ENYTB was established in 1996 to foster the growth of youth travel baseball in the eastern region of Upstate New York and adjacent areas. The League has no geographic boundaries per se. Its geographic center is the No. Colonie/Clifton Park, NY area, and stretches as far west as Syracuse and the Utica-Rome area, as far east as Pittsfield MA, as far north as Queensbury, NY and Rutland, VT as far south as Poughkeepsie, NY and as far to the southwest as Binghamton, NY. Teams from Montreal have participated in the League's fall baseball program as well.
Total league membership in 1996 years ago was 8 teams, all in a single age division (14U) and under a single sanctioning body (AABC). A record 187 travel teams participated in the League's 2011 spring/summer league program (3 competitive classifications in 12 age levels with up to four sanctioning choices). We must be doing something right!
One of the key elements of the League's successful growth strategy has been its membership rules, which encourage League participation and growth:
(1) No team in good standing with the League shall be denied entry to the league provided its roster is comprised exclusively of players who did not participate in the League for another League member in the prior year or if they did, their team is not active in the League in the current year, or the player has been "released" by his previous club/team or qualifies as a free agent under any of the League's several exemptions. see ENYTB Constitution, Article XVI
(2) Furthermore, any team, once started in the League, has the right to continue in the League forever, provided it remains in good standing with the League.
Another key element in the League's successful growth strategy has been its ability to strike a balance between the interests of players and members in the matter of player movement from one club to another. ENYTB's rules have evolved over a decade and a half, and rely almost entirely on "roster protection" as opposed to territory (residency). There are two predominant schools of thought on free agency. One believes that players should be allowed to make a new choice each season (unlimited free agency) while the other believes players should have no say in choosing where they play (ban on all free agency). ENYTB has chosen a path of limited free agency. It believes that total free agency would not provide the stability and continuity required to maintain club programs from year-to-year. At the same time, the opposite extreme where players are limited to playing for one club based solely on their place of residence is unnecessarily rigid, leading to much player dissatisfaction and less overall participation.
ENYTB ROSTER PROTECTION
By definition, any player who did not participate in the league in the prior year is a free agent in the current year i.e., they are free to play for any club/team of their choice.
Once a player chooses to play for a member club, he becomes that club's "protected" player.
Members are not allowed to tamper with another member's protected players i.e., they are not permitted talk to current league players about playing for their organization. This means no personal tryouts, no working out with their team and no discussion with the player, or anyone acting on behalf of the player, related to the prospect of the player playing for their team. All of the latter are forms of tampering.
To change teams, a player must obtain a "release" from his current club,or qualify under any of the various league exemptions, as described in Article XVI of the League's Constitution.
The League expanded its scope in 2004 by offering an adult baseball program that includes sanctioned play in both the College (22U) and Unlimited Divisions. Many players who graduated from the ENYTB youth program have returned to the League as adult players.
COMPETITIVELY BALANCED PLAY - REGULAR SEASON & POST-SEASON
ENYTB offers a continuous program of competitively balanced travel league play from 9U through Unlimited, with the opportunity to qualify for approximately 100 berths in more than 40 sanctioned National Championship Tournament Series (NCTS) under four different national sanctioning bodies: AABC (1996); NABF (1999); PONY (2003); and, CABA (2011). ENYTB also hosts numerous tournaments every year, including at least one at every age level. Teams qualify for these berths in two different ways - based on regular season won-lost records (standings) and orderof finish in ENYTB's members only June Madness tournaments. In addition, ENYTB sometimes sponsors its own end-of-season tournaments from mid-July on.
ENYTB teams are classified for regular season play according to their age and overall skill level. The Gold Division provides our most advanced teams a level of competition far superior to that commonly found in league play. The HiSilver Division includes a broader range of teams, including many who can give our gold teams a run for their money on any given day. The LoSilver Division offers teams a lesser but still challenging level of competition.
Depending on registrations, ENYTB will sometimes earmark some of its sanctioned tournament berths to specific skill classifications. This is done so that every ENYTB member team, regardless of its skill level designation, begins the season with a realistic chance for success, including the potential to compete in a sanctioned championship tournament and even possibly a World Series and become a national champion. (All remaining berths, termed "wildcard" berths, are made available based on order of finish in regular season play irrespective of a team's competitive classification.)
Beginning in 2011 ENYTB added a new tournament concept, dubbed June Madness. Extra berths in sanctioned National Championship Tournament Series are purchased and awarded based on the results of this tournament alone. All teams that pay the entry fee play in the June Madness tournament. It is a single elimination format but it uses a play-in format where lower ranked teams play each other in the early rounds. Teams are seeded according to the regular season standings prior to the start of the tournament. This format is more fun for all because it produces more competitively balanced games. The urgency of single elimination adds excitement as well.
The ENYTB program has produced four consecutive national champions:
2007 NABF16U World Series (East Greenbush DevilCats);
2008 AABC13U World Series (Spring Renegades);
2009 AABC9U World Series (Spring Renegades); and,
2010 NABF16U World Series (Rotterdam Rangers).
In summary, regardless of age or ability level, ENYTB offers every member team a first class travel league experience every step of the way from customized online registration and scheduling, to competitively balanced regular season play and abundant opportunities for participation in one or more sanctioned National Championship Tournament Series (NCTS).