Thursday, July 17, 2008

Youth League All Stars

First, I am happy that Slater was chosen and got the experience to play on the 12 yr old all star team. I am thankful to the coaches who thought enough to vote him in and to the great guys who coached him.

Why I’m not for all-stars

1. It’s for too few kids
With the city tourney followed by the all-star season, the majority of kids are done playing by the middle of June. So most kids are just a few weeks into summer vacation and there’s no baseball. If there were no all-stars, more kids could play longer or the season could start later. (As it is now the weather allows for very little quality outdoor practice before the season.)

2. all-stars, all-stars, all-stars!
We’re doing all stars to death----we now have all stars at every age starting with 8s. If all-stars were left for the 12s it would be more special. As it is, most of the same 12 kids play it every year.

3. money, money, money
We played two weekend tourneys; one in town and the other in northwest IN. We played Thurs-Sun in St. John IN. We spent $238 in gas and an oil change that weekend. That didn’t include incidental food or admission into the ballpark. We took coolers to cut down on our food expense. But what about families that don’t have the money for this? Or think how much money just one team spends collectively on just one weekend. We lost on Sun; had we won we would have gone up the next weekend too.

4. little practice time
After the city tourney ends there’s hardly any time for a team of all-stars to really practice together. Kids play positions they aren’t used to and with kids they aren’t used to. That doesn’t allow you to get the most out of your potential-packed team.

So what if we didn’t have all-stars?

a) We could start the season later and end later utilizing better weather; or we could extend the season for all kids.

b) We could add a week-long baseball camp or some clinics to the season.
For a fraction of what a family spends on a weekend of an out of town tourney, a league could hold a baseball camp and pay guys to come in & teach it. That would elevate the level of play of ALL the kids in the league. It would specifically help kids get sound batting, pitching, fielding and base-running fundamentals.

You could offer specific mini-camps for pitching---a skill that needs to be taught to more kids. The same could be said for hitting. I think the idea of clinics is much needed since I observe that even at the major league level, not all coaches are adept at teaching these skills to kids.

Bottom line--I think we could do things to benefit all the kids and elevate the overall skills of the league rather then just give a small miniority of kids an all star experience.