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Help me understand the "levels" of youth baseball

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  • #46
    Scotty you seem to have almost zero understanding as to what I am trying to say. Obviously things are done differently in your neck of the woods than they are in my neck of the woods. A typical season for an 11-13 year old select team around here is between 45 and 70 games over the course of the spring/summer and fall seasons. Typically the bulk of the games are played in the spring and summer where a team might play 40 games or so at the high end followed by a few months off and maybe 15 -20 games in the fall followed by a few months off. It has NOTHING to do with the money being spent it has to do with the quality and level of ball that is played. A typical 14 year old AA team, if they were to play a typical 14 year old rec team, would win 100 games out of 100 with an average run difference of 30 runs by the 3rd inning.

    I completely agree, if all the kids stayed in rec league the better players would still be the better players. Bottom line is, kids who have a desire to play and compete want to play more than 20 games a YEAR, they want to practice more than 20-30 times a YEAR and they want to experience more challenging levels of competition and develop higher levels of skill. They CAN'T do that in rec league baseball in THIS area. They will NOT have ANY chance of playing HS baseball in THIS area if all they ever play is rec league baseball.

    A lot of you guys make a big deal out of spending money to play baseball and that confuses the heck out of me. It costs money to play rec league baseball. Rec league kids go out and buy all the same expensive equipmet everyone else buys. 12 games for the 5 week spring season costs a 12 year old $125.00 to sign up. That same 12 year old can tryout for a select team and if he makes it he can play somewhere around 40 games for $3- 400. It is less money per game to play select ball not to mention the boon to the local economies the tournaments generate, the jobs created and the GREAT time it is for the kids!

    There are TONS of Texas kids playing on college and pro rosters all over the country so I'm not quite sure what you are talking about with that comment. The University of Texas who has won several College World Series has a ton of Texas kids on the roster as do many colleges all over the country. Where are you from? Is there an inordinate amount of kids from your state on college rosters? That's really a ridiculous statement in my opinion. Look I am sure travel ball, as many of you call it, may be the bain of baseball where some of you live BUT HERE it is the norm, it is a MAJOR factor in developing good baseball players at all levels and it is a good, fun thing. Hell Chris Davis, 1st baseman for the Texas Rangers played for the Dallas Tigers select baseball organization from age 16 - 18 if I rememebr correctly, before that he played on several select ball clubs out of the Longview area. The D-Bat select baseball organization has many kids who sign with major college programs every year and they have teams from 8U - 18U there is the McKinney Marshalls, the Dallas Patriots, the Flower Mound Warriors, and many, many others that routinely produce very high quality baseball players who all go their seperate ways and play on their HS teams during the HS baseball season.

    I don't know, as I have read some of the arguments and comments made about select youth baseball I have always been left with the impression that those who dislike it have experienced a VERY different type of thing than we have here in the DFW area, the Houston area and all over Texas really.
    Last edited by jmart2663; 05-29-2009, 05:13 AM.

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    • #47
      I agree with Jmart. Travel is a very important part of the baseball fabric here in FL as well.

      It's true that athleticism goes a long way, but an edge is an edge. Someone who is naturally athletic has an obvious edge, whereas someone of lesser build may have to build up their edge by honing skills and attitude over the years.

      Playing travel may not be necessary, but it may also be the only way a player can compete for a spot on a team.

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      • #48
        Totally agree with Jmart as well...

        I'd also go further in predicting that within the next 5 or so years, the linear shift to travel/select/club Baseball will eclipse High School Baseball here in the state of Florida in importance to an aspiring player... The FHSAA's decision to cut 40 percent of junior varsity and 20 percent of varsity games (for economic reasons) will severely hamper Florida's High School Baseball prominence.
        I don't like my balls to smell like pickles.

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        • #49
          Originally posted by Bolts-Baseball View Post
          Totally agree with Jmart as well...

          I'd also go further in predicting that within the next 5 or so years, the linear shift to travel/select/club Baseball will eclipse High School Baseball here in the state of Florida in importance to an aspiring player... The FHSAA's decision to cut 40 percent of junior varsity and 20 percent of varsity games (for economic reasons) will severely hamper Florida's High School Baseball prominence.
          You know I find some of this very interesting. Our school District has 4 High Schools and is in the midst of a severe budjet crunch. Our levy failed twice and they have canceled all sports. A large number of kids have transfered to other districts during open enrollment, but those spots filled quickly. Now there is rumor that they are starting some super powerhouse Travel Teams to keep all the kids together. The booster clubs have monsy and instead of giving to the school they are going to fund these various teams.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by jmart2663 View Post
            I don't know, as I have read some of the arguments and comments made about select youth baseball I have always been left with the impression that those who dislike it have experienced a VERY different type of thing than we have here in the DFW area, the Houston area and all over Texas really.
            My experience as a dad and as a HS coach is what it is.... I agree there comes a time when a player needs to be playing TB in order to help set himself up for a shot at HS and beyond.

            The TB I am against is the diaper ball series where parents feel 8 y/o junior needs to be playing in the national T-Ball Series in order to have a shot at HS. As a HS coach I would offer these players, nor their parents, never faired very well. The ones who seem to do well are those players who picked up reasonable TB at age 13-14 after having a good time playing rec ball. By reasonable I mean MS-Jr. League/Jr.Legion (AAU) - Playoffs - That's it!
            "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
            - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
            Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

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            • #51
              I tend to agree with Jmart on most of thoughts regarding the importance of TB with only a couple of exceptions and one may really be the result of the first.

              For the following statement, I have to disagree (at least with the TB level choice):
              Originally posted by jmart2663
              A typical 14 year old AA team, if they were to play a typical 14 year old rec team, would win 100 games out of 100 with an average run difference of 30 runs by the 3rd inning.
              Over the years in SoCal, I have seen the quality of TB decrease due to all of the daddies who go out and start a TB team because little Billy couldn't make one of the quality teams already out there.

              In years past, TB or "select" ball used to be just that; teams that selected the best talent from area leagues and competed at a higher level then was being played at your local rec field and the players on these teams developed accordingly.

              Now, because of the exact same feelings Jmart has, daddies fear little Billy won't make his HS team unless he plays TB. Little Billy doesn't have the ability to actually play on an established TB team, so daddy gets together with other daddies whose little Jimmies don't match up and they form a new TB team.

              They promptly go out and get slaughtered by real TB teams, not making the game beneficial for anyone. Since more and more crappy "Daddy TB" teams enter the mix and are sheeps for the slaughter, sanctioning bodies (USSSA, Triple Crown, Super Series . . .) went and developed various levels of TB, ultimately diluting the quality of play to that of good rec ball teams in the AA and now starting to get into the AAA levels of TB.

              With all of the Little Billy's out there playing lower level TB (AA and now approaching AAA) we're seeing more and more "TB players" not making the HS teams, because they never had the talent in the first place. Oh sure, they look good in their TB team jersey at tryouts trying to give us a "hey I played TB" heads up; but they forget, some of us know the quality "Majors" teams in the area, so unless you're wearing one of those jerseys you ain't fooling anyone. Besides, if the kid actually plays on one of those few Majors teams, we don't need to see a jersey to figure it out . . . his play tells us all we need to know.

              So even though I will agree that typically a AA TB team will beat a good/typical rec. ball team more times then not; I'd put the ratio at more like 60-40 . . . nowhere near the 100% mark. Now a Majors team . . .yes 100% of the time and most AAA teams, 90-95% of the time; but a AA team (at least in SoCal), not so much.

              Originally posted by jmart2663
              . . . they have teams from 8U - 18U . . .
              TB teams below the age of 11/12 (maaaaybe 10), I feel are promoting little for the players, but rather to feed the egos or false beliefs of the dads at that level.

              Below 11/12 I feel the vast majority of kids are still trying to figure out how their bodies move and how they integrate the many complexities of throwing a baseball and swinging a bat properly. Now I will agree that there are a few players that have advanced skill sets at this young age, but the majority of players 10 and under are still in the "walk and chew gum" phase of baseball.

              Because of this the AA (even AAA for the most part) level of "TB" play at the 10U and below age group is terrible in my opinion and should be eliminated (See reasoning above). I'm fine with a 10U and below Majors division for the FEW better players, but watching 10U TB below that level is not that much different then what I see at our local rec ball park.


              I really wish these TB would return to what it used to be (and I believe is supposed to be); baseball for the select group of (older) players capable of playing at an advanced level and not a moneymaker for a few or not as an ego boost for Lil' Billy's daddy, who can stand around the water cooler at work bragging how "my boy, plays on a travel ball team". h
              Last edited by mudvnine; 05-29-2009, 09:05 AM.
              In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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              • #52
                Originally posted by Jake Patterson View Post
                My experience as a dad and as a HS coach is what it is.... I agree there comes a time when a player needs to be playing TB in order to help set himself up for a shot at HS and beyond.

                The TB I am against is the diaper ball series where parents feel 8 y/o junior needs to be playing in the national T-Ball Series in order to have a shot at HS. As a HS coach I would offer these players, nor their parents, never faired very well. The ones who seem to do well are those players who picked up reasonable TB at age 13-14 after having a good time playing rec ball. By reasonable I mean MS-Jr. League/Jr.Legion (AAU) - Playoffs - That's it!
                I'd tend to agree, but I also don't think it's that simple.

                Yes, a lot of parents who encourage/push little Timmy to play at 8yo are the kind of overbearing jackholes that he will eventually rebel against and the rest of the world will ignore.

                But it's not that easy for the 9yo who loves the game but has only progressed so far to have a great time of it in rec. If he can get a couple of seasons of travel in, he may develop the skills to compete with the better rec players for starting spots. From what I've seen, that may be the key to deciding whether or not he stays interested in the game or even believes he can play above LL.

                Kids get discouraged when they think they suck. But the kid who learns to work hard and improve is the kind of kid you want to remain in the game.

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by mudvnine View Post
                  TB teams below the age of 11/12 (maaaaybe 10), I feel are promoting little for the players, but rather to feed the egos or false beliefs of the dads at that level.
                  That hasn't been my experience at all. Not only does travel offer kids a chance to play with real baseball rules (unlike LL), travel coaches are generally better and the teams practice more often and much more effectively.

                  In terms of simply developing players, travel offers younger players a lot that they will never get from rec ball.

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                  • #54
                    Yep AA Travel Ball ball is pretty ugly. AAA can be sloppy at times. This year I rank our 10U all stars at AA level. It's definitely daddy ball.

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Baseball gLove View Post
                      Yep AA Travel Ball ball is pretty ugly. AAA can be sloppy at times. This year I rank our 10U all stars at AA level. It's definitely daddy ball.
                      Several years ago, I took a "B" Allstar team to the USSSA - 10U AA World Series as practice games to prepare for sanction play and took third place. Now we're from a PONY league, Mustang division, so the kids were already playing "real baseball rules" as AgentX refers to them, but the TB teams we played were from all over the Western United States and the quality of play was marginal at best.

                      One can only imagine what our "A" team might have done in that tournament . . .
                      In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by mudvnine View Post
                        One can only imagine what our "A" team might have done in that tournament . . .
                        Last year, our "A" Majors All-Star team (Mostly 12's with two 11's and one 10-year-old) got to scrimmage the #1 ranked 11u USSSA/AAU Majors team in the state of Florida. They also got to scrimmage a top-ranked 12u USSSA/AAU Majors team as well... This All-Star team was as stacked as the league ever had - loaded with great arms, and 9-guys who could hit it out of any ballpark...

                        The 11u USSSA/AAU team beat the All-Star team pretty badly, and did it while not playing their best. The 12u USSSA/AAU team absolutely destroyed them 15-2...

                        I agree though, USSSA Baseball at the AA-level, is close, for the most part to a decent league-ball team.
                        I don't like my balls to smell like pickles.

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Bolts-Baseball View Post
                          …I'd also go further in predicting that within the next 5 or so years, the linear shift to travel/select/club Baseball will eclipse High School Baseball here in the state of Florida in importance to an aspiring player... The FHSAA's decision to cut 40 percent of junior varsity and 20 percent of varsity games (for economic reasons) will severely hamper Florida's High School Baseball prominence.
                          Ever since travel/select/tournament ball got so popular, I’ve heard about the demise of HS baseball, but guess what? Its not only still here, its still a pretty big deal.

                          What folks with your mindset don’t seem to take into account, is ALL the reasons HS baseball is the weakest of the 3 major HS sports. The main reason is, the time of year its played. Heck, even here in the land of fruits and nuts, those late Feb and Mar games can be a torture! Yeah, its not Nd cold for that time of the year, but its sure often cold out here. So if the better players turn their backs on HS ball, will the weather suddenly improve so they could have a great experience playing travel/select/tournament? I don’t think so.

                          Then there’s the fact that the sun goes down a lot earlier in Feb thru Apr than it does in Jul thr Aug. IOW, there’s not nearly as many hours in the day to play. But even if there were a desire to play, kids still have to go to school! Its pretty normal to have a throw away class at the end of the school day that allows the players to get out to the field an hour or two early, but that’s a school function. How many schools will let a kid go early because mommy or daddy tells them Li’l Johnny has to go play for a travel/select/tournament team on the other side of town at 3:30PM? I can hear the belly laughs now!

                          That means that unlike HS games that can get going at 3:30, these after school games won’t be starting until 4:30 or so, and that brings in another problem. Since it gets too dark to play, roughly at 5-5:30, you have to have a field with lights. That’s ok, but even if you find one, in Mar, while the temperature at 5:30 when the games normal end might be a little uncomfortable, a couple hours later, its very often flat cold. Now you’re dealing with a higher probability of injury.

                          Another thing is parent attendance. There aren’t a lot of jobs that won’t bend a little for a parent to attend a HS function for a child, but tell the boss you’re gonna take off an hour or two early go watch a travel/select/tournament game 2-3 times a week, and you better hope either s/he isn’t taking a drink when you say it, or that you aren’t standing directly in front of him/her.

                          So, while the importance of going on to a higher level of baseball might shift from HS to some other venue, HS ball will always be there into the foreseeable future. Any other venue will be just like travel/select/tournament is to the lower levels too. At 1st only the very best will participate, but sooner or later, it’ll get watered down too.
                          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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                          • #58
                            Again, this ALL depends on WHERE you live. Even in my state, the level of play / competition can vary greatly from city to city, county to county etc.

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by scorekeeper View Post
                              Ever since travel/select/tournament ball got so popular, I’ve heard about the demise of HS baseball, but guess what? Its not only still here, its still a pretty big deal.

                              What folks with your mindset don’t seem to take into account...
                              Nice post...

                              I don't have a "mindset", just going off what I see as facts... I would LOVE to see HS Baseball flourish, unfortunately with the economics the way they are here in FLORIDA with all the government/educational cutbacks, I cannot foresee it...

                              FYI: A vast majority of HS games here, IN CENTRAL FLORIDA, start at 7pm, for the most part, are all played under the lights.
                              I don't like my balls to smell like pickles.

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                              • #60
                                Originally posted by Bolts-Baseball View Post
                                Nice post...

                                I don't have a "mindset", just going off what I see as facts... I would LOVE to see HS Baseball flourish, unfortunately with the economics the way they are here in FLORIDA with all the government/educational cutbacks, I cannot foresee it...

                                FYI: A vast majority of HS games here, IN CENTRAL FLORIDA, start at 7pm, for the most part, are all played under the lights.
                                Yeah, that struck me as odd too. Finding lighted fields aren't much of a problem here.

                                I don't see HS baseball going away, though. Hard to turn your back on media coverage, regardless of how many games you get to play. Consider also that budget cuts won't make FL teams less competitive in the long run. Everyone is in the same economic boat. Programs will reinflate along with the economy.

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