If you're thinking you'd like to give your child the opportunity to play baseball, but don't know how to get started, keep reading. We'll walk you through the things East Bay parents need to know, step by step. (See what I did there?)
Thanks to the Oakland A's, the East Bay's favorite baseball team, for sponsoring 510Families.com today.
Learning to throw and catch requires practice. The first step is to buy yourself and your child baseball gloves so that you can play catch. Get one for everyone in the family. You'll want a few soft balls, too. Here's an Amazon (affiliate) link to some affordable supplies to launch your new family hobby.
Where to play
Make playing catch a practice. My son is motivated by the theatrics of the game, so while plenty of public grassy fields make sufficient backgrounds for playing catch, a real baseball field is even better.
Check out these fields of dreams, where you can go play when school and baseball practice are not in session:
Alameda Little League Fields in Alameda
Chabot Park in Rockridge
Caldecott Field in the Oakland Hills
Montclair Park in Montclair
Coaches Field in Piedmont
King Middle School in Berkeley
La Loma Park in the Berkeley Hills
Ocean View field in Albany
Albany Middle School in Albany
Albany Little League Field in Albany
You can also join the A’s at one of their 30 Play Ball events throughout Oakland in 2019. Each Saturday during the season, families can join Stomper and the Hall of Fame racers for a fun-filled day of sandlot-style baseball at an Oakland park. Kids of all ages are encouraged to come out and play ball!
Where to watch baseball
Live baseball games offer the excitement of the game, alongside an introduction to being part of a fan community. The Oakland A's have loads of family-friendly features at their games at the Coliseum (as do the San Francisco Giants if you're up for crossing the bridge).
Little League games are not quite as action-packed as college-level ball, but you can certainly drop in on one and stay for an inning or two since they are free. Check the NOLL/SOLL Facebook page and Albany Little League for activities and events. Registration for these leagues is happening now.
Pro-tip: The Albany Little League Snack Shack sells hot dogs and organic chicken apple sausages for $2. You can feed and entertain your whole family outdoors for less than $10 if you show up at the right time of night. There is a playground for bored spectators next to the bleachers, too.
Recreational Leagues for Spring Seasons
Did you miss a registration date? Visit the websites for these recreational leagues so that you can sign up for their email lists and be reminded about them for next year.
NOLL/SOLL (North Oakland/South Oakland)
El Cerrito Youth Baseball
Albany Little League
Albany Berkeley Girl's Softball League
Alameda Little League
Alameda Girl's Softball Association
Piedmont Baseball/Piedmont Softball
But wait, you can get started now
A few programs that offer baseball skills around the East Bay, not centered on a team/game model.
Lil Sluggers at Bladium (Alameda) offers a winter and a spring session of baseball skills and fun for kids 2-6. Join anytime.
Piedmont Recreation department introduces kids as young as 2 to the basics of baseball.
Junior Giants offers free non-competitive baseball classes for boys and girls in Oakland, Richmond, Hayward, and Newark.
Summer BALL Camp for boys and girls at Chabot Elementary in Oakland
Future Stars Baseball Camp (and ongoing afterschool program)
Diamond Skills Camps (Alameda) (including Spring Break camp, Winter camp, and Summer Camp)
Reader tip: Another great resource in the east bay is Archie Gilbert. He is a retired professional baseball player that teaches kids baseball skills. My son has been taking lessons with him for 6 months and has improved in everything – fielding, pitching, hitting. Plus he has learned game strategy! I highly recommend Archie for anyone who wants to improve their baseball skills. http://www.archiegilbert.com
Where to buy baseball equipment in the East Bay?
If you know what you want, you can click around on Amazon and find it all, but if you need the guidance of a salesperson, or want your kiddo to try things on, here are some local shops:
West Coast Sports – 1855 Alvarado St, San Leandro, CA 94577 – (510) 357-8149
Sports Basement – 2727 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA – (510) 984-3907
Mary and Joe's – 911 San Pablo Avenue, Albany, CA – (510) 525-1597
If you want your young superstar decked out in green and gold all season long, the A’s have something just for you. The Future A’s program provides complimentary jerseys and hats to local youth baseball and softball leagues in Oakland and the East Bay. Teams also receive additional benefits and support, including development clinics, tickets to A’s games, and more. Registration for the 2020 season will open in the fall at athletics.com/future.
Batting Cages in the East Bay
Ready to take some swings? Batting cages offer automated pitching machines that can be set to kid-appropriate speeds. Call ahead to learn if you need to be prepared to wait.
Did I leave out your favorite baseball resource? Tell us in the comments and we'll update this post.
Thanks to the Oakland A's for sponsoring this guide to getting more baseball in your life! Join us on April 20 for a 1 pm game, featuring a Matt Chapman Bobblehead giveaway. Here's a list of upcoming events:No Events