What do Dallas and Ft Worth Have in Common
What do Dallas and Ft. Worth ISD’s have in common? Well if the Dallas Morning News stats can be believed, both play some of the worst baseball in the nation.
Of course, numbers only tell part of the story, but based on the Dallas Morning News latest stats, there are 26 baseball programs (22 in Dallas and 4 in Ft. Worth) that have a collective winning percentage of 36%.
Obviously, there are lessons in both losing and winning. But one wonders, when you lose year after year after year, what does that do for the psyche of the player, team and program? As a former Dallas ISD student, we came up in a golden age where schools like SOC, Kimball, Carter and even Roosevelt were perennial threats to win state in multiple sports (not necessarily baseball). That is true for some programs in Dallas ISD even to this day and selected programs in Ft worth (Dunbar won its division in basketball this year) as well.
However, when it comes to the hood, baseball is not football or basketball. The culture isn’t there. The culture IS there for the outer suburban ring programs: Your Coppell’s, Mansfields, Southlakes, Waxahachies, Rowlett’s, Flower Mounds and on and on.
Despite the fact that Dallas ISD has one of the few middle school baseball programs in the area, its 22 high schools in this survey holds a collective winning percentage of 38%. Middle schools programs are what many school districts fight to get. In Dallas ISD’s case, it has ALWAYS had middle school programs and even some like Greiner that produce consistently good results in baseball. But the middle school programs don’t translate to success overall for the high schools in Dallas ISD.
Let’s think of other positives that Dallas ISD has in place:
A.31 Athletic Middle Schools to feed 22 Athletic High Schools.
B. Some of the nation’s top athletes
C. Brand new baseball facilities being built such as the new one in Fair Park at Billy Earl Dade MS
D. As mentioned, one of the area’s only middle school baseball programs
But for each well-intentioned attribute such as those listed above, you also have the football culture, which in many cases steers kids into football first and places a stranglehold on any interest in baseball.
Dallas and Ft. Worth can both take tips from Chicago’s Simeon HS, which willingly shares players across sports to ensure the most optimum output from each of their sports and judging from players like Vanderbilt’s Ro Coleman, that philosophy of sharing has continued to pay off for all its programs including baseball.
You also have non-baseball coaches coaching baseball, which the coach deserves credit for trying, but in the cases i have seen, this is a disaster and is a reflection on the athletic administration and where their priorities lie, which most certainly have not been and don’t appear to be with baseball.
Also, on a recent game day at Carter, the district didn’t even see fit to keep the field manicured in a desirable way, with kids playing on the field with the dirt part of the infield chock full of grass.
Of course, teams like W.T. White, who will likely be in the playoffs again and a few others play at a level that at least one can appreciate. The problem is there is not near enough decent programs that play baseball in the district. Even our schools that make the playoffs routinely get bounced out soon after by one of the outer ring suburban programs (no state title in Dallas ISD since 1965: Samuell High School).
The district should by now be fed up with the mediocre play of its collective baseball programs. Of course the superintendent is fighting his own front-page battles trying to educate the students, so priorities are of course with education first, but when it comes to baseball, DISD’s proud sports tradition alas does not include baseball (individual exceptions not limited to, but includes: Jimmie Jones of TJ, Charles Hudson of SOC, Kyle Money of Samuell, Calvin and Kevin Murray of WT White and North Dallas respectively).
On another front, football’s concussion issue has brought chilling neurological knowledge to the surface and over time baseball may become a beneficiary of parent’s desire to not place their children in harm’s way.
In the meantime, perhaps Dallas ISD’s new Athletic Director who was hired last year can polish the gemstone that is Dallas ISD Baseball. Right now, the shine is dull and uninspiring.