FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
(Click on Question Below)
Board Of Directors Questions?
How are All Stars Selected?
Who Are The Directors?
Board Directors are volunteers that have the desire to assist in the development and operation of Bakersfield SouthWest Baseball, Inc. Members of the Board put in extra hours each week, to attend meetings, perform manual labor during field workdays, and perform “Blue Shirt Duty” during games and tournaments. [Return to Top]
What Are The Directors Duties?
Members of the Board (Directors) put in extra hours each week, to attend meetings, perform manual labor during field workdays, and perform “Blue Shirt Duty” during games and tournaments. “Blue Shirts” patrol the fields during games to enforce league and facility rules, monitor coaches, teams and spectators for code of conduct, resolve game-rule issues, field complaints and/or suggestions from managers, coaches and parents, and yes, even empty trash cans and monitor restrooms.
Overall, we, as directors volunteer and strive to make BSWB “The Best Place To Play Baseball” [Return to Top]
Do Directors Get Paid?
NO. Directors put in the extra hours and volunteer their time only to benefit the league and improve the facility and quality of baseball for our players. [Return to Top]
Do Directors Get Precedence Over Others For Coaching Positions?
This has been a misperception for years. Managers and Coaches are selected, by the board, based on their experience, past history coaching with our league, and conduct observed during their games. Directors usually begin their careers as a manager or coach in our league. When the Board sees manager or coaches that go above and beyond their roles of coaching, we encourage them to become Board Members. At this point, they have already proven themselves as managers or coaches before becoming a board member. There have been times, in the past, where the board has NOT given a director a manager or coach position due to on-field behavior, poor coaching practices, etc. [Return to Top]
How Do I Become A Board Member?
If you have the desire to make sure that our players are given the best opportunity and facilities to play premier baseball, have the extra time and desire to donate your time, and sincerely want to help make BSWB shine to the rest of the Baseball World, then just talk to any director about your desire to be on the board. Check out the Bylaws under “about us”. It explains the process to become a board member, the duties, and the trial period for Assistant Directors. [Return to Top]
What Does The Player Fees Pay For?
The registration fees you pay do not cover the entire cost to run our league. We rely on Fundraisers, Donations, Sponsors to keep our league going, AND be able to make upgrades to the facility on a regular basis. The graph below shows the breakdown, in percentages, of where your money goes. [Return to Top]
CLICK HERE for Cost Break Down Graph.
I Have A Question That Is Not Covered Here. How Do I Get More Information?
If you have a question regarding issues with a division (i.e. Foal, Shetland, Pinto, Mustang, Bronco, Pony, Colt/Palomino), go to About Us / Organization / Directors and find the Commissioner for the division you are asking about. Click on their email icon (envelope) and send them an email. For general questions, not found here, contact BSWBinfo for more information. Someone will contact you shortly. [Return to Top]
Who Can Play In BSWB PONY Baseball?
BSWB PONY is for boys and girls aged 3-19. The Divisions page describes our age-based divisions. (Click Here for Divisions Page) [Return to Top]
What Is The Difference Between PONY Baseball And Little League?
BSWB Pony baseball is the largest youth baseball organization in the / Western United States. As a result, BSWB is able to offer two separate skill-level groups in each of the divisions. “A” Level Teams are for the more experienced players, and “B” Level Teams are for beginner level and the less experienced players. This allows BSWB to assemble up to 24 teams per division. All Divisions, play on fields at Aera Park. Practices, with the exception of the Foal Division, are also held on our fields and supplemented with fields at the local school district (after Spring Break).
PONY baseball uses “age-appropriate” sized fields for each division, allowing for lead-offs and stealing in the older groups. For example – Little League 12-13 year olds still play on 60 foot base paths and ar not allowed to lead-off or steal bases, as opposed to PONY’s 70 foot base paths that allow coaches to teach theses baseball fundamentals at an earlier age than Little League can. Check the document below for more information. [Return to Top]
What Major League Baseball Players Played PONY Baseball As A Kid?
How Are Teams Chosen?
Foal and Shetland 5 teams are assembled by their respective Division directors, with an eye toward rough balance and placing players on teams with other players from the same school or who have requested to be teamed together.
Pinto through Palomino teams, (“A” and “B” Groups), are formed through a draft. During evaluations each player is evaluated by experienced coaches and BSWB board members. After the evaluations are completed, the commissioner will combine all scores and deliver a ‘Player Ranking” sheet for coaches to use during a draft. Coaches select players from the pool of available players. The draft is designed to optimize the likelihood that teams will be roughly equivalent in terms of talent and experience. Each team is allowed two "protected" players (the children of the two coaches) who are automatically placed on that team, in the third and fourth draft positions. The “A” Group get to draft from the list first, then the “B” coaches get to draft, using the same format from the remaining players.
Do Siblings Play On The Same Team?
Yes, siblings play on the same team if the parents request it. Occasionally parents will request that siblings play on separate teams. [Return to Top]
What Happens At The Evaluation?
For 2016, we are changing our format from “Tryouts” to “Player Evaluation”. This will be a mandatory item for ALL players in Pinto, Mustang, Bronco and Pony Divisions. (Foal and Shetland will not need to attend). This is an EVALUATION not a try-out. All players make a team, no one is turned away. The evaluations are used for team balance and to assure your player will have the best possible baseball experience.
The kids are grouped by their assigned time. Together they go through a warm up, and then are timed on a 60ft run. They then proceed to 3 other stations for evaluation in batting, fielding and throwing. The batting is against a pitching machine and sometimes supplemented with a batting tee. They get approximately 5 swings. Players may use their own bat. One fielding evaluation is 3 ground balls batted to the shortstop position - the player fields the ball and throws to first base. The second fielding evaluation is 3 fly balls from a machine to the outfield - the player tries to catch the ball and throw to third base. The tryout process lasts about an one to two hours. [Return to Top]
Are There "Cuts" In The Draft?
For Regular Season, Foal through Colt-Palomino teams (ages 3-18), every player who registers before the deadline is normally guaranteed a spot on a team. Foal and Shetland (ages 3-5) players are assigned to teams by the Division Director. In Shetland 6, Pinto, Mustang, Bronco, and Pony (ages 6-14), evaluations and a draft are used only to ensure that teams are balanced; there are no “cuts”. [Return to Top]
Are There Boundaries For Bakersfield SouthWest Baseball?
The nearest PONY Baseball Leagues to us are Greenfield, Lancaster, Palmdale, and Indian Wells. Through agreement with all of our leagues, our boundaries are open for Kern County. Hart is within an hour, but at this time we don’t share boundaries. [Return to Top]
Do Many Girls Play In This League?
In the younger divisions, we have seen a number of girls sign up and play. Older girls do tend to migrate towards softball, however, so many teams in Mustang (age 9) and above will have no girls on them. But we do have competitive female players in every division. [Return to Top]
When Is The Playing Season?
Regular Season begins with evaluations early in January. Teams are drafted the following week. Coaches can begin practice the week after drafts. Our Opening Day Ceremony is towards the end of February with games beginning immediately after that. Our season will end with a Tournament of Champions and should finish before Memorial Day each year.
Advanced Baseball Teams typically start play in late February, and play through Memorial Day.
Post-Season tournament play (All Stars) can extend through mid July or even into August if the team is very successful.
Where Are Games And Practices?
Games and practices are held at Aera Park. Secondary practice dates for participating school sites are given to coaches and begin after Spring Break. Once the season starts, the only practice site available will be the school sites. Our Aera Park Page has maps to all of these fields. [Return to Top]
When Are The Games Played?
Shetland through Pony Divisions (ages 5-14) play two games per week, one during the week (day varies) and one game on Saturday. Colt-Palomino Division (ages 15-18) will be determined based on field availability, but may be required to play one or two midweek or Saturday games, or double headers on Sundays.
Saturday game times will vary from week to week, with games starting as early as 8 am or as late as 5:00pm. The day of the weekday games will vary from week to week; start time is normally 5:00 pm but will change to 5:30 pm after Daylight Savings Time.
During the pre-season, before opening day, most teams practice twice per week, on a day and time selected by the coach. After games begin, there will be one practice per week in addition to the games. Some coaches schedule additional, voluntary practices as needed, for example a pitching or hitting clinic. Teams are only allowed three “meetings” per week for the purpose of practices, regardless of the number of team players present. Games count as a meeting. [Return to Top]
How Many Games Are Scheduled?
The season is scheduled for about 16 games. We start in late February, take off the Spring Break, and finish by Memorial day. Rain-outs may be rescheduled by the affected coaches, if there is available time and fields available. There is a possibility, with a very wet season, that rained out games will just be eliminated from the schedule. Your coach/team parent will contact you if a game is called off, so always assume the game will be played unless you hear from your team. The website will normally have an announcement about cancelled games or practices due to rain. [Return to Top]
How Long Are Games Played?
Shetland Games are one hour and thirty minutes and will finish the last inning, but will hard stop at one hour and forty minutes. Pinto through Colt-Palomino will play one hour and forty-five minutes with no new inning started after that time (finish the current inning). There may be a hard stop time if the league feels it is warranted to get all games completed in a day. [Return to Top]
When Is Opening Day And What Is Expected?
Our Opening Day Ceremony is normally held towards the end of February. All teams/players are required to show up for this ceremony, which begins with a team announcement as they run onto our presentation field (#8) in front of the concession stand. After all teams have been announced, we normally have a young child sing the National Anthem, God Bless America after the Pledge of Allegiance. A guest speaker will say a few words and the Board of Directors are introduced. The “First Pitch” is thrown out by dignitaries, and the group is dismissed to attend the carnival with game booths, jump houses, etc. Teams will attend scheduled appointments for Pictures throughout the day. [Return to Top]
What Is The Minimum Playing Time For Each Player?
Our rules are designed to guarantee that all players get the same amount of game exposure (play time). They currently state that each player must play 9 outs (three innings) defensively per game. In Pinto and Mustang, there is an additional requirement that one of those defensive innings be played in the infield. In Bronco and above, that requirement is no longer enforced, but we encourage the coaches to move their players through the infield for experience as well.
Having said that, we understand that in certain divisions and games, that meeting this requirement is impossible, if you have 12 players and only play 4 innings due to time constraints. During our mandatory manager/coach meeting, we explain this to the coaches and recommend to just rotate the “bench-sitting” between all players, so that the total play time evens out as the season progresses. If you feel your player is not getting an equal amount of playing time, or is not meeting the “infield-play” requirement, you may file a report and email to the commissioner of your division, and/or the player agent, president, or vice president. [Return to Top]
Are There Post-Season All Star Opportunities?
All Star teams will be selected from the A Groups in each Division as per rules on selection under General Rules. All Divisions will conduct Try-Outs for All Stars. The format will be announced prior to the tryouts. [Return to Top]
How Old Does My Child Have To Be To Play Baseball?
BSWB starts our players at the earliest age of 3. If your player is 3 years old on April 30th, for the Spring Season he/she will play in, he/she is eligible to play Foal for that Spring (and also for the Fall Season preceding the Spring Season).
Is My Child Ready To Play Baseball?
We encourage all players from age 3 on up, to register and play baseball at BSWB. The earliest you can get them started, the better it is to develop the skills they need to be successful in High School and College Ball. Not everyone agrees with this concept, so Foal (3-4 year olds) is not necessarily the age you might want to start them at. But consider this, it is a proven fact, that the earlier you expose a child to anything, from sports to music, the more likely they are to succeed at it. Most Olympic champions (especially gymnasts) start as early as 2 years old.
Most young kids can figure out quickly the fun of hitting a ball and with practices to emphasize throwing, hitting, fielding and game knowledge, they will learn the game quickly. The goal is to provide a fun, positive sports experience in a safe environment. For most children, baseball is their first team sport and we are particularly interested in the experience being a positive one. At this age, children change tremendously over a year in physical and emotional maturity and waiting a year to start a child in baseball can have a huge effect on their experience. Whether they start at three, four, five, six, or seven, there is plenty of time to develop before the pro scouts start attending the games, but it never hurts to get them started early so they learn to love the game. [Return to Top]
What Equipment Does My Player Need To Play?
The minimum equipment needed is a glove. You can expect to pay $30-40 for a relatively good quality beginner glove made of leather (not plastic). Better quality gloves range from $40-200. Most kids (virtually all at the Mustang level and above) also need to purchase baseball shoes (about $30 for kids sizes up to size 6). Many players also purchase their own bats, which can range from $25-$250. [Return to Top]
What Equipment Is Supplied By The League?
The league gives each team an equipment bag containing helmets, catcher’s gear and catcher’s glove. In the older divisions (Bronco and Above) the catcher’s gear is only supplied if needed, as most players this age, who catch, have their own equipment. A hat and Team Jersey are provided and the kids keep these at the end of the season. [Return to Top]
Is There Any Additional Fundraising Required?
As explained in “What Does My Fees Pay For?”, registration fees do not cover 100% of the costs to operate our league. In order to keep our Registration Fees as low as possible we rely on donations, sponsors and fundraisers in order to provide a premier facility for our players. Each team should secure a Sponsor, who gets a 4’x6’ banner on the field of their division, and a sponsor’s plaque with the team photo and a thank you for sponsoring wording.
In addition, each year we hold a fundraiser with the proceeds going towards facility upgrades. For the past few years our “Disneyland Family-of-Four Annual Pass” raffle has been relatively successful. The money from these fundraisers for the past two years, have paid for the construction of the batting cages for our teams to use during practice and before games. A note here is that we were able to raise that money with a relatively low percentage of participation. For example, last spring, we had approximately 19% participation and raised close to $30,000 for these projects. Can you imagine how much we could collect and the upgrades we could afford, if we were to get even 50% participation by the players. This fundraiser literally sells itself. The first prize was the family pack of annual tickets for Disneyland (with park jumper passes) and the second place prize has been a 40” TV. For 2016, we will be adding many more prizes that can be won during this raffle. [Return to Top]
What And When Is Picture Day?
During Opening Day, we schedule each team for pictures. Coaches are given picture packets with the uniforms. Each player receives a team picture for free, then parents can decide which picture packets they would like to purchase. [Return to Top]
When Will I Be Notified Which Team My Player Is On?
The week of Drafts, you should be contacted by the coach who drafted your player. He will let you know when the first day of practice is, any parent-coach meetings, etc. For Foal and Shetland 5 Divisions, the coaches will be given their team assignments from the commissioner of that division. [Return to Top]
I'm Interested In Coaching, What Should I Do?
You may register to coach or manage a team by using the online registration for Manager/Coach, and clicking on the “201X Season” Tab and then the Registration Tab. When filling out the registration form, be sure to indicate which position (Manager/Coach) you would like, and note if there is someone you would like to coach with. It definitely helps to “know baseball”, but knowing how to deal with and motivate young players is equally important. We hold mandatory training clinics for coaches and provide links on line for assistance with planning materials. Many parents doubt their ability to coach, but most who volunteer find the experience rewarding and return as coaches the following year. Our desire is to get one head coach (Manager) and one assistant (Coach) officially signed-up for each team. If you would like additional information or have questions, please contact the Division Commissioner. [Return to Top]
"I've never coached baseball, or any sport for that matter, I don't know what to do"
The truth of the matter is, if you can make things fun for kids, and maintain some resemblance of control over them (haha), you can be a coach. Everyone knows the basics of baseball, the particulars to actually coaching it are easy enough to learn. As the league president, having a very short baseball career in HS (early injury), I decided to coach my son's little league team back in 1990, and had no clue about coaching a player to become skillful. I did some research and found videos (yes VHS), about coaching Hitting, Fielding, Strategy, and Drills to use to teach youth players. By the way, the first season I coached, we took 2nd place in our division. Today, we have the internet at our fingertips, and believe me there is a great wealth of information, drills, skills, strategies, practice plans, etc. to turn any novice into a great coach. A ll you need is the desire!! I'm just about done with my second time around coaching(grandson is 18), and looking forward to the third cycle (6 yr old grandson).
BSWB will also be holding some mandatory coaching clinics to help give you the info you need to run a successful practice and do well in your division.
We need your help to make BSWB "The Best Place To Play Baseball".... it's all about the volunteers....that make it "all about the kids"!!
Why Is There A Shortage of Coach-Volunteers?
Every year, we go through the process of registering players, holding evaluations (formerly tryouts) and holding drafts to select our teams, and every year, at the last minute, we need to start looking for managers and coaches.
There always seems to be a shortage of volunteers to coach our young players. We get a lot of reasons or excuses for this when we ask.....
1). "If I volunteer and get selected as a "B" coach, my player won't have the opportunity to get selected in the "A" Division." We seem to need more coach volunteers in the B divisions. It is understandable that we all want our players to be selected in the A divisions, but there are limited spaces available. One way to make sure your player is on a team you would want him/her to play on, is to volunteer to become a coach. If they make an "A" team, volunteer to be an assistant coach. If they don't, they you will have your first "best player" for your own team.
2.) "I've never coached baseball, or any sport for that matter, I don't know what to do". The truth of the matter is, if you can make things fun for kids, and maintain some resemblance of control over them (haha), you can be a coach. Everyone knows the basics of baseball, the particulars to actually coaching it are easy enough to learn. As the league president, having a very short baseball career in HS (early injury), I decided to coach my son's little league team back in 1990, and had no clue about coaching a player to become skillful. I did some research and found videos (yes VHS), about coaching Hitting, Fielding, Strategy, and Drills to use to teach youth players. By the way, the first season I coached, we took 2nd place in our division. Today, we have the internet at our fingertips, and believe me there is a great wealth of information, drills, skills, strategies, practice plans, etc. to turn any novice into a great coach. A ll you need is the desire!! I'm just about done with my second time around coaching(grandson is 18), and looking forward to the third cycle (6 yr old grandson).
BSWB will also be holding some mandatory coaching clinics to help give you the info you need to run a successful practice and do well in your division.
We need your help to make BSWB "The Best Place To Play Baseball".... it's all about the volunteers....that make it "all about the kids"!!
What Opportunities Are There For Parents To Assist The Coaches During The Season?
Managing/Coaching a team is a time consuming and demanding job. Coaches need your help, as parents in handling fundraisers, pictures packets, concession stand and opening day volunteer slots. A “Team-Mom” is great to handle these issues. During practices, if you are waiting for your child, offer to assist the coach with drills, or just to assist with kid management. During games, parents are not allowed to go onto the field or dugout areas, but the head coach may request your assistance in some way and most of the time, it will mean being involved in field preparation (dragging, watering, raking, etc.)or cleanup after the game. A team of parents makes prepping the field (before and after the game) a breeze, and allows the manager and coach to concentrate on team warmups, lineups and meeting with umpires. [Return to Top]
Which Division Will My Child Play?
The division your player will participate in depends solely on his age as of April 30th of the Spring Season he/she is playing in. This age also applies to the previous Fall Ball assignments. [Return to Top]
How Do I Register My Player And What Does It Cost?
Registration and payment is performed entirely online. Complete information is provided on our Registration Page. In some divisions, there is always a shortage of coaches, causing us to put together teams outside of the draft in the B groups. The best way to ensure your child has a team to play on is to volunteer to coach! [Return to Top]
What Advice Can You Give Me On How To Buy The Appropriate Equipment?
The first rule is not to buy equipment that is too big for your child, especially gloves and bats. Most Pinto players hit with bats that are 25 or 26 inches long and weigh 15 or 16 oz. Most Mustang players should use bats that are not longer than 30 inches and weigh 20 oz or less. Generally, the lighter the bat, the better able a child is to handle it. That also drives price -- a less expensive bat will typically have a differential between length and weight of -8 or -9 (e.g., 28 inches and 19 oz). A more expensive bat may have a differential of -11 or -12 (e.g., 29 inches and 18 oz).
If your child is young or small, buy a small glove. If the glove is too large, the player will not get a good "feel" for the glove and will tend to be somewhat clumsy fielding the ball. If the store offers “break in” of the new glove, usually for a small additional fee – sometimes free, it’s a good idea to have them do it. A “stiff” glove is hard to use, especially for younger players. Otherwise you can purchase “break in” oils, etc. to soften the glove. Just follow the directions or ask the salesperson at the sporting goods store.
Baseball cleats should have enough room to last 4-5 months through the season. Metal cleats are not permitted at the Foal, Shetland, Pinto, and Mustang levels. [Return to Top]
I Feel Strongly That My Child Should Play For A Particular Coach Or With Certain Other Players--For Friendship Reasons Or Because Of Carpool Needs Or Other Reasons. Will My Desire Be Accommodated?
While we understand your concerns, it has proven extremely difficult to accommodate the myriad of requests from hundreds of parents. Therefore we have put the following policies in place:
For the Foal and Shetland divisions, you may request one sibling or friend to be on the same team but the request must be mutual. This is the only request that we guarantee that we will honor. For all other requests, including being placed on a specific coach's team, you will have the opportunity to make them on your registration form but they are in no way guaranteed.
For all of the upper divisions, Pinto and above, the players tryout and are drafted onto teams so we cannot honor any requests for players to be placed on the same team or with a specific coach except in the case of families. Siblings will be placed on the same team and children will be placed on the teams of their parent Manager or Coach. [Return to Top]
My Child Has Very Little Experience And/Or Is Smaller Than Other Kids His/Her Age. Can He/She Be Placed In A Lower Division?
As a general rule, we require players to play in the division that is appropriate for their age bracket. We do, however, evaluate players at the evaluations. If, in the judgment of the Division Commissioner, a player's inexperience or physical/mental disabilities would put them at risk of injury in the age appropriate division, the Commissioner will recommend to the board that the child play down a division upon the parent’s request. If you are concerned about this, please call the Division Commissioner and discuss your concerns. We will certainly consider play down requests carefully.
Keep in mind that players who play down from Mustang to Pinto, Bronco to Mustang or from Pony to Bronco will not be eligible to pitch during the season, nor will they be eligible for Post Season Tournament play. These decisions are made on a case-by-case basis and are not guaranteed. [Return to Top]
My Child Is More Athletic And/Or Has More Advanced Baseball Skills Than Other Kids His/Her Age. Can He/She Be Placed In A Higher Division?
Our policy is to NOT allow players to play up in a higher division. If you feel your child is too advanced for Recreational Baseball, then you should seek out a Travel/Club Team and ask for a tryout. [Return to Top]
My Son Or Daughter Is Particularly Well Suited To Play A Particular Position. How Do I Ensure That The Coach Plays Him Or Her At That Position?
You don't. The decision on who to play at what position is the coach's prerogative. Coaches are required, particularly at the Foal, Shetland, Pinto, and Mustang levels, to move players around to different positions during the season to round out their experience, including the requirement to play at least one inning per game in the infield. At the Bronco and Pony level, which is more competitive, coaches tend to slot players into a small number of positions that they will play for the entire season.
If you want your son or daughter to play a particular position, please consult with the coach and make your desires known. Keep in mind, however, that the decision is ultimately the coach's to make. [Return to Top]
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: