SF Big Red Machine

Spring 2017 11U Select Baseball Club

Summer 2016 Machine squad in Manteca (photo by L. DeAsis)

Yeah, we’re doing Big Red Machine again, this time as a Spring SFYBL 11U team. See below for answers to obvious questions. But, hit us up with any unanswered questions you might have at: brmbaseball@gmail.com.

And, let’s crank up the 2017 Machine!

What is SF Big Red Machine?

SF Big Red Machine is a San Francisco-based travel or “select” (By Invitation Only) baseball team for kids born on or after May 1, 2005. The club started as a tourney team in the summer of 2015. In summer of 2016, we participated as a summer 10U travel team that practiced in June and July competed in 4 weekend tournaments around the Bay Area.

In Spring of 2017, we will be entering Big Red Machine as a SFYBL team in the Bronco (11U-12U) division. (We may also field a summer tournament team but that’s TBD.)

Who will play on the team?

Some of the better 11-year olds in the city. We are very selective in assembling our player candidate lists. Every single invitee to Big Red Machine (that is, every 11-year old kid of the recipients of this email) meets both of 2 criteria: 1) we know them to be very good players, whether because they were 2016 Machine members or SFLL All Stars or other and 2) they are nice, high character kids.

In terms of skill, we’ll be good. To the extent comparison helps, the Machine team should be considerably stronger than SFLL Majors division teams. We would hope for Machine to very competitive with the very best SFYBL 11U (travel/All Star) teams, if you are aware of them.

Who coaches the team?

James Navin and Gio Rivas. Most of you receiving this email have kids who played for one or both of us before, whether as part of Machine, SFLL 10U All-Stars or both (which is also how we know your kid is good enough to play for Machine). But, if you don’t know one of us, know that we’re good guys who want to see kids improve and have success in games, but we also always make sure it’s fun for the kids.

Coach Gio congratulating and advising baserunners at the 2016 SFYBL Tourney (photo by L. DeAsis)

What will be the Spring 2017 Machine schedule?

Machine practices will be once per week beginning in February, the week after Presidents’ Day. They will continue through SFYBL playoffs in mid- to late May.

SFYBL regular season games will start the first week of March. These are mostly once per week. We would expect to play games on Saturdays and occasionally one day mid-week.

SFYBL playoffs have historically been in mid- to late May. SFYBL season will end prior to Memorial Day, right before SFLL playoffs start (see below).

What are the objectives for the Spring?

This year we hope to do 2things: 1) participate in SFYBL as a Bronco division team and 2) encourage and support participation of individual Machine team members in SFLL house league and SFLL All-Stars.

Why are we encouraging the kids to participate in both SFYBL and SFLL?

In short, because the 2 leagues have their respective advantages, and we think the kids can benefit from a best-of-both-worlds approach:

Advantages of SFYBL. 1) More skilled teammates and competition. Machine will field a considerably more skilled team than will be available at the SFLL Majors level and the skill-level of the competition will also be better. We would expect Machine to compete with/against SFBYL Citi and Sluggers squads, if you’re familiar with them. And, if not, know that they’re solid. 2) New rules/skills. SFYBL plays PONY rules. These are the rules that allow baserunners to take leads and require pitchers/defense to defend a running game. This is valuable experience and the rules by which kids will ultimately play in middle school and high school.

Advantages of SFLL. 1) Hitting skills. In contrast to PONY rules, Little League doesn’t yet allow baserunner leads. SFLL is very much a hitter’s league that emphasizes this critical skill. (In SFLL, you can’t work a walk, steal 2 easy bases and effectively turn a walk into a triple. Kids have to hit.) 2) Playoffs. The playoff format of the SFLL house league is fun. It’s a double elimination tourney of several pretty evenly matched teams. And, making a deep run to play in the Finals at SFLL Tepper field is a blast. 3) All Stars. The SFLL All Star experience is great. Our kids had an absolute blast on their respective 10U squads last year. (And James had a blast as Asst. Coach on the AL team.) And, we think that every Machine kid has the skill to compete for a spot on one of 2 SFLL 11U All Star teams next Spring/Summer and we’d love to give them the opportunity to do that.

Note that participating in SFLL is not a strict requirement, just a recommendation. But, the SFLL house league playoffs and All Stars (should your kid make one of those 2 teams) are experiences your kids will definitely remember.

What is the tryout process for Machine?

There is no tryout. If you received this link via email from Machine coaches, your child has already been deemed to be capable of competing at the necessary caliber of play (see Caliber of Play above). Roster spots are available to the first 13 kid invitees for whom their parent/guardian completes the application and makes payment (See Fees below).

Note: We were very, very selective of whom we invited to play on Spring 2017 Machine with us. In short, if you received an email from us, we are effectively holding a spot for your kid.

So, please do not forward the email we sent, because we are only offering spots to the primary email recipients at this time. Big Red Machine is a travel or “Select” team that will compete at a high level. Registration is not open to the general public.

What are the fees for Machine’s Spring 2017 team?

Participation for one child for the Spring 2017 season will cost $350. That will cover: SFYBL team registration costs, all field costs for 14–16 practices, costs for 2 jerseys (home and road, customized with player last names), custom ballcaps, some other swag that we’ve yet to design. (Last summer, we had a whole kit that included BP shirts and shorts and we got a lot of compliments on our jerseys. We’ll do something similar this year.)

And, we think you’ll find the financial commitment very reasonable when compared to other summer ball programs (in part because we’re obviously not running this for profit or having to cover excess overhead).

Summer 2016 Machine kit. (We looked good.;-))

What is the application/registration process?

Fill out the application attached in your “Welcome” email and mail a check payable for $350 to SF Big Red Machine to the address in the application.

Note that Parents of only a very few well-qualified 11-year olds have received the welcome email. And, we only have spots for 11 (of which 2 will be our kids, Sammy and Eamon).

We would expect to (and, in fact, need to) receive all of our commitments for Spring 2017 over the next 3 weeks prior to SFYBL Team Registration in early November.

What is the level of commitment required?

In addition to imposing a strict No Refund policy, we are asking that only families who are committed to Big Red Machine for Spring 2017 join the team. This does NOT mean that vacations aren’t allowed. But, for avoidance of confusion, we might define “committed” as a kid who misses pretty much only what is required due to their commitment to their SFLL teams. And, trust us, the kids aren’t going to want to miss any of it.:-)

What about Summer 2017? Might Machine field a tournament team?

Probably. But we’re going to cross that bridge later. After we get SFYBL started and we get into May, we’ll gauge interest and figure out our Summer plans.

So, again, email us with questions at: brmbaseball@gmail.com or individually at: james.navin@gmail.com and rivas.giordani@gmail.com.

And, we hope to see you on the ballfields with us in 2017!