Play ball, open your wallet
High costs mean leagues must charge admission for all-star events
By Paul Stackhouse
For many Dixie Youth and Dixie Boys baseball players in North Alabama this week, it’s tournament time and they couldn’t be happier.
Players who made all-star lists get to showcase their talents with hopes of going as far as they can in tournament play.
For many of the leagues who are hosting tournaments, it is time to pay the bills and hopefully fatten the bank account for next year’s youth baseball season.
During the local regular season, there was no admission charge to enter the ballparks and watch the games. Local leagues made their money through the concession stands.
As the city and all-star tournaments roll around at the end of the season, you can expect to see someone collecting money at the park entrance. Admission fees vary, depending on where the tournament is played and what age group is participating.
“There are a lot of expenses that we have to take care of if we want to have a Dixie Boys season,” Decatur Dixie Boys Baseball president Bruce Potter said. “We can’t just go out and play and have fun. It costs a lot of money and there are not many ways in which we can make it.
“The two biggest ways we make money is through concessions and people paying at the gate to come in and watch a tournament.”
Potter said youth baseball involves more than some people realize.
“I think it’s pretty obvious that we have to have money to pay for equipment, baseballs and uniforms and things like that,” Potter said. “We also have to pay umpires to call the games, and there are a lot of small things that we are required to pay money for.
“One thing that a lot of people don’t know is that we have to pay money to make money when tournament time rolls around. I think we had to pay Dixie Boys $600 to hold a sub-district tournament for our 13-year-olds and our 14-year-olds.
“It was $75 per team we had to pay to get the rights to have this sub-district tournament we’re hosting Friday. Also, we had to pay $75 per team for the (Decatur Dixie Boys) National League to hold the district tournaments for both age groups July 6th.”
Dixie Boys is divided into two age groups when it comes to all-star teams. One group is made up of 13-year-old players only while the other, which is technically the 14-year-old team, can have 13 and 14-year-old players.
In Dixie Youth Baseball, Minor B is made up of 7- and 8-year-olds, while Minor A is 9- and 10-year-olds and Majors is 11- and 12-year-olds.
The Decatur Dixie Boys Americans will host a 13- and 14-year-old sub-district at Cedar Ridge Middle School beginning Friday.
Games in both age groups are slated to begin at 5:30. The Decatur American 14-year-old all-stars are scheduled to play Greenhill at 8.
The Decatur Dixie Youth National League Minor B all-stars are hosting a sub-district tournament Friday at Point Mallard. The field includes teams from Decatur, Athens, Hartselle and Morgan County.
Decatur National is set to play Athens American at 5:30 opening day. Hartselle Dixie Youth is also slated to hold a Minor B sub-district tournament beginning Friday at Sparkman Park.
Decatur American 14-year-olds: Spencer Beasley, David Bookout, Conner Graves, Ty Keenum, Andrew Lilly, Hayden Naumann, Justin Rippen, Thomas Russell, Jordan Smith, Ethan Walker, Dyan Woods and Devin Wynn. The manager is Randy Smith, and the coaches are Shannon Woods and Phil Walker.
Decatur American 13-year-olds: Michael Bray, Brian Bryd, Chris Foster, Bryant Hutchison, Zach Johnson, Hasting Knox, Josh Melson, Todd Paysinger, Chase Pendley, Shane Prewitt, Sam Roberts, Michael Speegle. The manager is Bruce Potter, and the coaches are Ronnie Knox and Drew Hutchison.
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