Former Baltimore Orioles manager and Hall of Famer, Earl Weaver, was quite the character. Browse the web and you will find many entertaining quotes and stories about Weaver. Here is one of my favorites.
“You can’t sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You’ve got to throw the ball over the damn plate and give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game of them all.”
The problem is that in today’s world of travel ball tournaments, this is not the case. You can try and kill the clock. The catcher can go out to the mound. The coach can go out to the mound. A player can take a little extra time finding his glove between innings. The batter can talk to the third base coach because he isn’t sure of the signs.
People can argue all they want about whether or not these methods are ethical. My point is that this can all be avoided by eliminating time limits.
Tournaments are about one thing – money. There is an entry fee for each team. Some charge an admission fee for spectators (parents). You have to stay in certain hotels because the host organization has a deal. Don’t even think about bringing a cooler because there will be a concession stand.
I have no problem with someone putting in the work and making some money for their program/organization, but don’t let what should be the most important aspect suffer – BASEBALL.
Take away the time limits. Let the kids relax and play ball. Let everyone get a fair chance. Play the game the way it was meant to be played.
Not enough field space? Start the tournament on a Thursday or Friday evening for local teams. If you have lights, play some night games. You can also reduce the number of teams in the tournament. Go ahead and charge more if you have to. As a coach, I wouldn’t mind paying a little extra if it meant I didn’t have to tell my kids to swing at the first pitch because we are short on time.