Q. WHO MAY PARTICIPATE IN RAPTORS BASEBALL?
A. Any child from 6 years old to 14 years old (based on child's age as of 5/1/2024). We do allow 5-year-olds to play up to a 6-year-old team. We do restrict 5-year-olds be within six months of the age cutoff. So for current year, the youngest child we can accept would need to have a birthdate prior to 10/31/2018.
Documentation is required for all returning and new players. Official state certified birth certificates or a valid passport are accepted and must be produced when requested.
Q. WHEN DOES AA BASEBALL REGISTRATION OCCUR?
A. Online individual registration for Raptors baseball opens mid-October and closes at the end of February. Registration may close early based on number of registrations and capacity. If registrations closes, the option to be placed on our waitlist will exist. All registrations are on a first come first served basis. Baseball registration can close early if we reach capacity. EARLY REGISTRATION IS SUGGESTED AND ENCOURAGED!!
Q. WHEN AND HOW DOES AAA/MAJORS BASEBALL REGISTRATION OCCUR?
A. Team registration (no individual registration) for AAA & Majors will occur December through February. AAA Coaches will receive specific instructions that they will forward to their team/players on how to pay their team fees.
Q. WHY DOES BASEBALL REGISTRATION OCCUR SO EARLY FOR THIS SPRING/SUMMER SPORT?
A. Raptors is a member of the AYL which has 250+ teams participating in youth baseball. By Mid-February, each club must define and commit to the number of teams by age and division that will participate in the league. This is required to allow time for the all-volunteer AYL baseball board to complete detailed plans for the season including game schedule, number of officials required, game fields, etc. This also provides ample time for Raptors to acquire quality coaches to fill any coaching vacancies.
The coaches of the AAA/Majors teams have 100% control their rosters. Roster spots are obtained by coaches’ invitation only or through a tryout. Raptors does not have the ability to place players on a competitive AAA/Majors rosters without the consent from the head coach. Team tryouts are typically held shortly after the baseball season ends (usually July, August, or September). AAA/Majors teams usually start indoor practice in January.
Q. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AA NATIONAL (INTERMEDIATE), AA AMERICAN (ADVANCED) AND AAA/MAJORS?
A. AA is a competitive intermediate level (usually the step up after rec baseball). AA is split into two divisions. National (intermediate) and American (advanced).
AA National is for kids just moving into competitive baseball from the rec level. These players have a good beginning knowledge of baseball and are ready for more competition than rec programs can offer.
AA American is for kids who have played at the AA National level and are ready to move to the next level of competition without the commitment to AAA travel baseball.
AAA/Majors is for the most advanced/proficient of players who have played at the AA level prior and typically play in weekend tournaments throughout the season. Most AAA teams play the AYL season along with playing tournaments offered by USSSA, Triple Crown, CABA and other tournament providers.
Q. WHEN DOES THE BASEBALL SEASON RUN (ALL LEVELS)?
A. Practice begins for both AA and AAA start on 3/1/2024.
Both AA and AAA/Majors AYL league games start the first week of April.
AA will conclude at the end of June.
AAA/Majors will conclude the first week of June.
Q. HOW DO I REGISTER MY CHILD FOR RAPTORS BASEBALL (AA LEVELS)?
A. Register online on the baseball homepage under the REGISTRATION tab at the top of the page. Registration opens mid-October and will only be available until we reach capacity.
Q. WHAT IS THE COST TO PLAY RAPTORS BASEBALL (AA LEVELS)?
A. The cost for Raptors baseball can change from year-to-year primarily based on our league and field provider’s adjustments in field usage fees. The early bird cost to play baseball in 2024 is $550 until December 31, 2023, per child if registered and paid in full by December 31, 2023.
Our regular registration begins on January 1, 2024 at $600.
Registration without a payment does not "hold" a spot on any roster. Any registration without payment will be deleted and no roster spot will be held without payment.
Q. WHAT IS THE COST TO PLAY AAA/MAJORS BASEBALL THROUGH RAPTORS?
A. The team cost for AAA & Majors baseball can change from year-to-year primarily based on our field provider’s adjustments in field usage fees and AYL league costs. Please contact the Raptors Director of Baseball for AAA/Majors cost. Teams must be registered and paid in full by January 31, 2024.
Q. WHAT ALL DOES THE REGISTRATION FEE COVER (AA LEVELS)?
A. The fee covers many items including but not limited to:
► League Fees such as: Team registration fees, Administrative meeting costs, Game Field permits, Game Field preparation and lighting costs, League Insurance, Umpire fees, League I.T. fees, website administration, scheduling fees, score reporting
► Organizational fees such as: Practice field (indoor & outdoor) usage & permits, Practice Field lighting, evaluation days, evaluation software, organizational administration fees, website administration, practice scheduling, facility rental costs
► Raptors baseball operating expenses such as: bank fees, credit card fees, coaching evaluations, coaches training clinics, coaching education, background checks, administration costs, Coaching and Administrative training, Coaches concussion training
► Team costs such as: League Registration fees, Team Insurance, Team equipment, Team decaling and branding, team photography
Q. What equipment will I have to purchase for my child to play Raptors baseball (AA levels)?
A. Each individual player is responsible for purchasing his/her own game uniform, glove, batting helmet and cleats. Raptors does not provide batting helmets, or baseball bats. Please reference the equipment 101 page under player resources to learn more about what is appropriate baseball equipment for our AA levels.
The required Raptors game uniform consists of two jerseys, Home white pinstripe baseball pants and away grey with black piping pants, a elastic baseball belt and Raptors baseball hat. Players will have two options of pant length, however if a player purchases “knicker” knee height pants, they will be required to purchase Raptors Gametime socks as well.
Before purchasing and putting a number on your jersey be sure your jersey number has been confirmed by the Raptors Director.
Q. IF MY CHILD PLAYED RAPTORS BASEBALL LAST YEAR, CAN THEY REUSE THEIR OLD UNIFORM (AA LEVELS)?
A. Yes, we do allow the re-use of old uniform pieces as long as they are still a part of our current uniform set and less than two years old. We do ask that uniform pieces be replaced if they are noticeably worn or too small for the player.
Please note the following are new parts of the 2024 uniform that are required to be purchased by all players in AA baseball.
- Black Jersey
- Multi-Colored Baseball Hat
- Green Game Socks (if purchasing Knickers)
Please note the following have been retired from the 2023 uniform package and will not be used in 2024:
- White Pinstripe Jersey (will be an alternate if teams want to use them)
- All Black Baseball hat
- Black Baseball Socks
Q. WHERE CAN WE PURCHASE BASEBALL UNIFORMS AND EQUIPMENT (AA LEVELS)?
A. Uniforms will be available to order during Uniform fittings at the end of January/beginning of February. Raptors Baseball is the only official uniform provider for 2024 uniforms.
For equipment - Raptors will have VIP weekend events scheduled at Dicks Sporting Goods and Monkey Sports in Centennial in December, January and February.
Additionally, Raptors baseball is able to offer many items at a wholesale discount to our current players and families. If you see an item you would like to purchase, please check with us as we can probably get it for 20-30% below what you would pay in a retail store.
Q. HOW ARE NEW PLAYERS ASSIGNED TO AA TEAMS? CAN WE REQUEST TO PLAY FOR A SPECIFIC COACH OR WITH A FRIEND?
A. A baseball player is assigned to a team based upon a few criteria.
- Team assignments are based on the player's age is on May 1, 2024.
- Next we take into account a players experience. We attempt to place all new players on teams with a similar experience and skill levels. This includes a pre-season evaluation of the players in late January.
- We then let our AA American (Advanced level) coaches have input on players they believe are skilled enough for the advanced level.
- If there are multiple choices, we will try to match the new player with a team that has other players from the same school or within the same High School feeder system.
Raptors baseball players may request to play with a friend or a particular coach. This can be noted on the online registration forms. We do our best to honor these requests, but there is no guarantee. There are other factors such as team level of competitive play, specific team roster openings, etc, that affect the placement.
Q. ARE THEIR TRYOUTS TO MAKE AA TEAMS?
A. At this time, Raptors does not hold tryouts for AA levels. Raptors does hold player evaluations to be able to match skill level with appropriate teams and divisions. We do allow players new to the sport, with no previous experience, in our 6U through 8U levels. Starting at 9U, we will start to evaluate if players have a beginner base knowledge and skill set of the game.
In some cases, the Raptors executive baseball board will suggest some players move to the Town of Castle Rock recreation league based on skill level shown at evaluations. If this is suggested it is because the player’s base skillset is below the minimum level that will make AA baseball enjoyable for the player. Our job is to make sure every kid has an enjoyable and successful season of baseball, even if that means playing in a beginner level recreation league league.
At the AAA & Majors level there are tryouts that are ran and facilitated by the Head coach of that particular team.
Q HOW ARE RETURNING RAPTORS BASEBALL PLAYERS PLACED ON TEAMS AT THE AA LEVELS?
A. Due to limited capacity, any returning player that signs up during the early bird period will be guaranteed a roster spot as long as capacity allows. Returning players who are registered and paid in full by December 31st of the current year will automatically be granted priority over new players to Raptors and will generally be assigned to the same team they played on the previous season.
A returning player that wishes to change teams must still register by December 31st of the current year to guarantee their roster spot. If registered prior to December 31st, the returning player requesting to change teams will be given priority over any new players requesting that same team.
Should a returning player wish to change teams for any reason please contact one of the Raptors Baseball Executive Committee members as soon as possible so we can advise and assist you in making the requested change.
Q. HOW ARE JERSEY NUMBERS ASSIGNED?
A. Each age group is will be assigned from 00-99. Only one player per age group per jersey number. The jersey numbers used by returning players are also maintained for that player as long as their registration is completed by December 31, 2023. Should a returning player fail to register by the December 31st cutoff, they will forfeit the right to their previous jersey number.
On registration, you will be given the option to request three jersey numbers. (Tip: choose one that not between 1 and 50) we will assign jersey numbers based on requests in order received by date of registration. The earlier you register the greater the chance of getting the jersey number you want.
Q. HOW MANY PLAYERS ARE ON A TEAM (AA LEVELS)?
A. Team size can vary depending upon the number of kids registering to play but the preferred roster size is 12 kids for AA teams. WE WILL NOT ROSTER A TEAM WITH LESS THAN 11 KIDS AND WILL NOT EXCEED 13 ON A ROSTER.
Most 6U and 7U rosters will have 13 kids because the rules of the league allow those age groups to have 10 kids in the field at the same time on defense.
Q. WHERE, WHEN AND HOW OFTEN IS PRACTICE (ALL LEVELS)?
A. Typically, all our practice fields are located within Castle Rock.
Teams will be given 2 practices per week in the preseason prior to games starting. Once the regular season starts, teams will typically still have two practices per week (April - June) but those might be reduced to one practice per week depending on field availability.
The start and end time for practices generally takes in to account the team's age, coaches work schedule and field availability. Generally, practices are 90 minutes long and are from 5-6:30pm, 6:00-7:30PM, 7:00-8:30PM and 8:00-9:30pm.
5 to 8-year-olds will have practices that end no later than 7:30pm (unless otherwise requested by the coach)
9 to10-year-olds will have practices that end no later than 8:30pm
11 and above can and will practice until 9:30pm.
Older age groups will get earlier practices if the practice schedule allows.
Q. HOW MANY TEAMS WILL PRACTICE AT THE SAME TIME?
A. Teams will have the use of the majority of the field for 60 minutes of their practice. During the last 30 minutes of each teams practice, the next team will show up and get to use a small part of the outfield to warm up. Teams must be VERY AWARE of the time as we continually rotate teams onto the field at the top of every hour.
Q. HOW MANY GAMES ARE PLAYED (AA LEVELS) WHERE AND WHEN ARE THEY SCHEDULED?
A. The AYL regular season generally consists 16 games, but AYL does not guarantee a minimum number of games. Games will be played on both days of the weekends throughout April, May and June.
AYL Games will not be played on the following days: Easter Sunday, Mother's Day, Memorial Day weekend (all subject to change if needed)
All teams qualify for the post-season AYL World Series tournament. The number of tournament games that a team can play depends on how many games a team can win. In some cases, teams can play 2-3 games in a day. In addition, teams will play in the AYL preseason games the first weekend of April.
The AYL is comprised of Member Clubs establishing teams in the South Metro area communities of Littleton, Centennial, Highlands Ranch, South Aurora, Parker, Castle Rock, Cherry Creek and South Jeffco. Games can be played at any of these locations at specific fields.
Regular season games are scheduled for Saturday (9AM-9PM) and Sunday (9AM-9PM). Typically, the first regular-season game is scheduled for Saturday or Sunday of the second weekend in April. The regular season runs through the second week of June. Postseason playoffs begin immediately following the conclusion of the regular season and continue with the AYL World Series tournament that is usually completed the end of June. Games may be postponed or canceled by weather, field issues or other problems. There is no guaranteed minimum number of games from AYL. Cancelled Games are not typically rescheduled, but if the need arises they will be rescheduled ASAP and can be played on any day of the week.
Q. WHAT IF WE HAVEA FAMILY VACATION SCHEDULED DURING THE SEASON?
A. Baseball requires significant preparation and practice as well as a strong commitment to the team. Family vacations during the season are highly discouraged. Depending upon team rules, playing time may be impacted because of the time your player misses due to a vacation. You are encouraged to schedule your vacations prior to or after the season to avoid playing time impact. If you must schedule a family vacation during the season, please inform your head coach as soon as possible to understand how your team is impacted.
it is also imperative to read our financial policies regarding forfeits as most forfeits result from families going on vacation during the season. AYL purposefully schedules through June to leave the entire month of July open for family vacations.
Q. What happens if my team has to forfeit a game?
A. Anytime a team forfeits an AYL league game, the AYL will mark the forfeit at a 10-0 loss and assess a fine for the forfeiting team ($100 for regular season, $200 for playoffs). There will also be field use charges and umpire fees that will be assessed as well. The Raptors Baseball Board will discuss the cause of the forfeit with the team coach. The coach will provide us with those families whose absence created the forfeit.
If the forfeit was deemed unexcused and avoidable, then the families responsible for creating the forfeit will be responsible to paying the league forfeit fines and fees. Forfeits not only effect your own team, but your opponents, the umpires the field providers and the league.
Forfeit charges will be added to the account of those responsible for making their team forfeit. If the forfeit occurs during the regular season, those players responsible will become ineligible to play until their forfeit fines are paid. If the forfeit occurs in the playoffs, then the fines will be added to the players account and are due within 90 days. If they are not paid within 90 days, then the outstanding balance can and will be sent to collections. Also, families responsible for forfeits who have not paid their forfeit fines will not be allowed to play within Raptors Athletics until those fines are paid.
Q. What if my child decides after signing up that he does not like baseball and wants to quit? What is the refund policy?
A. Raptors Baseball registrations are 100% non-refundable.
Q. WHO CAN BE A HEAD COACH? HOW DO I BECOME A HEAD COACH? WHO CAN BE AN ASSISTANT COACH?
A. Anyone can apply to be a head coach.
The process involves:
- Filling out an head coach application found in the coaching resources
- Participating in a in person interview with the Director of Baseball
- Submitting to a background check
- Completing the mandatory yearly concussion training
- Completing a Youth Sports Coaching Training through the National Alliance of Youth Sports
- Mandatory attendance and participation in player evaluations
Coaches must also be willing to participate in yearly AYL coach trainings/meetings and are encouraged to attend any local coaching clinics if they can as well. All Raptors Head Coaches will also be signed up for a one year American Baseball Coaches Association membership to provide access to online coaching clinics, drills and training.
The head coach will be responsible to appoint his/her own assistant coaches. Every team will be allowed one head coach and two assistant coaches.
If you are interested in Head Coaching for Raptors baseball please contact the Raptors Baseball Director.
Q. WHO WILL BE MY PLAYER'S COACH? WHEN WILL WE LEARN OUR TEAM ASSIGNMENT?
A. Raptors is an 100% volunteer organization. While many of our coaches have been with us for many years, we have new coaches every season and are always looking for more interested coaches to continue to grow our program. In the situation where a roster is formed from registrations but there is no coach for that team, we will reach out to the parents of those players to fill the coaching role - we understand it's a big commitment but it's also a very rewarding one!
Teams are formed by the third week in February. Once the team is formed an email will go out to the entire team informing them of their team and the coach.
Q. WHEN WILL I FIRST BE CONTACTED BY MY PLAYERS COACH?
Coaches will be contacting their players by the 3rd week in February. If you have not been contacted by the last week in February please contact the Baseball Director.
Q. WHERE CAN I FIND THE AGE-SPECIFIC BASEBALL RULES?
A. The AYL baseball rule book will be available on the AYL baseball website or through teh following link: TBD
Q. DOES EVERY PLAYER GET EQUAL PLAYING TIME?
A. As a competitive organization players may not receive equal play time. For specific play time rule regulations please visit the baseball rules at www.aylsports.org
AYL's playing time rule states at AA every player in attendance must bat in the batting order and play 6 of the first 15 defensive outs in AA games. The only exception to this is in instance of injury or disciplinary action from the coach.
Q: CAN OUR SEASON BE SUCCESSFUL IF WE DON’T WIN A LOT?
A: All Raptors Team work hard to win every game, and we have the tournament and league titles every year that show our teams have been plenty successful. But what we value more is a philosophy of developing good players both on and off the field and teaching them the right way to play and behave. There is a big line to cross between winning and winning at all costs. The win at all costs mentality can hurt players, coaches and parents in a variety of ways:
-- It places a higher value on results over effort.
-- It tilts the emphasis away from development of every player and toward the scoreboard.
-- It makes the better players feel as if they have to carry the team which can lead to selfish habits and attitudes.
-- It marginalizes the kids who work hard all year.
As the season progresses, you’ll see other teams might leave their best players on the field more while Raptors try to distribute game time more evenly until the very end of games. You also might notice our practices tend to focus more on skills in small era drills and less on “systems” work that utilize the full field. Again, it’s because we want to focus on developing better baseball players and not just do what is required to win every game. In the long run, we’ve found this approach leads to greater team success anyway, and that the occasional loss makes us better.
There is an old saying that people and teams learn more about themselves after a loss than they do after a win. While we want to instill great baseball habits and skills in each of our players, learning to lose graciously and win humbly will go much further toward their character development for life.
“Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something great in life, the secret is learning how to lose.” — Wilma Rudolph, Olympic champion
Q. RAPTORS DOES NOT PROVIDE FALL BASEBALL? WHY?
A. The simple answer is no, Raptors does not provide Fall Baseball. We cannot provide a fall baseball league as all of the Raptors baseball field permits expire in July. We also believe in Long Term Athletic Development (LTAD) and that kids should play as many different sports as possible.
We will send out an email about the multiple fall baseball leagues provided by other AYL organizations where many Raptors teams have participated in previous years. Raptors baseball will not be responsible for creation of any fall baseball teams for other leagues and responsibility of creating fall teams will go to Coaches and parents that wish to play in the fall.
Q: SHOULD MY KID PLAY BASEBALL ALL YEAR LONG IF HE WANTS TO GET BETTER?
A: All of our age groups seek to develop a player’s baseball aptitude and skills along with their LTAD. We strongly encourage our players to participate in other sports in the off-season. Early specialization and playing only one sport like baseball all year round actually inhibits their development in two ways: it decreases their overall athleticism and increases the likelihood of overuse injuries. Most pre-teen and early teens should be encouraged to play different sports to increase mobility, agility and overall athleticism. Fall Football, Fall Lacrosse, Fall Soccer, Winter Basketball, Ice Hockey, Wrestling, etc.
All are great for overall athletic development and will greatly benefit your young baseball player. A report in August 2016 in the American Academy of Pediatrics Journal cited research showing the physical, social and emotional risks for children who specialize too young. They concluded that postponing specialization until puberty decreases injury, burnout and stress in children. So get your player involved in different sports each season. Don’t let them tell you that “Baseball is all I want to do.”
Should you have further questions please contact our volunteers listed below:
Collin Cacchione (Director of Baseball) firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Levin (Assistant Director of Baseball) Michael.email@example.com