We realize many of you are on the tournament trail at this time. But as baseball and softball enthusiasts, we are all looking forward to continuing the season as long as we can.
Fall Ball is a great way to extend your season and is a great time to learn. Some refer to this season as a developmental season.
Fall Ball is a great time to introduce players to new positions. It offers an opportunity for more skills training and, in general, provides a fun and relaxed atmosphere for the players to participate. If a player will be moving up to an older age division with a larger field, it’s a great time to get acclimated. Fall Ball is an excellent time for a pitcher to work on a new pitch as he/she doesn’t have to be concerned with stats and he/she can just focus on expanding their game.
Fall Ball is also a great time to coach. A coach can teach without worrying about his competitive side. And this is the time of year when coaches can devote their time to helping an entire team improve their skills. Reminder: You will need to conduct a background check for any coach or manager that is new to your league that will be assisting with Fall Ball and/or joining your program for the 2017 season before they assume their responsibilities.
Fall Ball games can be played in a number of ways; however they should be as non- competitive as possible. Let participants play different positions that they didn’t play during the season. You could have one inning per pitcher per game, allowing other players to take a try on the mound. And you should have a batting order comprised of the entire team. With this, you could have free fielding substitutions and add other rules to keep the game moving.
Babe Ruth League, Inc. will allow a 13-15 baseball league or a 16U softball league to include new players or graduating 12-year-olds that will be new to the Babe Ruth 13-15 baseball division or the 16U softball division for the season provided they reside within the established geographical boundaries of the league. (The 16-18 baseball division and the 18U softball division would follow suit.)
In the 13-15 baseball division, inclusion of the 12-year-olds who would be eligible to join Babe Ruth for next year’s season, can be introduced to play on a 90-foot diamond in a non-competitive, non-stressful atmosphere which ultimately will result in encouraging more 12-year-olds to sign up in the spring. Experiencing the larger diamond at the close of their Cal Ripken Baseball career is certainly a plus as they are coming off a successful season as opposed to facing the larger diamond after the long winter off. If your Cal Ripken league conducted or is planning to conduct a Major/70 program, this is an opportune time to have those players rostered on Major/60 or Minor teams experience the game on the 70-foot diamond in preparation for next season.
Two or more leagues may combine to have enough teams for a Fall Ball program. If you and other leagues in your district are interested in forming a “district-wide” Fall Ball program, please contact your District Commissioner. Babe Ruth League, Inc. encourages District Commissioners to run Fall Ball programs so it includes all or most of the leagues in their district. This concept has been found to encourage greater participation in Fall Ball as it offers even more flexibility and playing time for the players.
As for insurance, if the league has the coverage offered through Babe Ruth League, Inc., there is no additional charge as long as the number of teams participating in the fall ball or post-season program is not greater than the number which participated in the regular season. As a reminder, the group accident and commercial general liability insurance plans offered to the Babe Ruth chartered leagues have a policy periods that continues through January 31, 2017.
If a league wishes to conduct a Fall Ball program, the league president will need to put the request in writing to Babe Ruth League, Inc. Headquarters providing the details of the planned activities that will take place in the program. Upon review, they will be sent a response if their program is approved. If approved, they will also be required to prepare a new set of Official Babe Ruth team rosters and submit them to Headquarters.
NOTE: Babe Ruth League, Inc. does not charge additional charter registration fees for the baseball and softball teams participating in Fall Ball. However, all respective Babe Ruth League, Inc. Baseball and Softball Rules and Regulations hold true for fall programs with the exceptions noted above.
Fall Ball: Try new things, park your ego and have fun while learning or coaching! You may end up getting more out of this experience than you thought!
The Fall Ball Motto is: BUILD IN THE FALL FOR SUCCESS IN THE SPRING