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Thread: Little League -vs- Cal Ripken

  1. #1

    Little League -vs- Cal Ripken

    This weekend I watched a little of both the Cal Ripken and the Little League world series on TV. It brought up two points of debate that I wanted to get the baseball minds on this sites opions on.

    1) what format is better, the shorter bases & mound of little league or the longer bases/mound and lead-off of Cal Ripken.

    2) If the champs of both tourneys faced of in a best of seven series...4 of one rule (say Cal Ripken) and 3 of the other (little league) what team would win? why

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    Before I start I'm going to remind posters not to confuse 50/70 travel with 50/70 re ball. If you've seen both, there's a huge difference.

    Which format is better? It doesn't really matter. It's preteen kids on a smaller than normal size field. Keep in mind watching either WS you're watching the best of the best of rec ball, not typical Anytown USA rec ball.

    Regardless of the playing rules, the athletes will ultimately prevail by high school. Some call 50/70 "real baseball." I've seen some very sloppy 50/70 rec games I attribute to open bases. With closed bases the pitcher can focus on pitching rather than worrying about a runner dancing off first. I've never seen a kid who played LL have trouble learning how to take a lead or hold a runner when they were older.

    If the two WS champions played the more talented team with deeper pitching would most likely in. The kids on teams in the LLWS are typically also playing 50/70 travel ball as are the CR kids. There wouldn't be an adjustment issue putting the LL'ers on the 50/70 field.

    At eleven and twelve my son played LL and 50/70 travel. The travel was better baseball because it was travel caliber players. With kids who can play, the 50/70 is a better format. But it doesn't make the kids better players down the road. Moving to the 60/90 field is one of the great dividers of contenders and pretenders when moving on in the game, not preteen open or closed bases.
    Last edited by tg643; 08-22-2010 at 11:24 PM.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by rbgrubbs View Post
    1) what format is better, the shorter bases & mound of little league or the longer bases/mound and lead-off of Cal Ripken.
    Hands down it's Cal Ripken, in my opinion. For starters, you bring real baserunning into the mix. Also, pitchers are a little further away, so kids can actually swing, rather than sticking their B-1's out in the hope that a backspinned bunt will fly over the fence. Fielding in CR becomes more realistic, as fielders have time to actually make a play, rather than having to scoop and throw in one motion in order to catch speedy runners on 60-foot basepaths, like in college softball.

    And, frankly, the exposure that the LLWS gives to players and parents has led to such an overzealous focus on winning, that LL has had to become incredibly bureaucratized in order to prevent cheating. Where winning doesn't mean quite so much, it's easier to just choose sides and send 'em out to play.

    2) If the champs of both tourneys faced of in a best of seven series...4 of one rule (say Cal Ripken) and 3 of the other (little league) what team would win? why
    I'd say the Ripken guys for one reason -- because they don't have the exposure of LL, they have to expand their geographic territory in order to fill out a team. So, it's easier to pack a roster with cherry-picked superstars from a wider geographic area. We know a number of kids who went to the Ripken WS four years ago and they reported that the Mexican team essentially was a nationwide all-star squad.

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    I think they both have their places.

    The 50-70 field makes for a better ball game but only if the talent level is up to par.

    And there are a heck of a lot more softball fields for little leaguers to play on then there are mid-size baseball fields.

    I don't enjoy watching the LLWS much anymore for many reasons, but one of them is because those kids are too damn good for that small of a field(and so are the bats). But for your normal everyday rec league it's perfectly fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbgrubbs View Post
    This weekend I watched a little of both the Cal Ripken and the Little League world series on TV. It brought up two points of debate that I wanted to get the baseball minds on this sites opions on.

    1) what format is better, the shorter bases & mound of little league or the longer bases/mound and lead-off of Cal Ripken.
    I believe Cal Ripken is better with more size fields... The problem is most communities would have difficulty affording.

    2) If the champs of both tourneys faced of in a best of seven series...4 of one rule (say Cal Ripken) and 3 of the other (little league) what team would win? why
    I feel given the same conditions neither program would stick out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tg643 View Post
    Before I start I'm going to remind posters not to confuse 50/70 travel with 50/70 re ball. If you've seen both, there's a huge difference.

    Which format is better? It doesn't really matter. It's preteen kids on a smaller than normal size field. Keep in mind watching either WS you're watching the best of the best of rec ball, not typical Anytown USA rec ball.

    Regardless of the playing rules, the athletes will ultimately prevail by high school. Some call 50/70 "real baseball." I've seen some very sloppy 50/70 rec games I attribute to open bases. With closed bases the pitcher can focus on pitching rather than worrying about a runner dancing off first. I've never seen a kid who played LL have trouble learning how to take a lead or hold a runner when they were older.

    If the two WS champions played the more talented team with deeper pitching would most likely in. The kids on teams in the LLWS are typically also playing 50/70 travel ball as are the CR kids. There wouldn't be an adjustment issue putting the LL'ers on the 50/70 field.

    At eleven and twelve my son played LL and 50/70 travel. The travel was better baseball because it was travel caliber players. With kids who can play, the 50/70 is a better format. But it doesn't make the kids better players down the road. Moving to the 60/90 field is one of the great dividers of contenders and pretenders when moving on in the game, not preteen open or closed bases.
    Excellent "tg", I agree with you 100% . . . as I was about to type the exact same thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tg643 View Post
    Before I start I'm going to remind posters not to confuse 50/70 travel with 50/70 re ball. If you've seen both, there's a huge difference.

    Which format is better? It doesn't really matter. It's preteen kids on a smaller than normal size field. Keep in mind watching either WS you're watching the best of the best of rec ball, not typical Anytown USA rec ball.

    Regardless of the playing rules, the athletes will ultimately prevail by high school. Some call 50/70 "real baseball." I've seen some very sloppy 50/70 rec games I attribute to open bases. With closed bases the pitcher can focus on pitching rather than worrying about a runner dancing off first. I've never seen a kid who played LL have trouble learning how to take a lead or hold a runner when they were older.

    If the two WS champions played the more talented team with deeper pitching would most likely in. The kids on teams in the LLWS are typically also playing 50/70 travel ball as are the CR kids. There wouldn't be an adjustment issue putting the LL'ers on the 50/70 field.

    At eleven and twelve my son played LL and 50/70 travel. The travel was better baseball because it was travel caliber players. With kids who can play, the 50/70 is a better format. But it doesn't make the kids better players down the road. Moving to the 60/90 field is one of the great dividers of contenders and pretenders when moving on in the game, not preteen open or closed bases.
    I agree with this as well! It's not so black and white as to which is better. There are alot of variables when comparing the two.

    I would also like to note - It doesn't make a player better/worse talent wise, but I believe it does help with their baseball acuity, being on the bigger field, open bases. With that said, LL Inc started a 50/70 pilot program in 2010 for 12 y.o. So they do see the value in the open bases.

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    Who would win....I'm biased, but.....I'm a CR adminstrator and the mananger of our most recent 12 team that competed in our State tournament, losing to the eventual New England representative in the CRWS. In addittion, my team played the "B" team from the league that produced the New England Regional LL Champion, and I saw that team up close in the sectionals. I would love to see that team play our CR State Champion. I would give the CR team the advatntage on the bigger field, but the short distance and lack of running would give the LL team the advantage on the small field. The CR catcher was excellent, with a cannon and he would neutralize the LL team should they try to run on them, but I can't say if that is true for the LL catcher (if he would even catch for that team on the bigger field (see below)). Also, the swings on the CR team were exceptional up and down the lineup, and in CR (all-stars) not everyone has to play!

    In all fairness it is a very different game. My team played a season of mostly 50/70 games, but some teams we scheduled during the summer only had 60 ft fields, so if we traveled to their place we'd play that way. My kids hated it, they would tease the other team in the dugout (not within earshot but only to each other) about how this was "baby-ball!" When I say they hated, I mean they hated it! Kids like to run and they LOVE to steal, or attempt to steal. The 60 ft game eliminated that element, but also reduces the necessity for having a top-notch catcher with an arm. When we played 60 foot I was able to supplement my catcher spot with kids that would never catch in a 70 foot game, they couldn't make the throw. On the little diamond that's pretty much a non-issue. Also, making the pitchers focus on something OTHER than throwing the ball only helps their development in my opinion.


    Rec 50/70 is an aquired taste. A single or walk is normally a triple, so hitting becomes both more important (man if you can hit!) but less too, because its very easy to score without the benefit of a hit.

    Moreover, and then I will be quiet, 70 foot adds so much to the kids' experience and learning. Now they have to defend the bunt better, they have to know some second base pickoffs, they can leave early, get in rundowns, in general, make plays.

    For what is is worth, if you ask the kids...NO BRAINER! Cal Ripken!
    Last edited by tominct; 08-26-2010 at 08:19 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ursa Major View Post
    We know a number of kids who went to the Ripken WS four years ago and they reported that the Mexican team essentially was a nationwide all-star squad.
    If memory serves me correctly (and I am just to lazy and have been sitting here too long to go to CR site and find out for certain) Mexico won it again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbgrubbs View Post
    This weekend I watched a little of both the Cal Ripken and the Little League world series on TV. It brought up two points of debate that I wanted to get the baseball minds on this sites opions on.
    1) what format is better, the shorter bases & mound of little league or the longer bases/mound and lead-off of Cal Ripken.
    2) If the champs of both tourneys faced of in a best of seven series...4 of one rule (say Cal Ripken) and 3 of the other (little league) what team would win? why
    I can't answer these questions, won't try, and want only to inject a realistic observation that might help you understand question #1 better. The LL infield dimensions and pitching distance were designed for men's softball long before LL was born. The fields and their dimensions were already there. LL was 'designed' to suit existing infields. As LL grew and men's fps declined, it was convenient.

    That's the LL design the kids [and their instruction] must conform and adapt to. CR might have
    designed better.
    Last edited by virg; 08-26-2010 at 09:42 AM.

  11. #11
    IMO the advantages of 50/70 for pre-teens are overstated.

    I happen to coach in a Ripken town, not LLI.

    We have a very strong Ripken program, both rec and all-stars. A half hour away is a town with a similarly strong LL program.
    Our 11-12yo rec and allstars play 50/70 open bases, their 11-12yos play 46/60 closed bases.

    Every fall, the two towns meet each other for the first time when graduating 12s compete against each on the 60/90 diamond. Even though our guys have a year's headstart dealing with open bases, the 46/60 kids from the other town seem to pick up everything REAL fast. (and I know for a fact that they don't have any prior 50/70 experience.)
    Skip

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    The advantages of CR are not in the "output." It isn't about "does it make the player better?" What makes a player better is more reps.....

    BUT IT IS MORE FUN FOR THEM!

    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by tominct View Post
    The advantages of CR are not in the "output." It isn't about "does it make the player better?" What makes a player better is more reps.....

    BUT IT IS MORE FUN FOR THEM!

    Tom
    Tom,
    As you probably know us northern guys (For those who don't know I live about 30 miles north of Tom) up here play LL... While I agree that CR's field sizes make more sense - I also agree that good baseball is good baseball. Reps, good technique, good coaching, etc., is what makes it good...... or bad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tominct View Post
    Who would win....I'm biased, but.....I'm a CR adminstrator and the mananger of our most recent 12 team that competed in our State tournament, losing to the eventual New England representative in the CRWS. In addittion, my team played the "B" team from the league that produced the New England Regional LL Champion, and I saw that team up close in the sectionals. I would love to see that team play our CR State Champion. I would give the CR team the advatntage on the bigger field, but the short distance and lack of running would give the LL team the advantage on the small field. The CR catcher was excellent, with a cannon and he would neutralize the LL team should they try to run on them, but I can't say if that is true for the LL catcher (if he would even catch for that team on the bigger field (see below)). Also, the swings on the CR team were exceptional up and down the lineup, and in CR (all-stars) not everyone has to play!

    In all fairness it is a very different game. My team played a season of mostly 50/70 games, but some teams we scheduled during the summer only had 60 ft fields, so if we traveled to their place we'd play that way. My kids hated it, they would tease the other team in the dugout (not within earshot but only to each other) about how this was "baby-ball!" When I say they hated, I mean they hated it! Kids like to run and they LOVE to steal, or attempt to steal. The 60 ft game eliminated that element, but also reduces the necessity for having a top-notch catcher with an arm. When we played 60 foot I was able to supplement my catcher spot with kids that would never catch in a 70 foot game, they couldn't make the throw. On the little diamond that's pretty much a non-issue. Also, making the pitchers focus on something OTHER than throwing the ball only helps their development in my opinion.


    Rec 50/70 is an aquired taste. A single or walk is normally a triple, so hitting becomes both more important (man if you can hit!) but less too, because its very easy to score without the benefit of a hit.

    Moreover, and then I will be quiet, 70 foot adds so much to the kids' experience and learning. Now they have to defend the bunt better, they have to know some second base pickoffs, they can leave early, get in rundowns, in general, make plays.

    For what is is worth, if you ask the kids...NO BRAINER! Cal Ripken!
    My son played LL, LL all-stars and in a USSSA 50/70 Sunday doubleheader travel league at 11U and 12U. The purpose of the travel league was to play better than rec competition concurrently with the LL season to prepare the potentiall LL all-stars for all-star play. The travel roster was the sixteen players most likely to make the twelve man LL all-star roster. The kids didn't have any trouble going back and forth between the two field sizes. They never discussed which was better ball other than the talent level between their LL regular seasoin teams and the travel team. They just went out and played the game.

    Each year before the LL all-star tournament we played the local CR all-star team and annihilate them. It's about talent, not field size and rule sets in kiddie ball. The high school team recently won the conference title. Both programs feed the high school. Two thirds of the varsity played LL. One third played CR. It's about talent, not field size and rule sets in kiddie ball. I saw both 46/60 and 50/70 as kiddie ball (referred to as baby ball in the previous post). It's not big boy ball until hitting the 60/90 field.

    Add to post: More than talent over field size and rule sets, preteen ball is about having fun, learning and mastering the basic fundmantals of hitting, fielding and throwing regardless of field size, so they can move on to the 60/90 field, find out if they can succeed and learn how to play the game on a full size field.
    Last edited by tg643; 08-27-2010 at 12:40 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tg643 View Post
    My son played LL, LL all-stars and in a USSSA 50/70 Sunday doubleheader travel league at 11U and 12U. The purpose of the travel league was to play better than rec competition conurrently with the LL season to prepare the potentiall LL all-stars for all-star play. The travel roster was the sixteen players most likely to make the twelve man LL all-star roster.
    To me this is wrong on so many levels...
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    I coach in Dixie league which allows each league the choice of 46/60 closed bases (LL rules) or 50/70 open bases. Our league chose 50/70 some of our neighboring leagues play 46/60. They all play together when they get to the big field and after the first week of practice you can't pick out which ones played which. Also in only cost about 100 bucks for base anchors to make a 46/60 field into an 50/70 field.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Patterson View Post
    To me this is wrong on so many levels...
    Please explain why. Then I'll rebute. I recommend you ask questions before making assumptions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tg643 View Post
    Please explain why. Then I'll rebute. I recommend you ask questions before making assumptions.
    No... I'm not going to explain. And I don't feel I need to ask any questions. If you don't see it - you don't see it. We've been down this road before.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Patterson View Post
    No... I'm not going to explain. And I don't feel I need to ask any questions. If you don't see it - you don't see it. We've been down this road before.
    There isn't a sucessful LL all-star program that starts on June 15th and succeeds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tg643 View Post
    There isn't a sucessful LL all-star program that starts on June 15th and succeeds.
    On this TG I DO have some first-hand knowledge and ...Yes there is...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Patterson View Post
    On this TG I DO have some first-hand knowledge and ...Yes there is...
    It doesn't happen in our region. The same teams compete at the district, section, state and regional level on an annual basis. They're all working at all-stars at least all season. Some are working at is all year long. Tom's River NJ has a facility that would make a lot of college programs jealous. I know the same thing goes on around most of the rest of the country. I also know New England is behind the curve on travel ball but it's catching on. I helped one RI LL get organized with their travel programs.
    Last edited by tg643; 08-27-2010 at 04:53 PM.

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    Again, something we've been through a number of times. But here are the real numbers (again)...

    NJ being way ahead of the curve than those who play in NE has had 65 MLB'ers since 1990 (Baseball Almanac -2010). With a population of 8.7M (Time Almanac -2009) that is a ratio of 1:134K... NE has had 99 with a population of 14.2M with a ratio of 1:143K... hardly a huge difference when considering much of NH, ME and VT have a very limited playing season.

    Several weeks ago I had the same discussion with a coach from SC ... They have had 32 MLB'ers with a pop of 4.4M or a ratio of 1:137K

    The fastest growing area is the international players... The Dominican Republic for example with a pop of 9.3M has had 377 MLB'ers since 1990 or a ratio of 1:25K

    So what ever it is the more progressive Travel ball/better coached/higher level of baseball/superior training States (including NJ) are doing ... it isn't working.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Patterson View Post
    To me this is wrong on so many levels...
    I don't see any problem with a group of kids from the same LL that will most likely be playing together in All-Stars playing together in tournaments before 6/15. In my son's Little League the boys played together in some scrimmages against local travel teams, and played in an all-night wood bat tournament. It was a great experience for the boys and the families. There are a lot of travel teams comprised of kids from the same Little League. It's not against any LL policies and I don't see anything wrong with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Patterson View Post
    Again, something we've been through a number of times. But here are the real numbers (again)...

    NJ being way ahead of the curve than those who play in NE has had 65 MLB'ers since 1990 (Baseball Almanac -2010). With a population of 8.7M (Time Almanac -2009) that is a ratio of 1:134K... NE has had 99 with a population of 14.2M with a ratio of 1:143K... hardly a huge difference when considering much of NH, ME and VT have a very limited playing season.

    Several weeks ago I had the same discussion with a coach from SC ... They have had 32 MLB'ers with a pop of 4.4M or a ratio of 1:137K

    The fastest growing area is the international players... The Dominican Republic for example with a pop of 9.3M has had 377 MLB'ers since 1990 or a ratio of 1:25K

    So what ever it is the more progressive Travel ball/better coached/higher level of baseball/superior training States (including NJ) are doing ... it isn't working.
    What in the world does any of this have to do with successfully competing in LL all-stars?
    Last edited by tg643; 08-27-2010 at 06:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Patterson View Post
    Again, something we've been through a number of times. But here are the real numbers (again)...

    NJ being way ahead of the curve than those who play in NE has had 65 MLB'ers since 1990 (Baseball Almanac -2010). With a population of 8.7M (Time Almanac -2009) that is a ratio of 1:134K... NE has had 99 with a population of 14.2M with a ratio of 1:143K... hardly a huge difference when considering much of NH, ME and VT have a very limited playing season.

    Several weeks ago I had the same discussion with a coach from SC ... They have had 32 MLB'ers with a pop of 4.4M or a ratio of 1:137K

    The fastest growing area is the international players... The Dominican Republic for example with a pop of 9.3M has had 377 MLB'ers since 1990 or a ratio of 1:25K

    So what ever it is the more progressive Travel ball/better coached/higher level of baseball/superior training States (including NJ) are doing ... it isn't working.
    Looking at Baseball Almanac and the 2010 season, I see that there are currently 17 mlber's who were born in NJ. That's 1 per every 512k. Compare that to states where TB is big: CA - 1:181k, TX - 1:264k, and FL - 1:247k. That's well more than twice the rate of NJ. I'm not saying that this is due to TB. It probably has more to do with baseball being more popular in the warm weather states. But I certainly wouldn't say NJ is ahead of the curve at producing MLB players.

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