Ah, April: our sweet reward for enduring a long winter (at least for those of us in the northern latitudes) that concludes with the often raw and dreary weather of March. The winter cold, snow, and darkness is behind us for another year, which means that the hope-filled season of spring is upon us. Spring is the time of rebirth—both literal and figurative. The “death” of winter has given way to the “life” of spring.
April also signals the rebirth of Major League Baseball, as the interminable days of spring training finally give way to meaningful regular season games. Hope springs eternal, as the “wait ’til next year” words of last October give way to the crossed-fingers “this could be our year” dreams of this April.
Alas, reality will set in all too soon in many of the 30 Major League cities. It won’t be long until Clevelanders realize that new manager Terry Francona has a bit of a challenge ahead in righting the Indians’ ship. Kansas City, yours is one of the best baseball cities around, but the glory years of the late 1970s and 1980s now seem like a lifetime ago. Even perennial powerhouses like the Yankees and the Red Sox have the look of mere mortals—perhaps even also-rans—this year.
Whether your favorite team turns out to be a contender or a pretender this year, there’s no reason not to follow your own baseball dreams. Maybe you play for your high school team, a team in your hometown, or both. That may be enough baseball for you, but players who really want to take their game to the next level should take heart: top-notch instruction is available at summer camps across the nation.
Learn from the pros
Few players in baseball history have combined talent, dedication, and class the way Cal Ripken did during his Hall of Fame career with the Baltimore Orioles. His service to the game continues to the present day through Ripken Baseball Youth Camps, where boys receive age- and ability-specific instruction in a setting that includes structured drills and game play. Players can also check out stars of the future during an outing to a nearby minor-league game.
Speaking of players worthy of admiration, they don’t come much scrappier than current Boston Red Sox star Dustin Pedroia. Those hoping some of that talent and determination will rub off on them may want to check out Dustin Pedroia Summer Baseball Camp, held at Stonehill College. Boys at the camp take part in five days of intensive instruction in the fundamentals of hitting, pitching, fielding, throwing, catching, and base running. Guest appearances by current and former MLB stars further distinguish the program.
Become a student of the game in a college setting
If the thought of previewing college dormitory life while working on your baseball skills sounds appealing, why not head west and check out the University of San Diego Sports Camps? One of many specialized camps offered at the university, Future Stars of USD Baseball Academy tackles the fundamentals of hitting, throwing, fielding, and base running through daily drills, lectures, batting-cage sessions, and demonstrations.
Perhaps you like your baseball with a southern accent. If so, Georgia Southern University has just the ticket: Eagle Baseball Camps. High school and college coaches teach fundamentals and strategies to players of all skill levels. Hitting evaluation features videotaped evaluation by members of the coaching staff.
Boys looking to spend part of the summer in an Ivy League setting need look no further than the Princeton University Sports Camps. Princeton’s High School Advanced Camp provides a highly competitive baseball environment for campers about to enter grades 10-12 who plan to pursue a collegiate baseball career. After morning drills and positioning work, boys play games in the afternoons and evenings.
Whether you’re on the path to baseball greatness or just trying to distract yourself from another disappointing season for your favorite professional baseball team, good times and top-notch instruction await at camps around the country.