Pleasanton American Little League and Pleasanton National Little League have combined efforts to create a new, joint Pleasanton Little League starting in the upcoming season.
The decision, announced this month and approved by Little League International, occurred because of Pleasanton American's desire for a long-term solution to address its declining registration, and the move is unrelated to the embezzlement scandal that struck that league earlier this year, according to Mike Paden, president of the Pleasanton Little League.
"Basically you have the two oldest leagues in the city of Pleasanton joining together ... to build a stronger, more competitive league for the boys and girls," Paden said Tuesday.
The new league includes all prior boundaries of Pleasanton American and Pleasanton National, according to Paden. The city's third league, Pleasanton Foothill Little League, remains intact and unchanged.
Officials hope the combined effort will create more competition and help build a better foundation of baseball skills for the boys and girls, and in turn keep their interest in Little League baseball rather than other sports or travel baseball leagues.
"We wanted a stronger, better experience for our kids and we don't want to keep losing kids (to travel ball or other sports)," the Pleasanton American board said in a statement.
As for its support of the merger, the Pleasanton National board said, "We're ambassadors of baseball for all kids, not just those within our boundaries. We have an obligation to help make the Little League baseball experience a positive and fulfilling one for every child."
Paden said Pleasanton American had explored merging with the other leagues for the past several years, including negotiations to potentially join with Pleasanton Foothill.
"A formula to bring the three leagues down to two had been in the works for a number of years," he said.
"It's not about what happened with the American president," he added, referring to the February arrest of former Pleasanton American president Jeremy Lee Cardera for felony embezzlement after police said he stole more than $20,000 from the league's accounts, using some of the money to pay for a family trip to Southern California.
Pleasanton American was repaid the misappropriated funds, according to league officials.
Registration is underway for the new Pleasanton Little League, available online at pleasantonnational.org. Kids in the Pleasanton Foothill boundaries can also sign up for their league, online at pfllonline.org.