There's no real downside to twins being teammates

ASK CAL

May 27, 2007|By CAL RIPKEN JR.

DEAR CAL -- We have twins who are about to play baseball for the first time this year. Is it a good idea or a bad idea to have them play on the same team?

Jeff DiGirolomo, Gahanna, Ohio

DEAR JEFF -- I don't see the downside of having the twins play on the same team. They grow up as brothers and do almost everything together, anyway.

I'm not an expert on twins by any means, but I'd think that if you put family members of the same age on the same team, some good can come from that.

Watch them as they progress. Sometimes it may be better, depending on differences in their talent, to put them on different teams.

I often thought that it can be good for a father not to always be the coach so that a child doesn't become so dependent on him as a parent and a coach as he or she gets older, but I see no problem in having the twins share their first baseball experience by playing on the same team.

Let them enjoy the company, enjoy the sport and be teammates.

DEAR CAL -- My son's Little League coach and I are having a good-natured debate about where to put the best hitter in the lineup. He wants to bat him cleanup. I say it's better to have him hit first because he'll get more at-bats in each game. Your thoughts?

Rob Tenberg, Austin, Texas

DEAR ROB -- This is a hard question because I'd like to know the age group and competitive level involved. If this is high school and there are more specific roles for people in the lineup with a more balanced attack, there are table-setters and guys who can drive in runs.

As you go up the ladder, it's more important for the lineup to have a specific sense of responsibility assigned to a slot. This doesn't necessarily mean that the first hitter has to be a slap hitter or a base stealer or a player with a high on-base percentage. Nor does the batter in the second position necessarily always have to be someone who can handle the bat. All I'm saying is that you normally can see the talent on the team and determine where players might fit in your ideal batting order.

If you are talking about a very young team, it probably is best to have the best hitter come up more times in a game. You don't have table-setters and other defined roles at that level. It's more a matter of just going out and playing, so you don't have all of those predefined spots to worry about. In that case, I would say that it's better to get the best hitter to the top of the lineup for more at-bats.

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

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