So Close…Again!

Yesterday we told you about one of our Little League clients from Peachtree City, GA which came within one game of making it out of the incredibly competitive Southeast Region to the Little League World Series. Well, in the Southwest Region, it happened to another of our clients! McAllister Park Little League from San Antonio lost a 2-1 heartbreaker in the championship game and also fell one short of the LLWS. Both of these teams had a tremendous run to get as far as they did and will remember the experience for the rest of their lives. Thank you to all the volunteers who made it happen for the kids and congratulations!

CoachDeck Client wins District Championship

Congratulations to CoachDeck client North Boulder (CO) Little League’s all-star team for winning their district all-star tournament. Way to go guys!

Little League All-Star Tournaments Underway

Hard to believe it’s already that time of year but in many areas of the country Little League all-star games are beginning. As we know this tournament will culminate with eight teams from the United States and eight international teams convening in Williamsport, PA for the Little League World Series. Good luck to all of our CoachDeck clients on the road to Willilamsport!

Controversy in Tee Ball!

We get that everyone loves their kids and the first time through sports we don’t always understand the importance (or lack thereof) of what happens in games between five and six year-olds. Here is an example. A Little League District Facebook page posted a Tee Ball rules clarification. Reading through the comments it is clear to see what occurred and that not everyone can let it go.

Little League District:
TEE BALL RULES UPDATE: it has come to our attention that there is some confusion about some types of defensive plays in Tee Ball. The issue is a little technical, but to make a long story short…CLARIFICATION (in short): Any defensive player in possession of a ball ruled in play may attempt to legally put out any batter-runner or runner.  This is not an umpiring issue – this was a well-intentioned comment on player development by District representatives as a response to a question during the pre-tournament umpire clinic. The umpires were doing what they were told were the prevailing approved decisions, and they have been informed of the clarifications for all future games. All prior games, whether impacted or not, are final. The games were called equally for both teams. We appreciate the opportunity to learn this game of baseball in front of this community, because sometimes it is hard to keep it all straight.

Post from Individual 1, sharing with Individual 2:
those 3 outs would have counted

Individual 2 replying:
Wow!! Oh well. Now we know for next year.

Post from Individual 3:
So what does this do for the games that have already been played. Rules should have been clarified before the start of this tournament. It is unfair for teams to prepare to play and rules are not carried out across the board. I came to watch games on Saturday, and when it was time for our team to play on Sunday the rules were completely different, and the same umpires were there. This is unfair to the kids involved. This clarification had it been done BEFORE the tournament started would have made a difference in the games. It is unfair and something needs to be done. A conversation needs to be had regarding these games and implementing rules. You can’t post a clarification 2 days into a tournament and say all games are final. What are we teaching our kids if ADULTS can’t take ownership. This is a District issue that needs to be fixed soon.

Reply from Little League District:
I appreciate your statement. It was a pleasure to talk to you today, and I look forward to meeting with you soon to continue the conversation.

 

Youth Baseball T-Ball Sticker Program

Who would have thought that there would be so much controversy over Tee Ball bats? Well, now there is. From USA Baseball:

Beginning January 1, 2018, participating National Member Organizations will adopt the USABat standard for youth baseball and tee ball bats. Unlike standard youth baseball bats, tee ball bats (lengths 26” and shorter) are not required to undergo lab testing to receive approval under the USABat Program. However, to be approved for play within the participating National Member Organizations, tee ball bats must feature the USA Baseball mark and accompanying permanent text which reads: ONLY FOR USE WITH APPROVED TEE BALLS

Under USABat standards, USA Baseball will implement the Tee Ball Sticker Program. Through the Tee Ball Sticker Program, coaches, league administrators, and parents can order approved stickers to mark tee ball bats that were purchased prior to the implementation of the USABat standard. This program will allow for the continued use of tee ball bats that were produced prior to youth baseball’s transition over to the new standard.

Below are some of the comments from Little League’s Facebook page after the post announcing the new sticker rule. Some didn’t understand that new bats weren’t required, but we included them because their points do apply to higher levels where new bats will be mandatory:

I would be interested in seeing what perks the Little League organization and its officers have received from bat manufacturers and their lobbies over the last few years…. I find the necessity of this to be questionable and to be honest, somewhat laughable as a Little League parent and coach.

Because we don’t spend enough money for 4 year olds to play. No more hand me down bats now. Must have a “sticker” to play. How many parents will have to tell their kids they can’t afford to buy new equipment so they can’t play? It’s becoming a sport that struggling families can’t afford to pay for.

Maybe I’m reading this wrong but they’re essentially “grandfathering” bats for use in tee ball so leagues don’t have to replace their entire stock of bats to comply with the new standard. I know the majority of our league bats only get used at the tee ball level. Not sure why a sticker is needed but I think it’s good that leagues will still be able to use the tee ball bats they already have.

And finally….

I would love to see the idiots who will sign up to check the tee ball bats…HOLD UP KIDS… illegal bat!!! Cmon…. this is a joke right? Is it April 1st?

Tip of the cap to these coaches

We don’t know how many readers enjoy The Charger Bulletin from The University of New Haven, but we’d like to get this article written by Sarah DeMatteis a little more airtime. She tells of her joining a Little League as the only girl among dozens of fifth-grade boys and the message the coaches imparted to all of the players before the first practice. A very uplifting message that renews your belief in the potential of volunteer coaches.

Is this a reason not to volunteer?

Or should, as the poster says, processes by changed to ensure security? This comes from the Little League Facebook page. The poster raises his concerns about providing his social security number required for Little League’s mandatory background checks. His points seem valid, but the background screenings are necessary as well. Is there a middle ground?

I wanted to volunteer to be a manager for my son’s team, but I was not willing to give my SSN over due to insecure practices on the part of the local league and the little league organization.

You guys really need to join the 21st century and take steps to provide better security for the privacy and protection of the prospective volunteer’s information. Under no circumstances should volunteers be handing over any of their sensitive information to untrained personnel working for the local leagues. They do not have the training or the resources to protect this information. The only people that volunteers should be handling this information are the people who do the background checks. Any required information should be entered by the volunteer DIRECTLY to the organization performing the background check. Reports sent back to the league should remove the sensitive information from the background check report.

By handing the information (typically on paper) over to local league personnel, you give an unnecessary number of third parties access to the information. You also risk improper disposal and/or unwanted + insecure storage of the material. By enabling the local league to have access to the reports with this sensitive information, you risk potential dissemination of the volunteer’s information. This is something that needs to be fixed immediately, and would only require a small effort on behalf of Little League and a company like first advantage.

Make no mistake, identity theft is very likely occurring due to these practices. Over 10% of US adult citizens are victims to identity theft *every year*. Some of those are going to be little league volunteers due to your practices. It is a pervasive and serious problem that your organization needs to take more seriously.

Believe me, I would really like to be a manager/coach… but as an information security professional, and someone who is increasingly conscientious of protecting themselves from identity theft, I simply will not submit to your verification process. For me, its especially sad because our local league starts in a week, and many teams still lack the necessary coaches…