It’s here: all-star season for recreation baseball. Finally, what it’s all about – building a team to win a championship. That's how it seems these days. There’s little time for kids to build relationships or develop skills. It wasn’t always this way.
I grew up in a world where kids from a community played at a home field with their friends, and all-stars was icing on the cake. The heart of the experience was playing while your folks cheered, running around the ballpark afterward and begging Mom for canteen money.
I’ve seen my two sons grow up playing baseball; I know things are so different now.
Modern recreation baseball involves as much recruiting as college football. Coaches don’t just draft from community players but often travel ballplayers are recruited away from their home leagues to build dominating teams. Releases from local boards/franchises and appeals to national sanctioning organizations support this practice. Some flat-out lie about home addresses. There’s little chance of team mothers meeting at the local post office, as players come from many different zip codes.
Why the concern? Foremost, it’s not the spirit of wholesome competition behind recreation sports. It creates a tier of teams: those selected and polished to essentially play together all year, and those made of kids who want to have some fun in the spring. Imagine how the scores look when these teams meet.