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Part 1 of 2: Youth baseball numbers continue to struggle

Mark Hazelwood • Jul 22, 2011 at 1:00 AM

Scott Ford can be seen at the Lefty Grove Baseball League fields, both day and night.

As commissioner of the youth baseball league for 24 years, Ford has spent many summer hours taking care of the five diamonds behind the Veteran of Foreign Wars post in Norwalk.

But today when Ford goes to the fields during the hours before games, there is something missing for him from America's national pastime.

"When I would come down to the fields during the day, you could always find some sandlot baseball going on amongst some kids, or a father and son playing catch," Ford said. "It has been many, many years since I've seen that. You still see the occasional father and son, but even that you don't see very often.

"It's a shame. It was great to see, but it just doesn't happen anymore. I think when that starts to happen again, things will come around. I don't know if it will, but I remain hopeful."

Lefty Grove is one of several area leagues asking and fighting the same question: Is youth baseball dying a slow death in America?

With the explosion of competitive travel leagues, the specialization of sports and more opportunities for today's generation of kids, even this baseball-rich area finds itself being put to the test.

For the rest of this story, see Friday's Sandusky Register.

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