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Baseball as it’s meant to be played

June 19, 2012
The Journal

To the editor:

This past winter, my wife's parents moved into a beautiful assisted living center in the City of New Ulm. In late March, my mother-in-law experienced a serious illness and had difficulty caring for my father-in-law who already was very dependent on his wife's care. My wife and I found an apartment in New Ulm where we lived in the months of April and May to tend to her ailing parents before heading back to Kenosha, Wis., last week.

Being a fan of high school baseball, and having a fair amount of down time on my hands while living in your beautiful city, I had the chance to attend three games of the local Catholic High School and three games of the local Public School. I coached Junior Varsity and Legion Baseball in the Kenosha area for 20+ years before having some health issues of my own which no longer allow me to coach.

I watched the Eagles and Greyhounds run every ground ball out at full speed. When it didn't happen, I saw a player from each school on the bench the next inning. I saw pitchers backing up throws to third base and at home. I saw kids laying sacrfice bunts down and being greeted by their teammates like they just hit a home run while coming back to the dugout. I saw outfielders hitting cuts offs, and middle infielders having the foot work of college players while turning the double play. I arrived early enough to even catch the players of both schools entering the ballpark with their uniforms all tucked in, hats on the right way with brims bent! Couldn't say the same about a couple opponents. I saw a couple of blown calls go against the home team and both coaches of the two high schools treat those calls as just part of the game and encourage their team to move on to the next at bat or pitch. I saw a couple of thrown helmets and could hear some swearing, but it was from the opponents, not either New Ulm team.

I saw the kids from the two home town high schools playing the game the right way and most of all, and more importantly, they appeared to be having fun! I was amazed how a town of this sized could produce the level of fundamentally sound baseball it does at both the Catholic and Public High Schools. I will admit that I have not seen a high school game played as well as I did when I watched the Public School take on Fairmont High School at Miller Park. That was one of the best high school games I have seen in awhile. When I learned they were matching up for the section finals, I made the trip to Marshall and watched an even better game between the two schools in the first game of two that night.

I never had a chance to met the two coaches of these schools or athletic directors, but I want to tell them to keep up the good work. As an outsider looking in, with no affiliation to either school or the community of New Ulm, I want to commend the efforts of both the coaches and players of these schools for playing baseball the way it was meant to be played.

Rick Zellness

Kenosha, Wis.



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