Baseball is designed for series play

Published 10:59 pm Tuesday, March 10, 2009

There’s something special about going to a Friday night sporting event and hanging on every play because may decide your future. High school baseball in Alabama is missing out.

Friday night, I attended Pelham’s first area baseball home game against rival Thompson. The game, part two of a Class 6A, Area 10 series, had everything baseball should — entertaining baseball and atmosphere. If you didn’t know how old the kids were playing and couldn’t tell at times that this was high school, you would have thought you were at a Rookie League or A ball game.

The atmosphere at Bobby Hayes Field was great for Friday night baseball. While part of that was the timely sound affects from the PA, apetizing smell from the concession stand and scores of kids playing behind the bleachers. But a key, I believe, in getting the crowd there was not only because of a rivalry, but because it was an area series.

Our county’s Class 6A teams know how to do things right, or at least are attempting to, by playing their area games in a series-like format, the way baseball is meant to be played.

Class 6A, Area 10 is the only area in the county that sets its schedule this way, creating exciting games back-to-back, making every Friday night count, instead of waiting three weeks to play your second game against an area foe.

The only downside to this schedule is that games are Tuesday and Friday, often leaving non-area games to be sandwiched in between. One suggestion to make this better is a Friday and Saturday series as played in college and in the state playoffs.

Another disadvantage of this is that things are not even with a five-team rotation. For instance, Pelham will have two weeks away from area play beginning this week, while Hoover gets a late start after sitting out last week. There’s no real good solution short of adding another quality team to one of the state’s toughest areas.

Despite the two flaws, Class 6A, Area 10 has the right idea. Now the state should catch on.

Outside the Lines is a weekly opinion column.