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Death of baseball? Hope not

The Tank

Yes, track and field is a team sport, as is tennis and golf. You are still part of a team, even if the task is more of an individual challenge. People who say otherwise are wrong.

Also, we live in an instant gratification and the sport of baseball is anything but. We want an immediate return on our time investment — a shot on the basketball court, kicking the soccer ball around, or a long pass in football. In baseball, especially youth baseball, you can go an entire game without a ball hit to you or getting a chance to swing the bat, which turns the modern kid off to the sport.

You can also make the case that this is the video game age and kids don't get out. I don’t think so, because I make sure that my kids are involved in outdoor activity daily above and beyond any summer program, so it would not be that hard to get them out on a baseball field.

However, I feel that the biggest reason is the state of youth baseball. When I came up through the system, Westport actually had weeknight little league, usually with three or four teams per age group rotating playing each other. Then, you would play summer ball through the county against other schools. It was the first taste of competitive sport for most kids, even though the score did not matter.

Now, there are hardly any local youth leagues, and the county program runs for just a few weeks in the spring. Compare that to the length of the youth soccer and basketball seasons, compared with the fact that games are held for students in K-6 in soccer and 3-6 in basketball take place, while only a few games (decreasing every year) take place only for the oldest kids in baseball, and you can see the problem more clearly.

Keith Lobdell is the editor of the Valley News. He can be reached at keith@denpubs.com.

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