Junior, Senior & Big League Baseball (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The results are in and it is official! There will now be an official 50/70
Little League division with a World Series Champion! However, they set it up w/ an odd age breakdown of 11-13. This creates challenges across the board. Before I get to that, here are the rule changes for the league found at this link:
1. Implementation of a new division in baseball, the 50/70 division.
2. Junior Softball division to pitch from 43′
3. Senior All-Star teams can have 16 players and Big League All-Star teams 17.
4. Tournament team names can be released June 15th or 2 weeks before first scheduled game, whichever is sooner.
5. Players who do not meet the 60% minimum play for tournament teams because of illness or injury can be eligible with doctor’s excuse.
6. Tryouts and practices for tournament teams can be held starting June 15th or two weeks prior to the first scheduled game.
None of these rules are really all that significant other than the grandaddy of them all, the 50-70 rule! This creates a dilemma for all leagues. How to structure your league? My first thought is this way:
Senior Division 13-16
Junior Division 13-14
50/70 Division 11-13
Major Division 9-12
Minor Division 7-11
But this creates a conundrum for smaller leagues. Smaller leagues don’t have enough players for a 50/70 AND a major’s division. It is also my believe that Little League wants the major’s division to go away and be replaced w/ the 50/70 division. The 13yo stud can move up to the seniors, but smaller leagues like the one I am part of would essentially have to do away w/ the juniors division at this point if they want a 50/70 division. Would this cause many of the 13yo’s to leave and go play in leagues that allow 13′s to play on 90′ bases? I don’t know.
My next question is, must a league still charter a
Major League division IF they are chartering 50/70 divisions? I don’t know. As of now you MUST have a major’s team chartered or have a waiver. I presume you do not. So where does this leave the 12 year old’s at this point come tournament time?
Imagine this scenario which was my first instinct on this one:
Senior 13-16 (Only stud 13′s allowed to move up)
In this scenario you would have the following potential all-star teams:
Seniors, Juniors, 50/70, Minors
Anyone who played seniors would be eligible for the Seniors and Juniors team. However, ONLY those who played 50/70 are eligible for the 50/70 all-star team. So presume that the all-star team is comprised of all 13′s, now where do the 12′s play? The 11′s can move down the the 10/11 team, but the 12′s are left w/o a team, even though that had been the marquee age for Little League for all of eternity!
Why Little League allowed the 13′s to play down is beyond me, but a league that doesn’t have their 13′s on the 50/70 team does not stand a chance against a team of all 13′s they are destined to encounter in tournament play. This forces the board to either create a team that will never have a chance or create a major’s division as well! A substantial challenge for any organization large or small.
So, at this point, I really don’t know how I would recommend structuring a league that offered a 50/70 program. Do any of you have any suggestions? Certainly together we can figure this out. What do you think? How would you, or how are you planning to structure your programs? I would love to know.
We host the Senior Baseball Sectional tournament tomorrow and they we are done until fall registrations! Which are ummmmm…..28 days away! It never ends!
What do I have to do after this?
1. Design the fall baseball flyer
2. Get it copied
3. Mail it to about 500 people
4. Get in the hands of local businesses
5. Get it approved by the school board and into the schools
6. Email the entire league about registrations and tournament success stories!
7. Make sure the city hangs our signs and gets data into the newsletter.
That’s what I do in my "off season"! I guess we really have to love this stuff huh?
How do you spend your off season?
It is amazing how much documentation you need to simply play all-stars! History has shown that adults are not always the greatest role models when it comes to all-stars though. It is beyond me how a team could cheat with a board of directors, hundreds of parents, and multiple coaches in the organization. But somehow they still pull it off.
Does no one have the guts to step up and say "we are cheating, it is wrong". Apparently not. I am the first one to work the rules to my advantage, I openly admit that. But I will NEVER blatantly cheat! I would hope that if I tried, my board would rein me in, at a minimum, I would hope someone, a parent or something, would question me!
Little League requires tons of documentation. They require:
birth certificate . It cannot be a copy, must be the original with the raised seal. Most states have overnight shipping on birth certificates, so don’t panic if you can’t find it. It will probably cost you $50-$100 but at least your child will be able to play.
3 Forms of Proof of Residency! These, can’t be the same thing. For instance, 3 utility bills won’t cut it. The categories are:
Driver’s License Voter’s Registration
Welfare/Child Care Records
Support Payment Records
Homeowner or Tenant Records
Internet, Cable or Satellite Records
My personal favorite is driver’s license, voter’s card, and utility bill. Simply and easy and you can copy all onto 1 piece of paper.
The second trick is getting organized. The best way to do this is to get yourself a loose leaf binder w/ plastic inserts. Then copy as above, put in the birth certificate on one side, the copy of address verification on the other and put into your book in the order that the names appear on the affidavit.
If you put your book together organized like this, then when you present it to your District Administrator’s representative, they are likely to breeze through it and you will be in and out instantly. If you are unorganized, they will tear it apart and likely find errors.
One more thing, as you move up, it will be more closely scrutinized. Make sure your parents bring original documents to sectionals, states, regionals, and the world series, just in case someone rejects something that was accepted at a lower level. Better safe than sorry in this case.
Once all the documentation is accepted sit back and enjoy the best ball of the year! Count how many times you shake your head in amazement. It is truly time for the kids to show off. Sit back and enjoy their growth.
What do you use for documentation? What is the strangest thing you have ever seen?
The Minor Divisions
Everyone knows that the major divisions of
Little League are competitive. But what about the Minor League Divisions? The rule book identifies them as instructional, but does not reference competitive. How is a local board of directors supposed to interpret that? It says instructional, not non-competitive. Teaching Competition is Instructional
My opinion is that teaching competition IS being instructional. That said, this should be VERY carefully monitored by the local leagues. The way our league set the season up this year is we had a 2 game
round robin end of the season seeding for a minor league tournament.
It was our opinion we were taking 9 and 10 year olds with NO competitive experience and throwing them into the highly competitive 9/10 Little League International Tournament. They were getting creamed! So we decided to start the season instructional, make the last 2 games against each team count ONLY for seeding our end of year tournament, and then play a double elimination tournament in which ALL teams competed.
The Board’s Creation
In our opinion, this created the best of both worlds. We played games early in the year that didn’t count at all. We also play other leagues in our district, those games don’t count towards the standings either. Some of those intersperse with the round robin as well, so this gives the teams a minor respite.
Then we play games that count, but only towards seeding in the end of year tournament. So, while they count, they really don’t. Then, just before all-stars, we are holding a double elimination tournament between all the teams that is intended to be competitive.
We have successfully melded instruction and competition and taught both.
How do you run your minor league program? What suggestions do you have? Please let us know!
There are not enough kudos to send out to the
Little League Mom. She sometimes works all day, runs home and gets dinner on the table, gets the kids to their games an hour early for batting practice and cheers as if she isn’t tired all night long.
Uniform coordination, coaching assistance, team mom, party organizer, domestic planner, they are often the unseen heroes, and sometimes on the front line. They tirelessly work concessions, console strike out victims, provide first aid for skinned knees and bruises, and offer encouragement in the face of discouragement.
A true Little League mom knows the difference between and injury and a little pain from getting beaned. "Get down there", "Get over it", is often heard from the stands, but the same voice consoles truly upset Little Leaguers.
I know at my house my Little League mom has 4 uniforms, 3 coaching shirts, and 3 practice shirts to keep track of. She has to make sure umpiring clothes and
jock straps are laundered and ready to provide protection! Socks, belts, pants, underarmour, cleats, bat bags, hats, everything ready to go. Dinner ready at 5, coach in and out in five minutes at 5:15. It is a mad rush at our house every night. Snack bar duty, snack night for the kids, birthday parties to plan, attend and buy for, school events to keep track of, grades to keep up with, homework to manage, showers and in bed late every night, and up early the next morning to do it all over again!
Wow, I had a glimpse at her job today as I helped w/ everything I usually don’t attend too. An SHE CAN HAVE IT! I have no idea how she does it, I am only thankful she is so good at it!
Thank you to My Little League Wife and All of the Little League Moms and Wives around the world! You are the true driving force behind our success.
Anyone know a great Little League Mom? Give her props here!
People Appreciate Your Efforts
Those of us who volunteer countless hours need to be reminded occasionally that giving truly does give back at least 10-fold. This sounds slightly religious, or even a bit trite, but it is a fact. Why is this? Because people appreciate your efforts!
How do They Reward You?
How many leads have you gotten from your volunteer hours? How many times has someone informed you of a job opportunity? How about when you donate to a
charity run or dinner and show up there. What does that do for your personally or professionally?
At work, if you are polite and help someone in need, don’t they always go out of their way to help you out for the rest of the time you or they work there and beyond? How often does that tiny effort lead to a lifelong friendship?
The old saying you can get more flies w/ honey than spice is very true. How many times when you were younger did your volunteer hours lead to social invitations? Dates? Etc.
Always Be Giving
We need to make sure that we are always trying to give something to somebody. The "
pay it forward " scenario really works, use it! You will see. Miserable people seem to bring more misery to themselves, happy giving people seem to always have someone helping them that they can count on.
Thank you for everything you do. You will be rewarded.
Know of someone that deserves special notice? Let us know about them!
Little League is inclusive. You don’t have to try out to get into the league , only to balance the talent among the teams. Anyone that signs up gets to play! That said, back in the olden days when I was playing, there were no minimum play rules. In fact, there were no reentry rules! Once you were out, you were out.
I also started playing as a 9 Year Old. There was no minors program, there were no developmental or t-ball programs either. The fact is that playing time in Little League has increased astronomically.
Earn Your Position
That said, this isn’t "feel good league", it is Little League. You have to earn your position on your team in the
Major ‘s. This is NOT a bad thing! This is a great life lesson . How many times have you thought Jimmy was going to be the shortstop but Johnny beat him out. Then Johnny worked real hard and won the spot back. What was the result? Two great shortstops!
Regulation IV (i) in the Little League rulebook requires that "every player on a team roster will participate in each game for a minimum of six (6) defensive outs and bat at least one (1) time."
In minors this year for the first time consecutive
batting orders are mandatory. Many leagues already did this, but now it is the rule. The minimum play times in regulation IV still apply, but free substitution is now permitted on defense. Our league made a local rule that no player in minors may sit for more than three consecutive outs thereby guaranteeing that a kid in minors will play every other inning at a minimum. What if Your Kid Isn’t Playing Enough?
What if you think your kid is not playing enough but is playing the league minimums? The board of directors has no choice but to hear your concerns, graciously console you, and then inform you that the manager is within their rights to manage the team as they see fit. As long as Jimmy is playing the minimum, there is nothing the board can or will do.
Now what to do? Some would be tempted to "take their ball and go home" and this reaction is understandable. But what are we teaching our kids if we allow them or even encourage them to do that? Wouldn’t it be better to take Jimmy to the field and work him out? Make it impossible for the
coach to keep him out of the game? How about encouraging him to support his teammates? Stepping up as a moral leader?
There are so many valuable lessons to be learned in Little League. One of the most valuable is that you don’t always get your way, or what you want. You do what is best for the team and respect your manager’s decisions. Likely you are young or inexperienced if you are playing league minimums. Your time will come. Look up to the others, try to emulate them, try to make yourself better, and do everything in your power to improve.
Or you can take your ball and go home, another life lesson?
There is a kid waiting in minors that would consider it an honor to play 6 outs and bat once in the Majors.
How do you keep kids motivated that only play minimums?
This post was guest blogged by Dan Green, President of DeBary Little League and manager of the DeBary Minor League Cubs.
I have been involved with Little League Baseball for 10 years as Board Member, Manager, Coach, Umpire, Treasurer and President. I have been blessed to manage some of the greatest kids I have come in contact with. This year is no different.
I have particular young gentlemen that I have a pleasure to work with in the fall of last year and this spring. This particular boy struggled at the plate. He was always stepping out of the batter box and swinging. This spring was no different. I worked with him on his stance and on his confidence. It is nice to see a kid progress in baseball especially when you have an influence on the kids.
The other night we had a game. We were losing but that did not matter to me. I told this young man if he got a hit I would buy him a chocolate shake. First pitch was high and the boy swung and missed the ball. The next two pitches were balls. The next pitch he hits the ball to left field for a double.
If you could imagine the smile on this boy’s face. He was jumping up and down on the base. Mom was cheering loudly in the stands and dad was just smiling from ear to ear. Of course the manager was just as excited as the boy and raised his hand in the air as the ball was hit.
After the game was over this young boy received the game ball and reminded me that I owed him a chocolate shake. My pocket was a little lighter but it was well worth it. This is why I volunteer my time as a Board Member and Manager. To see a kid with a smile on his face will have a lasting impression.
Do you have a similar story to tell? Post it below or email it to me for posting.
Please see our other posts:
Smart Money Magazine Interview
Variation of the Around the Horn Drill
New Pitching Drill
Blowout, Pitching Questions, Resume for Article
SmartMoney Magazine Interview
Worlds Greatest Equipment Manager
We have the best equipment manager on the planet! He has worked thanklessly and tirelessly (ok maybe he got tired, he looked it anyway) to make sure that every player had the proper size uniform and each team had enough equipment to play. Another thing he is; a master of The Bargain!
We budgeted $800 to get one lock upgrade at our snack bar. We needed a way to track who was coming and going and decided a great idea would be a lock w/ a code that we can download information from. We chose the Trilogy 2800 because he got 2 for less than our budget!!!! Great idea right????
ummmmmm……If you had asked me four hours ago I may have said no, but now??? Sure it was fabulous!
The Set Up
OK, so programming a basic code into the locks was a piece of cake! Simple entry similar to what you would do on any device. But, this lock comes w/ a sophisticated software that allows you to program all kinds of neat stuff! The software? Piece of cake! I had every team programmed w/ a different code and ready to upload to the lock in no time. I was even able to restrict entry to the teams to the hours of 5:30-9:30 so they can’t get in during the day when nobody is around.
Sounds simple right?…SURE!!!!
The software comes w/ a D9-2 pin connector that communicates w/ the lock. You are simply supposed to plug it in, click the button and boom! About a week ago we plugged it in, clicked the button and…………………….waited………………….waited……………..waited………………….ut oh.
OK, guess we will have the actually read the manual! I hate manuals! Checked the manual…nothing. hmmmmmmmm…..
OK, let’s check one of the 5 bulletins that came w/ it since the manual was printed. On the 5th one I found a clause that said that some modern laptops are not truly RS232 compliant on their D9 serial adapters and don’t provide the proper voltage needed for this lock! In addition, you can run a loopback test to see if your laptop is compliant. (This is where I say 2 hours in, if we had read the thing in the first place we wouldn’t have been two hours in…but I will ignore that part for humor’s sake!)
What do we do? We run a loopback test……fail….fail….fail…..fail…..fail. hmmm….I guess we have one of those non-compliant serial connections. Why would they build it this way? I have no clue. So what do we need? A “proprietary” cable of course!…I go home and search for it online. How much???? $150!!!!! HOLY COW!!!!
OK, this can’t be. Our equipment manager, who also happens to be a very handy guy, he installed the locks, new PA speakers, and much much more, mentioned that he didn’t think that cable was anything special. It was simply a cable to convert a USB port to a serial port. Why do I need this if I already have a d9 connection? That is a question for Dell I guess. The more I thought about this, the more I agreed. So I headed out to Office Depot for a cable….no longer stocked. Oh, no problem, Radio Shack will have it of course..wrong!
I had to go to the local Bad Boys Computer store, and they had it. The good thing about this was I was able to ask the technogeek working there if he thought it would work or if I would need their $150 cable! He was fairly certain, as we were, that there would be nothing special about it. I came to learn that the d9/usb adapter actually came w/ software and a driver. Pretty cool, and pretty sure it would work.
So what do I do? I trudge on over there tonight, determined NOT to be defeated by a lock! I install the cable, install the driver perfect, no problems. Hook up to the lock, run the loopback test..fail..fail…fail….hmmmmm.
OK, what is up w/ that? I really have no idea and almost am willing to surrender to the $150 cable! (this cable cost $29.99 at the computer store btw) But what kind of example would I be setting for my kids if I simply gave up? The game wasn’t over yet!
What did I do? I checked the com ports under the devices settings in the my computer properties. The device was set up as com 16, I needed it on one of com1-com4. After some manipulation I was able to get a successful loopback test! Yippee! I had the polarity wrong and also had to reset the port to com2 but I was able to get the thing to work!!! WOOHOO I WIN I WIN the Little League Coach WINS!!!!!!
The locks are actually great. They have features that allow us to limit access and track who is coming and going. I suspect that cases of hamburgers will no longer be walking out of the snack bar any more. Here are the features we chose to use:
1. Restricted entry times for team parents – This allows them to enter only when other’s are around
2. Individual tracking codes for each team – We know who is coming and going
3. Full access 24/7 for board members
4. Special code for the city to get in
When all is said and done, these will be a great addition to the league. I think we will probably install one on the equipment room as well and then maybe gloves and balls will stop walking out.
Have you faced a technical challenge as a volunteer? Post a comment below and let us know about it.
What a Game!
Briggs and Stratton Diamond in the Rough Contest
Pitching is King
Also on the Board
Opening Day a Huge Success
Dedicated to Sportsmanship
Yes, this site is dedicated to teaching good sportsmanship and leadership skills, but we all know we need structure in our lives! I think I may have a little too much structure, but serving on our Board of Directors is how I provide the structure that the kids need to play ball.
You would think you just show up for a game and bring your glove right? Wrong! Being on the Board is a full time job! That full time job involves a lot of time that I have to invest and take away from the things I love.
Day in the Life
Here was my day:
1. Work all day long on my day job
2. Haul butt home from work
3. Wolf down a pork chop and mac & cheese
4. Out the door to combined pitching practices
5. Straight from practice to a board meeting
6. After the board meeting spend 2 hours figuring out that the new software we bought to control the entry locks to the snack bar won’t work w/o a new USB adapter cable
7. Home around 11PM
8. School work for about 2 hours
9. Answer hundreds of emails
10. Write this post!
With the season starting, things should slow down a bit, but not much I am sure! Anyway, that is the true life of a Little League Coach and parent.
Anyone have a similar story to share? Click below to comment.
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