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Can they Rename All Stars?

Original post made by Parent of a Player on Jun 25, 2008

Having been through an number of seasons with Palo Alto Little League I'm impressed with the level of play, and with the hard work and skill of many coaches. However, when it comes time for the post season 'Allstars' games, my heart always sinks when coaches choose their own children to participate, only throwing in another kid or two who might actually be 'stars' in terms of their skill level. When coaches spend the whole season putting their own children in the key play positions in order to increase their statistics, regardless of whether these are the better players, it fools nobody and brings the league down. When they select their own sons for the "All Stars" teams, it makes it a joke, even to the boys. Is no one at the league willing to take this on? Why not reward the coaches by having a post season, "Coach's Sons Derby" and save our League some embarrassment?

Comments (14)

Posted by Been there, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 25, 2008 at 2:17 pm

The age-old complaint from LL parents: "My Johnny is the best, in fact he is near perfect. Can you believe that some coach thinks he is not very good?!!!"

Posted by Another one, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 25, 2008 at 4:14 pm

The same could be said about getting onto Majors.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 25, 2008 at 5:19 pm

Just for the record, my son is a good player, but I don't feel he's ready for a real 'all stars' team. This is not about him!

Posted by Been there, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 25, 2008 at 5:36 pm

"my son is a good player, but I don't feel he's ready for a real 'all stars' team. This is not about him!"

Yes, indeed, this is the CLASSIC retort of the LL parents, who think their own kid got cheated.

For every kid who gets favored, unjustly, becasue his father is a coach, there are even more who get unjustly penalized, becasue his father is a coach, and the father wants to prevent any hint of perceived favortism.

This discussion, by "Parent" is SO Palo Alto!

"Parent" this IS about your kid. Grow up!

Posted by Little League Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2008 at 6:48 pm

Add to this the fact that the PA Nationals won the all stars superbowl with a player from EPA. Now if he was so good why wasn't he on the 12s all stars. Oh, they check residency with 3 proofs of residency and he would have failed. Superbowl wasn't checked. But why should EPA kids play on PA teams when they have their own Little League. The fact that he went to school here is irrelevant.

The PA American all stars superbowl team followed the rules, had to scrape a team together and were slaughtered by the Nationals.

Perhaps someone should check into all this.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 25, 2008 at 11:30 pm

Sorry Been There, You're wrong. I have watched a lot of good players get put out to pasture when their dad wasn't the coach. This didn't happen to my son. The positive coaching alliance is full of good ideas and principles that our league is meant to strive for. When coaches fall short, I believe someone should speak up, even someone who has not been shafted by the system. That is what I'm doing, although anonymously as I don't wish to end my son's baseball involvement.

Posted by Lttle League Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2008 at 8:55 am

I have seen many of the things described here.

Our family is not sport oriented enough to be coaches, but have volunteered in many ways (team parents, picture days, uniform collection, batathon) and even sponsored. Our boys are very enthusiastic and reasonably good players. They have never been on all stars and had to wait a very long time to get onto majors.

One point though that you seem to forget. The coaches are more often than not Dads of boys on the team. If these boys were not on the team, then the Dads would have no interest in coaching and probably wouldn't. This means that often they would have no coaches for all stars unless their boys were on the team. After all, what Dad really wants to put in all the required hours to coach someone elses son when his sits at home because others are better than him.

All stars is part popularity contest and part nepotism with a little skill factor thrown in. Sad, but true. Even though it has hit my boys badly and I don't support it, I do understand it. The boys who do well in Little League sadly are the ones whose Dad's are heavily involved and because the Dad's are/were good at sport, their sons are probably of the same genetic type which makes them pretty good too. It is just hard for the sons of us non-sporting types to do well and I am not sure there is anything that can be done about it.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2008 at 12:09 pm

Little League Parent, I agree with you. And I think it's fair that the coaches have a derby for their sons after the season ends. I simply think it should have a name other that All Stars because that is inaccurate and reflects negatively on the whole league, especially players who are excellent, but whose parents lack either the time or the skills necessary for coaching and therefore for electing them into these games.

Posted by John, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2008 at 1:06 pm


When my kids played in PALL, about ten years ago, I did not notice what you describe. I thought the all star players were the best available.

Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on Jun 28, 2008 at 11:02 pm

I have followed Little League and Pony Baseball from Half Moon Bay to Campbell and have attended Palo Alto games for many years. In my observation, there is a bit of favoritism everywhere, whether by coaches towards their own kids or league officials over their local teams during tournaments. However, I have witnessed Palo Alto coaches routinely place their own children on the All-Star teams over more deserving players. I have seen it in both PCL and Majors. Yes many of the coaches' kids certainly do deserve to be All-Stars and have earned their position on the team. But there are the few every year whose only qualification is being a coach's kid. I understand a father's desire to promote his own kid and the pride of seeing him succeed. However, it is a matter of honesty and integrity. Does the coach honestly believe HIS kid is the best? Is he making a concerted effort to be completely objective, grading all of the children on their merits, their quality of play and sportsmanship evenly? I think a kid who is not All-Star material and is not chosen by his father, though he might be upset at first, would soon view his father with a deeper respect than he would have otherwise, admiring him for his fairness of play and integrity.

Posted by Another Parent, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 30, 2008 at 9:04 am

Outside Observer, You make a good point about integrity and respect. I would add that a player who is chosen not on his merits but because his father is a coach is not being served well. He will grow up feeling like an impostor and believe that he needs someone to intervene in order to succeed. Although it can be a challenge, I let my children succeed or fail on their efforts alone. I'm there with the Gatorade and the encouragement, but refuse to cheat on their behalf. In the long run I believe they will be stronger and more confident, knowing they achieved what they did on their own.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2008 at 4:26 pm


I agree with you wholeheartedly. But, would you coach while your son sat on the sidelines.

I feel that what is going on is that most coaches are Dads and if their son didn't make it onto a team, they wouldn't bother coaching. Therefore there wouldn't be enough coaches and everyone would suffer. I am under the impression that this is a big problem. The American superbowl team had inexperienced coaches who did their best, but the only Dads who wanted to coach had to coach their own sons teams and sometimes they make the team when more deserving kids get left out because their Dads don't coach. Therefore the best coaches get picked to coach the best teams and their sons get in free gratis.

Posted by Another Parent, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 30, 2008 at 11:29 pm

Parent, I believe you're right about coaches dropping out if their son isn't on the team. It's unfortunate but unavoidable. For that reason, All Stars should be named something different as suggested above. They can't call it All Stars except the Coaches sons, or Some Stars, Excluding good players Whose Dad's Can't Coach. What if they just put an asterisk next to the names of coaches sons on the rosters?

Posted by Meritocrat, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 1, 2008 at 9:23 am

Another Parent: you say "a player who is chosen not on his merits but because his father is a coach is not being served well. He will grow up feeling like an impostor and believe that he needs someone to intervene in order to succeed."

Maybe. But nepotism can sure take you a long way, in despite of those feelings.

While America is much more of a meritocracy than many places on Earth, the current US President, for example, is proof that nepotism (in the face of mediocre ability) can get you (very) far.

It may be that Pres. Bush, in his heart, feels like an impostor and often requires others to intervene on his behalf, and that perhaps explains the psychology behind many of his most widely-derided actions and why he has leaned more strongly than any previous president on his vice president to make executive decisions. But still, he did get to be president.

And my guess is that, if asked, the President himself wouldn't say that the nepotism from which he has benefited (a legacy entrance to college, being repeatedly bailed out of business disasters by family friends and associates, a built-in political head-start as the son of a former president) has hurt him any.

Certainly, though, I'd agree with you this much: that even if a child might not acknowledge that his character has been negatively impacted by nepotism, and even though it is clearly still one way to get to the top, nepotism can dearly cost everyone else whose lives are affected by those elevated by nepotism above their levels of actual ability.

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