Pitching In to Bring Toronto Playgrounds House League Baseball Into the Online Age


TP Baseball Committee Member Jeff Kolyn is always busy as a bee using his laptop computer to keep our newly introduced Goalline online registration and payment system working like a finely tuned red corvette,

With Opening Day of the 2017 regular season only a mere 61 days away, it goes without saying that the launch of the Toronto Playgrounds House League Baseball Online Registration and Payment initiative is a grand slam success.

Introduced on January 30, the Goalline online system has allowed over 950 families (so far) to register for our popular baseball program from the comfort of their homes (or workplace). This has allowed parents to save time and spared them the physical tasks of filling out a paper form, writing out a cheque, and getting the necessary paperwork and payments delivered or dropped off at our mailing address.

With the online system allowing us to keep tabs on the registration numbers on a daily basis, it has helped TP to keep more accurate account of its financials and determine which age divisions are full, close to filling up, etc. From a logistical perspective, the data collected makes it easier for the organization to plan for the long season ahead.

TP House League Baseball Committee Member Jeff Kolyn , who spearheaded the introduction of our online registration and payment initiative, agreed to an exclusive interview to discuss the rollout of the new Goalline system:

How many seasons have you been part of the TP House League Baseball program as a parent and coach?

Seven seasons.

Who is your favourite MLB player and what is your favourite MLB team?

My favourite player of player of all time is Tony Gwynn, I even have an autographed ball and saw him play at Wrigley Field in April 2004. And of course, my favourite team is the Toronto Blue Jays.

Where did you develop your ‘love for the game’? Do you have any other favourite sports beyond the baseball diamond?

I picked up Blue Jays fever during the “Drive of ’85” on CTV with Fergie Olver doing the play by play. I had been a fan before then when I used to get $2.00 general admission tickets at Dominion in order to go to the Jays games with my friends. But I hooked back in 1985 while watching the games on my six-inch black and white tuner television. Living with my mother and sister, there was only one TV. And since there was not a whole lot of baseball on television back then, I picked up my love of the game all on my own. Hockey is my other favourite sport. I love the Toronto Maple Leafs as well.

How long have you been a member of the TP House League Baseball Committee and what spurred you to join?

I believe that this my third year on the committee. I just loved the league so much and I had some time that I was looking to fill for a good cause. TP seemed like a perfect fit. Plus the current group of people on the committee are amazing. It made my decision to join all that much easier.

What is Goalline? And why did TP choose that online system versus others?

Goalline is a website and registration provider aimed at youth and other sports organizations. We chose them for several reasons. First, the Ontario Baseball Association (OBA) had Goalline as a preferred vendor for these services. Secondly, the pricing model was in line with what TP was willing to pay. Third, Goalline provides mobile apps that will allow parents and coaches to stay connected throughout the season. Fourth, the system allows for ease of accounting and data management. Goalline streamlines the money collection process (of registration payments) that was consuming a lot of the committee’s time. Lastly, it was simply time to bring TP House League Baseball into the modern online age,

Jeff takes a brief break from crunching the online registration numbers on his laptop.

Was it a lengthy process dealing with the rollout of the Goalline online system? Were many arduous hours, days, nights, weeks, months involved?

We spent two months deciding on a vendor. Starting with a list of eight possibilities, then whittling that down to four choices, and finally deciding between the two. We set up webinars and involved the entire committee in the selection process to ensure that everyone was on board. Once the contract was signed, it took us at least thirty days to get our first form online and several additional weeks to get the payment processor going. There have been many calls to Goalline support to learn the new system. We’ve spent many evenings and weekends customizing the backend of the system.

Did you work with any other committee members or people during the rollout?

TP House League Baseball Coordinator Steve Smith has been directly involved since we opted for Goalline and also during the final selection phase. TP House League Baseball President Bill Evans helped a lot with the initial decision process. In addition, Committee Member Paul Kelly provided input during the selection phase and has worked alongside me with the testing of the mobile app features.

What were some of the challenges involved with the Goalline implementation?

There have been some technical glitches on Goalline’s end. We’ve had issues with reporting, and there continues to be backend reporting issues. Overall, the customer interface has worked well. We’ve had to train and coach parents (including committee members) on using and setting up their respective Goalline accounts. However, after about a month, we have it all figured out and can easily assist people when they register online with us. We are also experiencing consistency issues with the mobile app and that is being worked addressed by Goalline.

How successful was the implementation of the online registration and payment system?

It was a success despite any challenges that have come along. The registration numbers have never been stronger. The system has freed up time for our coordinator to focus on other things like our Summer Baseball Camps and the Baseball Academy. Those are key initiatives going forward for our league. And the Goalline system has enabled us to focus on them. Also, our accounts receivable has improved dramatically.

Have there been any continuing or ongoing issues for Goalline users?

As with any technical systems, there will always be issues. We are experiencing issues with the mobile app’s functionality and some backend reporting. However, none of that is preventing us from moving forward as a league.

Any hiccups or funny tales that you wish to share us with regards to the rollout?

We had one incident of registering an extra player in one of our divisions. However, that has happened just once. We did get some interesting technical support questions to answer during the rollout process. But, overall, people adopted the new system quite well.

How many have registered online with TP so far?

We are at capacity in many of our age divisions. The total player count is around 955 so far..

What else can we expect down the line with the full rollout Goalline system?

The introduction of the mobile app will be the next big thing. Whether we can fully roll it out this season or not, we’ll just have to wait and see. However, we expect all coaches will be communicating with parents via the mobile app in 2018. Full team by team schedules and field locations will be available on the app itself.

Being the head coach of the reigning 2016 TP Peewee Division champion Dodgers, are you gearing up for a ‘twopeat’ this season?

It’s fun setting the goal to win. But my ultimate goal in our house league baseball program is to help each player to progress from point A to point B, regardless of their skill set. Each player, no matter how advanced, has something to learn…and that is my objective. That being said, I heard that TP is planning to rollout a newly designed championship trophy for the 2017  season. So, it would be nice to be the first Peewee team to hoist the new hardware for the first time. I will definitely give it my best shot to ‘TwoPeat’!

If you have any questions, please contact us at tpbaseball@gmail.com.