The Rhode Island Baseball Experience Final Swings – The Tee Ball Program
Most baseball players will tell you that they started their baseball career in a Tee Ball program. It is true that some skip the Tee Ball days and go right to hitting live off a coach or even further, off another Little Leaguer. The Tee Ball Program is designed to be fun, engaging, instructional, and to introduce players and parents into the world of organized baseball. What’s great about Tee Ball? Well, how much time do you have? It is a non-competitive, memories galore, photographer’s dream, incredibly family orientated baseball program that draws some of the largest crowds in most youth baseball leagues. Wins and losses don’t matter at all. It’s just pure baseball for every practice and every time your child steps onto that field.
Another great thing about Tee Ball is you don’t really need a field. You just need an open space, some cones, maybe a few plastic bases to plop down on the ground, a few willing volunteers/coaches, and the players to show up. In a previous blog, I mentioned that I got my start on the back fields of Hamilton Elementary in Wickford. My sons got their starts in baseball on the open fields of Wickford Elementary. Tee Ball baseball are essentially rubber balls dressed up to look like baseballs. You have an adjustable height “T” stand which the coach places the baseball on, and you just swing away. Everyone hits, everyone gets to field, everyone plays every inning of every game. Sounds pretty fun, huh?
Here are a few actual Tee Ball Fields I have seen throughout Rhode Island (I’m sure there are others):
Exeter West Greenwich Little League
Carney Tee Ball Field, former Fairlawn Little League
Pineview Little League – not sure if this is a Tee Ball set up but it sure looks like one!
As I stated earlier, I am sure there are others, these are the few that popped into my head this morning as I was writing this blog. Tee Ball players are the most photographed and talked about during any Opening Day ceremony or parade. They are the cutest, their uniforms are often way too big for their little frames, their hats barely fit, their just so priceless in their little baseball outfits!!! Here are a few parades and Opening Days I have been lucky enough to attend with some of those Tee Ballers in attendance:
Pawtucket Slaterettes Girl’s and Women’s Baseball League
Wickford Little League Opening Day
Opening Day Clinic run by NKHS Baseball Team
The Tee Ball Years are so memorable. The kids get to experience their first glimpses of sportsmanship, hand-eye coordination, following sports instructions from coaches, some athleticism with running the bases and catching fly balls and chasing down the ice cream truck when the bells ring out. It is true, I have seen greatness at a Tee Ball game. I have seen players swing the bat with a natural ability that many players 10 years older than them with dream of. I have seen players run to first with the burst of speed that screams “ATHLETE.” I have seen players start with zero baseball knowledge and complete Tee Ball as one of the best in the program. All they need is a ride to and from practice and your encouragement as parents/guardians/grandparents/siblings. Baseball will take care of everything else!
Here is my plug now for every Rhode Island youth baseball league from West Warwick to Westerly National to Newport to Apponaug to Cranston East and Cranston Western Little League. If your child is league age (for those of you unfamiliar with league age, just ask someone or some family for clarification) for Tee Ball, there are Rhode Island based youth baseball leagues signing kids up already for Spring baseball. In addition, a lot of these Rhode Island youth baseball leagues run clinics during the winter months. Many have social media pages and if you live in Middletown or Providence or East Greenwich or Tiverton, you can simply look them up through a basic search. If you are even slightly considering signing up your 4 to 5 to 6 year old, check out your local youth baseball team and get some information from the coaches and volunteers about the Tee Ball Program. It is one of the best baseball experiences, Rhode Island or anywhere you live. As a player, then a parent and coach – The Tee Ball years were one of the most memorable baseball experiences of my life!
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The RIBBE is The Rhode Island Baseball Experience. It is promoting the game of baseball here in the great state of Rhode Island for the entire baseball world to see. The RIBBE is positive stories, photos, videos, and responsible social media posts. The RIBBE is an information resource for families looking for an AAU team or a summer camp or a great place to buy a first baseman’s mitt. The RIBBE is a network of coaches, tournament directors, parents, leagues, and baseball junkies whose passion of the game of baseball is unquestioned. I believe that providing expert analysis, information and directions to ballfields, and coaching advice from some of the top RI baseball minds will help promote the game of baseball here in RI to a whole new level.
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