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Syosset Baseball Association Holds Sandlot Day

One of the visions of Syosset Baseball Association is to work closely with managers and coaches to ensure that they provide the proper instruction and discipline to players on and off the field, both in-game and in practice situations.

To this vision and goal, Mr. Robert Jolson, President of Syosset Baseball Association, contacted Youth Sports New York to meet with the Board of Syosset Baseball Association. After the meeting, it was determined that Syosset Baseball Association would provide, at no cost to each participating manager and coach, a Manager/Coach certification ensuring that these volunteers on the fields have been professionally guided on how to help our kids.

Youth Sports New York, through the direction of SUNY, feels that sports should be fun with guidelines in place, but that it isn’t all about winning. Often, this is taken out of context and winning becomes the primary reason and motivation for kids in sports.

Youth Sports New York felt that before the world of today, many of the adults and parents who used to go to the local park to see who was playing for a pickup game would go just to have fun. Why not bring this to the kids with a designated day called “Sandlot Day”?

All Syosset Baseball Association players, from A Division through AAA Division, were invited down to the park from 11 a.m. to dusk, as the park would close for a pickup game. There would only be one adult supervisor, but the game would be put back into the kid’s hands. Pick your own teams; make your own rules, no measuring of bases, no measuring of the pitcher’s mound, etc.

On Sunday, June 13, Syosset Baseball Association declared Sandlot Day at Michael Lewis Wolkis Field. As the 11 a.m. time approached, the kids started walking in from all parts of the park and parents’ cars started coming towards the circle to drop their kids off.

The kids were provided with the bare minimum from SBA: a few baseballs, a few bats, a set of rubber bases and a few batting helmets, just in case someone didn’t have one, and most importantly, a field. Mr. Jolson addressed the kids, telling them what he used to do as a kid and this was their day to choose sides, make the rules and play to have fun. With that, the kids started pairing off as Mr. Jolson left the field to tell the parents what he told the kids, and what to anticipate as the day unfolded.

To everyone’s surprise, the teams were put together promptly, the players shared one dugout, determined rules prior to the game and added to the rules as the game went on. Both teams used first and third-base coaches, choosing to have each coach put on a protective batting helmet; no parent was there to guide and instruct them to do these things.

The Wolkis field is a dirt field with no pitching mound, but there was a portable mound off to the side of the field. Several of the players wanted that mound put on the field, so they collectively tried to lift and move it. They found that they needed more reserves. The reserves came in, but that still wasn’t enough. Finally, all of the approximately 25 kids in attendance came together, lifted the mound and walked it into position where the pitchers mound would be without any measuring. Together, all the parents applauded the kids for their teamwork.

The games went on throughout the afternoon, with some adjustments of players to even out the teams, only to have parents pick kids up for family commitments after approximately 3 hours of just-for-fun baseball.

Syosset Baseball Association and those parents who chose to stay to watch the fun, felt that this day was truly a success and a hit with the kids. Syosset Baseball Association would like to personally thank each and every participating player for joining in this fun day and making this day so special, and thank the parents for bringing their kids and encouraging them to be a part of this fun, unstructured baseball day.

More information on Syosset Baseball Association can be found on the web at www.syossetbaseball.org.