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I could tell my neighbor Dirk is struggling to make it to the travel ball finish line

Last night after work, I stopped by my neighbor Dirk’s house to grab my son who was down there playing, and the look on Dirk’s face told me everything I needed to know — the travel ball grind has taken a toll on my friend.

“All I do is come home from work, eat dinner and go to games,” he said. The family is back out on a four-day road trip to Cincinnati over the 4th holiday. “All I want to do is sit at home — stop down at your place — and have a few drinks,” Dirk said before heading through the front door for dinner.

It doesn’t help that it’s been 100-plus with the humidity this week. Dads are feeling it. It’s not even July, and here we are in the dog days of summer with at least a couple of weeks left to the travel ball grind. I’m especially feeling bad for the dads out there who are out on the road and can’t just walk out on their patios on a Friday night to sip on a bottle of Costco strawberry margs while the sweet sounds of iHeart’s 80s channel waft through the yard with the tiki torches lit AF.

Tuesday, a Screencaps reader told me I needed to read a series of posts written back in the spring by Barstool’s Vindog who walked readers through how he built a relaxed summer league where dads and kids could play ball a couple of times a week and still have a life. Vindog even built a baseball field with the help of some inmates and local dads that turned into a Field of Dreams.

I won’t ruin how Vindog’s story with the summer league ends. It’s a real tragedy. It’s the type of thing that makes those of us out here just wanting the best for our kids sick to our stomachs. It’s definitely the type of thing I never want to deal with. And it’s exactly the type of story that pushes me towards creating things like the neighborhood kickball event I mentioned Tuesday.

The best thing about the kickball tourney is that I know the kids won’t be turning pro or playing for college scholarships. Parents can sit in lawn chairs, laugh, relax and enjoy summer. It’s sounding more and more like neighborhood kickball tourneys are my calling card.

• Here’s where we’re at with the Thursday Night Mowing League: Tuesday I received a personalized ‘Commish’ shirt from Mick C., one of the Screencaps readers who traveled from New Jersey for the Put-In-Bay Two-Club Invitational. That’s right, TNML members are coming up with their own shirt designs, and I have one.

Tomorrow we get back at it, and I’m pumped up. The TNML All-Star break should have everyone refueled and ready to lay down some stripes.

• Mark W. writes:

Proud member of the TNML. Thanks for getting this started. I appreciate all you do.

My question: we have all the members around the country. Have you considered a TNML forum for members dealing with problems with their lawn (or landscaping)? There must be an abundance of collective wisdom amongst all the members.

Again, thanks for all you do.

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Let me see what I can pull together on this. I’ve also been approached by members who want features, podcasts, videos, etc. This project is developing by the day. Hang tight.

• Have you ever not shot off fireworks because of what some blue checkmark ESPN Karen thought? Yes, it’s true dogs don’t like fireworks. It’s also true that Americans aren’t going to stop firing off cherry bombs because of what Karen thinks.

Email: joekinsey@gmail.com,

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Written by Joe Kinsey

I'm an Ohio guy, born in Dayton, who roots for Ohio State and can handle you guys destroying the Buckeyes, Urban Meyer and everything associated with Columbus.

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