If one were to take an 8 to 12-year-old child and dress him or her in summer clothing and send that child to stand outside for two hours in 39 degree weather that is spitting rain and accompanied by a 20 mph wind out of the east, would that be child abuse?
If your answer is "yes," welcome to this past Monday night of Little League in Billings. I coached Little League ball for eight years, and every year, I realized that the whole program was, and still is, dedicated to All-Stars. By July 1 each year, baseball is over in Billings for all but 15 players in each league.
The idea is to get these 15 kids to win the National Little League Finals against kids from California, Mexico and other countries where children can play 12 months a year. What are the odds of that happening? I've always felt that Little League-aged baseball in Billings should start when school gets out and be played throughout the summer, culminating in a city championship.
How many future ballplayers are we discouraging, forcing them to play a summer sport in winter? Maybe someone, much younger than I, will realize the disservice we are doing to these young children and start a City League. I'm willing to bet that within 15 years, it would make the present Billings Little League system obsolete. To all those grandparents who sat through last Monday's games, I think there could be a case made for elder abuse, also.