To the editor:
When our boys receive a game ball for hitting a home run, showing outstanding sportsmanship or just playing a great game, the baseball they are given is bright white with red stitching, and it is stamped with the official Little League logo. Why, then, does our local baseball association not follow the official rules of Little League Baseball?
In official Little League Baseball, and according to the Little League Operating Manual, it is up to the president of the league to make every effort to ensure that every team is fairly equal in ability and to take away any unfair advantage that some coaches try to gain. In official Little League, "coaches' picks" are not permitted. In official Little League, rules require all 12-year-olds who choose to play majors to be fairly drafted so that even teams can be created. In official Little League, "gentlemen's agreements," when in regard to player selections, are not valid.
If the Saranac Lake Youth Baseball league were operating under these rules, we would not be seeing the kinds of outcomes we have been seeing this season. We would not have boys who think that baseball is no longer fun because their team cannot compete. Youth baseball is supposed to be an enjoyable learning experience, a time to participate in one of America's greatest pastimes. However, when league officials lose sight of this, both the kids and the sport suffer.
In order to compete well, it is best to have teams that are ALL on an equal level. Obviously, "gentlemen's agreements" tend to break down due to there being so few "gentlemen" when winning is on the line.
We fear that next year, when spring arrives and it is time once again for baseball sign-ups, there will be fewer boys wanting to play for the Saranac Lake Youth Baseball league but many who would really like to play lacrosse instead.