American Legion Baseball Washington Post article about Legion Baseball

Discussion in 'Open Sports Discussion & Resources Forum' started by Sportsnut17, Jul 26, 2017.

  1. Sportsnut17

    Sportsnut17 Moderator
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  2. thekidd12

    thekidd12 Well-Known Member
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    As always Sportsnut17 thanks for the link to an interesting article. Makes you think huh?

    Back in the dark ages (70s through 2000) seemed like most Legion teams were made up of the best players from maybe 3 local high schools. Everyone that came to the games knew players because they had watched them grow up playing with and against each other.

    Now it seems like rosters are filled with players from a greater number of schools covering a different area each year depending on where they want to draw from. I believe Post 81 had 2 starters that attended Eastern Randolph where they play their home games. And it wasn't like ER's high school team was chopped liver, finishing in a tie with Randleman for regular season championship.

    Guess I am saying the sense of community has gone from the game. This effects everything from attendance to concession sales making the logistics of financing a team even tougher. The casual, non parent, non girlfriend, fan often will go to games to see local players but aren't as likely to lay down 6 bucks to watch someone they don't know.

    Also with large rosters hard to make everyone happy. Showcase costs a ton and usually does not deliver on the promised number of scouts but guess what? The player usually plays all the time and doesn't spend 4 hours sitting on bench while watching game he "would obviously do better if he were in."

    Oh and map says NC 20-70 percent decrease? I could have guessed at that large a range sitting in my chair?
     
  3. west boy

    west boy Well-Known Member
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    I've been going to legion games regularly for the last 13 years or so, and even in Rowan County, where legion baseball is still a big deal, Rowan doesn't always get the very best players it could get. Just this season, Rowan could have had at least 3 D1 signees, but they elected to continue to play showcase. I'm sure this is the case for a lot of legion programs around. There are also so many programs that used to exist but no longer do. Burlington, South Rowan, Wilkes County, Surry County, Montgomery, and that's just naming the few that come to mind. We knew legion wouldn't be able to last forever in a lot of these places as they just don't have the support and participation they need to feasibly be able to sponsor a team. I know the talent level is down for sure in NC, but I will say, NC teams in particular have done well on the regional and national level in recent years, so the talent is there, but it makes you wonder if competition is down around the country as players look to shell out the big bucks to play in weekend showcase tournaments. I've said this before, and I think (before the postseason starts) legion allows dual participation, but there's always more that legion could do to allow players to do both if they wanted to. But of course on the other hand, you make a commitment to a team and if you want to go to the beach or just play showcase on the weekends, you should just do that. I'm not sure what the answer is, and I surely don't want American Legion Baseball to die out, but these aging veterans aren't getting any younger, and they need some younger (new blood) vets to step in.
     
  4. Linkman

    Linkman Well-Known Member
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    Good article documenting the decline of legion baseball. Good points from thekidd12 and West Boy. The organizers of travel ball have obviously done a great sales jobs for their product as it has continued to grow and expand and as a result have a negative impact on legion baseball participation.

    As far as travel ball I don't buy their sales pitch. Hitters don't get 150-200 at bats in game competition playing 5-6 games a week like they do in legion ball. They don't get the experience of facing college pitchers. I agree that showcase ball is more individual focused, but is that all a good thing....less team focused, little practice, games only on weekends. You really don't know how good the competition is that you are facing....the only thing you really know is that everyone had to pay to play. How much does a kid learn about competing for a spot on a roster or in a lineup. That's what he will have to do at the college level.

    However, the opinion stated above is clearly in the minority as American Legion baseball continues to dwindle with the major reason being the travel ball impact. I get it....parents want their kids to be noticed and have the opportunity to get a scholarship to play at the next level. Unfortunately, a lot of those partial baseball scholarships don't make up for the costs parents have incurred for all the travel ball.

    Another issue that I see more every year are players who finish their senior years, have made commitments to play in college, and chose to take the summer off rather than play legion baseball. Where is the love to play the game? It's not there like it was 25 years ago.

    So what can we legion ball lovers do? As West Boy stated as we older vets die out, more younger vets need to take up the banner of support for Legion Baseball. But, that's only a small part of it. I don't know what the answer is. It's just sad to see what's happening.
     
  5. west boy

    west boy Well-Known Member
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    I don't personally think players have the sense of community as they once did. It used to mean something to put on that uniform and compete for your town/county/or community, now I'm not sure a lot 15-19 year old kids get that. If the parents and players don't continue to play, it will cease to exist, as sad as that is.
     
  6. Post 36

    Post 36 Well-Known Member
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    Definitely not calling you out Westboy......just something to promote thought among us all. Kids are still just as influenced by what they are exposed to in life as they have always been. Selfish behavior or looking out for number 1 has been adopted as common practice. Looking out for number 1 used to be your team; however, now it's totally different. Don't believe me, skipping bowl games by high draft kids will be the new norm until the NFL passes on those kids for that behavior. Kids have not changed a bit, the influence from adults has changed dramatically. We all own the responsibility to educate kids through troubled waters; however, our culture accepted to "not get in other people's business" a while back, and there is room for getting back to basics in certain areas.

    Different point on aging Legion officials.....they need to consider opening up the possibility to allow non-legion members for seniors. You can be a Jr Commissioner without serving in the military, but currently not senior.

    When all legion programs work to help each other off the field and only try to win on the field, legion baseball will start a path back to prominence. Some of the southern Area 3 teams are catching on with how we have done that with most programs in the north. When decisions and policy is made to ensure the support of the weakest programs the entire organization improves. The organization is better off without some programs also. When the experience for the kids is sub-standard, it hurts the entire organization also.
     
  7. baseballfan155

    baseballfan155 Active Member
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    Linkman said this above:

    "Another issue that I see more every year are players who finish their senior years, have made commitments to play in college, and chose to take the summer off rather than play legion baseball. Where is the love to play the game? It's not there like it was 25 years ago."

    The big times colleges UNC, NC State, USC, Clemson all want their kids coming down July 1st to take summer classes and work out during the summer. That is hurting and also tons of colleges are shutting down their college pitches before the fall because they are having them throw more during the fall then they ever have before.

    The biggest issue and i think that might end legion baseball is alot of teams are starting to have 18u travel teams. Before it just used to be 17u. Those graduating players now are continuing to play showcase baseball cause those organizations see that they can make money convincing little johnny that he could get a scholarship with one more hoorah. That's killing legion here in Charlotte. I can't believe Charlotte has 1 legion team. Outrageous
     
  8. 88dodgers

    88dodgers Well-Known Member
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    One area that legion ball can capitalize on a weakness of showcase ball, is make it ALL about the kids. We all can agree for the most part that showcase ball provides a living for its facilitators. Some cases it seems to be all about the money. Legion team directors must form relationships with colleges and reach out for these kids. Some already do this I'm just saying All. Legion ball is a good brand of baseball and going 9 innings is a big difference than 7. I really think legion can gain some ground we just have to change the mindset. Maybe it's a case if you can't beat them join them. Form the relationships, get these coaches to your facility and have your own showcase or camp. I know these schools want to have there own camps to supplement there incomes so that will not change. Im just saying we have to change because with the numbers falling,something is not working. What really is mind boggling is that these programs can charge you an arm and a leg and the parents still drink the Kool-aid. I can say I coached travel baseball for a long time and it was ALWAYS about the kids.
     
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  9. west boy

    west boy Well-Known Member
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    I know of at least one player that was going to play legion ball for Rowan. (Has a D1 scholarship) He couldn't play this summer because of summer school, and this very reason. I also find it astonishing that Charlotte only has 1 team. There is enough talent in Charlotte for there to be at least 3 legion teams at the very least.
     
  10. baseballfan155

    baseballfan155 Active Member
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    Here is the issue in Charlotte. Ardrey Kell, South Meck, Myers Park, Providence, Olympic. There enrollment is to big. Think most are close to 2,200 without seniors! If you put just two schools together and can't add any others are you going to get 18 kids? That's the issues you have in the past!
     
  11. Post 36

    Post 36 Well-Known Member
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    National would serve Legion baseball better by managing through a changing environment. Here are a few suggestions that are not all very easy to do, but possible.

    1. Build in an opportunity in the schedule for teams or groups of players from multiple teams to combine to go to East Cobb. Fighting this event is pointless and it helps kids so why be against it?
    2. Expand enrollment to 6000 to help the large population centers without penalizing rural areas with the clear message this number can go up or down to accommodate current trends.
    3. Become better organized with structure, and step in with states that have corrupt leadership. There has been many in the past that abuse their power to "help" particular teams and National does not get involved with state matters without a complaint from someone within. All complaints or appeals must go through the State Baseball Committee, and yes, I personally have been told that my appeal will not be sent to National.
    4. Open leadership....aka Commissioner seats to non-legionnaires. The pool of candidates is shrinking and there are some nice people with great intentions that are grossly incompetent to fulfill the duties of the position in place today.

    State Changes
    1. You can't offer the best option for players and have the most teams. I'm never for Zone recruitment because it penalizes players that live in the gaps; however, base school spacing is the best way to destroy or enhance programs. Do the research and DON'T add teams that hurt existing programs. You can't advance anything by stepping on the back of someone else to "elevate" yourself. NC leadership would allow a team at every Post in the state and that is part of the problem.
    2. THROW THE NC RULEBOOK IN THE TRASH and never waste a dime printing another one!!! You can only "by rule" dictate stronger recruiting rules so WHY WOULD YOU EVER penalize teams from your state??? Commissioners must understand what they can and cannot dictate based upon the RULES.
    3. Follow the rules EXACTLY. Do not bend for anyone, period.
    4. Plan and then plan some more, while asking for input from your Area well in advance. Form a coaches\AD committee that has a vote at the table on Area & State matters.
    5. Programs that have ineligible players two times within any five year period, should have the head coach and AD removed permanently from Legion baseball. This penalizes the problem without necessarily penalizing the kids. Yes, most programs are one person away from nonexistence, but there are programs that knowingly skirt the rules and continue to come back and do it again.

    None of this is easy, but the kids deserve better. Regardless of what happens in the structure or not, the responsible folks for each program can make a difference, one kid at a time by simply investing in them. Nobody cares what you know until they know how much you care.
     
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  12. BASEBALLFAN1955

    BASEBALLFAN1955 Well-Known Member
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    a lot players play showcase because they can play longer in the summer months. legion season ends the first week in July for the teams that lose in the first round of the playoffs. may have more players playing legion if regular season lasted to August. wouldnt be as hot weather if the state tournament , regionals, and ws was played in September
     
  13. thekidd12

    thekidd12 Well-Known Member
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    Tough to play once high schools/colleges start back. The logistics do not work as many are playing high school football or fall baseball at college.
     
  14. BASEBALLFAN1955

    BASEBALLFAN1955 Well-Known Member
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    why not let a son's of veteran member be a senior commissioner ?
     
  15. Post 36

    Post 36 Well-Known Member
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    That's an easy one, fear of losing control by not being able to command a fellow military person to follow their lead by the ingrained chain of command when the decision is made on personal preference instead of established rules. My name is on the list of consideration for commissioner; however, it will not happen anytime soon because I'm well known to not respond well to sit down and shut up. Restrictions always cover some undisclosed fear. Rules protect integrity and fairness as interpreted by the rule makers to make it better. That is why rules are normally instituted by group decisions and votes. Authoritative decrees are normally viewed as dictator style decisions that are forced on subjects. Which scenario more defines the history of Legion baseball in NC??

    A few things to consider:
    Is this "rule" leading to a better future for Legion baseball? Are we getting the best people by restricting the candidate pool down to a puddle? Is the rule easily negated through vetting and a solid interview process?

    The answers to these questions by leadership will show what is more important going forward!
     
  16. BASEBALLFAN1955

    BASEBALLFAN1955 Well-Known Member
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    some states that use zoning dont aloud gaps.
     
  17. BASEBALLFAN1955

    BASEBALLFAN1955 Well-Known Member
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    how will a new high school effect recruiting ? new school could take your players from your base school. if you change your base school to a new school, another teams players may move to the new school and would be attending your base school.
     
    17 BASEBALLFAN1955, Jul 13, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018

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