Parents and Coaches,
On behalf of the La Porte Boys Baseball Association, and as your newly elected Head Commissioner, I would like to invite your son and daughter’s to participate in our 2016 Fall Baseball Season. We just recently concluded our 2016 Spring Season, and are currently gearing up for this year’s Fall Season. Just as in years past, Fall Ball is used as a stepping stone to prepare our players for their upcoming spring season. For our players that are transitioning to a new division, this allows them an opportunity to play baseball at a slightly slower pace, and focus on their craft. The Fall Season also provides players opportunities that they may not have had in the spring. We as a league understand that Fall Baseball runs concurrent with youth football, and we encourage all of our athletes to play sports, no matter what sport they choose, or how many they choose to play at a time. Providing children an opportunity to play organized sports encourages growth not only as a player, but also as a person.
This year the League has made some changes to our fall season, and I would like to take this opportunity to explain them to you here. A lot of your concerns cannot be fixed overnight, but we are slowly trying to make changes that will provide everyone involved with our program, to include our parents, coaches and players, a more enjoyable experience. With that said, let me start with the Shetland Division, as this will be the division that will be provided an opportunity that has never been seen before. The Shetland division will consist of 4 and 5 year olds. Over the years, we have received more complaints about the Fall Shetland Season, than any other division. As a League, we understand that the Shetland Players are the future of our program. These young boys and girls are participating in a sport for the first time, which so many of us love more than anything else. Though these players are young, and some may not remember their time on the T-Ball field, this is where children decide if they enjoy playing baseball or not. It is the responsibility of LPBBA to provide these players and parents an experience that they will not only enjoy, but an experience that brings them back to the ball fields year after year. In years past, LPBBA has had to combine the Shetland and Clydesdale Divisions during the fall season in order to fill teams. What this does is groups’ 6 year old players with 3 and 4 year old players. This not only provides an unfair advantage to the older players, but it provides a not so enjoyable experience for the first and second year Clydesdale Players. This year, we are providing the opportunity to our 6 year old players, which will allow them to play at a higher level. (This only includes players who will be 6 years of age by April 30, 2017)
If you as a parent feel that your child would benefit from playing with the age group above them, then you have the choice to allow them.
Your child would play with Shetland players that are transitioning from the Shetland Division to the Pinto Division this spring, and with players who just completed their first year in the Pinto Division. They would be facing a live pitch from a coach, but once they received two strikesduring an at bat, they would be provided an opportunity to hit from a tee. This is currently how the 6U Nations Baseball Program operates, and is a normal practice amongst other organizations around us. The distance between the bases on the pinto fields are the same distance as the Shetland fields. So the only drastic difference, would be that your child would have the opportunity to hit a live pitch, versus hitting from a tee, and they would be using a hard ball, instead of the soft shell ball they are using now. For those parents that don’t feel their child will succeed playing up, you are not required to make them. They can play with the younger players in the Shetland Division, which will consist of first year Shetland players along with second year Clydesdale players. When you register your child please specify which division you want them to play in for the fall season.
If you chose for them to play with the 7 and 8 years olds for the fall season, they will still return to finish their second season in the Shetland division in the spring. The six year old players will be evenly dispersed amongst the teams.
The mustang division will consist of 9, 10 and 11 year olds. So if your child just completed their second year of Mustang in the spring, then they will play the fall season in the mustang division, before transitioning to the bronco division in the spring. I have heard some complaints from parents that we are trying to hinder their child’s progress by holding them back in the fall. Let us not forget, that these players are still children, and are still learning how to face a ball being pitched by an opposing player and not a coach. It will only provide your child more room to grow and polish their skills for the spring. If your child is a pitcher, there is only a four foot difference between the mustang mound and the bronco mound. Adjustments can be made by the league to the pitching mounds if needed, to accommodate the pitchers that are moving up in the spring. The league is also looking into opening the bases up for the fall season, unlike the 2016 season where the bases were closed. (“Closed bases” means a player has to remain in contact with the base that he/she occupies, until the pitched ball reaches the front of the plate). This would allow the players moving up to the bronco division an opportunity to prepare themselves for stealing and leading off, and for the pitchers to perfect their pick off moves. This will also prepare the mustang players for the spring season, in the event the league votes to open the bases again for the mustang division.
The Bronco division will consist of 12, 13 and 14 year old players. The Bronco and Pony divisions have been combined in the past due to low participation rate amongst these two divisions during the fall seasons. NO 14 YEAR OLD PLAYERS WILL BE ALLOWED TO PITCH DURING THE FALL SEASON. The games will be played on the pony fields, and again adjustments can be made by the league to the pitching mounds if needed, to accommodate the pitchers that will be pitching in the bronco division in the spring. Last year we only had a handful of 14 year olds that registered for the fall season. Just as we did last year, these players will be evenly dispersed amongst the teams, so that no team has an advantage over the other.
Allow me to end with this. Baseball is merely a game, a sport that many of us have grown up playing or watching, and a sport that is like none other. A sport where you are held to a much higher standard. In my opinion, the game of baseball molds our youth into responsible, accountable, and respectful young men and women. Every year it seems that the sport becomes more and more competitive and less desirable for some children. We as parents and coaches are responsible for these children, and it is our duty to make sure that they are provided every opportunity to succeed not only on the playing field, but in society as well.
I want to thank each and every one of you that dedicate your time to these children, to include the parents that sacrifice your time and money, and also our coaches who try and provided these players with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed.
If you are interested in coaching a team this fall season, please register as a coach on the website www.lpbba.org.
Registration dates for the fall are as follows:
July 12 & 14 6pm-8pm
July 19 & 21 6pm-8pm
Registration Cost: $65.00 per player
Unless otherwise posted, registration will be held at the Pecan Park Baseball Fields inside of the maintenance building. This is where you signed up your child up to play this past spring.
The season will begin on August 27th and is scheduled to finish October 29th. As always, these games will be played on Saturdays at Pecan Park, and the season will conclude with a Post Season tournament, where we will award our Fall Season Champs.
ENJOY YOUR SUMMER, AND WE HOPE TO SEE YOU IN THE FALL!!
LPBBA Head Commissioner