EVENT OVERVIEW + FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Overview -- Two teams of 26 rising sophomores and juniors will be chosen via open tryouts to represent Pennsylvania and Maryland, respectively. College coaches and pro scouts will be invited to attend the tryout sessions that run as a pro-style workout, practices with final rosters in Harrisburg, a final roster pro-style workout and the 3-game set at FNB Field in Harrisburg, PA.
Spirit of the Event -- While the event offers players an excellent opportunity to showcase their talents in person for college coaches and scouts, the Big 26 Baseball Classic® is designed to be to be a unique summer baseball experience that not only gives players the chance to compete with and against some of the best players in Pennsylvania and Maryland, but also to grow on and off the field through events like the Buddy Program. Players room, travel and eat together, and play a 3-game series to mimic a college level series experience. The Big 26 Baseball Classic is operated by a non-profit organization.
Buddy Program -- Players participate in the Buddy Program, building relationships with children, teens and young adults (age 5-21) living with intellectual and/or physical disabilities. Activities include a picnic and Challenger Game, and all buddies are invited to be announced with their Big 26 player before each game.
Scroll for FAQs, or CLICK HERE for our YouTube Channel
Q: Do I need to be officially invited to a tryout?
A: No. Tryouts in Pennsylvania and Maryland are open to any high school player in those states who meets the grad year qualifications for the event. In 2020, classes of 2021 and 2022 are eligible.
Q: Can I be considered for the team if I don't tryout?
A: No. All players must register to tryout prior to the posted deadlines and attend their state's designated tryout session to be considered. Big 26 will offer several dates and locations in each state that are open to all players from any region. (Ex: 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 batting practice. Beyond the measurables, coaches are watching for leadership, hustle, and heart.
Q: If I am already committed to a school, can I still try out?
A: Yes. We believe the Big 26 is more than a scouting event and that all players can benefit from its competition structure, the friendships it creates and the special experience of the Buddy Program and Challenger Game. 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 college coach to see you perform on a big stage.
Q: I want to try out, but it's too soon to tell if the event will conflict with my summer/legion team's commitments.
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 summer coaches and make the best choice for their individual situation. Interested players should feel free to contact our office for further discussion.
Q: Do 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 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: The number of coaches and scouts varies from year to year. Any coach or pro organization may attend. We work each year to reach out to schools at all levels; Community Colleges, DI, DII, DIII. You can find the list of schools that attended one or more events in 2019 HERE.
Q: Is the Big 26 Baseball Classic a Showcase?
A: The Big 26 Baseball Classic has elements of a showcase. College coaches and scouts are invited to tryouts, a coaches' combine for the final rosters, and the 3-game competitive series at FNB Field. We are proud to offer this element as a very important component and benefit of the event, and each year we work to increase the number of scouts in attendance. But, as we've mentioned in other areas of the FAQ, we feel the Big 26 is about more than the scouted element. We're often told by players that the Buddy Program had the greatest impact on them, and that playing with a new group of athletes for a short but event-filled time led to lifelong friendships. The opportunity to work out and compete in front of college coaches and pro scouts is an important part of the event, but you'll find that the benefits go beyond the data sheets and measurables.
Q: How are the final roster sports distributed?
A: Each team will consist of 26 players: 6-Pitchers, 3-Catchers, 8-Infielders, 6-Outfielders and 3-Multiple Position/Utility Players.
Q: How is playing time determined for the 3-game series?
A: Playing time is designed for equal exposure and participation for all players. 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.
Q: What is a typical Big 26 schedule?
A: The Big 26 Baseball Classic typically involves 4 days of activities.
Thursday (Day): Players check in to PSU Harrisburg. Each team holds a short practice and information session.
Thursday (Evening): Players participate in the Buddy Picnic and Challenger Game.
Friday (Day): Players participate in the coaches' combine.
Friday (Night): Game 1 at FNB Field.
Saturday (Midday or Early evening): Game 2 at FNB Field.
Sunday (Midday): Game 3 at FNB Field.