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Babe Ruth League The Right Choice

Babe Ruth League is the right choice for any community.  Why?  Above all else, Babe Ruth League, Inc. is the program where the player comes first!  In everything we do, our primary consideration is what is best for our participants.  The program is rich in history, traditions and values with a classic, enduring quality that is hard to match.

Babe Ruth League is an experience like no other.

The West Volusia Babe Ruth League (Florida) celebrated opening day in March of 2014 with free balloon rides, games, hot dogs and a new affiliation with the Babe Ruth League organization.  Formerly with Little League, spokesperson Rick McBride indicated Babe Ruth VolusiaLeague’s philosophy of allowing the local league to decide what’s best for the youth was a better fit to what they were looking for.  Another selling point was the fact that Babe Ruth League expanded players beyond Little League’s maximum age of 16 to include up to 18 years old. 

West Volusia now has levels of player for every level of player.  They offer a recreation program where every youngster qualifies to play and an Xtreme program for the best of the best to try out for a team.  Current membership is up to 33 recreation teams and 10 Xtreme teams. 

On opening day 2014, 415 youngsters wore new Babe Ruth League uniforms and ran an inaugural lap around the bases with smiles beaming across their faces.

The Lincoln, Nebraska Babe Ruth League feels that Babe Ruth Baseball is a great affordable option that offers select baseball and a schedule that allows families to find time for all the joys of summer. 

Joining Babe Ruth League in 1982 to provide youth an opportunity to play baseball in a fun atmosphere, the league was originally designed as a daytime, weekday league.  Enrollment peaked at 1,200 players with the league consistently carrying around 1,000 per year.  In 2009, the Lincoln Babe Ruth League became the evening and weekend league it is today.  The kids in the league are encouraged to play all positions and to pitch.  Coaches are guided and advised by former Nebraska Wesleyan and Lincoln Northeast head coach Bill Fagler and former Lincoln Pius X head coach Jim Hansen, who runs the organization.  Former Babe Ruth players are on many Lincoln County high school baseball rosters.  Hansen indicated, “Our program allows kids to be kids.”

Janesville, Wisconsin finds success with Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken Baseball.  While playing under the Babe Ruth Baseball and Cal Ripken Baseball banner, Janesville tournament teams have been traveling the state and nation, finding success in tournaments of their own.  The 13-Year-Old team participated in the 2014 Babe Ruth World Series in Glen Allen, Virginia.  The league added Cal Ripken to their league line up 6 years ago when they became dissatisfied with their 12-and-under affiliation.  12-and-Under play shifted to the new Janesville Youth Sports Complex, and along with the move came a change in philosophy.  The league became more committed to tournament play. Janesville

In the past, the league wasn’t really a tournament-oriented organization.  Cal Ripken President Dave Davis indicated that when their 12-and-under teams played with the other organization and due to the number of kids involved mandating more than one tournament team, they would play tournaments throughout the state, but were never eligible for the official state tournaments and were never able to move on to the World Series.  With Cal Ripken, they find it easier for their tournament teams. 

Davis also stated that the move to Cal Ripken made sense monetarily and for insurance purposes – playing Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken together means all the insurance is under the same umbrella. 

Summer means baseball in Virginia and this past summer was the second time around for a revamped Iron Range Babe Ruth League, whose purpose is to give 13-15 year olds more opportunity to play America’s pastime.

League President Mike Perala, with help from league organizer Tom Coombe said that the now two-division league has already increased from 12 teams in 2014 to 14 teams in 2015.  The quick growth gives young players more opportunities to be on the field, just as intended.  Each team has at least 12 players on their rosters. 

It has been working out really well.  The league originally chartered with the idea to get a structure in place to be able to play kids in other towns more easily.  The growth has also increased competition.  Changes off the field include more transparency with local media by supplying scores. 

Perala agrees that the reconfiguration has reaped benefits, which include regularly scheduled games and something to play for at the end of the year with a postseason tournament. 

Coach Parnell, who has been involved with the Springfield, Virginia Babe Ruth League for many years, was happy to say that Babe Ruth Baseball is the right choice for youth in Northern Virginia.  He has had the good fortune to also be involved with higher levels of baseball through his son Jonathan.  Jonathan has participated in national events for pro scouts, was recruited by many Division 1 Universities and has been scouted heavily by Major League Baseball.  Coach Parnell has also coached a High School franchise team for a top ranked program in the metro Virginia area.  These experiences have given him a national and local perspective that has helped many parents and players decide what direction to pursue in baseball.

The fact that a player wants to play baseball after the 12-and-under level indicates a love for the game.  What is the best way to progress in the sport?  How do you make sure the sport remains fun even as skills are improved?  Coach Parnell says progress will be made more rapidly by participating in an all-inclusive league like Babe Ruth Baseball. 

Coach Parnell recalls his son Jonathan, since the age of 12, being approached every season to join an elite team.  The case for these special teams was pretty much the same.  They were told that Jonathan would be playing with better players, receive superior coaching and get more exposure to the top people in area baseball.  Coach Parnell always left the decision up to his son, and the answer each season was no.  Coach always agreed with his son’s decisions for playing Babe Ruth Baseball.  They felt there were many talented players who participated in the Springfield Babe Ruth League.  And if they weren’t great at the moment, Coach and his son knew they could get better and most of the time ended up doing fantastic things on the field.  This fact added to the fun factor in playing.  It was inspiring to see improvement from teammates.   Plus, Jonathan didn’t want to always be around hard-core players, he wanted to be around and get to know all kinds of players.  He wanted to keep it fun and didn’t want something he loved the most to become like a business where he was being groomed for just greatness.   

On the issue of superior coaching, Coach Parnell indicated there were some very good coaches involved with the Springfield Babe Ruth League.  He further said that he has a great deal of respect for volunteer coaches that try to do their best for the team, and not just for a particular child.

Coach Parnell feels that players progress in baseball through innings, through playing time.  Clinics and individual instruction are fine, but experience in actual games is invaluable to players honing their skills.  Babe Ruth League concepts on playing time provides for more game innings for most players.

Coach Parnell stressed that Babe Ruth Baseball offers something else that greatly increases the fun factor for everyone involved.  Each game means something.  During the season, teams have the chance to win their division and enter into postseason play. 

Being involved with the Springfield Babe Ruth League has been a wonderful experience for Coach Parnell and his family.  He says he couldn’t begin to express the positive experiences his son Jonathan has had playing for his community league.  So many great people, so many great times, and an excellent atmosphere for a player’s improvement and enjoyment.  Coach Parnell added that he is grateful for a wonderful group of people that have helped his son progress.  A league that has prepared him for life.  A league that has provided him with many opportunities to pursue his dreams in baseball.

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