Published June 18, 2023

T-ball Explained, Sort of 

Written by
Kim Fundingsland
| The Dakotan
A T-ball team photo. (Photo: Kim Fundingsland/The Dakotan)
A T-ball team photo. (Photo: Kim Fundingsland/The Dakotan)

A Slice of Life

Oh, my goodness! 

What sport is it where the jersey is the same length as a bathrobe and players from both teams are as mixed as a bag of marbles at the same time? 

The answer is T-ball, which apparently includes kids from birth to a year or two older. No knowledge of the rules, if indeed there is any, is necessary or encouraged. And, I suppose because players generally don’t run bases in any particular order, no score is kept. No one makes an out either. 

Fielders wear caps placed at funny angles, which they sometimes swap for over-sized batting helmets. I guess to continue the “look”. There's no pitching. Players take swings, which sometimes causes them to fall down, at a ball placed on a tee. Contact is optional, at least on the first try or two. 

Teams don’t actually take the field, as in running to a position. They gather in a cluster in the middle of the field, a few yards in front of the batter. When a ball is hit one of the little fielders who is not playing in the dirt or visiting with a teammate, picks up the ball and throws it. Anywhere will do.  

The little person who hits the ball is told to “run” by coaches and excited parents, and grandparents, but doesn’t necessarily know where to run. Anyway, runners are always safe. Eventually. Wherever they go. 

Fielders wear gloves, some quite over-sized, which I believe is a T-ball rule. Which hand the glove is placed on is apparently optional too. From what I’ve witnessed, it might depend on what inning it is. Then again, there are no innings. Teams just take turns doing things until the old ballgame comes to an end and everyone celebrates crazily. 

Afterwards the teams line up to shake hands, but no one really knows what a line is or how to shake hands or fist bump or whatever. Which line a player is in doesn’t seem to matter either. Nevertheless, it is a remarkable display of sportsmanship. Good stuff! 

Then comes the team picture. I’m not sure if this is a one-time-a-season thing or not. I can say getting a bunch of little T-ballers to stay in one spot long enough to take an organized team photograph is quite challenging. Futile, actually. Somehow a photograph is taken, give or take a few players who have grasshoppers to chase or dandelions to pick. 

Anyway, everyone has to start somewhere in sports and T-ball is a wonderful place to do that. Kids smile, laugh, cry, run, and enjoy the whole experience. Again, good stuff! 

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