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Youth Sports and Politics in New Rochelle

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Youth Sports and Politics in New Rochelle

May 13, 2009 - 00:22
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Can anyone speak to why there is sooooooo much politics in New Rochelle's Little League Baseball. First to those so called COACHES who use a rig system so the best players are on their respective teams, do you actually think you are winning or accomplishing something of any significance. You're not. The whole system of who is on what team and which coach gets which players are a joke. The stupid part is everyone knows its rigged, the parents, the umps, the politicians, The coaches and unfortunately the kids. It is hard to describe or understand how these so called adults think what they are doing is some how good, fair or noble. There's ONE bogus tryouts just to see if there is a new kid the riggers didn't know about, then there's the practices, which, by the way, have some sort of "shit runs down hill" hierarchy, where certain coaches have the right to use certain fields when ever they want, if one is not high enough on the food chain then tough. There's no structured or formal training or instructions, especially on the written and unwritten rules of the game to the kids. The rules are loosely interpreted on the field, many times in front of the kids, in heated exchanges. The kids see, hear and understand all of this. By the way this is not exclusive to Youth Baseball.

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Thats all that bothers you. I put the title in all caps.
Well excuse me for shouting at you.

Robert Cox's picture

Clive,

The reader was just pointing out a policy we have against the use of all caps. The concern is contributors who try to attract attention to what they wrote at the expense of other contributors. If one person does it everyone will do it and the site reads badly. The same applies for people double and triple posting to get attention. It is not intended as a comment on the content you wrote in any way.

Ok.

To a certain extent you happen to be right. Since both Little League and Youth Baseball are 100% volunteers, I was wondering if you were a board member of either organization or a coach in either organization. These organizations have the same 10-15 people every year doing the grunt work. It is ususlly the parents who sit in the bleachers and criticize how the coaches are missing a puddle near second base after they left work early to work on the fields. Maybe if more people volunteered,new ideas would come with these people. My son left little league 9 years ago and it was not till last year I could get somebody to step up to the plate and run his former division. In these last 9 years I recieved plenty of comments but none of these people showed up for the elections. Thank you for your comments Mike Malpeli

Robert Cox's picture

Mike,

I ran a volunteer youth sports program here in New Rochelle for three years and I certainly agree that the lack of parental involvement can be a major source of frustration. I also coached Little League baseball and software. When my daughter broke her ankle at the beginning of the season I ended up coaching other people's kids for the rest of the year without any new parents stepping forward to help or even take over. Volunteering to spend more time with my own kids, I ending up spending time with other people's kids.

We see this time and time again with a wide variety of "volunteer" positions whether it be youth sports, school board, community groups -- the small number of people who show up and do the work come to feel they own the organization and treat every person who comes forward with a question or complaint as a crank or a threat. Deidre Polow summed up this attitude perfectly at the League of Women Voters school board event earlier this week. A voter asked a question about the size of the school debt, pointing out correctly that the debt was not listed in the proposed school budget. Rather than simply answer the question she began shouting at him that he should have been there when the bond issues were voted on in 2004 and then he would know the answer. It's 2009. He is a local resident who does not follow the ins and outs of the school board as Ms. Polow does. Why is it required that in order to even ask this question he is required (in Ms. Polow's mind) to have attended school board meetings 5 years ago. The real point of the question was to understand why the school district budget does not contain the level of details contained in the City budget. A reasonable answer was finally provided -- that the school budget follows the requirements of NYSED and NYSED does not require a breakout for debt. Had she been a bit more politic in her answer she might have said that it was something worth considering and she would ask Mr. Quinn about including an extra non-required page on debt for next time. And offer to get him a detailed answer on the amount of debt after the debate was over. It was pretty clear that Ms. Polow was suffering from the same feeling of ownership that anyone feels when they are "doing all the work" and "all the gets is complaints".

In the are of youth sports, we have a volunteer model. If it is broken then perhaps it is worth considering having the Parks Department administer the programs. I am sure, however, that government control comes with its own problems.

how does one coach "software"?

"...come on Excel, execute that formula - no errors!! great sum..we'll get that sort right next time!"

You guys taking the volunteer angle is missing the whole point. While there are some parents who complain too much, the mains problem still exist and you guys gloss over them by blaming parents complaining and new volunteers. New volunteers will now solve the problems of the structure of the Leagues. New volunteers will not somehow make these people honest or decent.

When as a coach you want a player disqualified because he is not wearing his/her hat or he/she came late or you pre pick all the kids one knows are the best pitchers or one is always playing and practicing on the choice fields, this is rigging the system. Volunteering wont change the crookedness and the bad behavior of the organizations.

What we need is our crooked City Government to have some real rules and stop their bias towards any particular organization.

What does city government have to do with volunteer youth baseball. Get off yourhigh horse and volunteer and make a difference. Mike malpeli

I'm not on a high horse Mr. Malpeli. You need to take of your blinders. You still avoid the real questions. I'm a dope, so tell me how more volunteers help? Mr. low horse.

Mr Crisp, like I said initially, you have some very valid points. However a minor league team should have one head coach and two assistants to be effective. Due to a shortage of volunteers we are sometimes forced to field a team with NO assistants and a head coach who did NOT sign up for the job. Due to the scarcity of people willing or unable to donate their time we are left with people who are trying their best but in reality are learning on the job. If half the so called experts who sit in the stands and critize everything and everybody would donate some time to the team and the league i believe they could make a difference. Hope to see you at the next elections. Mike Malpeli

Mr. Malpeli
First I will be at the next elections. Second I will not volunteer to be a Coach or an Assistant Coach. I have a full plate. I'm currently President of our Neighborhood Association, I'm a member of the Citizen Advisory Commission to the City Department of Development, I Own and run two businesses. That said.

These are the fact you're not understanding:
1. We have two primary Youth Leagues in New Rochelle. Our City Government favors one over the other.
2. The selection process of players, especially the position of Pitchers, is rigged.
3. The rules are loosely interpreted on the field when disagreements develop.
4. There is too much emphasis on tournament style and winning, there's not enough written and drill instruction.

I will stop there.
I'm not saying the league is not a good league or all the coaches are bad. The system needs changes to make it fair to all the children who take part in the league. We should have only one league in the City of New Rochelle. All prospective players should be selected through a type of draft system or even a lottery system, where the pitchers are specifically selected in their own system.
Solutions to the problems, which by the way many parents gripe about and know exist, is what I'm interested in. Volunteerism is just one part, the foundation on which that volunteerism is anchored is much more important.

Any for anyone who is going to comment on my drill instruction knock, I'm not trying to create the next major leaguer. The kids should however know how to score a game, how to log pitches, how to know pitches, situational hitting etc. This is teaching the game, not "we've got to make the playoffs" and the kids don't know how they got there or why.

Robert Cox's picture

Mike, I would encourage you to register for an account, login and then post your comments using that account; otherwise ANYONE can add your name to the bottom of a comment and claim to be you.

Will do, Mike Malpeli

As I have coached Baseball in New Rochelle I offer the following....
Its Volunteer organization with some pretty good people. However there are also some very frustrated ex-baseball players pushing to live the game again vicariously through their children. You will know the guy he is the one with the pot belly in the oversized shorts screaming at the kids. Just as its always the same good guys bettering the program it is also the same few bad guys behaving in a selfish self serving manner. The good far outweighs the bad. If you think Youth Baseball is bad try the world of Youth Hockey which is 100 times worse. My suggestion is get involved, become an assistant coach, work the score sheet or offer to become a team manager sending out the emails for game notices. Just as there are good and bad guys involved there are also good and bad parents involved. In the case of recreational baseball you can be sure that little Johhny aint making the pro's probably will have some good times and some bad times and in the end every kid I ever drove home from a loosing game was smiling 5 minutes into the car ride home.

typical coward cant put his name to his column.

Robert Cox's picture

Irony?

OK, Speaking of shouting, after 17 years on the school board would someone tell Ms Polow the basic premise of a microphone? You speak into it Ms Polow you do not eat it.
At the school board forum I think her defensiveness, arrogance and contempt came through pretty loud and clear with out having to be amplified. 17 years or so on the board is enough and another day let alone another 5 years is too much.

She stated that this budget was produced with the tax payer in mind. I almost jumped out my seat and screamed what about the other 16 you presided over. Cannot talk out of both sides of your mouth an not expect people to notice. Problem is not enough do.

As for Jeffrey Hastie, seems like a nice man but who put him up to this? This, to me, seems like he is being groomed as a city government candidate for the future. If that is the case he better work on his presense because the water bottle he kept drinking from showed more personality the him.

I think it is a shame parents are trying to feed their own egos instead of teaching the kids how to play fair.

Has New Rochelle Little League really changed all that much since my kids were in it ten years ago? They started out as babies, with t ball, and moved up the ranks. I can't believe I had an unusual experience in having some of the finest, most dedicated, KINDEST coaches and parents- encouraging every child, boy, girl, great hitter or clunker. There are always a few who take kids' sports too seriously. They were usually easily dealt with in the stands by other parents, usually with a "lighten up, man; it's a game." or something like that. I had coaches come up to me for years asking about my kids, and believe me, nobody in my family is heading to the major league.

Life is hard today. People are frustrated at every turn. A good example provides something to follow, and believe me, the kids are watching that too.

Some coaches had 'parents meetings' before the season started, explaining their philosophies and they way they would handle problems. They would ask that problems such as the perennial 'you don't play my kid enough.' be addressed privately. Usually the coach would give the kid (more importantly, the parent!) something to do a little extra work on, and inevitably things would move along in the right direction.

Interestingly, I've found that the kids themselves have a great sense of fairness, and usually balance the wanting to win with the wanting to play. A good coach does the same. I hope this situation improves, as New Rochelle is known far and wide for the quality of its Little League.

Of course kids baseball is political just like everything else in New Rochelle. I have to say that I did not like New Rochelle Little League.We didn't even get to the tryouts because we were very intimidated with the registration process.However, my son is having a very positive and fun experience in the Youth Baseball of New Rochelle organization.

how were you intiminated by a registration process?

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