Baseball league changes due in response to survey


March 11, 2001|By LOWELL E. SUNDERLAND

ASK AND you Columbia Youth Baseball Association parents and players shall receive, among other things, no big bash for opening day this spring and no more "modified kid-pitch" league.

The changes come because negative reaction to those two events shone through otherwise positive results of a survey of more than 230 CYBA parents and players near the end of last season. Results are posted now on the club's Web site at www.leaguelineup .com.

Most surprising were the low marks given by 74 percent of players to the opening-day festival that took a lot of volunteer effort and drew hundreds for what appeared to be an enjoyable event last spring at Howard High.

"Given that the 2000 festival was about the best CYBA can do within budget and human resources," CYBA's site says, there'll be no repeat. Instead, teams will get right to practices and then games.

A "close but definitive" vote all but ended a two-year experiment with the county's only modified kid-pitch league. The idea was to speed up games and lower, from 9 to 8, the age at which players begin pitching.

But this spring, 7- and 8-year-olds will again be in coach-pitch leagues that, near the end of the season, will introduce the "kid-pitch" procedure. It calls for no walks; players walked by a kid pitcher then get two pitches thrown by a coach.

Favorable survey results mean CYBA 11- and 12-year-olds will continue using official Little League rules, the only county teams to use those rules. And use of parent umpires for those ages will continue; 85 percent of those surveyed thought parent-umpires were performing "adequately," and 35 percent gave them even higher grades.

Honoring a soccer mom

The Soccer Association of Columbia/HowardCounty is conducting an online auction this month with proceeds going to the new Polly Carlan Memorial Scholarship Fund, established to honor the late wife of SAC/HC President Jim Carlan.

Polly Carlan, who was 61, died on Dec. 13 of complications from leukemia. She was a true soccer mom, enduring since 1973 not only her husband's involvement in SAC/HC, but three of the Carlans' five kids playing in the program. Three grandchildren are on teams now, and two others who live in Frederick started soccer locally.

His wife, Jim Carlan said, tried to attend every one of the children's games until near her death. She saw her last game in November.

"She wanted to support her clan," he said, adding that the family is flattered that club members initiated such a remembrance.

The grant is intended, the committee behind it said, to go to a player who reflects what Polly Carlan meant to the club, including longtime support, dedication and sportsmanship.

Auction items include a D.C. United autographed ball (including signatures of several recently traded players), a Baltimore Blast autographed ball, tickets to D.C. United and Washington Freedom games, and sessions for individuals or teams with several SAC/HC coaches. Submit bids via e-mail. Details at SAC/HC's Web site, Donations also are being accepted.

Storied competition

This weekly page and column just shared a first birthday. The mission continues: To reflect the ample activity in Howard County in amateur athletics - some 35,000 athletes of all ages and skill levels, plus literally thousands more alumni and volunteers who administer, coach, manage, boost, officiate, sponsor and otherwise support the various organizations.

A year ago, we betcha in the initial Playing Around you'd be surprised at just how many sports countians are involved in.

Since then, we've reported on people in 35 types of competitive endeavor. They've ranged from a 5-year-old wrestler to rock climbers who are 12, to lacrosse players in their mid-20s, to 40-plus national soccer champs, to a 54-year-old first-time tennis titlist, to a croquet champ, 74, to - who'd have thought it? - a bobsled driver, 14.

We seem unlikely to hit 34 additional sports in the next 52 weeks, but we're not maxed out, either. So keep reading - and don't hesitate for one second to suggest a topic or person you'd like to know more about.

Call the writer at 410-332-6525 or address e-mail to

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