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How to run a Beep Baseball Tournament

Get a committee together to decide when and where to hold the tournament and what the entry fee will be. Also determine who will be the Tournament Director to over-see the tournament. Set a date for the tournament and decide which fields you want to use. If possible, get the date determined before the annual World Series so it can be publicized at the World Series. Get the fields reserved as soon as possible. (Note: Shawnee County Parks & Rec. open their books for reservations about the 2nd week of January - usually a $50 deposit is required.) Also decide which motel you want to use and get a contract for a fixed price and reserve a "block" of sleeping rooms and a "hospitality" room. Be sure that the motel understands that there will probably be guide dogs involved and find out what area they want used for "dog relief". (This should probably be done in October.)

Write up a flyer describing the tournament to be sent to potential teams. Include such information as the date of the tournament, type of tournament (such as round robin, double elimination, etc.), entry fee, room rates (if known), registration deadline (usually April 1st), a contact person's name and phone number and an entry form (see attached sample). The teams would also need to know if they are required to provide any equipment such as balls and/or bases. This flyer should be send out in late November or early December. It would also be helpful to notify the NBBA Secretary of the date and other pertinent information concerning the tournament so the information could go out in the NBBA newsletter or NBBA Board Minutes from the Fall Board Meeting.

Approximately 1 month before your entry deadline (usually 1st of March), send out reminder notices and entry forms to the teams that have not responded to the 1st mailing.

Within a week after the entry deadline, set up the game schedule for the tournament. Put together a packet of information to be mailed to the teams that are registered for the tournament. Include a copy of the game schedule, motel registration information (including motel registration deadline), and any other information of interest to the teams such as hospitality room information, arrival information and transportation information (include a map and/or written instruction on how to get to the motel).

As soon as the game schedule for the tournament is set, start to solicit for volunteers. Decide what kind of volunteers are needed (umpires, field judges, base operators, scorekeepers, transportation (drivers), food servers for "banquet", first aid, field crew & equipment, etc.). Develop a letter to be sent out requesting volunteers. Be sure to include such information as the types of volunteers needed along with the date and time each volunteer is needed. (If there are teams flying in for the tournament, be sure there is transportation provided to and from the motel to the airport.) List a contact person's name and phone number so people can call if they have questions concerning the volunteer work. Check with the Telephone Pioneers, Lions organization, church groups, friends, etc. for volunteers. Be sure to contact people that have volunteered in the past and are already trained. Decide on your Head Umpires. Be sure they are very knowledgeable of the current rules. You will also need a statistician. Set up a schedule to post with the necessary slots for volunteers. Send training information to the new volunteers so they can become familiar with their job responsibilities.

As soon as the volunteers are scheduled, send a note to each volunteer notifying them of their "job" and time slot(s) so they can mark their calendar. Remember that everyone has a busy schedule and the sooner a person knows what they are doing the better the response. Be sure to thank them for volunteering.

Set up a committee to determine what food to serve at the Saturday night "banquet". They are responsible to plan the menu, purchase the food, and see to it the food gets served. They may want to solicit food donations from local companies. If this is the case, they need to solicit early.

A couple weeks before the tournament, send out reminder notices to each volunteer reminding them of when they are to work and where they are to report for duty. Again, be sure to list a contact person they can contact with any problems in scheduling. You may also want to include a map (or at least written instructions) on how to get to the fields.

Approximately 1 week before the motel registration deadline, check with the motel to see which teams are registered. Be sure there are enough rooms available and that no problems have been encountered. Contact the teams that have not registered. Remind them that the deadline is rapidly approaching and that there is no guarantee of rooms after the deadline has passed.

A committee needs to be set up to determine what awards will be given out at the tournament (such as 1st Place, 2nd Place and All-Star Team). Once the awards are determined, they need to be ordered and engraved. Usually metals are used for the All-Star team members. The trophies should be ordered at least 3 weeks prior to the tournament.

Approximately 4-6 weeks prior to the tournament, you need to notify the local television stations and radio stations. Most radio stations do public service announcements for non-profit groups. You should also notify the local newspaper.

A letter needs to be written to the local ambulance service notifying them of the tournament dates and location so they are aware of the possibility that their services might be needed. This should be done a couple weeks prior to the tournament. If possible have a first aid kit available at the field and possibly first aid volunteers (such as student nurses, reserve personnel, etc.).

You will need to have people lined up to mark the fields early in the morning prior to the tournament if the Parks & Rec. Dept. does not provide this service. The bases will also need to be set up and plugged in. Someone also needs to be sure that there are plenty of beep baseballs charged and ready for use in the tournament. Someone will need to be responsible for them at the tournament -- to distribute them to the fields and to collect the "dead" balls.

Put together a team packet that includes the game schedule, directions to the fields, transportation schedules for teams that flew in, team roster sheets, information about the fields (such as concession stands, first aid, restrooms, etc.), and hospitality room information. This packet should be distributed to each team as they check in at the motel.

Someone (probably the Tournament Director) should be at the motel to be sure that the teams get checked in with no problems and hand them their team packet. Usually there is a Hospitality Room set up for a couple hours so the teams can meet and socialize and get any last minute instructions.

The field crew needs to be at the fields a couple hours prior to the start of the 1st game to mark the fields (if not already done), set up the bases, and distribute the first batch of balls. Be sure that the fields are marked with field numbers (Field #1, etc.). The tournament director needs to be at the fields to meet with the volunteers and make sure each field is staffed with all of the necessary people. The volunteers should arrive 1/2 hour prior to each game start to get checked in and ready to start working by game start time. Ideally there would be 1 head umpire, 2 field judges, 1 base operator and 1 or 2 scorekeepers per field. There should be a clip board with official scoresheets, pencils & erasers, team roster sheets, and an official set of rules for each field. Have a water jug and cups at each field for the volunteers. If necessary, have someone transport the team(s), that flew to the tournament, from the motel to the fields. Be sure that there is a rover to keep track of the beep baseballs -- collect "dead" balls and supply "new" balls. Remind the umpires to try to keep the games on schedule. The tournament director would travel among the fields to be sure things are running smoothly. Someone would need to collect the scoresheets and get them turned in to the statistician for posting. All of Saturday's games would need to be posted by Saturday night and have the sheets available on Sunday morning to post Sunday's games. Sunday's games will probably have to be manually posted to get ready for the awards presentation. After the games are over on Saturday, the field crew needs to pick up all of the equipment -- bases, wires, control boxes, and balls. If you are hosting a "banquet" on Saturday night, the banquet committee needs to be sure that someone is at the hotel getting the food ready.

Sunday morning the field crew needs to be at the field early to be sure that the fields are still marked and to set up the bases. They should also distribute the balls. The statistician should have the sheets available with all of Saturday's games posted. The Tournament Director needs to be sure that all of the volunteers show up for duty. As soon as the games are over, the statistician should manually post the stats so the information is available for the awards presentation. As soon as the information is available, have the awards ceremony. (Be sure that the awards are on site for the presentation.) The field crew again needs to pick up all of the equipment. If any teams flew in for the tournament, be sure they have transportation back to the airport.

Your worries are over for this tournament. Go home and rest. Tomorrow you can start planning for next year. Be sure to send "Thank You" notes to your volunteers.


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