Little League Adds 50/70 Pilot Program

Rumored to be happening for awhile now, Little League made it official on January 11, 2010 with the announcement that it would offer a 50/70 “pilot program” for 12 and 13-year old players beginning with the 2010 spring season.

“We have seen more requests for the intermediate-size field recently,” Patrick Wilson, Little League Vice President of Operations, said. “We are constantly looking for ways to provide more flexibility and to respond to the needs of our local leagues. For those leagues with the ability to create a new field for this program, or to modify an existing field, we hope this will be another way to provide an enjoyable experience for the families in their community.”

The PBI Baseball League has offered 50/70 at the 11U, 12U and 13U age levels for a few years now. In the past, players went from the traditional 46/60 youth field dimensions right to the bigger 60/90 field and found themselves in a “sink or swim” situation. Even for many of the better athletes, the additional 30 feet on the baselines seemed to go on forever, and it wasn’t unusual to see the frustration on a 3rd baseman’s face as he realized that he didn’t yet have the arm strength to make the throw across the diamond to first base. And sometimes that meant the end of a young playing career even before it started when players found the adjustment to the “big field” overwhelming.

The introduction of the intermediate 50/70 allows players a chance to play a more challenging kind of baseball – runners allowed to lead, dropped third strike, pickoff moves, etc. – on a field that isn’t going to overwhelm them the moment they step onto it.

This is a terrific move by Little League Baseball and we hope that the 2010 Pilot Program turns into a full-fledged commitment to the 50/70 intermediate field in 2011.

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