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Travel Teams and Little League POE


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#21 DCBaseball

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 03:14 PM

All the biggest and most successful leagues have been doing exactly this for years and years. Skirting the rules by parsing the definition of "support", etc.
To do it within the rules has and continues to require having an excess of financial and human capital available to support separate organizations.
Just another example of how and why LL baseball is bad for the economically challenged inner-city leagues that tend to operate with a deficit of both money and people.
For this and many reasons, the LL tournament is not a level playing field. Never has been, Never will be. LL contributes to the racial makeup of baseball at the higher levels in a negative fashion...not a positive.
This is just another example of a policy that is ignorant to the overall mission of LL to grow baseball in all parts of the country.

#22 B_Hanlon

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 04:00 PM

Obviously, the biggest problem is that often the Little Leagues presidents and BOD's are all in and no one wants to ruffle any feathers.
If the local LL BOD's votes to charge the local travel team a $250 fee they kind of have their backsides covered.
You can argue that isn't enough but if they claim the fields are empty on a Sunday afternoon so $250 a year is $250 a year they have provided the separation.

DCBaseball, I agree with you, but how do you fight this?

#23 amutz

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 04:21 PM

There is a destructive disconnect between releasing these (under-enforced) LL rules and the reality of travel ball.
Travel ball isn't going away.
Kids with enthusiasm, talent, and a family who can afford it will play travel ball.

LL wants and needs these kids to continue to enjoy playing with their friends in their Spring Little League and Allstars.
An 'engagement model' would be a lot better than a list of 'do nots'.
How about some good examples of what works?

#24 Plesh

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 05:50 PM

When travel ball was really starting to grow, around 05, 06, 07ish, our president at the time said LL needs to embrace travel ball instead of trying to keep it down.

 

I thought that was a great quote at the time and looking back now, even more so.

 

Unfortunately LL has done the complete opposite. They tried to suppress this crazy-fast growing brand of baseball (with no luck obviously). I guess they thought that since LL had so much history behind it that it wasn't going to get pushed aside.

 

LL had their chance to adopt and embrace travel ball to make it their own, but that was probably 10 or 12 years ago.

 

Now they're just begging people to play with the LL patch on their shoulder, bending rules and regulations and looking the other way more than ever.

 

It's sad that LL is left with amending two paragraphs in the rule book every year to try and keep their integrity.



#25 stan.staziak

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 12:43 PM

There is a destructive disconnect between releasing these (under-enforced) LL rules and the reality of travel ball.
Travel ball isn't going away.
Kids with enthusiasm, talent, and a family who can afford it will play travel ball.

LL wants and needs these kids to continue to enjoy playing with their friends in their Spring Little League and Allstars.
An 'engagement model' would be a lot better than a list of 'do nots'.
How about some good examples of what works?

 

I live in Northern VA, huge Travel ball presence from 8U-14U; Kids play TB plain and simple and anything that LL does to make that more difficult will be to the detriment of LL.  Kids here are going to play TB so LL must find a way to co-exist and for the most part they do. The leagues in my district have many leagues that field teams with the stipulation that you must play house in the spring in order to play on those TB teams. 

 

To fight the TB trend will only hurt LL.

As for the inner city stuff; TB probably isn't the biggest issue facing the inner cities. Just a guess but I am guessing there are more pressing problems than TB teams.



#26 Lou Barbieri

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 03:17 PM

DCBaseball - blaming LL for the racial make-up of baseball at the upper levels seems a bit of a stretch to me.
LL developed the Urban Initiative Program to stimulate baseball in the inner-cities.
It has been pretty successful in some areas.
I have been involved with several Urban Initiative Tournaments and they are well received.

I will agree that due to the financial situations of many (most) inner-city families that things like independent Travel Ball play is not possible, but I fail to see how that is LL's fault.

That's just my 2 cents.

#27 rsnyder6

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 01:51 AM

Most of the deals coaches or parents bring to our league would cost us money and/or players. (Partly because of the field arraignment with the town.)

Our biggest issue with travel ball is coaches recruiting and taking kids in their division. Once a whole Williamsport team.
We usually lose at least some of these kids.

The league in our district that holds Spring, Summer, and Fall Tournaments, and who a number of our players now go to, has at least agreed that they will only approve teams from other leagues that have players we have certified are registered in their home leagues.

They have been doing this for years, entering their own travel teams, with their league uniforms, on their fields, managed by league officials.

We have had a couple of kids come to us asking to play in the Williamsport Tournament saying they played in LL in the spring by virtue of their participation in this other league's program.

#28 OutdoorDad

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 03:30 PM

For the second time in as many years, I'm seeing a travel team disguised as a LL all stars team on their way to a state championship.

Same coaches, same players, almost same uniforms (they bought some cheap shirts for LL).

Hard for a true rec league all star team to compete against players who have been playing and practicing together for years.

#29 Lou Barbieri

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 02:20 AM

Did they all play on the same LL team or were they split up over a few teams?

#30 OutdoorDad

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 02:43 AM

Lou, I don't know.
I'm assuming the local BOD knows the rules.
But when the travel team posts a picture of the all star team and remark "they may be wearing a different name on the front of their jerseys, but they are all (insert A level travel team name here) members".

It may be within the letter of the rules.
But I believe it misses the intent.

Otherwise why have prohibitions against when practices start?

#31 Lou Barbieri

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 10:44 AM

The point of my question was, if they were all on the same LL Team that could be a problem (illegal draft?).
If they are spread out among the LL teams and are all also on the same "independent" Travel Team that is "common practice" for a lot of leagues.

You take your league's 12-13 best players (you probably know who they are) and you form an "independent" Travel Team that plays together all year.
At All Star selection time how much of a coincidence is it if all or most those same 12-13 kids get selected for All Stars?

#32 B_Hanlon

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 10:47 AM

Unfortunately, there are still ways to do this and still abide by the rules.
Yes, it's not fair, but it's legal.

#33 Jamief

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 01:09 PM

I remember the first time I went over to Bristol to watch the SB east regional.

The team from NJ all had matching helmets, cleats and bat bags. Clearly from a NJ travel organization. They played exceptionally well and it was obvious they played together a long time.

The rec programs you see in our neck of the woods are more like a collection of the best rec players pulled from 2-3 teams. You have 1 or 2 pitchers if you're lucky and 3 shortstops, 3 catchers and 3 first basemen. You spend 2 weeks trying to create outfielders because most of these girls never played there in the spring.

Just watching warmups it's clear that these kids knew what they were doing and had been playing together a long time. Not just a 3-4 weeks between June 15th and July 22nd.

#34 Plesh

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 02:12 PM

As I've said a million times, all the good teams have [almost] all their kids playing travel, usually together.
You have to if you want to compete.

Obviously it wasn't always like that, but that's just how the landscape of youth BB and SB is in this current day.

#35 amutz

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 06:18 PM

We had a few dads get together with their Allstar 10s about 7 years ago and form a travel team.  The dads managed the logistics, and hired a professional coach.  It was a talented group who gelled well, and they played together through high school very successfully.   This was a good model IMO.  Those kids were going to play travel ball no matter what, and by keeping the group together in the LL community, they did it without 'pulling away' from LL.     I wish we'd turned this into a 'system' rather than seeing it be a one-off.  

 

From what I see today its a better collaboration with LL than having fully independent travel ball orgs.   Travel ball isn't going away and having an 'aligned' organization is better than creating an 'us and them' conflict which pulls the best players out of LL.


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#36 richives

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 06:28 PM


Whether "hosting" a travel tournament (Plesh's Post #9), or "renting out" fields (Lou's Post #10), aren't the underlying facts the same? Use of Little League assets (baseball fields) for a non-Little League activity (travel tournament).


From Post #11 above, "Uniforms, equipment and any assets belonging to the local Little League (to include any uniform bearing the required Little League shoulder patch), cannot be used for non-Little League activities, or in any game or tournament not specifically approved by Little League International." This says, ". . . any assets belonging to the local Little League . . . cannot be used for non-Little League activities . . ." Baseball fields, fences, bases, scoreboards, concession stands, quick-dry mix, rakes, tractors, chalk, etc., are all assets of the local Little League. Reads very restrictive to me in that it covers any assets, and says cannot be used as opposed to should not be used. Don't think calling it a Little League Fundraiser holds up all that well, when the underlying activity is a non-Little League travel tournament.


Presumably the focus is on "similar activities" like a competitive baseball game or tournament, as opposed to a home run derby or the like. Rule Book does say, under Principles of Conduct, "To the extent that the time and energies of its members are diverted to other similar activities, the more limited will be its prospects for continuing success." Hosting a travel tournament, for example, inevitably diverts "time and energies of its members" in terms of planning, organizing, advertising, and running a successful tournament. Field prep and maintenance alone takes a lot of time and energy, especially if Mother Nature does not cooperate.


Either way, best bet is to check with Williamsport.


A leased field is not the leagues property.
The field does not belong to them.

#37 rsnyder6

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 01:44 AM


 

As I've said a million times, all the good teams have [almost] all their kids playing travel, usually together. You have to if you want to compete.

 

Obviously it wasn't always like that, but that's just how the landscape of youth BB and SB is in this current day.

 

I do see it all over. 

 

Beyond the obvious advantage over places this doesn't happen, I have seen two problems.

One is the travel team, often managed by the coach that will have the Tournament team, has one to a few kids that are not really Tournament caliber, (fiends kids, etc.) And they end up on the Tournament team. ( Yes, there are ways to deal with this, but...)

Or, the coach likes having the travel team so much, he just takes a bunch of the best players at that age away from the league, and most don't return.



#38 Mr. Dill

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 01:51 PM

In 2018 are all the other youth programs, Cal Ripken, Dixie, Pony, and Travel teams going to use the new Birth date of August 31???

#39 Plesh

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 04:38 PM

Slim chance IMO.



#40 Westfield Mike

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 08:23 PM

Babe Ruth will not be changing their age cutoff, which is causing problems in our town.
We have Little League and Babe Ruth.



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