 09:31 PM
In Cambridge all the 'baseball - softball' fields have soccer nets in the outfield now.

As crazy as this sounds where does a kid buy a BAT and GLOVE these days?

A few of the stores still carry them but when I was a kid the prime place to go was Sears which in those days was in the city and not in a mall. There were also numerous mom and pop sporting good stores that also sold hockey gear. They just don't exist anymore.

There's a great hockey store near me...pass it every morning.

http://www.gunzos.com/

Dick's Sporting Goods and Sports Authority have filled in the gaps where Sears used to be. Its more specialized now, which might be a good thing. I think my first glove was from Kmart.

Noneck
11-01-2011, 09:49 PM
That's a big part of our point; in the 50's and 60's, we played pick-up ball in empty lots all over town. Parents weren't involved at all. Sure, a lot of kids played Little League, but you didn't need to be in Little League to find a game on a daily basis.

Of course, it was the baby boom era, and there were hundreds of us all over the place, but our parents didn't supervise us like parents do today. The highly-organized activities of kids today were unknown back then, and the idea of "play dates" (that term still grinds me) hadn't even been thought of.

Most families I knew only had one car, and dad had it at work. Mom kicked us out of the house in the morning and we were out running around looking for something to do all day. I kept my glove on the handlebars of my bike all the time, just in case a game (even just three or four guys to play "running bases" or "500") broke out.

I was just like you as a kid. The reason we were able to do this was because Mom was home and was able to kick us out of the house and we were safe when we were out. Most of the kids our age had a Mom at home and if anything happened they were all networked. Now a days it is a totally different situation. A parent isnt around and the only safe means to protect a kid is to buy him video games and keep him home. This is Totally different world than our world.

vinny
11-01-2011, 10:42 PM
K-mart still stocks wiffle bats and balls, as well as pee-wee/t-ball bats and gloves. I made several trips there this summer.

WhiffleBall
11-02-2011, 09:53 AM
You can buy baseball equipment pretty much anywhere. Target, Walmart, Dicks, Sports Authority, KMart/Sears, and plenty of other places sell the equipment year round.

My son is 9 and has been playing spring baseball for five years and fall ball for three. Out of those 8 "seasons" he has had one really great coach who knew what he was doing and also knew how to share that knowledge with the kids. His skills took a big jump the season he had that coach. Every other season his coaches were mostly just regular dads (including me) who played as kids but don't have the skills and knowledge to elevate the kids game. He enjoys playing baseball a lot but can never get the kids in the neighborhood to even play a quick pickup game. Most kids would rather play video games or have battles with nerf guns (which granted are very cool nowadays).

The really great coach had the kids in the batting cages two to three times a week a month before the season began. He also had them in there once or twice a week during the season. The batting cages also had a pitching area so they could also work on those skills. He also had them show up an hour before each game to get in extra practice. He also was able to get more practice games in then usual. He went out of his way to find those batting cages and there was an added cost but it is totally worth it.

There are two levels of traveling teams for our area. One team consists of the best of the best and they travel all over the midwest. Those kids are really good. The next traveling team pretty much stays in the area. Those kids are usually slightly above average. In order to make either team a player has to be nominated by a coach.

SephClone89
11-02-2011, 12:17 PM
The term is soccer mom, but I didn't know a single person who played organized soccer after they turned 8.


:?: Really? In Chicagoland?

Kids play soccer when they are 4-8 because it's one of the few sports they can play at that point in their motor development. Once kids get older, it's pee-wee football, little league baseball, Boys and Girls Club basketball, or pee-wee hockey. I was involved in all four. Even on the playground during recess in elementary school, the soccer field became our football field. Two-hand touch when the teachers were watching, tackle when they weren't. No one played soccer on that field.

Well, then your area is very different than mine. I didn't know maybe two people who played hockey as kids, if that. Hockey was never on the radar in my youth. Soccer always was. And before you say I'm biased, I'm talking about my experiences before I ever even liked the sport.

Nellie_Fox
11-02-2011, 12:56 PM
:?: [/B]Well, then your area is very different than mine. I didn't know maybe two people who played hockey as kids, if that. Hockey was never on the radar in my youth. Soccer always was. And before you say I'm biased, I'm talking about my experiences before I ever even liked the sport.When I was a kid, we'd occasionally play a little "pond hockey" in the winter, and nobody played soccer, but that was a long time ago. When my kids were young, soccer was played FAR more than hockey (although I'll note that our starting goalie on the university hockey team here is from Wheaton).

Now, here in Mankato, I see every field around town set up for soccer, and kids of all ages playing. I've never seen kids playing baseball. While I'm sure there's little league going on somewhere, soccer is in virtually every park in town.

soxinem1
11-02-2011, 03:42 PM
Man, I miss those days - I think our kids really MISSED OUT on those days. . .

The kids don't miss what they never experienced.

Besides, they will tell you the turf on PS3 is way better than the lots and fields we played on in the 70's.

mrwag
11-02-2011, 05:06 PM
I think there are a lot of reasons. I grew up in the 80s and during summers, we were ALWAYS playing sandlot ball or we were in someones backyard playing catch, hotbox, etc. It dominated our lives it seems.

I think the advent of all the organized sports has killed kids creativity and they don't know how to organize themselves and play without an adult and a set of rules. I see this in my kids in many ways, not just sports. They are losing their creativity, which reflects in sports and many other aspects of life.

Another issue is safety - you just cant let your kids roam like we did years back. I live in the exact area where I grew up and it's still a very safe area, but there's no way I'd let my kids be gone 'til dark like we did. No way. Then there's the issue of the dual-income families. Both parents are at work all day now and the kids are in day-care or somewhere else during the summers and they aren't just hanging around the neighborhood parks looking for something to do.

I too coach little league in the summers and I share many others' feelings about the sheer lack of ability. Watching kids throw the ball around the field without a clue at age 12 is frustrating as hell. One problem we run into is that there are a lot of organized little league leagues, but not enough fields and times for practices. There ends up being too much learning on the fly, which unfortunately is during the games. You don't have time to hit 100 grounders to a kid to teach him the right way to field a ball.

I also see a lot of "daddy ball", where single moms put their kids in little league to give their son a father figure, but the kids could care less about playing and has no clue. It's becoming more and more watered down and the real talent is on a travel team. From my experiences with travel teams though, the kids for the most part are not having fun as it's such a grind and they get burned out, as do the parents. Not to mention the costs.

Plenty of blame to go around I think.

tebman
11-02-2011, 05:50 PM
Baseball is the ideal sport. The rules are learned easily and the skills can be picked up easily, at least on the playground level. There are fewer kids playing sandlot ball, and I agree its mostly because of increased competition for kids' time.

I was a kid in the early '60s and played Little League for three years and sandlot ball in my neighborhood. I was lousy on the Little League teams and better in the sandlot games. The reasons for that would make an interesting discussion, but the point here is that I was playing baseball all the time. Soccer was unheard of; it wasn't that we disliked it, we just didn't know anything about it. Video games didn't exist and the tempo of life was slower. Not necessarily better, but slower, and that gave us more time to play ball.

MLB has some programs like RBI that try to encourage baseball among kids in the cities who don't have access to fields or basic instruction. That's all good, but it's a drop in the bucket. MLB needs to market more than overpriced hats and hoodies. It needs to do something more dramatic to get kids acquainted with the sheer joy of the game. Individual teams do local outreach or have paid summer clinics like the White Sox Training Academy, but those are more formalized programs that don't get kids to play catch in the yard.

It's got to be a long-term effort to spread the faith. It would be a combination of things: free or nearly-free balls, bats, and gloves to park districts, schools, churches, scout troops, or anywhere where kids are hanging around; support of movies and TV shows that include significant scenes of kids just playing neighborhood ball (product placement is done all the time, and there's no reason baseball can't do it); more aggressive offers of free blocks of tickets to kids' groups.

Those are a few ideas off the top of my head and I'm certainly no marketing guy, but I know MLB is shooting itself in the foot by letting the carnival of other activities pull kids away from baseball. The scout is right that there are fewer kids playing ball and that's not good for the sport or for the kids.

gobears1987
11-02-2011, 06:21 PM
:?: [/B]Really? In Chicagoland?



Well, then your area is very different than mine. I didn't know maybe two people who played hockey as kids, if that. Hockey was never on the radar in my youth. Soccer always was. And before you say I'm biased, I'm talking about my experiences before I ever even liked the sport.

I spent most of my childhood in Ann Arbor. Soccer did not have a presence there, but hockey sure did. Baseball was probably the sport with the highest participation of all the park district sports though.

In terms of the sport we played at recess though, football was king. The few times when the grass was turned to mud and we had to stay on the concrete, the basketball court became a shortened touch football field.

DSpivack
11-02-2011, 07:33 PM
When I was a kid, we'd occasionally play a little "pond hockey" in the winter, and nobody played soccer, but that was a long time ago. When my kids were young, soccer was played FAR more than hockey (although I'll note that our starting goalie on the university hockey team here is from Wheaton).

Now, here in Mankato, I see every field around town set up for soccer, and kids of all ages playing. I've never seen kids playing baseball. While I'm sure there's little league going on somewhere, soccer is in virtually every park in town.

:?: [/B]Really? In Chicagoland?
Well, then your area is very different than mine. I didn't know maybe two people who played hockey as kids, if that. Hockey was never on the radar in my youth. Soccer always was. And before you say I'm biased, I'm talking about my experiences before I ever even liked the sport.

You're both correct. Unfortunately the definition of "travel team" has evolved, as now there are private leagues that have formed for kids to play after the regular Little League season ends, but they are by no means "all-star" teams anymore. It's more of a pay-to-play, private club to play deeper into the summer.

I played both soccer and baseball up until middle school, but I was so unathletic (and still am) that playing competitive sports just wasn't fun anymore.

That said, funny that Brian26 mentions that is a problem with traveling baseball teams, that problem is just as bad or worse amongst traveling soccer teams for kids. That model really exists nowhere else in the world, at least in soccer; teams pay to develop young talent, not the other way around. I think that's really hurting the development of the sport on a professional and national level, in terms of developing the best of talent, instead of just getting kids to play a sport and be taught "sportsmanship", or at least what that has come to mean today--get every kid on the field.

Vernam
11-02-2011, 10:24 PM
I'm of two minds. The kids who are totally committed -- okay, or maybe whose parents ought to be committed -- have access to high-quality coaching that we never could've dreamed of back in the day. This will sound egotistical, but thanks to my older brother, I knew way more about the game than all but two of my high school coaches, most of whom were primarily there because of football. Whether the kids today fully absorb the coaching that's available to them, I'm not in a great position to say, except to note the absence of fundamentals in MLB, which can't reflect well on other levels of organized ball. But with travel teams and tutoring like the Bulls-Sox Academy, many of these elite (or just rich) kids have no excuses with regard to coaching.

But on the other hand, I have to say we taught ourselves so much just by playing 3-on-3, right-field-out sandlot ball for hours on end. I would haunt any kid in the neighborhood to hit flies to me or shag balls that I'd hit. I literally would have done that every waking moment if I could've found people who would do likewise. The lack of modern distractions was definitely a factor. (This was also before girls become a factor for yours truly, too.)

When Little League first emerged, Ted Williams predicted it would ruin the game. I can't find the quote via Google -- though, ironically, there are a bunch of Little League orgs named after him -- but he basically said it was all for the parents, so they could see their kids in uniform. He was one of the first to point out that the kids are lucky if they face about five strikes per game, compared to unlimited sandlot swings. He had a point. Now the sandlots don't exist, though it's more the fault of technology than Little League.

They used to have something called Connie Mack ball, which was a precursor to travel ball. I'd have given anything to play 50 or more games per season. Sounds like heaven.

I can't bear to see a kid above, say, 10 years old forget to tag up at third on a ball hit in the air with less than two outs. To see a major leaguer forget to do it drives me ****ing nuts. Same with throwing to the wrong base, etc. I think the majors are full of guys who are superior athletes in one or more aspects of the game -- you don't get there without being insanely great from a raw skill standpoint -- but whose baseball IQ wouldn't have gotten them anywhere near the big leagues even about 30 years ago.

Vernam

Noneck
11-02-2011, 10:58 PM
I'm of two minds. The kids who are totally committed -- okay, or maybe whose parents ought to be committed -- have access to high-quality coaching that we never could've dreamed of back in the day. This will sound egotistical, but thanks to my older brother, I knew way more about the game than all but two of my high school coaches, most of whom were primarily there because of football. Whether the kids today fully absorb the coaching that's available to them, I'm not in a great position to say, except to note the absence of fundamentals in MLB, which can't reflect well on other levels of organized ball. But with travel teams and tutoring like the Bulls-Sox Academy, many of these elite (or just rich) kids have no excuses with regard to coaching.

But on the other hand, I have to say we taught ourselves so much just by playing 3-on-3, right-field-out sandlot ball for hours on end. I would haunt any kid in the neighborhood to hit flies to me or shag balls that I'd hit. I literally would have done that every waking moment if I could've found people who would do likewise. The lack of modern distractions was definitely a factor. (This was also before girls become a factor for yours truly, too.)

When Little League first emerged, Ted Williams predicted it would ruin the game. I can't find the quote via Google -- though, ironically, there are a bunch of Little League orgs named after him -- but he basically said it was all for the parents, so they could see their kids in uniform. He was one of the first to point out that the kids are lucky if they face about five strikes per game, compared to unlimited sandlot swings. He had a point. Now the sandlots don't exist, though it's more the fault of technology than Little League.

They used to have something called Connie Mack ball, which was a precursor to travel ball. I'd have given anything to play 50 or more games per season. Sounds like heaven.

I can't bear to see a kid above, say, 10 years old forget to tag up at third on a ball hit in the air with less than two outs. To see a major leaguer forget to do it drives me ****ing nuts. Same with throwing to the wrong base, etc. I think the majors are full of guys who are superior athletes in one or more aspects of the game -- you don't get there without being insanely great from a raw skill standpoint -- but whose baseball IQ wouldn't have gotten them anywhere near the big leagues even about 30 years ago.

Vernam


I agree with what you said but am not sure what you mean by what I highlighted. Do you mean that due to technology so many jobs have been lost either to automation or to workers globally that work for a much lower wage and as a result families are fractured to the point where parents do not have the time, money or able to give direction to kids to live like the days of yore?

You mentioned Connie Mack, does American Legion ball still exist?

doublem23
11-03-2011, 12:12 AM
I agree with what you said but am not sure what you mean by what I highlighted. Do you mean that due to technology so many jobs have been lost either to automation or to workers globally that work for a much lower wage and as a result families are fractured to the point where parents do not have the time, money or able to give direction to kids to live like the days of yore?

You mentioned Connie Mack, does American Legion ball still exist?

Yes (http://www.legion.org/baseball)

Vernam
11-03-2011, 12:24 AM
I agree with what you said but am not sure what you mean by what I highlighted. Do you mean that due to technology so many jobs have been lost either to automation or to workers globally that work for a much lower wage and as a result families are fractured to the point where parents do not have the time, money or able to give direction to kids to live like the days of yore?

I meant that, if Little League had never existed, the allure of technology (e.g., video games) would have been plenty to kill sandlot ball. As others in the thread pointed out eloquently, kids today have too many other options to be very enthralled with chasing a ball around a dusty patch of ground.

Another way to put it is that people's attention spans are shot. Used to be they'd zone out in front of a TV for a few hours at night after school or work. Now everybody carries an interactive TV in their pocket, and they only half-listen when someone's talking to them. When they're "watching" an actual TV at home, they're simultaneously surfing the web, reading email, posting on forums, etc. Wait, I lost my train of thought . . . :wink:

Vernam

Noneck
11-03-2011, 12:41 AM
I meant that, if Little League had never existed, the allure of technology (e.g., video games) would have been plenty to kill sandlot ball. As others in the thread pointed out eloquently, kids today have too many other options to be very enthralled with chasing a ball around a dusty patch of ground.



Vernam

It is a lot deeper than that, as I stated in my post. We had little league as kids but that was always of a secondary means of playing and learning the game. It my day the "big" games were not the little league games it was with the kids that hung around one park vs. the kids that hung around another park. (no uniforms, no coaches, an older kid as umpire) Little league and your view on technology ruined nothing. In order for this to be further discussed it would have go where this board doesn't allow me to go so I have to stop here.

Nellie_Fox
11-03-2011, 12:53 AM
I meant that, if Little League had never existed, the allure of technology (e.g., video games) would have been plenty to kill sandlot ball. As others in the thread pointed out eloquently, kids today have too many other options to be very enthralled with chasing a ball around a dusty patch of ground.You make it sound like you think that's an improvement!

AZChiSoxFan
11-03-2011, 01:54 PM
The reason why it's not as good is because the best athletes don't play baseball anymore.

And travel ball watering down baseball? I know a lot of kids that are now playing baseball in college, and every single one of them played travel ball.

Most sports are year round now. Hell, hockey wasn't popular at all when I was a teenager in the 80s, yet I played year round.

You don't see nearly as many 3 sport athletes in high schools as you used to because at least one of those sports, in order to compete at the highest level, requires one to be playing it or training year round or close to it. Baseball is often the odd man out.

I think this is a realy key to the whole thing. When Luis Gonzalez played for the D-backs, I heard him on a radio interview talking about this issue. He said that when he was growing up, he played football in the fall, hoops in the winter, and baseball in the spring, because that's what all the best athletes did. He said that looking back, that helped him develop a wide range of athletic skills. He said that kids who only play one sport year round, will often end up totally burned out on the sport by the time they turn 18. I thought that was some good food for thought.

PatK
11-04-2011, 01:30 PM
I think this is a realy key to the whole thing. When Luis Gonzalez played for the D-backs, I heard him on a radio interview talking about this issue. He said that when he was growing up, he played football in the fall, hoops in the winter, and baseball in the spring, because that's what all the best athletes did. He said that looking back, that helped him develop a wide range of athletic skills. He said that kids who only play one sport year round, will often end up totally burned out on the sport by the time they turn 18. I thought that was some good food for thought.

Good point, and I think he's right.

In my earlier post, I mentioned how pretty much all of the kids I know that are playing baseball in college played travel ball.

However, there were a couple that were damn good players that ended up quitting playing in high school because of burnout.

Something I also think that makes kids stop playing is when they make that transition from Little League to Babe Ruth and the bigger field. IMO, that's where the men get separated from the boys and things take a drastic change.

Kids that went from being All-Stars suddenly looking like average players, and guys that were benchwarmers in Little League became the better players. Almost like an overnight change. A lot of kids become frustrated and just give up.

For example, the Little League team from my town (Highland, IN) had their All-Star team win the state and lost in the Regional Championship game. One game away from the Little League World Series.

Fast forward 3 years, and most of the players on that team were no longer playing baseball.

Paulwny
11-04-2011, 02:35 PM
I'll try to make it short.
I played most of the ball games mentioned in previous posts in the 50's. My life and my friends lives centered around some type of ball game. Those activities at the time were fun, but as I look back, those games would be considered boring by today's youth.

I actually, at times, envy today's youth for the variety of activities, toys and electronic games that are available.

I found pick-up ball games to be much more enjoyable than organized ball. Adults spoil sports for kids. Playing organized baseball, for some of the younger folks, can be very boring, lack of activity. I've attended my grandkids tball/little league games, I've seen kids laying in the outfield, have their gloves on their heads and chasing birds.
Because of the rule, "everyone must play" ( a good rule), kids sit out 1 or 2 innings with no activity, very boring.

In other sports kids are moving around, especially soccer, on-going action.
Thats why I think so many kids like playing the game.

I believe most kids today would be extremely bored with the activities I enjoyed back in the day. As I look back on those days other than some type of ball game there wasn't much else to do.

Zisk77
11-04-2011, 03:35 PM
Don't know if this was mentioned (and I'm too lazy to read this whole thread), but one reason that contributes to the decline of baseball in America is how we are raising our children. The single hardest thing to do in sports may be to hit a round ball with a round bat, squarely. So most kids strikeout often when they begin play and they can't blame there ineptitude on anybody else so they quit. They don't know how to handle failure and baseball is a game based on failure.

Many schools outlawed dodgeball because it exposed the non-athletes. Everybody has to be a winner nowadays. We have 8 fricken classes for hs football so we can more champions. Are kids are getting so soft and baseball is hard. Yes I'm old and I'm getting off my soapbox now...bleeping soccer.:angry:

SI1020
11-04-2011, 03:57 PM
Don't know if this was mentioned (and I'm too lazy to read this whole thread), but one reason that contributes to the decline of baseball in America is how we are raising our children. The single hardest thing to do in sports may be to hit a round ball with a round bat, squarely. So most kids strikeout often when they begin play and they can't blame there ineptitude on anybody else so they quit. They don't know how to handle failure and baseball is a game based on failure.

Many schools outlawed dodgeball because it exposed the non-athletes. Everybody has to be a winner nowadays. We have 8 fricken classes for hs football so we can more champions. Are kids are getting so soft and baseball is hard. Yes I'm old and I'm getting off my soapbox now...bleeping soccer.:angry: I rarely had so much fun as a kid as I did when we played dodgeball. The way we played was fast and merciless.

Paulwny
11-04-2011, 04:13 PM
Many schools outlawed dodgeball because it exposed the non-athletes. Everybody has to be a winner nowadays. We have 8 fricken classes for hs football so we can more champions. Are kids are getting so soft and baseball is hard. Yes I'm old and I'm getting off my soapbox now...bleeping soccer.:angry:


What good was accomplished with dodge ball for the chubby kid? We all knew he'd be the first one eliminated and that is what he wanted. So he went and sat on the side lines watching everyone play and that was his gym class.
Let's not forget, with all the running around we did, everyone of us knew a chubby kid who wasn't athletic.
Everyone has to be a winner today, blame that on the parents who we raised to be parents.

jdm2662
11-04-2011, 04:22 PM
Don't know if this was mentioned (and I'm too lazy to read this whole thread), but one reason that contributes to the decline of baseball in America is how we are raising our children. The single hardest thing to do in sports may be to hit a round ball with a round bat, squarely. So most kids strikeout often when they begin play and they can't blame there ineptitude on anybody else so they quit. They don't know how to handle failure and baseball is a game based on failure.

Many schools outlawed dodgeball because it exposed the non-athletes. Everybody has to be a winner nowadays. We have 8 fricken classes for hs football so we can more champions. Are kids are getting so soft and baseball is hard. Yes I'm old and I'm getting off my soapbox now...bleeping soccer.:angry:

Is this post serious? Kids not being good at something and quitting is nothing new. It went on before I was born, when I was a kid (mid-80s to early 90s), afterwards, and it will continue to be that way in the future. You know, as someone like myself who wasn't good at sports, being yelled at by other kids eventually gets old. Some kids can play sports. Others can't. That has always been the case, and it's never going to change.

This baseball talk is nothing new. I heard this talk 25 years ago from my father, uncles, and grandfather. It seems to be norm an older generation always talking down the newer one, how my generation was better, etc.

Paulwny
11-04-2011, 05:30 PM
Is this post serious? Kids not being good at something and quitting is nothing new. It went on before I was born, when I was a kid (mid-80s to early 90s), afterwards, and it will continue to be that way in the future. You know, as someone like myself who wasn't good at sports, being yelled at by other kids eventually gets old. Some kids can play sports. Others can't. That has always been the case, and it's never going to change.

This baseball talk is nothing new. I heard this talk 25 years ago from my father, uncles, and grandfather. It seems to be norm an older generation always talking down the newer one, how my generation was better, etc.

You're right, every generation thinks theirs was the best. My only belief was that all the great rock and roll was in the mid to late 50's, very early 60's, anything prior to the Beatles. I'm just a very old fart.

SI1020
11-04-2011, 05:48 PM
You're right, every generation thinks theirs was the best. My only belief was that all the great rock and roll was in the mid to late 50's, very early 60's, anything prior to the Beatles. I'm just a very old fart. The pre rock n roll r&b from the mid 40's to mid 50's is even better.

Paulwny
11-04-2011, 06:41 PM
The pre rock n roll r&b from the mid 40's to mid 50's is even better.

I wasn't listening to music prior to the mid 50's, just a few yrs before my teenage yrs. You may be correct, but not in my eyes. :wink:

DSpivack
11-04-2011, 06:59 PM
I rarely had so much fun as a kid as I did when we played dodgeball. The way we played was fast and merciless.

My favorite form of dodgeball was when we played it on 'free days' when we had our pool unit in gym. We would played it in the warmup/little pool, and you could duck under the water to avoid getting hit. My favorite memory was getting down to just me one day and my team ended up winning, despite that handicap, as I threw the ball down to the opposite end to get other players back in the game.

Vernam
11-04-2011, 07:51 PM
You make it sound like you think that's an improvement!

I think I meant that chasing a dusty ball was easily more appealing than watching Gilligan's Island reruns or whatever other limited entertainment options we had. Of course, I found plenty of time to watch crappy TV, too!

Now that's an area where I'd say there's been undeniable progress. Yes, we have crappy reality TV shows, Jay Leno, and fake news, but we also have all those great HBO shows, among others. I mainly say this in a futile attempt not to come across as an old "things were much better in my day" guy.

Vernam

goon
11-04-2011, 11:07 PM
I think the expanding knowledge and information about concussions are really going to have a negative impact on contact sports.

It's all but likely youth football and hockey are going to see a decline in participating kids the more parents learn about the severity of concussions and hits to the head. I think if more parents had an understanding of the seriousness of head injuries they would probably elect for their kids to play baseball, basketball, swimming, soccer, etc. over pee wee football.

SI1020
11-05-2011, 09:04 AM
I think the expanding knowledge and information about concussions are really going to have a negative impact on contact sports.

It's all but likely youth football and hockey are going to see a decline in participating kids the more parents learn about the severity of concussions and hits to the head. I think if more parents had an understanding of the seriousness of head injuries they would probably elect for their kids to play baseball, basketball, swimming, soccer, etc. over pee wee football. I think you make a good point, but I also think that football will be more negatively impacted than hockey. Youth and high school hockey has exploded in the NE and Midwestern states in my lifetime and I don't see that changing much at least in the near term. Concussions are definitely a problem in hockey, but not nearly as much as in football where there is hard contact on every play, on the line at least if nowhere else.

Zisk77
11-05-2011, 10:54 AM
Is this post serious? Kids not being good at something and quitting is nothing new. It went on before I was born, when I was a kid (mid-80s to early 90s), afterwards, and it will continue to be that way in the future. You know, as someone like myself who wasn't good at sports, being yelled at by other kids eventually gets old. Some kids can play sports. Others can't. That has always been the case, and it's never going to change.

This baseball talk is nothing new. I heard this talk 25 years ago from my father, uncles, and grandfather. It seems to be norm an older generation always talking down the newer one, how my generation was better, etc.


Yes this post is serious. I know kids have quit things through the ages. But there is less perserverance now. Our kids need instant gratification. It takes lots of practice to be good a baseball.

Compare Baseball to soccer for the beginner. Both require a lot of skill to be good. But in baseball your shortcomings are exposed to everyone. Its you who struck out, its you who dropped the ball, its you who can't throw a strike. In beginning soccer its a bunch of kids running around kicking a ball all over the place (mostly there shins). Its not apparent when someone messes up. Someone finally scores and everyones happy. No one goes back to the dugout balling because the k'd in front of Dad.

Oh and to answer a previous post on what the chubby kid learned from dodgeball:

1. The real world is not fair and outside of your parents and the school, no one really cares about you. I don't mean that in a flippant matter. Everytime I complained to Mom about unfair something was it was explained how the world really is. Unfortunately, many kids don't realize until they go away from college.

2. Everybody has there role and sports probably isn't yours. The Chubby kid probably feels the same way I did in sewing class...only class i ever failed...Sorry Mrs. Bina (come to think of it I really didn't try there either , like the chubby kid). Also people seem to think this is so cruel because the kid gets hit with the ball. But isn't it just as cruel for the chubby kid when they play basketball, floor hocket, soccer, flag footbal, softball, etc. Should they just stop P.E. and make more Chubby kids?

DSpivack
11-05-2011, 12:25 PM
I think you make a good point, but I also think that football will be more negatively impacted than hockey. Youth and high school hockey has exploded in the NE and Midwestern states in my lifetime and I don't see that changing much at least in the near term. Concussions are definitely a problem in hockey, but not nearly as much as in football where there is hard contact on every play, on the line at least if nowhere else.

I don't think hockey will ever be that huge of a youth sport, outside the places where you can play on frozen ponds it's a prohibitively expensive sport to play.

Paulwny
11-05-2011, 03:59 PM
2. Everybody has there role and sports probably isn't yours. The Chubby kid probably feels the same way I did in sewing class...only class i ever failed...Sorry Mrs. Bina (come to think of it I really didn't try there either , like the chubby kid). Also people seem to think this is so cruel because the kid gets hit with the ball. But isn't it just as cruel for the chubby kid when they play basketball, floor hocket, soccer, flag footbal, softball, etc. Should they just stop P.E. and make more Chubby kids?

I played baseball my entire time in high school, so baseball was a big part of my life. I might have played in college, but do to transportation problems I'll never know.

As to the chubby kid, you didn't get my point. What good was dodgeball in PE back in the day when the chubby kid was the 1st eliminated and sat on the side lines for the entire period? Great physical activity that was for him. I loved dodgeball as a kid, but when I look back on it, PE wasn't the place for it, the streets were.
If I remember correctly those kids participated in all the other PE activities. The childhood of our days were great for us, but over hyped as being the end all.

I'm sure if I had ever met my great- grandfather he'd have told me about the fun I missed rolling a barrel ring down the street with a stick.

As to the chubby kid I knew. The last I had heard of him, he was drafted into the army, fought in Nam where he earned himself a medal. Not bad for a kid who at times was helked by some because he wasn't good at dodgeball, but he apparently was good at dodging bullets.








+

Nellie_Fox
11-06-2011, 01:03 AM
Oh and to answer a previous post on what the chubby kid learned from dodgeball:

1. The real world is not fair and outside of your parents and the school, no one really cares about you. I don't mean that in a flippant matter. Everytime I complained to Mom about unfair something was it was explained how the world really is. Unfortunately, many kids don't realize until they go away from college.

2. Everybody has there role and sports probably isn't yours. The Chubby kid probably feels the same way I did in sewing class...only class i ever failed...Sorry Mrs. Bina (come to think of it I really didn't try there either , like the chubby kid). Also people seem to think this is so cruel because the kid gets hit with the ball. But isn't it just as cruel for the chubby kid when they play basketball, floor hocket, soccer, flag footbal, softball, etc. Should they just stop P.E. and make more Chubby kids?A better explanation I've heard for banning dodgeball in grammar school is that the non-athletic, out of shape kid is the first one hit. Then he goes and sits on the sidelines watching, while the athletic kids run and play the whole gym period. Sort of defeats the purpose, doesn't it, to have the kid who needs exercise the most sitting on the side watching? Might as well give him a couch and a bowl of Cheetos.

Whitesox029
11-06-2011, 06:42 PM
What's is really eye-opening is the advent of travel baseball and the "elite" baseball training schools that are out there. For any of you who have youngsters who play baseball, I'm sure you have been innundated with the idea that for your son to even play high school ball, they need to play travel baseball, which can be incredibly expensive and time-consuming for the kids AND their families. They play an amazing amount of games during a summer and somehow as pointed out by this story, the fundamentals are still awful. Unfortunately, it seems as though they play so many games, there is no time to practice; so mistakes aren't corrected, etc. Same situation with these training schools. They convince parents to spend an ungodly amount of cash to put their kids in these schools or sessions and what do you get?
Ding Ding Ding!
This is the real reason. Nowadays, if your parents don't have the time or money to give you the opportunity to play for a travel team at a young age, you start to lose out. People used to play sports for fun. Now they do it for money (sometimes out of necessity). This is also why football and basketball are winning over athletes from low income families (and let's not kid ourselves--the percentage of low-income families that are black is disproportionate to the percent of the whole population that is black. That's an established fact.) Baseball doesn't offer as many college scholarships (which typically come with college educations). And even if you are good enough to get a baseball scholarship and manage to get signed, all but the best players have to toil in the minors as opposed to joining the big club (and making the big bucks) right out of school.