BY MATT MENCARINI | SPORTS EDITOR
You may notice something new in the sports pages of the Ormond Beach Observer this week and in the following weeks, and it’s made me think a lot over the past few days.
We’re going to start including box scores from the Ormond Beach youth baseball recreational league. The very same type of box scores, with many of the same stats, you’ll see for professional teams.
My initial reaction was: This is the coolest thing ever!
How great is it that I can see that Cameron Orie went 3-for-3 March 15, as the Phillies beat the Pirates 7-5 in a Bronco league game?
Orie also scored three runs, and teammates Charlie Taylor and Colt Brown drove in two runs each.
(Side note: Colt Brown might be the best name for a ball player since Mordecai Brown, who played with the Chicago Cubs before World War I. I’m assuming there’s no relation.)
Baseball is a game of history and numbers. And now, the Ormond Beach youth baseball teams can start building up their respective weight in both areas, thanks to technology and some committed parents.
When I spoke with Dave Campos, director of the Bronco League, he told me some parents have started using smartphones or tablets to use apps like iScore, which lets them track and record at-bats and pitches.
I think this is great. The more involved parents are in their children’s activities, the better. But there’s also a warning here.
An abundance of stats shows us trends, and seeing trends can lead to over-analyzing how someone’s child is playing, and that could smother the fun out of youth baseball in a hurry.
There’s a point when baseball, and sports, can get serious and demanding, when critiquing a swing or drawing attention to a slump is necessary. But even at that point, the game, at its core, needs to be fun.
If this stays, as Campos described it, “more fun for everybody,” then I’ll gladly make historical comparisons to baseball players of yesteryear, whose faces can only be seen in black and white photos.
And with current Ormond Beach player names like Joe Wixted, Jackson Schenk and Adian Nipper, to name a few, I see big potential for some fun. *[email protected]