Change the all-star tournament, please

Back in the old days when I played and coached Little League baseball, there was just one all-star team and there was no mandatory play rule, and the all-star tournament was single elimination.

Those were the good ole’ days, where every pitch meant something. Now, not so much. In the days of re-entry, mandatory pitch limits and a free pinch-runner every inning, it doesn’t take a lot to coach these teams. The only thing that gets interesting is watching some of these coaches try to figure out the pitching. I can see why the pitch count limits were put in, but I think the amounts are too few, especially at the 11-12 level.

I’m not a big proponent of mandatory play, because even on all-star teams there is a gap in ability between many of the players. Isn’t winning what all-star play is all about? Why should a coach be saddled with having to play everybody when he knows there are players on his team who can’t help him win.

Since coming to the state in 2003, I’ve seen two different all-star formats used in Little League, and I haven’t really liked either of them.

The first was pool play where the top two teams in each four-team pool moved on to a single-elimination tournament. The current format is double elimination, but it’s really triple-elimination because teams aren’t truly eliminated from the tournament until they have lost three games. After two losses, however, a team can only get to third place.

Why can’t the tournament be straight double elimination; two losses and you go home? Teams have been able to play up to six games if they can stay alive in the consolation bracket. What does third place get you? Not a thing. It gets you a pat on the back from family members and nothing else. Only winners advance, and that’s the way it should be.

District officials see the need to spread the tournament, at least for the three younger groups (9-10, 10-11, 11-12) out for a couple of weeks, which I certainly don’t understand. I would think the parents would like to either get some travel ball tournaments in, or better yet, go on a nice vacation before school starts. I think the latter is important when you consider schools are starting earlier and earlier every year. I could see things Little League’s way if more than one team advanced to state play, but only the winner goes on, so why play a bunch of extra games.

If you had shorter all-star tournaments, you could start the season a little later, like when the weather is better, and end the season a little later, when the weather is warmer. What a novel concept. Imagine playing baseball when it’s not 40 degrees outside or the wind isn’t blowing 30 mph.

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The recent probation inflicted on the University of Oregon football program wasn’t as bad as it could have been. The Ducks are on three-year probation because of recruiting issues, but they can still appear in bowl games during that span.

I don’t think that’s right. If a team is on probation, why should it get to play in a bowl game? What sense does this ruling make? None, but after all you are dealing with the NCAA, a governing body which rarely makes any sense.

And what about Chip Kelly? The coach bolted for greener pastures, as did ex-USC coach Pete Carroll, just beating the NCAA investigation findings. I don’t know about anybody else, but I think Kelly should be banned from coaching for three years. After all, he was the head coach, the guy in charge of the program. I’d love to see the NCAA and NFL join forces to punish coaches who break the rules.

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The Nevada Bighorns held their annual fund-raising golf tournament on June 23, and Pete Paul aced the par-3 12th, which was obviously the highlight of the tournament. Mike Petterson wanted to thank all the golfers who participated in the event. The Bighorns, who are playing in South Reno this year, are 10-9 overall and 6-4 in league. The team will play in Virginia City on July 4 at 1 p.m. against the Reno Astros.

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Former Douglas High volleyball star Emily Haas is leaving the area today to participate in the Korean Snd Volleyball Invitational representing the United States. The tournament is slated next week.


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