Dwayne White had a vision for Baytown Little League and now it is a reality.
When the league had its closing ceremonies, White, the league’s president, announced that Baytown Little League would now fall under one umbrella and no longer have a need for the American and National split that has been a part of the culture for a number of years and that came after the league had four districts.
The most recent two divisions lasted for eight years until White got what he sought.
“This should have been done years ago, but for whatever reason, couldn’t get done,” White said. “Little League couldn’t get on board with it because they are really particular about creating a powerhouse or how that would affect the districts themselves. When the (original) merger happened, it should have taken place there. I don’t know much about the inner workings.”
“I hope this brings back prestige to Baytown Little League from a standpoint of us being able to make a name again. I am hoping we can bring back district championships, but that we can make it a long way and hopefully see our kids on TV.”
White noted that Clear Lake finally got a merger done after almost a decade of working for one.
The size of the city isn’t the motivation behind the merger.
“We doubled our numbers this year,” White said. “
The split also affected how All-Star teams were set up heading into those matchups and created an unfair advantage.
“It was different than the game is now,” White said. “There wasn’t as much travel ball and the prestige of Little League was different. There’s so many different travel ball and select teams. For the longest time, we had to divide Baytown in half and took away from the kids.
“It made it difficult when it comes to all-star season and made it harder to compete because we had to split it down the middle.”
White said it was the persistence and building relationships with district officials in League City to make the case that made this happen.
The final decision was made in Waco where the regional office signed off on the move.
“It started off with a question of, ‘What do we have to do?’” White said. “They look at your numbers, show the map of the zoning, show expansion and future growth. All of these things are realistically a factor in deciding to combine the leagues.
“It’s about asking the right questions and pleading the case of what it makes sense.”
White believes that Clear Creek’s similar makeup to Baytown and its acceptance likely helped Baytown’s cause.
Mirtha Morales, the league’s information officer says that this move will also create a more competitive league and White’s drive helped make this happen.
“The importance of the merger is that we will now be one entity,” she said. “What this means to our players is everyone will be together rather than split due to boundaries of parks. At the end of the season there will be only one All-Star team per division.
“Dwayne is passionate about our community in Baytown and his love of baseball. He continues to devote endless hours to the betterment of Baytown Little League. We are forever grateful for his dedication and his compassionate heart. We as a Board will continue to support him and the White family.”
Now the combined league has a new vision moving forward including improved All-Star teams and now more of an opportunity for kids to play on stronger squads. It also helps avoid a possible dichotomy of talent between the American and National leagues based on numbers and talent.
It also makes White’s job easier.
“Now you don’t have to find a coach that lives on the American or National side,” White said. “He can just be a coach. The scheduling and draft side of it, we don’t have to have two separate drafts. When people register it’s not ‘Do you live on the American side or the National side?’ It’s ‘Oh, you live in Baytown? OK fine, sign up here.’”