Take in an eight-year-olds' baseball game this spring and something will smack you right in the face.
Where's the chatter? Where's the Nobatta nobatta nobatta...swing!?
Where's the catcher giving the nonstop Come kid, hum kid, you chuck kid, you and me kid, powder river kid!?
Where are the songs that made no sense?
Pitchers on his rocker,
Kissing Betty Crocker!
Or...Little baby batter
Can't control his bladder!
When I was skipper of the world-famous Nuts (team cheer: Goooooo Nuts!), any player who couldn't hit or field had better be chattering at least, and that meant most of them. Chatter means players are behind each other. It also means a kid has his head in the game, as opposed to standing at second base wondering how many Estes D-model rocket engines he would have to duct-tape to his butt to get himself to the moon—while a lovely double-play ball trickles by unheeded.
(Unfortunately, by the time the Nuts turned 13 and 14 and started shaving, the chatter got a little out of hand. One time our shortstop hollered, "Hey, your mama has a toll-free number!" Didn't go over big in the Catholic Youth Rec League.)
Plus, chatter gave a coach an extra language to convey subtle messages. Hum kid! Rock and fire, kid! (Please get this one all the way to the plate. Our catcher went home an hour ago.) Have an eye, kid! Have an eye! (Please don't swing. Your only chance to reach base this season is to walk.) You and the mitt, kid! Just you and the mitt! (Please throw a strike this inning. I've got theater tickets at seven.)
Of course, chatter rolled out of the tobacco-strewn pieholes of many coaches at 56,000 bps whether they had anything to say or not. A buddy of mine had a coach who would holler this before every pitch: Hinkahduh hinkahduh, hum that rock! My buddy says it took guys on the team two weeks to realize that Hinkahduh was not the last name of the pitcher.