From the time I was old enough to run, I ran outside to play. In my rural Racine, Wisconsin neighborhood, there was no city park — only a vacant lot that my dad plowed up with his tractor, and tried his best to turn into a baseball diamond. Try as we might, our playing field was never level. The field rolled downhill toward the third base line.
The city of Eau Claire has dozens of green, beautifully-maintained parks — and many of them include ballfields complete with backstops and fences.
But whenever I pass one of those parks, all I see is empty grass, devoid of mitts and bats and baserunners. The game of baseball that I — and many of us — grew up loving — is truly becoming America’s PAST time. But it isn’t just baseball that’s missing.
In the spirit of both scientific and journalistic curiosity I decided to conduct a social experiment. I’d pick 20 Eau Claire parks, wait for a beautiful summer day, and record what I found in each. Here are the results…