Tournament Teams

Birmingham has "Tournament" Baseball Teams, the Birmingham Bulldogs (8U,9U,10U,11U, 12U) which are designed to be for those players who wish to play more baseball than Birmingham Little League (BLL) provides.  These teams are not necessarily the same team(s) as the BLL All-Star teams, which are chosen toward the end of the BLL house league season.  However, sometimes the two teams are identical and the intent is to further the development of the All-Star team.  We hope the following information helps you understand the process in order to determine whether this is an appealing opportunity for your child:

  1. What is meant by "Tournament" Baseball – This team follows the tradition of other Birmingham "Tournament" teams formed originally in 2004 at the 9U level. Those teams provided an alternative baseball experience for the young baseball players of the Birmingham area, with the idea that each team would:

·         Continue to play together for several years

·         Gain valuable experience through extra games against excellent competition

·         Increase baseball savvy by attending practices which concentrate on improving skills, strategy and knowledge.

  1. What about Little League? The "Tournament" program is subordinate to BLL.  All tournaments/games will be scheduled not to interfere with the BLL schedule. This program is the foundation of our Little League All-Star Tournament Team.  Every "Tournament" team player must play in Birmingham Little League’s regular season. Please understand that even though we consist of Birmingham Little League players & coaches, we are not affiliated financially or organized with BLL.   
  2. Is this a true Travel Team? -  While we will train some in the winter and travel to tournaments on selected weekends, this is not a travel team in the sense of playing 50-60 games during a summer, which travel teams in other communities do.  At this age, our "Tournament" Team concept allows for more baseball for a select group of kids and helps prepare the group for the Michigan Little League tournaments in all of our age groups..
  3. Practice Time – We may have fall practices on Sundays as long as the weather permits. In addition, we have secured a winter practice facility where we will schedule one practice a week for 2 hours, beginning in January through mid March. (excluding the Birmingham Schools Mid-Winter break week) until practice sessions begin for the BLL. At that point we will schedule our practice times, probably on Sunday afternoons.
  4. Tournaments – The tournaments are scheduled throughout the year during the period of April through July. Most of our Tournament teams play 4-5 tournaments. 
  5. Playing Time – Most tournaments have structured playing time, i.e. minimum of 3 innings for all players on the roster; all players present must be in the batting order, etc... We plan on playing all of the players during the tournaments and at various positions until we get a feel for each player’s ability.  
  6. Roster Size -   Roster will be in the range of 10 -13 players.  Unfortunately, this means not everyone who tries out will be selected for the team.  You will be notified by e-mail and/or by phone if your child is invited to join the team, invited back for further evaluation, or not selected.
  7. Commitment – We do understand that your child may have commitments to other sports and we encourage participation in other sports.  However, to achieve our objectives we expect a multi-year commitment to this team and to baseball. We will attempt to accommodate our schedule too so that we have maximum participation.  Our feeling is once spring begins, so does baseball!  Most importantly, we ask that you keep your schedule clear from late June through July to accommodate the Little League All-Star tournaments.  After all, that is our true objective – success for the All-Star teams.
  8. Pitching – Each player will learn the proper fundamentals of throwing a baseball. We fully expect that even if they don’t receive an opportunity to pitch on this team, they will on their BLL house team. We will not instruct how to throw curves or any other breaking ball pitches. Our belief as a program is based on our ability to instruct the proper location of fastballs, the fundamentals of power pitching, and the mental aspect of a well-conditioned athlete.  We also use “pitch counts” and track pitches thrown during our BLL season. Protecting our players is first and foremost in our minds.  We believe in this philosophy and the excellent results of our prior ABT teams have reinforced this process.
  9. Vision - Our vision as parents, officials and mentors is to create an atmosphere which allows our children to have fun playing a game they love. At the same time, whenever you play a game someone must win. Why not do both?  Little League allows us the opportunity to play in year-end tournaments which showcase our area’s talented players and why shouldn’t it be YOU!
  10. Age Determination – Little League’s age determination is 8/31 of the year you are playing in.

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