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Thread: Is little league as popular as it used to be??

  1. #21
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    The odds of a preteen becoming a college scholarship athlete is very small, even in lacrosse. The numbers aren't any better than baseball. D1 Baseball rosters 35. The NCAA allows 11.7 scholarships. I don't know what the NCAA limits on D1 lacrosse rosters are, but Hopkins has 50 players and Virginia has 44. The NCAA allows D1 Lacrosse 12.69 scholarships. D2 provides less in each sport. D3 does not provide athletic scholarships. Anyone thinking scholarship when their kids are preteens are nuts. My son may get a 25% ride for baseball. It's not enough to cloud our thinking on selecting the best possible academic situation combined with a competitive baseball program. Colleges provide academic exceptions in the admissions process for athletes even at the best academic institutions. Harvard did not win an NCAA hockey championship with a bunch of skating valedictorians. Use the sport for the best possible collegiate situation.

  2. #22
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    Up here lacrosse helps many athletes get accepted into reach schools. Our high schools announce which students are playing college sports and the list is dominated by boys and girls playing college lacrosse. We finally had one girl earn a softball scholarship at a top Liberal Arts College and she was a starter as a freshman. I coached her brother who unfortunately didn't get the athletic genes in the family.

    What many of our parents don't realize is most of these athletes will be attending Div 3 schools and Community Colleges. There are a few exceptions and they get the lacrosse scholarships to Syracuse or accepted at an Ivy League school where they will play lacrosse.
    "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
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  3. #23
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    In every sport there are some very competitive D3 programs who on any given day can hang with a D2 or middle of the road mid major D1. In the east there are some fantastic academic D3's. Hopkins recruits mostly baseball players who could play mid major D1. I wouldn't let my son rule out a competitive high end academic D3 to play for a middle of the road academic mid major.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by tg643 View Post
    From having been through the journey with two kids this excuse is the most common one used by kids who can't hit. There's a lot of sitting around in baseball if a kid can't get on base.
    My nephew can hit alright for his age. His biggest complaint about standung around is when he's in the field.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EdTarbusz View Post
    My nephew can hit alright for his age. His biggest complaint about standung around is when he's in the field.
    And it’s a perfectly valid complaint! Sometime people are so much in a hurry to defend the game, they forget there’s much more to it than hitting the ball and running the bases!

    From the time there’s 1st pitching by the players, the only people to blame for the boredom coming from standing in the field, is coaches! They seldom miss an opportunity to turn baseball into little more than a FPSB game by putting the most physically mature players they can find on the mound to blow away everyone they can.

    What ends up happening is, nearly everyone in the field is watching the P & C play catch, and that gets boring to everyone other than the P&C, their parents, and the coach. It is entirely possible for coaches to give other players opportunities on the bump, but normally they give the rationalization that their job is to give the team the best chance to win, so its unlikely more than just a few players will get to pitch.

    But even ML players say over and over again how they prefer to play behind pitchers who don’t waste a lot of time, and throw lots of strikes because it helps them stay focused. If a ML player making a few mil can be bored to the point of losing focus, you can bet your bippy some little kid in LL is going to experience the same thing, but in a much more pronounced way.
    The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

  6. #26
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    My feeling is that youth baseball leagues are declining because of the watering down of the rules and every kid getting a trophy for winning nothing.

  7. #27
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    Introduce baseball in elementary school. Whenever I pass by an elementary in S. Florida I see kids playing every sport but baseball. I thought baseball was the national pasttime. Apparently not. MLB introduces baseball at the elementary level in other countries. I've never met a kid who doesn't like to hit. Use a sponge-like ball like my kid did at the YMCA.

  8. #28
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    I know this is an older thread but I feel like answering this question. No, Little League is not as popular as it used to be. I know this because I played Little League until 2007, when I went to Babe Ruth and then High School. Almost all of us were able to play every inning, save one or two kids (ironically, never the coach's son(s)). If I were to go driving and count the number of Little League fields around, and then count the number of soccer/ football fields around, the number isn't even close. Mike Epstein puts it pretty well in my opinion "I've never known a kid who hits .180 to have fun". Little League keeps losing kids to soccer and other spring sports because of two reasons. 1. Baseball can /is prohibitively expensive. A new bat is 150 dollars. 2. Most players can't/ are never taught to hit properly, and as a result, lose interest.

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by pstein View Post
    I know this is an older thread but I feel like answering this question. No, Little League is not as popular as it used to be. I know this because I played Little League until 2007, when I went to Babe Ruth and then High School. Almost all of us were able to play every inning, save one or two kids (ironically, never the coach's son(s)). If I were to go driving and count the number of Little League fields around, and then count the number of soccer/ football fields around, the number isn't even close. Mike Epstein puts it pretty well in my opinion "I've never known a kid who hits .180 to have fun". Little League keeps losing kids to soccer and other spring sports because of two reasons. 1. Baseball can /is prohibitively expensive. A new bat is 150 dollars. 2. Most players can't/ are never taught to hit properly, and as a result, lose interest.
    Very true. Soccer is a lot of fun if you suck. You can be talentless and still have a nice day. Baseball is different. If you can hit it's the greatest thing. but if you can't it really sucks.


    I'm from europe, how big is soccer there? I have heard it's a very minor sport and nobody exept some girls and latinos play it in the US

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by dominik View Post
    I'm from europe, how big is soccer there? I have heard it's a very minor sport and nobody except some girls and latinos play it in the US
    Soccer is NOT a minor high school sport in the U.S.

    HS sports participation nos. as of 2009--
    boys:
    football 1,100,100
    track and field 558,000
    basketball 545,000
    baseball 473,000
    soccer 383,000


    girls:
    track and field 455,000
    basketball 445,000
    volleyball 440,000
    softball 369,000
    soccer 344,000
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  11. #31
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    I'm convinced MLB has to do more at the elementary school level. It was different when I was coming up because we played baseball everywhere like empty lots and the street learning the nuances of the game.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by dominik View Post
    Very true. Soccer is a lot of fun if you suck. You can be talentless and still have a nice day. Baseball is different. If you can hit it's the greatest thing. but if you can't it really sucks.


    I'm from europe, how big is soccer there? I have heard it's a very minor sport and nobody exept some girls and latinos play it in the US
    Youth soccer is huge in the US. But it has not translated to an interest in professional soccer. When you hear people say the kids who play soccer are unathletic they are uninformed and ignorant. Rec soccer is no better or worse than rec baseball or any other rec sport. My son's high school team is one of the top teams in the state. Almost every player is on a select team in the summer. Most of them are going on to college soccer. There were 2,000 in attendance at their first district playoff game.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    I'm convinced MLB has to do more at the elementary school level. It was different when I was coming up because we played baseball everywhere like empty lots and the street learning the nuances of the game.
    The post season is on tv too late for young kids to watch. Elementary schools don't have baseball teams. Middle schools are dropping sports for bedget reasons. In this age parents aren't going to let their little kids bike off to a field one or two miles away for a day. Baseball competes with a lot of options for kid's attention. When we were kids it' was all there was. But, the kids with a passion for the game stick with it.

  14. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by dominik View Post
    Very true. Soccer is a lot of fun if you suck. You can be talentless and still have a nice day. Baseball is different. If you can hit it's the greatest thing. but if you can't it really sucks.
    Most people confuse activity with accomplishment though so no surprise there...

    Little League is still pretty popular in my area but make no mistake about it: interest starts to wane around the major league level (10-12). I put part of the blame on the specialization of kids or the year-round players. Hear me out...

    The year-round players' abilities vs the casual or seasonal players' is night and day. Few seasonal players are able to be as competitive against players who specialize in baseball. Some do but most just cannot. In my league, we have about 4 to 5 players per LL team that play on travel teams. Inevitably, these are the best players and play every inning. The remaining players are the ones to substitute in and out which means they get less at bats, less innings on defense and most likely, zero opportunity to pitch and/or catch. These kids look around and say, "Wait a minute. I've put in just as much time in practice. Why can't I play more?" when in actuality, they have not. This discourages them and inevitably they drop out of the game. I know kids that started with my son in t-ball and quit the game after three seasons for this very reason. Their parents also think the same way, "Hell, I paid for a full season and drove to a full season's worth of practices. Why can't Johnny play more?"

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming the travel kids. They (and their parents) have made the commitment and have put in the time and money to get better. I just think it's one of the causes. And yes, coaches could do a better job of managing rotating players but that ain't gonna happen either...

  15. #35
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    I think interest wanes because baseball has become the 'uncool' sport' because in the past baseball has done a poor job of marketing and promotion of players. Most people don't know who Joe Mauer or Albert Pujols are, but everyone knows Lebron James.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lendue View Post
    . . . These kids look around and say, "Wait a minute. I've put in just as much time in practice. Why can't I play more?" when in actuality, they have not. . . .
    You’re doing what most people do when this kind of thing is discussed. You’re mixing up the time they spend away from team practices with the team practices, and that’s not the right way to calculate practice time for a rec team. The purpose of rec ball is to give as many kids as many opportunities to develop as possible.

    There’s no tryouts, so everybody gets to be on a team, and there’s rules to make sure everyone gets at least minimal playing time, because if there wasn’t, there are coaches out there who wouldn’t play some of them at all. If you were talking about a team where there were tryouts and people were paying a lot more money than the LLI requirement, then you’d have a different story.

    If that were the case and a player or a parent complained, you’d be perfectly justified in telling them not to let the door hit them in the a$$ on the way out. But rec ball is something else. Since there’s no big deal about winning until it comes to All Stars, and those players will likely be those better players who practice more, I think its perfectly legitimate for the players who aren’t so good, and their parents to ask that question.
    The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

  17. #37
    IMO, interest wanes because hitting is difficult, and it's no fun to play if you can't hit.

    Arguably, soccer would be far less popular among kids if a soccer ball were the size of a baseball so that kids were kicking and missing much of the time.
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  18. #38
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    All I had to play as an 11-year old was little league. My son could choose from little league, travel baseball, rec soccer, travel soccer, lacrosse, pop warner football, travel hockey, wrestling, golf, rec basketball, and travel basketball. Nearly every youth sport pushes parents and kids into a year-round commitment.

    Lacrosse and baseball divide up our kids almost evenly. That may not be the case outside of the Northeast.
    "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
    "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."

  19. #39
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    As I mentioned baseball isn't the 'cool' sport anymore as it once was. MLB must continue to work harder to get more kids to believe baseball is the 'cool' sport by sponsoring initiatives in elementary school with a soft ball, soft bat and a tee just like MLB does in foreign countries.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    As I mentioned baseball isn't the 'cool' sport anymore as it once was. MLB must continue to work harder to get more kids to believe baseball is the 'cool' sport by sponsoring initiatives in elementary school with a soft ball, soft bat and a tee just like MLB does in foreign countries.
    You think teaching kids to whack a ball as grade schoolers will make its popularity soar. Of course any marketing ploy will improve its popularity, but I don’t believe that’s the secret. Heck, millions of kids play organized baseball, but the nature of the beast is such that players are being culled out much earlier than before, and its getting worse every year.

    What’s in vogue, is to develop at Warp 10! Its no longer enough for kids to be measured against their peers. Kids are sent out for private lessons and put on teams that consist of the best kids available, then have to travel to find competition, earlier every year. Once that starts, it fashionable for 8YOs to play with 10’s, 10’s to play with 12’s, 12’s with HS players, and 14YO’s on 18U teams.

    That’s all well and good, but here’s the paradigm. Instead of sticking around until they’ve at least got curly hair in private places, they’re run out of the game because there’s no place for them to play. They can’t make a good team and there’s so few rec teams in the 12-14 range, that becomes less and less of an option. Add to that, that as much as people want to believe it’s a game for everyone, every year it becomes more and more of a “country club” sport, eliminating a greater percentage of the kids who’s parent’s have the least amount of disposable income.

    So in the end, it isn’t that the kids are abandoning the sport, the sport has abandoned them!
    The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

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