Thursday, February 24, 2011

Regular Season Tryouts Are This Weekend

Players signed up for the American League, National League or Major League at Myers Park Trinity must come to a skills assessment tryout this weekend at Randolph Park. All players will be drafted into one of those divisions based on their skill level and age as of April 30th.

Tryouts normally include baserunning, batting, fielding drills and pitching in the older divisions. Players should dress appropriately and bring the necessary equipment - glove, hat, cleats, etc. - if possible.

The schedule for tryouts is below. Please arrive early to sign in and get a tryout number prior to hitting the field. If your child must miss his scheduled tryout time that was chosen at registration, come to one of the other times for the same age group. If he or she must be absent all weekend, there is a make-up tryout session on Monday at 5:30. But rain is in the forecast for that day, so come this weekend if you can.

Please note that players cannot be drafted by a Major League team without attending tryouts. T-Ball players, Softball players, and returning Major League players that have previously been drafted do not need to tryout.

Saturday, February 26th - 3:30 p.m. - 6 year olds
Sunday, February 27th - 3:30 p.m. - 6 year olds

Saturday, February 26th - 9:00 a.m. - 7 year olds
Saturday, February 26th - 12:30 p.m. - 7 year olds
Sunday, February 27th - 12:30 p.m. - 7 year olds

Saturday, February 26th - 10:30 a.m. - 8 year olds
Saturday, February 26th - 2:00 p.m. - 8 year olds
Sunday, February 27th - 2:00 p.m. - 8 year olds

Saturday, February 26th - 9:00 a.m. - 9 year olds
Saturday February 26th - 3:30 p.m. - 9 year olds
Sunday February 27th - 12:30 p.m. - 9 year olds
Saturday, February 26th - 10:30 a.m. - 10 year olds
Saturday February 26th - 2:00 p.m. - 10 year olds
Sunday February 27th - 2:00 p.m. - 10 year olds
Saturday, February 26th - 12:30 p.m. - 11 year olds
Sunday, February 27th - 3:30 p.m. - 11 year olds
Saturday, February 26th 12:30 p.m. - 12 year olds
Sunday, February 27th - 3:30 p.m. - 12 year olds

Big Things Come in Small Packages

In baseball, sometimes it's not size that matters.  More important is quality instruction, hard work and determination. Here's a good story from on the promising career of 5'7" Kansas City Royals pitcher, Tim Collins.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Baseball For All at Spring Training

Justine Siegal of Baseball For All continues to spread her message that girls can play baseball too. This week at Cleveland Indians spring training, she became the first woman to throw batting practice for a Major League team. Pretty cool.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

MPTLL History Project: 1952

As previously mentioned, Little League first came to Charlotte in 1951. Our own Myers Park Civitan League was chartered with Little League Baseball in March of 1952. Play began in June of that year.

The 1952 season included four original major league teams: Harry & Bryant Co., Al Browne's Service, Blythe Motors and Farmers Dairy. Although Philip Der Yuen was listed on the charter as President of the league, with Robert Brooks as Vice President and Harold Richardson as Secretary/Treasurer, it has been said that Jack Starnes was considered "head of the Little League group" for the Civitans and therefore our first league President. Jack was closely involved throughout the 1950's in a variety of ways: umpiring games, travelling to all-star tournaments, helping build Ranson Field (later named EC Griffith) on Randolph Road, etc.

During that first season, games were played on the Myers Park Elementary School playground among the four teams. Legend has it that Clayton Bundy of Farmers Dairy hit the first homerun in league history on Opening Day 1952. His team would go on to win the championship that year, thanks in part to Bundy's bat and the pitching of guys like Ray Farris.

As was usual throughout the '50's and '60's, there were several newspaper clippings about the games. This first set includes a picture of what is possibly the first game ever played between now old rivals Al Browne's and Harry & Bryant. It was a part of this Observer spread about the rise of Little League in Charlotte. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, February 21, 2011

More Composite Bats Get LL Waivers

Little League has granted several more waivers under its composite bat moratorium at the Majors Division and below:  a couple of DeMarini CF4's and some of last year's Easton Stealth models. The Stealths are surprising to me, as they are quality bats and I had figured the older model composites would be too "hot" to pass Little League testing. Here is the updated list of waivers.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Final Days of Spring Registration Are Here

Online registration for spring baseball and softball ends this Sunday, February 20th. Make sure to visit the league website and sign up before then. It would help the league if everyone handled it as soon as possible, in order to minimize the last minute paperwork prior to tryouts.

Tryouts for the American League (machine pitch), National League and Major League are next weekend, February 26-27. T-Ball, Softball and Returning Major League players do not need to tryout. But they must register to play.

If you need any dates for the upcoming season, remember there is a league calendar on the website.

Study Concludes Youth Sports Don't Interfere With Family Time

A study has been conducted at the University of Minnesota by the Minnesota Youth Sport Research Consortium to determine how much family time youth sports activities take up.

The results have been published amidst several media reports about those who say that organized youth sports take away too much from valuable family time and kids' creative, unstructured activities. The movement against over-scheduling kids has taken off in recent years as a response to a general trend of longer seasons and kids playing multiple sports at the same time.

But interestingly, the conclusions of the Minnesota study indicate otherwise. Parents who were polled did not seem to think their sports activities were taking up much time normally spent on homework, sleep, family dinners, etc.

Every town, league and family is different. Some families just eat, sleep and breathe baseball (or whatever sport they are playing). Some may feel that youth sports has created more family time, since they have an activity they all enjoy together. To others it is a burden and creates less family time.

One thing is for sure. We all make our own decisions about our amount of involvement in youth sports, based on what works for our own families. I think that's the reason behind the conclusions of this study. As long as you're making your own decisions, you can't really complain about it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Another Study on Youth Pitching

The results of a 10-year study on youth pitching have been published by The American Journal of Sports Medicine. This one, which began in 1999 before pitch counts were the norm in youth baseball, used innings pitched as the primary risk factor to be measured. The study also looked at pitchers who played the position of catcher and those who threw curveballs before the age of 13.

The study found that youth pitchers throwing more than 100 innings per calendar year were 3.5 times more likely to experience a serious arm injury. It found a small increase in injuries for those pitchers also playing catcher. But it was unable to find a correlation between curveballs and injuries.

The details of this study, as well as a good summary on youth pitching and previous research on the subject, are in the AJSM publication. This is not exactly new information - we know quite a lot more about overuse injuries than we did in 1999. But it is further confirmation and another reminder of how careful we need to be about the number of pitches our boys throw, how fatigued they get when pitching, and how much rest they get between outings. Taking these precautions, which are mostly mandated by Little League rules, and teaching proper mechanics will go a long way toward keeping our pitchers safe.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Walk-Up Registration Update

Slight change of plans for the walk-up registration in Grier Heights:  There will no longer be sign-ups on Monday, Wednesday or Friday - just Tuesday 3:00-5:00, Thursday 3:00-5:00, Saturday 10:00-4:00 and Sunday 1:00-5:00. The location is in front of Grier Heights Community Monumental Park on Sam Drenan Road just off Randolph. Volunteers are especially needed for Saturday and Sunday. Lauro would like to put an additional crew at the Food Lion on Wendover. Let me know if you can help.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Walk-Up Registration Volunteers Needed

Myers Park Trinity walk-up registration will resume this weekend and continue every day through next weekend (Feb. 12-20). Lauro Diaz is overseeing signups in the Grier Heights Community and continuing the efforts begun there years ago by Zan Copeland. Our efforts in Grier Heights are important to the children of that neighborhood and a vital part of our relationship with the county.

We are set for this weekend, but several volunteers are needed next week (3:00-5:00 Feb. 14-18, 10:00-4:00 Feb. 19 and 1:00-5:00 Feb. 20). If you can contribute two hours of hours of your time to help Lauro work a shift in Grier Heights, please let me know what day and time would work for you. Thanks for supporting MPTLL.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Only Five Composite Bat Waivers So Far

Little League Baseball, Inc. has been testing various composite bats for the past few weeks to see which ones might be granted a waiver under the recent moratorium on the use of such bats at its Majors Division and below.

So far, only five bats have received a waiver:  the Mattingly Ballistk, Easton Omen -10, Easton Omen -12, Easton Stealth Speed -12 and Louisville Slugger's TPX Maverick. Sorry boys - no Combats yet.

Monday, February 7, 2011

MPTLL Featured at Hot Stove Dinner

Myers Park Trinity played a prominent role at the 4th annual Hot Stove League Awards Dinner on Saturday night at CBC. The highlight of the evening for the MP folks was Zan Copeland being posthumously honored with the Contributions to Youth Baseball Award for his 42 years of dedicated service to our league.

New Trinity manager, Bill Flye, received the award on behalf of Zan, and gave an outstanding acceptance speech. He said of Zan: "Most importantly, he taught his players life lessons through the game of baseball, and every kid learned many things in addition to the game." Bill urged the coaches among the 600 attendees to "make an effort to reach a kid and make an impact on his life. That's what Zan would want you to do, and that's what he did do for 42 years."

Our 2010 11-12-Year-Old All-Star team was presented as a finalist for Youth Team of the Year, but was not chosen as the award winner. The SouthPark 10-Year-Old All-Star team took home the hardware instead, and was called up to accept their award. Unfortunately the crowd therefore missed out on my own shorter, but more entertaining acceptance speech. Oh well - we had plenty of fun, and this night provided some good exposure for MP.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Walk Up Registration Begins This Weekend

Walk up registration for the spring season begins this weekend. While online sign ups are easy and convenient, if you want to visit the fields, ask questions, or would just prefer to do it in person, here is the schedule for the weekend:

Saturday, February 5th - Randolph Park Concession Stand - 10:00-2:00
Saturday, February 5th - Grier Heights Community Park - 10:00-4:00
Sunday, February 6th - Grier Heights Community Park - 1:00-5:00

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pair of MPTLL Alumni Heading to Division I Football

Morgan Roberts
Two former Myers Park Trinity LL baseball players have signed on to play quarterback at NCAA Division 1 football programs. Morgan Roberts, who played for Bryant Electric Supply in our Major League, and later starred on the Country Day gridiron, has signed with Clemson.

Cody Keith, who played for Park Meridian (now Regions Bank), has gone from Cheshire Academy in Connecticut to East Carolina University, where he is currently enrolled for the spring 2011 semester.

Both were standout Little Leaguers, and have now taken a big step in fulfilling their football dreams. Best of luck to Morgan and Cody.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Time to Start Getting Ready

It's February - technically still winter, but baseball season is right around the corner. In the interest of shaking off the rust and getting the arms in shape for the season, this is the time to dust off the ball and glove and start throwing once or twice a week.

Many players, including my own pitching students, have been in a winter shutdown period.  Some have been working on their swings in addition to enjoying other sports like basketball. But with tryouts and practices only a few weeks away, it's a good idea to start preparing by gradually throwing a little more each week as the season nears. Eventually the pitchers will take to the hill, but not until their arms are conditioned.

Hopefully we'll get more good weather like this past weekend: Sunny and 70 on Sunday. At one point every field and batting cage was in use. It felt and looked like May. The fields are always there, so get out there or in the backyard and get ready for the season.