Mondays–V3E18–Take Me Out to the Old Ball Game

Anyone living in the Midwest knows that the weather here is very temperamental. If you don’t like the weather today, just wait until tomorrow, it will change. That is how it has been this last crazy month.

My grandson plays high school baseball and in the span of a little over a week, we sat bundled up in coat, gloves and blankets trying to keep from freezing to dodging torrential rain and then trying to keep from burning up in record-breaking heat. I really love the time I get to spend with my son and daughter-in-law watching my grandson play so putting up with the changeable Missouri weather is just part of the game.

Just like most everything, baseball isn’t what it used to be. “Back in the day” many cities provided little league ball teams from grade school all the way to high school level. All you needed was a shirt, a pair of pants, cleats and a glove. Now parents are paying hundreds of dollars for a bat or a glove or in the case of my grandson, $500 for catcher’s gear.
When my grandson started playing “club” ball (which I’d never heard of) and my son told me what they were paying so he could play, I was flabbergasted.  I never knew this was a thing as my granddaughter had relied on the tried and true city league ball to play for less than $100 a season. Some parents are paying thousands of dollars so their children (mostly boys) can play in these highly competitive “select” leagues.

These teams are privately owned and it’s become a big, competitive business. Players have to try out for positions and since it is intended to be a money-making proposition, coaches want to win with the best players. In the spring, when try-out season roles around, unless the player has already been promised a place on a team, they may have to try out for four or five different teams just to assure they will be selected for one. It’s crazy. Kids need more competitive pressure, right?

The high school season came to an end this week. His team had its ups and downs, I think they ended up with just about as many wins as losses. His parents and I weren’t always on board with the decisions his coach made, but the rule is, when it comes to parents, they are better to be seen and not heard. Turnabouts are fair play, right? Lol.

Now it’s on to club ball. When my grandson graduates in two years, I’m afraid my baseball watching years will be over. Neither of my other two grandchildren has shown any interest in baseball, so when that time comes, a life-long chapter of my life will close. From keeping score for my dad’s little league team in the 1960s to my own softball playing years to watching my sons play, baseball is summer, and summer just won’t be the same.

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