Archive for February, 2010

“Our job as park directors was to make fans of the game.”

Barry Weiss – PlayBall!  Alameda’s Sandlot Saga

Barry’s observation of the ARPD mission speaks volumes about a philosophy that extended far beyond coaching baseball. Get anyone excited about a subject and you have a motivated student who will experience success. Barry describes an approach to teaching that works on the field, in the classroom, and in life.

Barry was, and still is, a great motivator and educator. Fortunately, the professor is still at it as demonstrated by the recommendation he recently sent out to his “baseball friends” network. Barry suggests that fans of the game should watch this online documentary about the origin of baseball. Throw out everything you thought you knew…

Base Ball Discovered

Thanks, Barry. Keep the lessons coming.


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In a recent comment posted to PlayBall!, one former park rat felt compelled to speak out for the “countless” ladies who played in the ARPD programs. Debra Almason, a Rittler Wildcat for life, inquired how to get more ladies featured on this fine digital periodical. Since this is not the Peoples Republic of China, and the countless staff members of PlayBall! do not repress anyone who played for a park, we will take this comment under advisement.

“What do you think staff?”

“Sure. We’ve got some photos, but names are in short supply.”

“Call Watkins down in circulation. He’s got a sister who still has her Rolodex.”

“What’s a Rolodex?”

“Never mind.”

In response to Ms. Almason, PlayBall! is pleased to present: Marie Wales of the Rittler Wildcats

Photo: Acamar / T-shirt: Vera Wang

Marie, who eventually married another park rat, is shown in this action photo from August, 1974.

“Yes, Watkins. She was married long after the photo was taken! And it’s another park rat you know.”

Now what was I saying? Oh, yes…

Marie, the youngest of the four Wales siblings who resided on Sandcreek Way – just a Don Dutcher home run away from Rittler – can be seen in the above Acamargraph ready to use that baseball bat on her older brother Bobby… strike that… she’s chasing a Gopher… no, it’s a Seal… a member of Boys Club? Never mind.

Rest assured that the ladies of the Alameda sandlots are welcomed with open arms here at PlayBall! So get off your Olympic viewing sofas and send in those names!

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Park Rat and Park Director

Tours of Duty: Rittler, McKinley

Keri is the daughter of legendary PD Audrey Spaulding, and daughter-in-law of equally legendary Alameda Municipal Court Judge, the honorable George McDonald.

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Long before the “Clear” or the “Creme” were made famous by another player named Bonds, this slugger was bulking up on the natural goodness of Wheaties and lots of sunshine at the park. Young Phil Bonds of the Woodstock Seals is shown here powering the sphere into orbit without the aid of Bantam Growth Hormones.

Steroid free photo taken by Acamar in July 1975

Back in the days before Barry Lamar Bonds decided to ingest Balco shakes and smear steroid goo all over himself, our friend Phil found other ways to get himself recognition as a power hitter… he hustled. Look at those pants. This lad obviously knew how to play with Willie Mays gusto, probably shredding the knees of his pants on a regular basis while diving after balls and into home plate. Rather than giving her little man a shot in the “keyster” with a hypodermic, Mrs. Bonds got out her sewing needle and stitched up her son’s britches.

PlayBall! salutes Bantam League hero, Phil Bonds, for playing the game the way it was meant to be played! With integrity and dirty pants.

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Photo credit: Bordanaro and Zarcone

The staff at PlayBall! would not consider the attire being sported by McKinley’s John Klune as optimum for baseball. Cleats and cut-off Levis were not a common sight on Alameda’s sandlots, but temperatures on this July day in 1970 may have warranted drastic measures. The question comes to mind, did John, the son of Vitus and Mary Klune of Buena Vista Avenue and a student at St. Joseph’s Grammar School, slide into any bases that day?  No blood on those knees nor raspberries are visible on Klunes limbs.

The Bears would ultimately lose a close one to Krusi 3-1, notching their fourth “L” of the year. Meanwhile, Colt catcher Burt Soffiotto would aid pitcher Mike Cooper’s six-innings of shutout baseball by blasting a home run in the sixth. Host Krusi (4-0) would remain undefeated along with the other Midget League leaders, Washington and Godfrey. Bear hurler Raphael Cornejo would go down as the losing pitcher of record.

As for John, after this tilt he probably headed to Alameda’s network of saltwater lagoons for a refreshing dip in his drip-dry uniform.

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Wondering what to give that special gal or guy in your life this Valentine’s Day?

A heart shaped box of See’s Chocolates? No, too fattening!

A romantic weekend on Kauai? Ouch on the wallet!

The latest sizzling outfit from Victoria’s Secret? Sure, but as you can see… their top model, Giselle Bundchen, loves the Valentine’s gift she received from her hubby Tom Brady. The New England quarterback can afford any gift his wife desires, but Tom chose to give the love of his life a copy of PlayBall! – Alameda’s Sandlot Saga on DVD.

Now you can join the Brady’s and buy a copy of PlayBall! for a romantic Valentine’s Day special price of just $14.00! Click her for more details: Order Giselle’s Favorite Gift

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Park Director

During his interview for PlayBall! – Alameda’s Sandlot Saga, park rat Kevin Kearney, told of taking “road trips” to the opposition’s home field  in the back Jim’s Chevy Nomad station wagon. Coooool!

In 1966, Jim led his Colts to the Midget League title with an undefeated season.

Tours of Duty: Krusi (1966), Godfrey (unknown)


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