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Re: A Thought for Little League Improvement

Posted by: JJA (jjanagnost@worldnet.att.net) on Tue Mar 23 07:18:53 2004

Hi Everyone,
> In my estimation, Little League baseball has evolved into a political showcasing, which is shown most clearly in the favoritism of a coach's son above all others, even though others may have higher credentials. On this site, people often talk about how proper hitting mechanics can be beneficiary--and, for the hitters accumulating statistical significance, can lead to dreams of "going somewhere"--but their dreams are quashed the instant the coach reveals that his son is the predestined favorite. At this point, the team disregard all useful techniques, and garner an apathetic attitude toward these coaches. More importantly, other coaches may feel that their children were used and discarded in order to help one person become famous.
> What is needed, then, is a way to revamp the entire youth league system so these conflicting interests do not deprive the deserving from being given credit for their accomplishments.
> The only way to achieve to this goal is to elect friendly, nonpartisan coaches who judges these children on what they do with they God-given ability, rather than whether they the son of a patrician, politician, or an actor who attracts a great deal of popularity.
> Sincerely,
> Knight1285@aol.com
> P.S. I left out another important idea. Instead of "benching" those with the least amount of athletic talent, these coaches will play all nine players for six innings, but also do what certain coaches do by bringing up great athletes from the lower levels of the league. It is important that that upper and lower leagues have different schedules, so it allows the gifted athletes (3 or more) to dress for game day. That way, if a player on either team gets injured, they will have "deserving" substitutes on either side.


Good try, but as someone who has worked in a strong southern California little league for the last 5 years, it isn't that easy. Here's why.

1. First of all, it's hard to find enough qualified coaches yet alone enough to hold an election with. I would argue that if the batspeed peanut gallery saw what the ~40 coaches in our league were teaching in terms of batting mechanics, they would argue none of them are qualified.

2. Who would do the voting? Of course the other coaches. Who would they elect? Almost certainly the same guys that are coaching now. The current coaches don't have the perspective to really understand your point. Most of them, understandbly, are in it for their own child.

3. Finally, your best point is having all 9 players play. However, little league rules state that their must be 12 players on a team. This rule can of course be ignored by the local league, but our league takes it seriously. Because an even number of players don't show up for sign-up day, this means several teams have 13 players. This means 4 players sitting out each inning! It's very difficult with 13 to then satisfy the little league rule that you must play everyone 3 innings.

Believe me, I've fought this with our board, and lost. Their point is that with kids so busy these days, that with only 11 on the team (or less), you'll end up with games with only 8 players or less on the field. Having substitutes is a theoretically good idea, but logistically difficult and ultimately impractical. Many kids don't bother to call the coach when they don't show up. You don't find out until game time. This would make it impossible practically to call a substitute to fill in. And sometimes guys come after the game starts. What then? And if you propose that the substitutes just fill in when there is an injury, which rarely happens, this means that the substitutes wouldn't play often. Who would want to be the substitute?

Again, great try. You've got the interests of the kids in mind, which is better than at least 50% of the coaches out there.



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