Q: My son is a rising 13 year-old and in his last year of Little League. What’s next for him in terms of his baseball future?
A: Your son will move into the Babe Ruth program for 13 year old players. This program is called the Prep division within Babe Ruth. The focus of the Prep division is to adjust to the new field size and new rules.
Q: What is the Babe Ruth program and how does it differ from Little League?
A: Both programs are long standing youth baseball programs. The Babe Ruth program has been in existence for over 50 years. Within CYA, Little League baseball is available players 12 and under, while Babe Ruth is for players 13 and up.
Q: In Little League, the American and National Leagues are separate. Do I understand that in Babe Ruth this geographic distinction disappears?
A: That is correct.
Q: What are some of the differences between Little League and Babe Ruth?
A: The biggest difference is the size of the field. In Little League it is 60 feet between the bases and 46 feet from the pitchers mound to home plate. Babe Ruth plays on regulation baseball fields, the same size used by high schools, colleges and the pros. It is 90 feet between the bases and 60’6" from the pitchers rubber to home plate.
Q: Are there other differences?
A: Yes. In Little League, runners can not leave the base until the pitch crosses the plate. In Babe Ruth they can lead off and steal in the same manner as they do in high schools, colleges and the pros. This means runners must know how to take a lead and pitchers and fielders must learn how to hold runners on base. For the most part, the rules in Babe Ruth are the same as they are for regular baseball.
Q: Can the players wear metal cleats or must they still wear molded cleats as in Little League?
A: They can wear metal cleats.
Q: I just bought my kid a new bat. Will he need a different one for Babe Ruth?
A: Probably. The barrels on Little League bats are limited to being no larger than 2 1/4 inches in diameter. At the Babe Ruth level, "big barrel" bats are allowed. The barrels on these bats may be 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 inches in diameter. Moreover, there is no weight limit for Babe Ruth.
Q: Where are the games played?
A: The games are played in a number of different locations. CYA has several fields, namely Greenbriar Park, Poplar Tree Park, Straton Woods Park, and Chantilly High School.
Q: My son is a Little League All-Star and he would like to play against the highest level of competition possible. Is there an all-star program in Babe Ruth?
A: There is an all-star program in Babe Ruth in the spring, but not in the fall. In addition, NFC Babe Ruth sponsors travel teams, such as the Raiders and the Knights, that play other Babe Ruth District travel teams in Northern Virginia in the fall and spring.
Q: How are teams be determined in the fall? Is there be a draft?
A: Yes there is a draft. As we combine the National and American Little Leagues, it is important that we seek to have as much competitive balance as possible. We try to have coordinators knowledgable from from each Little League sit down and help keep the teams balanced.
Q: How about the Spring?
A: In the Spring there will be skills assessment scheduled and teams will be selected through a competitive draft.
Q: In the Spring, do 13 year-olds just play with other 13’s or are they combined with older kids.
A: The 13 year-old players play with other 13 year-olds in the Prep Division. Their team belongs to a system that consists of Prep, Alliance, and Babe Ruth Division teams. From time to time players may be asked to play up at the Alliance level to meet the needs of the system. The following year they will play as 14 year olds and play with other 15 year old players.
Q: Who do I call if I have questions?