What is wrong with the people in charge of maintaining the field conditions that local teams play on? Altoona wants teams from outside the area to come and play baseball in tournaments but the conditions of the fields they use are horrible.
The NABF tournament started Thursday, and they used Vets Field and Mansion Park - two really bad fields.
The infields are very rough. The grass part of the infields needs rolled, and the lips around the infields need manicured. Players from both the City League and Kelley Federation have expressed to me that they are hesitant to get in front of a batted ball because of the uncertainty of the hop it may take.
The mounds on both fields need work. Mounds should be built of clay, not dirt or sand. After two innings, both fields have a huge hole in front of the mound where the pitcher's foot lands. This causes control problems for the pitchers and accounts for the large number of walks in a game. I have seen several pitchers fall because of these holes, and some have sprained their ankles.
One coach remarked that he didn't want to play at Mansion Park because he didn't want any of his pitchers to get hurt. I don't blame him.
These young players could be future stars, but how do they overcome these obstacles to improve themselves?
Something must be done to improve the playing conditions at these fields. Players and fans alike have made comments about field conditions at both these fields.
John Austin proved to local players and fans that with a good effort and a little work this could be done. He took Juniata, the worst field in the city a few years ago, and turned it into the best field in the city.
The people in charge of Vets and Mansion Park should call Austin and get some pointers form him on how to improve their fields.
I'm sure this would lead to better baseball in our area.
(The writer is a long-time former City League player and current umpire).
Decision hurts older hunters
I would be willing to bet two things on the subjects of crossbows.
One, it was the naysayers who squawked about crossbows ruining the sport that caused the Pennsylvania Game Commission to reconsider legalizing (or de-legalizing) them for all archery seasons.
Two, it was these same naysayers (or ones like them) who squawked back when the compound bow was introduced, also using the argument that it would ruin the sport.
If a crossbow is unethical because it's easier to shoot than a compound bow, then why isn't a compound bow also unethical because it's easier to shoot than a recurve bow?
Archery is more popular now than it ever was. Modern bows have more bells and whistles than the space shuttle, and it doesn't appear to me that the sport has been ruined.
Possibly the real objection is because those who don't want the crossbows used are able to use compounds perfectly well and don't want the competition of additional hunters at "their" time of year.
Hunting is a sport. Most hunting requires you to be in reasonable physical condition in order to enjoy it properly. But hunting can be done, at some level, by anyone. Archery hunting is very different. It requires you to be somewhat of an athlete.
Anyone can learn to shoot a rifle accurately. Not everyone can shoot a bow accurately enough to be able to place a humane shot on a deer. Shooting a bow (compound or recurve) requires strength and coordination. Not everyone who hunts, healthy or not, has these qualifications.
And everyone who now hunts with a longbow will eventually see the day when their abilities fail, and they are no longer able to shoot a longbow well enough to place a humane shot.
There aren't many senior citizens out there now enjoying archery season. This new law could have changed that.
Strength and coordination fade with age. The time of the year when hunting is most enjoyable (October and early November) finds the older and the less athletic hunters hunting small game or turkeys, or just waiting for rifle season.
I would think that in these times of shrinking license numbers, due primarily, in my opinion, to the shrinking deer numbers, they would want to do whatever is necessary to enable more hunters to enjoy the sport and to be able to enjoy it longer.
Apparently they don't think like I do.