Little League Baseball, the parent body of local Little League organizations, has changed a rule regarding eligibility that according to local officials could result in the need to merge or close local organizations such as the Conshohocken Little League.
In the past, if you lived in Conshohocken, you had to play in the Conshohocken Little League. There was a waiver that could be obtained to play in another league, but for the most part you played where you lived.
The new rule allows for players to have the option to play in the league where their school is located. So if a player lives in Conshy, but goes to a private school in another town, the player can now play in that town’s Little League.
The Times Herald did a whole story on this and interviewed the head of the Conshohocken’s Little League. Below is the part specific to Conshohocken:
The Conshohocken Little League is caught in the same pickle as Norristown. Conshy, which had 120 kids in its program last season, is also at risk of seeing players move to neighboring leagues.
“Our league is on life support,” said Conshohocken Little League president Charles Mascio, who has been at the helm for 10 years and on his league’s board for two decades. “If we lost 10 or 15 kids to this, it’s a death sentence for us.
“I called (the Eastern Regional office) and told them, we are a 1 square-mile town with a league of 120 kids in it. And he said now might be a good time to look for somebody to merge with. Are you kidding me? This could be it for us.”
Little League Baseball says that the reasoning is to allow kids to play with their school mates. The main fear on the local level is that the best players will be encouraged to play in other leagues, which will hinder their ability to operate smaller leagues. Basically you could see the best players choosing to go to a private school to play in a specific Little League that would enhance their chances to play on a team that can make it to the Little League World Series.
The article in the Times Herald ends with a quote from the head of Conshy’s Little League:
“It’s now open season on poaching,” Conshohocken’s Mascio said. “I know some people have approached our kids and parents. “And face it, the (other) leagues are not going to go after the kids sitting on the end of the bench. They want our best hitters, our best pitchers. They don’t want the 12th kid on the bench. They want the best players you’ve got.
“You hate to think that way, but it’s going to be all about tournaments. Everybody wants to get to the Little League World Series, and in reality, none of us are ever getting there.”