The 2012 Little League Regional Round Tables are in Charlotte today. Little League is visiting each of the five US regions to educate and get input from District Administrators (DA's) and Assistant DA's regarding proposed regulation changes for the future. Here are some of the more talked about proposals being discussed from the agenda:
Item 1 - Synopsis: "This regulation would allow leagues to register players who live in another chartered Little League’s boundaries, with written consent from both league presidents and the District Administrator." This seems to make sense - allow families living in close proximity to another league's fields or with close ties that league to seek approval to make the switch, regardless of boundaries - as long as the system isn't abused, with parents seeking out "better" leagues and league presidents making deals on a regular basis. I guess it depends on how strong of a leader the DA is.
Item 2 - Synopsis: "This would create a new baseball division with a 50-foot pitching distance and 70-foot base paths for 11-13 year olds." As I have said before, I am all for 50/70 - anything to back up the mound from 46 ft. But I think it should be a 10-12 or 11-12-year-old division. Too many 13-year-olds have conflicts with middle school baseball and would end up being part-time players. Leagues using a "property system" (where teams keep players from year to year rather than having a complete re-draft) would lose some players altogether. And I worry about the possibility of Little League allowing big-barrel bats in a 50/70 division. I think that would negate the safety aspect of backing up the mound.
Item 4 - Synopsis: "This would eliminate a Major player from fake bunting and 'slap-hitting' the ball." This would be a safety measure to protect eager 3rd baseman that charge too close. My teams have used this play in the past to move opposing middle-infielders out of position with runners on base. But I would be okay with this change for safety reasons. The problem is - how do you define a fake bunt attempt? And how do you define a full swing? This issue is more complicated than it first appears.
Item 8 - Synopsis: "This would allow League Age 10-year-olds to be eligible for selection to the Major Division Tournament team." Major League tournament teams (what we call "12's") are now an 11-12-year-old division. This proposal would add 10's to that mix. Seems extreme if taken in the context of today's Little League make-up. But if we have a 50/70 division for 11-12's or 11-13's, then the Major League becomes a younger, weaker product in many leagues, if it remains at all, and some leagues may need 10-year-olds to round out their Major League tournament team roster. I wish Little League would just keep things simple and change Majors to 50/70.
It will be very interesting to see what Little League decides for 2013. It appears that big changes are around the corner.