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Baseball in the West End of Ottawa is changing.  Pinecrest Little League (PLL) and Carlingwood Frank Ryan Little League (CFRLL) have collaborated for the last 5 years.  This year CFRLL and PLL are actively growing their relationship. 

Starting with the 2013 season, PLL and CFRLL are creating the Ottawa West Baseball Alliance. The goal of OWBA is to create a strong spring and summer offering for ballplayers in the west end. By consolidating resources, two smaller leagues can focus limited volunteer effort and put a better product on the field - work together, share resources, and in some cases, merge our programs. The details of the Ottawa West Baseball Alliance are:

  1. Creating a single offering at both the Junior and Senior levels. Practically speaking, they are merging at these levels and will run a single spring and summer program. CFRLL will administer the Junior level and PLL will administer the Senior level. The West End Baseball Alliance will form joint teams in the summer, comprised of players from both PLL and CFRLL.  Their expectation is to create a much more competitive offering by joining forces.
  2. Aligning the Tee-Ball and Rookie programs. Currently, each league runs a distinct offering – the STAR program at PLL and the traditional Tee-ball and Rookie program at CFR. Starting in 2013, both leagues will align their program, creating a three-level offering: Tee-Ball, and two levels at Rookie. Rookie-aged players will be placed in streams based on capabilities.
  3. Continuing to interlock at the Minor and Major level. This year the goal is to stream at both the major and minor levels (enrollment numbers permitting) and run a joint playoff tournament.
  4. Collaborating on all tournaments.
  5. Sharing of resources. This year, CFRLL and PLL are sharing an Umpire in Chief, are using the same coach training materials, running joint registrations, and are sharing the use of facilities.

There are many more details to be worked out in the coming weeks. Both leagues are fully committed and working very hard over the winter months to have these changes in place for the 2013 season.  They realized their leagues needed to look for opportunities to take their partnership to the next level and improve the baseball experience for all players in their boundaries.

They are convinced that relationship will improve their programs and give parents and players a better baseball experience in both the Spring and Summer seasons.


Added: Jan 15, 2013

FAQ: Pinecrest & CFR Working Agreement

The following FAQs are to answer expected questions along with questions we have already fielded.

About the Leagues

Q: Why is this happening?
A: This is not a new idea.  It has been discussed by League executives, coaches, parents and players for the past decade.  There wasn’t one single trigger that made it happen this time.  However, jointly, the two Leagues did a study on recruitment, registration levels and demographics of Little League baseball in the Ottawa area and found that both leagues were significantly disadvantaged compared to their competitors.   This led to the exploration of options during the off-season.  This was considered the best course of action for both Leagues.
 Q: What do you mean by “Junior/Senior will be administered by …”
A:   Players in Junior and Senior must still register in their "home" league (league of residence). Both Leagues will also charter those 2 divisions.  CFRLL will be responsible for outfitting the players, scheduling the umpires, and securing fields for Junior.  And vice-versa for PLL at Senior. 

For administrative reasons, junior and senior now have unique registration forms.
Q: How will coach selection occur at the Junior and Senior levels?
A: Coaches from both Leagues are encouraged to volunteer for spring positions.  If there are more coach volunteers than available teams, the convenor of the level will approach coaches about partnering.  For summer, coach selection for Junior and Senior will be decided by a 2 person committee with a representative from each League. The committee has pre-determined criteria and will grade applicants based on their background – the coach with the highest ranking will be appointed head coach. 
Q: Why are you calling it (OWBA) an “Alliance”, and not a League.  … who wants to go through a name change in a year or two again ?!
A: Both Little Leagues will continue to exist as they are presently are, Pinecrest LL & CFR LL.  And they will continue to have their own existing Charter with Little League.  The Alliance is more about formalizing and solidifying future processes.
Q: Is this just the first step in an all-out merger of the 2 Leagues.
A: The fact is, both Leagues would be hard pressed to operate effectively independently, because they are land-locked and in mature neighbourhoods.  Redrawing League neighbourhood boundaries requires the willingness of all members within the affected districts and is unlikely.  This means our leagues must, at a minimum,  work more closely together to build a strong program for the players within our boundaries. This does not necessarily mean we will merge –the goal for 2013 is for the leagues to increase our collaboration and monitor progress. The executives will review operations at the end of the season and decide on next steps.  However, there is still recognition that particularly at the younger age levels, there is appeal for children being able to play and practice within their neighbourhood. 

About Tournaments

Q: What does collaborating at all tournaments mean?
A: Up until now, there has been an enormous workload placed on a few volunteers to run tournaments and events (ie. opening day, Blue Jays clinic, spring clinics, spring tournaments, playoff weekend, summer tournaments and hosting Districts) in a very small time window.
For the coming season, the agreement is that Pinecrest will run a Spring tournament for Rookie + Minor, and CFR will run a Summer tournament for Major through Senior.  Each League will have access to the other League’s facilities and umpires while hosting these tournaments. Teams from either League will receive free entry in these tournaments.

About Spring Baseball

Q: In the past, we’ve interlocked at all levels. Is that changing?
A: CFR and PLL will continue to interlock in the spring. At the Junior and Senior levels, we will continue to participate in the Ottawa-wide interlock program.

Q: How will the streaming work for Minor and Major divisions?
A: Both Leagues will conduct their respective sort-outs, and form their A stream and B stream teams.  Each league will assemble teams in each stream with the goal of  balancing teams.  The number of teams from each league will be determined by registration numbers. The more players who register, the more teams each league will place in each steam. However, for streaming to work, we need a minimum number of teams at each level. 

To ensure we place players at the appropriate stream and balance teams, each league will run a more rigorous player evaluation process. For effective evaluations, players must attend all sessions. 

Q: What if there aren`t enough registrations from both Leagues at a particular division to stream.  
A: In this case, the Leagues will continue to interlock, but there will not be streaming.

Q: Will streaming mean that all the best coaches will coach in the higher stream?
A: Each year, the Leagues offer a free baseball clinic to ALL coaches (in April).  This clinic is conducted by Canadian renowned National baseball coach, Al Herback.  There are 3 clinics and times, geared to the age divisions.
A: We encourage league wide clinics and/or practices to be attended by all coaches for their division. At these clinics, less experienced coaches can learn from more experienced coaches. Each League is encouraged to run division wide practices and clinics open to both streams of players.

About Summer Baseball

Q: Will the Junior and Senior summer teams have a new uniform?
A: Yes.  Both teams will be sporting new uniforms.  The teams will be called the Twins (not Cardinals or Patriots). The team colors will be maroon and grey.  Players will be required to buy maroon socks and belts.  The decision on pants (likely grey with maroon piping) is still being considered.

Q: Will this make it tougher for my son to make a Summer team in Junior or Senior?
A: First, we hope to be able to offer summer baseball to all players that are interested in committing to play.  Will making the A team be a greater challenge? Yes.  In the larger Leagues like Orleans and South Ottawa, there are few first year players making the A tournament team.

Q: What  is the impact of these changes on other levels?
A: There will be no impact on the composition and selection of summer teams at the other levels. Both leagues will continue to field a summer A  team as well as summer B teams based on registration numbers.   PLL and CFR will continue to field independent teams at Rookie ,Minor, and Major (both A and B levels).