SHOWCASE MANIA HAS REACHED AN ALL TIME HIGH,
OR MORE ACCURATELY, AN ALL TIME LOW !!!!!!
Date: September 1, 2007
About ten to twelve years ago, a new phenomenon started to work it’s way into the landscape of amateur baseball. What started out as a good idea, a new concept and a positive step towards promoting young amateur baseball players in America, has evolved into something quite contrary and detrimental. For all the wrong reasons, greed on the part of the event organizers plus fear and ignorance on the part of young players and their parents, showcase baseball, circa 2007, has become a complete farce.
The level of play in high school baseball across America is at an all time low, and “Showcase Mania” is a prime factor in it’s demise. This is especially true in the Northeast region of the United States. Yes, there are other contributing factors, the evolution of video games and the internet has slowly integrated into our teenagers leisure time. And other sports, such as lacrosse and soccer, which require far less and cheaper equipment to play, have taken it’s toll as well.
Another contributing factor, and frankly, this might not be a politically correct statement, a majority of college baseball coaches in America today are lazy. That is why, year in and year out, the same college baseball programs (at all levels), are always there at the end of each season, competing for championships, locally, regionally and nationally. Yes, athletic department budgets and NCAA rules restraints have curtailed the college coaches ability to be “out there” and visible on the recruiting trail. But when you see a dormant college baseball program, suddenly rise from the ashes to national prominence, it is usually because the school has made a coaching change, and the new coach and his staff have made a commitment to winning. The previous regime had allowed complacence to set in and was satisfied with mediocrity and the “middle of the pack”.
Let’s take a simple math lesson of which the concept of showcase baseball was built. If we can get as many of the truly capable, potentially college bound student athletes in one place at one time, then it is safe and logical to assume that if we do a little promotion, we will draw a large cross section of college coaches and recruiters. Fair enough. Now, there is a cost involved, overhead to set up this event. You need staff, facilities, equipment and promotion. Again, fair enough. You must, and you are entitled to be compensated for your time and efforts. That is the concept of capitalism, of which this great country was built upon. No problem.
But somewhere along the line, over the course of time, especially in the past five years, “the need for greed” has reared it’s ugly head and has turned the world of amateur baseball today, into a very “shady” and “disingenuous” environment . Finding the weakest link in a chain is what usually is the mitigating factor in it breaking. In this case, and bless their hearts and good intentions, the weakest link is the total love and devotion that parents have for their children. If I’ve heard this once, I’ve heard this a thousand times. “I’m just trying to do what’s best for my child. I don’t know. He’s my oldest. We’ve never gone through this process before”. When the vultures hear this comment, it’s time to circle the wagons.
Now, follow along and let me explain to you about the plain truth, the “ugly facts” about showcase baseball that the event organizers want kept in the dark at all costs. Let’s base the following numbers on 100%, be it one hundred participants or one thousand participants. It does not matter. You show up at a baseball showcase and hopefully there is a large amount of pro scouts and college coaches in attendance. Let’s assume that is the case for the sake of argument. Kudos, the event organizers have done a good job in getting the “right people” there for you to perform in front of. You paid them a fee and now it’s up to you to perform. That’s a reasonable theory. But based on 100 kids, again that number could be 200, 400 or 1000. The number is not relevant.
10% of those players in attendance are “lost leaders”. What is a lost leader, you ask? They are the players that are participating for FREE, because they are the ones that by being there, have attracted the large crowd of pro scouts and college recruiters. Another 20 to 30 percent of the players (paying customers) can and will play at some level of college baseball, some on a varying degree of college scholarship. This will depend on the players true level of ability and potential and his academic standing that will effect the college admissions process. And what about the remaining 60 % of the showcase participants, you ask?
YOU ARE FUND RAISERS, PLAIN AND SIMPLE !!!
You’ve got about as much chance of getting any type of college scholarship to play baseball as you’ve got of getting struck by lightening or getting elected President of the United States.
Baseball Showcase event organizers cringe when this very simple fact is brought to anyone’s attention. They try to run and hide from it, as fast as they can. They will try to “explain it away” with a variety of fairy tales and excuses. But the bottom line is that you, as the consumer, have been sold a bill of goods, that is totally worthless. Many moons ago, W.C. Fields said it best. “There is a sucker born every day and twice on Sundays”. Bottom line, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck –
Chances are, it is a duck, period. “A fool and his money are soon parted”. I don’t know exactly where I first heard that line many years ago but it is appropriate in this case.
In conclusion, this is a free message to all loving parents of prospective student athletes in the sport of baseball.
WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE.
TAKE THE BLINDERS OFF. WIPE YOUR EYES AND SEE THINGS AS THEY REALLY ARE .
GET A MAJOR DOSE OF REALITY
YOU NEED IT BADLY !!!
THE FOLLOWING IS THE GOLDEN RULE YOU SHOULD USE WHEN DECIDING IF A BASEBALL SHOWCASE EVENT IS WORTH IT.
IF THERE’S NO FEE, IT’S FOR ME
Perfect example: The East Coast Professional Baseball Showcase in Lakeland, FL and the Area Code Baseball Games in Long Beach, CA each year. The players are selected by professional baseball scouts and personnel who have no financial agenda. PERIOD!!!
I stand by each and every comment I made in this correspondence. I have founded, operated and run the Bayside Yankees organization since it’s inception in the fall of 1981. I’m talking from a standpoint of 27 years experience in this business. These “snake oil salesmen” (showcase event organizers) are not going to bullshit me. I’ve got their act and “lines” down pat. They are no different than Al Capone or John Gotti. They just don’t use a gun or force. The results are still the same. You get robbed.
PRESIDENT – SENIOR HEAD COACH
Bayside (NY) Yankees