2010-02-24 / Front Page

Philipstown Little League Announces Big Changes

Registration closes on Monday, March 1
by Eddie Barry

As president of Philipstown Little League (PLL) I have the responsibility to ensure each child playing in our league has a safe and enjoyable environment while learning the beautiful games of baseball & softball.  I am blessed to have a outstanding little league board that make certain this goal is met.  It is a rather simple goal – but quite a challenge to meet, especially this year.  Like many families, businesses and organizations we are impacted by recent economic conditions, partially attributed to a significant drop in our 2010 registrations.  As a board we have kept our registration fees unchanged for three years with payments based on registration date.  These registration fees and associated sponsorship fees are used to offset Little League International insurance, equipment costs, field maintenance, uniforms, umpire charges, trophies, etc.   While PLL’s early registration (prior to January) is generously low, our late registration fees are absurdly high and we will implement  an improved tiered payment structure for 2011.  Unfortunately, for 2010 our registration fees are based on approved budget projections and changes are not feasible at this point in time.  However, I promise you that I will not prevent any child from playing based on their parents inability or refusal to pay based on such fees.  Accordingly, any parent who wishes to register their children under the normal registration fee should contact me on my cell phone after 9:00 p.m. at 845-661-5709.  Registration will close on Monday, March 1st, 2010, for the upcoming season.

If you have or are willing to register your children for the 2010 season, you will be pleased to know the PLL Board is making every effort to make the 2010 season a great one.  We are making improvements at every playing level of baseball and softball.  Our focus starts with assigned training for Managers and Coaches.  Through a collaborative effort with The SUNY Youth Sports Institute, The Philipstown Recreation Department and Philipstown Little League, the PLL is offering a comprehensive certification course on Saturday, March 6th at 9:00 a.m..  The course will be paid for by PLL and is available to any Philipstown resident who coaches ANY youth sport.  Interested residents should call the Philipstown Recreation department.  Our belief is qualified managers and coaches will develop better children, not just better athletes.  Accordingly, the board wanted to ensure players have an opportunity to play for as many different management styles as possible. 

Consequently, a significant change is forthcoming at the Major level for baseball.  Players who have played at the Major League level will be appraised (on paper, no tryouts necessary) by managers who have knowledge of the players skill-set.  Minor league players wishing to move-up to the Major league level will have to tryout on Saturday, March 13 at 12:00 p.m..  All Major League teams will re-draft players from a pool of appraised players.  Our primary objective is to create competitive teams throughout the Major league level of play.  Our secondary objective is to provide players with the experience of playing under multiple management styles.  Changes are also planned at the Minor League level of baseball.  Pitching machines, generously donated by Harold Lyons several years ago, will be used by all levels of baseball for practice only.  Machines will no longer be used during games.  Consequently, pitchers will be developed earlier at the Minor level.  Further, base stealing will now be allowed at the Minor league level under a “controlled environment.”  Our primary goal in the Minors is to develop Pitchers and Catchers to prepare players for their future.  All players registered for Minor Baseball must tryout on Saturday, March 13th at 2:00 p.m.  All Minor League teams will be re-drafted from the pool of registered players.

At the Junior Minor and T-Ball divisions for baseball & softball our focus once again is manager and coach development.  Parents of Junior Minor and T-Ball age players willing to volunteer as a coach will be provided with the training tools necessary to develop this important group of athletes.  Interested parents should contact me at 845-661-5709 as soon as possible.  I want to make sure this group of kids is not lost as we build our league – they truly are our future.  Parents should note there are no tryouts for junior minor baseball and t-ball.  However, there will be tryouts for ALL softball players on Saturday, March 13th at 5:00 p.m.  In regard to softball we are committed to provide our very talented group of girls with the opportunity to play at an age appropriate level.  We realize some mistakes were made in 2009 and we are addressing them.  Again,  there will be tryouts for ALL softball players on Saturday, March 13th at 5:00 p.m.

 Improvements in 2010 will not be limited to personnel and player improvements.  The PLL board is also looking into low-cost/high-benefit capital improvements for the upcoming season and beyond.  For the 9D fields we will be working in partnership with the Haldane School district to improve the 9D baseball and softball facilities.  Items currently being discussed are dug-out storage for the lower field, new backstop and/or netting for the lower field, conversion of the concession stand to a much needed storage building, improved storage for the upper field and perhaps new dug-outs for the upper field.  Additionally, PLL will work with the Garrison school to improve their playing field.  Items currently under discussion are installation of new breakaway bases and relocation of the current backstop improving the soccer/lacrosse layout for the field.  Unlike many little leagues, Philipstown does not own its own fields.  Thus, having excellent working relationships with property owners, North Highlands Fire Department, Haldane Schools, Garrison School, and Philipstown Recreation is critical.

Our relationship with other sports and school programs are important as well.  For example, PLL is working with Highlanders Lacrosse to ensure multi-sport children have an opportunity to play in as many baseball and LAX games without fear of being penalized by coaches.  Both programs understand child development has a high priority than player development.  Every attempt will be made to limit baseball and LAX conflicts.  After all some baseball coaches are also lacrosse coaches.  I hope I was able to convince some more kids to register based on this article.  Please check the Philipstown Little League regularly for updated information on registration information, tryouts, clinics (Saturday evenings in March), and more.  Thank You for your support of the Philipstown Little League.


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