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As I was rounding the corner on my way to Lowes this Saturday; I noticed some kids taking batting practice in the cages at Memorial.It's that time, spring is in the air so it must be time for the kids to start looking for that glove for the start of a brand new baseball season. I could hardly believe my daughter when she told me about the $300 aluminum bats, bat bags, gloves; practice baseball pants cleats, a dozen baseballs, and a windbreaker she bought for my grandsons, just to begin a season. And this was some years back.

It was a little different back in my day(mid 50s) because football and basketball weren't really that popular, so it was pretty much (weather permitting) baseball all year round. That lay off from October to early February took its toll because it wasn't too long into our warm up throws, before a fastball hit the thumb area, wouldn't you know it, that was the part of the glove that was not well protected, creating a sprained thumb that would last for days. Then there were those first balls that hit our shin area and so forth. I remember being proud of the baseball callus I acquired. We didn't have batting gloves, shin and elbow protectors, and the black gumbo ground was as hard as any parking lot. If we were lucky we had about four baseballs and three wooden bats. We felt like we were on top of the world if we had just one brand new white shinny ball. We did have a good field. Resurrection Cemetery must have turned a blind eye because we built our field on their grounds but being kids, we never asked for permission. I believe a lot of the property owners allowed makeshift ball fields back then. It wasn't until I started coaching baseball in Victoria that I had to get used to designate fields. I saw some baseball coaches almost go to blows over fields and when youth soccer first became popular the problem escalated but that's a story for another blog.

It wasn't long after our initial two weeks of informal neighborhood games before it was time to go to an area around Scott field to sign up for little league baseball. We got our uniforms and fund raising candy that our parents, relatives, and step -dad's work mates would have to buy. It seemed that the worst players would go to house to house and sell more than anyone. Perhaps that's why I don't have any salesman's skills. We didn't have many teams back then, so everyone knew what team they were going to play for. My mother would always scrounge up the registration money by doing some extra sewing. I never had my own bat, much less a bat bag, I might have owed a few well used baseballs, but I'm pretty sure my well worn baseball glove lasted more than three years. I don't remember any trophies, but we got to keep our baseball caps which we wore everywhere except to church.Oh,and if we were good or lucky enough to make the all star team;the "V" on front of our baseball cap was our trophy.

This is the time of the year a lot of us think it will be the Houston Astro's year but we have been saying that for years.