Peter Kane is a Winnetka resident and father to three baseball players, ages 8, 12 and 14, all of whom participate in Kenilworth-Winnetka Baseball Association (KWBA).
For the past eight years, Kane has been involved in the association by cheering, coaching and in recent years, serving on the KWBA's board. Between 600 and 800 children play on a KWBA team, and the organization draws players mostly from the New Trier Township.
Patch: How has KWBA done this year?
Kane: We had a very good year for registration. It was the strongest year in first grade [teams] that we’ve had in a while. Yet, demographics are declining. There’s other sports that we’re competing with, such as lacrosse, hockey and basketball. Our focus is to create a good, community baseball environment.
Patch: What is a good community baseball environment?
Kane: It's one where everyone has the chance to play. You play with your buddies. It's a fun, competive environment that also supports mentorship and instruction.
Patch: In what ways do you think pop culture has influenced the perception of baseball today?
Kane: I still think baseball is one of the top three sports. It’s baseball, football and basketball. Baseball continues to be a very important part of a child’s development, predominantly of a boy’s development. The attitude and passion for baseball continues to survive and prosper.
Patch: How so? What makes baseball unique?
Kane: It’s a relatively straightforward sport. Parents are hesitant about football because it is a very physical sport. Baseball can be played anywhere. Most municipalities dedicate part of their green space to baseball diamonds. It's easy to play. I definitely think that the experience of baseball is one that is common across all communities, as an organized sport for a given community.
Patch: Speaking of community, how is the sport and KWBA received in Winnetka?
Kane: I think baseball is well-received. It's very much supported by the community and the parents, and we run this league with predominantly all volunteers. So on a lot of levels, we get participation from players, parents and our former players, who come back as assistant coaches sometimes.