Each season JCB sponsors a 12U team to the Cooperstown All Star Village (CASV) for a once in a lifetime baseball and family experience. Over the years it has become an annual tradition for a JCB 12U team to make this journey to Cooperstown, New York, to honor the game, and to recognize and reward our youth baseball players for their dedication and commitment. The following is a brief trip description these youth athletes and coaches will get a chance to experience.
CASV is located in Oneonta, NY (nicknamed “the city of hills”) which is located in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains, lying 30 minutes south of Cooperstown, NY and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
JCB 2019 Cooperstown Team
Tavern Blansit - 2019 CSAV HR Derby Champion
Players and families arrive at CASV around 8:00 am and first get moved into their bunkhouse in the Players Village. With the exception of a 5-hour period on move-in day, the Players Village is only accessible to players and coaches for the entire week. Parents enjoy getting a quick look at where their players will be residing for the CASV tournament.
Players Village has 8 bunkhouses, each of which houses 8 teams in 8 teams suites. The team suite acts as home base for both players and coaches for the week and is really no more than a large room with enough bunk beds to sleep 20. The suites have electricity and are air-conditioned, but do not have plumbing or bathroom facilities. All teams share three communal bathroom buildings that have showers, toilets, and sinks.
After bunkhouse move-in is completed, players and coaches go to admin/medical check-in to ensure their paperwork is in order. It is advised to double check accuracy and completeness of medical information prior to this check-in. Ensure that ALL families have listed Health Care Provider – name, address, and policy # (not just the address as is specified on the CASV form).
The Head Coach/Manager is required to officially sign his team in to CASV – which takes place at the courtyard beside the CASV souvenir shop. The coach will be provided wtih uniforms for the entire team (it is advisable to have a wagon or extra hands to help at this point).
There, players are provided their Cooperstown Home/Away uniforms each consisting of a high quality wind breaker, two (2) jerseys, hats, and socks (no pants).
CASV stresses that the institution of baseball is to be held in the highest regard and baseball is a team sport. Thus, all players competing at CASV are issued the same uniforms. Each field has a navy blue jersey team playing a white jersey team. The only problems the uniforms seem to cause is for the parents who forgot what field their son is playing on. There are no names on the back of their jerseys, only numbers and the CASV staff holds strictly to only allowing players to wear plain white pants. Only certain jersey number’s are available in certain sizes so, the players may not get their normal jersey number. Players are encouraged to stand out through their play on the field, not by what they are wearing. A Cooperstown jersey is a valued possession to the young players attending and many have them framed when they return home from their trip.
Parents are offered guided tours of the Cooperstown facility and are able to spend some time in the CASV Village mall area. The guided tour is a great chance for family members to see all of CASV without having to walk it, especially those areas that will be player/coach access only for the remainder of the week. The scene in the mall throughout the week similar to going to the state fair, except its baseball.
The Village mall also has souvenir shops, food vendors, seating areas and other activities for both players and their families to enjoy throughout the week. It is the CASV epicenter, complete with outdoor large screen televisions for patrons to check their team’s standings and the scores of games completed each day.
As the first day at CASV begins to come to a close, most families and players are beginning to feel the burn in their calves from walking the hilly paths of the facility. All that activity usually stirs up an appetite as well. Saturday evening at CASV has the cure for both in the all American family barbecue.
As a special event held only on Saturday afternoon, CASV holds a large barbecue/picnic event for all of the teams and their families in the fifty state arena which is a large pavilion in the Village mall. All teams and families are encouraged to enjoy some traditional American picnic food together - hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, corn-on-the-cob, potato salad, etc. Players and coaches eat for free, but any additional family members are required to pay about $14 per meal.
One of the many special things about attending CASV is the interaction between the teams competing there. People from all over the country and all walks of life assembled together around the game of baseball and in support of their youth athletes. Players thrive in developing relationships with other players and teams they meet, even to the point of attending their games when they themselves are not playing. It is baseball summer camp.
The conclusion of the first day wraps up with the official start of baseball activities on Saturday evening with the open ceremonies. Teams participate in a parade into the 1,000 seat stadium. After a “short” address from the tournament director, CASV has a few fun crowd competitions for willing families to compete in - the team spirit competition, the "New York, New York" song and dance, and the YMCA song and dance (always a crowd favorite).
After the national anthem comes baseball - finally. Players and teams compete in various baseball skills contests including a team fastest relay competition and three competitions for individual players - fastest player, fastest double play, and home run derby.
Sunday through Tuesday all teams play two games per day for a total of 6 pool games on CASV’s major league style fields. At a minimum each team will play at least one game under the lights and a game on one of the fields with a “green monster” outfield fence.
Games at CASV begin daily at approximately 8:00 am and run continuously on all fields until 11:00 pm in the evening. Seven or more games in four straight days is a fairly rigorous schedule for 12 year old arms. So, in pool play, teams are limited to only playing two games a day and those games are typically played in the morning/afternoon or mid-day/night. Players prep prior to their games at CASV’s dedicated batting cages and warm-up bullpens located in Player’s Village, just like the pros. Opponents in each of the 6 pool games may be from any of the 50 United States and from other countries as well (Canada).
Players and coaches are provided meals throughout the day as part of their tournament fees. All CASV teams eat their meals in an open-air dining pavilion within the Player’s Village. The chow line is buffet style and includes a wide variety of meal choices each day. Players and coaches are free to go through the buffet line as much as they like. Moms are pleased to find out that CASV provides plentiful fruit and vegetable options at every meal, the players seem to be happier with the other options. Coaches do their best to ensure that kids are eating balanced meals in preparation for each day of baseball.
Teams schedule their meals as a group but are encouraged to interact and dine with players from other teams while in the dining pavilion. Meals provide a great opportunity for teams to learn more about the other teams attending, get the scoop on upcoming opponents, recap game highlights, and generally share the love of the game.
Following Tuesday’s final pool games, the single elimination championship bracket is formed by the CASV staff. All teams are seeded in the bracket based on their performance in pool play. A coaches meeting is normally held late Tuesday night. It is not uncommon for pool games to go until 11:00 pm on Tuesday evening and for coaches not to find out the time and field of their first bracket game until 2:00 am Wednesday morning.
Bracket play can best be described as "play until you lose." With about 60 teams entered in the bracket, games are played continuously through Wednesday and into Thursday.
As the day turns to evening on Thursday, bracket play eliminates all but two teams. Prior to the championship game being played, CASV holds its closing ceremonies. Each team and each player is celebrated with their names read over the public address system, taking an individual final walk out on to the field and receiving their own Cooperstown ring along with a firm handshake from the CASV tournament director.
In their last evening together at Cooperstown, players and families can sit on the hill that abuts the outfield fence of Field #29 or in the stadium bleacher to watch a grand fireworks show and the championship game. Contrary to conventional baseball form, CASV puts their fireworks show on prior to the final game being played. Teams who want to get a jump start on packing up and a good night sleep for their journey home on Friday can turn in early, but most try to savor every last moment by staying to watch and honor the two teams that are competing in the championship and the game rarely disappoints.
In between games players and families have the ability to have some free time to enjoy any number of things to do on the CASV campus and in the surrounding community. Within CASV itself players can swim in the glove shaped pool, play games (wiffleball, frisbee football, etc.) in one of the open grassy fields, watch other teams games, go to the arcade, gather in the fifty-state arena for a team picnic or party, hit the All-Star tavern (which is adult/kid-friendly and has tv's streaming the CASV games on all fields).
The main attraction of Cooperstown in no question the baseball and the Cooperstown experience. Outside of CASV, Oneonta and the surrounding communities have a lot to offer as well. There are boating and water sports at Otsego Lake, tons of attractions and shopping in downtown Cooperstown (a baseball memorabilia collectors dream), a public golf course that borders the CASV campus, wineries/breweries, and a number of kid-themed attractions and businesses (https://townofoneonta.org/visit/).
Definitely one of the favorite player activities is the pin trading between teams. Each of the players and teams participating during the week brings collectible pins to trade. The pins are elaborately decorated, specific to each team, their respective states and hometown's, and are essentially the player currency of CASV. Trading for every pin available is a pursuant most players will spend all of their available free time on until they are finished.
Designing your own team's pin takes careful consideration as the cooler the design is, the more sought after they are by the other teams. Pins design can incorporate a variety of design options like glitter paint, led blinking lights, "sliders", "danglers", and "spinners". If the actual baseball play is the fun part of the CASV trip, pin trading is the serious business part of the player experience.
Included in the CASV experience is admission into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Teams are free to attend the Hall of Fame on any day they choose during their CASV week and spend as much of their day there as they like. The Hall of Fame and baseball museum visit really serves as a capstone to the whole CASV experience as the tour of the facility is a journey through baseball’s complete history.
Players and families get the opportunity to see baseball artifacts, interact with exhibits, and read about the great game of baseball and the players that made it what it is today - America's greatest game. Touring the Hall of Fame and museum with teammates, coaches, and families as a group is memorable and rewarding.
Baseball Hall of Fame
Previous JCB Cooperstown team parents have assembled a recommended list of items to be packed and other insider information that will be helpful for future teams.
The number one rule is to put player’s name on everything you bring.
Provided by Cooperstown
Equipment/Uniforms to Bring
Below are a few other insider tips that former JCB Cooperstown team parents have shared.
JCB Cooperstown Managers are responsible for completing several coach/team forms. The “Team Roster” form must be filled out and submitted with second deposit. The “Coach and Umpire Apparel Form and Players Apparel” form must be filled out and submitted by March 1st. The “Coach Release Form and Resume” form is due by March 1st.
Coaches Forms - http://www.cooperstownallstarvillage.com/familiesplayers/forms
There are several forms that parents need to completed and return to the JCB Cooperstown manager (e.g., Parental Authorization and Consent, Personal Health Insurance, Medical Sheet, and Health Examination).
The Personal Health Insurance Company form is completed, in part, by an Examining Physician/ Physician’s Assistant/Nurse Practitioner. Immunization information is required. Examination for some other purpose within this period is acceptable. Examination is for determining fitness to engage in strenuous activities. Make sure an examination is performed within 12 months of arrival at CASV.
As part of each player’s forms, parents need to include a copy of their player’s birth certificate. In the past, CASV has accepted general copies rather than an official state certified copy of the birth certificate. It is recommended that this procedure is checked each season.
Any questions regarding forms contact CASV at 1-800-327-6790, ext. 102 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laundry service for uniforms is included with your registration fee. All uniform pieces washed daily. Coaches put all dirty uniforms in a bag and send it to the laundry at night. It comes back ready for the next day. Coaches will label uniforms according to CASV directions.
There are bleachers/assigned seating areas for each field. It is advised to bring a bleacher chair.
The parking is at the front of the park and sits high above the playing fields and as the parents are walking in each day they have a view of all of CASV fields from one vantage point.
Lots of Walking
Be prepared to walk a lot up and down steep graded hills; it’s not Florida. Wear comfortable shoes! The fields are spread out. Grandparents can get a ride on a volunteer golf cart. There are pick up benches throughout the park.
Cooperstown takes a team photo, and hundreds action shots at all of the games. They will be available to view and purchase in their photo center. CASV has a photo package that includes all of your team’s photos on a thumb drive for families to share. The cost is based on the number of families participating. With 13 families participating, it is about $90 per family. But compared to the cost of individual prints, it is a bargain.
Watching Games Online
CASV offers family, friends, and fans the opportunity to watch baseball games on the web. The video and audio are clear and are a great way for your fans to watch and cheer you on.
Cell phone coverage is good for some, and terrible for others. Let your family and friends, back at home, know your phone may, or may not, work. This includes the use of your cellphone for map directions from CASV to the Cooperstown Hall of Fame.
Player Gift Bags
As a gift for the players hard work preparing for CASV, past JCB teams have assembled and distributed player gift bags prior to going to CASV. Below is a list of some items JCB parents have bought that could be included:
CASV website - https://www.cooperstownallstarvillage.com/
Offsite places to stay - https://www.cooperstownstay.com/
CASV FAQ - http://www.cooperstownallstarvillage.com/faq
Watch Games Live - http://www.cooperstownallstarvillage.com/watch-live
CASV Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/groups/allstarvillageexperience/?fref=nf
Recommended Restaurants (as of 2019)