BATTER UP!

Discussion in 'The Golden Era' started by 2jakes, Aug 14, 2017.

  1. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    ⇧ I love that the A's did that.

    According to the announcers (i.e., that's the source of most of my info), it was part of MLB's effort to get more AND YOUNGER people interested in baseball.

    From that point of view, I applaud that MLB is trying different things - I enjoyed the crazy London games this year (they have to "fix" the batter advantage before returning though). And if you try several things, some will fail and some will succeed.

    Hence, at my decidedly middle age of 55, I'm more forgiving of all this than I would have been years ago. Hopefully, the lesson will be to never do that with the uniforms again, but find a way to allow nicknames onto the uniforms - either occasionally or just let each team do it whenever they want to.

    And I agree - stop with all the uniform variations throughout the year.
     
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  2. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    If you want to get kids interested in baseball, make it cheaper and easier for them to see games. The Red Sox had to finish a suspended game last week on what was supposed to be an off day, so they made a special "Family Day" deal out of it -- $5 general admission for adults, sit anywhere you want, and free admission for kids, free tours of the park, and a chance to go on the field and run the bases after the game. Plus $1 hot dogs. They got 20,000 people in the place for a "game" that ran for 12 minutes. And it's safe to say that everybody had a great time.

    A promotion like that, once or twice a year, would do more to get kids hyped up about Major League Baseball than a thousand diddles with the rules or hokey variant uniforms. In the Era, every team ran a "Knothole Gang" club for kids, where certain weekend games were set aside for free admission to club members, and it's safe to say that most if not all of those kids went on to become adult fans. Just make baseball something that families can afford to do together, and they'll get excited about it.
     
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  3. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    I remember Baseball as ubiquitous, the game was everywhere. On Chicago's south side we played
    in alleys or city parks, streets. A part of life. I had two bats and gloves, a dozen balls, a stint in
    boys league ball, and, for the last two weeks in the Army awaiting discharge, I played with guys
    from all over the country, many of whom were intent on giving the Minors a try; and pro scouts
    were known to routinely catch post service games for hidden talent. Baseball seems now not so prevalent.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2019
  4. belfastboy

    belfastboy My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    When Little League came to our area in the mid 1950's the number of boys trying out was staggering. Even for the 'minors' you had to try out and only about 1 boy in 4 made the cut. Many of the boys trying out had no glove. I remember my buddy Gordie, standing in line behind me as we awaited our turn to shag a fly ball. Gordie had no glove and to top it off was a leftie. After my turn I tossed him my glove and he jambed it on the opposite hand and shagged his fly. I made the cut but alas poor Gordie did not. After LL I played Babe Ruth but the nearest organization was in the next town. My father had passed and my mom was working afternoon shift so to play it required many hours on the bus back and forth for practice and games.
     
  5. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Part of it also has to be the push for soccer on America kids. I felt it growing up in the '70s when there seemed to be a top-down effort to get kids into soccer. My dad was like - "soccer?" as his generation never played it and knew all but nothing about the game.

    But for whatever reason, the powers that be who drive this stuff were pushing soccer on kids in the '70s. Of course, it's less expensive to organize and equip a soccer team than a baseball team, but it felt - and still feels to me - like something else is driving it as well. There was almost no pro soccer tradition in America / it wasn't part of the culture, but by the '70s, kids were having it pushed on them.
     
  6. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Street variations of baseball were the universal pastime in my neighborhood -- we were about evenly split between boys and girls, but gender was of no consequence, everybody played. We didn't really care about organized team leagues -- there was a Little League in our town, but girls weren't eligible, and that left off several of the best players in our crowd and everybody knew it. My best friend from next door would have dominated any team she played on, and the boys were scared of her -- and the fact that she wasn't allowed in Little League made the whole thing a joke. As for me, I couldn't see and I couldn't hit, but that didn't matter, I still played and so did everyone else whose mother threw them out of the house until it got dark.

    We never played with nine-player teams, we never had an umpire, and we made up our own rules to suit how many kids showed up and where we were playing. But there were always four bases, some kind of bad and some kind of ball, and that was baseball enough for us.

    And I think the real problem today is that kids aren't encouraged to improvise like that anymore. The idea is to play sports as some kind of future college resume item, not to just kill time on a summer day, and unless you do it "the right way," with coaches, and rules, and teams, and scores, and standings, there's no point. Very often when we played, we lost track of the score, and had no idea who was winning -- it was the act of playing that we enjoyed, and the outcome was irrelevant because the next day we'd have forgotten all about it anyway. There were no "winners" or "losers," there was just the moment.

    I don't think it's that kids wouldn't play like that anymore if they could. It's that they've never been really given that option. Parents and teachers and coaches and counselors ought to take their leagues and uniforms and rules and all the rest of it and butt out, and let the kids just play for the sake of playing. That's how you learn to love baseball.

    Soccer? Never heard of it. Football? Never had it in our town. Field hockey? You could get killed. Tennis? What, you mean like ping pong? The only sports anybody cared about were baseball in the summer and high-school basketball in the winter. Oh, and the demolition derby was always popular when the county fair season rolled around.
     
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  7. belfastboy

    belfastboy My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I played organized ball until I was 18 but the MOST fun were the games I played in the park with my buddies. We played our version of American PingPong. There was no taking the ball and going home in the face of a dispute....firstly we only had 1 baseball and none of us wanted the game to end. All we needed were 2 guys a side, although 3 or 4 were better. We even had a decrepit old house off the right field line so it ate foul balls. A major dispute took place each time a ball entered the yard no one wanted to risk entering the yard of the creepy old lady that lived there and would chase us with a broom. The argument was between batter and pitcher (you get it ....it was a crappy pitch...no you get it, you didn't have to swing at it!....both pitcher and batter on the same team in American ping pong).

    And neither wanted to go but if we wanted to keep playing someone had to relent. Ahh, good times....actually the best of times.

    Went to Cuba a few years back and it was wonderful to see baseball games taking place throughout the country. Any patch of grass, dirt or asphalt was fair game. Wooden bench slats for bats, rolled up socks and tape for a ball. To my language restricted perspective it seemed a little bit of baseball, a whole lot of arguing then finally returning to a little bit of baseball.....repeat.
     
  8. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I played in the street as long as I could get away with it. When I was eighteen, I had a tooth knocked out in a game of wiffle ball, and that's when I figured it was time to retire.

    The only organized games I played in were in gym class, in a variation called "fleece ball," which was a softball skin stuffed with old pieces of wool. It had no bounce at all, but my most memorable moment as a player came when I somehow hit it over the curtain into the boys' side of the gym. Biggest thrill of my sporting life.

    Wiffle ball is about all I ever see anymore, a game that can be played in a corridor if you're motivated. All the vacant lots we had in the neighborhood where I grew up have long since been annexed and built up with unusually ugly houses by the kind of people who'd yell at the kids to get off their lawns. We never had lawns, just weedy patches of dirt. Maybe that's the real difference...
     
  9. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    I played every type of baseball there was growing including nerf indoors, Wiffle ball, tennis-ball baseball, softball and hardball - all as pick up games in the street, empty lots, a nearby park and driveways - plus gym, plus middle and high school teams, plus little league (for one year, then the league moved across town and my parents said no to all the driving it would require). I loved it - the only sport I deeply enjoyed playing.
     
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  10. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

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    It's the only sport I ever played. Only one year of LL, but many of pick up games down in the field next to the church. One of the guys would occasionally mow us an infield and basepaths so it looked like a "real" ballpark.

    Sent from my moto g(6) using Tapatalk
     
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  11. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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  12. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    That batter was the ever-pugnacious Lenny Randle, who is best known for punching Rangers manager Frank Luchessi in the face. Obviously he learned a few things when he played for Billy Martin.
     
  13. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    I was most surprised that I hadn't (or don't remember ever having) seen this before.

    Charging the mound would have been one thing, but it's second-level thinking to bunt down the first base line to bring the pitcher into range.
     
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  14. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    This incident happened just a week before the infamous "Ten Cent Beer Night" brawl in Cleveland, which also involved the Rangers -- which puts an important bit of context into exactly why that crowd was so hostile that night. It also suggests that the Indians' management was even stupider and more culpable than is generally believed to allow the promotion to take place, given the bad blood between the teams.

    [​IMG]

    And of course, Billy Martin himself didn't help -- blowing sweet kisses to the crowd was not likely to improve their mood.
     
    Fading Fast likes this.
  15. This is so true. Everyone thinks their kid is the next superstar, if only they paid enough money for lessons, and $500 gloves, and the dreaded “travel ball”. The reality is, few of those kids are even good enough to play high school baseball, let alone college or professionally. And what’s worse is they squeeze out the kids who do want to play for fun. Open leagues for every day kids are dying, and overzealous parents refuse to let their meal ticket play on the sand lot.
     
  16. belfastboy

    belfastboy My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Not true up in my neck of the woods. We have the premier level travel teams but also a robust 'house' league all the way up 18 years old. For the house league there are no qualifying tryouts...you want to play you play. Also no one gets turned away for lack of funds. We have 'scholarship' funds that will pay the fees for any child that wants to play. I think it works well and there is a spot to fit everyone's desired level. I have wanted players for my travel team but they opted for the much less demanding schedule of the house leagues and play with their buddies.
    However a big change from when I started to coach in the 1970's is the incredible resources available to coaches and players. We have a multitude of baseball academies in our area. The players that want to excel have so much available to them as long as the parents have the funds. In close to 20 years of coaching premier level I have had 3 kids get scholarships to US colleges and 1 kid get drafted in the 47th round. 2 kids went on to play pro football which was a good thing as they were not great baseball players.
     
  17. ChazfromCali

    ChazfromCali Familiar Face

    Messages:
    64
    Location:
    Oregon
    Oakland A's.....my boyz, saw dozens and dozens of games at the Coliseum when I was a kid. Back in the pre-Mt. Davis days. On the other hand I only went to Candlestick Park twice in my entire life. Both times to see Lefty pitch and Rose hit against the G'ints. Definitely an American League guy, I am.
     
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  18. Definitely different than here in Texas. Little Leagues are dying. There are kids passing up playing on the high school team because it interferes with their travel ball team schedule, and because they claim only the travel ball rejects have to resort to playing in high school. Of course, most of them can’t really play worth a durn anyway. I agree that money buys all manner of tools and resources. It still doesn’t buy talent, however. Too many parents are blind to that fact.
     

  19. We affectionately, and sarcastically, refer to those as the “rainbow gut” or the “tequila sunrise”. They are, in my never so humble opinion, the single ugliest piece of cloth ever worn by a member of the human species.

    The current Astros uniforms are fine and dandy, and the navy and orange is a nice combo. I dearly wish they went back to the shooting star uniforms of the late 60s, but I’ll take what I can get.
     
  20. belfastboy

    belfastboy My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I coached against a local team that ended up with 2 Number one major league draft picks. Justin Morneau who went in the first round to the Twins was many magnitudes better than anyone else in the league and we were the best league in Canada. He was a man playing against boys. Plus he was the most dedicated player on the team. First to show up last to leave. He was a great example of where you needed to be talent and dedication wise if you wanted to play in the bigs.
     

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