Thursday, January 14, 2010

Do kids play baseball anymore?

My question is not rhetorical. I'm curious.

In the dark ages, unless there was snow on the ground, we were playing baseball. At school, during recess and lunch, the 5th grade played the 6th, the 7th played the 8th.

Saturday afternoons were back at the school yard, playing pick up games. No parents, no coaches.

Does anyone do that any more?

I don't suspect so.

Makes you wonder about the near future of pro baseball, if kids don't play.

Toad

18 comments:

James said...

No you don't see many pick up games any more. I think the reason is two fold. The kids that are interested in playing can play organized ball year round.Even in the dead of winter there is in door ball.Parents are to blame there. They want their little star to do what everyone else is doing.I know, I was a high school coach for 15 years. The other part is back in the day we rode bikes everywhere and lived in neighborhoods that you could do things like have a pick-up game in . Try that today and you may end up on Nancy Grace!

Mom on the Run said...

As James said, never fear. Baseball (aka psychotic) parents will make sure it survives well into the future. It goes on here year round and if you actually have the nerve to want to play another sport, you are heavily penalized by the baseball coaches and the other parents (aka psychos). My kids have been involved in a lot of activities over the years and never have I known people as cutthroat, mean, and yes, psycho as baseball parents.

As for playing just for the love of playing? Maybe when they're really little, but by the time they hit 7 or 8 and are on travel teams, it's just another job.

Can you tell I'm at the end of my baseball journey? Judson is a senior and I'm happy to say despite interest from a bunch of little schools, he will say goodbye to playing baseball forever in just a few short months.

Amen.

Suburban Princess said...

They do...but it in their basements on their Wii systems. Shame eh?!

ADG said...

Kids don't recreate in general anymore. Playing ball or whatever. I can see Mr. Pate from the City Rec. Department as I type this-dumping an army duffel bag out on the pitcher's mound. The bag contained catcher's mitt-mask-1st baseman's glove-bases-pitchers mound rubber-bats and balls. All of the stuff was old and clay caked and we would place the bases and...Play Ball!

Kathy said...

I see a whole lot more pick up basketball in my neighborhood-- on my street and at the park. There just aren't the gangs of kids around here like there were back in the day. We all walked to school together and had hellacious games of hide and go seek and kick the can in the summers. Out the door before nine, dinner at six, and whatever we could think of to do in between.

David V said...

Kids don't have the open blocks of time to play any longer. They have schedules that would make a CEO blanch.

JMW said...

It's all so organized now - leagues, travel teams, etc. And, this is horrible to say, but considering how long the league seasons last, the back-to-back evening games, etc., I'm kind of hoping my son doesn't want to play it (selfish, I know).

The kids in our neighborhood throw footballs, play kickball, soccer, etc. but I've never seen a pick-up game of baseball.

tintarosa said...

We are more likely to see a pick up football game around here. It's a space issue. Kids in the neighborhood are all on organized baseball teams - including my own. The league we play through has strict rules on parents who get out of line. It's such a relief not to have to be subjected to the psycho mom or dad.

Brian said...

Thankfully for my windows my son has taken to playing soccer in the backyard with his friends on a daily basis. However he does play in the local little league each spring.

Patsy said...

My stepson and his friends did organized sports in school and unorganized bike riding & water sports (in the summer) and unorganized skiing (in the winter). They didn't ever seem to play pick-up team sports.

They would spend hours building jumps and obstacles for either riding their bikes off or skiing off. Actually, they still do!

Toad said...

When my kids were younger, their interest in baseball died pretty young. Rollerblade hockey was the new best thing. I haven't seen that in forever either.

While my boys, and Mrs. T's collected baseball cards, I doubt I could find a kid who knows the stats of anyone anymore.

Mrs. Blandings said...

Oh, they play. And have private coaches and all sorts of nonsense. But the pick up games? No, I don't see that. I do still see a lot of enthusiasts - even with our floundering hometown team - and yes, mine collect cards and know stats. One of the best teachers my boys ever had realized my oldest read the box scores every morning. He thought she loved baseball; he never realized she was teaching math.

Liz said...

Oh man, talk about a blog after my own heart! Thanks for the tip!

Scott said...

My boys play soccer nearly year round. Club (out of state travel), High School, and Rec indoor. They often kick the ball back and forth in the driveway. They spend hours watching English Premier League on dish network. My oldest, not seeing college soccer in his future gave up club soccer this year. Dad rejoiced.

They never really expressed any interest in baseball, and frankly, I've lost interest myself.

Scott

Anonymous said...

As a young girl of 9 or so I would ride all around town by myself on my bike, supervise younger kids at the local school playground and go to the local store for necessities for my mother. I also had regular chores every day, kids today at age nine seem to be treated like babies in comparison. They can't be left alone at the age of twelve or thirteen, an age when I was babysitting on a regular basis. And as I explained to my son once, the world was NOT less dangerous in those days.

Anonymous said...

Kids don't play baseball, which is extremely sad to me. As a former high school coach, present American Legion coach, former college All American baseball and professional minor league player, it's hard to swallow. I truly feel that kids today have other interests, video games, girls, working etc. We had girlfriends but they were on the back burner back in the day. We did not have video games and it was a treat to collect baseball cards and watch a game on TV. You also could go to a major league game without selling your house. Kids are protected, and I can understand why with all of the sensationalized television shows exposing kidnappings etc. The divorce rate is over 50% in America, I am a single father, but typically kids from single parent homes live with their mother. Mom's are great but they don't always have a game of catch with a youngster or throw him BP. Parents in general can tend to spoil kids without teaching responsibility. Kids today are not equipped to handle failure. The game of baseball is 70% plus failure for the average Joe. It is extremely difficult for a kid today to stand in a batters box and swing and miss 3 pitches. Its also difficult to stand at shortstop or any other position and allow a ball through your legs. For the normal spectator watching a football game it is easy for a kid to stand around with pads on and a helmet and mix into the crowd. Nobody watches the interior linemen block, everyone watches the ball carrier. But for those chubby type unathletic kids it makes them feel part of a team and they can wear their game shirt to school on game day and say they play on the football team. Basketball, while there are only 10 guys on the court ( 5 on 5) there are parents and fans that will find something positive with their kid out on the court. He blocked a shot, got a rebound, stole the ball etc. Soccer, sorry all you soccer people but a bunch of people chasing around a ball for 90 minutes of so is what I call boring. Kids need to LEARN the game of baseball and realize that their not going to get a hit everytime up, their not gonna strike everyone out and their not gonna field every ball. Therefore they need to prepare to fail. In my opinion due to the high rate of failure in baseball it is humbling as well as the best character builder sport around. If a kid can get through little league, Babe Ruth, high school, American Legion or AAU up until they are ready to enter the real world they will be more succesful in life. They will know how to deal with not getting the job they applied for, raising a family and the difficulties they may face down the road. It's too bad cuz I love the game and could be part of it 365 days a year. It's America's game and it's being taken over by forgeigners that are ceasing the opportunity away from American kids. Hats off to those kids because there are many players now, and it will continue from other countries that will take over even more.

Anonymous said...

In addition to my previous comment, we live in a "feel good" society where kids seem to need instant gratification and constant praise. The only instant gratification that today's kids would get from baseball is if they hit a homerun every game or every at bat! It's not good enough if a kid goes 1-4 with an RBI single, strikes out once, pops out once and grounds to 2nd (even if he did his job and moved a runner from 2nd to 3rd). It's not good enough to go 0-4 but hit the ball on the screws every time because they didn't get on base. Trust me I see it first hand every game I coach. Also there isn't a consistent sense of urgency for most of today's kids. If we ever lost (which was not often) to a team in an exhibition non league game, our girlfriends would know enough to get in their car and go home and wait for us to call them. Because we would take it very hard, today's kids are on their cell phones minutes after the game ends after they win or lose. By the time they are out of the parking lot they are onto the next venture in their day or evening. The guys I played with would go home after a lose and not speak to anyone. Kids don't play lob pitch at baseball fields, they don't get a rubber pinky ball and paint a strike zone on a nearby school and play fast pitch on the blacktop. They just don't play enough and it's too bad because some kids think there going D1 in football or basketball but they never will. Some kids think there gonna be in the NFL or NBA but there is no way near the minor league system such as in baseball. A kid can get drafted in the 40th round, bust his butt and eventually be a major leaguer. If you don't go to a high level D1 school and be a superstar your not playing NFL or NBA. Yeah there is always the miracle type player in those sports that comes from an unknown school that makes it to the NFL or NBA but the opportunity to make it up the ranks to MLB is better odds. You can be a junior college, D3 or even high school kid and get drafted. Usually more then half of 1st round picks are high school kids.

Anonymous said...

One last thing. After reading some other comments I agree totally with the private coach baloney and PARENTS! These AAU guys (which I could easily capitalize on financially) are feeding these parents a line of bull just like a used car salesman lol. It seems that some PARENTS want their kid to be the greatest more than the kid does. Therefore these PARENTS with tons of money will find some AAU program, pay a fortune and watch their kid play. I can tell you straight forward, American Legion teams hold tryouts for kids from the local geographical areas. Parents can pay for their kids to play and they have to play. These kids don't have to compete for playing time with the kid from the nearby high school. I was recently speaking to a Major League scout who knew me as a player. He said to me that scouts don't typically watch AAU kids, they want to see Legion ball players. My former college coach who has won over 1500 games told me he wants Legion players primarily. So fess up and put your kid in a quality program (my program has better higher level coaches then any AAU team around here) but kids leave the program because some guy promises them the World. After your kid is too old, ask them if their promise that cost you thousands of dollars is good for a refund, lol.