Beginning this season, East-Hamptonites will no longer be root-root-rooting for the home team—at least in the traditional way.
Past East Hampton Little League (EHLL) teams have pitted Montauk, Springs, Amagansett, Wainscott and East Hampton against each other, with each hamlet fielding its own team from kids in the area. But due to concerns about team depth—particularly at pitching—and number of participants, EHLL will employ a draft to determine teams this season.
Montauk kids will remain on the same team, as the distance from the other hamlets makes an inter-hamlet team less feasible. And, it’s a fishing town with a baseball problem, right?
Kids from all other East Hampton hamlets will be put into a pool so talent will be equally distributed. Though this will cause inconveniences in things like carpooling with neighbors to games—unless your neighbor happens to live in Montauk—ultimately EHLL believes the decision will serve the community’s greater good.
As stated on the EHLL website:
“It is the goal of EHLL to create a town-wide program with competitively balanced teams and an atmosphere that allows for growth and development of baseball and softball skills as well as social development. Combining the players to create even teams is a goal of the EHLL board. We realize this will be a change for many families. However, the positives far outweigh the minor inconveniences it may create. We look forward to an exciting 2013!”
Kids who played on a “National League” last year (5th and 6th grade) will remain a part of the same team for the 2013 season.
Residents have expressed concern over the change, citing community camaraderie as a major benefit to having hamlet-specific teams. There is speculation that the decision could cause a decrease in the number of people who register for little league.
East Hampton currently has many town-wide sports with teams that successfully incorporate kids from all hamlets, including soccer, PAL football and swimming.