Category Archives: Opinion

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: water meters are a bad idea, West Capitol flop houses & more


No water metering
  (RE: News-Ledger editorial “The meters should be running,” Aug. 27)


Water meters, on the surface, sound like a great idea. Bill the people for the water they use. However, there are some huge problems with water meters, the main one being the finances for the city.
A few years ago San Jose asked people to reduce their water usage due to a previous drought.  The people did and reduced their water usage by over 20 percent. However since the bills were paid by the amount of water used, the water district had revenues that were also 20 percent lower than before.  The math was simple less water used means less revenue.  So the water district raised the rates by over 20 percent to cover “their” shortfall.  This of course incensed the people who saved water and now were being charged just as much for using a lot less water.  And of course when they went back to their normal water usage the water district received much more revenue, which they didn’t need.
I like our system, we reduced water usage by nearly 20 percent yet the revenues to the city did not change.  When the drought is over, we can go back to normal watering and it will not cost us extra.  I believe the people can do what is right without getting gouged by meters.  I believe enough people in West Sacramento are mature enough to know that using less water now is important and we have stepped up.  So no to water meters!
West Sacramento

Flop houses
I want to know what the city plans to do about the ongoing problem of these “Flop House” motels on West Capitol Avenue? Especially the West Wood. The folks “living” in these flop houses are not travelers looking for a night’s rest. They are not even there at night most of the time. And if they are, they are dealing drugs out the bathroom windows.  Or yelling and screaming at each other in the streets. These people all ride bikes (after all we are now a bike friendly city) towing a handmade bike trailer of some kind. Or walk around pulling a commercial tub or pushing a stroller full of yappy little matted-hair flea-bitten dogs. They roam the streets at night looking for anything and everything they can sell at the recycle place. I see them out on the corners stripping copper from wiring and leaving the “junk” laying there.
At least once a week someone will get “put out” of the flop house and  camp out on the street corner on Poplar & Merkley. Last week there were five suit cases dumped on the corner of Poplar & Merkley on Monday. By Saturday there was one lonely beaten down empty suit case laying on the corner. While out watering my lawn I saw 3 different people and one couple stop, flip it over and check it out to see if it was worth picking up. No one did.
And lets talk about Sunday nights in that area of the city. Monday is garbage collection day in that part of town. Well here they all come from parts far and wide with their bike towed carts or pushing/pulling grocery carts or commercial bins just waiting until dark to rifle through all the recycle/trash bins. It’s like a big party on Sunday nights. And heaven help anyone that gets in their way. The all congregate about sundown on the corner of Poplar and Merkley to make their plans on who covers what streets. They come and go to empty their carts of their finds into their rooms and the parking lots in front of their rooms, all night long.
I have lived in that area for almost 21 years and it has gotten progessively worse in the last two years. If I thought I could get a decent price for my house, I’d sell it and get out of West Sac. But who will buy with that going on? I used to be proud to live in “old downtown” West Sacramento. But all the city money seems to be being spent south of the barge canal.  Or around Raley Field. Something needs to be done. The police drive through at least once a week. But those people somehow know when the police are coming and disappear! It has got to stop!
West Sacramento

Seawater for fires
We have fire districts in the area who’ve lost thousands of gallons of water to vandals and thieves, and water districts throughout the state whose infrastructure is so dilapidated, that one broken main wastes millions of gallons of “the lifeblood of California.”
Salt water intrusion into our estuaries in the Delta is an environmental concern that is a serious threat to the healthy sustainability of both fish and game, etc. Salt water on most terrestrial plants will, in a great enough quantity, kill them.
Yet I foresee an unforeseen light at the end of this dismal tunnel; pump, pipe and/or transport by railroad tank car, salt water to urban fire districts for firefighting. Yes, you may lose your lawn, but there may be enough water left over to save your home.

West Sacramento

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EDITORIAL: West Sacramento’s water meters should be running


In this time of drought, most West Sacramento residents have water meters that are going unused.

It’s like this:

Homes built since 1992 have come with water meters attached. Older homes didn’t. The City of West Sacramento is chipping away at this deficit by installing water meters neighborhood by neighborhood, until some point several years from now when every home has a water meter.

It’s too expensive, officials believe, to finish this retrofit job all at once.

So as it stands (and you can see recent issues of the News-Ledger for more information) about two-thirds of West Sacramento’s homes now have water meters. In theory, these 8,400 residential customers could be billed according to how much water they use. Instead of paying a flat rate, no matter how much they use their taps, they could be billed “volumetrically.”

But even though 8,400 West Sacramento’s homes have meters, meters are only being used to bill about 11 percent of those homes. The rest are still paying a flat rate.  This is because metered billing is still voluntary in this city. Even if you have a meter installed, you will keep paying a flat water rate unless you opt into metered billing. You have to call and ask the city to switch.

If you don’t make that call, you’ll pay the same flat rate for your water service regardless of whether you are a water hero or a water hog.

With metered billing, the city can set a base rate for modest users of water and charge them a little less. It could then charge heavy water users extra, encouraging them to scale back. Billing by meters, quite simply, will result in water conservation. When people have to pay for what they use, they use less.

Why don’t West Sacramento officials work harder to transition everyone with a water meter into the metered billing system?

Because they want to keep things simple. They don’t want some water customers billed on a flat rate because they don’t have meters yet, while others are forced into a metered rate. So the city plan is to wait several years until everyone has a water meter, and then switch everybody at once.

West Sacramento has made a choice between a simple plan and a plan that maximizing water savings. Water saving took second place. Since there’s no guarantee when this drought will come to an end, that’s not a very wise or very progressive local policy.

A better option would be to keep installing meters, and to give every metered home a grace period before it’s switched to metered billing. That would be in keeping with the spirit of State Water Code Section 527.

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Letters to the editor: change the ‘Redskins’ name; fund early childhood education


June 18, 2014

NORMA ALCALA: representing West Sacramento's River City Democratic Club (News-Ledger file photo)

NORMA ALCALA: representing West Sacramento’s River City Democratic Club (News-Ledger file photo)

Change the ‘Redskins’!

During the NBA Finals, viewers saw a message sponsored in part by the Yocha Dehe Wintun tribe of Yolo County.  The commercial highlights a racial slur that has persisted as the name of a team mascot for over seventy years:  “Redskins.”  For many years, Native Americans, including the National Congress of American Indians,  have asked the Washington  Redskins to change the name of their mascot.  The name “Redskins” has its historical origins in a deplorable history of genocide against Native Americans, including massacres at “Wounded Knee,” “Eagle Lake,” and “the Trail of Tears.”  To many Native Americans, “Redskins” is an offensive racial slur in the same manner that the “n” word is offensive to African Americans or the “w” word is offensive to Latinos.

Recently on YouTube, I listened with great admiration to courageous statements from Yocha Dehe Wintun tribal leaders Marshal McKay and James Kinter calling for an end to seventy years of racial slurs by the Washington Redskins. It is appalling that in the wake of the Clippers scandal such racial slurs are not universally condemned.

I see many similarities in the actions of Washington team owner Daniel Snyder and Donald Sterling of the Los Angeles Clippers.  I am particularly disturbed that Daniel Snyder defends rather that apologizes for the slurs.  Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder should put an end to a seventy year old racial slur that has persisted far too long and change the team mascot.

NFL owners should grant Tribal chairman Marshal McKay and Tribal Secretary James Kinter an opportunity to speak to them and make their case for changing the name.  If the NBA can force Donald Sterling to sell the Clippers over a racial slur, surely the NFL can require a team owner to cease marketing a racial slur.  The NBA permitted Kevin Johnson to address them concerning retention of the Kings.  How much more important is it for the NFL to allow tribal leaders to speak to them concerning the eradication of a vestige of racism?

President River City Democratic Club
West Sacramento


June 11, 2014

This is a summary of a letter sent by First 5 Yolo to members of the California State Legislature:


Don Saylor, Yolo County Supervisor and chair of the Yolo County Children's Alliance (courtesy photo)

Don Saylor, Yolo County Supervisor and chair of the Yolo County Children’s Alliance (courtesy photo)

Fund the children

After years of program cuts to child care and preschool programs, including the elimination of over $1 billion in funding and 110,000 child care slots in California, this year brings an exciting opportunity for reinvestment in early education.  The Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Senate and Assembly budget committees recently adopted budget priorities for funding child care and early education.

First 5 Yolo thanks the legislature for making children and families a priority again in California and urges moving forward with a timely budget to the Governor that includes 1) increasing payments to private child care providers serving low-income children, 2) increasing child care subsidy slots, preschool w/wrap around care and part-day preschool slots, 3) increasing funding for on-going and one-time only quality improvement activities such as professional development for child care providers, 4) eliminating state preschool family fees and, 5) adjusting existing programs to provide and strengthen early learning and care opportunities for all low-income children

A 2010 study by Nobel Laureate economist James Heckman demonstrated that every dollar invested in high quality early education generates seven dollars in returns.

Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke stated “Economically speaking, early childhood programs are a good investment, with inflation-adjusted annual rates of return on the funds dedicated to these programs estimated to reach 10 percent or higher,” and noted by Ross Thompson, distinguished Professor of Psychology at UCD in a recent article “The two distressing realities of the achievement gap are that when children enter school, the gap is already there,” he continued. “The other reality is that school experience doesn’t narrow the achievement gap, it widens it. So to close the achievement gap, to begin narrowing those differences in language ability, mathematical skill, other cognitive abilities, you’ve got to look earlier.”

Child care and early education are critical issues for families in Yolo County, but the cost is frequently too high for First 5 Yolo to make a significant impact.  Therefore, we urge your support to appropriate newly available funds in California to assist in bridging the achievement gap and providing equity in education for the youngest of California children.

First 5 Yolo
First 5 Yolo

  Editor’s note: “First 5 Yolo” is funded through the state by tobacco taxes. The organization supports programs such as early childhood education (hence, “first five years”) that benefit young children.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

High school graduation time: both over-rated and fondly recalled


Another high school graduation week is upon us. Seventeen and eighteen-year old students all over the nation will be marching down their respective aisles, having endured weeks of practicing and hearing “Pomp and Circumstance” being played over and over again by young bands not always gentle on the ear.

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

Our sons and daughters will have also tried hard to write down something funny and memorable in all of their friends’ yearbooks, told a few select and grateful teachers that they are actually going to miss them, collected as much cold-hard-cash as they possibly could from all their relieved relatives, and spent at least one night absolutely determined to party-hearty until the sun came up.

No more will they be spending their noon hour in a quad or a socially segregated school cafeteria where the cheerleaders, athletes, intellectuals, those in school government, and even the hoodlums all had their special little set-aside areas where they gathered to eat and talk over their common problems and experiences. And maybe best of all, no longer will the hardcore unpopular, that unfortunate group of outcasts represented by the different, the soon to be really successful, the shy and introspective, and those too smart and wise even for the intellectuals, have to put up with a daily existence all too often defined by how cruel and insensitive young people can be to each other.

For my money, I have always thought that high school graduation (and the four often torturous years which lead up to it) is the most over-rated, and yet somehow most fondly remembered, rite of passage in a person’s youth. And when I hear someone my age say that their high school years were the best time of their life, I secretly question what kind of sadly uneventful life they must have lived.

Anyway, I was talking to a longtime friend about all this the other day and she said, “But don’t you at least enjoy going to your class reunions?”

“I’ve only been to one,” I answered, “and the most interesting part was that all the beauty I had remembered the popular girls having had somehow faded, while many of the unpopular girls had grown up to be really attractive, both inside and out. I think that may be one of those little jokes that God likes to play on us from time to time. Oh, and it was also interesting to see how most of the really tough (mean is probably the more accurate word) guys I went to high school with seemed to have disappeared from the face of the earth. I think what might have happened to them is that once everyone had graduated and got a real life, they all ended up on more or less the same street corner, with no job or future and no one to impress and beat on except each other.”

“You know,” said my friend, “I think guys and girls experience high school in very different ways. Me and most of my friends were into things like getting good grades, meeting the right boy, going to the dances, getting along with our teachers, having slumber parties, cheering the team on to victory, yelling really loud at spirit rallies, being friendly and saying hi to everyone we met in the hallway, that sort of stuff. In other words, we were having fun while you poor guys were doing all of that stupid testosterone stuff.”

Although I have very few fond memories of my high school years, I think there is one really great thing about all graduations, be it from a high school or a college campus – the commencement speeches! And for all of you local graduates who just might thumb through the News-Ledger this week, here are a few excerpts from past graduation speeches that just might be worth checking out:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your own heart and intuition.” — Steve Jobs

“What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.”  –George Saunders

“You have about 30,000 days in your life. You are already down to around 23,000. Don’t waste any of them!” — Drew Houston

“You can be either a passive victim of circumstance of an active hero of your own life. Action is the antidote to apathy and cynicism and despair. You will inevitably make mistakes. Learn what you can and move on. At the end of your days, you will be judged by your gallop, not your stumbles.” — Bradley Whitford

“Being pre-approved for a credit card does not mean you have to apply for it.” — Stephen Colbert

“Listen to your inner voice, as long as it doesn’t lead to crime.” —  Lisa Kudrow

“Darling, just change the channel. You are in control of the clicker. Don’t replay the same bad, scary movie.” — Arianna Huffington

“Life is not about warming yourself by the fire. Life is about building the fire. And generosity is the match. If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. But if you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” — Larry Lucchino

“Respect people with less power than you.” — Tim Minchin

“Always remind yourself that you are stronger than you seem, braver than you believe, and smarter than you think.” — James Carville

“Your life will have many chapters, complete with crazy characters, villains and a plot you can’t even imagine as you sit here today. It’s going to be a lot like a ‘Scooby Doo’ episode.” — Shayin Alfonsi


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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Whooo is that in the trees?

Great Horned Owl (Photo by Mary K. Hanson, Tuleyome Association)

Great Horned Owl
(Photo by Mary K. Hanson, Tuleyome Association)

NEWS-LEDGER — MAY 7, 2014 —

by Mary K. Hanson
Tuleyome Association

I was walking with my dog through a stretch of riparian (river side) habitat in the region, and was suddenly attracted to the sound of a group of Acorn Woodpeckers, high up in the trees, having a squawking fit over something, so I went to see what the problem was.

At first, all I saw was the woodpeckers themselves.  They were in quite a tizzy, shouting their loud rasping calls as they jumped from branch to branch, flashing their wings.  I couldn’t see anything in the tree that might have been the cause of such a ruckus, however, so I looked around a bit more.  And then I spotted it.

In another tree just a few feet away was a huge Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus).

Basking in the early morning sun, he swiveled his large head around, looked at me with sleepy amber-gold eyes and then proceeded to completely ignore me.  I couldn’t ignore him, though.  In fact, I think I stood there for about 20 minutes or so just watching him and taking photographs.  Great Horned Owls are one of the most easily recognizable owls in the country, but I’d never seen one this close up before.  I was mesmerized.

Sometimes called “Cat Owls” because of their ear-like tufts, Great Horned Owls occupy a wide variety of habitats in California including riparian forests, cliff sides, deserts and even residential areas. And they’re not particular about where they nest either.  These owls may take over the treetop nests of other large birds, or move into an abandoned squirrel’s nest, occupy stumps, ledges, barns and “owl boxes” or other manmade structures.

Nesting season is generally between December and July – so we’re right in the middle of it, now.  Although they only use a nesting site once in a season and don’t return to it the next year, the owls are good tenants with both parents looking after their young nestlings and one another.  Female Great Horned Owls usually lay 2 or 3 eggs in a clutch and then both parents take turns incubating them, with the male leaving the nest only to hunt down food for his mate.

Great Horned Owls have a somewhat broad diet which can sometimes include other birds (which explains why the Acorn Woodpeckers were so upset that the owl was so nearby) and prey larger than themselves, but they most often stick to mice, rabbits, squirrels and other small mammals, including skunks. Like all owls, the Great Horned Owls tend to swallow their meals whole, and then regurgitate up the indigestible parts like bones and fur in “pellet” form.  (It’s not uncommon to find complete mouse skulls in these pellets.)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been able to spot several of these large handsome birds in the local area – including a female in her nest above an outcropping of mistletoe — so keep an eye out for them, especially if you’re walking just before dusk when they’re heading out to hunt or just after dawn when they’re heading back to their daytime resting sites.  And remember to take lots of photos!

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Random pearls of wisdom on death — a subject often avoided

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor


One of my tasks at the News-Ledger is to organize and edit the obituaries that come across my desk most weeks. It’s a job I always try to take seriously since an obituary is usually the last words that ever appear in print about a person. What makes it especially difficult now and then is when the obituary is about a person I have known and liked, which seems to be happening much too often nowadays.

I guess as we all get older, when we learn that a family member or a friend of our youth has passed away, it is only natural to give death a little more thought than we usually do. And there has always been much about death that makes absolutely no sense to me. I mean, just when we human beings finally start figuring out what life is all about, it’s usually about time to wrap the whole thing up. So, over the years, I have found myself looking to others to help me get my head around the fact that none of us are going to get out of this thing alive, and here is a little bit of what I have learned, starting of course with Shakespeare, whose insights into the human condition know no equal.

“Cowards die a thousand times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear death;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.”

There are also those who take an even more pragmatic way of looking at death, like the platoon sergeant who crawled up to me in the middle of a firefight in Vietnam to see if I had enough ammunition, and when he realized I didn’t have enough spit left in my mouth to speak, he smiled and said, “Fisher, dying is no big deal, anyone can do it.”

There are those whose faith plays a big role in the way they look at dying, summed up I think by a very religious friend of mine who once told me, “I’m not afraid of dying at all, since all it means to me is that I get to go home.”

Woody Allen, whose movies are often overflowing with his fear of death, thinks it would actually be best to live our lives in reverse.

“In my next life, I want to live my life backwards. You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old folk’s home feeling better every day. You finally get kicked out for being too healthy. You work for 40 years until you are young enough to enjoy your retirement. You party, drink alcohol, and are generally promiscuous until you are ready for high school. You then go to an elementary school, become a kid, and spend your days playing. Then you become a baby and spend the next nine months floating in luxurious spa-like conditions and then finish your life off as an orgasm.”

Then there is the wonderful 17th century poet John Donne, who wrote the following famous poem, entitled “Death, be not proud”:

“Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better then thy stroke; why swell’st thy then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.”

Susan Sontag had these sobering words to say about death: “For those who live with neither religious consolations about death nor with a sense of death as natural, death is the obscene mystery, the ultimate affront, the thing that cannot be controlled. It can only be denied.”

And for those of us who have never been able to understand why so many good people seem to die so early in life, there is this from Hemingway, which I have come to believe is very true:

“The world kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these, it will kill you, too, but there will be no special hurry.”

Helen Keller, who was left deaf and blind from an illness at the age of two, saw death very simply: “Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there’s a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I will be able to see.”

Anyway, the older I get, and the more family members and friends I lose as they move on to bigger and better things, the more I have come to realize that although maybe the great writers and poets have come to understand death, all I really seem to know about it can be summed up in one little sentence from Emily Dickinson:

“Parting is all we know of heaven, and all we need of hell.”


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Copyright News-Ledger 2014




If you’re a Facebook user, you can follow many West Sacramento sports and get up to date photos and information at the “Memories for Generations by De’Onna Jack” page, here.

There’s nothing like pee-wee baseball


  Note: For the past few weeks I’ve been going over to a little hidden-away baseball diamond at Southport Elementary School to watch two of my grandsons practice with their teammates for their upcoming West Sacramento Little League season. Their team, called the Raptors, is being coached by my son-in-law and oldest son, which should turn out to be a hoot in itself, and watching them work really hard to get the Raptors all squared away for Opening Day suddenly reminded of the following column, which was penned almost 20 years ago:

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

The coming of spring in the Sacramento Valley means different things to different people. To the sun worshiper, it means that endless months of depressing rain and white skin are almost over; to allergy-sufferers, it means it’s time to start sneezing and blowing your nose again; to the lover of gardening, it’s time to prepare the soil for all that glorious plant growth that is just around the corner; and to the local parent of young boys, it’s time to try and find a way out of being their Little League baseball manager or coach.

This year, however, my youngest son, Kyle, has talked me into signing up to manage his pee-wee baseball team (the Reds) in the West Sacramento Little League. His argument was simple and effective. Since I had managed his older brother’s pee-wee teams, I owed him.

“If you’re the manager, Dad,” he said with deep conviction, “I’ll get to be the pitcher!”

“But it doesn’t exactly work that way, Kyle,” I tried to explain. “Plus in pee-wees, there is no pitcher. Everyone hits off of a tee.”

“Right,” said my son, obviously starting to question just what kind of manager I was going to be if I didn’t even know that you need a pitcher to play baseball.

“Kyle,” I said, “to tell you the truth, I’m a little burned out on Little League baseball coaching. Maybe you could wait another year? You’re only six, you know.”

“But Dad,” he said with his most pathetic voice, “that’s what you said last year.” Then he looked up at me with those big brown eyes of his and a facial expression that left no doubt he was thinking those awful words which all parents fear: “You love my brothers (or sisters) more than me!”

So, once again, it was time to break out the fluff balls and undersized mitts and prepare my ears for that awful aluminum “clink” of the bat. Thankfully, by the time I had called all twelve of the Reds and told them about their first practice, I was beginning to feel some of the old fun and excitement which pee-wee baseball brings out in almost everyone who participates. And with all the phone calls completed, I sat back for a few minutes and tried to remember some of the things required of a successful pee-wee manager.

First, you have to be really good at tying double-knots. Pee-wees are, for the most part, six and seven year olds, and almost all of them will show up for every practice (and the majority of their games) with at least one shoe untied.

Second, you have to be great at finding things. Pee-wees lose their hats, their bats, their gloves, their snack-bar money, and even their parents from time to time.

Third, you have to be able to anticipate potty breaks. This can usually be done by noticing how the players on my team are standing. If they are squirming, holding their legs tightly together, and making funny faces, you need to get them over to the bathroom ASAP!

Fourth, you have to be accomplished at being able to talk some sweet, unsuspecting soul into being the team mother. She is the person who has to, among many other things, organize the team float for the Opening Day parade, get other busy mothers to work in the snack bar, and collect all the money from the candy sale. This person always ends up being a saint in my eyes.

Fifth, you have to be able to quickly establish a set of often-repeated rules, the most important being that only one pee-wee at a time (the hitter) can have a bat in his or her hands. There is simply nothing quite as frightening as watching five or six eager young pee-wees with baseball bats in their hands warming up for batting practice in the same area at the same time.

Sixth, you have to be able to cheerfully accept the fact that the attention span for a perfectly normal pee-wee is approximately 30 seconds, and  on warm, sunny afternoons with interesting-looking puffy white clouds floating above them, even that number drops dramatically.

Seventh, you have to have energetic adult base coaches with loud and distinctive voices. Pee-wees love to get on base and race around the diamond, but they’re not always sure just when to take off or what direction to go. A good base coach can get them pretty skilled at running to first base instead of third when they hit the ball, but only a great one can organize things from that point on.

And finally, and maybe most important of all, you have to be able to make all the team’s parents and grandparents truly believe that pee-wee baseball isn’t the big show, and that it’s not about winning and losing, but rather riding around in a homemade float on Opening Day, free after-the-game popcorn and snow cones from the snack bar, pizza parties with teammates, good sportsmanship, and learning to love the game.

“Dad,” said my six-year old son as he wound himself up in front of me in his new Reds baseball jersey and released his best imaginary fastball, “you know what?”

“What, Kyle?”

“The Reds are going to kick butt!”


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