Does Carter County need Little League baseball and softball

Published 8:28 am Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Well, my old buddy, C.Y. Peters, went and lit another fuse last weekend on Facebook when he posted some photos from Jim Ensor Field of an empty parking lot and dugout and posted some comments about the absence of Little League baseball.

There were several interesting comments made on the subject and to be honest it is a subject that I have thought about for a while.

I have spent many hours at the field both covering and coaching baseball and I have to say that it is very disparaging to see that Carter County allowed Little League baseball to be done away with.

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Now, I understand there may have been some different reasons as to why this happened such as problems with kids crossing boundaries and probably the greatest one being that many parents elected to spend hundreds of dollars for their child to be part of a travel ball team.

For those that did, please don’t take offense because I am not looking to criticize your choice because everyone has the liberty to do as they choose in our great country.

However, I do believe that the greatest injustice in the disbanding of both Little League baseball and softball is starting to be seen at the junior high and high school levels.

Teams were once filling their rosters with stellar players that played at the Little League level before coming into those programs.

I also am not picking on the current youth league program either as this league does provide a place for kids to at least get some time on the diamond.

The one thing that Little League and even the Cal Ripken League that was played at the National Little League fields provided was the opportunity to get exposed to the ins and outs of baseball by coaches who loved to teach the sport to the youngsters.

It also was competitive as teams battled to win the championships and the rivalries created as players grew and moved to the various schools in the county.

If anyone has taken in a recent game, it doesn’t take long to see that some of the basics of baseball and even softball are what the players who want to represent their community struggle with the most.

A simple thing such as bunting is a struggle for most batters these days. Back in the day, a team that had an excellent small-ball game much like C.Y. and Ricky Garrison played was tough to handle.

That was especially true if their opponents didn’t know how to properly field the ball and throw the runner out which was another lesson taught at the Little League level.

So the question remains—do we need a return of Little League baseball and softball to Carter County?

I think the answer is a resounding yes and there appeared to be a lot of others who shared the same sentiment to the Facebook post made by Peters.

Here is the real clicker—when will those who feel this way step up and step forward to bring back what has been missing and has been the bait line of much discussion.

Are those who believe that Little League needs to make a return going to sit back and be like local commissioners who would rather disagree over a solution to issues than take the bull by the horns and get the job done for the betterment of the people they represent?

The problem, by the way, doesn’t lie with the county government in regards to Little League—it revolves around people like you and me who would rather sit around and bellyache over something that we believe in but much rather throw stones at one another because of what we don’t have.

We have some fine men and women, many former players and kids of former coaches, who could work together and help our kids become more competitive and skilled.

Unlike travel ball where a lot of money is spent to see our kids maybe, just maybe, get to step up to the plate or hit the field once in a blue moon and still not really improving on their skill set.

Little League creates an environment where the kids can be challenged to strive for a spot on the All-Star teams that have a chance to go all the way to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Take a look around—in Gray, for example, the Daniel Boone Little League softball team that made it to the World Series.

It can be done right here in Carter County as well united under one banner as the Carter County Little League hailing from Carter County, Tennessee.

The real question is this- when is someone going to make the first step to make this happen.

Home plate is wiped clean with a bat lying ready to be picked up. I have thrown out the first pitch and now its time someone picks up the bat and swats a home run—for the kids and Carter County.