The Youth Baseball Complex That Players Deserve
What does the youth baseball complex that players deserve look like?
The Little Fella and I pulled up to the mega-baseball complex, already impressed with what we had seen from the road. The fields were beautifully manicured and ready for the teams from various age groups beginning to descend on them this past Saturday. These are the type of fields–according to a podcast I listened to recently–that youth baseball players deserve.
I cringed when I heard that statement on the podcast. I associate the word deserve with the entitlement mentality that I think is wreaking destruction on the next generation. Saturday morning, I felt that a preventive parenting moment was in order when my son commented about how awesome the fields awaiting him were.
“Son, there’s a lot of talk about whether kids deserve to play on fields like these. Do you think you deserve to play on these types of fields?”
“Oh, no, I’m just glad I get to play here.”
That’s what I wanted to hear. This is his first season with a select team and the first of eleven tournaments at five different youth baseball complexes this summer. Eight of the tournaments take place in two local complexes that were built to make money. These are not your city parks designed to provide for the recreational desires of the community (though one of them doubles as the city rec league fields). Both are destinations in the youth baseball world and extremely profitable to their communities.
Was This the Baseball “Complex” That Youth Baseball Players Deserve?
I grew up playing baseball in Star, Mississippi. Our normal complex was considerably different than the ones my son will enjoy this summer. This video will give you some indication of how unlike the youth baseball experience of today mine was.
So, do I think my experience was better? Unequivocally, no, at least as far as baseball fields are concerned. When I was coaching high school baseball over a decade ago, I worked a couple of summers at our local baseball mecca, Snowden Grove Park. I loved preparing the fields that, at the time, were unlike any you would find for youth baseball anywhere. I would have loved to play on fields like those. But I didn’t deserve them.
And neither do the youth baseball players of today.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-youth sports…far from it. I just know that the fundamental mindset of gratefulness is healthier than a mindset of entitlement. When youth baseball players, parents, and coaches regard today’s extravagant complexes as blessings and not something they deserve, I’m all for them. When I hear complaining about the least little aspects of one of these fields not being absolutely perfect, I want to take the complainer back to my experience at old all-dirt Falcon Field.
The basics of baseball haven’t changed much since I played four decades ago. Sure, the complexes and uniforms and equipment and emphasis placed on the game are dramatically different. But good pitching still beats good hitting. The ball will still find the guy playing a new position. And baseball is still the best sport for teaching life lessons through a game.
The youth baseball complex players deserve? One that they appreciate. So let’s play ball on some of the finest baseball facilities ever built for youth sports. But let’s view playing on them as a blessing and not a right. Perspective is everything.
A Coach Dave Season Two Update
Coach Dave Season Two: All-Stars is now in the hands of a few beta readers. Their response to the story will determine how much more editing time is necessary before the second book in the Coach Dave series hits the market.