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Some random thoughts about the sports world ...

August 17, 2009
By MIKE MATHISON

There has been some talk about the city of Follansbee taking two baseball fields away from the kids who play baseball and softball in the Follansbee Baseball Association.

Not gonna happen.

A public auction was held this morning for 2 acres on the north end of the ball field and my guess is there is a very good chance some company will purchase the parcel of land for some decent coin.

A minimum bid of $600,000 has been set for the property, which is near the intersection of state Route 2 and Veterans Drive, the road leading to the Follansbee Koppers Plant and other industries.

If the sale happens, that company cannot begin to build on the lot for some nine months.

My guess is that would mean the Follansbee Baseball Association would be able to play in the same place next summer.

The purchase of the land also means the Follansbee Baseball Association would be able to continue to play baseball for many summers to come.

The sale will not stop the FBA from playing baseball and softball.

Eventually, it may stop it from playing in the same location for some time.

An inconvenience maybe not being in one location, but the game will go on.

The hierarchy within the city has a contingency plan in place to build the needed fields if the sale goes through and has held meetings with the involved parties.

As far as I know, nothing has been hidden from the public.

Since purchasing the property, city officials have made plans to build an athletic complex for the city's youth baseball and football leagues and other sports on 30 acres above the former Koppers truck terminal donated by Wheeling-Pitt.

The city continues to seek funds for the project.

All of this regarding the possible sale should come as no surprise to anyone as there were public readings in June and July.

There is no way city officials are going to kick the kids out.

If they do, I will be the first to rail against them.

But, that just will not happen.

The two fields which will be gone if the sale goes through and some company eventually builds on the site are the Pony league and T-ball fields.

I am not the sharpest person in the world, but there is no way building a T-ball field encompasses a large amount of land.

It's 45 feet from base to base, 35 feet from the pitching rubber to home plate, about 64 feet from home to second or first to third and about a 100 feet radius from home to the outfield fence.

The bottom line is that city officials would be fiscally irresponsible if they did not hold the public auction and, eventually, sell the land.

Follansbee is land-locked on where companies can purchase land and build businesses.

This sale is a no-brainer.

And, the city making sure the displaced kids have a place to play is also a no-brainer.

Tiger Woods had never lost a major championship when leading after the second or third rounds.

Until Sunday.

Woods was 14-0 going into the final round of a major atop the leaderboard.

In nine years, when leading by two shots, he had not lost a tournament.

He putted like me in carding a 75. Woods totaled 33 putts on Sunday.

He looked human in making five bogeys during the final 18, more than the first 54 holes combined.

Woods has also never won a major championship coming from behind.

Y.E. Yang is the only player since Tiger began winning majors to stand up to the No. 1 player in the world. He looked at him and went stroke-for-stroke.

Yang shot 73 the first day and bogeyed four of his first five holes on Friday to be 5-over-par and on the verge of missing the cut.

At the time, he was 10 shots behind Woods.

After bogeying the fifth hole on Friday, Yang went birdie-eagle, played the final nine holes in 4-under-par and was back in the race.

He backed that up with a six-birdie, one-bogey performance for a 67 on Saturday.

That means after making that bogey on the fifth hole Friday, Yang played the next 31 holes in 11-under-par.

He sealed the deal with a brilliant 3-hybrid from 210 yards to 12 feet on the 72nd hole.

With that he became the first Asian-born player to win a men's major.

While Tiger could not make that clutch putt, Yang did.

A team can only be good when members of the team realizes the team does not revolve around them.

Being a part of a team means you do what is in the best interest of the team and not yourself.

That is a tough concept for some people to handle.

Especially adults.

"My kid did not get enough carries."

"Why is my son the quarterback if he's not going to throw the ball 50 times a game?"

"That kid is new to the team, why is he playing in front of my son?"

"That kid is new to the team, why is she playing in front of my daughter?"

"What do you mean those practices are mandatory?"

Since fall sports are here, adults, if they haven't already, feel they have the right to whine and complain about everything the coach does to their kid.

Parents, please sit down and cheer. Support your kid(s) and the team.

If you have a legitimate complaint (and playing time is not one of them), please talk to your child about that complaint to see if your child, you know, the one actually playing, cares about the same thing that you do.

And, if not, quiet.

If so, make sure your child has addressed it first with the coach.

And, if not, quiet.

Parents really only get one version of what happened in practice.

Please remember:

Kids play.

Parents parent.

Coaches coach.

Teachers teach.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at mmathison@heraldstaronline.com)

 
 

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