I love summer youth baseball and softball, and The Times loves summer youth baseball and softball.
As many complaints as we get throughout the summer months many of you don't think that's true, but I challenge you to find another newspaper around that runs as many highlights of as many youth games as we do. Or when Little League district season gets here, I defy you to find another newspaper which logs more manhours outside the fence reporting on our area's all-stars as we do.
But since there are so many, many games and so few of us, we rely on coaches and/or youth leagues to submit results of games. It's an arrangement that's been in place for many decades and hopefully will be for many more decades to come.
Now if it were possible to pull it off in print (it might be doable online at mywebtimes.com, I'll have to check with the multimedia guys), I would run this next part in fiery letters 30 feet high like God's Final Message to His Creation in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" books. Since it's not, I'm going to have to settle with turning the caps lock on and clicking "bold."
THERE IS NO FOLDER IN THE TIMES SPORTS DEPARTMENT CONTAINING ALL THE YOUTH BASEBALL AND SOFTBALL AND SOCCER GAMES COACHES AND LEAGUES FAITHFULLY SUBMIT THAT WE JUST DON'T FEEL LIKE TYPING IN.
Or to put it another way: If we get results from a youth contest in our area and it has the information we need to do so, we will run it.
In my almost 19 years of working in sports departments here in Starved Rock Country, not once have I or a co-worker (to my knowledge) grabbed highlights of a recent youth contest from the email or the fax or the mail slot, looked at them, shrugged and said, "Nah, screw it," as we threw them away. It's never happened. It doesn't happen. It won't happen.
And yet, year after year, I have had parents and/or grandparents of young players stomp up to me and say:
"I see all these scores and highlights in your paper almost every day. Why don't you run results of my granddaughter Little Suzie Applebasket's softball games? Or my grandson Tiny Timmy Breadbutterer's soccer games? Or my other grandson Skippy Skyskippersky's youth baseball games?
"I gave their coaches an earful about it, believe me, and as they walked briskly away they all told me they turn scores in right after every game, but there hasn't been one game in all year. It has to be your fault."
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Perhaps Little Suzie Applebasket's softball coach has been sending results to the wrong email address. Maybe Tiny Timmy Breadbutterer's soccer coach is in fact dropping results in our nightbox on her way back from the pitch, but isn't putting the names of the teams or the final scores or what league they play in on the form. It's possible Skippy Skyskippersky's youth baseball coach is writing out his forms by hand and we just can't read them, or the person he has keeping the book is sending us nonsensical/suspicious statistics such as a kid getting seven hits in three at-bats or a pitcher throwing a no-hitter in a game in which his team gave up 27 runs.
All of those scenarios would make it impossible to run results of the game. More likely — and this might come as a shock to some of you — the coaches and/or leagues aren't really turning results into us and are just saying they are to get you off their backs. Just putting that out there.
So if you're not seeing your team's highlights in The Times Sports pages and you'd really like to, you can clip out the following and hand it to your coach or league official. Here is how results can be correctly submitted for publication.
The Times will publish highlights from area youth games, often on a short delay, when:
1) results are legible and provided in a timely manner.
2) results include player highlights for both teams if both teams are from the area.
3) results include the name of the league, level of play, the final score and both first and last names of players.
4) Results are submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, fax to 815-433-1639 or dropped off in the night slot at either our Streator or Ottawa office. Teams using GameChanger can email results using the app.
And that's it.
While sometimes it takes a few days (especially in the spring when high school sports are still in full swing), if we get them, they will run.
Have a great season!