When I was a kid—back when dinosaurs roamed the earth (AKA “the 80’s”)—youth baseball was pretty simple. From around the end of the school year to about the Fourth of July, you played on your local team with other kids from your school. You usually had one practice a week, and then a game on Saturdays. It was a great time; you got to run around a field, hang out with your friends, and, most of all, you got to grab something at the concession stand—usually something with lots of sugar—after the game was over.
Times have changed. Now youth baseball is its own cottage industry. Kids spend far more hours practicing, playing, and traveling than ever before. Some kids play for teams based in another city, or even another state (I know of a kid who lives in Ohio but plays for a team based in Texas!). Most youth baseball is geared today to the next step, whether it be making that elite travel team, or your high school team, or getting a college scholarship.
My son Peter plays high school ball now, and has been playing youth baseball for over a decade, and during that time I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of modern youth baseball.