The Cambrian

T-Ball: simpatico, smiles and so much satisfaction

T-Ball Red Sox coach Matt Smith positions his players.
T-Ball Red Sox coach Matt Smith positions his players. PHOTO BY MAHALA BURTON

I magine for a moment a baseball game with no competitive voices yelling from the stands, no umpires arguing with the coaches — and instead of winners and losers, just laughter, smiles and good will.

Welcome to the Cambria Red Sox, one team in the four-team Saturday morning T-Ball league at the Cambria Grammar School’s lower ball field.

Red Sox coach Matt Smith says he got involved because he has three kids in the grammar school and he “always wants to be involved.”

Here’s how it works: A baseball is placed on top of a rubber “T” at home plate. A five-or six-year-old boy or girl takes a swing at it and hopefully hits it.

“It’s non-competitive,” Smith explains. “There’s no outs, no score, no winning or losing. In our league all the kids get to come to bat during each of the two innings.”

Each player runs one base and when the last batter hits, “they all run home after that,” Smith continues. “It’s really cute.” The attention span of kids that age is of course is limited, and Smith explains that “about 90 percent of the kids, when they hit the ball, stand there at home plate. Which way, they wonder, then they run.”

When asked what size bats the players use, Smith answers, “Very small. The girls want to use the pink ones and the boys want to use the blue ones.”

The very first thing Smith teaches his players is “to throw the ball to me. ‘What do you want me to do?’ they ask. They don’t know whether they are right-handed or left-handed.”

Smith, a rancher on Santa Rosa Creek Road, also teaches them to catch the ball, to squeeze the mitt at exactly the right moment. “Then they look inside their mitt and see if they caught it.”

Mahala Burton, the grandmother of Red Sox player Alex Burton-Linn, said she can’t imagine “a better way to spend a Saturday morning than watching a group of little kids involved in such a healthy activity.”

The Red Sox play every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at the Cambria Grammar School.

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