PLAY BALL ... and help some kids in the process


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by Todd Franko   | 340 entries


My son Maguire is pretty geeked about baseball.

Practice today (Saturday) was pretty good. He made a couple decent plays at second base, and his swing was nice. He still throws like he's shot-putting, but we'll work at it. He's just 7.

I'm just glad he likes baseball and has the chance to participate. I'm a hockey guy by birth, but I love the sport of baseball -- for its contrast to hockey, I suppose. Boston's Freddy Lynn was my first hero. 

But America's pastime is suffering in America's cities. I don't mean the cities and towns such as Canfield, Poland, Columbiana, Boardman, etc. I mean in America's first cities — places like Youngstown and Cleveland.

The Indians' C.C. Sabathia has been vocal about the lack of ball playing opportunities in America's inner cities, and efforts to fix it. Read here.

There is a great effort afoot to revitalize Youngstown youth baseball. And you can help -- regardless of where you live and where your kid plays baseball. 

In the Sunday Vindicator is a package of stories highlighting the plight of Youngstown's youth baseball.

The stories are prompted by a cool event that will take place next week and continue for several weeks.

Several groups, including YSU, Youngstown police, the Boys and Girls Club, the Vindy and more are combining to gather used equipment to help support a league in Youngstown. Youngstown cops have actually stepped in to help run the league as well.

What the effort is asking of you is to go to your garages and basements and dig out old, unused baseball gear and bring it to the YSU games naxt Saturday. It's at 1 p.m. April 12 at McCune Park in Canfield.

There's more info in The Vindy. Give the stories a look.

Also, go online to and check out the video of two Youngstown kids who revisit some of their baseball exploits. It's precious video. Stay with us all week as we'll keep you posted on the event for Saturday.

My son Maguire was pretty proud today that he parked a ball from batting practice over the dugout. He had a cool smile that you love to see on a 7-year-old.

With your help, perhaps some other kids will get a chance for that smile. 



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