Getting the Word Out: How One Washington League Is Promoting the 50/70 Pilot Program
The West Seattle (Wash.) Little League, with an eye on trying to keep players approaching the end of their careers in the Little League Division in the program, will charter the Supplemental 50/70 Pilot Program for the 2011 season.
The program the league is chartering is for 11-12-year-olds. Little League Baseball also offers a similar program for players who are 12- and 13-years-old. The basis for the program is to give players an intermediate step in moving from the from the Little League Division field (60-foot base paths and 46-foot pitching distance) to the Junior League Division where a regulation size field (90-foot base paths and 60-foot-6-inch pitching distance) is utilized.
In both 50/70 programs, the bases are 70-feet apart with a pitching distance at 50 feet. Last year, in the first season of the 50/70 Pilot program, in which the program for the 12- and 13-year-olds was the only one offered, more than 200 teams played in the programs.
“We were losing kids to other leagues, especially those in their early teens,” Mark Terao, the league President, said. “The board felt this was one way we could keep those players in the program a little longer.
“As we talked about making this move, it became more evident to us that this is part of the future of youth baseball, and if we wanted to keep the kids in our league, we needed to make this commitment.
“But, as with any new undertaking, making everyone aware they were offering the program was the first step.”
The league issued a press release on chartering the 50/70 program which was picked up by the local newspaper and by the busiest blog in the area. In addition, the news was posted on the league web site and the local league will e-mail its membership and make flyers available through the schools and community center.
“We have the best playing facilities in the area, and we are midst of making serious upgrades to our concession stand, restrooms, dugouts and storage area,” Mr. Terao said. “So we didn’t think that was the reason we were seeing kids leave.”
The league’s press release on the new 50/70 program can be found at: www.westseattleherald.com/2010/12/01/sports/west-seattle-little-league-will-participate-50- or on its web site at:
The league is anxiously awaiting its registration process in January.
“I think we have done everything we can do to make sure everyone knows about the new program,” Mr. Terao said. “We have high expectations that there will be a lot of interest in the 50/70 program.”
The league will not convert any of its fields for the new program. They plan to use fields that have already been converted in neighboring leagues for the 2011 season.