Your guestion has great merit to it and relates a lot to todays playing environment.
I grew up in Western Massachusetts during the 1950’s & early 60’s, and we had a constant image of the game - youth and pro ball. Every kid that I knew had a glove in their back pocket or on the handle bars of their bike. A bat was just something that kind-a came with the times - if you know what I mean. Every nickel and dime store sold baseballs, and baseball cards were a “must” for fitting-in with the recess and lunch time crowd. These baseball cards were gold - especially for a favorite player. There were all kind of games like “flip the cards” where one kid would either match another kid’s flip out of the hand and land on the ground for match-ya heads or tails, etc. In any event, baseball was king and it shared every part of your language, your right of passage, the neighborhood, your ethnic backround, your toughness and that of the guys your hung around with.
As far as throwing, we did that all the time. We threw baseballs, rocks, and snowballs at every truck and bus that came within range. In addition it wasn’t unusual for any kid to pitch for a game - and I mean for an entire game. And as far as – stay closed — plant your stride foot — and this and that --, most of these kids developed a 50 caliber arm that just wouldn’t quit.
I should note that these were the times of hearing your parents say" it’s a nice day outside - get out!" So, you’d pack a cheese or peanut butter sandwich, take some change($) with you and buy a bottle of pop, and wouldn’t leave the park till dusk. We had baseball 24/7 just about. And I might add - by the time Legion ball came around, every post had at least 40 to 60 kids trying to make it. It was tough let me tell ya. I tried twice and was cut every time. Third time was a charm.
Legion tryouts were as tough as they were a test of your baseball rules, what-if situations, base running skills, etc. I remember the last day of tryouts was a meeting with four coaches - each asking questions about their specialty.
So, baseball back then had the attention span of every kid who wanted to be part of what was a big part of life - regardless if you lived in the city, on a farm, or somewhere in between. Today, baseball is important to some, but because of social, economic, cultrual and other things, it doesn’t share the kind of attention span that it once did. In fact, here in my neck of the woods is the cost of maintenance and upkeep of a ball field isn’t cheap!! Along the same lines is the cost($) of playing the game. Park and recreation departments charge field fees, insurance rates have skyrocketed, uniform and equipment costs are out of sight, and umpires are expensive. (no offense blue). Add to this a constant turnover in coaches who themselves are “just passing through” with their kids, and it’s no wonder we have some - no make that alot, of kids with the kind of injuries that are today.
However - without getting too far off the track here, you can make a difference in this sport. If you have any talent for pitching, catching, base running, infield, batting, etc., think about donating your time to a church league, youth organization or something similar. I’m sure the adults in charge would welcome you with open arms.