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I rarely actually do LL (its been quite a few years), and like most of you I watched some of the LLWS on TV. 

But don't you think for kids that age group the field is too small. How old are they (Jr or Sr league) before they hit a 90' base field? 

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It's been that size for that age group for about 80 years. How is it getting too small? Maybe get rid of the metal bats.

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I agree that 12's should be playing on something like a 70' diamond.  LL has the Intermediates division at 70' for 12 & 13 y/o's.  But because of the LLWS, 12's focus on the majors division @ 60'.  LL Juniors is 90' and for 14's (and younger if capable).  Keep in mind that kids hit their growth spurt at different times, and for the smaller kids a 90' diamond is huge.  That can be an issue for the late bloomers.

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Majors and Minors (12 years old and younger) play on the 60 foot diamond. 

Intermediate (11-13) play on a 70 foot diamond (a lot of leagues do not have Intermediate).

Juniors and Seniors (13 and older) play on a 90 foot diamond.  12s are allowed to "play up" in Juniors.

For the "average" 12 year old rec player 60 foot seems right, especially with the new USA bat standards.

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LLI change the age cut off a few years back, so no more 13s, 12 and younger only. If u noticed a lot less home runs this year with the first year of 12s max and the change in bats a year plus back. 

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I do believe they also changed the  normal distance for the outfield fence to be 225 feet from 200 feet. As a standard.  Still a lot of 200 foot fences out there though

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Cooperstown Dreams Park is 50-70 – 50 ft pitch, 70 ft basepaths. 21 of the 22 fields are identical, with 8 ft high outfield walls set at a uniform 200 ft distance.

Leading off and stealing (attempts) are allowed. During pool play, Balks are 1 warning (immediate Dead Ball, ala NFHS) per pitcher; thereafter, and then in Elimination Bracket play, Balks are called and enforced ala OBR.

There are no DH’s. CDP uses a unique continuous batting order / Extra Hitter hybrid. It works for them, and has spawned its use in other local youth leagues.

There is no pitch count.

No wooden bats (broken bats are a hazard); no big-barreled bats; no altered bats. Anything else is allowed.

Little League fields are much too small.

It is my “professional” opinion that there should be 2 distances for baseball: 50’-70’ and 60’6”-90’, and that’s it. 12U is the cut-off. If a 10 year old wants to “play up”, then let him, he’s either gotta sink or swim. 

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14 hours ago, ousafe said:

Keep in mind that kids hit their growth spurt at different times, and for the smaller kids a 90' diamond is huge.  That can be an issue for the late bloomers.

There is part of the problem, but also one of the beauties of baseball.

Problem:  There are  4'0"  and smaller 12 y/o who weigh 70 lbs and there are 12 y/o my size. 

Beauty: Baseball unlike other major sports isn't as dependent on size; you have small superstars like Jose Altuve, and virtual giants like Aaron Judge. Both can be equally successful.  


Image result for jose altuve and aaron judge photo

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Way too many of you are basing your comments on what you see in the LLWS. These are the a top players in the top leagues. The average LL player would be totally lost on larger fields.

 

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5 minutes ago, Rich Ives said:

Way too many of you are basing your comments on what you see in the LLWS. These are the a top players in the top leagues. The average LL player would be totally lost on larger fields.

 

Our LL program is mostly successfully using Intermediate (70' bases) as an 11-12 program.  But it's a big urban county (two league charters, and big leagues at that) with a lot of kids, and we can put 8 teams out there while still keeping some age 11s at Majors (60').  I think 70' could work a lot of places, but possibly not the smaller leagues that field 2 Majors teams per year. 

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We should never use what we see on TV every year to regulate the what the local leagues do during the regular season. But too often Williamsport does just that. 

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Little League was designed to grow with the kids as they grew.  The problem is that design was made decades ago and does not reflect the development of the youth athlete today.

Like @Rich Ives said, the normal kid works just fine in the LL design.  It is the “upper echelons” that are well past LL’s design.  Heck, even the average “competitive” player has probably been pushed past the LL constraints.

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2 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:

The problem is that design was made decades ago and does not reflect the development of the youth athlete today.

No, the problem is that the “youth athlete (of) today” has been coddled, bubble-wrapped, and either been given a band-aid for every boo-boo or a ribbon or trophy for every doo-doo. Kids spend far more time on console games than they do playing actual physical games.

I’m currently 44. How did my generation (and the ones before mine) learn how to hit a ball? Because we were sent out of the house at the crack of dawn, told to go find something to do or else there’d be chores to do. We would meet up at the local baseball / softball / kickball diamond, throw down cardboard pieces as bases (if bags weren’t already there), and just make teams. We’d have anybody or everybody pitch, we’d have a variety of ages from 6-7 thru 12, and one – maybe two – bats for us to use. There weren’t any pitch counts, and we didn’t even really keep specific scoring. 

If we got enough kids together, we made a neighborhood team. Again, we might have 3 12 year olds, an 11 year old, 4 10 year olds, and Matt’s little 9 year old brother made 9, so we’d have a team. A league might be formed, and we’d work out something where we’d play teams from other suburbs. We wore t-shirts with numbers heat-transferred on the back, and maybe have 2 or 3 bats for the entire team to use. Again, there weren’t pitch counts, and Joey would pitch until his arm fell off (for the day) or he couldn’t find a strike if it bit him in the butt and wouldn’t let go.

This was what Little League was all about.

But then, something changed in society. In short, no one wanted to “feel bad” about losing. As soon as we couldn’t accept losing, then we had to go and make everything “Fair” and “Equal”. Could it be that this team is losing because it has more 11 year olds than 12 year olds? Then the 11 year olds should have their own team, and the 12’s should be on their own separate team. 10 year olds can’t run as fast to 1B, so they should only have to run 60 feet, not 70 feet. Why is little Liam giving up so many hits? Is his arm tired? Well, he should only throw 40 pitches then. But big Brian is dominating the other teams he’s pitching against? Oh, we can’t have that! We have to be fair! So, we’ll limit him to 40 pitches too!

Kids can’t swing a “normal” bat and get hits? Aw... well, let’s make for them special bats that are lighter than a paper towel tube, but are stronger than a tungsten rod so it really creams a ball! Oh wait, those are really expensive, and kinda dangerous, so let’s make them “drop 3’s”... no, wait, “drop 5’s”... wait wait, the little kids need “drop 8’s”.

Lemme tell ya, I see more joy in the pickup games of stickball and waffle ball, played by the little siblings (boys and girls) on the grass between fields, than I do amongst their brothers playing a “Little League” or tournament ball game within the confines of a very sterile baseball field. We are on the verge of regulating the game to death.

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4 hours ago, MadMax said:

No, the problem is that the “youth athlete (of) today” has been coddled, bubble-wrapped, and either been given a band-aid for every boo-boo or a ribbon or trophy for every doo-doo. Kids spend far more time on console games than they do playing actual physical games.

I’m currently 44. How did my generation (and the ones before mine) learn how to hit a ball? Because we were sent out of the house at the crack of dawn, told to go find something to do or else there’d be chores to do. We would meet up at the local baseball / softball / kickball diamond, throw down cardboard pieces as bases (if bags weren’t already there), and just make teams. We’d have anybody or everybody pitch, we’d have a variety of ages from 6-7 thru 12, and one – maybe two – bats for us to use. There weren’t any pitch counts, and we didn’t even really keep specific scoring. 

If we got enough kids together, we made a neighborhood team. Again, we might have 3 12 year olds, an 11 year old, 4 10 year olds, and Matt’s little 9 year old brother made 9, so we’d have a team. A league might be formed, and we’d work out something where we’d play teams from other suburbs. We wore t-shirts with numbers heat-transferred on the back, and maybe have 2 or 3 bats for the entire team to use. Again, there weren’t pitch counts, and Joey would pitch until his arm fell off (for the day) or he couldn’t find a strike if it bit him in the butt and wouldn’t let go.

This was what Little League was all about.

But then, something changed in society. In short, no one wanted to “feel bad” about losing. As soon as we couldn’t accept losing, then we had to go and make everything “Fair” and “Equal”. Could it be that this team is losing because it has more 11 year olds than 12 year olds? Then the 11 year olds should have their own team, and the 12’s should be on their own separate team. 10 year olds can’t run as fast to 1B, so they should only have to run 60 feet, not 70 feet. Why is little Liam giving up so many hits? Is his arm tired? Well, he should only throw 40 pitches then. But big Brian is dominating the other teams he’s pitching against? Oh, we can’t have that! We have to be fair! So, we’ll limit him to 40 pitches too!

Kids can’t swing a “normal” bat and get hits? Aw... well, let’s make for them special bats that are lighter than a paper towel tube, but are stronger than a tungsten rod so it really creams a ball! Oh wait, those are really expensive, and kinda dangerous, so let’s make them “drop 3’s”... no, wait, “drop 5’s”... wait wait, the little kids need “drop 8’s”.

Lemme tell ya, I see more joy in the pickup games of stickball and waffle ball, played by the little siblings (boys and girls) on the grass between fields, than I do amongst their brothers playing a “Little League” or tournament ball game within the confines of a very sterile baseball field. We are on the verge of regulating the game to death.

The field at WP didn't feel small at all.  The 13-year-olds are gone, the bats are dead, and the number of HRs hit during the week were minimal.  The play was nowhere near at the level I saw at my regional in 2012 where there were mostly 13-year-olds.

I know that many of you think it's not real baseball if they aren't leading and stealing and turning a walk into a triple in league play, but I think the closed bases are one of the best aspects of LL.  It eliminates the farce open bases would be in all but the best games.  The thing I absolutely hate most about umpiring baseball is holding runners on and pickoff throws to first base.  My God, if anything can put a game to sleep, it's that crap.

LL on the 60' diamond has the pace of fastpitch.  Even with the LONG inning breaks, my second plate at the series was done in 1:40.

I do not understand anyone who would argue pitch counts in 2019.  That ship has sailed.  That's the way it is in every level of baseball now, and rightfully so.  Coaches and parents can't be counted on to protect their own kids, so the groups like LL and the NFHS and others have to do it for them.  And that forces more kids to pitch in games where they wouldn't without pitch counts.  Win, win.

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5 hours ago, MadMax said:

No, the problem is that the “youth athlete (of) today” has been coddled, bubble-wrapped, and either been given a band-aid for every boo-boo or a ribbon or trophy for every doo-doo. Kids spend far more time on console games than they do playing actual physical games.

I’m currently 44. How did my generation (and the ones before mine) learn how to hit a ball? Because we were sent out of the house at the crack of dawn, told to go find something to do or else there’d be chores to do. We would meet up at the local baseball / softball / kickball diamond, throw down cardboard pieces as bases (if bags weren’t already there), and just make teams. We’d have anybody or everybody pitch, we’d have a variety of ages from 6-7 thru 12, and one – maybe two – bats for us to use. There weren’t any pitch counts, and we didn’t even really keep specific scoring. 

If we got enough kids together, we made a neighborhood team. Again, we might have 3 12 year olds, an 11 year old, 4 10 year olds, and Matt’s little 9 year old brother made 9, so we’d have a team. A league might be formed, and we’d work out something where we’d play teams from other suburbs. We wore t-shirts with numbers heat-transferred on the back, and maybe have 2 or 3 bats for the entire team to use. Again, there weren’t pitch counts, and Joey would pitch until his arm fell off (for the day) or he couldn’t find a strike if it bit him in the butt and wouldn’t let go.

This was what Little League was all about.

But then, something changed in society. In short, no one wanted to “feel bad” about losing. As soon as we couldn’t accept losing, then we had to go and make everything “Fair” and “Equal”. Could it be that this team is losing because it has more 11 year olds than 12 year olds? Then the 11 year olds should have their own team, and the 12’s should be on their own separate team. 10 year olds can’t run as fast to 1B, so they should only have to run 60 feet, not 70 feet. Why is little Liam giving up so many hits? Is his arm tired? Well, he should only throw 40 pitches then. But big Brian is dominating the other teams he’s pitching against? Oh, we can’t have that! We have to be fair! So, we’ll limit him to 40 pitches too!

Kids can’t swing a “normal” bat and get hits? Aw... well, let’s make for them special bats that are lighter than a paper towel tube, but are stronger than a tungsten rod so it really creams a ball! Oh wait, those are really expensive, and kinda dangerous, so let’s make them “drop 3’s”... no, wait, “drop 5’s”... wait wait, the little kids need “drop 8’s”.

Lemme tell ya, I see more joy in the pickup games of stickball and waffle ball, played by the little siblings (boys and girls) on the grass between fields, than I do amongst their brothers playing a “Little League” or tournament ball game within the confines of a very sterile baseball field. We are on the verge of regulating the game to death.

I started coaching LL in 1974 - before you were born if my calculator is correct.

 I can sum up your comments easily.

You are not getting it.

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Max, I’m the same age and have many of the same memories.  They will remain fond memories because the world has changed, not just the game.  While I agree on some of your points about coddling, I think some of it is just evolution (i.e., the game’s “technology”).  I’m not saying it is for the better though!

A couple of points from personal experience when I ran our rec league (softball and co-Ed t-ball)  for almost a decade ...

”A trophy for every one” — When I inherited the league, we had an end of year tournament for each age group.  Trophies were awarded to 1st and 2nd place.  Every player received a medal to commemorate the season.  The cost of the medals kept going up, so we switched to a trophy to commemorate the season as well.  I had asked coaches and parents about some other gift (like an engraved mini bat or a t-shirt), but the overwhelming response was the kids liked the trophies.  The trophies were cheaper so we stuck with it. The only people who complained were coaches who won the tournament.  They didn’t like that everybody got a small trophy when they got a big trophy.  My advice: don’t be that guy.  A shiny piece of plastic is just that.  Why do you care if some kid has a keepsake?  You still got your award.

 

Pitch counts — During my tenure we did implement pitching limitations.  We did this because coaches were not teaching girls to pitch.  They were recruiting pitchers and pitching them the entire season.  We also saw our school team riding one pitcher all season every season.  So we implemented pitching limits (3 innings per game) and provided a pre-season pitching clinic to get girls started into pitching.  The limits were reactionary, unfortunately.  Worse, they were reactionary to the coaches’ behaviors in not giving kids a chance.

 

Now, both of my tales are from a REC league.  So the big takeaway ... know your program.  Whether it is a league, an organization, or just a team, know your program.  Do what your program should be doing.  Our rec League was a place to introduce players to the game and provide every kid an opportunity to be involved in a healthy summer activity.  We weren’t building champions and winning dynasties.  When we had issues, it was with people who had different goals/motives trying to co-opt our program.

 

 

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Its funny, But looking at this it got me thinking about something I saw during District playoffs.

Know your positioning.

12 year olds I was watching I saw this,  2 man crew, runner on 2nd the BU was positioning himself inside on the grass, inside the base.  BIG NO NO,  he should have been in B or C I would have been in C myself to make the run to 3rd if the runner took off and also better position for the throw back

Where he was he could not see if the runner was leaving the bag early Sure the PU could but that's not his job at that point.. anyway.. just thoughts to add about the size of the diamond  Don't forget what size you are on and where you should be.

 

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A lot of good points in here.

The game is evolving - at all levels so LL is evolving too. 

On 9/1/2019 at 11:11 PM, RichMSN said:

The thing I absolutely hate most about umpiring baseball is holding runners on and pickoff throws to first base.  My God, if anything can put a game to sleep, it's that crap.

I absolutely agree. The dicking around with on base runners is really irritating and in effect every single being a triple because 2 pitches later he'll be on third, let's just put him there to begin with and save everybody the time and heartache. This also eliminates the balks. I worked plenty of PONY Bronco games (PONY is bigger than LL around here, but they're 12 y/o with open bases and balks) but the coaches wanting a balk for every little thing. At that age group I could legitimately call a balk on nearly pitch with runners aboard. 

Pitch count. I use to believe that this was bunk, but now I'm in favor of it. As my umpiring abilities improved over the years I could see and I worked higher level games. I could see and observe pitchers who had better mechanics than others. Even if they were equally effective in hitting the zone. These poor mechanics can cause injuries in the long run. Little Johnny (often the coach's son) is pitching away but the mechanics are poor and next thing you know 12-14 y/o Johnny is having Tommy John surgery. At the youth levels they are at the mercy of well intentioned coaches who may not be the best instructors about things like pitching mechanics. So limiting their pitching is probably a good thing. And don't get me started about the way some kids torque their elbows trying to throw a curveball. 

Then the next thing is these kids playing baseball all year round. One thing l Liked about the LLWS that I saw on TV they would talk about the other sports the kids were involved in. I think this makes players better all around athletes. Growing up I started playing baseball in the spring (until I realized I was at the bottom tier for natural baseball talent then I went to soccer) then football in the fall , wrestling in the winter. I really think it's important for kids to do other sports. I can't imagine "loving" baseball after playing all year around for so many years.

 

 

 

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On 9/1/2019 at 6:06 PM, MadMax said:

No, the problem is that the “youth athlete (of) today” has been coddled, bubble-wrapped, and either been given a band-aid for every boo-boo or a ribbon or trophy for every doo-doo. Kids spend far more time on console games than they do playing actual physical games.

[Cut for brevity.]

I'm not sure how I feel about a lot of this debate.  I've already umpired for about three times longer than I ever played the game, and didn't live around enough kids for the "sandlot" variety.  So I probably don't have the same perspective on this as other people.

What struck ME the most about this post.....    Max (or do I use "Mad" instead?), I'm a decade OLDER than you, and yet that was about the most get-off-my-lawny post I've read in some time.  Arguably heading towards "yelling at clouds."  Which surprises me a little, because - and this is on me, sure - I have a certain "image" of everyone on here, and that's not fitting the M-O.  Maybe it's your libertine fashion choices that cloud my judgment - I'll wear that.  :lol:

Let's face it, guys:  times change, and will keep changing.  The "go away 'til dinner" life disappear a long time ago.  Between people doing horrible things to kids, and the paving of America (looking at YOU, San Antonio and Bexar County!), the unattended gang of kids just playing won't happen.  So it's gonna be organized ball.  And yeah, people don't like to lose, and parents don't want their kids to 'lose.'  It is, as they say, what it is.  The country and the planet will continue on - or, at least, it will continue on until we kill it off ourselves, but "everyone gets a trophy" AIN'T gonna be the murder weapon of human life.

Is that overly philosophic, or otherwise over-thinking it?  Yeah, probably.  But with a hurricane bearing down towards my future retirement home - where we just spent 8-9 months and a BIG bag of cash repairing our house from Florence LAST September - I could use something to keep from refreshing the Weather Channel radar page every 15 seconds or so.

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Wow, @HokieUmp just took me back to my elementary school days............

Steel slides that melted your skin as you slid down them on hot days...........

Swing sets that were 15-20ft high and kids would see how high they could swing before the slack of the chains snapped them backwards and sometimes falling to the macadam playground surface.

Monkey bar play sets about 6 feet off of the (same macadam surface) ground.

All of which, helped to shape a generation.  You either learned:

a) I need to make sure I concentrate and get good at (insert playground activity) so it doesn't hurt........or

b) don't do that. 

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7 minutes ago, Aging_Arbiter said:

Wow, @HokieUmp just took me back to my elementary school days............

Steel slides that melted your skin as you slid down them on hot days...........

Swing sets that were 15-20ft high and kids would see how high they could swing before the slack of the chains snapped them backwards and sometimes falling to the macadam playground surface.

Monkey bar play sets about 6 feet off of the (same macadam surface) ground.

All of which, helped to shape a generation.  You either learned:

a) I need to make sure I concentrate and get good at (insert playground activity) so it doesn't hurt........or

b) don't do that. 

survivour.jpg.67b7095b94ec754ee4364c8a31e90f6a.jpg

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I was going to write a huge diatribe about how salaries of today's sports players led to what we know as organized sports today, but I decided against it.

Suffice to say, $30+ million a year salaries to play a game is what hurt youth sports.

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41 minutes ago, yawetag said:

I was going to write a huge diatribe about how salaries of today's sports players led to what we know as organized sports today, but I decided against it.

Suffice to say, $30+ million a year salaries to play a game is what hurt youth sports.

Good point. I never put two and two together in that regard. But there's absolutely a correlation there.  

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Who is getting paid $30 million a year to play youth sports!?  Best I ever got was an ice cream treat!  I knew I grew up on the wrong side of the tracks.  (Tracks with no crossing gates/arms, I may add.). :P

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