I love kid’s baseball. I played it alot when I was a kid. I was not very good at playing on teams, partly because I never learned how. My first team was the Shetland Ponies, when I was 7. When 10 or 11, I was set up on a team called the Cardinals, where all the kids were nearly two years older than I was and that makes a huge difference. I struck out all that summer. I never got one hit. It got so bad I started crying before I even got up to bat. But with the neighborhood kids, it was a fair game and I did pretty well. Indeed, i loved it, from playing pickle to having real games with all the boys in the neighborhood.Yes, I was not great. But it was not about being great, and it was certainly not about money, as the game has come to be about today. It was about having fun and caring about the game. There is a big difference between kids getting together to play and organized teams. The difference is mostly due to the involvement of grown men, and their need to compete and beat each other. There is a military aspect to a coach yelling at his players, telling them we must win, and beat the other side. Kids tend to be much more fair and less disciplined, forced and orderly. As George Carlin rightly said, baseball, unlike football, is not about killing the other team, or “blitzing” them or “dropping bombs” on them, but about going “home” and “being safe”. In football, there is sudden death, but in baseball, we bring on the “relief” pitcher.
So the younger the better, as competition increases with older teams. And last year, when my son was six, I started drawing my son’s T-ball team. In our area there are few kids in the area who play ball, so joining a local team was necessary. I did an earlier drawing of him in 2013 when he was 4.
Here are some of the kids on his team in 2015, when he was six. The first and last in the first line of players are of him.
They play hard, hitting the ball off the tee, but as the summer goes on many of them end up getting pitched to, by the coach. Some can’t bat well, some are quite good, depending on how much they have played and who they played with. This year they all get pitched to, swinging hard at the ball. I like the informality of the younger teams, though I wish more women were involved as coaches. But the stress is on fun rather than winning. Score is not really kept between the teams, which is good.
I’ve tried drawing adult games a few times, and that has its interest. But I have to confess that kids ball has my heart more deeply in it. We have been boycotting the Cleveland Indians for years because they refuse to change their logo and mascot, which are both racist. I dislike corporate ball, of any kind really, football, basketball, soccer, hockey etc.. Money corrupts the game and it became more and more about the egos of team owners, drug taking players, pumped up on steroids and greed. Now they even claim a home run over the loudspeaker as a “Cleveland Clinic home run”, or some other corporation. The corporations take money from citizens so the rich owners don’t have to pay for the huge stadiums. The local population can be suckered into it. That is indeed, bread and circus, and we have not come far from Rome.
.Making a sport that businessmen own is corrupting of the game. I wish players owned all the teams and it was less about money and more about the joy of the game, like the kids play. But there are a few sketches I have done of the Akron Team, now called the Rubber Ducks, and the Erie Seawolves team. I drew a few pitchers. One with a beard like Henry Thoreau
An umpire, catcher and a batter at bat.
I also drew one of the fans, who had a beautiful auburn beard and a nice old hat, with his arm around his wife or girlfriend most of the game.
But as much as I enjoyed doing these drawings, I still prefer watching the kids.
I made this drawing of numerous smaller drawings form 2015 and 2016 on photoshop. The original catcher and hitter looked like this, below.
This is a better drawing but the batter is of parts of many kids, and in the end the result was a ten year old, not a seven year old. Since I had done another drawing from life that was better in terms of age, I put that in with photoshop. All of the drawings are done from life though a few have details I put in using photos, but I arrange them in groups using an image manipulator. So the image two drawings above is what I think are some of the best of the 7 year old kids.
The drawing above is done using the same method in 2015, so it is a year older and not quite as good. The perspective is too high, and that is my daughter hitting to all the boys playing in the field. I like it but the one in 2016 is better, in terms of realism.
My son plays with the 7 year olds and my daughter with the girls team, which is is 11 to 13 years old, and, as one would expect, they are the better players. Here are some of them.
It is worth it to see these drawings larger, as I think them some of the best that I did.
One of the last drawings I did was this one, a fairly complex picture of my daughter batting with a catcher and the crowd behind her, including some of the young women in the ‘dugout’.
I also did a composite image of what a larger version of this might start looking like.
Typical sketchbook page, 7×10 inches, June, 2015