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Thread: Organized Baseball

  1. #1
    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Organized Baseball

    I want to start this here because it is baseball related. The mods may think it fits better in another forum, but I hope not so it gets the most traffic.

    I have been in and out of local youth leagues with my children and have some observations that I want to share and see if folks can tell me what is going on in their region.

    I first qualify these thoughts as observations that are comparing my memories as a youth to what I am seeing now as a middle aged man, so that certainly may introduce some bias. But I am getting similar feedback from folks who learned the game in a similar era as I did, so I think that there are some legitimate comparisons.

    Throwing a baseball. I have never seen so many young boys who have very stunted and ineffective overhand throwing mechanics. There are many, many more short arm throwers (at the risk of making a sexist remark) that has been characterized as "throwing like a girl." There used to be a few around my youth league growing up, now there are usually more than one boy per team that has this type of throwing mechanics, and have been playing in a baseball league since tee ball.

    I honestly am trying to be descriptive, so ladies, if that is offensive, I think it is common parlance and is not intended to be insulting. I will say that because of girls softball youth leagues at lower ages, there are a lot more girls who have learned good, strong overhand throwing mechanics probably than ever before.

    Catching a baseball. I have noticed a real deterioration in the average player's ability to catch a pop up or fly ball. It is usually only the best players on any team (one or two boys) that can regularly and smoothly catch fly balls and pop ups. Grounders are not as challenging, they must be getting more practice on those types at all levels, but fly balls are an adventure for all but a very few kids. This, from my recollection, was maybe one or two kids in the lineup at any point in time, usually trying to hide them in LF or RF. Now, it is the opposite.

    Another overall observation is that the best players are probably better, but there is a huge gap between skills of the best players around and the average players in the area. In my region, the travel ball kids are developing and very, very good, but the vast majority of ballplayers in an area do not have a grasp on the very basic parts of the game, struggling at its most basic levels, like throwing and catching. Hitting, well, forget about it. A few good hitters, the rest, who in the heck taught them to hit?

    I hope this isn't sounding arrogant, it is really just what I am seeing after about 20 years of not being around a lot of youth baseball and now observing it as a much older adult. But I observed a lot of youth baseball growing up, and I really think that the quality of average players has really deteriorated. Why? Not playing outside of games and practice, generational gap in handing down basic skills or absentee parents. I just see a lot of bad habits, and kids are starting younger than ever. Those that are receiving instruction are receiving very, very, very poor instruction from coaches who really do not have any knowledge of basics, but "love kids and wanna help." Great, let me teach you how to keep the scorebook. But please don't continue to give that awful advice on how to hit, or throw, or catch.

    I know this was long, I have a lot of thoughts, but just trying to see if this is isolated to my area or is a nationwide issue.
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  3. #2
    Charlie Brown All-Star IslandRed's Avatar
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    Re: Organized Baseball

    I think you'll hear that things are similar in other places, and probably even in other sports. Fundamentally, it's the stratification between serious ballplayers and those kids (the majority) to whom it's just a seasonal something-to-do. The serious ballplayers are as serious as ever, playing tons of travel ball, getting coaching, training in some form year-round; the something-to-do kids are taking it less seriously than ever, because hardly anyone plays unorganized ball anymore. And the typical kid gets more admiration from his friends from being good at Minecraft than being able to hit a curveball.
    Not all who wander are lost

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    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: Organized Baseball

    Well, I can say that my kids play enough backyard baseball that momma has to tell them its enough for the day. They will play baseball all hours, but we are the working poor, so rec leagues is the best they can do. That is probably why they can do some of the basic things that I mentioned in my opening post.

    Now, its hard to let your kids out of your sight to go down the street to play ball in the field on the sandlot because they will eventually run into predators. Nice culture we have here, eh?
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    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Organized Baseball

    Your 100% correct that there is a huge gap between the travel players and the rec players. I have seen alot of travel ball as an umpire but when I walked through my sons LL to watch the rec kids play I couldn't get over how bad the rec level play was. I have also seen the same level of play at other LL's since.

    I do think coaching for the most part is better if for any other reason than the internet. Just last night I watched youtube videos for a good hour on the proper way to swing and how to throw. I was able to find specific videos that focused on flaws my son has in his game. You never would have had that say 10 or so years ago so I tend to think there is alot more info out there for coaches to use.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

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    Member JaxRed's Avatar
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    Re: Organized Baseball

    Now....when you say "throws like a girl"........

    http://www.today.com/entertainment/c...ver-6C10637314

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    Matt's Dad RANDY IN INDY's Avatar
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    Re: Organized Baseball

    The only time most kids pick up a ball, bat, or glove is when they are hauled to an "official" practice. Kids used to play some sort of baseball most every day, all spring, all summer. That, in my opinion, is the biggest difference. I never see kids outside, much, these days.
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  10. #7
    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: Organized Baseball

    Nm
    Last edited by traderumor; 07-15-2013 at 11:04 PM.
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  11. #8
    Member Ironman92's Avatar
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    Re: Organized Baseball

    The travel ball kids to me are slightly above where the all-star players were a generation ago....offensively but IMO the pitching was better then and defense/baserunning the same.

    We played every day.....whether it be wiffle ball, tennis ball, nerf ball or baseball we were playing somewhere......we used to play 2 on 2 on the little league field. I passed/pitched/long tossed with my Dad nearly every night from April to September.

    Kids now rarely play outside on their own in terms of baseball and every minute they get is structured....but they don't get that learn on your own skill.....and I hate how many are being taught to pitch.

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    Newbie Rock of Truth's Avatar
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    Re: Organized Baseball

    Just my observations .... but when i was a kid, everyone played Rec ball. There was no travel at the younger ages. I think we started Pony league or what ever it was called when my team turned 13. Now they are starting off travel teams at age 8. I think back to my younger days and try an imagine what the league would have looked like if all the best player left at age 8 and 9. To me, this is why the Little League/Rec players look so bad, they are the left overs. By default, you will then see more kids who cannot properly catch and throw.

    I'm not sure how that do it, but Hamilton WestSide manages to keep all the best players in "Rec" ball so they can compete in the Little League World series. You wont see any of those kids drop a ball in centerfield.

    I have two boys who both play travel ball. If they were in Rec ball, they would be some of the very best in the league let alone the best on their teams, but in Southwest Ohio, they look like some random ball player on the street. There are some really really good players. Look in the right place and you will be shocked how good some of these kids are.

    Lastly, some of the very best athletes are very easy to find in Springtime. On the Lacrosse fields.

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    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Organized Baseball

    Quote Originally Posted by Rock of Truth View Post
    Lastly, some of the very best athletes are very easy to find in Springtime. On the Lacrosse fields.
    On the soccer field to. There are many more options out there for kids to play other sports now than there was say 20 years ago.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

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    Re: Organized Baseball

    I had 4 other kids in my neighborhood about the same age and all of us were baseball junkies. When we were 13 we scrounged up and old home plate and some clay-dirt and built a mound and plate for pitching/catching purposes. We didnt have room for a full-on field but pretty close for a full infield so we mapped that out too. We were not allowed to take full swings at live pitching but we would swing 3/4 so we could hit ground balls. And of course we fielded and threw like maniacs. (I think this actually hurt us a little long term because in the end only one of us could actually hit worth a crap. But we were great at bunting and moving runners over!!!) We made up games and situations and did goofy crap with balls and bats and gloves but it was a blast. Mostly we just played. When it got too dark for that, we would go out and throw under the one decent street light around.

    Kids who truly love baseball, or any other sport for that matter, are missing out when they don't get to JUST PLAY.
    When all is said and done more is said than done.

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    Re: Organized Baseball

    A lot of the Hamilton West Side kids play on "traveling teams" also. They wrap their seasons up before going on to district and state LL tournaments.
    When all is said and done more is said than done.

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    Charlie Brown All-Star IslandRed's Avatar
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    Re: Organized Baseball

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    On the soccer field to. There are many more options out there for kids to play other sports now than there was say 20 years ago.
    Yep. And that's a good thing in the big picture. It doesn't really bother me that more kids aren't playing baseball; it bothers me that more and more kids never go outside and play at all.
    Not all who wander are lost

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    Matt's Dad RANDY IN INDY's Avatar
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    Re: Organized Baseball

    On the flip side, there are a lot of kids playing travel baseball that weren't, 5 years ago. The travel circuit is very watered down, now, compared to what it used to be.
    Talent is God Given: be humble.
    Fame is man given: be thankful.
    Conceit is self given: be careful.

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    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Organized Baseball

    Quote Originally Posted by RANDY IN INDY View Post
    On the flip side, there are a lot of kids playing travel baseball that weren't, 5 years ago. The travel circuit is very watered down, now, compared to what it used to be.
    Absolutely. Way to many kids are playing travel that should simply be playing rec. These parents are kidding themselves if they think their kids have a future long term in the game.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

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