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May, 2021

Division Redraft - Open Information to Everyone

We wanted to provide everyone with an update. This year has been a difficult year for the operations of our league so far. We’ve had to overcome several obstacles outside of our control in addition to Covid. We had to postpone opening day for several reasons. First, the concession stands water quality test (done by the health dept.) failed several times and required retesting. Second, the cleanup of the concession stand for inspections was delayed due to the lack of useable water. Third, there were many late registrations after the March 21st deadline. Fourth, limited uniform availability due to lack of supply as well as discontinued items. The biggest problem we faced was the late registrations. As of this letter, we are still receiving registrations for divisions. To date, we’ve had 27 kids register after the deadline. That is enough for three entire teams. If they all registered at once, that would be rather simple. However, we are having kids register every few days still. We had no idea this many would register after the deadline. Registration opened on February 1st.  Having kids register is a great thing, but it poses many logistical issues for us as league administrators.

Every year we sit down and attempt to split the kids into fair and balanced teams based on division, skill, and age. An example of what we attempted to do can be seen in the lower leagues. Originally, we wanted t-ball teams with 8-9 kids max so coaches could focus on teaching the smaller groups. We had enough for 3 teams and that is how they were split. Currently we have 12, 12, and 13 kids on a team because of late registrations. Coach pitch has 11, 11, and 12. As you can see, our plan for small teams went out the window.

In the 9-12 division, we started with enough for two teams with 11 kids on each team. After the deadline we had an additional 6 kids register in the 9-12 division with some registering as late as this past week. That increased our two teams to have 14 and 15 kids. We knew that this many kids would be a challenge for both coaches. We also knew it would greatly limit kids playing time and ultimately cause 5 or 6 kids to sit the bench for the majority of games. As administrators, we discussed our options. The most obvious solution was to add a third team, even though it is not something we normally do at this point. With this idea in mind, we reached out to the coaches of the two teams for their input. The coaches were supportive of the idea as it would result in the kids would be getting more playing time which would ultimately help build their skills.

With that in mind, the PLL board (President, VP, Player Agent, Treasurer & Safety Officer) met on May 3rd to discuss the options. We discussed leaving the teams as they are or splitting them into 3 teams. The decision to split the teams into 3 was unanimous. It was based on the following merits: increased playing time for all players, increased skill development for players, the ability to play more than one team, and player pool play. We notified the coaches on Tuesday morning and advised them of the board’s decision and that we would inform the parents prior to the game. The board also decided to take Thursday, the regularly scheduled practice night for 9-12 players to have player assessments. Even though the coaches are familiar with the players, we wanted to allow the coaches to make informed draft picks. This will allow the coaches to have an opportunity to observe the players present and to have them ranked by independent coaches.

So what will happen now?

  • Thursday, May 6th there will be a player assessment held at 6 PM on field 2. It will be run by 2 travel ball coaches, a high school coach, and a former LL coach. Those players who cannot attend will be ranked by the coaches who had assessment forms on Tuesday night. Advanced players such as pitchers and catchers are already known by coaches and will be sorted fairly.
  • Players will have their scores tallied by the independent coaches and the scores will be provided to the player agent. Players' scores will remain confidential.
  • After the assessments, the coaches and player agent will retire to the field 2 press box to complete the drafting of players in private. The draft will be in accordance with LL draft rules. The coaches will draw a number out of a hat to determine pick order and the draft will proceed from there.
  • After the draft is complete, new teams will be formed and rosters will be sent out to everyone.
  • We would like to collect old uniform shirts and will determine what new uniforms need to be ordered.
  • Games will resume after a new game schedule is generated.
  • A new concession schedule will be also generated.
  • We have the option to continue games after the mid-June cut-off as originally listed. That way the kids get additional playing time.

We understand this is not normal and it is less than ideal. Unfortunately, nothing has been ideal in the past 18 months. Other leagues have had to do the same thing this year. This is causing double, if not triple work for us as administrators, and comes with a price tag when it comes to uniforms. However, as mentioned at the meeting with parents before the game, we, the board, feel this decision is in the best interest of all the players. We know some friends may be split up and that is unfortunate. There is always before and after the game for friends to spend time together at the field. We understand some parents may not agree with or like this decision. Again, it is being done in the best interest of all players.

The board and President regularly make decisions without parent input, especially when it comes to the overall operations of the league. We have always welcomed input on some things at the appropriate times. History has proven time and time again; that we get minimal if any parent participation at parent meetings. In this case, we made an executive decision and are proceeding with it. We hope you understand our position and the time-sensitive nature of the issue at hand. We want to get this sorted out quickly to get the players back out on the field as soon as possible. As an added benefit, we also have a former MLB coach who will be working with the coaches coming up. He has agreed to take time out of his schedule to observe the players and work with coaches on ways the players can make improvements. We believe this will be extremely beneficial to the 9-12 players.

We hope this letter was informative to everyone as to what happened and why. Hopefully next year we can avoid some of the issues that we faced this year and get off to a great start. We want to maximize the players’ and parents’ experience so that it is the best possible. That includes getting teams set and practices started earlier.

Finally, three important points:

  • Per LL operational rules, we are required to accept players as late as 14 days after opening day.
  • You must play where you live or go to school to be an eligible player in any league. All leagues in district 8 are separated by individual boundaries.
  • Cursing, being rude, disruptive towards parents, players, coaches, umpires, or staff will not be tolerated and those involved will be asked to leave.
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