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Babe Ruth joins pool of choices

New youth baseball program on North Side

If you’re a kid and you want to play baseball in north Spokane, you just got the choice of yet another league: there’s now a Babe Ruth League on the North Side.

Dan Peck said the board that used to be in charge of Spokane North and Mead Little League – which he was part of – decided to re-affiliate with Babe Ruth.

“The old board voted and decided to go this way instead,” said Peck. “We feel like it’s a good opportunity, that Babe Ruth offers a lot more. For instance, at ages 11-12 they can play full-size baseball. We feel like that’s a much better transition.”

This, however, does not mean that Spokane North and Mead Little League went away.

George Kinney, district administrator for Little League Baseball and Softball Washington District 13, said he was taken completely by surprise by Peck’s announcement.

“We knew nothing about the change. You are supposed to send out a notice and let everyone know of a meeting and the purpose of the meeting, before you change affiliation,” said Kinney. “Our leagues are still operating like last year,”

Kinney said Peck and Babe Ruth League have kept records of players and their families which rightfully belong to Little League.

That means last year’s Little League parents are receiving e-mails from Babe Ruth about sign-up and registration times, which may lead some to think Little League isn’t around any longer.

“Almost 5,000 kids played with us last year, they can still play with us this year,” said Kinney.

Peck said a little competition doesn’t hurt anyone.

“The way I see it we are offering a product,” said Peck. “If people like it, we will flourish, if not, then we won’t make it.”

A persistent rumor was that Spokane North and Mead Little League were sanctioned by national Little League, but that’s not true said Kinney. Neither is it true that coaches bent the rules to get certain players on All-Star teams.

In an e-mail Kinney writes: “I understand that there was some ‘cherry picking’ that I was made aware of after this issue came to light in November. I would like to dispel any rumors about Spokane North Little League and Mead Little League. They were not sanctioned, suspended or disbanded by Little League.” Kinney also wrote that no complaints were filed against Peck.

The national Babe Ruth League has been around since the ’50s, Peck said, and it’s similar in structure to the Little League.

Peck said he expects about 1,100 kids to sign up with Babe Ruth – about the same number who played with Sokane North and Mead Little League last year.

“We may expand into other areas of Spokane,” Peck said.

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