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Youth baseball sees many young players quit

August 13, 2013

NEW ULM — “We need to make these experiences for kids learning and fun experiences and not degrading all in the name of winning....

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Aug-14-13 10:32 AM

Very well written article Mr. Bastian. I agree completely with what Bryce and Bob stated in this article, and it is not just with baseball in New Ulm. As an umpire I have noticed a difference in how the younger players play the game, and have seen how the numbers are affecting the amateur level of baseball in the area as well. Thanks for writing this article and shedding some light on a subject few want to talk about.

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Aug-14-13 10:43 AM

Good article. If you take the fun out of sports the kids will soon follow. Too many parents and coaches are pushing camps, out of season leagues, individualized speciality coaches, etc... Youth sports is becoming a job. No wonder they all quit from burn out by 8th or 9th grade. The fact is that 1 out of every 1000 high school athletes receives a scholarship to play division 1 or 2 athletics. Parents need to back off and let the kids enjoy the playing the game. Get rid of "A" teams in the younger ages. The main reason that so many kids chose to play video games or other non-competitive activities is that there are no adults telling them what to do or yelling at them to win. Let them play.

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Aug-14-13 6:48 PM

It all started about 17 years ago when they started splitting up the kids into an "A" and "B" traveling team neither team did squat, too many so called "bigshots" in New Ulm Baseball had their idea of which kid was going to make it and which ones wernt . Politics are stinking up NU baseball

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Aug-14-13 10:00 PM

This is precisely the reason why I could care less if my kids are active in sports. I am perfectly fine with them being active in park and rec sports. Shelling out money to stay in hotels all around Minnesota every weekend for this tournament and that tournament isn't my cup of tea. I would rather take that money and spend it on a nice family vacation, and my kids would agree.

To each their own, but if having your kids in baseball means that you give up all your weekends in summer and have to deal with all the politics that goes along with it, then it isn't for me.

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Aug-14-13 10:06 PM

It is less about having fun and more about winning, and kids just aren't all cut out for that kind of pressure. I'm all for keeping score, but the pressure to win is so much higher when you have so much invested in playing the sport.

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Aug-15-13 12:48 AM

I have one big concern with this article. It is not whether you agree or disagree with the main premise, everyone has their opinion. My concern is why are the legion coaches, who are supposed to be the leaders of the summer team that brings the 3 NU schools together and benefits from all the hard work of the many volunteers at jr. Baseball, taking unwarranted shots at these very organizations. Directly saying that the ball players you get at the legion level don't know fundamentals (which may may not be true) is direct shot them in a very public manner. I don't believe theses two individuals, because of their positions as legion coaches did the perceived problem and the future of NU baseball any good. Coach Weier has a very good record at the HS and legion level, is his analysis of the perceived problem accurate? Maybe, maybe not. I just believe he did no good taking his shots at these other programs when he has benefited greatly from them and will again in the future.

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Aug-15-13 11:40 AM

Very poor journalism at best...why not get all sides on this topic or even better, all youth sports. Why weren't the other baseball coaches from public, MVL, VFW, Brewers, Searles, Essig etc...interviewed. How about softball, hockey, soccer and football? The sad part about this article is it was produced to take a direct shot at New Ulm Junior Baseball and make them look like the bad guys. When in all reality it's probably coming from a handful of disgruntled parents speaking to these two individuals. I truly hope the Journal gets New Ulm Junior baseballs reaction and speak to the whole board and not just the President. Another blame needs to be placed on the parents. How much time do they put in to helping their children's extra curricular readiness? As well as their educational needs. Ask the teachers, it's easy to place blame on teachers and coaches when the child doesn't succeed to the parents standards. Sad article and very poor journalism.

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Aug-15-13 12:04 PM

I don't really see it as taking shots at the JR. Baseball association. He stated that it is a problem that is recognized by the baseball association as well. The problem being, lack of numbers or kids who stick it out. I agree with Weier, it is a problem. Kids need opportunities to play and deserve to learn the proper fundamentals at the younger levels. Obviously some people are taking it personal and not realizing the impact it is having. Or actually the impact it will have 5, 10, or 15 years from now.

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Aug-15-13 12:25 PM

My son has since graduated so I don't follow HS sports as closely as I used to but this article prompted me to do a little research. In the past six seasons (that's as far as the web site I used went back), CHS is 116-30 & NUHS is 109-34. I couldn't find legion records, but I think the Legion team has made State three or four years in a row. As a father whose son played football, wrestled and played baseball at NUHS, I am left scratching my head a little bit reading this article. I think we won a total of 3 football games his Jr. and Sr. year and maybe 3 or 4 wrestling matches. Were were AWFUL in those two sports and it holds true today. Maybe Weier and Belter (who is this guy) have some valid points and I agree that youth sports has became a little aggressive, but I think the wheels are still on the bus when it comes to youth baseball in this town.

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Aug-15-13 1:24 PM

Yep123...I think it's great you commented on this. However; if you can't see that this article placed blame solely on New Ulm Jr Baseball, well you missed the boat. Why didn't Bastian ask Weirer to take ownership for his 7th, 8th and 9th grade programs when it came to teaching lack of fundamentals and how he plans to address it. These two so called experts on this subject said that those years are also part of the problem. I also wonder why only one of the three so called "problems" was explored in such depth...the first two in "no particular order" where just brushed by. Poor journalism, just saying. This should have been in the letter to the editor section and signed by Weier and this Boelter guy, whoever he is.

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Aug-15-13 1:59 PM

When I read this article I didn't think it was just about baseball. I think it is about most sports. I also didn't take it as being negative to any organization. I commend anyone who coaches. They don't get paid nearly enough for what they do. It takes many hours away from their family and it is very stressful. I think if Mr. Bastian really wanted to write a meaningful piece on this subject he should ask the athletes. Those that stay with it and those that don't. They are the ones making the decision. What impacts their decision? The hard part will be to get them to be honest. Not give the answers that their parents want or the answers the coach wants, but their true answers. Something needs to change for the future of sports. Not only are we losing kids, but we can't find coaches. How many applicants were there for each coaching position at the schools this past year? 1 or 2 for each position???

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Aug-15-13 2:38 PM

"unwarranted shots"? 1st of all, this wasn't a personal shot at an organization or school system, it was a wake-up call to those who care about the future of youth baseball in NU (which I fully understand IS NOT everyone). 2nd of all, the facts are that the numbers are drastically dwindling and interest is dying. That's not an opinion of this article. This article is the tip of the iceberg, hopefully more conversation occurs and changes can be made.

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Aug-15-13 4:12 PM

Heynow, Obviously you are not reading the article. You keep referring to Boelter with a "whoever he is" In the article it states his name...Bryce Boelter. That's who he is.

I'm not sure why Bastian did not ask about 7th-9th grade programs, you would have to ask him that. I'm sure Bastian asked questions, to which Weier and Boelter answered.

I believe Weier addressed it in the article. He acknowledged that the baseball association RECOGNIZED the issues and are discussing it. I agree that it is poor journalism, but I feel that he gave honest answers to questions he was asked.

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Aug-15-13 5:33 PM

My 22 year old son brought up a good point after reading this article. Drive by the local city parks and do you ever see anyone in a 3 on 3 basketball game, having a homerun derby, playing touch/tackle football? NOPE! Instead they tweet, snap chat, instagram and browse facebook. THE MODERN DAY KID IS LAZY! "You want to quit football and baseball and just play hockey, that's fine Billy." Went to my neighbor boys t-ball game a couple of week ago (5 years old) and they had four teams of 4 players each for the entire City of New Ulm! Another good point my son brought up was he was labeled a "B" player and didn't make the "A" traveling team when he was 10-13 in NUJB. Instead of whining about it and quitting like kids and parents do today and blaming "politics", he worked his tail off to be a better player and at age 14 made the "A" team. He turned out to be an all conference baseball player is senior year. Just think this article was

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Aug-15-13 6:08 PM point on Boelter is I don't know who he is and what makes him qualified to make comments on this matter...I'd like to here from more head coaches on this subject that can bring credibility and be none may have some very good points, however, I just feel this article could have been written better. Such as exploring to see if numbers are dropping in other sports...I know overall class sizes in our schools are smaller then in the past...the towns average age is well above new businesses are bringing young people in...lots of variables to why numbers are down...can't blame one group or added attention to one group. It just feels like Bastian shot from the hip here.

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Aug-15-13 6:56 PM

This was a hatchet job of an article. Jimmy's looking for reactions from the readers and it appears he's getting what he wants.

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Aug-15-13 8:07 PM

Why in the world was Bryce Boelter interviewed for this article? We have two other head high school coaches in town that I would have much rather heard from then an assistant summer team coach who I am not sure who he even is. How about a Activities Director talking about numbers in all sports? Why not give a couple of representatives of Jr. Baseball a chance to give comments? NU Figure Skating, NU Gymnastics Academy, Girl Scouts, all things my family was associated up until last year have much lower numbers then just two or three years ago. NUHS can't field teams all three levels (ABC) in girls basketball, softball and football due to low numbers. Skilled Laborer and HEYNOW-Right on with your posts!

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Aug-15-13 8:28 PM

First of all, I have known Jim Bastian, Bob Weier and Bryce Boelter for over 20 years and I know that they would NEVER do anything to hurt New Ulm baseball. If this article had been about New Ulm girl's basketball there would have been few posts. But baseball is New Ulm's "sacred cow>' There have been many posts on this article and obviously there are some problems in the youth baseball. I happened to talk to one current and one former NUJBA board member and they both agreed that there are problems that over the year have been either intentionally or unintentionally overlooked. As one current board member said that if he says anything about this, he gets ignored or swept under the table. I feel that the end results of this article can go one of two ways for New Ulm. One bad, one good. The good can come from the NUJBA addressing certain problems that they have with Bryce and Bob and the other two high school coaches and see where improvements - where needed - can be taken.

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Aug-15-13 8:31 PM

ADD 2:tThe other can ignoring what is happening and keep on the same path. I hope that the powers that be chose the first option for the sake of our baseball future.

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Aug-16-13 8:00 AM

Both sides of this argument need to not take it as a personal attack on them and focus on 1) recognizing the issues 2) talking about solutions from different sources, and then 3) implementing some change to try to solve the issues. That is the simple solution to adult problem solving. I know it involves change...for the benefit of the group. I guess you could do nothing and wait for the "I told you so's" later.

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Aug-16-13 8:06 AM

For those of you that don't know: Bryce Boelter has been a baseball purist that has supported and worked behind the scenes of NU baseball (all levels) for the better part of 30 years. He doesn't have a kid in the system, no politics, just loves baseball and knows baseball at a very high level (played at a high level as well). If it took his left arm to keep the programs running, he would offer that. That's his qualifications in a nutshell.

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Aug-16-13 8:54 AM

Integrity-I thought you looked/sounded familiar. You are the author of past posts to NU Journal articles that has rather strong negative opinions at anything involving ISD 88, including teachers, administration, COACHES, school board members, etc. But you certainly support Bob Weier.......interesting. I think I just heard your dryer buzzer. Your maroon t-shirts, sweatshirts, socks, and underwear are dry.

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Aug-16-13 11:21 AM

I can't speak for youth baseball but I can speak for other youth sports. Many kids today opt out of sports around that 12 yr old mark because the pressure to win becomes too great. That, for many kids overshadows any of the enjoyment they get from it. Despite what many adults might think kids do hear the yells and screams and it does impact them directly and in many cases negatively.

The other thing I see is kids begin to "specialize" at younger and younger ages these days. Those that opt to say in are more likely to focus on one or perhaps two sports when they reach their teen years.

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Aug-16-13 11:23 AM

Kirby, Why are you turning this into a school thing? I believe Boelter attended NUHS, and like Integrity stated, he lives for baseball. Very intelligent baseball guy.

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Aug-16-13 12:11 PM

The tradition of winning has been lost in the kids and the parents. Winning is FUN, but it is hard work and dedication. Kids need to be taught that with hard work and dedication comes success, not go through the motions and if you don't get what you want (to play or anything in life), that you complain in life or quit. This goes for everything. If I had a problem or concern with a coach or teacher, my parents told me to go talk with them and figure it out, also with sports, if I thought I should be playing and wasn't I was told maybe I should practice more, because if you actually are the best player on the field and work hard there is NO coach that isn't going to play you. Parents send you kids to school and have them strive for A's, Send them on the field and strive to be an A player and you will be setting them up for success. Kids take pride in what you are doing and push yourself like you never thought you could and you will be surprised with all the fun and happiness in life.

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