Coach Tommy Wisener and son Brodie
A baseball breeding ground
By Michael Butler
Saturday's Dixie Youth Baseball jamboree brought out mamas and daddies, pawpaws and grannies and of course lots of ball players to the baseball diamond.
"Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks..." The classic song, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," has the line, "I don't care if we never get back," and many of us won't want the season to end. It will be fun for those on the field and the fans on the fences.
The season starts on Tuesday, March 20 in Tallassee. Opening day ceremonies will be on Saturday, March 24 beginning at 1:00.
My favorite baseball movie is "Bad News Bears" because it's about youth in baseball. The opening day in the flick is similar to ours in Tallassee, at least somewhat. I'm sure it's akin to many across the country.
The introduction of the teams is the real treat. Then we'll have the ceremonial first pitch before the games begin. We used to even have a parade in town with kids on backs of pickup trucks making the ride to the ballpark.
"It's not just the uniforms, it's the stories that you tell." Bill Murray's character in "Stripes" was talking about a different uniform, but it still applies.
What I enjoy most about those gamedays at the field is the numerous accounts of the days gone by. WIth the players and coaches, the ball keeps getting passed down to from generation to generation.
Many coaches played on the same green grass and red dirt. They coached their sons. Their sons are now coaching their grandsons.
Red Adair was a leadoff hitter on my late grandfather Thomas Stalnaker's Yankees. Red was telling me at Saturday's jamboree about when they were within a hair of winning the championship in his last year of Little League. Late in the game, he got caught stealing when the No. 2 hitter struckout. Slugger Bob Clayton hit one off the fence the next at-bat. They lost by a run.
Red's grandson now plays with my son on the 9/10 Yankees. Bob Clayton is coaching his grandson this season, just as he did with his own son Adam, who is now the head coach at Tallassee High School. Bob actually coached me in Little League ball when my grandfather had to give up the team to go to work on the second shift at the mill.
There are about 50 more of those connections. The more things change... the more they stay the same.
We're all looking forward to the season and of course the tasty ballpark burgers and dogs. They still have Big League Chew don't they?