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?