Little League Baseball and Softball in West Windsor Plainsboro and Cranbury NJ

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WWLL Board Meeting – November 11, 2008


Executive Board Members Present:  Kevin Chapman, Andy Lupo, Ron Russell, Jackie Stein, Ellen Vogt , Chris Thornton ; Shawn Panson 

Others in attendance: Brian O’Leary, Jeff Weinberg, Nick Schiera, Dan Weber, Steve Lichtenstein, Bill Kramer, Dana Panson

[meeting called to order by Andy Lupo at 7:38 p.m.]

Minutes.  Approved minutes of the October Board meeting.

Treasurer’s Report  Fiscal year (Starting October 1) to date report through November 7.  Cash flow is negative at the moment, but during the fall there is little income and still some expenses.  A few expenses are payments in advance for things like PSE&G.  Shawn is moving cash into money market when surplus exists.  All bills are paid (that Shawn knows about).  Total cash position of the league is still fine.  Tax return was filed timely (by Chris) and we may be due a small refund on tax return.  Clinic money ($3500) has gone a long way to defray the costs of the clinics.  Consideration of whether to consolidate sessions where we have fewer kids registered to cover the $75/hr. cost of the instructors.  Shawn will work on breaking out the expenses more clearly on future financial reports. 

            So far, we are not seeing any drop off in the percentage of concession buy-outs at the new ($50) rate this year.  Registration fees are starting to come in now and we will see that on next month’s report.

            Will create a youth umpire payment form that the umps will fill out and send in with total amount due to make it easier for Shawn to cut and send checks.


Registration & Calendar Items  [Linda was absent] Andy reports that flyers have been distributed to the schools (and some have already come home).  Web site registration is up and running.  No date yet up on the site for Trenton Thunder outing. Price this year will stay the same ($10.00)  Some have already registered (and some have already paid the concession stand buy-out).  Andy will work with Trenton Thunder group sales to find a date, most likely a Friday night.  Registration will close for Majors at year-end.

            Also need to schedule the photo day for the league calendar.  Want to have pictures taken by beginning of May so that we get pictures back for end of May (instead of awards day).

            Umpire Registration:  Will be up on the web site shortly.

Board Positions  List is available on the web site of positions that need to be filled.  Ellen reports some progress on soliciting volunteers and getting information out to coaches for memorial awards.  

            Critical position is Sponsorship – need a volunteer to coordinate sending out letters to former sponsors and following up with local businesses who are sponsors of the Little League. 


Volunteer Bonds  Still issuing refunds for volunteers who have recently fulfilled their obligations.  Shawn will be sending out some checks in the near future.  Expect that next year will run smoothly with new volunteer taking over the monitoring process.


Player Agent  Jackie sent out notices asking for evaluations from fall ball (managers and coaches).  Working on getting download of information from the web site/survey.


Fall Ball  Generally good feedback concerning the fall ball program.  Well organized.  Kids had fun.  Softball also had good feedback.  Some suggestion for a little more practice time for kids who need some instruction, instead of only games, but contrary view is that fall ball is primarily about playing the games and having fun, so that practices during fall ball are not a priority.

Softball  Primary concern is to recruit coordinators – still needed.  Have post-season coordinator, but need in-season league coordinators for softball.  (Need to solicit among already active coaches/managers.)  Need Majors and Rookies coordinators. Could also use a clinic coordinator.  Thanks to Nick to jump in and help with the clean-up day on Nov. 9th.  League descriptions need to be updated on the web site.

Baseball  Chris reports that league descriptions are up on the web site.  Brian O’Leary reports for majors that we are working on determining number of teams and getting everyone back to register.  8-10 teams.  Need to determine managers after we know how many teams.  Brian will make preliminary inquiries about who might be interested in managing.  Need to nail down the dates for the January tryouts/workouts. Indoor needs to be reserved.  Discussion about how early to shut down registration for Majors so that decisions can be made about managers and number of teams.  Considering shutting down registration December 15 (subject to continuing to track down those players who played last year).  Don’t want to be unsure about managers in January. Can leave registration open, space permitting, but all parents who want to manage must be registered by December 15.
Chris reports that Minors coordinators are thinking about last year’s performance and making very minor adjustments for this year.  Probably will have pretty much the same format for this year.  For 9s who are interested in playing up, will have general tryout and invite 10s also, with managers to evaluate prior to draft.  System worked very well last year.

AAA will be most likely same as last year.  All 9s will register for AAA, with then some 8s will be called up.  Chris suggests that the parents of 8s should be advised that AAA requires more commitment and that marginally skilled 8s should not play up at AAA just because their friends are playing there if they don’t have the skill level necessary for that level (with all kid pitching, etc.).  Suggest that league description on the web site be updated accordingly.  (Discussion of whether anybody should be allowed to play AAA if they did not play AA as a 7-year-old.)

Only rule change for this year from Williamsport of note is that next year kids will be able to catch after pitching if they pitch fewer than 40 pitches in a game.  (Change from last year when players were not allowed to catch if they had pitched even one pitch in the same game.)  Will give greater flexibility to managers.

Note that any bat that does not bear the stamp of approved by Little League is presumptively an illegal bat.

Player Development Clinics  Ron reports that softball clinics are going well – batting and fielding.  Some shortage of 7 and 8 year olds for clinics.  Plenty of the older girls, but need to get more younger girls into the clinics.  Have six in minors level, ten in majors.

Seem to be going generally well.  Mondays are less populated than Wednesdays.  Pitching clinics are well-attended.  May need to consolidate some hours with two groups so that we don’t have 3-4 kids in a session – rather have 8-10 in one group instead of two separate groups of 4-5.  Discussion of options for changes going forward.

Indoor Facility  Will be having information sessions @ indoor for parents, running concurrently with clinics.  (reminder to let Andy know if any of the Iron Mikes are not working.)  Still working on the new card system for the indoor. Working on a software problem, and will be rolling out new cards as soon as possible.  

Projects  [no discussion]


Web Site  Bill reports on progress with the site.  Volunteers needed alert is on the main page.  League descriptions continue to be updated.  T-ball now has its own page.  Still working on all the “seasons” descriptions for the web site with overall view of the league.  Working now on league “rules” that are posted, so that they can be updated and consolidated so that the rules are consistent across softball and baseball.  Kevin will send WORD documents on baseball rules to Bill for review.  Want to do the same for weather cancellation policy and procedures.  Also want to consolidate safety plan documents and related materials from LL Baseball into one place on the web site.
            Also now working on site navigation so that there are multiple paths to reach the same places on the site. 
            Bill will be posting archival minutes of Board meetings.  (The hard copy binders will be put into the indoor for eternity.)
            Bill would like Jackie to submit a general description of the Player Agent in order to have something on the web site so that people will know where to go if they have an issue.
            Still working with Demosphere on some technical site navigation tools that they are willing to modify for us, if we are willing to pay a small fee ($200).  [Approved]  Have had some slowness issues with Demosphere and the site got better after they changed us to another server.
            Question about giving access to league coordinators to certain aspects of information on the web site and also allowing coordinators to have access for modifications and postings during the season. System should be able to allow access to individual leagues for coordinators.  Will work on granting access.

           Discussion of pros and cons of Demosphere and why we are paying so much ($6000 per year) and getting so little.  The e-commerce functions of Demosphere are very good and much better than the old web site (League Lineup).  But, site functionality is not good and they have not updated and customized for us.  If we are going to dump Demosphere next year, we’ll have to do it before next September so that we have coordinated solution before next year’s registration starts.  

Equipment  Dan reports that ball shipment came in, we should be pretty good on balls for the upcoming season.  Discussion about how to best use up the old supply of white softballs, which we are not going to use for games from now on.  Coordinators don’t think they should be used for practice, because they feel and look differently.  Discussion of options including using them in the indoor for Iron Mike (softball).  Dan will investigate whether other options exist for disposing of the old white balls.

            Dan will contact Pete Furman about donating some old equipment that we no longer use.  Ellen recommends that there is an equipment donation organization listed on the Trenton Thunder web site we can investigate.

Comments/Public Issues 

            Movie night. – Comment about last year’s snafu regarding the projection system.  The guy who provided the system last year offered to do it again for free this year in order to make up for problems last year.  (seems like a good idea if it’s free).  Discussion of whether to do it on a Friday vs. Saturday night.  Will be looking at dates.

             Background checks.  Question about how parents in the league know that the coaches have done a background check.  Suggestion that coaches/managers be issued an ID card that verifies that the coach has been checked out.  Some football leagues have such a system.  Possibility of posting names on the web site of all coaches/managers who have been cleared.  Problem with having cards is that there needs to be some enforcement of the system.  On the other hand, would allow coaches/managers to require parents to be able to show card to prove their background check before being allowed on the field with the kids.  {continued discussion of benefits/uses for having ID cards issued for parents who have had background checks.}

            Coach’s shirts  Follow-up discussion about cutting costs by not issuing coach shirts to every coach on every team – only those who need a new one.

            Announcing Booth.  Draft of announcing booth procedures distributed for discussion.  Discussion of need for adult supervision in the booth.  Possibility of making the booth duty part of formal volunteer commitment.  Problem with kids running around in the booth and leaving after an inning, etc.  Idea is to have a responsible adult who is responsible for the booth for each game.  

            Post-Season team selection policies.  Tabled until next meeting.  Will put on agenda for next meeting in advance for public comment.

            District Tournaments.  We have until next month to decide whether we want to volunteer to host any of the district or sectional post-season tournaments, as well as hosting a “house” tournament for district 12 teams after the district tournaments are over.  Would need tournament director (parent volunteer) to take the lead.  Will guarantee that that team (e.g., 9s) would play entire tournament at Ward Field, which is convenient, but needs league coordination.

            We will host “house” 8-year-old softball tournament.  Ron would like to host 9/10 Softball districts.  We may put in for the 11/12 district tournament.  If we don’t get the 12s, we can always volunteer for the 11s.


[end 9:22 p.m.]


NOTE:  Registration Information Nights – November 12 and Dec. 10 @ Indoor Facility 

Next Board meeting Tuesday, December 9th @ Municipal Center