Slope kids play on the digital sandlot

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Sandlot baseball has finally gone 21st century.

That great ball field tradition of pick-up baseball — which school ballplayers from the days of Babe Ruth — has been revived in Park Slope with a little help from the Internet.

With organized Little Leagues done for the summer, local parent Dean Bell came up with a way of keeping the neighborhood’s peewee David Wrights and Derek Jeters busy.

“My son couldn’t believe the season was over so soon,” said Bell. “I made this site so the kids can keep playing through the summer.”

All the 5- to 7-year-olds, or their parents, need to do is register on a Web site to receive an e-mail telling them where the hot game will be that day.

Some neighborhood blogs have attacked at the sight, claiming that it kills the classic style sandlot games where kids meet up on their own.

“This is the way it has to be,” said Bell. “These are peewees and their 5, 6, and 7 years old. They’re too young to be doing this on their own.”

Despite the high-tech approach, the game remains the true to the spirit of pick-up baseball: whomever shows up plays, with the teams divided up at random. Parents are still advised to stay out of the game and let the kids handle it (except for coaching and providing the bats and balls).

One major change: positions will be chosen out of a hat — a far cry for the bully-takes-pitcher rule that we remember.

Already, 38 ballplayers have signed up at the Web site,, but on Wednesday afternoon, a would-be participant named Dean was dying to get in a game.

“Game on Friday the 13th!” his post read. By Thursday morning, no one had responded.

Updated 4:30 pm, July 9, 2018
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