Chuck Baker’s enthusiasm for coaching youth sports, particularly baseball, is evident. You can hear it in his voice, sense it in his demeanor and see it in his tidy garage that resembles a locker room more than it does a space to park the family’s vehicles.
“You name it, if the boys play it, it’s in the garage,” says Baker with a laugh. “Baseballs, gloves, bats, shoes, footballs, bowling balls, basketballs, golf clubs, a scooter, whatever they’re into.”
So it goes for Baker, a devoted husband and father of two sons, Michael (age 14) and Sam (age 10), who for the last eight years has volunteered countless hours to help coach their teams. Though his sons play a variety of sports, including football, basketball and bowling, baseball is king at the Baker family home.
“I started coaching Michael when he was 6 years old playing tee ball at Holiday Park. This is the first year that I haven’t been involved with his team in some capacity now that he’s playing freshman baseball at Valley. Sam started asking me to play catch with him when he was 3 or 4, and I’ve been involved with his teams over the years,” says Baker, who helps coach his youngest son’s current team that plays in a competitive league. “Baseball is our favorite sport by far.”
Last year, the baseball gear in Baker’s garage was in a constant state of transition. He and his wife, Pam, saw their sons play a total of about 100 baseball games at Holiday Park in West Des Moines as well as on other baseball diamonds throughout the state.
“You build a camaraderie with the kids and the parents when you spend that much time with them,” Baker says. “I’ve enjoyed meeting new people and making new friends along the way. I still get kids who come up to me and call me ‘Coach Baker.’ ”
Baker’s sons say they have enjoyed playing for their father during the years. It has created a special bond between them and generated happy memories of time spent together.
“It’s been nice having someone there that you can trust,” says Michael.
Sam concurs with his older brother in more straightforward terms.
“It’s awesome!” he says.
Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or email@example.com to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”