What We Want in Tournaments

Each year, the Gamers host 3-4 invitational tournaments for 17u teams at locations like Mizzou, Arkansas State, Memphis University, SLU and Lindenwood.  These are elite tournaments, usually just 6 teams with every game played at the college field and attended by a significant number of college coaches.

Aside from these 3-4 events, the Gamers program is not in the tournament business and has no desire to be in the tournament business.

Running tournaments in select level youth baseball is a challenging business in its own right, and is not a good fit with our overall program mission.  Sure, we could make some money doing it.  But, our mission is not about making money.   Instead, we strive to work with tournament operators across the country to help us achieve our goals.  

So, what do we want from tournament operators … it is a short list of seven items:

  • Good competition
  • Good fields, worthy of the hard work that our players put into playing
  • Well-organized events, planned in advance and with good and timely communication
  • A commitment to playing games and overcoming weather problems (this means investment in field crews and turface)
  • Space to hold our pre-game practices/warm-ups
  • Reasonable time limits, where you play to 7 innings 80% of the time
  • Good umpires, appropriate for the level of competition, that want to be there
We want tournaments to be a pre-set schedule of 4-5 games each weekend.  More scheduled pool play games against good competition is the recipe for a great event.  Most of our players already have a shelf full of $3 trophies.  If a champion must be crowned, then it can just be based on best record instead of a playoff style format that gets in the way of teaching the game.  
We want umpires that are not afraid to call strikes.  When umpires call strikes, it creates an environment that is healthy for pitchers, focuses action on the field, and shortens game times.  By calling strikes, more baseball is squeezed into a 2 hour time slot.  There is simply no downside to calling strikes.  It teaches kids to play the game.
Regarding time limits, we want to play 120 minute games instead of 100 minute games.  We would happily pay 20% more for this.  Actually, we would rather play 7 inning, 21 out games.  The clock has no place in baseball.  
I do not think this is asking too much.  As a program, we would rather pay $700+ for a tournament that delivers these things, than $350 for a tournament that doesn’t.

At the national level, Perfect Game and USA Baseball deliver events that meet these requirements.  Regionally, Pastime Tournaments is doing a good job.  Locally, Greater Midwest Baseball is working hard to deliver good events.  There are others in the mix too.

We look forward to the day when our families spend a lot less money on travel.

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