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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Moneyball Jr.: Baseball for minors looks a lot like the Majors

The nation’s newest elite baseball players are courted like free agents, flown cross-country for big games and featured on TV. Bidding wars break out over the most coveted stars, who resemble Major Leaguers in many ways.

Except for their age.

At the highest levels of 8- to 14-year-old travel baseball, schoolboy superstars are plied with privileges and showcased at pricey events while less-gifted players and their families try to keep pace by spending a fortune — as much as $24,000 annually — on tournaments, equipment and lessons.

deadpilgrims Posted: March 30, 2013 at 08:06 AM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: little league

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   1. winnipegwhip Posted: March 30, 2013 at 07:17 PM (#4399877)
No different in Canada, except it is hockey.

A guy I know was excited his kid got picked up by the Junior Jets when 3 spots opened up at the deadline. He just had to come up with 12 grand for spring hockey.

Winnipeg Travel Hockey
   2. haven Posted: March 30, 2013 at 07:25 PM (#4399880)
System is skewed of course. Parents as enablers of system is really depressing.
   3. Bob Tufts Posted: March 30, 2013 at 09:34 PM (#4399928)
Wait till you see what they do for the Little League World Series of Poker.....
   4. Der-K: downgraded to lurker Posted: March 30, 2013 at 10:21 PM (#4399956)
I'm stealing that, Bob.
   5. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 30, 2013 at 10:21 PM (#4399959)
Wait till you see what they do for the Little League World Series of Poker.....

That would be great programing for the new Nickelodeon/ESPN channel.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: March 30, 2013 at 11:38 PM (#4399998)
8-year-old travel teams? Really?

"My kid's fastball is clocked at 27 MPH."
"That's wicked. You giving him that injected Advil stuff for the pain?"
"That and cortisone."
"You're lucky man. My kid's with the junior Mets and their doctors just kiss it and tell him it's all better."
   7. Hecubot Posted: March 30, 2013 at 11:57 PM (#4400009)
8-year-old travel teams? Really?

My son started playing Travel ball when he was 8. You just play so many more games that you take a huge leap up in skill versus kids with equal athletic ability that don't play tournaments.

Regular Little League season is 18 games over a couple months. In one long weekend tournament you can play seven games, and at 8, 9, 10, and 11 my son was playing maybe nine tournaments a summer. That's 63 extra games a year to refine your skills. And because that core of players stuck together they won a LL state championship at age 11.

Then again, I have seen a lot of pitchers with arm injuries and surgery, and a fair number of kids burn out. My son quit baseball his freshman year of high school, but came back to it after a year and now he's happy playing Varsity and will be doing Travel ball this summer. Though not as many tournaments as before - maybe five or six. And he doesn't play year-round. He's done from Oct-Feb.

   8. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: March 31, 2013 at 03:29 AM (#4400048)
Wait till you see what they do for the Little League World Series of Poker.....

I'm still laughing....minutes later
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:53 AM (#4400100)
8-year-old travel teams? Really?

The worst part is dealing with the groupies on the road. Ugh.
   10. Betts, Bogaerts, and D Price(GGC) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 12:55 PM (#4400151)
25 players. 25 Big Wheels.
   11. TerpNats Posted: March 31, 2013 at 02:50 PM (#4400201)
Travel baseball is doing to Little League, Babe Ruth, PONY, etc. what AAU teams are doing to high school basketball. And it's not good.
   12. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: March 31, 2013 at 03:09 PM (#4400213)
This is a pretty good (albeit very long) read. If Bryce Harper was indeed playing over 100 games a year from a very early age, then it's no wonder he's the gifted player he is today. You just can't replicate those hours of game experience and practice in Little League and High School.

EDIT: also, primey for #10.

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