Zuo: Putting the play back in ‘Play Ball!’

From Miriam Zuo at The Hardball Times on November 18, 2019:

My brother started accumulating baseball hats when he signed up for Little League. Some were of real teams, like the Cubs and our local minor league team, while others were of Tin Caps, Thunder and Raiders. He and my dad, who coached a few of his seasons, quickly built up rival hat towers. Though the towers were populated by an eclectic mix of team symbols – one season they had a hat that featured an apple wearing a hat – they were ruled by my brother’s and dad’s Little League hats. 

Every summer, the league would put together an All-Star team. Dressed in all-white uniforms and white hats with the league’s logo, my brother and his friends competed with Williamsport on their minds. And even though they never made it out of our city, everyone involved treated the brief summer season with great pomp. The moms prepared team dinners, goody baskets, and all sorts of decorations. From putting up a giant baseball sign on our lawn to painting our car, I’m pretty sure we notified everyone who passed by our house that, yes, All-Star season had rolled around once again. 

We watched those games with gusto. My brother’s team never had any notable wins, but they suffered many runaway, classic Little League-style losses; whether it was overthrowing first base, losing all sense of the strike zone, or swinging at anything, they played like a bunch of 10-year-olds who were melting in 100-degree heat.

Read the full article here: https://tht.fangraphs.com/putting-the-play-back-in-play-ball/

Originally published: November 22, 2019. Last Updated: November 22, 2019.