If you follow baseball at all, you will sometimes hear the phrase “little league home run.” This is to denote someone who circles the bases due to a combination of errors and miscues by the fielders. It is not really a home run, just instead something like a single and a 3-base error. My son, who plays Little League, always gets offended by this because he has never seen such a “home run” in his own league – the defense is usually pretty good.
But after watching the Little World Series this year, I have to think we need to change that definition. There were a lot of (over-the-fence) homers this year. A lot. And many of the dingers were massive – at least 40-50 feet beyond the 225 foot fence. For those not familiar with the abilities of the average 12-13 year old, this is incredible. In my son’s league, the fences were at 200 ft, and we had only an average of less than 1 homer per game, and we had some good kids in that league. Yet these kids are hitting it 250ft+ with regularity. And if you watch closely, many of their swings don’t even look that great – oftentimes it looks like they are all arms and hands in their swings, with no power from their legs.
I’m not accusing anyone of cheating, and some of these kids were HUGE, but I wonder if the expensive bats have gotten so advanced that homers are becoming too commonplace. In 2006, Williamsport moved the fences back because of all the homers; I wonder if they will have to do it again. Personally, I’d prefer they become restrictive on the bats used instead of changing field dimensions. Until then, dingers away!