Friday, January 4, 2008

For the Betterment of Baseball

We received a pretty nasty e-mail two weeks ago from a high school coach in California about our position on travel teams, showcases, and college camps. We were shocked!!! He went on to say that he tells his kids that they are not allowed to play on travel teams, go to showcases and attend college camps. He also said he was tired of receiving phone calls from college recruiters on underclassmen that haven't proven anything to HIM yet! He believes that High School baseball was all that his players needed to play at the next level.

So, we set out to find out more about this coach. We looked up his high school and they are pretty high profile and competitive in a tough league. Here's the shocking part...Over half of his players play on travel teams and attend showcases and camps. It took us some time to research this, but we Googled past and present players and they showed up on all sorts of Perfect Game, and Team One sites, as well as local papers that covered their summer teams. From what we were able to find out, about eight players from past graduating classes are presently playing in college or junior college...not bad, but all of these players were the players we googled and played travel, was it the travel ball or the high school that was the catalyst in getting these players to the next level? We do know that in California, 98% of all of the NLI signees this year played on a competitive travel team...but our answer is...It was both!!! And that has been our stance all along. High school and travel ball are equally important.

What's shocking is that this high school coach has no idea what his players do after the high school season ends...He thinks they don't play in showcases and travel teams and we found out that they do. This coach is also a full time teacher and coach, so we don't blame him for wanting a summer break, but to discourage his kids to seek out better baseball and expose themselves to college recruiters is inexcusable. His other gripe was the cost involved in these summer programs...and we all wish it was cheaper. But, good travel ball just isn't that way anymore. It hasn't been for some time. Some are less expensive than others, but the tourney fees are all the same, so no matter if there are coaches fees or not, there will be a cost to play good competitive baseball. It's that way in basketball, volleyball, golf, s****r and even football. Baseball is no different.

This is a prime example of why it is very, very, very important for all high school coaches to be on the same page with the state of today's recruiting environment. We have been e-mailing high school coaches nationwide introducing them to our site and to this point the responses we have been getting from high school coaches has been positive. Therefore, we assume that most coaches are aware of the importance of a well rounded baseball program that includes both high school and a competitive summer team. In fact, we can name about 250 high school coaches nationwide that help coach a summer travel team. I'm sure there are more than that. But, we also know that there are still a handful of coaches that still harbor an animosity towards any top level summer team...and we will give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they have not yet been approached by their players travel coaches about the benefits of this synergistic relationship. In the instance of the high school coach that e-mailed us, we contacted a travel coach and told them to set up a meeting with him...The meeting is in two there is hope...all for the betterment of baseball!!

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