I don't think baseball culture has changed that much in the 2+ years since UL was ranked #1 in the country.
If a kid has the skills and the desire to play college/pro ball, it will show up in High School. We don't need to turn them into pro players at 12. We should be instructing, but the focus should be on keeping community leagues intact and ensuring the kids are having fun and solidifying their love of baseball.
You're right. All the parent has to do is say NO. It starts with me, and this is why my girls will never be on travel teams.
I think you are right that if a kid has enough talent he/she should shine through regardless. but didn't we see that problem with the Cajuns, that it helps to get more AB's or reps... granted travel goes way to far, so im not sure where the happy medium can be found.
another problem is, it cant be blamed solely on travel ball itself, as some of the great "municipal" parks and rec services we grew up with were probably facing cuts as well. so a void was developing on its own, without travel ball. I remember all you paid to play baseball was to pay five dollars for your own cap. (and you needed your own glove) but didn't need helmet or bat and gave the uniform back after the season. if you already had your own hat of that team didn't even need to pay the five bucks. and im not that old
All of you have a point in some regard, but too many of us want to cover all the nuanced problems with a blanket statement. Yes, affluence changes things. Yes, we've bastardized youth sports (not just baseball). Yes, coaches take advantage of kids, tournaments, etc. Yes, competing in REC league vs. travel ball has become an issue due to the lack of skill and/or knowledge of the game. Yes, other countries are out pacing us in baseball, mostly out of sheer desperation and/or sure will to get out of their shtthole countries. Yes, high school baseball is being ravaged by this modern model. Yes, bigger cities are impacted differently than rural areas.
But it all comes back to the adults. The parents that don't value their kids' long term health, or personal psyche. The scumbag coaches that would rather make some money or promote their brand over teaching kids the game, improving their lives or helping them experience highs and lows with graciousness and respect. Dad's trying to live THEIR dreams through junior and mom's hinging their pride on whether or not junior can get the ball out of the infield.
Our kids don't know how to compete, our PARENTS don't know how to handle their kid failing (or succeeding) and several things suffer because of this.
Good coaching is the key. Parents with outsized expectations and/or bad behavior should not be tolerated. It has not been tolerated by coaches in the soccer league my kid is affiliated with. In a few cases I have seen kids kicked off the team because of parental actions. I feel for the kid, but playing time is earned, not given. The quality of the coaching is why my kid plays select. Lord know she is way better than the last coach she had (me).
A recent quote from Coach Frank Martin sort of says it all..."You know what makes me sick to my stomach? When I hear grown people say that kids have changed. Kids haven't changed. Kids don't know anything about anything. We've changed as adults. We demand less of kids. We expect less of kids. We make their lives easier instead of preparing them for what life is truly about. We're the ones who have changed."
As a father of 3, two of which played Little League, Rec, and high school football, its not the kids (especially if they're motivated) its the adults and the parents who make all the difference...71's 4 years of high school football were the best his high school had ever had...one huge reason was that we had a very, very, good group of parents. His Sr. year the team won 10 games including a playoff game. The next year, with a different group of parents and kids involved, but with the same coaches, that same high school won 2 games... Parents can make all the difference, both good and bad...I've seen both. So, I blame the parents...which BTW would be a great name for a garage band....
The scout team parents understood about earning playing time, their kids' team roll, etc. High school parents understood nothing, yet professed to know everything, despite watching their kids in organized baseball for 10 years. the high school teams we were involved with as parents were relatively successful, athletically and academically. I can only imagine what goes on on losing teams.
what is the definition of a "select" team and how does that differ from a "travel" team?
awhile back there was a team from Georgia that had previously been a travel ball team. they allegedly decertified as travel and then formed a sanctioned little league and I think won the little league WS, or at least were American champs. a team from Tennessee did the same but didn't have as far a run into the tournament but went to WS multiple times. luckily (for them) they lived somewhere that had no little league district at the time, so they were able to "draw" theirs to make sure entire travel team could be accomadated.
In soccer, the select teams in my time were determined by tryouts from within a soccer club. Now, within the soccer club, there are teams that travel. The select teams our kids were on traveled from Dallas to Pensacola to Memphis to define a radius. The travel teams usually remained in state.
Baseball, not sure. Have a friend that he used both terms regarding his son's team. Houston was about as far as they traveled.
Somehow, we have to get back to community/city leagues where the league champion or the all-star team from that league is the only team to travel from that league to play for regional championships against other league champions/all stars from the same organization.
Right now, we have a lot of insane, greedy, and foolish adults ruining youth sports and their own children's youth.
The sad part is that they are doing it for no reason as the vast majority of these kids will not play sports beyond high school.