Philosophy
It is easy to get caught up in the excitement!  We rarely have any problems but once in a while there is a flareup.  So we ask everyone to remember the following:

1.  These are Kids
2.  Kids abilities range from 1st time players to veterans on every team
3.  Coaches Volunteer and set the example for players
4.  Umpires are Human 
5.  This is not the World Series
6.  This is not the actual Reds/Indians/(Insert name here)  team playing
7. This is a competative instructional league

Athens Sandlot promotes sportsmanship!
Help the kids have fun and get better!
Cheer the kids on!  They are trying their best!

Our Philosophy

The Athens Sandlot League believes that there is no better experience that a kid can have than playing baseball. We have three fundamental principles that guide our mission.

1. Playing Baseball Should Be Fun for Everyone Involved!

2. The children should be given all of the tools they need to be the best players that they can be!

3. Sportsmanship and developing baseball skills take precedent over "winning at all cost!"

In meeting those goals, the following guidelines are in effect:

We do not turn away any children

We do not exclude any child that wants to play, regardless of ability or lack of money. Our rules require that all children must play in every game and get at least one at bat.

All teams are evenly matched

Before the season starts, all players must go through an evaluation process. At this evaluation, the players are graded based on their ability. All teams are then made by dividing all of the players up as evenly as possible based on their evaluation results. The results of the evaluation process are not publicized.

Our goal is to have the talent divided up so that the games will be close and that no one team has an unfair advantage. It is no fun to be on either side of a game where one team destroys the other. At the end of each year, all teams are redrafted.

Baseball Skills are Stressed

All of our coaches must go through a clinic to train them on what baseball skills should be taught at their age level and tools that they can use to teach them. We will help the coaches make practices fun learning experiences for their players. All coaches will practice at least two nights per week before the season starts and one night a week during the regular season. Players will also be given drills that they can work on at home, both by themselves and with family members, to further their development.

While we will keep score and maintain standings, the development of the players is the main goal. Every participant is expected to play hard and to try to win, but their ultimate success is not determined by their team wins or loses.

We also believe that children that develop baseball skills will actually have more fun while playing the game. It is much more fun to step up to the plate if youfeel that you have a chanceof success. We strive to have clinics before the year starts to help get the players and coaches off on the right foot. In addition, we have put on skill clinics and scrimmages in the fall for players that want extra training in the off-season.

All Parents, Players and Coaches Must Agree to a Code of Conduct

Probably the greatest positive impact that youth sports can have is teaching life lessons to its participants. Through sports, kids can learn both how to succeed with class and to handle losing and personal setbacks with dignity.

They will learn from the examples set from the adults (parents, fans and coaches) during competition. A code of conduct must be signed by all players, coaches and parents before the start of the year. No unsportsmanlike behavior will be tolerated by anyone associated with the league. Unsportsman-like conduct by anyone (player, coach, fan, etc.) can result in ejectment from the park for the day, the tournament or the season.

Baseball should be Fun!

Our league has opening day celebrations that have included a parade, carnival type attractions, color guards presenting flags, singing of the national anthem, announcement of the players, contests and radio coverage.

We also work with the local media to make sure that our players get recognized for their accomplishments onthe field by publishing game summariesand standings.

We are in the process of upgrading the facilities to eventually have permanent dugouts, outfield home run fences, lights and scoreboards. We are also re-opening the concession facilities to provide snacks to the players and fans.

Our goal is to make the ballpark a nice place to spend an afternoon. We want to make our facilities a place that is not only nice for our participants, but also attractive to out of town tournament teams.

There should be Opportunities for More Competitive Children

Some youth leagues lose players to "Travel Teams" during their season. These teams are hand picked teams that travel to out of town tournaments to playagainst the best competition at theirage group. Instead, our league forms All-star teams where we invite selected players to play in tournaments representing the most competitive players from our league. We strive to play in multiple tournaments against strong competition.

For those players that want to continue to play baseball after our season concludes, they have two options. One, if they are selected to play on our Allstar team, they can play in the out-of-town tournaments. Two, if they are not playing on an Allstar team, they can play in the Athens City Recreation baseball league which also includes all that wish to participate.

Conclusion

Statistically, only a small percentage of the kids that will play in our league will play baseball at the high school level or beyond. Recognizing that, we want to develop children that love and appreciate the game of baseball and have fond memories of when they were competing as kids.

They should be able to play catch with their child someday, or watch a major league baseball game and appreciate some of the subtleties of the game.