Archives For Atlanta Braves

Derek Jeter

An upfront disclaimer: I am by no means a Yankees fan. Never have followed them that closely. And, yes, I realize their organization spends more money than the Kardashians. But if you’re a fan of baseball in general, it’s hard to turn a deaf ear to names like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Mariano Rivera. They demand respect for what they’ve meant to the game.

Read that graphic above again. Many people in my generation (but not my husband, DEFINITELY not him) would argue that Derek Jeter was, quite possibly, the best on the diamond.

I find it amazing and inspiring that a scrawny kid from Kalamazoo, Michigan, not only made his way to the Big Leagues, but also earned the spot of starting shortstop for the NY Yankees for 20 seasons.

According to The Life You Imagine: Life Lessons for Achieving Your Dreams, Derek grew up competing on teams that played on average a couple dozen games per year. The pitchers he faced in high school maxed out on fast balls clocking in at 85 MPH. His adjustment to the Big Leagues, subsequently, was understandably rocky at first.

Yet he learned how to set personal goals early in life (age 8 to be exact). And he was determined to reach them despite any odds stacked against him.

As I’m spreading the word about my movement to GiveTheGameBack to youth athletes in my community and beyond, I am reminded that persistence and allies fuel my determination to make a difference. Setbacks are just that…in sports and in life. They are not insurmountable unless you allow them to be.

Since January, I’ve met amazing people whom I otherwise would have never met. I’ve shared my own stories as well as those from the coaching community, my fellow parents in the stands, and even players themselves about what can be done to improve the state of youth athletics. I’ve even transformed those people who rally against fandumb into walking billboards by having them wear GiveTheGameBack t-shirts.

I want to personally thank everyone who has helped on this journey to get out of the way and let the kids play. I don’t see an immediate finish line in sight and believe it will be quite some time before we reverse some of the more disturbing trends of parental over-involvement (visit your local ball park or gym this weekend if you don’t believe me), but we’re at least taking strides in the right direction.

We can easily hang our heads and call  it quits. But we won’t.

For the record, we’re Atlanta Braves fans here in the Woodard household and I’d argue that Chipper Jones in as close to perfection as they come. 🙂

Written by Heidi Woodard

Baseball is a game of long-standing tradition. I firmly believe that no other sport has remained as true to its original form.

Prior to the last couple of years, I could confidently state that basketball players were flashier, football players were more obnoxious, and golfers were overly tailored. The good ol’ boys of baseball simply came out to play. They only needed their mitts, their caps, and a wooden bat.

Baseball player uniforms were as pure as the game.

The uniform arsenal typically consisted of a white jersey and a jersey of color. Pants were either solid or pinstripe. If players wanted to get super crazy, they might choose to slap on some eye black.

Perfect swing by Chipper Jones of the ATL Braves

Perfect swing by Chipper Jones of the ATL Braves, who is darn near perfect himself.

Chipper Jones in the navy uniform.

Chipper Jones in a navy Braves uniform. Man, I miss seeing this guy on the big screen.

Then something weird happened around the year 2000. As far as I can tell by my extensive online research (searching Google for 15 minutes), the San Diego Padres decided to up their long-standing tradition of supporting the armed forces by introducing camouflage jerseys on Military Opening Day.

Over the past decade, much to my dismay, the camo jerseys have multiplied faster than mogwais dipped in water. Kids, if you don’t understand this reference, do yourself a favor and watch Gremlins today.

I mean, seriously…They. Are. Everywhere. From the big leagues to the little leagues and at every level in between. They are worn by players and coaches alike.

I now find myself walking into the ballpark somewhat guarded, wondering if I’m going to be attacked by a barrage of paintballers when I least expect it.

Some uniforms are more obnoxious than others.


Exhibit A: San Diego Padres pitcher in his camo/cow print-inspired garb.

The little guys who look up to the pros want to emulate their idols. Therefore, new this season, both of my own boys’ teams have included a camo jersey in their uniform arsenal.

The 12-year old in his camo jersey - preparing for battle on the ball field (eye roll).

Exhibit B: The 12-year old in his camo jersey – preparing for battle on the ball field (eye roll). The 10-year old’s jersey has yet to arrive.

While I realize the game is not about ME and my personal preferences – this is an ongoing lesson I am struggling to learn – I’d like to believe I’m not alone when I say that the only people who should don the camo style are those serving in the military or trying to hunt down defenseless animals.

One serviceman quoted on Paul Lukas’ website, Uni Watch: The Obsessive Study of Athletics Aesthetics, had this to say:

“I’ve been in the Army for a little over 12 years. I appreciate the thought and tribute behind teams wearing military-themed uniforms, but I have yet to see one that didn’t look horrible. I hate to criticize without providing a viable alternative, but I think they should find another, more aesthetically pleasing, way to express their patriotism.” — Jon Vieira

Jon, I respect both your service to our country and your common sense in general.

I plan to continue to add pictures of camo jerseys I see at youth ballparks on this site as the season progresses. If you like them, try to convince me why in the comment section. If you don’t like them and agree with me that they’re obnoxious, I’ll count your comment as a signature in my ongoing petition against this black mark on the history of baseball.

Written by Heidi Woodard