Re: 2020 Spring Break trip research and findings
In an effort to keep players, parents and friends of EHS Baseball apprised, I am providing this message as an update. It is detailed. Collectively, we have tried to get ahead of the curve with a number of administrative tasks like: online gear orders, scheduling, VOLUNTARY preseason workout enhancements (yoga, nutrition, strength/conditioning to reduce the risk from injuries) and with our Spring Break trip. I have to adhere to School District policy, best practices and appreciate the partnerships with Jeffco Risk Management, Procurement, our Athletic Director and CHSAA. To that end, every effort has been taken to document our requirements (games, scrimmages, on-field practice locations, and safety/security) while at the same time keep costs to minimum. I looked at: total and semi immersion options i.e. Dodgertown, IMG Academy National Classic Invitational, Tampa Bay Spring Training; Baseball City in St Petersburg; H.S. coach to H.S. coach scheduling in TX, FL, NV, NM, CA and AZ; and tournaments like the Florida League H.S. Invitational. The cost factors considered included: renting a chartered bus versus player “get their on their own” transportation; team lodging at a hotel that offered at least 12 rooms on the same or connecting floors, all QQ/NS, clean and in a safe location within walking distance to certain amenities. Remember, if we went with the “get their on your own” option that would require renting vans/fuel for player transportation to/from the hotel to games. Per Jeffco rules, those vans can only be configured to seat a maximum of 8 persons (includes the vetted driver). Any parents offering to provide local transportation in their POV or rental have to be vetted too. These are all well-meaning requirements that protect our most valuable asset, our student-athletes and I am committed to doing this right.
I also appreciate everyone’s input as discussed at our last open to all parent meeting in the EHS Library on 11.21.19. Your input is important and I listened. Some parents want to drive their POV so that they can take their family; some want to use their frequent flyer rewards and fly; some want to go to a particular state so that they can see friends/family or to take a side road trip and visit a few colleges. Others prefer the chartered bus option.
After running all the numbers the most cost effective option is to take a chartered bus to AZ. As the cost of the bus continues to rise each year, the difference in cost is getting closer but we are trying to be cost effective.
Jeffco Procurement worked with me on our requirements and published a bid to approved Jeffco transportation service providers. After negotiating and adjusting our requirements to help reduce cost, we are going with Ace Express again this year. To reduce per player costs, I have bookended the travel with 2 nights onboard the bus thereby eliminating 2 hotel nights. The bus is capped at 35 passengers that will include players (Varsity and JV) and coaches. The bus option will also allow for us to load up our gear (baseballs, med kits, pitching machine, coolers, player equipment bags etc.). The bus will also serve as our team local transportation while in AZ. This is attractive to me as the Head Coach since I can more effectively monitor all the bodies and keep a watchful eye on players (and equipment).
Play will be in the Greenway Festival for both our Varsity and JV teams. The Greenway Festival is sponsored by Greenway H.S., 3930 West Greenway Rd., Phoenix, AZ. 85053. Greenway H.S. has a very good baseball program routinely nationally ranked, places players into the MLB and over the past 2 years our Varsity has played them in a night cap, under the lights in front of a packed field with college recruiters present. I anticipate this game again this year. The final tournament schedule has not been released yet. Our JV team will play smaller high school teams (schools with 1000 students or less).
3/22 Sunday depart from EHS 6:30am. We will begin loading at 6:00am. Drive straight through with a driver exchange and normal fuel, meal and bathroom breaks. Our anticipated arrival to our team hotel is 9:30pm. As with last Spring (2019) I will be requesting a CHSAA waiver for Sunday Contact through our AD since the contact will be limited to bus time only – no baseball practice or play.
Team hotel is: The Hampton Inn – Peoria Sports Complex, 8408 West Paradise Lane, Peoria, AZ. I have 12 rooms reserved on a hold with my personal credit card. Eleven rooms for the teams (V and JV players) and the 12th has already been earmarked for family members. Four players to a room, 2-3 coaches per a room. Each room is configured at QQ/Non-smoking (NS). Hotel provides a complementary hot daily breakfast and has an outdoor pool. It is conveniently located across the street from the Peoria Sports Complex, Seattle Mariner/San Diego Padres MiLB ST complex and in a safe, clean neighborhood.
3/27 Friday departure for our return to EHS. Our departure window is NLT 9:00pm or right after our last game which may start at 2pm, 4pm or 6:30pm. Again, we will drive straight through with a driver exchange and normal stops/breaks. That should put us back at EHS NLT 12Noon. On the return, players like to sleep most of the trip. This way players will be able to rest Saturday and Sunday night in their own bed. We would like players to be well rested for our next game – Tuesday 3/31 at All City Stadium against Denver North (JV @ 4:00pm; V @ 6:30pm) and for them to spend some quality time with their families and on academics. If parents or identified guardians want to return home with their student-athlete(s), that is allowed but I am requesting a signed letter acknowledging such. If that driver, is taking a non-family member player back with them too, I will need an acknowledgement letter from that player’s parents.
Varsity will play 3 games in AZ. JV will play 2 games and 1 controlled scrimmage game. Remember, for in-season Spring Baseball Varsity teams per CHSAA are capped at 23 games and 2 scrimmages while JV teams are capped at 19 games and 2 scrimmages. There will be scheduled practices. First one will be on Monday 3/23 late morning stretching, throwing, conditioning, fielding. Lunch break/rest then late afternoon hitting. I anticipate our first games to be on that Tuesday and our last scheduled game to be on that Friday. I have worked out an arrangement with the baseball coach at Greenway H.S. to practice on his JV field thereby saving us money that previously went to rent practice facilities. He has become a friend and we will be inviting his team to play/practice at EHS this summer or fall.
I will be drilling down further on player costs. We want to do this right but be smart about the cost. Spring Break trips are a positive experience for team chemistry and in conditioning players since our Spring’s are cold and wet and we rarely get out onto the EHS baseball field that time of year. They are also voluntary. Since, I have to pay for the chartered bus in-full by early March we will be asking (through our Booster Club) for advance deposits or payments-in-full with an agreed upon payment schedule that will allow us to meet the chartered bus and lodging costs. That number will be made available as soon as we can and I promise transparency so everyone can see that we did our due diligence. I will be shifting my time to the compilation of required paperwork, some of which needs to be completed by player’s parents or guardians. I will address that requirement via a separate Coach’s Message.
Lastly, the timing of meeting these expenses is not ideal. Spring sports start 3/2/2020 per CHSAA rules. We will have 2 days of evaluations then rosters will be set for the Varsity, JV and those not rostered to either will be referred to the C-Team (Club L3) for further evaluation by the C-Team coaching staff. If your student-athlete does not make the 2020 Varsity or JV, your Spring Break 2020 fee (deposit or full fee) will be returned to you in full.
I am also looking for a volunteer Team specific parent logistics coordinator for our 2020 Varsity and JV Teams. If you are interested, please contact me.
The C-Team like other Jeffco high schools, is administered outside of Jeffco/EHS and CHSAA as a “club team.” A separate message from the Booster Club and C-Team coaching staff will address their Spring Break plans but from talking with them, they are planning on dovetailing with us and playing during the same time period but in Mesa, AZ. C-Team will play at the Red Mtn. Baseball Complex, 8008 E. Brown Rd., Mesa, AZ. which is very nice. C-Team players cannot ride the chartered bus – sorry.
I hope that the timing of this message allows for families to advance plan thereby reducing financial impacts. Communications are always a challenge. Messages have gone out advising that we are using the MaxPreps Team ap for messaging - preseason (starting now) and into the Spring season. All interested players are welcome to join this group messaging. The MaxPreps Team app is free. We have to list or populate interested players into our EHS Baseball profile onto MaxPreps “Roster” templates. Players as listed are not rostered yet but they are listed in those MaxPreps templates as placeholders so that we can use this free (to high schools) group messaging service. Rosters are not set until after the aforementioned evaluations.
Head Coach Lipka