Thursday, July 29, 2010

Youth Baseball: Cooperstown Dreams Park More Tips for Coaches (Part Two)

During a recent conversation with an area coach this past week, I was reminded of a special rule that applies to Cooperstown Dreams Park competition. Coaches need to understand this special rule and communicate it to their kids. This rule cost us a run in a game. This rule cost the team, of the coach I recently talked to, a game in the elimination tournament and a chance to advance.

From the Cooperstown Dreams Park Official Rules
Headfirst sliding is permitted only into first, second, or third base. Headfirst sliding IS NOT allowed into home plate.

In the second game of pool play for our team, our leadoff batter worked a walk. He went to third on a single. He then tried to score on a pass ball. He read the play well and got a good jump. The catcher got the ball quickly and tossed it underhand to the pitcher who was covering home plate.
Our runner easily slid under the tag, but was called out for sliding head first. Our coach knew it right away and was upset that he did not make that rule clear to the kids. We won the game 13-1 so this play was forgotten.

The play described to me by that coach I recently talked to will never be forgotten for those involved.

If I understand the story correctly from the coach. The game was tied 7 to 7 in the bottom of the last inning. The bat pinged and the ball went into the gap. The runner on second base got a good jump and read the play perfectly. He rounded third and was going to score with no play at the plate. The runner decided to slide head first into home in celebration. The team rushed the field to celebrate, but the umpire called the runner out for sliding headfirst. The kid was devastated. The inning ended 7-7 and the team that had thought they won ended up losing in extra innings.

The Main Point

Coaches, it's not enough that you read and know the rules. your players need to know them too.


    1. There are those who will support umpires no matter what, and those who will condemn them no matter what.

      Admittedly, I fall into the latter category.

      I understand rules. I understand the need for rules. I understand that rules can be enforced without regard to context. I also understand that umpires cannot see everything on the field and that some rules will go unenforced as a result.

      Assuming this situation occurred as described, shame on the umpire for enforcing this rule in this context. The purpose of the rule is safety obviously. If there were no immediate safety issue (read: no play at the plate, and obviously so), then the proper call is to let the result of the play stand, perhaps with a warning to the player and his coach.

      Umpires changing the earned result of the play based on a strict interpretation of the rules without regard for context ruins the game of baseball, and it cements the hard feelings that many fans, players and coaches hold towards umpires.

      The best umpires, if there is such a thing, are those who are not noticed. And those umpires know they are the best.

      1. Great comment - I could not agree more. It reminded me of the George Brett pine tar call. Thanks for adding to the conversation.

      2. not even comparable to George Brett. No one in his situation got physically hit. No little league player should slid head first. Safety issue. Player can easily break his fingers/hand. I am glad he team lost. Coach should know the rules. It teaches he player and the coach a lesson. Rickey Henderson was one in a million. Little league players should not slide head first. Period.

      3. what I meant was no one in Brett's situation could get physically hurt. Also, the team should have lost. The player and the coaches need to know all the rules. Good lesson to learn. No need for broken fingers, hands, wrists. That's what can happen on head first slides. Also, Don't compare a little league player to George Brett.

    2. Hi Stats Dad, just got back from CDP. You are spot-on with your A+ ratings, I am calling it the Disneyland of youth baseball. My family had the time of our lives there, including my son's grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousin. My son hit 3 homeruns including a grand slam, and led his team in HRs and RBIs. The coach's son pitched a no-hitter too. I remarked to our coach that for every future vacation my family takes, I want to go where I can watch my son hit homeruns.

      It really appeared as if CDP copied the Disney business model, even down to having staff walking the grounds picking up trash continuously during the day. Such efficient organization.

      Your advice to delay arrival until late Friday evening was perfect. We had a nice relaxing dinner at DiMaggios and check-in took the minimum amount of time. The parents staying at the "quaint" and "charming" Lake House had a great time too, once we got accustomed to the 20-min. drive back to CDP.

      Thanks again for acting as a clearinghouse for information about CDP and the Cooperstown area, your advice was extremely helpful and should be required reading for all families going to Cooperstown Dreams Park.


      James Greenberg
      Tustin, CA

    3. Glad it helped and congrats to your son on hitting 3 memorable HRs.

    4. Umpires changing the earned result of the play based on a strict interpretation of the rules without regard for context ruins the game of baseball, and it cements the hard feelings that many fans, players and coaches hold towards umpires.
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