Frequently Asked Questions
- Who Can Play in LA-MV PONY Baseball?
- LA-MV PONY is for boys and girls aged 5-19.
The Divisions page describes
our age-based divisions.
- When is the playing season?
Regular Season team
schedules vary by age.
Shetland through Pony Divisions (ages 5-14)
select teams in early February,
begin practices in early March, and
begin games in late March.
Shetland and Pinto (ages 5-8) play through the end of May.
Mustang, Bronco, and Pony divisions (ages 9-14) play through mid June.
Colt and Palomino Divisions (ages 15-19)
begin play after the high school season is completed,
and end in late June.
Club Teams typically start play in early February, and play through Memorial Day.
Post-Season tournament play can extend through mid July or even into August if the team is very successful.
- Where are games and practices?
Games and practices are held at fields in Los Altos and Mountain View. Our Fields Page has maps to all of these fields.
- When are the games played?
Shetland through Bronco Divisions (ages 5-12) play two games per week, one midweek and one on Saturday. Pony, Colt, and Palomino Divisions (ages 13-19) play one or two midweek games plus one on Saturday. Palomino teams may also play Sundays, or Saturday double headers. Saturday game times will vary from week to week, with games starting as early as 9pm or as late as 5:00pm. The day of the midweek game will vary from week to week; start time is normally 5:00 pm.
During the pre-season, before opening day, most teams practice twice per week, on a day and time selected by the coach. After games begin, there will be one practice per week in addition to the games. Some coaches schedule additional, voluntary practices as needed, for example a pitching or hitting clinic.
- How are teams chosen?
Shetland and Pinto teams are assembled by their respective Division directors, with an eye toward rough balance and placing players on teams with other players from the same school or who have requested to be teamed together.
Mustang through Palomino teams are formed through a draft. During tryouts each player is evaluated by experienced coaches and LA-MVPB board members. After the tryouts are completed, a draft is held, in which coaches select players from the pool of available players. The draft is designed to optimize the likelihood that teams will be roughly equivalent in terms of talent and experience. Each team is allowed two "protected" players (frequently the children of the two coaches) who are automatically placed on that team.
- Are there “cuts” in the draft?
For Regular Season Shetland through Pony teams (ages 5-14), every player who registers before the deadline is normally guaranteed a spot on a team. Shetland and Pinto (ages 5-8) players are assigned to teams by the Division Director. In Mustang, Bronco, and Pony (ages 9-14), tryouts and a draft are used only to ensure that teams are balanced; there are no “cuts.”
- Are there boundaries for LA-MV PONY Baseball?
Yes and no. Players from any community are welcome to play in our Regular Season and Club Teams. However, to be eligible to play in Pony-sanctioned, post-season All Star tournaments, a player must reside within our boundaries. See the League Boundaries page for details.
- I feel strongly that my child should play for a particular coach or with certain other players--for friendship reasons or because of carpool needs or other reasons. Will my desire be accommodated?
While we understand your concerns, it has proven extremely difficult to accommodate the myriad of requests from hundreds of parents. Therefore we have put the following policies in place:
- For the Shetland and Pinto divisions, you may request one sibling or friend to be on the same team but the request must be mutual. This is the only request that we guarantee that we will honor. For all other requests, including being placed on a specific coach's team, you will have the opportunity to make them on your registration form but they are in no way guaranteed.
- For all of the upper divisions, Mustang-1 and above, the players tryout and are drafted on to teams so we cannot honor any requests for players to be placed on the same team or with a specific coach except in the case of families. Siblings will be placed on the same team and children will be placed on the teams of their parent head coach or first assistant.
- My child has very little experience and/or is smaller than other kids his or her age. Can he/she be placed in a lower division?
As a general rule, we encourage players to play in the division that is appropriate for their age bracket. We do, however, evaluate players at the tryouts. If, in the judgment of the division director, a player's inexperience would put them at risk of injury in the age appropriate division, the director will recommend to the parent that the child play down a division. If you are concerned about this, please call the division director and discuss your concerns. We will certainly consider play down requests carefully.
Keep in mind that players who play down from Bronco to Mustang or from Pony to Bronco will not be eligible to pitch during the season, nor will they be eligible for post season tournament play.
- My child is more athletic and/or has more advanced baseball skills than other kids his or her age. Can he/she be placed in a higher division?
Again, we encourage players to play in the appropriate division for their age. Each division tends to emphasize certain skills, and “skipping” divisions can result in the loss of opportunity to fully develop key skills. Advanced players often become leaders on their teams, and help improve everyone's skills. Advanced players may also have opportunities for All Star play that would not be attainable for them in a higher division. If you think your child should be playing in a higher division, indicate the requested division when you register. The Division Director will consider tryout results and observations from previous coaches to determine whether it is appropriate for your child to play up a division.
Players who play up from Pinto to Mustang, Mustang to Bronco, or Bronco to Pony will not eligible for post season tournament play.
- My son or daughter is particularly well suited to play a particular position. How do I ensure that the coach plays him or her at that position?
You don't. The decision on who to play at what position is the coach's prerogative. Most coaches, particularly at the Shetland, Pinto, and Mustang levels, move kids around to different positions during the season to round out their experience and generally seek to ensure that all kids have some opportunity during the season to play in the infield. At the Bronco and Pony level, which is more competitive, coaches tend to slot players into a small number of positions that they will play for the entire season.
If you want your son or daughter to play a particular position, please consult with the coach and make your desires known. Keep in mind, however, that the decision is ultimately the coach's to make.
- What equipment does my son or daughter need to play?
The minimum equipment needed is a glove. You can expect to pay $30-40 for a relatively good quality beginner glove made of leather (not plastic). Better quality gloves range from $40-200. Most kids (virtually all at the Mustang level and above) also purchase baseball shoes (about $30 for kids sizes up to size 6). Many players also purchase their own bats, which can range from $25-$250.
- What advice can you give me on how to buy the appropriate equipment?
The first rule is not to buy equipment that is too big for your child, especially gloves and bats. Most Pinto players hit with bats that are 25 or 26 inches long and weigh 15 or 16 oz. Most Mustang players should use bats that are not longer than 30 inches and weigh 20 oz or less. Generally, the lighter the bat, the better able a child is to handle it. That also drives price -- a less expensive bat will typically have a differential between length and weight of -8 or -9 (e.g., 28 inches and 19 oz). A more expensive bat may have a differential of -11 or -12 (e.g., 29 inches and 18 oz).
If your child is young or small, buy a small glove. If the glove is too large, the player will not get a good "feel" for the glove and will tend to be somewhat clumsy fielding the ball.
Baseball cleats should have enough room to last 4-5 months through the season. Metal cleats are not permitted at the Pinto, Mustang and Bronco levels.
- Do many girls play in this league?
- In the younger divisions, as many as a third of the players on a
team may be girls. Older
girls do tend to migrate towards softball, however, so many teams in
Mustang (age 9) and above will have no girls on them.
But we do have competitive female players in every division.
- What are some of the other PONY Baseball leagues in our area?
The state of California is home to some of the nation's strongest PONY Baseball programs. Here in the Bay Area, Santa Clara, Campbell, and Danville have rich traditions including PONY World Series championships at several age levels. There is a complete list of nearby PONY Baseball leagues on the Links page.
- What major league baseball players played PONY Baseball as a kid?
Over 800 past and present major leaguers chose PONY Baseball as kids, including both Bobby and Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Ken Griffey Jr. and Sr., Ryan Howard, Jeff Kent, Mark McGwire, Cal Ripken Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, and J.T. Snow. You can see the complete list at the PONY national organization web site.
- There are many options for Travel Ball and other offerings for 13 year olds and up. Why should I sign up for the Pony division?
You will find a lot of information on our Pony Division page, including a list of specific Frequently Asked Questions about baseball options for this age.
- I have a question that is not covered here. How do I get more information?
A link to the latest reimbursement form is here.