It’s that time of the year. The weather here in Brooklyn is expected to break 60 degrees Wednesday, and we — the 12U Brooklyn Bulldogs travel team from the 78th Pct. — have our first outdoor game Wednesday in full uniform at Van Voorhies field, down by the water at the corner of Atlantic and Columbia avenues. In two and a half weeks we play in our first tournament, the New York Travel Baseball Wood Bat Opener in Brooklyn, then it’s full speed ahead for the year. We’ll see 90 games and four other tournaments before it’s all done in late October, and the time will fly!
In horse racing parlance, we’ve been galloping and two-minute licking through the winter, and Wednesday will be our first breeze. Most of the guys are veterans — some started at 7 and 8, most joined at 9, some at 10 and 11, and a couple of new guys this year. But even the new guys have played for the organization’s other teams, so it’s a cohesive group that understands how to play together. This is a team that has played serious travel ball for years now, and in 2007 as 10U we won the Triple Crown Summer Nationals in Myrtle Beach, SC — no mean feat for a Northern team playing the Southern boys on their own turf. Click here to read the Daily News article about the championship.
This is a big year, too, for the boys. In September, for our fall season, we move up to the big diamond from the 75-foot bases and 51-foot pitching distances. Yes, the big diamond — the field of dreams, the 90-foot bases, the 60-feet, six-inch rubber to home plate, the field that men in the MLB play on.
This is the time, statistically, that youth baseball players quit the game, in the 12-13-year-old range when they are asked to make the jump to a vast field that few this age are equipped to play on. The numbers say that 75 percent of tween-and-just teen players disappear from baseball.
I believe our guys will buck those numbers, but we’ve got plenty to do to prepare. It starts Wednesday.