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Happy Opening Day to those who celebrate

Earlier this week I let it fly on my Reds franchise that opens play today at 4:10 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ken Griffey Jr., 53, will be the third-highest-paid Reds player when Hunter Greene lets a fastball fly to get the season started.

The franchise hasn’t won more than 83 games in a decade, and based on the current roster, things aren’t changing this season.

• Mark P. in Indiana writes:

Cmon Joe…. who is the guy who convinced me to watch the Hoosiers for fun and enjoy it again???  YOU. that’s who…now you are giving up on the Reds before the season start.  They finally have a plan that has a rebuilt farm system and some studs getting ready for the big leagues so support them now and enjoy the ride over the next 3-5 years.  Their starting pitching will be worth the price of admission this year.    Go Reds


I promised Mark P. that if the Reds are fewer than 10 games out of 1st by June 1, I’m packing up the sled and heading straight down I-75 so my kids can experience the excitement.


Now, for those who can stay up late, try to find a way to catch the Angles-A’s game at 10:07 ET. Shohei Ohtani gets the start on the mound after a huge World Baseball Classic.

Speaking of Ohtani, this survey of MLB fans has me fairly triggered this week. You’re telling me that Stephen Strasburg is more popular than Ohtani? Strasburg has pitched 8 games since 2019 and he’s in the Top 25 of Most Popular MLB Players.

There is some serious disconnect going on here between MLB, its media outlets, and fans that can’t recognize the greatness in front of them.

The world of youth baseball coaching

• Klifton M. writes:

This year I decided to move my 3rd-grade boy up to the majors division and sit out coaching so I can coach my daughter who is a kindergartner. I moved her up to the minor division which is 1st thru 3rd grades because I cannot handle another year of T-ball.

After signups, the boys league commish calls and needs another coach for the boys’ major division. (First I asked if he exhausted all options and he said yes…a lot of lazy dads.)

I agreed and now for the next 2 months, I’ll be living at the ball field. After our draft, I started creating the two group texts for each team and brainstorming on the first message to the parents.

My wife told me to keep it simple and make sure they know it is mandatory to help with the books, scoreboard, and shifts in the concession stand.

The next morning I sit on the thrown and click my favorite online daily article. Lo and behold the TNML commissioner Joe Kinsey was dealing with the same struggle as I was. Introducing yourself to the parents and all the details to go along.


So far, so good here with Team Kinsey.

Granted, I haven’t met the players, the parents, the grandparents, the step-parents, step-grandparents, the family pets, etc.

I haven’t been shook — yet.

Yes, there have been messages from moms on what color of socks they should buy for their kids. And pant colors. Please, don’t buy black pants!

Now, I know what you’re saying behind your phone — Just wait, you’re about to head into the belly of the beast.

Honestly, part of me wants the full immersive youth baseball experience for my brain. I want to have youth baseball war stories on my life-experience resume. I’m actually thinking about doing people-watching at the bigger youth baseball tournaments at Cedar Point Sports Complex this summer. I want to see the heartbeat of America.

I want to see Travel Ball mom in her element. I want to see Travel Ball Dad working the fence behind home plate.

Give me all of it!

The economics of youth sports

• Brandon C. in Pinckney, MI writes in response to Mig’s report on the costs associated with big-time girls’ club volleyball:

So let me get this straight… you have parents dropping $7500 a year for volleyball team “admission fees”, then add on family travel costs and you’re talking $10k a year probably. So let’s say this insanity is starting at the 12U level (11 yr old, which is reasonable based on my experience with youth hockey). 


$10k/yr * 8 years (11-18 yr old seasons) = $80k

And they’re doing this for a scholarship right? For the bulk of these girls, we’re not talking about Harvard or Stanford, we’re talking about a scholarship to a middle-of-the-road state public school. I used UC Santa Barbara as an example. From US Dept of Education statistics, for families making between $75k – 110k a year, the annual cost of attendance is $21k at UC-Santa Barbara. 

So 4 year degree is: $21k * 4 years == $84k

Makes sense right? Well what about if you instead of spending $10k a year, you spent $1k a year on a nice local sports program with some camps thrown in? And you took that $9k/year difference and put it in a simple 529 plan that earns 5% a year.

You now have a balance at their 18th birthday of approximately $90,000. And you didn’t ruin your marriage, have to put your kids through counseling with sports psychiatrists, turn your other kids into mind-numbed robots, get to take your family to church on Sundays instead of eating Cliff bars in the car at 6am because you have to make it to the Indiana State Fairgrounds ‘Super Elite Volley-Tacular Tournament’ in time for a 930a check in and “team warm up” with the motivational coach, etc.

Oh, and if your kid has a shred of talent that isn’t inflated by playing on pay for play team, they probably will still get recruited, or at least have a decent chance to walk on at a school where after a couple years of hard work, maybe they get a scholarship for years 3 & 4 where they recoup that tuition money. Or more likely for those other players besides the starting 6 on these travel teams, they have a chance to play club at a university they want to be at, and still have memories for a lifetime. 


• Chris B. in Houston gives you a look at his baseball finances:

We pay $2375 for high school level summer baseball.  That gets us 7 tournaments, 3-4 local and 3-4 out of town.  Tournaments are at least Fri/Sat/Sun.  Many are Thurs/Fri/Sat/Sun.  Major tourneys can finish on Mon or even Tues.  

Typical schedule is usually one team practice on Tues, and many of these boys can drive themselves so they often meet at the facility one other time per week for unofficial workouts / cage reps.  

Fee covers the following (Summer season June-July)

  1. Head and the assistant coaches’ fees
  2. Tournament entry fees (7 events)
  3. Cage/Field practice (1 time a week)
  4. Facility Membership (cages, field usage)
  5. Team equipment
  6. Team/Player Insurance
  7. Uniform Player Package

– 1 Practice Shirt

– 3 Game Hats

– 4 Custom Jerseys

– 1 Game Pants

– 2 Game Socks

– 1 Pair of Batting Gloves

– Choice of 2 Custom Wood bats or 1 Custom Glove

– 1 Helmet

– 1 Bag

Photo albums

I hadn’t thought of photo albums in about a decade until this tweet popped up on my timeline. I’d love to know if there’s a Millennial or Gen Z reader who has a photo album — not your wedding photo album that your wife busts out to make sure you remember she owns your ass — sitting around in the family room.

The current state of local malls

• Jeremy P. in Alpharetta, GA writes:

My wife and I took our daughter to the North Point mall here in Alpharetta today to experience the Dino Safari. It’s set up in one of the big anchor stores that closed. Sears, I’m assuming. It was fun for her seeing the animatronic dinos, but I wanted to send in an update since there has been so much mall talk lately.

As recently as 5 years ago North Point mall had been a busy, and kind of high-end place. Today, not so much.

Only 3 of the 12 food court places are open. Sarku, Farmer’s Basket, and Mandarin House. Chick-fil-A was of course closed on Sunday, but all of the other places were boarded up. It was kind of sad to see that about 30% of the stores were shuttered too.

There was still a Spencer’s Gifts, Claire’s, and JC Penny open, which I thought didn’t even exist anymore. The only place I saw doing brisk business was Haagen-Dazs.

The reason for that is because it was so warm in the mall. On a muggy 75-degree day, it was very warm in the mall. I have no clue about how large malls condition the air, but it seemed to come from just the individual stores. With that many stores closed, it made for very warm concourses. I wouldn’t want to be there on a hot Georgia day in August.

In the past, malls always seemed to be filled with people of all ages and economic means. From teenagers just wanting to hang out, to older folks who would spend $125 on a polo shirt. Today it seems like the teenagers are still there but anyone who has the means to shop elsewhere has left.

After we got back in the truck my wife and I both said how the vibe in the mall felt very odd. Can’t put a finger on it but it just seemed so much different from our past experiences.

There is no way that place lasts much longer. I’d be interested to hear from others who have gone to a local mall recently. Thanks so much!


Share your local mall field reports. I was just in our mall this past Saturday with my family and was sitting in the food court about 15-feet from a teenager trying to get another teenager to fight her.

Good times.

When the beer fridge dies

• Jacob B. writes:

A day I pray is far away but what’s wondering if the community has any recommendations for when the garage fridge finally bites the dust? What happens to all the stickers you’ve accumulated? Do you only place them on the doors and then place those doors on the new fridge? Will they even fit on a newer model? This stuff haunts me in my dreams.

Second I’ve been having this Honda push mower since 2019 and have yet to change the oil. What’s the protocol on this? She stills runs like a champ.

And that’s it for Opening Day. The sun is shining, the grass is turning green and it’s time to suck down those baseball beers and fake watch a few innings of April baseball.

If you’re heading to the ballparks today, enjoy yourself. Remain optimistic even while facing down 62-100.


Numbers from :

Stuff You Guys Sent In & Stuff I Like:

Written by Joe Kinsey

Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America.

Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league.

Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.

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