With the East Bay Athletic League basketball season launching this week, it speaks for me to update everyone on the changes with the boys' and girls' leagues.
The girls' side sees the biggest changes/news.
For starters, Carondelet will no longer be competing for an EBAL championship, much the same as De La Salle in the football season.
The Cougars will play some of the EBAL teams, but games will not count in the league standings. They will receive the EBAL automatic North Coast Section berth, and the players will be eligible for All-EBAL awards.
The funny thing is this comes the year after San Ramon Valley beat out Carondelet for the EBAL title.
Second and somewhat startling, Livermore High did not get enough players to field a varsity team, leaving an opening in the Valley Division.
Here are the two divisions -- Mountain: San Ramon Valley, Monte Vista, Dougherty Valley and California. Valley: Amador Valley, Dublin, Foothill and Granada.
On the boys' side, there was some questionable schedule making. Instead of playing two divisions with five schools each, some of the coaches pushed hard and got through a 10-team single division where everyone plays each team once for a nine-game season.
From there, the teams will be placed in a 10-team playoff that would determine the EBAL champ.
This decision stinks for a couple of reasons. First, with one division, there is one champion. In two divisions you get two regular season champs, giving more teams a chance to hang a banner.
There is also a postseason event with the first- and second-place teams in each division put in a crossover tournament, ending with EBAL playoff champ.
Second, and the one that upsets me the most, playing each team only once means there is no home-and-home games, one of the best parts of high school basketball.
It really affects the rivalry games and not in a good way. No longer will the rivalries of Amador-Foothill, Livermore-Granada, Monte Vista-San Ramon, Dublin-Dougherty Valley and California-De La Salle, get a chance to host one of those games each year.
Memories are one of the best parts of high school athletics and depriving a senior from suiting up for a rivalry game at home is pathetic.
Save for football, EBAL sports allows for a home-and-home rivalry. No matter the sport, home-and-home schedules bring the greatest interest by both the schools and the communities.
In addition, high schools rely on gate receipts to help make ends meet. The rivalry games disappearing means the team that lost the home game also loses the gate income for the school.
And those hurt in the pocketbook.
It seems the best interests of the players need to be paramount, and this is far from that. The coaches need to realize the players must come first.
This year I think that has been forgotten by some, and once again, that stinks.
Softball field debate
Last week I wrote about the growing controversy that is adult softball in Pleasanton and the postponement of the spring and the summer seasons.
Right now, the status is to postpone the spring and summer adult leagues while a legitimate cricket pitch is constructed at the Ken Mercer Sports Park.
The construction is going to displace three softball fields and one hard ball diamond, just while the construction is underway.
The relocation would help the youth softball and baseball leagues continue without interruption but some of the softball players are crying foul ball.
While the softball players I have talked with are fully supportive of the youth leagues being able to continue without interruption, as well as the need for a cricket pitch, they question whether the adult seasons need to be pushed off.
The claim is there is enough field space for all to play on the four fields, a situation where everyone wins. One other problem at this point is lighting issues for the four softball fields.
With the softball players feeling time is of the essence, they feel their questions asking for more details have gone unanswered.
I have been told there will be a meeting of the Pleasanton Parks and Recreation Commission next Thursday (Jan. 12) at 7 p.m. in the city council chambers where questions will be answered. It is an open meeting but will also be shown on the city of Pleasanton's YouTube page.
In talking with both sides, this sounds like a meeting not to be missed.
Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact him about his Pleasanton Preps column, email [email protected]
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