By now, late March, 2018, most teams have been chosen and you are already practicing or playing games. This brings up a pet peeve of mine - baseball starting early with not that many games so the league can get to the "All Stars." Here is what happens across the country. Millions of kids try out and start playing baseball in late winter or early spring, long before school is out. By mid to late May, before school is out, it's over! Then the leagues pick their All Stars. Millions of kids don't get to play the "game of summer." In many cases over 500-1000 kids play during their regular season in a community. Then when it's over the league picks a team or two for each age group and you go from 500 down to possibly 50 kids on just a few teams for the All Stars. They play well into the summer and hope to make some tournament like Cal Ripken World Series or Little League World series, which happens sometime in August. Meanwhile, what about the other 450 kids left out? They're done, no more baseball. I wish there were a true All Star setup, like the pros do. Stop the regular season, pick your all stars, play your All Star games, then resume the regular season. Or have two seasons. A "pre-season", with say games 10 or so. Then stop and select the All Star teams. You would now have a good idea about the better players and some may even surprise. Then start up the "post-season" with another 10 games or so. I've heard a lot of the arguments against this. While I was president of our local board, a long time ago, I tried to do this. But the idea was met with too much resistance from other board members and some coaches who wanted to be All Star coaches. Many of them gave the arguments below.
- You can't have kids playing for two different coaches. The kids will get confused.
- It disrupts the regular team.
- The All Star kids will be treated differently.
- Kids will be missing from the regular team when there is an All Star game or tournament.
- Football practice is starting and they can't do both!
- And on and on...
The above are really just excuses for wanting just the All Stars, not for making sure that more kids learn and play the game of baseball. Each year fewer and fewer kids try out for baseball. This is a crying shame. It is such a wonderful sport. Now some parents say this is fine. With the way it is, baseball won't interfere with our family's summer plans. That's fine. Have a few more kids on your team, say 15 rather than 12 , rotate them, help them learn the game. When kids are gone on vacation, fine, you'll still have enough or borrow some from the team you play. It will also be a bit warmer in the summer. It can be so cold and rainy in parts of the country in March and April, that many games have to be cancelled and in a lot of cases can't be made up due to lack or fields. This idea probably won't go anywhere, but I wish there were a way to involve more kids in baseball. Just a thought. Hope you have a great season and teach the kids to love the game. Don't get me wrong, my son played All Stars and we both coached All Star teams. I just want more kids to play this fine game. I don't want kids losing out on a great game at the expense of the All Star program. Coaches of younger players, don't make the mistake of picking who you think will succeed or fail at a young age or who you think will be an All Star player. One memory I have is of Larry Walker. Born and raised in Canada, where baseball was not very big. He wanted to be a professional hockey player. He played fast pitch softball with his brothers. He was out of high school when he really started taking an interest in baseball. Baseball was not offered in school. Sure glad a coach didn't have him on his team. He might never have made it!