Suzi Prokell – Guest Contributor
Sep 29 2020

DALLAS, TX – Nationally, kids quit playing organized baseball and softball before the age of 11.

Patrick Wilson, Little League’s senior vice president of operations admits, There is a generation of parents now that don’t have a connection to the game because they didn’t play it themselves, and if you didn’t play, you’re less likely to go out in the back yard and have a catch.”

According to a poll by the National Alliance for Youth Sports, kids stop playing organized sports because it’s just not fun anymore.

After years of observing youth ballplayers wandering off in thought during games, Chris Dahlander, Runner Gunner Slugger Commissioner, asked his kids why they enjoyed playing video games more than baseball and softball.  His daughter quickly replied, “Because the game never slows down.”

This was Dahlander’s “a-ha moment.” 

“After looking at the stats from my kids’ games, I wasn’t shocked to see that in a typical game, there are five times more walks, hits-by-pitch, and steals than balls hit into play (39.1 versus 7.9).  That’s not baseball.  That’s not fun,” Dahlander claims and adds, “There’s just not enough hitting or fielding going on.”

Dahlander set out to combine the best parts of a baseball game, theme park, summer camp, track meet, and video games to invent non-stop fun and action-packed camps, leagues, and events for youth ballplayers.

Using a pitching machine, sliding mat, eight-inch-thick gymnastics pads, a few tennis balls and bases, Dahlander has crammed as much action as possible into four-hour minicamps for baseball and softball players, ages 9-13 of all skill levels. 

To mimic the positive elements of summer camp, parents drop off their ballplayer(s) and leave.  This aspect allows the kids to be kids while surrounded by new friends with positive role models helping guide their experience.  Parents can keep track of their player(s) throughout the entire minicamp via live cam and their proprietary mobile app.

“My mission is to keep kids in the game well past the age of 11 by cramming more action into less time.  Most importantly, even the kids who aren’t ‘baseball junkies’ have a blast,” Dahlander guarantees.

The next Runner Gunner Slugger minicamps are on Saturday, October 10, at McInnish Park in Carrollton, TX.  Baseball runs from 8 a.m. to 12 noon and softball goes from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. 

Players registered prior to October 3 are eligible to participate in the Home Run Derby immediately afterwards and receive a $20 discount ($49 baseball/$29 softball).  All players must register at least two days in advance at  


Dahlander is the founder of Snappy Salads, a fast-casual restaurant chain focused on high-quality salads ( Started in 2006, Snappy Salads was the pioneer of the “better-for-you” segment with a mission to leave this world healthier than the way we found it. Dahlander grew Snappy Salads to 14 locations in the DFW metroplex. In October 2019, the company merged with MAD Greens, based out of Golden, CO, to form the Salad Collective where Dahlander is a board member. Dahlander is married with two children who both play this great game.

Related Posts