LYNN– With the fall season right around the corner, many athletes have shifted their focus from baseball. But Lynn Babe Ruth President Jeff Earp and his staff are gearing up for another season of their fall baseball that has seen growth over the years.
“It’s big now because more and more kids are starting to specialize in one sport,” Earp said. “Football numbers have been up with the Chargers and Pop Warner in Lynn but we still have a lot of kids that just play baseball.”
Last year, fall baseball included six teams and just under 100 players in Lynn.
“We typically play in-house games and last year we also played Swampscott,” Earp said. “Marblehead and Peabody have also called about interleague play but it all depends on the numbers we get this fall.”
Sign-ups have been going on throughout the past few weeks and Earp expects more people to show up for the start of the season, especially players who just finished Little League this summer.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of interest in little leaguers,” Earp said. “It’s a huge thing for them but it can take convincing. Some kids get nervous with the larger diamond. It helps kids see what they have to work on moving forward with baseball.
“It also gets them acclimated with kids in the city that they otherwise haven’t played with,” Earp added.
Fall baseball is more laid-back for players and coaches than other seasons Earp said, creating an environment for players to improve skills and have fun.
“It’s really laid-back,” Earp said. “Coaches can do a continuous order, free substitutions. It’s fun like that.
“We want all these kids to get better and to get acclimated,” Earp added. “We try to throw in some games at Fraser Field toward the end of the year for that experience as well.”
Aside from the benefits for the players, fall baseball can provide an opportunity for new coaches to get their foot in the door for the next Babe Ruth season.
“Some parents are hesitant in Little League to step in and coach,” Earp said. “This can be a nice way to get coaches into the door with a more relaxed environment.”
Former fall baseball players, including Lynn native Ben Bowden who’s currently a Single-A pitcher in the Colorado Rockies’ farm system, have also visited games and talked to players in the past.
“We get a lot of ex-players come and talk to the kids which is really cool,” Earp said. “It keeps them interested and keeps them going, the kids love stuff like that.”
The fall baseball season is scheduled to start during the first week of September, with games being played on Saturdays up until weather prevents play.
“We just want kids to show up have fun with the laid attitude but also get to work on improving for the future,” Earp said.