I received a copy of an email sent from a Little League coach in New York to Patrick Wilson of Little League International in Williamsport. I was given permission to copy the letter here on our blog.
NOTE: This letter does not represent any views of the Little League Insider Blog.
REMINDER: This blog is not affiliated with Little League Baseball and Softball in anyway
Read the letter by clicking here
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Hello everyone out there in Little League land, it's your favorite youth baseball blogger, John Malone. We, obviously, won't be kicking into high gear until June, but everyone is hopefully getting outside in the East and Central in the next week or so, and who knows how long you boys and girls have been going already in the South, Southwest, and West.
There's big changes currently in Little League and on the horizon for next year possibly. These rules will fundamentally change the future of Little League Baseball and Softball. It's to be determined if its for better or worse.
What's CURRENT for 2014 -- Well, the big rule is "School Eligibility." As of this year, if you attend school (public or private) inside the boundaries of a league that you don't reside in, you can choose between your home league and your school's league. If Johnny lives in Anytown, but goes to school in Cityville, he can choose to play in Anytown Little League OR Cityville Little League. It certainly opens a can of worms. There are many reasons for this rule change. Some of them are international, some of them are so kids can play with their school friends, and others are potentially because it will make some tournament teams stronger.
What's ON TAP for 2015 -- The biggest rule change that will be voted on this month for NEXT season is the brand new birthday. For years, the age cutoff was always July 31. If you turned 13 on that day or before, you were considered a 13 year old and couldn't play. In 2006, Little League changed its birthday date to coincide with USA Baseball and moved it BACKWARDS, making kids a few months older than they were. A few months meant much bigger kids because we all know that puberty is fickle at this age group. So, what's happening for 2015 potentially? The is now going FORWARD, all the way to December 31st. This means that if you turn 13 at any point in the calendar year... you are 13 for Little League. This makes everyone in the organization much younger now as opposed to older. Quote-unquote 12-year olds are done with the small field if this passes. Little League's "Williamsport" division will be mostly true 11-year olds. This will help the new 50/70 division which was ridiculously bad because it had glorified 14 years olds playing on 220-foot fields.
One of the big problems I've heard from all around the country with this new rule, however, is that one age group will be grandfathered in, but after that, it will be official. None of us are stupid. We all know that successful tournament teams start playing together as early as 8, and definitely at age 9 and 10. Well those teams that already started gearing up for Williamsport runs three years in advance are now defunct. They will be broken up. Some will say the "grandfather" rule needs to start somewhere, but most coaches/parents (granted they are in that bracket that will be cut up), think it should be set 3-5 years in advance, so nobody that's already played in tournaments together will be affected.
BLOG NOTES: Anyone that wants to write for the blog this year (preferably outside the East Region where I and others are located) please email me with your ideas and some writing samples. I'd love to have you. We had a monster year last year. Let's blow it out of the water.
We will have our radio show back once again this year, but we will start it much earlier in the tournament. I was approached by the station last year a little too late for it to get established. We had a great audience for it though and the station is excited.
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