Weather & Field Status Update

All Fields currently OPEN (3/27) - see cold advisory below

All fields are OPEN  and all softball and baseball games are on as scheduled.  

Temps Saturday AM will be cold. We have been following closely. It does not appear that there will be a freeze overnight however and our grass is more established now, so we are waiving the 40 degree rule for games and practices Saturday AM. It looks like there will be sunny skies and relatively light winds, so we're anticipating a cold but bearable morning.  Same for the late games Saturday night when the sun starts dropping.  We have 50 games on deck for Saturday (and it's picture weekend), so it's important that games and events all stay on time.  Please bundle up, keep the kids warm during the game and remember how nice last Saturday was.  We'll get through it.  Thanks to all in advance.

As always, cages are open, but do not use them in the event of rain, lightning or dangerous, frigid or sloppy conditions. Thunder & Lightning Safety Plan

Thank You Team Sponsors!

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NYO Sports Information: 
Northside Youth Organization
140 W Wieuca Road Northwest, Atlanta, GA 30342
404-256-1483 fax 404-843-1165 

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Fastpitch Softball



Thunder & Lightning Safety Plan

Thunder & Lightning Safety Plan for NYO's Fields at Chastain Park.



* All play or practice is suspended
* All players, coaches, umpires, officials and spectators should leave the field and seek shelter immediately!

Move to a sturdy enclosed structure or a fully enclosed vehicle with the windows rolled up. No place is absolutely safe from a lightning threat, however some places are safer than others. Stay away from:

* Fields, common areas and any area of higher elevation.
* Tall isolated objects, such as flag poles, light poles or trees.
* All metal fences, bleachers and batting cages.
* Unprotected open sided buildings like dugouts, picnic pavilions, rain shelters, tents, or any covered rest area.
* All water and water fountains.

Safety is the number one consideration - common sense and good judgment should be used at all times.

Parents dropping off unattended children should have a safety plan in place for their child.
Do not return until the all clear is sounded – 3 quick 5 second horn blasts.

NOTE – For offsite NYO games or practices, umpires and coaches should follow the same safety guidelines if they hear thunder or see lightning. Play or practice shall not be resumed until there has been a minimum all clear period of 20 minutes – again common sense and good judgment should be used at all times.

Thank you!

Team and individual pictures are this week - March 26-29.  See the attached schedule for your team's time and location.  Teams playing off-site will take pictures at St. John's UMC or Sarah Smith Elementary School.  Pictures will take place RAIN OR SHINE

(Click on the picture or title for more info)


Friday, 13 March 2015 12:05

Dugout Doings: Why Opening Day Matters

For the first time in many a year I will miss NYO's Opening Day ceremonies. I'll miss the volunteers who worked so hard for 24-straight hours to hang red-white-and-blue bunting and to inflate all those colorful balloons. I'll miss the little boys and girls tramping across the still-dewy outfield grass of the Garr Field, looking for the banner that signals where their baseball or fastpitch softball teams are to gather. I'll miss the team Moms and coaches who bedeck their players in Mardi Gras-style beads, then lose track of them just as the big parade is about to begin. I'll miss the high school cheerleaders and mascots who attract wide-eyed little ballplayers wherever they go.

I'll miss the loud music that Billy Small plays as the teams march into the Jane Wilkins Bronco Field after they have snaked their way down stairs, around and back up stairs next to the Dowis Building. I'll miss baseball commissioner Cliff Barshay pacing the infield, microphone in hand as row-after-row of little ones form an arc in the outfield that stretches from third-base line to first-base line. I'll miss Cliff's patter, so familiar one year to the next. I'll miss all the official welcomes from all the adults as little players grow restless. The National Anthem will be sung and someone special will deliver the first pitch. From their perch in deep center-field, Larry and Debbie Bennett will take it all in, knowing Larry's non-stop work has yet again made the fields ready and beautiful. I'll miss all these things, but I'll know another NYO baseball/fastpitch softball season is officially under way.

(To read more, please click on the headline)  

In just a few days the NYO fields will be transformed by 300+ volunteers with red, white and blue flags and tons of balloons. NYO Baseball/ Softball Opening Day is March 21, 2015 and excitement is building!  (Click on the picture or title for more information)

Friday, 06 March 2015 15:39

TeamNYO Parking Project!

After months of hard work, we are very happy to report that we have finally received our permit for the parking project. As you’ll recall from our last updates, though we had complied with all requirements, “the city’s permitting process threw us a curveball” and those curveballs kept coming, causing at least a year’s delay in our project. So now we are eager to get underway with this exciting project.

(Click on the title or picture for more information)

Jackson Lee Wallis, 11, took the pitcher's mound in relief for the NYO Majors Mets. The 10 a.m. game on the Austin Armstrong Field of Dreams began with a temperature of 39 degrees and a wind chill that made it feel like 32.  Jackson Lee's fingers were stiff with cold, making it difficult to grip the baseball. Home plate umpire Rhonda Clore ('I'm not just Blue, I'm the mother hen') called time and visited the pitcher with one of those hand-warming packets more commonly found on ski slopes. Warming his fingers between pitches, Jackson Lee induced an inning-ending groundout to his shortstop. Welcome to NYO baseball 2015.

Cold, wet weather hit pre-season practices hard. 'Most (teams) have had three to five on-field practices,' according to Baseball Commissioner Cliff Barshay. Normally they would have between 9 and 12. Because of a tighter-than-usual baseball calendar, NYO has started its season for the older baseball and fastpitch softball teams earlier than normal for the second straight year. In the past, the season began after spring break for private schools and ended the week before Memorial Day, which this year falls on May 25. However, that would have left nine weeks, rather than the 10 that are necessary, according to Cliff. Thus the need to wedge in a week of play in late-February, early-March. While baseball opened on Saturday, fastpitch softball teams practiced in advance of their Sunday opening games.  

(To read more, please click on the headline)


Wednesday, 25 February 2015 15:23

Dugout Doings: BP for Professionals

Before we talk about the big boys in the batting cages, we must address the monster behind the pitching screen.  His batting-practice pitches are hard, straight and true. Except when they aren't. 'He's been coming in all afternoon,' a player shouts to the batter, who holds the shattered wooden bat --- a prized gift from a former Major Leaguer who is now one of his coaches. One pitch, one swing and the barrell of the bat goes one way while the handle remains in the hands of Chesny Young, 22, and an NYO alum. Chesny, who hit .327 in his 44 games last summer and fall as a Chicago Cubs minor leaguer, eyes the bat with sorrow. If he were 10,  you'd want to put your arm around him and tell him everything will be all right. 'I've been using it all winter,' is Chesny's epitaph for his splintered wooden friend. 

The pitcher? Ken Young, Chesny's dad, who has performed nearly every NYO volunteer task possible. Through January and much of February, Ken Young threw BP to his son, Michael Massi, a St. Louis Cardinals prospect who played college baseball at Mercer University with Chesny, and David Reid-Foley, a former Mercer catcher who is in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. Brandon Thomas, a New York Yankees minor leaguer who played at Georgia Tech, also used the NYO cages, as did Kyle Farmer, who played at Georgia and is in the Dodgers' system. That Chesny, Brandon and Kyle, who grew up playing NYO baseball, came home for their pre-season workouts speaks volumes about their connections to the program.

(To read more, please click on the headline)

Friday, 20 February 2015 12:29

Dugout Doings: NYO's Pre-season MVP's

Until the season's first pitch (and maybe even after), they are every NYO team's most valuable player. They are the Team Moms, although there is one Team Dad this year. Without them, there would be no jerseys with each player's name neatly lettered on the back. There would be no hats. There would be no red-white-and-blue bunting or balloons for the Opening Day celebration. Who would solicit team sponsorships? And, heaven forbid, who would arrange post-game concession-stand tickets for the little ones?

'The Team Mom runs everything for the season, but the coaching on the field,' says Paige Fielden. Perhaps it's not accidental that Paige's name, along with Kim Shoup's, appears just below that of baseball commissioner Cliff Barshay in NYO's annual guide. Paige and Kim are volunteer auxiliary co-presidents. It's 9:30 a.m. and 15 degrees outside, but 40 Team Moms have gathered in the Dowis building on a weekday morning to pick up team hats and to get their instructions for the 2015 season, little more than a week away. The day before, 60 attended a like session for the younger NYO teams. The meeting is all business. Questions are sharp and to the point. Paige Fielden presides, but there are plenty of presenters.

(To continue reading, please click on the headline)

Wednesday, 18 February 2015 16:13

Dugout Doings: Starting the Right Way

Imagine you're a 7-year-old. You're standing at first base and your Rookie League NYO teammates occupy the dugout. Someone in the stands shouts your name and you want to look, but the adult on the mound is about to deliver a pitch. The batter makes contact and the ball rolls toward the shortstop. He fields it cleanly, but his throw to force you out at second eludes his teammate and rolls into right field. Your third-base coach signals to you to head for him, where you stop. That's how a like play would have gone in a big-league game.

Once upon a time, however, the Rookie League third-base coach would have turned into a human windmill, signaling you to keep running until you reached home.   The batter also would have kept running and his 'home run' would have been a cause of much celebration. But everyone would have known better. The shortstop might not have tried the throw, believing it was better to hold runners at second and first. And therein lies the difference in how NYO trains its young baseball players today, versus a few years ago.

(To continue reading, please click on the headline)

Saturday, 07 February 2015 11:59

Dugout Doings: There's New Grass on the Field

It's a Wednesday morning in early February and the NYO ball fields at Chastain thrum with activity. Work nears completion on the wood and stone pavilion- pressbox-dugout facility that backs up to Lake Forrest Drive and overlooks fastpitch softball field #4. Red ribbons wrap 59 trees that will come down (all will be replaced with new trees) to expand parking by 93 spaces, although not in time for this spring season. A tripod rests atop the pitcher's mound on the Jane Wilkins Bronco Field. It is used to laser-grade the field as muscular orange machines spread and smooth mounds of infield dirt.

The calendar may say it's winter, but the race is on to ready NYO baseball and fastpitch softball facilities for near-non-stop use until the end of May. It's a race Larry Bennett runs and wins every year. A past NYO coach, board president and chair and current Pony League commissioner, Larry is the guiding light behind all things structural at NYO.

(To read more, please click on the headline) 

Monday, 26 January 2015 17:49

Dugout Doings: NYO's Circadian Clock

By Scott Brandt's count, this year marks the 16th time he's unfolded his chair, pulled out his player-ranking sheets and spent two (usually) bone-chilling days in late January sizing up NYO baseball talent. Saturday morning's raw damp weather gave way to Sunday afternoon's sun-splashed warmth along the third-base line of the Garr Pony Field. Wave after wave of 13 and 14-year-old players took their cuts against a pitching machine, sprinted the basepaths, fielded ground balls and shagged flies.  Next to each player's name, Scott recorded a grade for each skill. In near silence, Scott and the other Pony coaches watched and wrote. In a few days they will use their rankings to select this year's Pony teams.  

All across the Chastain fields and elsewhere, the annual ritual of Tryout Weekend plays out for baseball and fastpitch softball. Because nearly everyone is assured a place on a team, the term 'tryout' is something of a misnomer. Yet, it's part of NYO's Circadian rhythm. It's the weekend that signals a new season is upon us.Carter Smith, 13 and an eighth-grader at Sutton Middle School, totes his bat and other gear and awaits his turn. His tryout number, written with a Sharpie and pinned to his tee-shirt, flutters in the breeze.  If Carter's nervous, it doesn't show. He's an NYO lifer, having started in Small Ball. He plays second base and has an older brother, Jay Paul, 15, and a younger brother, Alex, 10, who have preceded and followed him along the NYO path.


(To read more, please click on the headline, above)       

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