It’s hard to argue that competitive little league baseball is entirely working at local levels for several reasons. One of the deficits we feel most is the lack of finality in randomly selected tournaments that act as a season closer. Because most cities and states have a sufficiently fractured group of baseball programs competing for the same talent pool, teams never know if they are truly competing against the best of the best and any attempt to enroll in the tournament with the best competition is often a coin flip decision. The lack of unifying events in travel ball gives the end of season as unsatisfying an end as the BCS system has created for college football.
The Series is trying to change that by creating culminating events to enhance all of competitive baseball as to leave players with a clear view of where they stand in relation to their peers year in and year out. Further, The Series is intent on working with local programs to provide young players local and national events that work as a unifying end of season program to reward their hard work throughout the year. These events, called The Combine, The Challenge and The Classic are described in detail below.
The Combine consists of a worldwide network of elite baseball coaches and talent evaluators who see young baseball talent on a daily basis. Combines will be held in local areas. At The Combine players will be grouped by age and objectively graded on seven position specific measurements. These measurements will be available to each player and their parents online and will show how they compare against their peers locally, nationally and worldwide.
Based on performance metrics at The Combine select players are chosen at each age group and are invited to compete in a local 2 to 3 day tournament versus other players who also graded out at the top of territory. These local tournaments are called The Challenge.
The players who make it to The Challenge will be divided into several age specific teams to compete in a tournament. These best of the best All-Star teams will compete over 2-3 days to prove how they implement their stand out metrics from The Combine in live game action.
Talent evaluators will be present during these games to identify the top 18-22 players in each age group among the teams at The Challenge. These select few will be chosen to represent their territory in The Classic.
The Classic is a tournament of territorial All-Star teams whose players were chosen by talent evaluators from among the All-Star teams at The Challenge. These even better of the best teams will compete in a one week long tournament to pit their skills against the most elite in the world in that age group. The Classic will serve as the only culminating event of competitive amateur baseball in the world and create an end of season finality unlike travel ball has ever experienced.
In 2015 over 500 teams (56 in each of the 9 age groups) will be a part of The Classic in Fort Meyers Florida.
The Series Overall
It is hard to say if this novel idea will stick and the folks at The Seires have enough staying power to see it through. But based on our local experience with competitive baseball and several conversations with others in similar situations around the country, we think The Series is on to something that could be spectacular and, ultimately, give the Little League World Series a run for their money.
We are not the only ones to think The Series is on to something special either. The acquisition of Louisville Slugger as a presenting sponsor is a telling sign as to where one of the major brand names in the industry think The Series may end up. Additionally, Perfect Game, Badger Sports, Pro-Line Company, Wilson and Schutt are also on board. Leveraging such partnerships to fill a glaring need in the travel ball space may be just the ticket The Series needs so us baseball fanatics can finally have a fitting end to competitive baseball year in and year out.
To be a part of The Series you do need to sign up. You can get more information from them here.