Tuesday, April 8, 2014
NEW Little League Rules: What they are, When they'll be implemented.
For most of us Little League fanatics, we knew what this weekend meant. There were some significant votes on the table this year. Without further ado... Here are the results.
NEW AGE RULE PASSES.... For 2018.
All you coaches and fathers out there nervous about your 9 or 10 year olds sons/daughters stacked powerhouse teams can rest easy. Little League amended the initial rule change. Instead of being implemented in 2015 (with a 1-year grandfather clause), it's now being implemented in the 2018 season.
Here's the rule:
Majors Division: Any candidate who will attain the age of 9 years on or before DECEMBER 31 and who will not attain the age of 12 on or before DECEMBER 31 shall be eligible to compete in Little League Baseball. This means that a child who will be 13 years old on December 31st or earlier will not be eligible for local league play or tournament play during that calendar year in question. EXCEPTION FOR 2015, 2016, and 2017 ONLY. A child who is league age 13 and who was born May 1st-December 31st of the current year is eligible for the Majors division in 2015, 2016, and 2017 including tournament play. This provides a three year transition.
Wow. Big move by Little League. It's obvious that an age change is a good idea. It matches up with International Baseball, it will shrink the kids a little bit on the small field, and it matches up with schools a lot better. The biggest thing is WHEN it's implemented. A lot...and I mean a lot... of people were upset that their 9 or 10 year old would in essence miss their 12-year old season and a chance at Williamsport. Now, the first age group that will face this issue is the current 8-year olds. Personally, I think it was a great decision and great timing. Whoever fought for the 3-year grandfather clause deserves a medal. Nobody should be upset at this rule change.
Okay, now onto the much smaller rule changes.
The three biggest ones failed. There were proposals to remove any pitcher who hit three batters in a game from the mound. That motion failed. There was another vote to eliminate "slashing" or fake bunting and swinging away. That motion also failed. The final one was such a farce it's not funny. They voted on automatically giving strikes to the batter if they left the batters box in between pitches. Obviously, baseball has no time limit and length of games are becoming a problem at different levels. It's NOT a problem in Little League, and to force kids to stay in the box is ridiculous. Thankfully, that also failed.
Some people are going to be upset about slashing. They think it shouldn't be allowed. I understand they're kids, but it's still baseball. If you're going to crash hard on the show of bunt, you're gonna have the possibility of being beat. Bunting is already going by the wayside. This would make it even harder. They made a good call.
Other rules also passed including 5-year olds being allowed in coach pitch after a year of T-ball if warranted. The rest of the rules involve softball, big league baseball, or the challenger division. You can read about them here as well as check out the percentages of how the votes went.
Little League Congress Voting Results
More thoughts on the Age Change ---
What this means is that there will be no grandfather clause. In 2017, the current LL 8's will be 11. In 2018, when this goes into effect, most of them will be 13. They do not get a 12-year old season. I'm fine with that because if league's are smart, they'll implement their own "wink-wink" age cutoffs for the current 6s, 7s, and 8s. Make them all play up with the teams they'll be on when the age change goes into effect. So I keep all the OLD 10s together on the 11-year old team in 2017, because they're going to be the 12-year olds in 2018. I hope I'm making sense with that.
Anyway, that's all for now. We may bring back Little League Insider Radio in the next week or two to talk about some of these big moves. We'll take calls and everything to hear your thoughts. In the meantime.
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