Little League kicks off for its 2003 season

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 13, 2003

With the swing of a bat and the sound of metal connecting with hard leather, little league baseball and softball season officially began Friday and Saturday.

This weekend brought hundreds of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins out to the Dallas County Youth Sportsplex to watch

pint-sized Joe DiMaggios and Babe Ruths show off their talents on the diamond.

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To the people who attended the opening ceremonies at the Sportsplex on Saturday, there was more to the little league games than simply competition.

It was also a day for family outings, being with friends and enjoying the warm weather while watching a game.

For the coaches and players, the weekend was also more about having fun than actually winning. One coach even noted that the hardest part about his job was getting the children focused on the game instead of the clouds.

Luckily, the coaches got plenty of help from the screaming fans. Every time a child went to bat, 20 people would call out for him to &uot;keep an eye on the ball,&uot; &uot;stand-up straight&uot; and &uot;swing&uot; all at the same time.

The loudest crowd cheering came from the stands where 5- and 6-year-olds played T-ball.

As he said this, a 5-year-old skipped his way to second base. Proud of this accomplishment, he then proceeded to dance for the crowd until the coach yelled at him to pay attention.

As the day grew longer and the weather became warmer, long lines began to form around the concession stand. Instead of peanuts and crackerjacks, most people were filling up on nachos and Gatorade.

Long before the sun began to set, Ray Phillips, a 38-year-old father of two, said he was ready to go home.