Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

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Posts Tagged ‘Babe Ruth

Your youth baseball brawl roundup

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It’s playoff season for youth baseball, which means managers, parents and players who act only a little crazy when they get a bug up their butt about something during the regular season now have the stakes raised high enough that the same bug will cause them to go ballistic.

Here are a few highlights:

DODGEVILLE, Wisc., July 26 — The winners of the losers’ bracket in the Ohio Valley Regional is going to the Babe Ruth Senior World Series because of a game-ending brawl between the two teams in the first game of the best-of-three championship.

About the only detail not being argued is that Noblesville (Ind.) came back from three runs down in the sixth inning to lead the Hammond (Ind.) Chiefs, 11-10.  Oh, the only other detail not being argued is that Babe Ruth headquarters in Trenton, N.J., ruled both 16-18-year-old teams out of the tournament. In between, it gets messy.

According to the Noblesville coach, talking to the near-hometown Indianapolis Star, all three Hammond coach freaked the fuck out when the game-leading run was scored on an obstruction call against the Chiefs, and all three got ejected. With no adults left to coach Hammond, the umpires declared Noblesville the winner. The Noblesville coach said the teams lined up to shake hands, and while his team was “excited,” the Hammond team was in a rage, the flames being fanned by one of their coaches. A Chiefs player jumped one of the Noblesville players, and the brawl was on.

[youtubevid id=”5i_D6oQO6b8″]

What happened in Dodgeville with the Chiefs, as re-enacted on ice. (NSFW language)

The Hammond coach copped to nothing, and in fact said he was trying to keep the peace and separate players, according to his interview with the near-hometown Northwest Indiana Times in Munster, Ind.

Meanwhile, the Dodgeville police said they arrested one fan on disorderly conduct charges, allegedly because he punched a Noblesville coach.

So congratulations to Cross Plains (Wisc.), which advances to the Babe Ruth Senior World Series for not punching anybody.

VALLEJO, Calif., July 21 — Vallejo Babe Ruth coach David Davis was booked in the local hoosegow on a charge of battery against a sports official. He allegedly punched a first-base umpire during the state 15-and-under championship tournament. Davis was arrested at the local police station as he was filling out an assault report — against the umpire, David Abbitt, a 26-year veteran.

Abbitt said Davis sucker-punched him — knocking him out and requiring him to be taken by ambulance to a hospital — as he argued a close call against the Vallejo team at first base. Davis, meanwhile, citing scratches on his arm he said were made by Abbitt, said he was only defending himself, and that the knockout punch never happened. Davis told the San Jose Mercury News:

[After the umpire kicked him out] Davis then describes a highly emotional situation between the two men, with alleged spitting, swearing, racial epithets and self defense.

“I thought it was a make-up call, so I went down to my knees and came up and he said ‘You’re outta here,'” Davis said, claiming that the knockout punch never happened. “All I did was defend myself. I just put my hands up as a reaction. Guy falls down, looks at me from the ground and puts on a tirade like he was hurt. It was weak and it was fake.”

Apparently there were no police or security at the July 18 game because of cutbacks by the city of Vallejo. After the Davis-Abbitt incident, somehow, some way, security was found for the tournament.

GURNEE, Ill., July 17 — Unlike the other two incidents, this was not a playoff game. But it doesn’t have to be one for tempers to get out of hand.

According to the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill., police were called after a fight broke out a 15- to 18-year-old Colt (Pony League) game. Two opposing players wrestled at the plate — a runner trying to score, and the catcher who tried to block him (without the ball in his hand) during the last out of the game. The umpires did not get involved, and player tempers cooled.

However, parents started screaming and fighting with each other. That’s when police were called. But no arrests were made. The presence of the authorities inspired a lovefest, according to the Herald:

[Gurnee Police Commander Jay] Patrick said the players on both sides hugged as the three cops left the field. The teams were not named.

“It could have really gone south,” Jacobs said. “But when (police) got there, everybody started to calm down quite a bit.”

For an incident like this, that counts as a happy ending.

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Written by rkcookjr

July 28, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Little League begs you not to leave

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On Jan. 11, Little League International announced it would set up what it calls a 50-70 division, where 12- and 13-year-olds could play on their usual home teams with the standard league rules, but then also play up in a division with rules and field dimensions that more advanced. Such as (from a Little League press release):

Now, in an effort to further ease the transition from the standard Little League field size (46-foot pitching distance and 60-foot base paths), Little League is offering a pilot program for league age 12- and 13-year-olds. The pilot program will be conducted on fields that feature a 50-foot pitching distance and 70-foot base paths. The pilot program will be available to all Little League programs worldwide for the 2010 season.

Additionally, base runners will be permitted to lead off in the 50-70 Pilot Program (requiring pitchers to hold runners on base), runners may attempt stealing at any time, and head-first sliding is permitted. In the Little League division, runners cannot leave the base until the ball reaches the batter, and sliding must be feet-first unless the runner is retreating to a base.

Also for the 50-70 Pilot Program – unlike the Little League division – the batter becomes a runner on a dropped third strike, the bat can have a diameter of 2 5/8 inches, and the on-deck batter is permitted.

Why is Little League doing this? Let David Earnhardt, a board member for East Rowan (N.C.) Diamond Sports fill us in, as he explains why his organization dumped Little League affiliation in favor of Babe Ruth. By the way, Babe Ruth, with the weight of Cal Ripken Jr.’s name (since 1999) in the ages four-twelve divisions, has jumped to more than 1 million members while Little League is threatening to drop below 2 million. Earnhardt was quoted in the Salisbury (N.C.) Post on the same day Little League announced its 50-70 program.

Earnhardt isn’t down on Little League and said there was no single catalyst for switching. It’s mostly about numbers.

“We’ve been losing softball players to the travel teams and we want to try to get them back,” he said. “We’ve also been losing numbers as far as our older baseball players.”

Ah, the lure of travel leagues. One of the major complaints about Little League baseball is that its rules are too baby-ish for anyone who (or whose parents) aspire to play at higher levels. When Little League started in the 1930s, travel leagues hadn’t been invented. Well, they really weren’t around when Babe Ruth baseball was founded in 1951. But the Babe Ruth league has adapted to the age of travel ball, as has PONY Baseball, which is my local youth baseball affiliation. Little League has not. The Salisbury Post spells out the differences between Little League and Babe Ruth:

In Little League, only the 12-year-old baseball teams compete for a shot at the World Series. No other division plays past a state championship.

In Babe Ruth League, there’s plenty of room to dream. There’s a World Series at the end of the rainbow for every level of softball and baseball.

… In the past, East has been required to get waivers from the Little League organization to play teams without Little League charters. Now they can basically play who they want, when they want.

… Pitchers can throw a maximum of six innings in a week in Babe Ruth. A coach can track that without a team of accountants.

In Little League, limits are based on pitch counts. That’s a little more complicated.

Cal Ripken Division provides the option of playing “50/70” baseball.

Ah, 50-70 baseball. Babe Ruth’s Cal Ripken division has given 12- and 13-year-olds that transition field since 2007. It’s a great idea, really. The kids get a chance to work on a slightly bigger field, thus making the transition from the little kid field to major-league dimensions that much less jarring. It keeps kids who would otherwise flee exclusively to travel ball to play under big-kid rules, but it also can keep kids who might otherwise get discouraged with the transition to higher-level dimensions. If you’re a 12-year-old flamethrower who flames out because there is 14 more feet to home plate, at least pitching from 50 feet will give you an idea of how to do it before you get frustrated at the next level.

So for Little League, adopting a 50-70 transition is about player preservation, and on top of that, self-preservation. However, that doesn’t address one more reason locales like East Rowan are dumping Little League for other affiliations, such as Babe Ruth, which declares itself coming “from humble beginnings to the cutting edge of the youth sports arena.” From the Salisbury Post:

There also are organizational differences as far as certifying coaches and umpires, fundraising and the use of bat boys, but the bottom line is East believes the Babe Ruth/Ripken way offers more flexibility and will allow them to focus on meeting local needs rather than adhering to rigid national rules.

Written by rkcookjr

January 18, 2010 at 3:11 am