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Stoudamire has mixed emotions on forgoing baseball

Damon Stoudamire recalls the precise moment when baseball became an activity of his past.

The Trail Blazer guard was 14, a left-handed pitcher and center fielder for Peninsula's Babe Ruth team that was set to play in the district championship game. On the same night, Stoudamire's summer basketball team was to participate in an AAU Tournament.

Stoudamire couldn't do both. He chose basketball. He never played baseball again.

'I liked baseball, but I loved basketball,' Stoudamire says. 'I played both for a long time, but as I got older the seasons ran together, and I had to pick.'

Even with all the fame and fortune resulting from his basketball career, Stoudamire has mixed emotions about his decision.

'I tell people to this day, that was the biggest mistake of my life,' he says. 'I truly believe if I had kept playing baseball, I could have made it to the major leagues. I had the necessary attributes Ñ speed, quickness. É I was a leadoff hitter, I never struck out, and I'm a lefty.

'Baseball is a great game, a skill game. Unless you play the game, you kind of get fooled into thinking it's easy because the guys make hard defensive plays look routine. I still love baseball Ñ I live and die Dodger blue Ñ but I guess I didn't have the passion to stick with it.

'As a kid growing up, basketball was more exciting, and all your idols were basketball players.'

ÑÊKerry Eggers