Having a “ghost man” on a base is the only method of keeping an understaffed ball game running, as well as an inevitable consequence of the fact that sandlots are usually haunted. Exorcise empty bases with today’s Groupon: for $48, one child aged 5–13 will learn the basics of hitting, throwing, base running, sportsmanship, and camaraderie during a four-day baseball instructional camp from Balls-n-Strikes (a $139 value). See the sidebar for a list of camp dates by location.
Balls-n-Strikes has helped hone the baseball and softball skills of more than 100,000 young sluggers over the course of two decades. Camps run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday (with Friday reserved as an alternate day in case of rain) throughout June, July, and the first week of August. Unlike summer etiquette lessons or math camp, four days of baseball camp keeps kids active and healthy while teaching them social skills and confidence. Whether or not kids go on to become players, they’ll learn the importance of sportsmanship as the friendly instructors make each day fun. Balls-n-Strikes pairs one certified instructor to every six kids. This ensures that the game will not have to go into the 16th inning before your child gets a chance to bat, and also removes the need to make up additional outfield positions such as "assistant to the regional shortstop" and "human foul pole." Boys and girls must provide their own gloves, bats, and sack lunches before hitting the diamond.