El Cerrito Youth Baseball (ECYB)
El Cerrito Youth Baseball has a fall program called Fall Ball, which is all about skills building and learning the mechanics of the game. Kids are divided up into age-specific groups (based on the age groups they'd play in for the spring season). It's a great program; both of my kids have attended and plan on going again this year. There's a real range of experience amongst the kids who attend and everyone is treated equally. ECYB is a pretty relaxed league in general; it attracts families from around the area for that reason. Fall Ball tends to be at parks/fields in El Cerrito/Albany/Berkeley on Saturday or Sunday for a couple hours. More info will be available on their website soon, and registration opens soon as well. It's helpful to have some gear (glove, bat, cleats) but not required.
El Cerrito Youth Baseball is incredibly competitive, especially towards the end of the season. Game results and standings are posted on the website after each game so that every team knows exactly where it stands. There are playoffs at the end of the season that are taken very seriously. One coach had a scary angry outburst for no good reason during a playoff game that scared the kids on the other team and made them cry. That individual will not be coaching again but it is indicative of how ridiculously competitive things can get.
Other than the end-of-season tension every year, we have enjoyed our time with ECYB. They are making some rule changes that will hopefully prevent future out-of-control behavior but I don't think that it will impact how competitive the league is. Having said that, kids of all levels are welcome and everyone gets a lot of playing time. The rules about playing time are great and all kids are part of the team and get to play.
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Take a look at El Cerrito Youth Baseball, where our son has enjoyed playing for two years and is looking forward to the coming season. The Pinto League, for 7-8 year olds, really needs players and the evaluations will take place later this month. If your son is 9, the Mustang league just held evaluations this weekend, but he can probably still get in. You can find more information on the league web site at: www.ecyb.org. You can also call the league at (510) 215-2939 and leave a message. In short, the league is looking for players of all abilities and teams are just forming now, so you should contact the league promptly. Baseball Dad
My son has spent the last four years in El Cerrito Youth Baseball. Unlike Albany, the leagues are assigned strictly by age and last for two years. It sounds as if your son would be the age for the second league, which is called Mustang, but you'll have to check with the league administrators to make sure about birthday cut-offs. The teams have already been assigned (everyone who signs up gets put on a team after a group evaluation session, usually in early January), but there is often room for latecomers. At the Mustang level, every child who shows up for a game plays at least 3 innings in the field and bats every time his turn comes up. With a good coach, your child will receive a lot of instruction since teams tend to run 12-13 players, and there are usually at least 2-3 coaches for practices. There is the occasional over-the-top type, but the league makes a serious effort to police and prevent egregious parental acting out. The league president is David Jung 527-6111. You should also consider University Village's baseball clinics in summer and fall, run by Brad, who is great with kids, emphasizes good spirit and basic skills. Phyllis