“SAVE THE GAME” Names Advisory Board

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The grassroots movement SAVE THE GAME announced their advisory board on June 1st.  SAVE THE GAME seeks to align with Major League baseball to encourage youth participation in baseball and “Grow the Game.” Established less than a year ago, the movement added to its’ legitimacy with the announcement of its six-member advisory board. For instance, the board includes former New York Congressman Peter King, former baseball executive Mike Port, and noted youth sports authority and radio host, Rick Wolff.

Founded by former college baseball stars and coaches, Kevin Gallagher and Pat Geoghegan, in addition to former major league player Jeff Frye, the movement grew out of the positive response to Gallagher’s book “Teach Your Kid to Hit … So they Don’t Quit.” Gallagher’s book promotes making contact and putting the ball in play because it results in more action and makes the game more fun to play. Because the game is more fun for youngsters putting the ball in play, it helps create the next generation of baseball fans. In contrast, the popularity of the game has fallen amongst the young because while the emphasis on the power game causes more home run hitting, it also causes more strikeouts, less action, and longer games.

Interview with Coach and Author Kevin Gallagher

Last Word on Baseball interviewed Gallagher on May 26 about his book and the SAVE THE GAME movement. Speaking to Gallagher, his passion for saving baseball and helping young players is real and infectious. Wishing he was your coach as a youth is a common response to his book.

Gallagher’s stellar college baseball career earned him induction into the Pace University Hall of Fame. After serious injuries ended his budding minor league career, Gallagher coached amateur baseball for decades. He’s coached at virtually every level including Little League, High School, College, and the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League.

Help for the “Ordinary” kid

While Gallagher didn’t invent top hand hitting, the eight-step method in the book is his own. He describes the book as a children’s book written for parents. Easy-to-follow illustrations help parents impart hitting lessons to their sons and daughters. Gallagher said his brother said to him as an adult that most kids would have given “their right arms” to be as good as him for a day triggered the idea for the book. “How many kids want to play the game but don’t know how,” related Gallagher. “I want to write a book for the ordinary kid…it opened my eyes. I saw all those kids through my brother.”

Top Hand Ideal for Youngsters

Speaking of a youngster playing baseball, Gallagher said,  “They play for a year or two or three. They get on base, slide into second, and maybe score the winning run. They go to school the next day and they’re a hero. It’s in their blood, (baseball) has them for life.” However, Gallagher added, “If he goes to the park and swings and misses and swings and misses, he’ll give up the game. No one plays the game to be in right field. You play the game to be in the action.” He writes from a perspective of compassion for young players who struggle. For example, he writes of the lonely walk to the dugout after striking out before friends and family. Additionally, he recounts adults who still feel the stigma of failing at baseball when they were youngsters.

Gallagher said top hand hitting “Is really good for kids at that age. You just want the kid to hit the ball.” He states the purpose of top hand hitting, “Is to get the barrel of the bat on the same plane as the ball as quickly as you can for as long, creating more opportunity to hit the base.”

SAVE THE GAME Is Born

The message of contact hitting struck a chord among those concerned about baseball’s falling popularity. Because youngsters not playing baseball typically don’t grow up to be fans, the viability of baseball is threatened.  “This is going to be a problem for the game,” if they don’t expand the customer base according to Gallagher. The aim of SAVE THE GAME is to help baseball survive and grow. “We need to fix it at the major league level and the youth level. They’re connected. They’re cousins and they don’t know it.” The SAVE THE GAME website includes numerous suggestions for improving the game.

Gallagher said he’s humbled by the attention paid to SAVE THE GAME. “I really believe our cause is on a higher plane.” While owners may look at the current season, Gallagher looks down the road. “Baseball may be their business but it’s our game.”

To Learn More

The SAVE THE GAME website, www.savethegameus.com, includes a link to sign their petition to MLB. The website for “Teach Your Kid to Hit…So They Don’t Quit” is www.hittingsimple.com

 

 

 

 

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

Players Mentioned:

Jeff Frye