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Taking a trip to the sports Twilight Zone

By Anthony Rhoads

Sports reporting is a strange and wacky business sometimes.

There are times in sports where it seems like you've just taken a trip into the Twilight Zone.

There are times when you are flabbergasted beyond all comprehension and can't believe the things you see and hear.

n For instance, last spring, The Daily sports department received a fax from a local recreation department announcing sign-ups for the upcoming youth baseball season. Nothing strange there, but this particular organization was holding not only sign-ups but tryouts for baseball teams for 3 and 4-year olds.

What are the requirements for a 3-4 year-old baseball player? That they can run without falling down? Or what do coaches say to each other during tryouts, something like "that kid is going to be a heckuva ball player when he turns 6'"?

I might be wrong about it, but I think that baseball at that age should just be about introducing the kids to the game. At that age, don't even keep score but just teach them a few basics of the game.

n One of the most bizarre conversations I've ever had was at an area tournament softball game.

One father was a nice-enough guy but I don't think he was all the way there upstairs.

"You're sports writer, right?" he asked.

"Yes," I answered.

"You write stories?"

"Yes."

"And those stories go in the newspaper?"

"Yes."

Later in the game, one of the players on the team got a hit.

He asked one of the moms who got the hit. She answered ?number one-four!'

He replied ?I thought it was number 14!'

n Errors are a part of baseball but has any error ever been attributed to the offense?

According to one baseball mom, I guess that's true.

She stated once during a game "we have five errors and I think they are all on the defense!"

n One of the incidents that has reached nearly legendary proportions in The Daily sports department is the infamous Tara Field airport incident.

Each year, the News-Daily covers the Clayton County track meet.

One year it was held at Tara Stadium and we filled out the photo assignment sheet and simply put down Tara Stadium for the location. No directions were included because Tara Stadium is such a prominent venue and it's a place our photographers have been many times.

That day, I received a phone call from the photographer (who is no longer employed here) who was assigned to the track meet.

"Anthony, there's no one here," he said.

I was puzzled and double checked the location. It was slated to be held at Tara Stadium.

"Anthony, I'm here at Tara Field and there's no one here. There's no track meet here."

When I heard that, I was speechless. I was also bowled over when he said that he thought the track meet would be at Tara Field because it was close to the track at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Atlanta Motor Speedway has held its share of events over the years but I don't think it has ever played host to a high school track meet. Maybe that's something the staff over at AMS should look into one of these days. It would particulary be interesting to see how you would run the hurdles on the high-banked turns.

Anthony Rhoads is a sportswriter for The Daily.