CHILDREN SHOULD PLAY MORE PICK UP BALL GAMES. I posted here about how a cross country coach won a lot of state championships by encouraging as many runners as possible to be on the team. The more participants, the greater the likelihood of finding players who are dedicated to the sport.

I have long thought that little league teams for 9 to 12 year olds should have some hours set aside where the players choose teams without regard to uniforms. The teams would be different for each game. For example, the first 18 (or fewer) players to show up play a game, perhaps a short game, and then the next players to come get their turn. A lot of pick up basketball games work like that. When I was a boy, softball players would “choose sides” and play. After a game, the sides would be shuffled. If there weren’t enough players, a ground rule might require a batter to designate half the field where a ball he hit would be an automatic out.

Our friend John Kornichuk would reminisce about how he played what he called “sandlot ball” all day long in Brooklyn before World War II. This wikipedia entry describes how sandlot ball can be played on makeshift fields with ad hoc rules. John played at a level that would have gotten him to the minor leagues. Today a lot of Latin American players play all day long. You don’t need the uniform for every game.

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