Sunday, December 21, 2014

Disbanding Babe Ruth

5/3/2013

The decision to disband the Babe Ruth in Ottawa was not made lightly or without much regret.

There have been some issues facing the league the past few years: lack of volunteers and public support, declining player numbers due to other baseball playing options, and stringent rules. It was due to the rule regarding players residing outside the Ottawa school district’s geographical boundaries that was the final straw. If the league were to continue, seven players and three coaches would not have been able to continue to play in Ottawa as they have in years past (due to West Franklin forming a Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken leagues).

The decision to disband the Babe Ruth in Ottawa was not made lightly or without much regret.

There have been some issues facing the league the past few years: lack of volunteers and public support, declining player numbers due to other baseball playing options, and stringent rules. It was due to the rule regarding players residing outside the Ottawa school district’s geographical boundaries that was the final straw. If the league were to continue, seven players and three coaches would not have been able to continue to play in Ottawa as they have in years past (due to West Franklin forming a Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken leagues).

There still will be baseball in Ottawa — the Ottawa Recreation Commission is running a recreation league now, and all teams that were created with all the players who registered have not changed and will continue for this season. There are other choices for players wishing to play more competitive baseball. This was about giving any and all kids who want to play with their friends and classmates the opportunity to do so in Ottawa.

This is not to say that some interested parties couldn’t restart Babe Ruth in the future. In fact, I challenge anyone here to do so. In recent months there have been league meetings where there were fewer than a dozen people in attendance.

To blame the volunteer coaches and board members for the fate of the league is unfair. These individuals have devoted countless hours to the youth of our community and deserve everyone’s thanks, not blame or criticism. I have served as league secretary for the past three years and supported the league for many more years.

What happened is sad, but the decision was made for the benefit of every kid — now and in the future. Thank you.

— Tim Hough,

Ottawa Babe Ruth League baseball board secretary

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