Little Leagues

To the British ear, the main use and meaning of ‘Little League’ is in the derogatory metaphorical sense: Something small, local, regional at most, and while relatively well organised, still incredibly substandard in comparison to big and serious professional levels of whatever the metaphor is being employed to belittle.

While this definition sort of suits the actual origin of Little League Baseball (three teams of children playing against each other in Pennsylvania in 1939), I had no idea how inappropriate the metaphor has actually become, considering that the oxymoronically named Little League World Series is something that actually exists.

And unlike the grown-up professional version, the Little League one is actually international. Little League is basically not little. It’s in the big leagues… or so my British metaphorical understanding would again have me misunderstanding it, if I hadn’t read further to discover the hierarchy of the many Little Leagues:

Minor Leagues for 7–11 year olds
9–10 Year Olds League for you know who
Little League or the Major Division for 11–12 year-olds
Little League Intermediate 11–13 year-olds
Junior League for 13–14 year-olds
Senior League for 14-15 year-olds
Big League for 16–18 year-olds

Big League is still for kids. Big kids, but kids. After that you get to the professional leagues, where there are still many tiers and metaphorical Little Leagues. From what I can fathom of that hierarchy:

Advanced Rookie

And all those in just Minor League Baseball. Only then do you finally get to the American League and National League that make up the Major League, which culminates in the World Series.

But even that’s still just the USA (and a few good Canadian teams).

Next comes the International Baseball Federation, and finally the Baseball World Cup, which Cuba have won 25 times to the United States 4 times, a comparison by extruded metaphorical madness that makes the USA, the Little League in comparison to Cuba.

Thinking about classification of scale like this feels smilar to watching one of those space videos that compare stars and distance between stellar bodies, a context by which our massive Earth is tiny in comparison to our massive Sun which is tiny in comparison to other even more massive stars, and so on.

My train of thought? A recent conversation covering the gamut from bootstrapping an idea with your own funds, to seed investment, to venture capital, series A, B, C etc. all the way up to the truly epic funds that actually fund the VC’s that we in tech think are the ones with the big purses. £100,000 investment is nothing compared to £1m, compared to £10m, to £100m, to a billion, to 10 billion and so on.

Reminds me again of the fantastically simple and sobering interactive data visualisation from MahiFX about how much you make in comparision to hedge fund manager John Paulson. Have a go and think that he’s worth around 10 billion USD. Then realise that Carl Icahn is worth around 20 billion USD, and that he is just 31st in the list of the Worlds Billionairs.

Little League Billionairs.