A Rookie's Guide to Kids Softball and Baseball in the East Bay - 510 Families

A Rookie’s Guide to Kids Softball and Baseball in the East Bay

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?)

Where to play baseball | Where to watch a baseball game | Recreational baseball leagues | Baseball classes and camps | Batting cages | Where to buy baseball gear locally | Buy discount A’s tickets to Sunday games

Thanks to the Oakland A’s, the East Bay’s favorite baseball team, for sponsoring 510Families.com today.

How to get kids started with baseball in Oakland

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 Baseball and Softball in Town

Make playing catch a regular habit. 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
Albany Little League Fields in Albany
Albany Middle School in Albany
Bushrod Fields in Oakland
Chabot Field in Rockridge
Caldecott Field in the Oakland Hills
Coaches Field in Piedmont
Fremont Sports Complex in Fremont
King Middle School in Berkeley
La Loma Park in the Berkeley Hills
Montclair Park in Montclair
Ocean View field in Albany

More favorite Oakland baseball fields from NOLL/SOLL >

Oakland A's Play Ball events are baseball skills clinics in the community
There are many parks and ball fields in the East Bay to throw the baseball, play a full game, or learn from the A’s at a Play Ball community event. | Photo: Oakland Athletics

Oakland A’s Community Days: Play Ball

You can also join the A’s at one of their many Play Ball events throughout Oakland in 2020. On select Saturdays during the 2020 season, families are invited to join the A’s at local East Bay parks for fun-filled days of pick-up baseball games and skills areas. Stomper and the Hall of Fame racers will make special appearances throughout the season too.

We’ll have lots more details as these events get closer. Kids of all ages are encouraged to come out and play ball!

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 or if you can reserve a cage.

Oaktown Baseball Batting Cages in Oakland (also classes and private lessons)
Next Level Softball and Baseball Academy in Alameda
Payless Batting Cages in Concord
East Bay Sports Batting Cages in San Ramon

Where to Catch a Baseball Game in the East Bay

Major League Baseball in Oakland

Live, professional baseball games offer the excitement of the sport, 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 well as special theme days and nights. Race Around the Bases invites youngsters 14 and under onto the field after most Sunday day games to run the same bases that the A’s players do. If your kiddo can stay up late, the fireworks shows are incredible.

SAVE ON OAKLAND A’S SUNDAY TICKETS FOR 510FAMILIES READERS >> Grab four tickets for any Sunday game for $80. Each ticket includes $5 of loaded value that can be used at concession and merchandise stands. Kids can run bases after most games, too.

play baseball with kids
Photo courtesy Oakland A’s

College Baseball and Softball in Oakland, Berkeley, and Hayward

Cal baseball games and Cal softball games are cheaper than the MLB and offer closer seating. (Pro tip: Cal baseball games are fun with little ones.)

More college baseball teams to cheer for near us:

East Bay High Schools Baseball and Softball

Somewhere between tee-ball and the major leagues is the high school teams. Games are usually free and exciting. Check out the larger high schools like Berkeley High, Oakland Tech, Bishop O’Dowd, or St. Mary’s High School.

Little League makes for a cheap evening outside

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 Baseball Season

Spring baseball sign-ups often happen in the fall. 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)
Albany Little League
Albany Berkeley Girl’s Softball League
Alameda Little League
Alameda Girl’s Softball Association
Babe Ruth League (Oakland)
Castro Valley Little League
East Bay Oaks Girls Baseball Club
El Cerrito Youth Baseball
Fremont Centerville Little League
Oakland Girls Softball League
Piedmont Baseball/Piedmont Softball
San Leandro Little League

But wait, you can get started with baseball skills and drills now.

MLK Jr Baseball Field
Kids play with Josh Reddick at MLK Jr Field in Richmond | Photo: Oakland Athletics

Local Baseball Classes and Camps

A few terrific programs that offer baseball skills around the East Bay, not centered on a team/game model. Piedmont Recreation department introduces kids as young as 3 to the basics of baseball. Junior Giants offers free non-competitive baseball classes for boys and girls in Oakland, Richmond, Hayward, and Newark starting at age 5.

Find a summer baseball day camp >>

Parent tip: Coach Ben at Future Star Baseball offers drop-in classes throughout the year, skills clinics, and customized (private) lessons in addition to camps.

Parent 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.

Family at baseball game
This was Chapman first two home run game! | Photo provided by Oakland Athletics

Where to Buy Baseball Equipment in the East Bay?

Gear up! If you know what gear you want, you can click around online, but if you need the guidance of a salesperson, love to shop local, or want your kiddo to try things on, here are some go-to East Bay shops that know all about baseball:

Decathlon – 3938 Horton St, Emeryville, CA – (415) 408-5494
Dick’s Sporting Goods – Multiple East Bay Locations including Pleasant Hill and Fremont
Sports Basement – 2727 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA – (510) 984-3907
Mary and Joe’s – 911 San Pablo Avenue, Albany, CA – (510) 525-1597
Montclair Sporting Goods – 1790 Mountain Blvd, Oakland, CA – (510) 339-9313
Play it Again Sports – Multiple East Bay Locations including Concord and Dublin
West Coast Sports – 1855 Alvarado St, San Leandro, CA 94577 – (510) 357-8149

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.

SAVE ON OAKLAND A’S SUNDAY TICKETS FOR 510FAMILIES READERS >> Grab four tickets for any Sunday game for $80. Each ticket includes $5 of loaded value that can be used at concession and merchandise stands. Kids can run bases after most games, too.

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! See you Saturday, April 11 vs. Yankees for the annual Youth Baseball and Softball Day. Teams are welcome to join in post-game fireworks on the field.

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