My grandson is on the 13-15 year old Little League team; his team is the only one in the league. They have to travel out-of-town to play other Little League teams.

The reason given for lack of turn out; Travel Ball. It appears parents would rather their kids play on the travel teams than on a local level. Why?

Well maybe because in Little League everyone gets a chance to play and some parents can’t see their future Hall of Famer sitting on the bench. Travel ball you are either good or sit on the bench. Or maybe the daddy who wanted to be a Hall of Famer but sucked at baseball wants his child to be what they weren’t.

Maybe it’s the scholarship path; college scouts and pro scouts attend the tournaments looking for young blood. I know of a lot of girls who are going to college on softball scholarships.

A lot of Little League games have to be rescheduled because players also play travel ball. But the cost.

I’ve been told it can cost a thousand dollars or more to be on one of these teams; plus travel, lodging and food. And if the parents and grandparents want to travel along with their siblings the cost is much more.

Little League was formed to give kids something to do in the summer; keep the kids off the street. And it lasted most of the summer with a week or two for All-Star selection and games.

Now the season’s end mid-June and only the best of the best get to compete in tournament play-offs.

Sports is becoming somewhat like our society; those who have it, get more, those who don’t get crap.



  1. Good article and I see your perspective. My two grandsons play Little League ball in Middletown and travel ball. Travel ball is the more challenging of the two and what the grandsons prefer. They get to play teams from all over the East Coast. I do have to respectfully disagree with your last paragraph. Travel ball is all about talent and competitiveness. My son, who coaches the older grandson’s travel team, would tell you, that if a kid has talent and is competitive, coaches of travel teams would be “fighting” to get him on their travel team. The only “have and have not” in travel ball is talent and coachability.

    • You used the word ‘challengilng’ which I agree of your grandsons; apparently they must be good ball players or I would assume they would not be regular players and would be sitting on the bench? Thus my point is the kid who just plays ball for the fun but is average or below is shut out because there are no enough of his kind to make up more teams and he gets shut out, no pun intended.

  2. Both of my children play Little league as well as Travel ball. Our family has been on both side on this topic. We have always been involved in little league but my children want to play ball as they love the sport. I don’t understand why these children that play travel ball are always a topic of discussion When it’s little league season. A lot of these kids do play both because the parents (like my husband and myself) understand that with out these kids there would be a shortage of kids playing.
    And as for the comment about a coach (father ) who wanted to be a hall of famer ??? Since when is it wrong for a parent to coach their child Ina sport they love? I was just out at a little league game where I see more parents complain and trash talk than travel ball.
    Yes little league is for the community and we support that, but my children are 11 and 13. I would much rather put my money into something they enjoy then having them into other things.

    • Don’t think anything was mentioned about a parent coaching their child; the hall of fame comment was directed to those few frustrated dads who couldn’t or didn’t excell and push their children.
      I cringe when I hear of parents holding down an extra job or two just so they can raise the money for their child to play travel ball. I don’t think that trade off is worth being home with your kids and spending quality time; just me. I’m from the old school.

  3. I too have been on both sides. I also feel that some of the shortage is due to the fact there is much more for kids to do now than there used to be. Alot play soccer, there are across leagues, field hockey leagues, etc. All sports now have travel leagues and it’s because kids get more instruction and games played than local leagues can offer. I have heard the argument that it used to last all summer, but now it lasts until June, well that is Little Leagues fault, not travel ball because they now start earlier and shut down the leagues sooner to start all the district, regional and world series tournaments. Back in your day they played 12-16 games during a little league season, just as we do now, I know this for fact because I have seen old score books from.the fays when my father-in-law, Gary Banks, was a boy.

    • Never indicated it was travel balls fault the Little League season has been shorten; you are correct it is the fault of LL; they desire to have the best of the best play in All Stars has shortened the season. I say the best of the best with toungue in cheek; to often the coaches son, not always the best player on the team, sometimes bumps a better player for their son.

    • I also coach girls fast pitch travel ball because, I do it because I love the sort and they need s coach to take the team during my daughters second year on the team. I also serve on the little league board because no one wants to step up and do it. My daughters play travel ball yo play more games, 60-75, in a year bs the 12rest they get in little league . They play little league yo play with friends that they go to school with and don’t normally get to play with them.

  4. Little League is a blessing to many families but when a child loves to play the game like my children do the short Little League season does not satisfy their desire to play. I am very content knowing where and what my children are doing on weekends. Playing the game the love so much!

  5. I have grand kids that play both travel and LL. I hear parents complaining all the time about LL. I asked my son in law how many kids were in LL this year. The reply was 300. Then I asked how many parents showed up to help clean the fields and the reply was eleven (11). How many parents help umpire and work concession stand. Reply not many. The coaches have to umpire each others game. These parents put in enough time as it is. My point I am trying to say is most parents think LL is just a night Day care center. The money they pay goes mostly to equipment. And by the way 300 Times 2 is 600 parents! And to make a remark on a short season. You can thank the LL All Stars for that one.

  6. I coached LL for 12 years and have heard these debates about league play us travel ball forever.Let the kid lead the way and play as much baseball as they want.Adults make the adjustment to level the playing field for all kids based on skill,desire and finance.

    • I can tell the author really doesn’t have a clue. Probably wasn’t very good or never played at all. You are talking about something you have very little insight of.

  7. Your article does really not make a whole lot of sense . I have never really wasted my time reading your articles but I had to take a look at this one after someone mentioned it to me. I don’t think that you understand what your talking about or someone has pissed in your cornflakes recently and made you lash out against travel ball . Could you explain the real reason why you wrote this article because I don’t think you have .

    • Mark thanks for your kind words. I will answer your email with more respect. If you are referring to my recent column in the STAR I stand by the article, and the facts I researched for the article. I was one of the first to organize Little League in Laurel, the first league in the county when we had kids galore playing ball from spring to the end of summer. In the last 5 years LL participation has dropped 20 percent. I played baseball before LL, Legion Ball and HS ball. My dad worked 60 hours a week, we came from a poor family. I would never think of asking my dad to take on another job so I could play travel ball.

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