Recent scheduling changes in Pennsylvania District 31 Little League resulted in clubs hosting doubleheaders, with all four teams playing at one site. When those doubleheaders are played at the Back Mountain Little League site, Steve Skammer is prepared.
As a board member of the Back Mountain Little League for two decades and league president for the last six, Skammer has been involved in hosting many events. He offered seven suggestions for successfully hosting games, even when your own team is not involved:
1. Communicate the Basics
“Communication is the No. 1 thing,” Skammer said. “People want to know as much ahead of time as possible the whos, the whats, the whens, the wheres.”
2. Describe Your Facility
Prior to teams traveling to the Back Mountain Little League, Skammer shares information about the site.
“We have batting cages, so they don’t have to worry about hitting before they get to the facility,” Skammer said. “You really need to communicate to the visiting teams what you have at the facility.”
Skammer shares info about restrooms, concession stands, handicap accessibility, lighting and team-specific information, such as the batting cages.
3. Determine What’s Needed
Skammer said his pregame communications let teams know if they are expected to bring anything, such as paperwork or game balls.
4. Go Over Logistics
Prior to arrival, Skammer said, teams need to be aware of starting time and when they can take the field for drills. This helps coaches and teams plan when they should arrive in order to have enough pregame preparation.
5. Assign a Host
After communicating all of the advanced details with visiting teams, Skammer says the second most important task is making sure the visitors know who to go to with questions once they arrive.
“Sometimes you go to these places and there’s nobody there to talk to from the host site,” Skammer said. “You need to have someone who meets them there and goes over: Here’s when you take the field, here’s where our cages are, this is your dugout.
“Baseball is baseball after that. You just want to make sure everything is convenient to them and that they have someone they can go to.”
6. Assign Volunteers
Rather than simply putting out a call for volunteers, Skammer assigns specific people to key volunteer tasks to make sure they are covered. Skammer assigns two people to the booth for each game, one as the official scorer and the other as the public address announcer and scoreboard operator. He also has two people for field preparation duties.
Another club member arranges the concession stand workers. One key, Skammer said, is to remember to have the stand covered for more than just the games in which the host team is involved.
When Back Mountain hosts district events, the district arranges the umpires. Depending on the type of tournament, however, Skammer said it might be necessary to have someone responsible for arranging, verifying and greeting umpires.
7. Think About Schedule
If the schedule is not predetermined, Skammer said to consider putting the home team in the last game. This tends to bring fans and volunteers to the facility during earlier games, creating a better atmosphere than when the host plays first and much of the facility empties out.