Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Saluting Houston 5A Baseball

A while back we ran an article about how newspapers, in an attempt to stave off extinction, have cut the coverage of high school sports. High schools sports are sports at its purest. They are the backbone of our communities and the supply chain to our colleges. Unfortunately and quite irrationally in our opinion, High School Baseball coverage was the first to go in many metro daily newspapers.

Therefore, when we came upon a site called Houston 5A Baseball, we were pleased that there is still a medium out there dedicated to the COMPLETE coverage of high school baseball. This site was founded by Randy Byers on February 15, 2000 as the High School Score Board and became Houston 5A Baseball on February 22, 2001. Houston 5A Baseball is dedicated to 5A High School Baseball coverage in the Houston Metro area.

Houston 5A believes it is very important to provide positive publicity to their student athletes. Houston 5A is a very pro-active web site in the promotion of High School Baseball. Byers has established a valuable relationship with the High School Baseball community in the Houston and metro areas from Conroe to Galveston, Beaumont to Katy and all points between.

In February 2001, after running a score board site for the past couple years, Byers was cruising around on the net looking at high school baseball websites when he realized, there was hardly any Houston area coverage at all and started his web site.

“I felt that the Houston High School Baseball community that includes players, coaches, and volunteers deserve recognition for their efforts,” according to Byers, “Houston 5A baseball covers the big game, from January 1 to December 31, covering the gamut High School Baseball, to Summer Ball to Fall Ball.”

Houston 5A Baseball is the only one of it's kind on the net today. Their off season coverage is also unique as well as their regular season coverage. And, they are home to the most comprehensive high school baseball play-off coverage online.

Family struggles caused Byers to miss much of his high school playing days and at 18 he moved to Houston (1980) and that rekindled his passion for the game at the high school level. He had always heard about this national baseball power called Bellaire, so needles to say, one of the first things he did was attend a Bellaire High School game and watch the methodical, legendary coaching style of Ray Knoblauch. He remembers that those teams were so fundamentally sound and played truly for the love of the game.

Working to survive in Houston as a young adult from a small community in middle Indiana, stole the time needed for the passion he had for this game. He fell into a routine when the most important thing becomes not what you want, but what you need. So his passion was put on hold for many years until his boys started playing the game in 1989-1990. When his youngest was in 8th grade in 1999, he started the scoreboard, due in part to the difficulty of finding any media on the high school game.

As a life long baseball fan of nearly every level of the game, he has always felt the high school player is truly the last bastion of amateur athlete left in our game. “They play the game with passion, desire, for the love of the game,” he adds, “They reward friendship, life lessons, and self confidence. For this they had no, or very, very little, coverage in the media.”

It was terribly difficult to even get scores in many instances in the greater Houston area. Having followed the game fairly closely for years and very closely when his boys started playing, Byers was very much aware of the talent pouring out of Houston from their high schools. He saw that there was tremendous interest within the baseball community but no real interest in the media of promoting the game, players, coaches, and volunteers at the High School level. So the score board became the monster that is now Houston 5A Baseball. It seems there was even more interest in the baseball community than he even imagined. In just a few short years, H5AB grew into a 5000+ member site where everyone helps out in their own way.

The bottom line is Byers felt the Players, Coaches, and Volunteers, of the game of baseball deserved their own avenue. Their own space in the media if you will. He still feels that way to this day, maybe even more so now then ever.

Byers has a reason for covering the game at both the High School and Select levels; “It has been apparent that over the past fifteen years that Select Baseball provides a much needed service for our boys on the field just as High School level provides them the guidance, life lessons, and true friendships that will last a lifetime, so does Select and Traveling Baseball with an added plus, EXSPOSURE. No other level of the prep game exposes the players to so many from so far away.”

Houston 5A Baseball has entered it tenth year covering the sport of High School Baseball. Many faces have changed as well as the names but one constant remains. The Player.

"The players deserve maximum exposure for their maximum efforts and that will never change," concludes Byers, "There will always be a need for promotion and the timely dissemination of information in our sport."

Rounding Third Salutes Houston 5A Baseball. Take notice America. A site like this could exist in your communities too. All it takes is passion…like the kind Randy Byers has.

1 comment:

John Ruiz said...

Thanks for recognizing the first class service that Randy provides to the Houston area baseball community. With the steady decline in High School baseball coverage by the Houston Chronicle, we all look to Randy, the volunteers that help him canvas the area, and Houston 5A Baseball for the most complete baseball coverage in the area.