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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

June 3, 2010

"Take me out to the ballgame"

Filed under Family

This time it was grandson Adrian who got his Opa out to the ballpark.

Things have changed since I played baseball as a kid. I started playing when I was 7 or 8 years old, Adrian and we played a "real" game – our pitcher (and all our players) were kids our age. We did not hit from a tee. Grandson Adrian, who just turned 6 in March, plays on a team where the coach pitches to his own players. Each player gets four strikes, two or three from pitches thrown by the coach and one or two from the tee if he is unable to hit the pitch. So I got to watch Adrian play ball. He had some trouble hitting his coach’s pitches, so he would up batting from the tee, which gives a sensation of success. The whole team bats, too, when they are up to hit, instead of being limited to three outs (which from my observation would mean that only three kids would bat, based on their skill level). Out in the field Adrian played an outfield position for an inning and then rotated to be the substitute "pitcher" since the coach is not allowed to field the ball when it is hit in his direction. It was different from what I experienced as a kid, but different doesn’t mean worse. Observing the game and the way it is played, I think this style at a beginner level does not emphasize the competitive spirit that I was exposed to "right off the bat."

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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