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Monday, September 24, 2012

The Politics of Little League

As many know from previous entries, my son enjoys playing baseball. Last year, we enrolled him in the local little league and found that he definitely fit the sport. He enjoyed it. He knew it. It was his sport. So, we continued throughout the spring season, which earned his team, the Yankees, a trophy.

My son was the oldest in the team, and the next step--we felt--was for him to move up to machine pitch. The local little league provides a "fall season," which is considered training for the following spring season. Taking this into consideration, we thought it would be a great opportunity for our eight year old to practice using the machine.

However, the little league decided to change the various leagues. Machine pitch was phased out and replaced with a different league with coach pitch. In other words, sometime during the summer, the board of directors decided to change the leagues.

Whereas, we though our son was registered to be in a machine pitch league, we were informed that he was actually in a newly formed coach pitch minor league.

Before all this was unraveled, we received an email from a coach welcoming our son to the Rays. We were excited; my son was picked up by a team without the need of tryouts--then again, tryouts are usually done during the spring season. Regardless, we told our son the amazing and cool things he would experience with a new team and how he would learn the machine pitch device. 

The following day, we recieved an email from the Rays Team Mom, who also happens to the on the little league board to inform us that our son was being traded to the Braves for a kid who was left off the team roster.

Confused, I asked the person who informed us of the trade to explain what had occurred and confirm whether my son was doing machine pitch. Supposedly, a dad requested the trade and since my son wore a small jersey (similar to the dad's son who was on the Braves team) he was singled out. The trade was made.

His new coach emailed us soon after the trade. He even called me directly to help explain what had happened and informed me that the league had done away with machine pitch and instead created a new league for coach pitch. This should have given me a clue as to what we eventually learned.

Before his first game, we decided to check out who his team were playing against. The Yankees. At first I thought perhaps this wasn't the same Yankees my son was with during the Spring season. Again, it was our plan to advance our eight year old in the machine pitch league--the Yankees were expected to continue with coach pitch . I clicked on the coach's name and indeed it was my son's old team.

I emailed the same lady who informed me of the trade (since she was on the board and I thought had a deciding role in trading kids) to ask whether it would be possible to add my son to the Yankees--not trade or swap. She informed me that the request had to go through the player agent.

So, why wasn't this the case when my son was originally traded from the Rays to the Braves? I didn't argue or push the issue because--although I did not agree with the process--I want my son to play.

Instead, I have decided that I must take a more active role in the league if my son is serious about the sport. Perhaps become a board member or committe member of the little league and get involved.
 

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