FAQSUpdated Monday January 2, 2017 by Novato Babe Ruth.
Q – Who Can Play in Novato Babe Ruth for 2017?
A: Players who are 13-15 years of age, and who reside within Marin County, are eligible to play in the Novato Babe Ruth League.
NEW, as of August 10, 2016: Any player born prior to May 1, 2004, and on or after May 1, 2001, will be eligible for Babe Ruth 2016 Fall Ball.
Players on their High School Baseball team (Frosh, JV, or Varsity) may join their Babe Ruth team when their High School Baseball Season ends. Freshmen players will not miss any Regular Season Babe Ruth games.
Please visit our Registration Information page for registration details.
Q – I’ve been playing Travel Ball, can I still play Babe Ruth?
A: Players who are currently playing games with ‘Travel” Teams are eligible to play in Novato Babe Ruth provided their last Travel Team game is played prior to the beginning of the Babe Ruth Regular Season. This means we ask that you not play Travel Ball for just a few weeks during our Regular Spring Season. Our league has concluded that the demands of the area’s Travel Teams, with their extensive game schedules, do not leave room for the commitment needed to maintain a healthy team environment we feel is a cornerstone of the Babe Ruth League. In addition, we feel playing on two teams at the same time creates a greater risk of injury.
Q – Why should we consider Novato Babe Ruth in this age group?
A: Novato Babe Ruth is proud of the success we have achieved in meeting our dual goals:
1.) To provide a competitive league environment where High School varsity-bound players may compete against other highly skilled players while sharpening their skills. As a result, Novato Babe Ruth All Star teams often earn the District title, and have advanced to the Babe Ruth State Tournament.
2.) To offer a developmental program for younger players who need basic skills training and experience on the regulation-sized fields. Our Managers and Coaches must meet the National Babe Ruth Organization Coaches Certification standards that cover baseball skills and knowledge, and utilize effective coaching approaches for youth baseball.
Teams are comprised of players from the 13, 14 and 15-year-old age groups. The younger players get the chance to learn the game while playing with kids they may well play with or against in High School. Older players have the opportunity to develop their skills against other High School players, and also gain team leadership experience. Babe Ruth provides players with skills that prepare them to play against High School Players who can throw the ball and hit the ball much harder than in Little League.
Q – Do I need to attend tryouts?
A: A player who is new to the Novato Babe Ruth for the Spring Season must attend the scheduled tryouts. If you came up from Little League, and then played in our Fall Ball program prior to the Spring Season, you are still considered a new player, and are expected to be at tryouts. Tryouts give the players an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and show how they might have changed and improved from the previous season. Players should give their best effort at tryouts. This gives managers the information they need to properly draft players the following day, and helps keep the league balanced. Player skill sets can change substantially from year to year (and even from Fall to Spring!).
Q – How should I prepare for tryouts & drafts?
A: Tryouts are conducted on a regulation size field, with 90-foot base paths. Players should throw and swing the bat well in advance of the tryout date to prepare for longer throws, as well as do some hitting off a live pitcher. While we caution players to “take it easy”, sometimes the competitive spirit takes over, and a player will try to throw too hard, and risk injury. Therefore, please balance preparation with over-preparation. Bring cleats and tennis shoes in case of bad weather. Babe Ruth bats are the larger 2-5/8 bats, and you may bring your own bat for the tryout hitting session. Expect to be at tryouts for about three hours. If you are interested in playing in a Pitcher and/or Catcher position, be sure to also participate in the bullpen sessions at tryouts. It is vital that the coaches know who can pitch or catch. Catcher’s gear will be available at tryouts, but, of course, you may use your own. Also, bring sweaters or jackets to stay warm, especially during down time between tryout sessions. We also suggest that you bring snacks and water, as the Snack Shack will not be open during tryouts.
The draft is usually conducted the day following tryouts, and players are generally notified of their team selection within 24 hours by the manager who drafted them. Spring teams stay together for three seasons; therefore, new players will play with the same team each Spring season once drafted. Fall teams are re-drafted each season.
Q – What is the Spring season like?
A: NCS High School rules prevent High School Baseball players from joining Babe Ruth teams until after the High School season ends; therefore, the Spring Babe Ruth Season (also known as Spring Ball) is broken into two parts: Pre-Season and Regular Season.
Pre-Season: After tryouts, a draft of new players is conducted to fill out the Spring Babe Ruth Teams (a combination of new players plus returning players, some of whom also play High School baseball). During the Pre-Season, which usually spans from mid-March to mid-May, “Spring Training Teams” are formed. “Spring Training Teams” are comprised of a combination of non-High School players from two Spring Babe Ruth Teams. Pre-Season play allows for skill development in a real game setting. Practice for the Spring Training Teams usually begins in mid-March. Your team manager will share the practice and game schedules with you, and this information will also be posted to the Novato Babe Ruth website.
Regular Season: Regular Spring Season usually begins in mid-May (generally on Mother’s Day). When the Regular Season begins, players return to their Spring Babe Ruth Teams, and play three games a week – one weekday game plus games on Saturday and Sunday. Spring Babe Ruth Teams are divided into American League and a National League. Four teams from each League advance to the Playoffs at the end of June. We typically play a seventeen game Regular Season, plus Playoffs; weather, field conditions and other factors may impact the league schedule. Again, your team manager will share the practice and game schedules with you, and this information will also be posted to the Novato Babe Ruth website.
Q – What is the Fall season like?
A: The Fall season (also known as Fall Ball) is the time of year for a focus on skill development, mechanics and team comradery. A bit more relaxed and developmental in nature that Spring Ball, Fall Ball is an excellent way for new Babe Ruth players to segue from Little League to a regulation playing field, and it’s equally useful for older players who want to continue honing and maintaining their skills in the “off season”. Fall Ball teams vary each year, and do not follow the Spring Ball year-to-year roster model. This allows players to work with a variety of coaches and teammates, to broaden their skill sets and make more friends.
Fall Ball usually runs from late August through early November. Your team manager will share the practice and game schedules with you, and this information will also be posted to the Novato Babe Ruth website.
Q – Will I really get to play, or will I just sit the bench?
A: Novato Babe Ruth works diligently to achieve the goals of being both a competitive and a developmental league. Games are played at a highly competitive level – often leading to league championships – but we also have a “Minimum Play” rule, so that all players have the opportunity to develop balanced skills. All players at a game must have a minimum of two innings in the field, and have at least one at bat. Typically, players average more than that for the season. In addition, Babe Ruth teams stay together from year to year (Spring Ball only), so managers and coaches have an even greater incentive to prepare and develop players over time. As you might expect, a good attitude and consistent effort can earn more playing time. Young players get a lot of playing time during our “Pre-Season / Spring Training” games, when the High School players are unavailable. The emphasis here is on fundamentals and skill development, with games played to prepare for the regular season. Call 415-258-4814 for more information.
Q – What level of commitment is expected from the player and the player’s family?
A: Baseball is a team sport, and youth baseball is only as successful as its volunteers. Teams need to be able to rely on the consistency of player participation; that means being at and participating in practices and games throughout the season. Players should plan on committing to their team from mid-March through the end of June. We recognize school and family events occur during the season, and players must miss practices and games at times; however, we expect players to meet their responsibilities to their team and teammates.
Player families are expected to volunteer in the numerous roles that make Babe Ruth function properly: this may include Snack Shack duty, Field Prep and Scoring assignments. Additionally, League sponsorship funding is getting harder and harder to secure, so donations and/or sponsorships to help defray the cost of field and equipment upkeep is appreciated. Your financial donations also help to keep registrations fees down.
Q – What are key differences between Babe Ruth and Little League?
A: There are a few notable differences, including: