EVENT OVERVIEW + FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
COVID-19 NOTICE: Planning for the 2021 Big 26 Baseball Classic is ongoing. Due to the fluid Covid-19 landscape, players should expect that safety protocols such as facemasks and/or social distancing may be required for tryouts and/or the summer event. While the official announcement of a detailed daily schedule for July is TBD, we are currently planning within the following framework: Player hotel check-in Thursday 7.22; baseball activities (combine, 3 game series at FNB Field) on 7.23 and 7.24; check-out 7.24. Thank you for your patience as we plan for a summer weekend of competitive all-star high school baseball in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania!
Overview -- Two teams of 26 rising sophomores and juniors will be chosen via tryouts to represent Pennsylvania and Maryland, respectively. College coaches will be invited to attend the tryout sessions that run as a pro-style workout, a final roster pro-style workout and the 3-game set at FNB Field in Harrisburg, PA.
Buddy Program -- Players participate in the Buddy Program, building relationships with special needs children, teens and young adults age 5-21. 2021 program details TBD.
*FAQ subject to change pending Covid-19 operational adjustments.
Q: Do I need to be officially invited to a tryout?
A: No. Tryouts in Pennsylvania and Maryland are open to any varsity high school player in those states who meets the grad year qualifications for the event. In 2021, classes of 2022 and 2023 are eligible.
Q: Can I be considered for the team if I don't try out?
A: No. All players must register to attend their state's designated tryout session or sessions to be considered. (Dual tryout example: A player from Western PA is welcome to try out in Central PA and vice versa if the dates are more accommodating for an alternate location.)
Q: How are players evaluated in the tryouts?
A: The tryouts take on a combine structure for timed 60s, throwing sessions for pitchers, pop sessions for catchers, standard infield/outfield and hitting. Making the Big 26 roster is about more than just the measurables. Coaches are watching for a positive attitude, teamwork, leadership, hustle, and heart.
Q: If I am already committed to a school, can I still try out?
A: Yes. We're proud to have support from college coaches and scouts who attend our events, but they agree that the Big 26 is more than a scouting event. Players enjoy and benefit from its competition structure, the friendships it creates and the special experience of the Buddy Program. Our players consistently say that the Big 26 experience was unique and worthwhile no matter what stage of the recruiting process they are in. Plus, it's another opportunity and setting for your future college coach to see your enthusiasm and respect for the game.
Q: I want to try out, but the tryout and/or event date conflicts with another baseball commitment. (We know - this isn't a question, but the topic comes up a lot so we address it here.)
A: The Big 26 dates are selected each year primarily on the availability of FNB Field, the premier playing surface and facility in our region. Unfortunately, there is no "magic date" or set of dates that would render zero conflicts to all interested players. We encourage players to talk with their families and coaches and make the best choice for their individual situation. Interested players should feel free to contact our office for further discussion.
Q: Can college coaches and scouts attend the tryouts?
A: Yes. The tryout process is open to coaches and scouts and can be an opportunity to be seen by schools even if the player is not selected to the final roster. Big 26 will make player contact information, combine/skills results and any video collected available to all recruiting coaches and scouts.
Q: How many college coaches and scouts attend and what schools are they from?
A: Any college coach or pro scout may register to attend free of charge. The number of coaches and scouts varies. Some tryouts fall within the collegiate season or recruiting dead periods which affects scout attendance, while some tryouts fall after college tournaments. We pass along notes and player contacts to any coach who requests it whether they were in attendance or not, and whether the player made the final roster or not. Coach and scout attendance at the series event in July is traditionally 30+ and we grow each year.
Big 26 sends player information to all coaches who attend ANY of our events or who request it. Example: a coach who attends PA West will automatically receive our notes on tryouts from PA East and Maryland. We host schools at all levels; Junior Colleges, DI, DII, DIII. You can find the list of schools that attended one or more events in 2019 HERE. (2020 was canceled due to Covid.)
Q: Why does Big 26 charge a tryout fee?
A: The Big 26 Baseball Classic is a non-profit event (owned and operated by a 501c6 organization) with a fiscal goal of breaking even. The tryout fee and final roster fee (below), ticket & merchandise sales and sponsor support combine to cover operational, equipment, and gear expenses such as insurance, facility rentals, the Buddy Program (the Buddy Program is 100% free to all participants), marketing & communications costs and more. Our cost/fee structure is designed with a goal of breaking even so that we can continue to present and host the annual event and grow community involvement.
Q: How are the final roster spots distributed?
A: Standard Big 26 rosters consist of 26 players: 6-Pitchers, 3-Catchers, 8-Infielders, 6-Outfielders and 3-Multiple Position/Utility Players. Under special schedule and situational circumstances and collective coach/operations approval, adjustments may be allowed.
Q: How is playing time determined for the 3-game series?
A: Playing time is designed for equal exposure and participation for all players. A standard set up would be: The starting lineup (position players) for Game 1 will play 5 innings. The bench will play innings 6 - 9. Players who did not start Game 1 will start Game 2, with the bench finishing out the game. Game 3 features a 3-inning rotation to get everyone in the game. Pitchers are also rotated accordingly throughout the series. Adjustments may be made at the coach's discretion to accommodate injury, weather delays, or other schedule considerations.
Q: Is there a cost for the final roster?
A: Yes. Final roster players are required to submit a player fee that helps to cover costs such as player housing*, transportation, facility rentals, operations, meals, uniforms, etc. The final roster fee for 2021 is $400.00. This fee also secures the player's full page player profile in the event program.
Q: Are there any fundraising opportunities for the final roster?
A: Players have the option to reach out to friends & family and local businesses to sponsor their participation. Sponsors are recognized via name, logo and/or the player's thank you message on their player profile page in the event program. Sample sponsor letters will be distributed at tryouts. The window between roster selections and the due date for payment is only a few weeks, so players who wish to utilize the sponsor option should begin thinking about their outreach plans ahead of the team announcements.
Q: Do players receive uniforms?
A: Yes. Players receive a game hat, personalized game jersey, and additional miscellaneous Big 26 gear. Players keep all attire *except* for game pants and belts. We work with Marucci for most of our gear. Sign up for the Big 26 enewsletter for the log in and code to gain access to special pricing in our online Big 26 Marucci store.
Q: Where do players stay?
A: Housing for 2021 will be hotel based at the downtown Harrisburg Hilton. The hotel is within walking distance of FNB Field. Each player will be assigned a single room and those accommodations will be handled by Big 26. Room block information for family and friends interested in staying at the host hotel will be made available closer to the event.