East Syracuse-Minoa Little League: FAQs

Common Questions

1.  When does the season begin?  There are two season: spring and fall.  Spring seasons start around April 27th, but coaches start practices a week or two before.  Dates are finalized shortly after the last registration.  
Fall seasons typically start the first Sunday after Labor Day and run 5-6 weeks.  The season is scheduled and managed by District 8

2.  Where are the games and practices held?  For most divisions, the games and practices are held locally either in East Syracuse or Minoa.  The locations will be determined based on availability with other organizations.  Some softball and upper league baseball travel to various location that will be determined by District 8 Little League.  

3.  How often are the games/practices?  During a typical season there will be 2 or 3 practices a week before the games start.  These practices are determined by the coach.  Once games begin, there will be 2 or 3 games a week.  Coaches will determine if practices are able to be held during game weeks.

·         If we mail our son's registration, how do we get our raffle tickets?

o   If you register by mail, you can pickup your raffle tickets at any of the following events:
=> Registration
=>League Board meeting
=>Player Evaluations
Any undistributed raffle tickets will be handed out by your child's coach after teams are drafted.

·         Why aren't there any family discounts for registering two or more players?

o   The league elected to actually charge significantly less for the combined registration and fundraising fee due to the tough economy.   League expenses however are not decreasing so offering family discounts are not possible at this time.  In fact, it actually costs the league about $140 per player to run the league.  To help the strain, each player has the opportunity to play for free if they sell all 20 raffle tickets provided at registration. 

·         Why is the 2012 registration fee so much more than prior years and why does each division pay the same price?

o   The registration fee for 2012 is actually the registration PLUS the fundraising fee combined. In prior years, when the league sold candy, the registration fee was $75 and the candy was $80 for a total of $150.  This year, however, we are only collecting $100 per player and providing twenty $5 raffle tickets for each player.  Players get to keep the proceeds from raffle ticket sales.  This gives each player an opportunity to play for free by simply selling all 20 raffletickets.

 o   The league elected to charge the same price for each division for several reasons.  Many have questioned why the Tee-Ball players are paying as much as the Triple A and Majors divisions when Tee-Ball does not use umpires.  Triple A and Majors baseball does incur more expense than Tee-Ball, however, through sales from the concession stands and funds raised for team sponsorships, these additional costs are covered.  All remaining expenses to run the league apply to all divisions equally, thereby supporting the decision to charge the same fee for all divisions.

·         Why doesn't the league hold clinics to promote player development?

o   The league is looking into several options for providing player development clinics during the winter months.  Be sure to watch our website and your email for news as we get closer to rolling out this program.

·         Why aren't we using the batting cages the league purchased?

o   In 2010, the previous board voted to purchase 2 batting cages for $16,000 in order to use up a cash surplus.  However, due to the design of these batting cages, they cannot be left up indefinitely.  The cages would require re-engineering to be installed in a way to prevent vandalism, theft or worse, injury due to collapse.  They have warning labels on them that state the cages must be taken down when winds reach 35 mph.  These cages require three or more people to erect and take down.  If we could get volunteers who would commit to this responsibility, the league would consider a plan to install cages.  We are planning to include the batting cages in the design of the Carrier Park complex.

·         The parents for the 9-10 year old All Stars all wore ESM All Star T-Shirts.  Why weren't the 10-11 or 11-12 year old All Star teams included?

o   The league did not have any role in the shirts parents of the 9-10 year old All Star team wore to games.  A parent of one of the All Star players came up with the idea to support the team and took it upon herself to handle the design, ordering, payment and distribution of the shirts.

·         Can we get nicer uniforms?

o   Uniforms is our league's single biggest expense.  For the 2011 Spring, All Star and Fall Ball teams, the league spent approximately $30,000 for uniforms.  We purchase our uniforms from the very same suppliers of the surrounding leagues, so our teams look just as good and better depending on the team.  Yes, some of the larger leagues have pin stripe pants and fancier shirts, but they also have much higher registration costs.

·         When is fall ball registration?

o   Fall ball is managed and run by District 8 of which our league is a member.  Once District 8 releases information on the fall ball program, including divisions and fees, we will post information on our website.  We will attempt to begin registration in June.  Fall ball typically runs from the last week in August through mid October.

·         Why can’t we sell candy instead of raffle tickets?

o   Due to the huge increases in costs to produce candy and the fuel costs to transport it, candy is no longer considered a viable fundraising opportunity.  In addition, the effort that has to go into ordering, handling and distributing the candy is too tremendous to impose on volunteers.

·         Why are parents asked to run the concession stands?

o   The concession stands help reduce the fees we need to charge for player registration.  Without the concession profits, fees would be 10% to 15% more per player.  Since the league is completely run by volunteers, we need volunteers to step up to run the concession stands. The profits generated from concessions are not enough to justify the expense and regulatory compliance associated with making this a paid position.  Parents for the home team are asked to run the stands throughout the season.  If a majority of the parents offered, this usually works out that each parent would only need to run the stand for one game.  Very minimal effort since we usually play 12 to 14 games per season.

·         How come there are no umpires for our game?

o   The league uses umpires for the triple A and major baseball divisions.  These umpires are kids aged 14 and up that must pay for and attend an umpire training class and purchase their own equipment.  The league reimburses these costs with each game they umpire.  Parents who volunteer are not paid because they have not incurred this expense. For the 2011 Spring season, there was a 50% decline in the number of umpires over the entire CNY area.  Our league saw a 65% decrease in the number of umpires.   The number one reason why umpires from last season declined to work for the 2011 season was the amount of verbal abuse they received from parents and coaches last year.

·         What can be done about the bad calls umpires make?

o   The first thing everyone needs to remember is little league is for the kids to learn the game and have fun.  Umpires are introduced in the triple A and majors division merely to prepare players for truly competitive play.  The umpires we use are kids who are learning too.  The players and the umpires are going to make mistakes.  Look at the mistakes umpires and referees make in the professional sports. Mistakes are going to happen and there is no fool proof solution.  Little league has no tolerance for anyone that gets worked up over a bad call by an umpire, be it a player, coach or a parent.  Let the kids be kids and enjoy their childhood.

·         Why do we have to track pitch counts?

o   Pitch counts and days of rest are mandated by Little League International.  These rules are spelled out clearly in the rule book that is provided to each head coach and are to be followed.  The purpose of these rules is to protect the players from damaging their arms.  A player that throws too many pitches or pitches without enough rest in between games can cause permanent damage to their arm and could even lose the use of their arm.  Our league requires coaches to track the number of pitches thrown by each player in each and every game.

·         Why are the rules not followed consistently by all coaches?

o   Since we are completely run by volunteers, we are going to have some situations when coaches are not exactly clear on the rules.  For this reason, the league provides each coach a rule book that outlines rules mandated by Little League International, as well as a listing of rules mandated by our local league.  Coaches are asked to read through both documents, and carry with them to every game.  If either document does not address an issue, coaches are asked to use common sense and go with the least restrictive resolution.  These are kids, not professional athletes.

·         Why aren’t there enough supplies and equipment at the field?

o   The league purchases significant amounts of supplies each season, from first aid kits, baseballs, drying agent and field marking chalk.  Because our league is spread out over many different locations, the cost associated with providing secure storage facilities at each location is prohibitive.  The league uses a couple locations to store supplies for the entire league.  Coaches are all provided an initial inventory of these items.  Any time additional supplies are needed or equipment is missing or damaged, coaches should be contacting their respective Player Agent for their division who will make arrangements to get supplies to them.  This process is explained during the Coaches Clinic held each Spring.

·         How are the All Star players selected?

o   The All Star tournament represents a major shift in gears for players.  The regular season is a time for learning the game and having fun.  The All Star tournament is only about one thing – winning.  Leagues across the globe select those players from their respective leagues that can not only hit, run and catch, but they also have a solid knowledge of the strategy of the game.  Sportsmanship is also a factor that is considered – not only that of the player but his family too.  All Star players must possess the complete package.  The All Star selection process is very difficult because only a small sampling of players from the league can participate.   So many players give it 100% on the field, some are great hitters, others are very fast and some are great kids.  But in the realm of All Stars, players need to consistently rise above their peers when playing this great game.  For these reasons, simply selecting players from each regular season team will not produce an All Star caliber team.

Our league asks coaches to evaluate players based on these factors throughout the season. In June these coaches are asked to nominate 14 players from the league to be considered for the All Star team.  This creates a pool of players having the necessary skill set to compete in the All Star tournament.  Just as a side note, for the 2011 season, many of the coaches did not nominate their own child – which puts to rest any implication of favoritism.

Then the league’s Board of Directors selects the coaches who will lead the All Star team.  At that point the All Star coach, just like any coach in every other sport, begins selecting a preliminary group of players to play on the All Star team. These players are then contacted to make sure they are available and willing to play in the tournament.  Selected players then participate in several try out practice sessions where their skills are assessed by the All Star coach to determine if and where they will play on the team.

·         Why was the grass so high on the school fields?

o   The ESM School District allows our league to use certain school property during the season.  For insurance reasons, the school district prohibits the league from using any power equipment, including lawn mowers, on their property.  With the rainy 2011 Spring, the school district fell behind in the upkeep and mowing of its property leaving some of the fields we use unplayable.  This is a small reason for the league's interest in pursuing a centralized sports complex.

·         Why are the base cutouts and pitching mounds at Hanlon and Galuski fields in bad shape?

o   This league is completely run by volunteers, many of whom have full time jobs.  We eventually gained some help from two volunteers to at least tend to each field during the week.  However, the work necessary to mend each of these fields requires the coordination of a small group of volunteers, tools, materials and time.  With the shorter season, the number of rained-out games to make up and life in general, the Board decided to address these issues later in the Summer.