Games galore: Why you should be watching more high school baseball

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

I never played baseball. Never even played tee-ball. I missed out on the formative years of the sport where kids were more concerned with digging holes in the outfield with sticks and searching for earthworms than about their hitting mechanics and ERA, and as a result the sport just kind of passed me by. Honestly, I could never get on board with standing still while some guy I didn’t know stood pretty close to me and threw a small, hard object as hard as he could in my general direction. The similarities between a batters box and a firing squad were always more than I could handle.

Baseball, at the professional level, is tough to watch. There is ample evidence to suggest professional baseball is rapidly fading from the precipice that American society placed the sport on more than 100 years ago. Try and sit down and watch a Major League Baseball game on television. You can’t. In a culture that has allowed the Fast and the Furious franchise to gross almost a billion domestic dollars, trying to sit down and watch the monotonous, slow paced national pastime unfold on a television screen for more than three hours just isn’t how the vast majority of people are spending their time. Professional baseball games on average lasted 3.13 hours last year, the longest average time ever, according to USAtoday.com.

Transition to high school baseball, and the tune changes tremendously. The localized, seven-inning product high school baseball sells is not only bearable, it’s enjoyable. The faster pace and familiarity that teams have with one another, coupled with the bona fide talent in the county, provides for entertaining matchups on a weekly basis.

There are six teams in Shelby County ranked in the top 10 by the ASWA in their respective classifications as of March 25. Thompson, Spain Park, Pelham, Briarwood Christian, Shelby County and Kingwood Christian all currently hold that distinction, while Chelsea, Oak Mountain, Vincent, Helena and Evangel Christian all boast above .500 records and have proven to be a tough out.

We’re moving into April now. The days are getting longer and the weather is making it increasingly harder to stay inside. With baseball games happening essentially every day, traipse over to a high school near you and catch a game. Chances are it will be a good one.