Author Archives: NYBC

Steel Sports Kicks Off 2016’s NYBC Qualifying in Arizona
25 Jan

Steel Sports Kicks Off 2016’s NYBC Qualifying in Arizona

The Road to New York has officially started. Steel Sports hosted the National Youth Baseball Championships Arizona Qualifier on Jan. 23-24 at Big League Dreams in Gilbert, and it marked the first time a NYBC event was played in the Copper State.

Strong Arizona programs in 11U-14U packed the field, but it was California’s Wilson MVP National who dominated the 12U field on their way to earning another berth to the NYBC. MVP won the 11U crown in 2015 and made it clear they wanted to return to New York for a chance at back-to-back titles. They won the title game against nationally-ranked Sandlot Baseball, one of Arizona’s top travel ball organizations, 11-0.

The 13U division title game was perhaps the most exciting finish of the tournament as the Athletics Orange and Phoenix Firebirds were tied 4-4 going into the bottom of the seventh inning. With nobody out and one on, Jack Talbott smashed a two-run homer to give the Athletics the championship and a trip to New York.

In 11U, the Chandler Heat Black defeated the Scottsdale Dirtbags, 9-3, to cap off a perfect 4-0 weekend. The East Valley Devils scored 54 runs in four games and won the 14U division with a 13-6 victory over the Chandler Owlz Black.

Major League Baseball’s Pitch Smart was implemented for the first time at an NYBC event as Steel Sports and the NYBC are now fully compliant with the pitch count regulations. Player safety is a top priority, and with the constant rise of arm injuries and Tommy John surgeries, using Pitch Smart is a way to help protect young arms.

With the Arizona Qualifier complete, the NYBC heads to Grapevine, Texas on Feb. 13-14 and then Las Vegas on Feb. 27-28. Click HERE to see a complete list of NYBC Qualifiers.

To see the complete results from the NYBC Arizona Qualifier, click HERE.

2016 NYBC Arizona Qualifier Champions

11U – Chandler Heat Black (AZ)
12U – Wilson MVP National (CA)
13U – Athletics Orange (AZ)
14U – East Valley Devils (AZ)

California’s MVP Dominates 2015 NYBC with 2 Titles
23 Nov

California’s MVP Dominates 2015 NYBC with 2 Titles

Baseball Heaven hosted over 70 teams on July 28-Aug. 3 for the largest National Youth Baseball Championships in the event’s eight-year history thanks to an expansion into 8U-14U age divisions.

For a third consecutive year, the National Youth Baseball Championships 12U title is back in California. MVP defeated the Academy Select Sun Devils out of Texas, 9-3, in the finals on Monday, Aug. 3.

MVP went into the title game as the No. 1 seed and the consensus No. 1 team in the nation, and they showed why with a strong performance throughout the NYBC. The championship is the MVP organization’s first at the NYBC.

“This is the biggest championship we have won,” MVP head coach Rudy Casillas said. “Winning the NYBC was our goal at the beginning of the year, and to accomplish it is a great feeling. We stress playing team ball and not worrying about individual stats. The players buy into our system, and that is definitely a big part of it.”

The Academy Select Sun Devils went into bracket play as the No. 6 seed, but they advanced to the championship behind a powerful offense. They run-ruled the Broncos, 11-0, in the quarterfinals and then took care of the Dallas Tigers, 13-4, in the semis.

In the championship, the Sun Devils got out to an early 2-0 lead after Aidan Scott’s home run, but MVP came right back in the bottom of the first with a two-run homer off Aaron Pulido’s bat.

Pulido was named the championship game’s Most Valuable Player after going 3-for-3 and helping to spark MVP’s offense to the 9-3 win.

In the 11U championship, it was MVP-Rodriguez over MVP-Casillas, 4-1, in a well-played, defensive showcase. Other NYBC champions included the Las Vegas Rebels (8U), Oklahoma Mudcats (9U), Long Island Body Armour Titans (10U), Austin Banditos (13U) and NJ Hurricanes (14U).

The 11U and 12U championship games along with 11 others during the course of the NYBC were televised nationally on CBS Sports Network and online on

Teams were treated to appearances from Major League Baseball legends such as Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda, Dusty Baker and Bobby Valentine. All three baseball celebrities took part in a roundtable discussion during the event.

Steel Sports Expands Reach into Youth Baseball
16 Aug

Steel Sports Expands Reach into Youth Baseball

By Eric Fisher, Sports Business Journal

Steel Sports, a California-based company founded and led by hedge fund executive Warren Lichtenstein, is expanding its reach into amateur baseball with recent deals to take over management of the National Youth Baseball Championships and elevating the tournament with a series of new corporate and media partnerships.

The NYBC, formed by Chicago White Sox Vice Chairman Eddie Einhorn and played since 2008, offers larger field dimensions and more adult-style playing rules than Little League and other similar organizations. The tournament recently was played for the second straight year at Steel Sports Academy’s Baseball Heaven complex in Long Island, N.Y., a facility the company bought in 2011. Steel Sports has brought in new corporate partners such as Brita and brand ambassadors and event speakers such as former MLB managers Tommy Lasorda, Dusty Baker and Bobby Valentine.

Similar to prior years, several key games of the tournament will be shown on CBS Sports Network and streamed on Steel Sports has also struck new deals with FloSports and Youth1 Media to increase exposure for the NYBC.

The company is seeking to reverse long-term declines in youth baseball participation, and has sought to create a clear niche for itself with more open regional and national tournaments.

“A lot of other tournaments out there operate strictly from their feeder organizations. We operate more openly, independently, in which anybody in those age groups can play their way in,” said David Shapiro, Steel Sports chief executive.

Steel Sports operates several other sports assets, including a youth soccer training and competition facility in New Jersey. Across the portfolio, the company has sought to increase standardization for training of coaches, similar to how Lichtenstein operates the rest of his holding company.

“At many companies, we have a specific, detailed manual for employees, but there hasn’t been a lot of that in youth coaching,” Lichtenstein said. “We spend a lot of time on double-goal coaching, building wellness and lifelong activity, instead of just win at all costs.”

This article appeared in the August 10 edition of Sports Business Journal.