While Youth Baseball Soars, Participation In Little League Is Fading

Yappi

Go Buckeyes
For Chris Chavous, he grew up with a passion for baseball similar to many across the world.

As a former Little League player, and now as the president of Warner Robins American Little League in Warner Robins, Ga., is eagerly tuning in to the 2019 Little League World Series to see youth players who also have that same passion.

But while millions of people have been tuning in to watch these 10-to-12-year-old kids, that hasn’t led to higher Little League registration numbers – and Chavous is unsure why.
 

thavoice

Well-known member
In the 80 s our town had 8 LL teams. It waned a little in he early 2000s but it's still at 8. We have moved up from 2to 3 pony league teams

Is this story about the little league in general or those who participate in the sancioned events? I could see that drop easiky.

In a time where parents are bamboozled into thinking they need to spends thosands o dollars and travel the country for games hurts local little leagues
 

Yappi

Go Buckeyes
Little League sanctioned leagues. Definitely losing too many kids to travel ball. Some programs are folding. Others are just struggling along.

It really is crazy because the Little League World Series is as popular as ever. Still the greatest youth sports event IMHO.
 
Speaking as someone who has coached and umpired in the National Little League system for decades, it's a farce. Very simply, over-regulation, all for the simple "honor" of wearing their "patch." The red tape is never ending. At the local level, they can't blow their nose without calling the District head, and he can't adjust his pants without calling Indianapolis (Great Lakes Regional HQ).

It's not "crazy." Small towns (pick any District 7 team), can't compete, by and large, with the Hamilton's (West Side), New Albany's, or Tallmadge types. Most places are slowly realizing that the extreme costs for competing for a watered down "District" or "State" title are simply NOT worth it. 3 teams in the "State" tourney for 10U(?) softball 1 year when I umpired. Getting a call to umpire in the 11U STATE tournament THIS Summer, having not done a game ALL YEAR!?!

The event at Williamsport is 1st CLASS! MORE popular than EVER. I've been, and I tell EVERYONE that it's a bucket lister, even for a marginal baseball fan. But ESPN (even the guy in the link left-handedly mentioned this) saw an event that they could make BIG BANK on, and ran with it. THAT is why the event is so popular, ESPN's promotion of it, in the name of making a bunch of coin. And I watch as much of it, as I can.
 

Omar

Well-known member
I know it’s nearly impossible to predict at this age, but that Rousseau kid from Louisiana can flat out rake it. He hit like .750 for the series, could see him being a top HS prospect in 5 yrs
 

fortfan

Active member
I don't think there are any Little League sanctioned leagues anywhere close to us. St. Marys may have had a sanctioned team years ago-but not now. The rules and regulations keep many leagues away from sanctioning.
 

tcgobucks

Active member
Gotta agree with Knite Flyer.....even if you don't think it's "real baseball" or think the field is too small or whatever excuses people have for knocking it, if you're a baseball fan you need to get to Williamsport at least once. It's an amazing experience.
 

Hitnrun

Member
I lived in Cooperstown in the early sixties, and was fortunate as a young kid (7-10) to be able to play LL baseball there. LL baseball was in its hey day at that time, and nothing matched the excitement of being able to play on those fields we see today on ESPN. Everything was first class from the uniforms to the facilities. Eventually as the son of a B.F. Goodrich dad, family got transferred to Akron, & like most young baby boomers, settled in one of many young & growing Akron suburbs. Culture shock set in when it became time to sign up for the local baseball league. Practices & games played literally on farm fields converted to ball fields, lucky to have a T shirt w/a sponsors name on back. Bought your own pants, socks, etc. Hot Stove baseball was the league of preference, playing "real" baseball as I was often told. Longer bases, lead offs, stealing bases, etc. The primo Hot Stove facilities at the time were found in North Hill, at Sammis & Patterson parks. Today as an adult, I often drive by old Sammis Park on route 8, & see where it has been transformed into a community garden. As I recall, LL baseball was just never overly popular in our area. Tallmadge always had a great program, and there was a local chapter in Cuyahoga Falls, but the Hot Stove state tournament in Alliance, Ohio was the big prize. Good times, great memories as I now reflect on the differences between my baseball youth and that of my son. As kids we often gathered at the local park during the week, played pick up games, minus adult coaching, umpires, or supervision. It was a summer long ritual. When I showed my now college baseball son the park where we played, he just couldn't comprehend how kids could actually play ball w/out some type of adult supervision. He grew up in the travel, showcase, weekend tournament world baseball has become today. Can't imagine my parents in the day spending the thousands of dollars on my baseball youth and development as we have for our son today. Baseball was a recreational pursuit then, not a thinly disguised career opportunity for kids to utilize as a tool to get a college scholarship. It appears like so many other things from our youth, those great baseball days are gone. But what remains is the love of the game I was able to share & pass down to my son. A love for the game he continues to share today with his college team mates.
 

tcgobucks

Active member
I lived in Cooperstown in the early sixties, and was fortunate as a young kid (7-10) to be able to play LL baseball there. LL baseball was in its hey day at that time, and nothing matched the excitement of being able to play on those fields we see today on ESPN. Everything was first class from the uniforms to the facilities. Eventually as the son of a B.F. Goodrich dad, family got transferred to Akron, & like most young baby boomers, settled in one of many young & growing Akron suburbs. Culture shock set in when it became time to sign up for the local baseball league. Practices & games played literally on farm fields converted to ball fields, lucky to have a T shirt w/a sponsors name on back. Bought your own pants, socks, etc. Hot Stove baseball was the league of preference, playing "real" baseball as I was often told. Longer bases, lead offs, stealing bases, etc. The primo Hot Stove facilities at the time were found in North Hill, at Sammis & Patterson parks. Today as an adult, I often drive by old Sammis Park on route 8, & see where it has been transformed into a community garden. As I recall, LL baseball was just never overly popular in our area. Tallmadge always had a great program, and there was a local chapter in Cuyahoga Falls, but the Hot Stove state tournament in Alliance, Ohio was the big prize. Good times, great memories as I now reflect on the differences between my baseball youth and that of my son. As kids we often gathered at the local park during the week, played pick up games, minus adult coaching, umpires, or supervision. It was a summer long ritual. When I showed my now college baseball son the park where we played, he just couldn't comprehend how kids could actually play ball w/out some type of adult supervision. He grew up in the travel, showcase, weekend tournament world baseball has become today. Can't imagine my parents in the day spending the thousands of dollars on my baseball youth and development as we have for our son today. Baseball was a recreational pursuit then, not a thinly disguised career opportunity for kids to utilize as a tool to get a college scholarship. It appears like so many other things from our youth, those great baseball days are gone. But what remains is the love of the game I was able to share & pass down to my son. A love for the game he continues to share today with his college team mates.
You made it to the LLWS? That had to be amazing, though I'm guessing it wasn't quite the spectacle it is today lol
 

thePITman

Active member
Speaking as someone who has coached and umpired in the National Little League system for decades, it's a farce. Very simply, over-regulation, all for the simple "honor" of wearing their "patch." The red tape is never ending. At the local level, they can't blow their nose without calling the District head, and he can't adjust his pants without calling Indianapolis (Great Lakes Regional HQ).
This was my first though - I've heard more stories about teams being disqualified from Little League for really weird or unfair reasons that it seems like way too much work to even try, and that communities and/or travel teams are better off going to travel tournaments and other local tournaments than trying to jump through hoops for the rare chance of getting on TV.
 

yakyak

Well-known member
This was my first though - I've heard more stories about teams being disqualified from Little League for really weird or unfair reasons that it seems like way too much work to even try, and that communities and/or travel teams are better off going to travel tournaments and other local tournaments than trying to jump through hoops for the rare chance of getting on TV.
Sounds like the normal Parents ruin everything for the kids. Why not open up LLWC to any organization/affilation teams? Just provide proof that the teams player reside in the supported geographical region and the ages are correct. Make the LLWC the world series for all 12 years old teams. LLWC is making to much money right now to even care.
 

Yappi

Go Buckeyes
Sounds like the normal Parents ruin everything for the kids. Why not open up LLWC to any organization/affilation teams? Just provide proof that the teams player reside in the supported geographical region and the ages are correct. Make the LLWC the world series for all 12 years old teams. LLWC is making to much money right now to even care.
I don't think that will ever happen because the goal for Little League is to provide an opportunity for everyone to play. Having been apart of Little League as a youth and now a parent, they do a great job for their stated purpose. Travel ball coaches would never take the time to deal with the kid that never played before. The problem for Little League is so many people come into Little League looking at it as a farm system. They coach for a year or two. Think they know more than anyone else in the community. Then they leave with their kid and try to recruit the best players away from the league. That is what is killing Little League.

I was on the baseball side a few years ago and now the softball side. I prefer Little League over travel ball because, at least in my community, there isn't much difference between the competition. We regularly have kids going DI that played Little League as youth. We also have some of the better players get together on the weekends from our one community and compete with the "great" travel teams.

If rec ball could make a comeback, there would still be room for elite players to go play in their weekend tournaments. There are just too many average and below average players spending $1000s on travel ball that would be far better served playing in a well attended rec league.

Lastly, the two things that Little League has over travel ball are community based teams and a tournament format where winners advance and the losers season is done. The number of fans watching a Little League all star game can number in the 1000s. Travel ball was lucky to get two parents for every kid and the poor little sibling that was dragged along. The tournament format for Little League is the best in youth sports because everyone plays until they get beat out. There is no "next weekend" if they lose. There are no arguments in Little League about who was better because the best team moves on. In travel ball, "Team A" can say they were the best because they had 5 first place and 3 runner up trophies. "Team B" says they are the best because they had 3 first place trophies but their tournaments were harder. What makes the college basketball tournament so great is some of the same reasons that Little League's tournament is so great.
 

Yappi

Go Buckeyes
Little League does a great job at the regional and world series level. I got to see that first hand this year at the regionals in Indianapolis for 12U softball. The teams there were given two bats for the team (Easton Ghost) and a few goodies in a bag including a couple giftcards from the various sponsors. It was a first class operation and I assume it was paid for by all the sponsors. All games were covered on ESPN+.
 
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