Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Youth Baseball

Reggie Sanders of the Kansas City Royals baseball club was asked by USA Today's sports section what he would do, "If I were Commissioner (of baseball) for a day", to which he replied:

"I'd put more money into inner-city communities to help with the cost of building baseball fields. They need help because the cost is expensive. The number of guys my color (African-American) is declining"
While it does not rank as high as my love of football I very much enjoy the game of baseball so like Mr. Sanders I want to see an expansion of youth baseball for all colors of skin. However, I differ with Mr. Sanders' assumption that vast sums of money are needed for constructing baseball fields for kids. Here are some options for players like Mr. Sanders to consider so they could easily write a check to cover most of these options given their generous salaries:
  • Batting cages -- yes having baseball fields to actual play on is essential but kids could really develop some skills via batting cages constructed on empty building lots which of course are MUCH less expensive than baseball fields. COST: a guess but $5,000 maximum
  • Pepper -- yes the classic game where players stand with their backs to a fence fielding short hits/bunts from a batter standing directly in front of them. COST: assuming 5 players per game needing gloves, balls, hats, and a bat $400
  • Stadiums -- on the days when the professional baseball teams are not playing or when they are playing out of town the stadium should open up for youth baseball teams to play a game using a lottery system to select which local teams get to play. Now that should inspire children to focus on their game and not gang activities. COST: staffing and some groundskeeping might cost $20,000, a very uneducated guess but I trust the baseball clubs can cover it as part of their current overhead. Such the public/taxpayers have paid for the majority of baseball stadiums it only makes sense that youth baseball teams can utilize the ball parks.
  • Try Out Camps -- Very low cost project where pro scouts would work with youth baseball players to have them "try out" for the big leagues! The radar guns could be used to test the pitchers and players could be timed running down first base line so a low cost venture that would double as a mentoring program since the children would be exposed to the scouts and coaches of the baseball teams.

I share your goals Mr. Sanders and hope you consider writing a personal check for one or two of these projects.


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