MCC instructor Sam Beckett featured in KCPT ode to backyard baseball

In KCPT’s “Call of the Sandlot,” MCC-Penn Valley music instructor Sam Beckett talks about the weekly neighborhood ballgames he started 20 years ago.

MCC-Penn Valley instructor Sam Beckett’s own field of dreams is featured in a new KCPT online series, “Call of the Sandlot.” It can also be seen on TV, debuting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, on the public television station (Channel 19).

In 1998, Beckett and his wife, Ana, turned a kind-of-overgrown “pie-shaped wedge” of land behind their house into a field for weekly summertime baseball games. The tradition is going strong in its 20th season, with kids and parents showing up to play backyard ball.

Beckett, an adjunct music instructor at Penn Valley, says in the show that when the Kansas City Royals asked him to play the organ at Kauffman Stadium, he agreed on one condition: that he wouldn’t work on the nights of his sandlot ballgames.

Beckett is seen briefly in “Call of the Sandlot” playing piano on the stage of MCC-Penn Valley’s Little Theater.

The show was originally produced as four mini-episodes of about 5 minutes each, which were released online starting in early August. The four segments were stitched together for the broadcast version, but you can watch them anytime at flatlandkc.org/topics/video-series/call-of-the-sandlot.

“Call of the Sandlot” hearkens “back to the time when kids played until their mothers called them in for dinner.” The series looks back at Kansas City’s baseball history to explore why sandlots disappeared, and how the Royals — and the Becketts — want to bring the tradition back.

In “Sandlot,” Royals great (and current Jackson County Executive) Frank White talks about playing baseball as a kid in KC. Viewers also learn how the Royals are hoping to instill leadership skills and discover untapped talent with the Urban Youth Academy being built in Parade Park behind the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.