Before anyone can slip on a glove or swing a bat across home plate, they’ve got to fill out the proper paperwork.
Registrations for the three divisions of the Johnson City Little League, for ages 4-12, along with the Babe Ruth League, for ages 13-15, kicked off Saturday. Although the Science Hill High School cafeteria didn’t look like a lush green field lined and ready for action, parents and players were excited at the thought of baseball season coming around again.
Soon-to-be Babe Ruth League and Major League players Nick Romanow, 13, and younger brother Tommy, 9, waited anxiously while mom and dad filled out a number of forms. The family moved to Johnson City from Dallas about a year ago, and Nick said he made a lot of great friends while playing in the Major League last year. Now that he’s 13, he’ll bump up to Babe Ruth, which averages about 130 players each season and primarily plays on the Charlie Roller and Bud Seaver fields in the Liberty Bell Complex.
“I’m really pumped up and looking forward to playing in a game,” said Nick, who will soon be turning his attention away from recreation basketball and onto Babe Ruth tryouts scheduled for March 31.
While experiencing the Johnson City Little League for the first time last spring, Todd and Katharine Romanow say they were impressed that parents and coaches volunteered to make improvements to Arthur Lady Field, the Major League home field located at Kiwanis Park.
“It wasn’t pay and play,” Todd said. “Everyone chipped in.”
Michael Trippeer is another parent who anticipates spending a lot of time at baseball fields in the coming months. Each of his three children are playing some version of the sport. He came to Science Hill Saturday to register his 8-year-old son Parker for his second season of play in the National League. A look of excitement came over Parker as he began spouting off a list of his friends’ names to his dad as he asked if each of them would be playing with him at Keystone Field again this season. Michael also filled out a volunteer form, since he’s looking to help coach Parker’s team.
“I love it. It’s fun,” Michael said.
His son didn’t necessarily agree.
“Except when the kids don’t listen to you,” Parker said.
“That’s just you,” Michael said with a laugh.
Another potential parent volunteer is John Clabough, whose 12-year-old son Will is registering with the American League for the first time. He’s making the transition from county ball at Ridgeview Elementary School to Little League in the city at Lions Field, the home of the American League.
“Hopefully someday he will fill out one of these out for the major (professional) leagues,” said John, who hopes to assist with Will’s team. “I know dad sure hopes so.”
Overall, the three divisions of the Johnson City Little League will draw about 600 to 700 players. Sign-ups began a week earlier this year and will continue Saturday at the Science Hill cafeteria from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The final opportunity for registrations is Feb. 11 at the same time, but at each league’s home field. Sign-up costs do differ between each of the leagues, which are divided among residential areas within Johnson City. The Major League fees are $40 for tee ball and $25 for everyone else, the National League costs $30 for the first child and $15 for each additional, and the American League is $50 for the first child, $75 for two and $100 for three.
The Babe Ruth League will accept registrations from all surrounding areas. The last chance to sign up is Feb. 4 at the Science Hill cafeteria. Cost is $50 per player.
Parents or guardians registering children for the Johnson City Little League are required to show three proofs of residency, the child’s birth certificate, and the names and contact information of primary health care providers. Tryouts will be held Feb. 18 for some divisions of each league, followed by drafts and practices.