Baseball Player Magazine Hosts MLB Hit, Pitch, & Run Competition

12/15/2013, 1:15pm EST
By Brandon Kurz, 516.802.7158, brandon@baseballplayermagazine.com

>>>  REGISTER TODAY <<<

MORE INFORMATION

Advertisements

The Proliferation of Elite Youth Baseball

11/09/2013, 5:45pm EST
By Jeff Noreman

Just a decade ago, the landscape of elite youth baseball was very different than it is today. In the summer in every area of the country there were perhaps a handful of elite teams. Depending where you live, these might be called premiere, prospect, travel, elite, select, all-star, tournament, or showcase teams. If a ballplayer earned a spot on those teams, especially in their high school years, it was an accomplishment.

For many reasons, the market has changed. More young players wanted to have the experience of playing baseball through the summer. If you love baseball, then why not spend more days enjoying it? Many, many teams and organizations sprouted up to fill this demand. This is a double-edged sword. Now more ballplayers can enjoy playing more ballgames over a longer season than their local league provided. However, obviously with so many teams for each family to choose from for their ballplayer, the level of talent has generally become diluted for every team, organization, and league in the country.

As an example, from 2005 through 2008, a team called the Houston Banditos Black (their 10U team which eventually aged into 13U) won an incredible 155 games in a row. This was not accomplished by intentionally playing inferior competition. This was a carefully selected, frequently-practiced and well-coached team that won every local, state, regional, and national tournament they played for nearly three years. This record is considered to be the longest winning streak of any sports team at any level, and brought much attention to their organization. This brought inquiries from the families of youth players of every age, so they began a 15U-18U showcase program in 2008. This growth has continued to accommodate the demand of parents to have their son be a Bandito. As of September of 2013, there are 24 Banditos teams headquartered in Houston and Austin, Texas.

“I probably saw a difference around 2003 or 2004,” explained Craig Everett, Head Baseball Coach at Concordia College in Bronxville, New York. “I saw more people wanting to be in showcases and showcase tournaments than players or teams actually trying to win.

“When I first started coaching summer baseball, it was team oriented. Now it seems to be all about the individual,” continued Everett. “If a player or their family have a different opinion of what the organization or team philosophy is, I‘ve seen many dads start their own teams. Also, I’ve seen coaches post an innings chart at the beginning of the weekend, making sure that kids have equal playing time. But I believe that its hard to compete that way.”

Everett’s experience is fairly typical for a college coach. Like many of his peers, he feels that the talent is spread so thin, it’s almost impossible to see all of the kids he might want to see.

“I feel like its so diluted now,” stated Rob Savarese, pitching coach at Briarcliffe College in Bethpage, New York. “The overall quality of baseball is down, especially in respect to the players knowledge of the game. I mean knowing the situations of the game. The mechanics have gotten better, but the knowledge is not nearly as good as it used to be.”

Bruce Lambin brought travel/select baseball to Texas. In 1984, his team of twelve-year olds won the first Continental Amateur Baseball Association World Series, first national tournament for independent teams.

“Since then, travel baseball became a big money maker,” explained Lambin. “The number of teams exploded and they diluted the quality of the players on the teams. I started the Lone Star Baseball Club, the first high school-aged travel team in Houston over two decades ago. Back then, all my players went on to play college or pro or both. But a few years ago, because there were so many teams (for these players to choose from) I felt that the talent on every team was diluted. There were maybe three potential D3 players on our team. I walked away.”

Lambin stressed that learning the game and practicing and playing the game will determine a player’s ultimate level of success, rather than the team whose uniform he wears.

“There are no shortage of organizations/teams who will take your money with the delusion that the fact that because you are a Bandito or a Tornado that you are good and will get to play at the next level,” said Lambin. “They just want your money.”

Join Baseball Player Magazine & Children’s Sports Connection And Donate Equipment

11/09/2013, 5:15pm EST
By Baseball Player Magazine

The Baseball Player Magazine Training and Media Center has joined with Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano to support a sports equipment drive for Children’s Sport Connection.

BPM will host an equipment sorting and distribution day on Saturday, November 16, 2013 at their Jericho, New York baseball and softball facility. Everyone is invited to bring gently used or new golf clubs, baseball mitts, tennis racquets, skates, balls – pretty much any sports-related item. With the help of a local baseball organization, the Long Island Whalers and other volunteers who will be working at the sorting and distribution event, many children in need will enjoy the opportunity to play sports.

The donated equipment distributed will benefit Adults and Children with Learning & Developmental Disabilities, Inc. ACLD has over 20 group homes in Nassau County as well as a separate youth program for those with developmental and learning disabilities. The drive will also benefit children from other various programs throughout Nassau County.

The mission of Children’s Sport Connection is to provide financial assistance to those children from homes in the midst of a family crisis. They believe these children can benefit emotionally if they are enabled to maintain an active involvement in organized sports. Many studies have shown that such activity is the hallmark of a healthier lifestyle benefiting children at each age level. Families in crisis often find it difficult to devote their precious time and finances to athletic programs. Their slogan is “Helping kids stay in touch during tough times.” For more info visit www.cscny.org

Baseball Player Magazine Training and Media Center is a baseball and softball training center featuring 15,000 square feet of training area for fielding, hitting, pitching, strength and speed training. Production of their Baseball Player Magazine also takes place at the facility. Visit them at 200 Robbins Lane, Jericho, New York. For more info, please visit www.baseballplayermagazine.com.

Behind the scenes at Little League Baseball

09/02/2013, 2:00am EDT
By Jeff Noreman (photos and video by Jeff Noreman)
East Newton Little League

A player from East Newton Little League touches home after hitting a home run.

If you are a youth baseball fan, you’ve likely seen a Little League World Series Tournament game over the last few weeks. Maybe you’ve seen a local game in person, maybe you’ve seen some games on television. Even with competition from other sports and other youth baseball leagues, Little League is still the largest youth sports organization in the world.

In 2013, Little League International, as it is officially named, had over 2.4 million participants in over 7,000 leagues in more than 80 countries. Every July and August, each of the divisions begin a tournament which leads to a championship series at a different site in the United States. The oldest and most famous of these is the Little League Baseball World Series, which is held near the organization’s headquarters in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

According to the Little League Media Guide, about 6,500 of these teams are eliminated in the first three weeks of play. About 45,000 games are played in eight divisions leading up to the various World Series tournaments. More than 16,000 of those games are played in the Little League (a.k.a. Majors) division, for ballplayers 11 to 13 years of age. That’s the equivalent of more than six Major League baseball seasons.

The step before Williamsport is the Regional Tournaments. Last week, Coach Bill and I took a trip to Little League Baseball’s Eastern Regional Headquarter in Bristol, Connecticut. The Eastern Region is host to the New England and the Mid Atlantic Regional Tournaments. The six states of the New England Region (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island) and Mid Atlantic (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and District of Columbia) battled out for about ten days, before Westport, Connecticut and Newark, Delaware won their respective championships and punched their tickets to the Little League World Series.

Assistant Regional Director Patrick Holden was kind enough to give us a look behind the scenes and personally tell us (and you) some of what makes the Little League experience so special to the ballplayers, their families, the volunteers, and the spectators. Let’s take a look.