Q. My child is 10. Is he/she eligible to be drafted into the Majors Division?
A. Yes. All ten year-olds will be eligible to be drafted into the Majors Division, starting in Spring 2014, with a cap of 2 per Majors division team. The only exceptions will be the ten-year-old children of Minors division Managers. This replaces the policy of requiring parental consent to be drafted into Majors. Why the change? First, it gets SLVLL closer to Little League International's guidelines for divisions, which actually allows for nine-year-olds to play in the Majors division. Second, it helps make the decision about how many teams to field in Majors division (and thereby Minors,etc) much easier and flexible, with the ability to consider the best options for kids and the competitiveness of the divisions. Third, it helps with player replacement rules from Little League International, which require that replacement players(due to injury or attrition from Majors division) from Minors must have been eligible for the original draft. Why a cap of 2 per team? The board did not enact this policy with the idea of flooding Majors with ten-year-olds. The Board understands that this policy may affect 11-year-olds hoping to be drafted into majors, and wants to keep all players at the most appropriate level for their skill level and experience. A cap helps ensure that a 10-year-old being placed in majors has the best chance at having an experience that benefits him/her self and his/her team.
Q. How much does it cost to play in SLVLL?
A. The registration fees have been held at $130 PER PLAYER since 2010.
Q. But what does it cost the league to run, per player?
A. SLVLL did a study from 2011-2013 and found that it annually costs about $187-$200 per player to run our league. This amount includes many small items but the big ones are field use, uniforms, photography, equipment, and umpires. SLVLL makes up the difference between the registration fees and actual costs through fundraisers, the snack shack, banner sales, and team/player sponsorships.
Q. My child is in Minors, but could he/she be "pulled up" to Majors in case of an injury or someone quitting?
A. Yes. Our policy forbids parents from declining a move to Majors without consequences. We must keep a minimum roster size in the Majors divison only. If player movement is needed due to injury or attrition, it will be handled by the Player Agent. A player "called up" must be made available to the higher division. If the player refuses the call-up they will have to serve a one-game suspension (2015). The only exception is made for the children of managers in the Minors divisions and below. The league does not want its most vital volunteers losing their own son/daughter in the middle of their season. This gets SLVLL closer to Little League International rules of consent. Most player movement stops at the Minors division, where there are not roster-size restrictions and where there is a continuous batting order. Minors managers, coaches, and players need to know before the season starts that player movement is a possibility.
Q. Some of the parents at my child’s games are really loud. What are spectators allowed to do at SLV Little League games and practices?
A. Spectators may cheer, encourage and root for the kids. At games, they may not berate the umpires, shout negative or disparaging comments, or use profanity, alcohol or tobacco products. Let the kids play, let the coaches coach, and let the umpires ump. Simple as that.
Q. I sent an email to a member of the Little League Board of Directors and never received a reply. Why is that?
A. Our board is composed of volunteers who work diligently year-round to keep our league running smoothly. Most, if not all, of our board members work full-time jobs in addition to their volunteer hours for SLVLL. If someone failed to reply, please know it was not intentional, and we intend to do better in the future. Most board members also include their phone numbers on the contacts page. You are encouraged to call them as some do not use email frequently.
Q. How are managers and coaches chosen for regular and post-season play?
A. Our Board of Directors sets up an interview committee to meet manager candidates in each division of play. Background checks are completed on all potential candidates, and eligible manager candidates are interviewed relevant to their division. Any community member who submits a volunteer application and passes the background check is eligible to manage or coach. Experience is not required, especially for the lower divisions. An interview committee is chosen by the president. This committee conducts the interviews, and also asks the Board of Directors for their feedback on candidates. The final decision on manager choice is from the President and his/her committee. Assistant coaches are placed by the managers, and approved by a background check and a board decision. For Post Season, a similar process is in place. The difference in the "hiring" process is that for All-stars, the candidates will be able to address the board directly. The final decision is again with the "hiring" committee.
Q. What are the skill-related expectations for each division of play?
A. You may click on T-Ball, A-Ball, AA-Ball, Minors and Majors to learn what SLVLL determines as minimum abilities for play in each division. Majors is our only division described as "competitive".
Q. What does a “Team Parent” do?
A. At the beginning of each season, several of our board members host a Team Parent meeting. Team parents will learn about their responsibilities, from planning the snack schedule to assigning shifts in the Snack Shack (for upper divisions). Additional responsibilities may include coordinating the ordering of uniforms, including socks and belts; calling or emailing parents; making sure trophies are ordered at the end of the season; planning a team party; alerting parents to changes in the game and practice schedule; and acting as a conduit of information from league reps to player families. Each team needs a team parent—you’re a valuable and necessary part of our league’s success! Many times there are co-team parents to share the workload.
Q. Why do practices run so long?
A. The goal of our league is two-fold: we want kids to learn the game of baseball, and we want them to have fun doing it. Practice times vary depending on the level of play, and it is at each manager’s discretion to choose an appropriate amount of time for his/her team’s practices. If you feel the practice is too long for your child, please discuss this with his/her manager. We want kids to have a fun and positive experience in our league. Our fields manager generally distributes practice times in increments of 90-120 minutes at Minors and Majors levels.
Q. The practice and game schedule is affecting my child’s schoolwork. What can I do?
A. Please discuss the issue directly with your manager! He/She knows that school comes first, baseball second. However, your child's manager should be notified if the player is going to miss practices or games.
Q. What do I do if I or my child is frustrated or unhappy with his manager or coach?
A. The first thing we suggest is to speak with the manager or coach directly. Improvements may be made as a result of clear and direct communication. If the problem persists, the line of communication is as follows:
2. Division rep
3. Player Agent
4. League President
Hopefully the issue can be resolved early on. If additional action is necessary, the Player Agent can intervene on behalf of the child to create a positive outcome. If the problem persists and cannot be appropriately solved or addressed, you may request that your child not be assigned that coach or manager in subsequent seasons.
Q. I notice that other kids receive more playing time than mine. Why is that?
A. In our lower divisions (T-ball thru AA), each child should be given equal playing time if at all possible. These leagues are meant to be truly instructional, and we encourage the managers and coaches to not lose sight of that. Upper division play (Minors and Majors) gets more competitive—teams are competing for placement in post-season play, and the coaching staff wants the team to shine. That can lead to some kids being in the dugout more than others. Talk to your manager to find out what you can do with and for your child to get him/her more time on the field. There are minimum playing time rules for each division, and we expect our managers to abide by them.
Q. What does “league age” mean?
A. Little League International has established a League Age Chart that must be adhered to by each league. It is the age your child is on April 30th of the season in which you are (or will be) playing.
Q. My child played A-ball last year and is hoping to be drafted into AA-ball this season. What do we need to do?
A. SLVLL holds two tryout dates for kids ages 7-12, who are eligible to enter the AA, Minors or Majors divisions (depending in part on their age, and also ability). Players who do not try out—even if they’ve played before—will remain in their previous season level of play, and also not be eligible for post season "All Star" play. Each child is expected to participate in five elements at the try-out session: catching fly balls, throwing, fielding, batting, and running the bases. Each element is rated on a scale of 1-5, with five being the best possible score; each child’s total score is then calculated with 25 being the highest possible score. Coaches and managers use these numbers to determine who they will draft onto their teams. The more your child practices these skills, the better his/her assessment will be on tryout day.
Q. My child cannot attend the tryouts. He/she is hurt, on vacation, playing in 5 other sports, or something else? I don't want him/her to be punished. What can I do???
A. Contact the league's Player Agent. He/she can arrange a private tryout or other evaluation, share it with the division managers, and make a player eligible for the draft. SLVLL will make EVERY attempt to allow your child to be eligible and not face penalties.
Q. Do the Majors keep the same teams they have with returning players, or do they “redraft” and start fresh with brand new teams?
A. Since 2010 our majors division has re-drafted new teams each year.
Q. All-Stars seems to have a lot to do with favoritism and not always the best players making the teams. What can the league do to ensure fairness in the selection process?
A. SLVLL has established criteria and rules in 2013 for choosing All-star teams that seemed to go smoothly in its first year. It allows for the regular season managers to nominate and vote for eligible players. It will be amended this season and available on the website prior to next season's all star selection.
Q. Does our league have the same number of games as other leagues?
A. Yes, for the most part. The lower divisions schedule includes 16 games, and the upper divisions have a 19-21 game schedule, plus post-season if applicable. We also have our own post season tournament in AA, Minors, and Majors, which guarantees a minimum 2 extra games per team.