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Special Games or Rule Violation?


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#21 Plesh

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 04:00 PM

I know what it says, but LL doesn't actually care as long as they are separate organizations.



#22 Mike_Hirschman

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 04:01 PM

To the question of negotiation in constitution... obviously, there is a little bit of subjectivity among regional directors at times, but it has been my recent experience that the template is being held to fairly firmly these days.

 

That said, the "should" in the part that is being quoted leaves some room for interpretation... and honestly for good reason. Would you want the local high school coach to NOT be involved in your program? Or a college coach? Or even pro? Because if you went to a "must" rather than a "should", you could have someone using that for their own benefit rather than the actual intent. Yep, have had someone do it. And we all have communities where a different organization has been preferred for teen baseball or softball... should we tell someone with a son and a daughter than they can't coach Little League baseball because their daughter is on an ASA softball program?

 

The statement is there to prevent conflict of interest and shouldn't be abused otherwise. In the case of running a parallel travel program... yes, you have conflict of interest



#23 DCBaseball

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 04:13 PM

The Non-Profit info: http://www.guidestar...e-baseball.aspx

 

Quick search will show the address of the non-profit is the address of the league VP and the coach of the 12U travel team and the coach of this past year's DC representative in Bristol.

 

Is this not a textbook conflict?



#24 amutz

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 04:14 PM

It'd be great to have some clearer guidelines on what's permissible and what's not.  This debate is repeated in our LL board meetings between members.   Avoiding co-mingling of assets is obvious, but 'members' definitely do participate in both.   

 

For example,  Red Lands Little League Allstars and Go Wags Patriots shared most of their rosters last summer.  Cole Wagner (Red Land Allstar) father Bret Wagner was an assistant coach on the Allstar team and is a batting instructor with Go Wags.  I'm not picking on Red Lands or trying to 'blow a whistle'.... none of this was 'hidden' and is simply one example.

 

I think Plesh is correct in that LL demands separate finances, board, etc, but isn't interested in policing the broader interpretation, ""Regular Members should not be actively engaged in the promotion and/or operation of any other baseball/softball program."    Personally I think clarity would help here.



#25 Lou Barbieri

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 04:19 PM

A number of years ago one of the leagues in my old District had a Board Member who also was a major division manager.
He was also the manager of an "independent" Travel Team (that just happened to have several players from the LL on it!).

One of the Board Members "complained" about it and calls went from the league President, through the DA, to the Region and finally to Williamsport.

The "ruling" from Williamsport was basically "this is a local league issue".
In other words, if the local league doesn't have a problem with it then it's not a problem.

So, the Board had a meeting to "hear the complaint" and then voted NOT to discipline/suspend/revoke the membership of the BOD Member.
They saw "no conflict" - that is, the guy was not "stealing players" from the LL to play on his Travel Team and his team was totally independent from the local league.
He was, in fact, working very hard with the local league to ensure all potential conflicts were resolved.

#26 Plesh

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 04:24 PM

It'd be great to have some clearer guidelines on what's permissible and what's not.  This debate is repeated in our LL board meetings between members.   Avoiding co-mingling of assets is obvious, but 'members' definitely do participate in both.   

 

For example,  Red Lands Little League Allstars and Go Wags Patriots shared most of their rosters last summer.  Cole Wagner (Red Land Allstar) father Bret Wagner was an assistant coach on the Allstar team and is a batting instructor with Go Wags.  I'm not picking on Red Lands or trying to 'blow a whistle'.... none of this was 'hidden' and is simply one example.

 

I think Plesh is correct in that LL demands separate finances, board, etc, but isn't interested in policing the broader interpretation, ""Regular Members should not be actively engaged in the promotion and/or operation of any other baseball/softball program."    Personally I think clarity would help here.

 

 

I was just going to use RL as my example as well, especially considering they were the most popular LL in the world this past year. Obviously this is just one of thousands of examples similar to this (high or low profile).

 

But like Mike said, there is some ambiguity that LL intentionally leaves in those rules/ regulations for just that (this) reason.

 

IMO LL has no choice but to allow these instances of travel "overlap" if they want to keep most of these leagues.



#27 Plesh

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 04:25 PM

A number of years ago one of the leagues in my old District had a Board Member who also was a major division manager.
He was also the manager of an "independent" Travel Team (that just happened to have some players from the LL on it!).

One of the Board Members "complained" about it and calls went from the league President, through the DA, to the Region and finally to Williamsport.

The "ruling" from Williamsport was basically "this is a local league issue".
In other words, if the local league doesn't have a problem with it then it's not a problem.

So, the Board had a meeting to "hear the complaint" and then voted NOT to discipline/suspend/revoke the membership of the BOD Member.
They saw "no conflict" - that is, the guy was not "stealing players" from the LL to play on his Travel Team and his team was totally independent from the local league.
He was, in fact, working very hard with the local league to ensure all potential conflicts were resolved.

 

 

How long ago was "a number of years ago"? Obviously I ask because this is pretty much the norm these days, so I'm curious to hear when this specific instance was.



#28 DCBaseball

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 04:39 PM

If these parallel programs were required to accept and allow players from all leagues to tryout, that would be a positive. That would be a rising tide that lifts all boats. However, although they are careful not to align themselves with the parent league in writing, they do verbally tell families that they "must" be part of the LL in order to be considered.



#29 Plesh

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 04:44 PM

If these parallel programs were required to accept and allow players from all leagues to tryout, that would be a positive. That would be a rising tide that lifts all boats. However, although they are careful not to align themselves with the parent league in writing, they do verbally tell families that they "must" be part of the LL in order to be considered.

 

Most of the leagues have it right on their website that they must be registered for LL to play/ tryout for a travel team.



#30 DCBaseball

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 04:51 PM

Phlesh....that is the point. It is an unfair advantage provided to those that can enable it. For many leagues, it is simply not possible.



#31 Lou Barbieri

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 04:56 PM

How long ago was "a number of years ago"? Obviously I ask because this is pretty much the norm these days, so I'm curious to hear when this specific instance was.

I would say probably 5 or 6 years ago.
Prior to that "Travel Ball" wasn't a big thing in my old area in Florida.
Nowadays, if mom/dad don't like how much playing time "Junior" is getting they just form a Travel Team and off they go.
Of course, some end up coming back but some don't!

#32 Plesh

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 05:19 PM

Phlesh....that is the point. It is an unfair advantage provided to those that can enable it. For many leagues, it is simply not possible.

 

No one says the organizations have to be associated. They can be entirely separate.

 

Or like we do, each team is their own separate "organization". You just have to have someone committed to running it.

 

That's what I'm doing right now actually. Setting up my 9u team for next spring, applying for 501©(3), writing a small set of by-laws, organizing our finances, etc.



#33 Mike_Hirschman

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 02:05 PM

If you feel that they are in violation, you should contact your Regional Office.
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#34 B_Hanlon

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 03:50 PM

Everyone involved in Little League knows that they have been trying to become as flexible as possible the past few years to compete with travel ball. We have seen dramatic changes on the softball side to specifically target ASA with double headers, tournaments and pitching rule changes. It only makes sense that Little League targets travel ball to grab that piece of the pie. The dilemma is that they still want to hold the "concept" of tournament teams being sacred (even though they know half of them double as travel teams) and they also want to remain sacred being all inclusive in not allowing leagues to just cherry pick the best kids to play on their "house travel teams" but we all know it is happening.

 

Personally, I would love to see Little League offer more options for the die hard baseball loving kids to play at a more competitive level on weekends while still playing house during the week. I have a fundamental problem that competitive baseball is only for those that can afford it.


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#35 Mike_Hirschman

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 05:35 PM

Brian... look into Dan Cavallo's model in NY. I actually mentioned that in a conversation with a staffer yesterday and was told it is one of about 10 around the country.



#36 Jamief

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Posted 25 November 2015 - 02:43 AM

We had a long discussion about getting more special games / tournaments for the juniors / seniors softball divisions for our league. We lose more and more girls every season to travel. They play USSSA tournaments all spring. If we had similar (less expensive LL legal options) we may have better retention.

#37 Lou Barbieri

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Posted 25 November 2015 - 03:34 AM

Jamief, two words, Softball Jamborees!
In my old District we ran several each year.
We invited every team in the District.
We ran different Divisions on different Weekends (Friday - Sunday).

They were pretty similar to a weekend Travel Tournament.
With the "Special Games Guidelines - Softball" you get a lot more leeway with pitching and double/triple headers, which makes it pretty easy to play a lot of games in a few days, especially in the older divisions.

We'd have 4-5 leagues host (one of their teams gets to stay home while the others travel).
So, it was a "travel tournament" for the vast majority of the teams.

The girls loved it, the number of teams participating grew ever year.
The last year I was there we had nearly 40 teams from 10 leagues participating.

#38 Mike_Hirschman

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Posted 25 November 2015 - 06:37 PM

To piggyback on what Lou said, we will be looking very seriously at that model this winter... it remains to be seen if we do it more in juniors (where the ages overlap) or seniors.

#39 Jamief

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Posted 30 November 2015 - 08:28 PM

Is there any master list of local special games? We'd be willing to travel (within reason) to get more games. The biggest complaint we had at the seniors level was lack of games. Many weekday games were postponed/cancelled and even some of the weekend events. If we can condense the season into 3/4 tournaments I think it would help with our retention.

#40 Lou Barbieri

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Posted 30 November 2015 - 08:59 PM

Special Games are "coordinated" through the DA.

In my old District we would discuss them at every President's Meeting.
Who wanted to host what, how many leagues/teams were interested, etc...

Once each was set up/finalized we Posted the information on our District Website.

We had Mid-Season Tournaments, Wood Bat Tournaments, Weekend Softball Jamborees, Top Team Tournaments, Fall Ball Tournaments, all in addition to a pretty extensive Inter-League Program.

We tried to provide everything we could to keep the kids interested/playing.

It was a lot of work but well worth it (in my opinion).



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