"The worst damned thing that ever happened to baseball is not the DH; it is Little League" - BIll James.
Bill James is talking about the fact that Little League coaches are out there trying to teach kids the "right" way to play baseball and the number of kids who go outside and just play baseball is dwindling. It's part of a longer piece that he wrote lamenting the fact that kids need to rediscover the joy of baseball and think less of travel teams and deadlines for tryouts and proper gear and high schools with good baseball programs.
I remember playing baseball on my block with a wiffleball and yellow wiffle bat. Aside from a couple of years of adult league baseball in college, it was the only baseball I'd ever played.
The wiffle bat broke after a while and we split hitting time with the broken bat and a broomstick. Of course, the broomstick quickly cracked up our wiffleball, so we grabbed some duct tape and taped up cracks as they'd appear.
After a while, the ball was just a mass of silver with bits of white and sometimes brown masking tape when we couldn't get anything else.
We didn't really run the bases or anything because at most, there would be 6 of us out there, usually 3 or 4, and ghost runners only get you so far. Pretty much just took turns pitching and hitting.
Like I said. I didn't play Little League, so Bill James' assessment seems pretty good to me (which happens a lot and is why I'm a fan of his). I'm sure plenty of you had good experiences in Little League, but I'd be curious to learn what all you learned that my neighbors and I didn't get with the broomstick and the taped up wiffleball.