Rocky Hulne: Recalling the joys of backyard baseball

Published 8:15 pm Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Play Ball!

Those words echo as loud as any from my childhood memories. All you needed was warm sun, a small leather ball, and the will to see how hard you can throw that thing.

It is that time of year again where the weather warms up and the neighborhoods and fields will soon be alive with activity. I’ll be out and about covering softball, baseball, track and field, golf and tennis, but it’s the games that don’t get covered that are sometimes the best. 

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Last summer I had a short chat with my neighbor who lives across the street from me and he told me how he and his friends used to play baseball on my street and a reporter from the Herald stopped by to write a story on the young boys who turned their street into a ball park.

The scene harkens back to memories from one of my favorite movies, “The Sandlot,” which I suggest you see if you haven’t. There is something special about kids getting together in the summer and playing a game without any adult supervision. They learn to cooperate, get along and compete without whining.

Those who whine or play too rough, are often not invited to the next game.

When I was a kid I actually used to play two-on-two baseball with my brother and a couple of friends. The neighbors’ bushes were the home run fence, ghost runners were used often and the parking garage to the apartment complex next door was the catcher who never allowed a passed ball. 

It’s a minor miracle that we never broke any windows or got our parents into trouble.

But we had a lot of fun and we made the best of our lazy summer days. It sure beats staring at a smart phone on a couch all day.

If you have young kids, let them play this summer. It doesn’t have to be on an organized team and no adults have to be coaching. Just get a few gloves and a bat, and find some open grass.

You won’t regret it.