Another season is in the books for most of the high school baseball and softball teams around Texas. Only the best of the best are still playing – the few teams that have a real shot at a state championship. And when you take a look at where many of these teams come from, you may notice something that binds them together.
Michael Florek is a sports reporter for the Dallas Morning News. He says there is a direct relationship between the wealth of a suburban school district, and making the playoffs and state tournaments. In other words, middle-class schools aren’t as successful.
“It doesn’t guarantee success if you are wealthy,” he says, “But it basically says if you are middle class or if you are poor, it really is difficult and almost impossible to compete with those wealthy schools that have good programs and are winning.”
Florek looked at the number of playoff series wins within the last five years in baseball and softball and the percentage of economically disadvantaged students in the team’s school. He says the fewer economically disadvantaged kids a school has, the more playoff wins their baseball and softball teams will receive.
He says middle class and poorer students can’t afford select baseball tournaments or teams because there has been a surge in the cost to play outside the high school season.
“It varies widely depending on the age and the team you get involved in,” he says, “…tournaments can run $2,000-$3,000. If you’re playing in 10 tournaments, that team is gonna have to pay $30,000.”
Folek says if a team doesn’t have a wealthy donor, it’s hard to come up with that kind of money. He says confidence is important for a team that might not have the finances.
“These kids that aren’t playing select ball might be as good, but they don’t have the confidence,” he says, “They don’t have that backing where they know they can do it.”
Written by Amber Chavez.