Sports ‘n’ Things: Sun’s setting on boys of summer

"...ball fans should try and get out to Butler Park this weekend."

I’m with a good friend of mine who also loves baseball. He and I believe most of our ball season ends way too early around here – just about the time when the weather turns consistently into baseball weather.

That said, other ball fans should try and get out to Butler Park this weekend – it will be the last time this season the Senior Orioles will be making game day use of that little jewel of a resource.

Even though this was always as much a baseball town as a hockey one,  it seems current generations of parents are just not that into it, preferring to spend ball season laking and such rather than playing, watching or facilitating the advancement of their children in ball. Children, too, seem less interested in participating on the field than noodling through their electronics.

It’s too bad, because the drop in success for teams which were once the most feared in the nation, at almost every level, has been precipitous in the past decade or so.

Partly it is population drop, but there are certainly still enough kids around that the wealth of experience in playing and coaching still available here could produce provinvial and national contenders if the will was still strong in that population.

Partly it is specialization (here read four seasons hockey to the exclusion of all sporting else), even though the hockey players we have sent to the pros at various levels have generally also been ball players, mostly very good ball players, along the way – learning helpful team and athletic lessons in the process.

It is nice to see at the senior level a lot of former Smoke Eaters and Nitehawks, but a bit sad that all, or at least all the locally-based, former hockey players aren’t motivated to maintain their skills on the diamond, many after just completing Little League.

Baseball is the greatest game ever invented – witness to the genius behind it is that, while hockey, basketball and football athletes have all outgrown their venues, baseball is still perfectly situated in fields whose dimensions have not changed a whit in a century. The game is still the sport as well that rewards both  athleticism and intelligence equally, again unlike the other, “major,” sports.

Ball people think those people who think baseball is slow and boring are, well slow and boring people.

There will still be some Legion play at Butler, mostly with teams from America, where they still get baseball, as the opponents. I encourage you to support that excellent level of ball, too.

But, if you want to support the top level in town, better get it done this weekend. Game times, per the web site, are Saturday at 4 p.m and 6 p.m.  and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

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