I have enjoyed and appreciated The Times' coverage of American Legion baseball over the past few years. However, I take exception to the Valley Sports article of Aug. 3 titled, "Questions of Allegiance Cause Controversy."
Westlake-Royal, over the past 10 years, has had some very special players on its roster, including Mike Lieberthal, Matt Franco, Dave Landaker, Rob Neal, Shane Slayton, Tim Falsken and Brian Smith. But we'd never won more than two games in the Area 6 playoffs.
Although we didn't have a first- or second-round draft prospect on this year's team, it was our best team ever. The reason is simple: total team orientation.
Each player was dedicated to the team concept. No player put his personal agenda above that of the team and each understood his role. We believe in team victories and team defeats.
The statements about the benefits of playing in the Area 6 Legion tournament versus trying out for the Area Code team is shortsighted and plays to the "me-me" mentality that pervades youth sports.
Few coaches rate individual performance over team play. Quite the contrary, team players are much more likely to succeed in college, athletics or business because they understand the value of working together toward a common goal.
The story suggests that being selfish, or protecting personal interest, has value in team sports. Believe me, pro scouts also attend American Legion area, state, regional and national events.
Westlake-Royal's record since 1991 is 94-27-1. We are proud of this team and believe strongly in its team-oriented approach.