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Summit Junior Baseball

Board of Directors Meeting---Wednesday, 02/24/2010

Meeting Minutes

In Attendance:  Zusi,  Fuoti, Douglas, Kaufman, Miller, Berson, Calabrese, Schaffer, Lenz, Barbara Vitti, Rob Vitti, Pacilio, Trone, Meyers, Nardino, Supran, Schneider, Fulton, McLaughlin, Carlson, Donatacci, Greenstein,  Bonomo, Tarashuk

1.       Rule Book/Umpire Update—Deige McLaughlin

Ms. McLaughlin and Ms. Berson indicated that an update of the SJBB rulebook was underway and that printed copies would be available in the near future.  The need for an addendum to account for  6th grade rule variations and other potential changes was discussed as well. 

Ms. McLaughlin indicated that Lew Setulsky would be umpiring primarily 5th grade games (and occasionally 6th grade) and that other professional umpires would be used at the 6th grade level.  There was a discussion of the possibility of using high school age students as second umpires for 6th grade and Suburban league games.   It was agreed that the cost of this approach needed to be investigated and that a follow-up report and recommendation would be provided.

As in past years, generally, middle school age students will umpire 3rd and 4th grade games. Ms. McLaughlin indicated that she would provide 3rd and 4th grade league directors with assignment and umpire contact lists.   The need to keep parents and other spectators away from the backstop at this age level was discussed in some detail. 

Ms. McLaughlin also indicated that coaches would be asked to complete umpire evaluations in order to help the middle school volunteers more effectively develop their umpiring skills, under the supervision of Mr. Setulsky.

2.       Softball Report—John Calabrese

Mr. Calabrese provided a registration status update.  He noted that there was a significant increase in registrants this year (increase from approximately 140 to 150 participants).  He indicated there would be the following number of teams at each league level:   First/Second Grade—5 teams; Third/Fourth Grade—6 teams; Fifth/Sixth Grade—4 Summit teams plus teams from Chatham and Madison—14 total; Seventh/Eight Grade—2 Summit teams plus teams from Chatham and Madison—7 total teams.

Mr. Calabrese noted there would be an increased need for fields this year as a result of the increased number of participants and teams.  Mr. Calabrese also noted that certain teams may play non-league games with New Providence (possibly providing access to New Providence fields).

3.       President’s Report—Keith Zusi

Mr. Zusi noted again the Overlook Hospital sponsored Rick Wolf presentation on youth sports, which will be held on April 22.  Mr. Wolf will speak for approximately 45 minutes followed by audience Q&A.  Mr. Zusi noted that Overlook Hospital representatives would also be providing an overview of the hospital’s concussion center.

Mr. Zusi described his meeting with Mike Sandor, Summit HS Athletic Director. They discussed how SJBB could most effectively support the HS baseball program as well as other SJBB-specific logistical needs (particularly with respect to field access).

Mr. Zusi also noted that the event at the beginning of February honoring the former SJBB board members was a great success.

Mr. Zusi noted that the SJBB calendar was now on-line on the SJBB website (Summitnjsports.com).    He also indicated that the City of Summit would be requiring background checks for all head coaches and assistant coaches this season.  There will be a link on the SJBB website with further information.  Coaches will be required to pay this fee.  He also indicated that there would be Rutgers certification classes held in mid to late March for all coaches that have not yet obtained this required certification.   Dates TBD (likely a Thursday and Saturday).  There was a discussion of the need to ensure particularly that kindergarten and first grade coaches were aware of these requirements.

Mr. Zusi discussed Summit HS head coach Kevin Zaleski’s request for SJBB to fund the cost of two coaches (varsity and JV assistants) at a cost of $2,200 per coach for the 2010 season.  It was noted that in the past, SJBB had only funded one coach.   Mr. Zusi indicated that coach Zaleski  would provide off-season clinic and other teaching support in addition to committing to have  his team members play a more active role in helping instruct and mentor Suburban League and other special needs players.   Mr. Zusi also indicated that Mr. Zaleski requested to become a member of the SJBB board.  After some discussion, the Board APPROVED the funding for both assistant coaches and APPROVED Mr. Zaleski’s appointment to the SJBB board. 

There was a discussion of the annual scholarships that SJBB awards to Summit HS senior baseball or softball players.   Barbara Vitti agreed to lead a group (Schaffer, Calabrese, Lenz, Greenstein and Berson) that would formalize standards for the selection of scholarship recipients.  Any other volunteers are welcome.   This group will report back to the Board at a future board meeting.

4. Personnel Director’s Report—Brian Kaufman

Mr. Kaufman noted that player evaluations were on-going and would be completed by the beginning of March.  Mr. Douglas explained the evaluation process, emphasizing the its transparency, the focus on multiple evaluators at each station, and the importance of player anonymity (evaluators have only player numbers available to them).

Mr. Kaufman (with input from Mr. Bonomo and Mr. Miller) indicated that coach selection for spring travel and spring recreation teams was still in process but would be completed by the end of February.  Mr. Kaufman indicated there had been a number of conversations with prospective coaches that took account of parental and other feedback and that were designed to ensure that the coaches are effective and inspirational in their roles, on and off the field.

There was extensive discussion regarding several topics, including: (i) the maximum (10) and minimum (8) number of players permitted on the field for 3rd grade games, (ii) rosters sizes generally, particularly at younger ages, and (iii) upcoming spring travel milestones (Cerbo League meeting on 3/16, with an expected 3/28 start date and the finalization of the 13U spring travel roster after the selection of the Summit Middle School team).

There was also extensive discussion of the pitching rules for players participating in spring recreation and spring travel programs.  Mr. Kaufman and Mr. Lenz explained the rules as follows:

    • 4th grade—spring travel coach designates six players as restricted pitchers.  These players shall, in general, be the only spring travel pitchers.  Restricted pitchers are limited to two innings each week in spring travel.  Restricted pitchers may pitch no more than 6 innings in total each week (counting spring travel and recreation league play). A week begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday.  Restricted pitchers may not pitch in spring recreation league games on Saturday.  Restricted pitchers may only pitch on Monday if they did not pitch in a spring travel game on Sunday.  Spring travel coaches will be required to post their pitcher inning counts each Sunday evening. 
    • 5th grade—spring travel coach designates five players as restricted pitchers. These players shall, in general, be the only spring travel pitchers.  Restricted pitchers are limited to three innings each week in spring travel.  Restricted pitchers may pitch no more than 6 innings in total each week (counting spring travel and recreation league play). A week begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday.  Restricted pitchers may not pitch in spring recreation league games on Saturday.  Restricted pitchers may only pitch on Monday if they did not pitch in a spring travel game on Sunday.  Spring travel coaches will be required to post their pitcher inning counts each Sunday evening.
    • 6th grade—spring travel coach designates five pitchers as restricted pitchers.  These players shall, in general, be the only spring travel pitchers.  Restricted pitchers are limited to three innings each week in spring travel.  Restricted pitchers may pitch no more than 6 innings in total each week (counting spring travel and recreation league play). A week begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday.  Restricted pitchers may not pitch in spring recreation league games on Saturday.  Restricted pitchers may only pitch in spring recreation games on Monday if they did not pitch in a spring travel game on Sunday.  Spring travel coaches will be required to post their pitcher inning counts each Sunday evening.
    • 7th grade— spring travel coach designates five pitchers as restricted pitchers.  These players shall, in general, be the only spring travel pitchers.  Restricted pitchers are limited to three innings each week in spring travel.  Restricted pitchers may pitch no more than 7 innings in total each week (counting spring travel and recreation league play). A week begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday.  Restricted pitchers may not pitch in spring recreation league games on Saturday.  Restricted pitchers may only pitch in spring recreation games on Monday if they did not pitch in a spring travel game on Sunday.  Spring travel coaches will be required to post their pitcher inning counts each Sunday evening.

There was a discussion of Pizzafest dates (3/22—2nd through 4th grades at SHS; 3/25—5th and 6th grades at LCJ Summit Middle School; 3/29—K and 1st grade at SHS).  It was noted that 3/29 was the first night of Passover.  It was agreed that the events committee would determine whether another date might be available, although discussion indicated that it may be unlikely.

Rob Vitti agreed to attend the Junior and Senior League Legion meetings and report back to the Summer Committee regarding meeting outcomes and next steps.

  1. Parents’ Committee—Romaney Berson              

 Ms. Berson indicated a flyer seeking parent volunteers was ready to be distributed.  Mr. Berson is to send the flyer to Mr. Calabrese for posting/distribution.  Mr. Berson indicated that she was seeking a parent volunteer leader for each grade, with objective of fostering more two-way communication between parents and league administrators and coaches.  In that regard, she indicated that she was preparing a summary of the player draft process for interested parties, and survey forms designed to elicit constructive feedback (areas of perceived strength and weakness).

Ms. Berson indicated there would be a rules committee meeting held on Saturday, 2/27 from 7 AM to 9 AM to discuss the most recent draft of the SJBB rulebook.  She indicated there was an intention present the rules on a grade specific basis whenever necessary.

  1. Purchasing/Marketing Update

 Mr. Greenstein indicated that uniforms (except for spring travel) had been ordered through Thompsons; however, he is still awaiting final sponsorship information.  Mr. Greenstein indicated that his preference was to order All-Star game shirts from Larry Cohen.  Mr. Greenstein provided a sample of the shirt that he intended to order (shirts would be either maroon and gold).   Mr. Greenstein also provided a sample of an enhanced coach’s shirt for travel coaches that he intended to order (at a cost of approximately $22 to $25 per shirt).    There was a discussion of whether coaches should be required to purchase these shirts or whether SJBB should provide coaches with them.  After much discussion, it was agreed that further work regarding the actual cost and any potential budgetary constraints needed to be determined and reported back to the Board.

Mr. Schaffer provided an update on equipment purchases and refurbishments.  He indicated that the equipment shed was in good order, inventory levels were in good shape and that equipment refurbishment/clean-up had been a success. 

Mr. Schaffer presented again the question of whether players should be offered the option to purchase their own helmet, rather than providing each team with a set number of common helmets.  After much discussion, it was agreed that offering individual helmets to players would be considered in greater detail next year.  Mr. Schaffer was asked to explore what helmet policies, if any, exist in any of the surrounding baseball communities.

It was agreed that Mr. Schaffer would change the locks on each equipment bin at each field and provide each coach with a bin key.  It was agreed that only equipment committee personnel should have key access to the primary equipment shed at Jefferson Field.  In that regard, it was agreed that the lock should be changed on the Jefferson shed as well.

Mr. Schaffer also presented several new/alternative equipment purchase recommendations: (i) hitting nets at all fields (at a cost of approximately $100 to $150), (ii) a “Swing Away” at each field (suggested by Mark Lim), and (iii) fly ball machines at certain fields.  After much discussion, particularly regarding budgetary issues, it was agreed that Ms. Vitti and Mr. Schaffer would refine their proposals in this regard after reassessing the status of the equipment budget for the 2010 year.

  1. Special Projects—Vince Donatacci/Vince Pacilio

Mr. Donatacci explained that he was working with Larry Cohen and other volunteers to develop age-specific skill expectations and suggested drills for achieving those expectations.  He indicated that he intended to distribute these expectations and drill outlines/explanations to coaches at the Pizzafests.

Mr. Pacilio provided a brief update on the Pizzafests.  Mr. Kaufman suggested that Mr. Pacilio contact Elizabeth Lenz for detailed insight on planning logistics, based on prior year experience. Mr. Pacilio indicated that he would explore changing the 3/29 Pizzafest date, in light of the fact that the first night of Passover was that evening.

Mr. Pacilio indicated that all league directors (as well as coaches) were expected to attend their Pizzafest.  He also indicated that he was looking for any and all Board member volunteers who could help with set-up and clean-up.  He indicated he would circulate a sign-up sheet at the next Board meeting.    He noted that Thompsons had kindly agreed to donate equipment to further the Pizzafest fundraising efforts.   He indicated that he was seeking other equipment or similar donations.

It was agreed that Mr. Zusi, the applicable league director, Ms. Berson as well as Mr. Zaleski and/or Mr. Welch (if they are available) should be given the opportunity to speak at each Pizzafest.  Mr. Pacilio was going to investigate ensuring the availability of a PA system at each Pizzafest.

It was noted that Photo Day would be held on Saturday, 4/24 at Jefferson School (in the gym) from 7:30 AM to 3 PM.  Sports Shots will be handling the photography.  Weather permitting, action shots will be taken outdoors.  It was noted that this date should be included on the website calendar.  A distribution announcing the event needs to occur as well.

It was again noted that Patriots’ Night would be held on Saturday evening, 5/8 at the Somerset Patriots’ ballpark.  Flyers announcing the event are being developed.

Decisions regarding Opening Day and Father’s Day events were postponed after some discussion of various alternatives as well as various logistical issues.

  1. Treasurer’s Report—Barbara Vitti

Ms. Vitti provided a written overview and explanation of the status of the 2010 budget.  At this point, she indicated there was an approximately $33,000 fund surplus, down from surpluses closer to $50,000 in prior years, and with additional significant spending still required during 2010.   After much discussion, it was agreed that the equipment and other purchasing budgets would be refined after further consultation with Messrs. Greenstein and Schaffer.   It was also agreed that there would be a meeting of interested parties to discuss the fee setting process for the various travel programs and possible changes thereto in the future.

9.  Field Operations—Greg Mayes

Mr. Mayes was unable to attend the meeting.  He provided a written bullet-point outline of the status of initiatives in his area