Major leaguers can lend handshakes toward teaching sportsmanship

ASK CAL

Youth Sports

March 11, 2007|By CAL RIPKEN JR.

DEAR CAL -- I would like to know why baseball players in the big leagues almost never shake hands with other teams after games. They typically shake hands only with their teammates. Doesn't this go against the type of sportsmanship and courtesy we try to implement in the youth leagues?

Bradley Dunn, Hanover

DEAR BRADLEY -- I've thought about this for some time and am all for it, because it does send the right message to kids about the importance of sportsmanship.

At the big league level, I think the reason you don't see it is because the teams usually play each other in a three-game series and many times over the course of a season. So the thought is that the baseball schedule doesn't really lend itself to that type of post-game ceremony every night.

I don't like that the members of the winning team congratulate each other right on the field in front of everybody when the game ends. That's something that can be done in the privacy of the clubhouse.

There has been some talk in the past about at least having the competing teams shake hands at the end of a series. I think it's a good practice and sends the right message, so I'm very much in favor of seeing it implemented at the big league level.

DEAR CAL -- My daughter's knees are giving her pain. I have given her a knee support, but what else can I do?

Sammy Taylor, Northampton, England

DEAR SAMMY -- I'm not a doctor, but I think that you might want to take her to see an orthopedist to see if there is a medical condition you should be concerned about. Sometimes kids just go through growing pains.

My son was having some pain, and I've taken him to see a doctor on a couple of occasions only to find out that those pains are a normal part of growing up.

I would really start to worry only if your daughter was playing the same sport year-round, because then there is the possibility that the pain in her knees might be the result of overuse from performing the same movements over and over.

The safe thing to do is to take her to an orthopedic doctor to get the proper information and an accurate diagnosis.

DEAR CAL -- Our son is a sophomore who catches and pitches on his high school team. He has participated in a couple of showcase camps, and some recruiting services are calling and writing him. Are these services legitimate, and, if so, how do we tell which of these services are good?

Diane Stevens, Towson

DEAR DIANE -- There are numerous recruiting services, many of which provide resources and services that are invaluable to prospective college athletes. But, like with any business, some services are more effective and reputable than others.

Bigger Division I schools with larger recruiting budgets tend to prefer to see kids play in person than to rely on videotapes or other information supplied by recruiting services. Smaller schools that don't have as much money may be more likely to rely on the companies you are talking about.

My advice would be to talk to college coaches at various levels to find out their feelings about recruiting services - both in general and specifically. These companies serve as a bridge from the parent/athlete to the school, so why not eliminate the middle man by going directly to the end user?

Talk to some coaches so that you can filter out the information and find out whom they trust.

Have a question or issue arising from your involvement in youth sports? Send it by e-mail to askcal@baltimoresun.com.

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