By Kathy Reehl
My son has been playing baseball, first in the pony league, and then in Little League since t-ball.
This year he played on the Juniors A’s for his second year of Juniors. We started the season on fire and then we lost a player, leaving our team with only nine players.
After playing around 15 games, we were informed that one of our key players had been selected for a jazz band camp and would not be here to play in Tournament of Champions.
We then tried to get the player who quit, but he was unable to play as he wasn’t going to be in town, with a prior commitment. Our coaches exhausted every possibility to fill the 9th spot, but to our shock and disappointment were told that because of league rules were unable to fill the 9th spot with any unqualified TOC player.
I can’t tell you how heartbroken my son is, placing fourth and having to forfeit due to league rules.
As a parent I feel that baseball for kids ranging from t-ball to big league shouldn’t be black and white. Life isn’t black and white. Without those gray areas people in general wouldn’t be well-rounded.
This has made me very sad. I think Little League has forgotten what this league is all about. In my opinion this league is for the kids… for them to learn the fundamentals of baseball and what being on a team means. They work for 20-plus games to reach a goal… to place in the TOC and then to compete for the ultimate goal… to be in the championship game and to be their level’s champions.
Somewhere in all the politics, the game and these boys, and a few very strong girls, have been lost. I hope in the future this league in making their rules remembers this year and the 2012 Junior Pleasanton American Little League A’s and finds a way to change and remember what this league is really all about.
In making no allowance for the “gray areas” there are eight very driven and extremely talented young men heartbroken.
Since writing the above, I have been in contact with the PALL League president and he explained that the applicable rule for this situation is not a local rule but comes from rules set by the Little League International. All players playing in the TOC must come from players who have played during the regular season.
Unfortunately, PALL could not override those rules and allow the team to add an additional player. It’s time for a review of these rules so when situations arise, our local league president has the power to make a final decision based on the individual circumstances.