June means the start of summer, and what better way to enjoy a summer evening than to go to a ball game, grab some peanuts and Cracker Jacks, and settle back to watch line drives, pop-flys, and the opposing team strikeout?

Here are some links to opportunities to enjoy both baseball and softball games in our area:

To get you in the mood for baseball or softball, you might want to check out a movie centered on sports. 

Here are a few that might be worth a look:

 Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns

“The complete Emmy Award-winning story of America’s national pastime from master storyteller Ken Burns is now fully restored in high definition! Baseball spans the quest for racial justice, the clash of labor and management, the immigrant experience, the transformation of popular culture and the enduring appeal of the national pastime.”

Pays tribute to the many topflight players from the Negro Leagues in baseball when players were denied stardom by the color line.

“Hank Aaron and Derek Jeter, with Kevin Costner narrating, lead a cast of baseball legends and scientists who explore the magic within the 396 milliseconds it takes a fastball to reach home plate, and decipher who threw the fastest pitch ever.” Available on Hoopla.

 “Inspired by a mysterious voice, Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella constructs a baseball diamond in the middle of his cornfield.”

“The story of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to put together a baseball club on a budget by employing computer-generated analysis to draft his players.”

The baseball season gets off to a rocky start when the Durham Bulls’ new catcher “Crash” Davis punches out the cocky young pitcher, “Nuke” LaLoosh, he’s just been hired to train. Matters get even more complicated when sexy Annie Savoy informs both men that each season she chooses one player to share her bed– and Nuke and Crash are this year’s “draft picks!”

In 1943, a washed-up ballplayer is hired to coach in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League while the male pros are at war. Reluctant at first, he finds himself drawn back into the game by the heart and heroics of his team. Based on a true story.”

“A former baseball minor-leaguer coaches a team of tough kids. His star pitcher is a girl.”

“Women’s pro softball has spent decades fighting for survival. The world’s best players must choose between their livelihood and their dreams. Burn the Ships is the story of one woman and her team who refuse to let those dreams slip away.” Available on Hoopla.

“Lance Grayden, a veteran coach returns to his community assuming he’d be coaching seasoned and accomplished athletes. Instead he’s saddled with a 10-and-under team of inexperienced players. Not only is he forced to teach the fundamentals of the game to the little girls, but he also faces the greater challenge of their over-eager, overly ambitious and entirely delusional parents.”

And here are just a few of the many books to check out:

 Baseball: How to Play the Game by Pete Williams

“Baseball writer Williams presents a how-to book, generously illustrated, that will serve both as a beautiful coffee-table work for fans interested in seeing gorgeous action shots of star players, and as a definitive guide to skills acquisition for players and coaches. From fundamentals to mechanics, drills to talent development, every element of the game is analyzed and illustrated. Youths and adults alike will enjoy the tips included from star MLB players. While there is nothing new in this text, the combination of superb photography with stellar commentary results in a fine book.”

 Baseball: An Illustrated History by Geoffrey C. Ward

“530 illustrations in text Best Books for Young Teen Readers. A history of the game, published in conjunction with a PBS documentary, with essays, facts, & over 500 photos. This is an incredible book for the baseball fan & for anyone interested in the social history of America as reflected in a sport. It is filled with wonderful photographs. Students will want to browse through the memorabilia of baseball & read about the evolution of the game. For the most part, the chapters focus on decades & look at every aspect of the game, including the rules, players, owners, facilities, & fans. This is the companion book to the PBS television series.”

And for coaches:

“A step-by-step guide to teaching young players, ages four to ten, the fundamental skills of baseball, with drills, advice on correcting bad habits and flaws, tips for coaches on dealing with parents, and discussion of travel and all-star teams. Includes an instructional DVD.”

“This guide is completely updated with more skills, more drills and strategies, and more of the stellar instruction that have made it the top-selling title on softball.”

 Coaching Youth Softball by the American Sport Education Program

Coaching Youth Softball is a great tool for youth softball coaches and parents working with 6- to 14-year-old athletes. It describes in detail how to teach kids important softball skills and strategies at a level that’s just right for them. This valuable resource contains 29 drills and 95 illustrations, including 22 defensive position diagrams. Coaching Youth Softball shows you techniques for teaching fundamental softball skills step-by-step – what to teach and how to teach it. The book also addresses the similarities and differences between fast- and slow-pitch softball.”

Batter up! Enjoy the game!