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Should LL limit intentional walks per batter per game?

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Guest Dobb

Since there is no ruling on the amount of intentional walks in LL is it appropriate for the league coaches to gather consensus and propose a limit? Best hitter in our league has been walked 5 times in 7 plate appearences as of game 2. What are we teaching these kids? Why not teach the kids to pitch around etc.? What’s next, throwing at 11/12 year olds to send a message?

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3 minutes ago, Guest Dobb said:

What are we teaching these kids?

That there's strategy in baseball.

 

3 minutes ago, Guest Dobb said:

What’s next, throwing at 11/12 year olds to send a message?

IBB is a strategy move that is well within the rules of the game; you just don't like it.  Throwing at is explicitly prohibited by the rules and an obvious safety issue.  Clearly not the same.

 

Quote

Barry Bonds holds most of the records for intentional walks, including four in a nine-inning game (2004), 120 in a season (2004), and 668 in his career (more than the next two players on the all-time list, Albert Pujols (302) and Hank Aaron (293), combined).

Bonds was also IBBed with the bases loaded once, by the Diamondbacks, in an 8-6 game with 2 out.  The next batter lined out to end the game, and the D-backs won.  What did that teach the kids?

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I think this is a better question for "Ask The Little League Administrator" forum.

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5 hours ago, Guest Dobb said:

Since there is no ruling on the amount of intentional walks in LL is it appropriate for the league coaches to gather consensus and propose a limit? Best hitter in our league has been walked 5 times in 7 plate appearences as of game 2. What are we teaching these kids? Why not teach the kids to pitch around etc.? What’s next, throwing at 11/12 year olds to send a message?

Next?   That was done almost 40 years ago when I played LL.

 

Not only is it teaching kids strategy - it's teaching coaches to stop relying on their star players to overcome their coaching shortcomings.

Possible choices:

  • Make your best player the leadoff batter, to ensure he goes to first base with nobody out.
  • Put your second best hitter directly behind him in the lineup.
  • Put your third best hitter leadoff, with best hitter batting second.
  • Teach your other players to hit.

 

You can't score if you don't get on base.  If I had a player who was walked every time he went to the plate, for a 1.000 OBP, I'd take it in a heartbeat.

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2 hours ago, Guest Dobb said:

Since there is no ruling on the amount of intentional walks in LL is it appropriate for the league coaches to gather consensus and propose a limit? 

Good luck with this one.

You would be expressly limiting a book rule, and LL would not look favorably upon your program for this... kind of like the 'if the pitcher plucks 3 kids in a game he has to be removed'... no such rule exists in LL and in fact was voted down to be added to the book. 

Keep in mind every time they walk your player they are adding 4 to the pitch count, so the defense is not getting out of the at bat without any damage to them... they may need that pitcher later in the game and what would have been a 1 pitch at bat cost them 4. It only takes one pitch to go over their pitch count limit or threshold and have to sit an additional day for rest. 

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On 4/17/2018 at 9:41 AM, CJK said:

That there's strategy in baseball.

IBB is a strategy move that is well within the rules of the game; you just don't like it.  Throwing at is explicitly prohibited by the rules and an obvious safety issue.  Clearly not the same.

 

Seriously?? Strategy?? With all due respect, idiots like you (and young parents) are the problem with youth baseball. Youth baseball is to DEVELOP SKILL, learn to win, lose and have fun--yes, they are kids, have fun.

Walking a player to load the bases so you have a force out at any bag IS strategy. Walking a player so you can have a lefty/lefty matchup IS strategy (at an upper level). Walking a kid that has taken the time and effort to become a great hitter is chicken #@$%.

Not sure what baseball your watching to call this strategy, but I watch a lot of pro and college baseball and all of them pitch to the 4-hole-hitters 99.9% of the time...not walk them 5 out of 7 plate appearances as a "strategy". Your 3-4 PROFESSIONAL baseball examples have NO application in 11-year-old baseball.

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4 minutes ago, aaluck said:

Seriously?? Strategy?? With all due respect, idiots like you (and young parents) are the problem with youth baseball. Youth baseball is to DEVELOP SKILL, learn to win, lose and have fun.

Walking a player to load the bases so you have a force out at any bag IS strategy. Walking a player so you can have a lefty/lefty matchup IS strategy (at an upper level). Walking a kid that has taken the time and effort to become a great hitter is chicken #@$%.

Not sure what baseball you're watching to call this strategy, but I watch a lot of pro and college baseball and all of them pitch to the 4-hole-hitters 99.9% of the time...not walk them 5 out of 7 plate appearances as a "strategy". 

Coach much?

The 4 hitters in MLB hit .290

The 4 hitters in LL hit .650.

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Actually yes, about 20 years of coaching and 30 years of umping baseball and 7 in softball when my daughter played. In that 20+ years I COACHED (took time to improve them) kids to hit, pitch and field so I didn't have to be lazy and walk 8 year olds on purpose.  If their best hitter hit a home run we needed to score 2 runs to get ahead. However, usually he would ground or fly out because we could field and throw.

And great statistic...apparently in your mind LL and MLB are the same level of play. I'd also say that static is ridiculous, I'd bet my house .300 of the .650 LL average are probably errors, not hits.

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20 minutes ago, aaluck said:

apparently in your mind LL and MLB are the same level of play

Sorry, it was you who talked up your vast viewing experience of college and pro baseball to back up your claim that 4-hole batters almost always get pitched to.  Rich Ives was obviously making the point that they're not the same.

Sometime in your amazing content consumption career, it seems like you'd have come across some footage of Barry Bonds in the early 2000's, particularly in 2004 when Bonds was IBB'ed 120 times in one season).  Look it up.  In fact, since 2000, Bonds and Josh Hamilton were both walked with the bases loaded, and both times their opponents won the game.

Baseball is a game with two levels: at its root, players engage in a series of individual match-ups; in a wider scope, coaches try to optimize those individual matchups.  In every sport, at every level, coaches use strategy to neutralize an outrageous 1-player advantage, usually saying they want to "make someone else beat us."  They feel like it puts them in a better position to win, which is fun; in the immortal words of Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh: "I love winning, I [really] love winning! You know what I'm saying? It's, like, better than losing?"

And as for the absolutely ridiculous juxtaposition of adding "with all due respect" before calling me an idiot, well, I think the other readers can draw a suitable conclusion.

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1 hour ago, aaluck said:

Seriously?? Strategy?? With all due respect, idiots like you (and young parents) are the problem with youth baseball. Youth baseball is to DEVELOP SKILL, learn to win, lose and have fun--yes, they are kids, have fun.

Walking a player to load the bases so you have a force out at any bag IS strategy. Walking a player so you can have a lefty/lefty matchup IS strategy (at an upper level). Walking a kid that has taken the time and effort to become a great hitter is chicken #@$%.

Not sure what baseball your watching to call this strategy, but I watch a lot of pro and college baseball and all of them pitch to the 4-hole-hitters 99.9% of the time...not walk them 5 out of 7 plate appearances as a "strategy". Your 3-4 PROFESSIONAL baseball examples have NO application in 11-year-old baseball.

Thank you for answering the question I asked of you in another thread:

Posted April 10

  On 4/10/2018 at 3:37 PM, aaluck said:

We have this problem in Alabama as well.  It is not uncommon to see the pivot foot perpendicular or 45* on the pitcher's plate and the non-pivot foot not close to breaking the plane of the rubber, clearly in front by 6 inches to as much as a foot.

The problem we have is uniform enforcement.  Some umpires just ignore it and others call it.  It was addressed at the beginning of the year, but little has been done or changed.

Wish we were more proactive. I, myself, as an umpire have no idea what they are doing. Presents a huge problem...does he need to come set? can he make a move to a bag? 

What you describe would be a legal windup position in NCAA and OBR. Most umpires would have no problem discerning what the stance was. The pitchers preliminary movement to address the rubber and the runner configuration would also give you some hints. The lack of a parallel pivot foot position also would be a tell. Do you watch MLB or MiLB?

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1 hour ago, CJK said:

Sometime in your amazing content consumption career, it seems like you'd have come across some footage of Barry Bonds in the early 2000's, particularly in 2004 when Bonds was IBB'ed 120 times in one season).  Look it up.  In fact, since 2000, Bonds and Josh Hamilton were both walked with the bases loaded, and both times their opponents won the game.

Look... My experience is no better than anyone else and I have no issue with walking Barry Bonds or Josh Hamilton, they are professional baseball players, being paid to play and the managers are being paid to win, and get fired if they don't. But I don't understand what that has to do with youth baseball.

My only point is this is YOUTH baseball, kids are not paid, nor are the managers, so far as our area anyway.  I simply believe that youth baseball is to develop skills. No skills are developed by walking a kid 714% of his at bats--not for the pitchers, batter or fielders.

1 hour ago, CJK said:

Baseball is a game with two levels: at its root, players engage in a series of individual match-ups; in a wider scope, coaches try to optimize those individual matchups.  In every sport, at every level, coaches use strategy to neutralize an outrageous 1-player advantage, usually saying they want to "make someone else beat us."  They feel like it puts them in a better position to win, which is fun; in the immortal words of Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh: "I love winning, I [really] love winning! You know what I'm saying? It's, like, better than losing?"

Also, lets not take ourselves too seriously.  Individual match-ups? At 11 years old? I really, really, want to come watch youth baseball in your area. I'd imagine its hard to find a seat with all of the pro scouts in attendance, hinged on the individual match-up of two 11 year olds. Holy cow!

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Maybe I'm overlooking something (is the batter a relative?), or maybe I'm over-simplifying this (or perhaps over-complicating?)...but i don't understand the frustration with walking a batter that might beat you.   I think it's obviously two schools of thought here. Yours is that the kids (ALL of the kids) should get to hit and have fun - mine (and several others it appears by the comments above) is the goal of playing the game is to win.  Sure, teach the kids to play the fundamentals, develop skills, but also to win. 

Silly me, I always thought that was the proof that you were doing the fundamentals right - winning the game, tournament, league, etc.  The team that plays the best overall - hitting, fielding and pitching - usually wins.  You can't let one kid decide the game.  If he were the reason my team might lose, then he'd not see a hit-able pitch from my pitcher either.  There's no dishonor in doing what is fair and legal in order to win. 

As others have said, teach the kid that is always walked how to steal and be a threat on the bases.  There's other ways to defeat this tactic and I'd attack those methods versus complaining he is always walked.  He is walked out of respect, not disrespect.  Beat them at their own game!

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14 minutes ago, wolfe_man said:

Maybe I'm overlooking something (is the batter a relative?), or maybe I'm over-simplifying this (or perhaps over-complicating?)...but i don't understand the frustration with walking a batter that might beat you.   I think it's obviously two schools of thought here. Yours is that the kids (ALL of the kids) should get to hit and have fun - mine (and several others it appears by the comments above) is the goal of playing the game is to win.  Sure, teach the kids to play the fundamentals, develop skills, but also to win. 

You might think so (relative) but I really just find this ridiculous at a youth level.  I have no problem with a IBB in a year end tournament (still not over 700% of the time) or All-stars. But the OP claims this kid has been walked 5 times in 7 at bats in the FIRST 2 games of the regular season.  I struggle with that at a youth level.

Apparently its just me and the OP, but my kid, and those I coached, would be irate if I didn't give him a chance to pitch to the "best" hitter. If he clears the fence by 100 feet I'll tip my cap.

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5 minutes ago, aaluck said:

Apparently its just me and the OP, but my kid, and those I coached, would be irate if I didn't give him a chance to pitch to the "best" hitter. If he clears the fence by 100 feet I'll tip my cap.

I can see your point and I don't disagree. I would want to test myself against him too, but I don't begrudge another from taking that option if they feel their pitcher isn't up to it.  Times are a changin' and not always for the best in many cases, but I think this particular one is old-school.

I've seen youtube videos of IBB's becoming HR's because they let a pitch get too close and the kid took it for a ride.  Of course, new IBB's are just verbal at some levels and avoid the pitches altogether.

Get creative - I'm sure you (or the coach) can come up with something to help stop this.  There were several good suggestions above (bat him leadoff, etc.).  My plea to you, don't make special rules for one player - find ways to beat it! :)

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7 hours ago, aaluck said:

You might think so (relative) but I really just find this ridiculous at a youth level.  I have no problem with a IBB in a year end tournament (still not over 700% of the time) or All-stars. But the OP claims this kid has been walked 5 times in 7 at bats in the FIRST 2 games of the regular season.  I struggle with that at a youth level.

Apparently its just me and the OP, but my kid, and those I coached, would be irate if I didn't give him a chance to pitch to the "best" hitter. If he clears the fence by 100 feet I'll tip my cap.

I alluded to it in my other post.  You can blame the star player's coach almost as much as you can blame the coaches that are walking him.

Coaches show up at a game with this superstar in their lineup (often through dumb luck of when the kid was born and what his address is) and then just expect to show up for games and have this one kid produce four or more runs every game, and think they are coaching geniuses when they win the league or state or whatever.

You want other teams to stop walking your star player, make sure your other kids can hit.  Surround your star player with other kids who may not be future pros, but can hit very well...then coaches will either be forced to pitch to him and take their chances, or be punished by the other players who don't get walked.

You want to talk about what's good for youth baseball, or not good for youth baseball, it's showing up with a once in a generation phenom on your team and riding him to a state championship.  It's supposed to be a team sport.  So, coaches are left with one choice to deal with the extreme advantage that another team may have in the lineup and make the rest of the team beat them.   Because we're not going to advocate limiting the star player's playing time, or the number of home runs he can hit in a game,  anymore than we're going to advocate limiting the IBB's against him

I've coached at various levels as well - from community to national championships - facing, and beating, many of the best teams Canada and the US has had to offer.  And, more importantly, I've actually played the game.  From youth to semi-pro.   And there's one universal truth at every age level and skill level - not based on psychological studies, or what parents hope...but based on surveys of the kids themselves, at all ages, of why they play sports...fun is spelled W-I-N.   And given the choice between winning with walking the best player, and losing with facing the best player, 9 kids out of 10 will take the win every day and twice on Sunday.

Contrary to popular belief, losing doesn't build character, winning does.  All losing should do is teach you you hate to lose.   

 

 

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Guest Tony

I haven't seen IBBs in little league games very often at all.  The few times I have, it has been to players who should have been playing up a division but stayed down to tee off on less developed players. 

If the kid is that far ahead of his peers that he is constantly walked, and development is truly the primary concern, it would seem better for that player's development to play up in the next division.

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21 minutes ago, Guest Tony said:

I haven't seen IBBs in little league games very often at all.  The few times I have, it has been to players who should have been playing up a division but stayed down to tee off on less developed players. 

If the kid is that far ahead of his peers that he is constantly walked, and development is truly the primary concern, it would seem better for that player's development to play up in the next division.

Not as simple as it always sounds.   The moment you move a kid up an age bracket now you enter safety issues (and the liability risks therein) of him playing against kids that could be upwards of three years older than him.  Pitches come faster, ball comes off the bat faster, and other kids are bigger.  The kid, no matter how talented, may not be ready for that.  Not saying it's not possible, but nobody thinks about that stuff when they're telling someone else to move their kid to another team - they just want that kid away from their kid.  And no parent should be forced to put their kid in a level where his safety is at risk.

As well, there's plenty of debate, and evidence, that it could be better for a kid to excel at one level than struggle at another.  In the short term anyway.  

The other issue  is, believe it or not, related to age appropriate fraternization.  My 13 year old daughter played up in tournaments with/against girls who were 16/17 years old.   Where she was often sitting on the bench with girls who drove themselves to the games, and are telling the other girls on the bench what they did to their boyfriends the night before.   The swearing ratio tends to go up with the higher ages as well.  Some kids may or may not be able to handle it.  And some parents may not want their kid growing up that quickly.   

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4 hours ago, beerguy55 said:

Not as simple as it always sounds.   The moment you move a kid up an age bracket now you enter safety issues (and the liability risks therein) of him playing against kids that could be upwards of three years older than him.  Pitches come faster, ball comes off the bat faster, and other kids are bigger.  The kid, no matter how talented, may not be ready for that.  Not saying it's not possible, but nobody thinks about that stuff when they're telling someone else to move their kid to another team - they just want that kid away from their kid.  And no parent should be forced to put their kid in a level where his safety is at risk.

As well, there's plenty of debate, and evidence, that it could be better for a kid to excel at one level than struggle at another.  In the short term anyway.  

The other issue  is, believe it or not, related to age appropriate fraternization.  My 13 year old daughter played up in tournaments with/against girls who were 16/17 years old.   Where she was often sitting on the bench with girls who drove themselves to the games, and are telling the other girls on the bench what they did to their boyfriends the night before.   The swearing ratio tends to go up with the higher ages as well.  Some kids may or may not be able to handle it.  And some parents may not want their kid growing up that quickly.   

Disagree. I think our guest Tony makes a valid point. If he's dominating to the point where he needs to be walked every time he gets up, he has no more developing to do at the that level. We're not talking about a 12 year old moving up and  playing on an 18u travel team here. If the kid's playing 12u little league and dominating, put him on a 12u 50/70 team. Find a travel team where he can develop. Playing against kids he's so much better than in a town rec league serves no good purpose for anyone.

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31 minutes ago, Richvee said:

Disagree. I think our guest Tony makes a valid point. If he's dominating to the point where he needs to be walked every time he gets up, he has no more developing to do at the that level. We're not talking about a 12 year old moving up and  playing on an 18u travel team here. If the kid's playing 12u little league and dominating, put him on a 12u 50/70 team. Find a travel team where he can develop. Playing against kids he's so much better than in a town rec league serves no good purpose for anyone.

And I stand by my original statement.  It's not as simple as it sounds.

It's always easy to tell someone else where to send THEIR kid.   It's not always easy when it's your kid.   Whether it's sending them up an age category, or two, to find matching talent, if they're not physically ready to play at that speed.  Or trying to find a travel team that is within a hundred miles of where you live, or only finding a travel team that isn't looking for more players this season, or simply doesn't want your kid for any number of reasons that have nothing to do with baseball talent.   Or moving your talented community level kid to a club team now looking for thousands of dollars you don't have.  Or asking for a level of time commitment you, or your kid, can't provide.   When you were just looking to get your kid off the PS4 and start being active.

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11 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

 

And I stand by my original statement.  It's not as simple as it sounds.

It's always easy to tell someone else where to send THEIR kid.   It's not always easy when it's your kid.   Whether it's sending them up an age category, or two, to find matching talent, if they're not physically ready to play at that speed. 

Then he's NOT ready to jump a level and not getting walked intentionally because he's so good at his current level.

Or trying to find a travel team that is within a hundred miles of where you live, or only finding a travel team that isn't looking for more players this season, or simply doesn't want your kid for any number of reasons that have nothing to do with baseball talent.   Or moving your talented community level kid to a club team now looking for thousands of dollars you don't have.  Or asking for a level of time commitment you, or your kid, can't provide.   When you were just looking to get your kid off the PS4 and start being active.

If, for some reason, all the above is true, then don't complain about the kid getting walked all the timein local rec ball. Deal with the IBB's, and "develop" you kid's skills by bringing  your kid to the batting cage, or the local field and pitch to him when you have the time.

 

Bottom line..Under no circumstances should league rules be changed to accommodate an individual. Find your own solution. 

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13 hours ago, Richvee said:

Bottom line..Under no circumstances should league rules be changed to accommodate an individual. Find your own solution. 

Don't put this on me.  Read my previous posts on this.  Not only do I advocate against limiting IBB's, I provide suggestions on how to deal with it.   This kid is getting walked because his coach isn't doing his job.   He lucked into a superstar, and he's either not willing, or able, to teach his other kids to hit...and/or he doesn't understand how to strategically or tactically build his lineup to either benefit from walks, or discourage other teams from doing it.

Although his parents may indeed be frustrated that their kid is always walking ("why are we paying for this?") I highly doubt the motivation of the OP is from that kid's concerned parent - "player development" is the fallacious front.  It's more in line with either a coach, or another parent, who's frustrated that their team isn't winning more because other teams are avoiding their superstar.

I'm simply saying that dismissively telling a parent to put their kid on a better team isn't always a feasible solution.   I don't know why you think I can't reconcile those two opinions.

For the record - I was one of those parents.   Luckily my kid wasn't being intentionally walked.  But she was indeed bored.  Bored with playing with kids who didn't care.  And bored with the competition (or lack thereof).  Her last season  of community ball she started off the season with reaching base the first 25 times she went to the plate.  This was only weeks after being cut by the only club/travel team within 100 miles.  We put her up TWO age levels, playing with and against girls five years older than her.   Some days she held her own...other days she saw what good pitching really looked like.  But it wasn't fun.   She almost left the game, but we lucked into a new club/travel team, and for the next five years she got to terrorize the first team that cut her.   But a lot of things outside our control had to fall into place to make that opportunity appear.   Literally speaking...a solitary email was the difference between quitting ball, and six seasons of medals, trophies, individual awards and four trips to National Championships.

Eventually, the kid in the OP will get bored.  And if he wants more his parents will look for options...and either it will work, or he'll quit.  But it likely won't be easy.

13 hours ago, Richvee said:

Then he's NOT ready to jump a level and not getting walked intentionally because he's so good at his current level.

On this note.  I have coached kids, and coached against kids, who are dynamite when facing mediocre/subpar pitching, and once they get to a certain speed/quality, they're useless (without even changing age levels - just a matter of what pitcher they see on any given night)....they hit .600 against one set of pitchers, and .072 against another.   I have the GameChanger stats to show it.   Most kids' OBP gradually declines as they face better pitching.  Some fall off a cliff.   It's not only conceivable, but I've seen cases of kids who are fantastic/dominant at one age, and then jump an age category and can't handle the faster pitching (even though it's not necessarily "better"...just faster), and defensively they're not capable of handling the harder hits - at the lower level, they were so good offensively they never really worked on their defense...and, again, with much slower bat speed, balls don't come off the bat as fast.

It's also conceivable in this scenario that it's not a matter that he's THAT good - he may indeed still be one of the better players in the league - but it may be that the players around him are that bad - so just walk him and take your chances with everyone else in the lineup.

IMNSHO, it just sounds like the coach is being out-coached.

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11 hours ago, beerguy55 said:

It's always easy to tell someone else where to send THEIR kid.

For the record, this concept applies to any age and in pretty much any part of life, from politics & economics to sports & entertainment to religion & lifestyle.

Anybody can find an easy, obvious solution to any problem by considering only one point of view.

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31 minutes ago, CJK said:

For the record, this concept applies to any age and in pretty much any part of life, from politics & economics to sports & entertainment to religion & lifestyle.

Anybody can find an easy, obvious solution to any problem by considering only one point of view.

"It's easy to sit on a hot stove with somebody else's ass."

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On ‎4‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 10:29 AM, Guest Dobb said:

Since there is no ruling on the amount of intentional walks in LL is it appropriate for the league coaches to gather consensus and propose a limit? Best hitter in our league has been walked 5 times in 7 plate appearences as of game 2. What are we teaching these kids? Why not teach the kids to pitch around etc.? What’s next, throwing at 11/12 year olds to send a message?

While there have been several suggestions, solutions and reality issues mentioned, it's just that.  Reality.  It's part of the game.  That sarcastic side in me wants to tell you to go play soccer.  However, I think you have many solutions to choose from now.

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On 4/17/2018 at 10:22 AM, beerguy55 said:

Next?   That was done almost 40 years ago when I played LL.

 

Not only is it teaching kids strategy - it's teaching coaches to stop relying on their star players to overcome their coaching shortcomings.

Possible choices:

  • Make your best player the leadoff batter, to ensure he goes to first base with nobody out.
  • Put your second best hitter directly behind him in the lineup.
  • Put your third best hitter leadoff, with best hitter batting second.
  • Teach your other players to hit.

 

You can't score if you don't get on base.  If I had a player who was walked every time he went to the plate, for a 1.000 OBP, I'd take it in a heartbeat.

This is exactly what I would have said

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Had a friend use the IBB against the other team's best hitter. 2 bad pitches and a horrible try to throw him out at third, later, the kid scored. He said, next time he'll just let the kid hit. Fewer pitches. 

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