Archive for Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Chinstraps and Mouthpieces: Pint-sized field provides gallons of fun for players

July 16, 2003

The Tonganoxie Recreation Commission baseball complex seems to have something for everyone.

It's as if the three bears all could enjoy themselves on the west fields -- Papa Bear could use the baseball field where high school, American Legion and intermediate teams play. Mama Bear could utilize the softball field just to the north, and the K-Ball field a little farther north would suit Baby Bear perfectly.

Heck, even Goldilocks would find the east ball field to be just right.

Some complexes are generic, with three or four fields of the same size gracing their grounds, but not the TRC complex. With green fencing and yellow tubing on the fields' chain-link fences, the complex has become an eye-pleasing sight.

But the finest gem in this ballpark smorgasbord might just be that cozy park in the northwest corner of the complex. The field hides behind the softball field to the south, but it's an entertaining place to watch some youngsters play ball.

The exclusive home to K-Ball baseball and softball (K-Ball is the first level of coach-pitch), the field dimensions are 115 feet down the left- and right-field lines, 135 feet to dead center and probably somewhere in the ballpark of 125 to the power alleys.

Bleachers are available, but many fans line up along the first base line with their own chairs and sit a few feet from fair territory. The side fences gradually draw closer to the foul line as both extend into the outfield.

Watching 7- and 8-year-olds play always is a treat. On one occasion, a Tonganoxie baseball team turned a triple play. One player involved in that exchange reportedly hit a home run OVER the outfield fence, something not usually seen at that age.

Many new major league ballparks overlook the city or some form of water. The K-ball field doesn't present a picture of the Tonganoxie skyline, but there does happen to be a small creek some feet beyond the right-field fence.

Tournaments are finishing up this week, so spectators have only a few games left to observe at the K-ball field and the other TRC ball diamonds.

But if fans can't make any more games this year, it's likely that spectators can find a field that's just their size again next summer.

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Thursday marks a big day for sports video game junkies. EA Sports will release College Football 2004 with a twist for PlayStation 2 owners.

If players have broadband service, they can hook up their game system to the Internet and play against a friend who is playing from the comfort of his or her game system and Internet hook-up.

This new concept could cut down on the number of items being broken because of disputes between buddies, along with any fights that might have broken out in basements because one player isn't too fond of his opponent talking trash from the easy chair just a few feet away.

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The Kansas Koyotes, an indoor football league team from Topeka, won the American Professional Football League championship game Friday at the Kansas Expocentre with a 59-29 victory against the Missouri Minutemen, who are based out of Blue Springs, Mo.

The Koyotes, whose regular season consisted of three games each against Missouri, Nebraska and St. Joseph, Mo., finished the year a perfect 10-0.

Missouri provided the Koyotes with the most difficult test of the season in the title game, forcing Kansas to actually come from behind. But the Koyotes came back with 33 unanswered points for the victory.

Interestingly enough, Missouri had a young player by the name of O.J. Simpson on the Minutemen's squad.

Hmmm. If the name doesn't fit, you must omit.

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