Response to “All-Star Agita”

Yesterday we posted an email from a Little League Commissioner who was having difficulties with some parents in his league wanting to manipulate the all-star selection process. Below is our response:
Hi (Name withheld),

Thank you for your note. Yes, All-Stars gets everyone a little crazy. Here are a few comments I will offer:

First, as for titling, per the article you read, re-drafting each year does not “balance” the league, but just the opposite. There is more of a chance of a rookie manager making poor draft picks and ending up with a no-win season. With titling, every team has a built-in nucleus coming back each year which means more parity and more balanced teams. Maybe bring the article with you tonight as there are many other points it makes as well.

Next, in our league (and the Little League Operations Manual), the President chose the all-star manager at the end of the season. He presented a slate of a manager and one coach, which was approved by the board. The manager then was allowed to choose a second coach. We preferred this to basing it on final league standings because our objective was to choose the manager who was the best fit for the job, and that wasn’t always necessarily going to be the league champion. I know that puts a lot of pressure on the League President, but that’s why he’s the President of the league. Our selection of players then tied into that choice of manager. Essentially we let the kids vote, and each coach and manager voted. We tabulated all of those votes and ranked all of the kids from first to last. Then the Majors managers got together and chose from that list. This makes it very difficult for a manager whose son is ranked low in the voting to make a case for his kid to be on the team. Here were our rules below. Please let me know if you have any other questions and good luck tonight:

The goal of (Name) Little League is to field the most competitive team in the Majors Division. Players for the Majors all-star teams will be selected in the following manner:

Majors: All players will vote for thirteen 11 and 12 year-old players in their respective leagues. Players will be allowed to vote for teammates and/or themselves if they wish. Instructions on the ballot, to be reinforced verbally by managers prior to voting, will be as follows:

Being selected to the All-Star Team is an honor and privilege. Select the 13 players on this list you believe to be most deserving of this honor based on their ability to help the team win. Ballots that the league feels are not taken seriously, (for instance: the majority of players you voted for are on one team, or most of the players you selected have not received votes from anyone else), may not be allowed.

All official league coaches and managers will also vote. The Player Agent will, with the President, tally the three sets of votes. Players will then be ranked from highest (most votes) to lowest. The committee recommends that this data be used by the President when making his decisions on manager slates. For instance, if a potential manager’s son or daughter is clearly in the top echelon after all voting is tabulated, it is very likely that the player will make the team when the final selection process occurs. However, if a potential manager’s child is “on the bubble” or not in the top 13, the President may wish to take into consideration the fact that this player may not warrant all-star status when formulating his slate.

The President will present his slate of managers and coaches to the board at the June BOD meeting. Once the slate is approved, the Majors Coordinator will schedule a meeting of the league’s managers to select the team. The five managers from each division, (and the manager of the all-star team if he is not one of the five managers), will select 13 players at that meeting, considering the votes of the players, coaches and themselves to be a guideline.

After the first vote, any players tied for the final spots on the roster will be voted upon again until a consensus has been reached and 13 players have been chosen. If two players are deadlocked for a 13th spot, the manager may, at his discretion, opt to carry a 14th player on the roster. If the final roster spot comes down to two players, one of whom is 12 and the other 11, the 12 year-old should be given the spot as it is assumed the 11 year-old will have the chance to play on the team next year.

It is possible that an 11 year-old player who is good enough to make the Majors team may wish to stay instead with the 11 year-old team. If this player is a “difference-maker” (was in the top 5-6 of the player/coach/manager voting), and is selected to the team by the managers, he must play with that team.

It is the recommendation of the committee that the team is comprised of 13-14 players, one manager and two coaches, and that the selection of the manager of the team is given equal importance to the selection of the players.