After another chilly fall and winter season here in Rhode Island, Spring is less than 24 hours away. And with Spring, comes outdoor baseball practices, games, tournament, events, and Rhode Island Baseball Experiences for our young baseball players. Youth baseball leagues are hosting final in person registrations to recruit players. Tryouts are being held to determine who has developed skill wise over the past few months. Uniforms are being ordered. Baseballs, catcher’s equipment, bases are all being assessed for teams and leagues. And league administrators are reviewing rule books, checking with umpires, and holding coaches meetings.
And then there are the actual baseball fields and the grounds surrounding the fields. Having sat under tarps or blankets of snow for months, most fields will need considerable work to become playable. The towns and cities that manage the fields have a few short weeks in March and April before hundreds of kids and coaches run around on them. The mounds need work. The base paths from home to first and home to third need work. The sponsorship banners, so important to youth baseball programs, need to be hung up and displayed. Dugouts need to be cleaned. Most leagues have a designated “Field Day” where local volunteers show up with rakes and shovels and leaf blowers and more to help dress up the fields. These “Field Days” are mandatory in North Kingstown Wickford Little League if you want to be a coach in the league. And the kids are also welcome to come out and help.
Ordering uniforms, checking with umpires, assessing sports equipment, final registration sign-ups, tryouts, drafts, and field preparation are just some of the many task leading up to Opening Day. While a lot of these preparations have been evolving over the past few months, field preparation is typically reserved for when the snow melts. To get the fields in playing condition safety wise, it takes a lot of volunteer hours. Make sure your league is stocked with plenty of volunteers and players to assist your town field this Spring. I look forward to visiting all of the many great Rhode Island baseball fields this spring and recognizing the efforts of Town, City, and local volunteers who helped make our baseball fields safe and playable for the Rhode Island Baseball Experiences to come.