Time to reconsider baseball fields at schools?

The brand new school sits where you’d never see it if you didn’t know it was there. It’s been open over a year now, yet, the “field of dreams” is just getting finished. The lot is a funky size to begin with, with fences running every which way but square, and here as you enter the school property sits the single ball field, with its intricately cut “diamond” and crafted hump of a pitcher’s mound.

What’s missing is the benches- but, I’m sure they’ll come- because in order to play baseball- you need to sit at least 8 people down doing nothing while watching two people play catch while one person tries to hit the little white orb over a fence (but, thanks to the the odd lot- there is no outfield fence for the home run- nor are there foul poles either).

I remember having an intern from Austria- and taking her to a Dragons game and trying to explain what a strike, a ball, an out and a foul were- and started to realize that unless you grew up watching and playing baseball, the idea of a strike zone or why you can tip the ball on strike 2 as many times as you want, is pretty confusing to most.

I also remember playing baseball as a kid- and don’t ever recall breaking a sweat- not like hockey, or track, or soccer, or even football- where there are still many lulls in the action. Face it, you can play baseball and be fat– need proof, go watch the police softball tournament that comes into town every summer. If you can swing your belly into that bat- and put the ball over the fence- you don’t need speed to get to first base- and in the home run derby they play- who cares about running.

So as I look at that new baseball field, and see how it cuts out the possibility of building much else on that odd shaped lot, I wonder why? Why are we building diamonds so people can stand around and wait for the ball to come- when instead we could be building soccer fields where 20 people at once are running up and down the field chasing a ball? It would seem that soccer is much better exercise and a use of the land, with lower maintenance costs, never mind lower equipment costs: 20 people, 1 ball for a soccer game- vs. 18 people, with bats, balls, gloves, catcher equipment, bases. etc.

I know that baseball is “Americas pastime” but maybe, it’s past its time these days. Whose idea was it to build a baseball field at a brand new elementary field? Why? Call me a heretic, or un-American, but maybe it’s time to reconsider what a field of dreams really looks like.

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6 Responses

  1. Another Civil Servant October 15, 2010 / 9:12 am
    Well, I will start this one out…   You build a baseball field, and People will come, David, ooooh, they will come! 

    I can understand how some may see the game of baseball as being boring, or even non-physical.  However, you bring in the game of softball, and slow-pitch at that!  Equating slow pitch softball to actual baseball is like comparing a basket-weaving class to a nuclear physics class. (my apologies to all of the baske-weaving majors and professors…)  I played baseball for a couple of years as a teenager, but did not have the arm, nor the swing to make it any further.  Nor did I have the desire to run steps and hills at 6 a.m. in the morning for three months straight, and when they made me a catcher (actually, the better term would be “retriever”), I suffered in 100 degree weather in the “tools of ignorance” (catcher’s equipment).  If you take the opportunity to sit and actually watch a game all the way through (with, of course, the obligatory trips to the concession stand for a dog and a beer) you learn the intricacies of the game.  The dual between the batter and pitcher, the stratagies of baserunning, the sheer athleticism of running down a fly ball in the outfield (I think I am starting to sound like James Earl Jones). 

    Trying to compare this with slow-pitch softball just does not work.  I played softball for 23 years, long into my out-of-shape, slow-trotting, body-aching days.  I did not play for the exercise, or for the mental focus, I played for the comraderie (and beer).  It is the difference between playing real football, with set plays, pads, two-a-days and ambulances on scene, and playing on Thanksgiving morning, where the actual game, which as a kid used to last for five hours, now consists of breakfast, about an hour of pretending to play football, and about two hours of standing around shooting the bull and drinking beer. 

    I guess you hit a nerve on this one.  But let me close by saying that your “attack” on baseball was not the worst part of your comments.  You hit that point when you try to illuminate soccer as a viable alternative.  Soccer is not even close to being an American sport.  It is a mindless game.  It is 90 minutes (and probably more, because of the “extra time” rule that is understood by even fewer people than understand icing in hockey) of “almost.”  “Ooooh, did you see that?  He almost scored!!!” is probably the most used term in soccer. 

    Ok, my diatribe is now complete, David, you un-American heretic!!!  

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  2. joe_mamma October 15, 2010 / 10:23 am
    A fine example of the powers that be playing favorites even if it unintentional.  Instead of having to harp about bureaucrats and technocrats metaphorically not creating level playing fields here is an actual playing field that is not level.  Putting a mound in the middle of the field effectively has the government playing favorites with sports.  Markets are not just places where goods and services are exchanged.  They are everywhere where choices are to be made by individuals…even on the playground.   Provide kids a level playing field and they can choose to play the sport they want.  Give kids a diamond with a mound and they are stuck with baseball, kickball, and softball.

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  3. Bubba Jones October 15, 2010 / 1:13 pm
    >>>  Give kids a diamond with a mound and they are stuck with baseball, kickball, and softball. <<< – @joe_mamma
     
    Softball pitchers don’t have a raised “mound” like baseball pitchers have.  That area of the diamond is flat but marked with a rubber pad in the ground.

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  4. joe_mamma October 15, 2010 / 1:27 pm
    “Softball pitchers don’t have a raised “mound” like baseball pitchers have.  That area of the diamond is flat but marked with a rubber pad in the ground.” Bubba Jones.

    Yeah.  Technically correct.  But you can still play softball, kickball, Teeball  on a field with a mound.  You can’t play football, soccer etc… which require flat fields.  You get the point I think.

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  5. Jesse October 18, 2010 / 8:21 am
    “Soccer is a mindless sport.” on a site that is often full of mindless blather… We have a new standard set. Soccer is more complex than any of the major sports played in America. The only sport close is American football, where many breaks are taken and plays are called for everyone on the field by a fat man on the sideline. In soccer, the constant complexity, both offensive and defensive, is much more difficult for simple people to understand.

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