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Play ball!
by Larry Wilson
Apr 14, 2008 | 715 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Those timeless words will be heard countless times in the future as the new 450 acre sports center has opened with the throwing out of the first ball by Mayor Geno Martini, a former catcher himself, doing the honors. What a glorious thing for all of our sports-conscious citizens.

It would be a lot more glorious for the young little leaguers of our area if it were built a lot closer to where they actually live, thus affording them better access to all of the $30 million complex’s assets. It would further be beneficial if the little league season didn’t end in the middle of June shortly after school gets out. At that point, most of the Little Leaguers will be hanging on the chain link fence looking into the complex wondering when they will get a chance to play there. They don’t care that the new complex will be an economic asset to the area, but they do care that they aren’t playing organized ball on its fabulous new state of the art artificial turf.

Little League season doesn’t go all summer for all the players. The season starts when the snow is still flying and just when the weather gets good for really playing baseball; it’s time for the All Stars to kick in to full bloom. It’s their season that continues most of the summer. My question is how does a new guy little leaguer get to be an All Star if his dad isn’t the coach, or at least one of them, making the selection for All Stars?

This new complex is certainly not the house that Ruth built. If it were, the Babe would see to it that all the little ones would get to play first and the longest even before the adult leagues are scheduled. In today’s world of baseball or softball, the little ones take a back seat to the adults. This is probably done because the adults need to play out their childhood dreams of becoming a major league star. To accomplish this end, the adult leagues play and play until almost midnight.

We haven’t begun to hear all the complaints about the ball field lights and how they are disturbing the sleep and tranquil evening sky of all the other residents of the area, but they are to come. Traffic in and out of the complex at all hours will also become a bone of contention. The city fathers will wring their hands over what to do about it and in the end the over- the- hill little ones, swilling their beer will win out and the game plays on and the little guys will still be hanging on the chain link fence looking in.

I’ve spoken to Little League organizers in the past as to why they don’t continue the regular season the length of the summer and their response has been All Stars and vacations. Parents take their vacations in the summer and the teams can not field a full team as a result some of the time. A simple solution to that problem seems to be to make the team roster larger to account for people taking vacations, thus the majority of the players could play on and continue to develop their skills and interest in the game.

Little League organizers are opposed to continuing the season any further than it already is and thus the little ones have the pattern of the chain link fence ingrained on their faces for lack of a structured season past mid-June if they aren’t an All Star. But in the end, you “boys play ball,” you have to have your fun don’t you?

Larry Wilson is a 50-year resident of Sparks and a retired elementary school teacher. You can contact him at
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Play ball! by Larry Wilson

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