Bruce Bochy has it easy compared to Little League All-Star managers.
All Bochy has to contend with is a 25-man active roster and the 40-man roster consisting of players signed to a Major League contract. Little League All-Star managers have just one vote out of many in determining his/her 14-player roster.
All Bochy has to contend with is the huge ego of today’s high-priced professional athletes. Players’ egos aren’t that big a concern for Little League managers. More troublesome is the consistent advice offered by parents who are eager to share their expertise, especially when it comes on how and where to play their own superstars.
Once Bochy sets his lineup, he is free to pinch-hit, pinch-run, change pitchers, add defense pretty much at will.
Little League managers’ moves are restricted by rule. For starters, they are required to give each player on the roster at least one at bat, although the mandatory play rule is slightly less stringent than during the regular season when each player must also play for six consecutive outs in the field. All-Star teams with less than 13 players on the roster must give each player the field playing time as well as an at bat. No problem when a team is winning big, but with almost half the lineup required to turn over in six innings, it can get a little dicey.
The mandatory play rule is complicated by a rule that allows players to re-enter at will with the only stipulation that it be at the same spot in the batting order. More decisions for the manager.
Things really get strange with the pitch-count rules. The rules per game are pretty straightforward when it comes to the number of pitches in a game — 85 pitches for 11- and 12-year-olds; 75 for 9- and 10-year-olds and 50 for 7- and 8-year-olds.
It is in the days-of-rest requirements that things really get complicated, particularly in double-elimination tournaments where teams can end up playing every day.
According to Little League rules:
“Pitchers league age 14 and under must adhere to the following rest requirements:
“If a player pitches 66 or more pitches in a day, four calendar days of rest must be observed.
“If a player pitches 51-65 pitches in a day, three calendar days of rest must be observed.
“If a player pitches 36-50 pitches in a day, two calendar days of rest must be observed.
“If a player pitches 21-35 pitches in a day, one (1) calendar days of rest must be observed.
“If a player pitches 1-20 pitches in a day, no (0) calendar day of rest is required.”
These requirements are why managers sometimes take effective pitchers out of a game as early as the second or third inning.
All Bochy has to worry about is if his pitcher, starter or reliever, is tiring.
I’ve never heard of Bochy having to send a parent scurrying from Santa Rosa to Petaluma because a player forgot his baseball shoes. I’ve never seen Bochy anxiously looking toward a bathroom to see if his on-deck hitter has finished his business yet. I’ve never seen Bochy have to explain to a player why he isn’t allowed to eat a hot dog in the dugout during a game.
Managing a Little League All-Star team requires a strategist, a mathematician, a diplomat, a counselor and a teacher all rolled into one very patient human being.