Financial Blow of the Coronavirus on Sports

Canceled games and tournaments were a major hit. Insurance policies and contracts can only help so much. No games mean no ticket sales and reduced media payments. For the first time in nearly two decades, the $160 billion sports world has gone dark.

The ramifications of canceling or postponing play are wide-ranging, from mundane considerations about competition to potentially serious financial consequences for athletes, teams, leagues and organizations, and the tens of thousands of people who work at sporting events. LeBron James, who could lose about $400,000 for every game the Los Angeles Lakers don’t play, might not get a lot of sympathy, given his riches. But there are low-paid minor league baseball players who need money for rent and food, and college field hockey teams that depend on money from the N.C.A.A. basketball tournament to fund their own seasons.

In the past, the sports business has largely proven to be somewhat recession proof. Most major sports organizations weathered the economic fallout of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the financial crisis in 2008. The problem now is that, as a mass event business, sports cannot occur because of the risk of spreading the coronavirus, bringing everything to a screeching halt.

Major League Baseball

The MLB has been devising multiple models for its schedule, which is delayed until mid-April at the earliest. The impact will vary from team to team. The Mariners in Seattle, one of the hotbeds of the virus, may have more trouble drawing fans back to its ballpark than teams playing in areas that have fewer cases. And for competitive reasons, it will be difficult to restart the season if some M.L.B. cities still have restrictions on the size of gatherings, as is the case in San Francisco.

Teams that own their own regional sports networks may face a double-hit — no revenue from tickets and little content for their networks, though fees from cable companies may deliver a small cushion to absorb the blow. Other teams that are already losing money could see steeper losses. As players disperse from spring training, at least for a few weeks, it is possible they won’t get paid. Under the terms of baseball’s uniform player contract, the commissioner can suspend contracts during a national emergency in which games are not played. President Trump declared a national emergency on Friday afternoon.

Cities and states will also forgo collecting income taxes on the player salaries, or sales taxes, and the fees generated in and around stadiums and arenas, including in parking lots. With arenas and stadiums closed, tens of thousands of part-time workers who are paid hourly wages with no benefits have seen their paychecks disappear. They pour beers and grill hot dogs, serve food in luxury suites, scan tickets at turnstiles, work in parking lots and provide security, run the scoreboards and lighting equipment, and clean up locker rooms.

In a building with 20,000 seats, roughly 300 workers would be behind concession counters and hawking drinks in the stands. The food purveyors and suppliers will also suffer. The big question is how quickly fans will feel safe enough to start attending games again. “After the baseball strike, there were questions about whether fans were going to come back because they were fed up,” said Chris Bigelow, a food and beverage consultant. “It’s different now because there might be fans who don’t want to be next to other fans.” Read more


Major League Baseball projects $640,000 per game loss with no fans

Major League Baseball told players their prorated salaries would contribute to an average loss of $640,000 for each game over an 82-game season in empty ballparks, according to a presentation from the commissioner’s office to the union that was obtained by The Associated Press. Painting a picture of a $10 billion industry shuttered by the contagion, the 12-page document titled “Economics of Playing Without Fans in Attendance” and dated May 12 was an initial step in negotiations aimed at starting the delayed season around the Fourth of July.

Teams say the proposed method of salvaging a season delayed by the coronavirus pandemic would still cause a $4 billion loss and would give major league players 89% of revenue. They contend they lose more money with each additional game played. The players’ union, however, believes clubs would lose less money with more games. In addition, many teams and/or their owners have stakes in their regional sports network that would benefit from additional games.

MLB said 2019 revenue was 39% local gate and other in-park sources, followed by 25% central revenue, 22% local media, 11% sponsorship and 4% other. Teams fears a second wave of the coronavirus would devastate finances if renewed government restrictions cause cancellation of the postseason, which brings in $787 million in media money. The document details who pays what: $370 million by Fox, $310 million by Turner, $27 million by ESPN, $30 million by the MLB Network and $50 million from international and other.

Teams project to increase their debt from $5.2 billion last year to $7.3 billion in 2020, leaving most clubs out of compliance with the labor contract’s debt service rule. MLB’s central office increased debt by $550 million to support clubs and is seeking $650 million more credit. MLB said many teams do not have the capacity to add more debt to fund losses in 2021.

MLB and the union agreed to a March 26 deal in which players would get a prorated share of their salaries during a shortened season. As part of the agreement, $170 million in salaries are being advanced through May 24. If the season is scrapped, players are guaranteed service time equal to what they accrued in 2019, a key to gaining eligibility for salary arbitration and free agency.

Now that plans have been formulated to possibly start the season in early July in disinfected stadiums with no gate revenue, at least at the start, MLB says the current economics are not feasible. Players have said they already made a deal and see no need for change. MLB anticipates $1.788 billion central office revenue for an 82-game schedule with empty ballparks and a $1.345 billion net after expenses for MLB Advanced Media and Major League Baseball Properties. Revenue includes $155 million from sponsors (excluding the MLB Network); $112 million from consumer products, $93 million from digital such as MLB.tv and At Bat and $89 million in non-media revenue. Read more

Orioles Team Rebuilds

Orioles Announce 2021 Spring Training Schedule

The Orioles today announced they will begin their 2021 Grapefruit League season at home on Saturday, February 27, at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla. against the Atlanta Braves. The club’s home Grapefruit League schedule, which features 16 dates, will conclude with a home game on Saturday, March 27, against the Minnesota Twins.

Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on Tuesday, February 16, and position players on Sunday, February 21, with the first full-squad workout set for Monday, February 22. The 2021 season will mark the Orioles’ 12th consecutive Spring Training season in Sarasota and the club’s 11th at renovated Ed Smith Stadium.

The Orioles will face nine different Major League opponents during the club’s 16-game home schedule. The Orioles will host the following teams twice at Ed Smith Stadium: the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Minnesota Twins, Atlanta Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Orioles will also play the Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers each once at home. The Orioles will play half of their home schedule on weekends, as eight of the club’s 16 home games fall on either a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

The Orioles will play 16 road games during the Spring Training season, including two trips each to visit the Red Sox, Yankees, Rays, Tigers, Twins, Braves, and Pirates; and one trip each to take on the Blue Jays and Phillies.

In the 11 years since the Orioles moved Major League Spring Training to Sarasota, more than one million fans have enjoyed Orioles games at Ed Smith Stadium. The Orioles’ engagement with the Greater Sarasota community goes far beyond baseball.

Read more


MLB rumors: Orioles could leave Camden Yards in 2 years

The Baltimore Orioles’ lease with Camden Yards is set to expire in 2023.

Never say never.

The Baltimore Orioles could leave Camden Yards in two years, if the two sides can’t work out a new lease.

The Baltimore Sun reports “The current lease expires at the end of 2021, although the Orioles have long had the option to extend it for five years. The stadium authority said Monday that the parties agreed to extend the current agreement for two years through Dec. 31, 2023, with the club retaining the right to exercise a one-time, five-year extension by Feb. 1, 2023.”

The negotiations have been complex. The club has spoken publicly about its hopes of capitalizing on the stadium’s popularity by using it increasingly for non-baseball activities such as music. That could involve new venues such as bars, restaurants — possibly even a sports betting room — in the stadium area. But officials from the club and the state say no such plans have been finalized, and that it was too soon to publicly discuss modifications to the stadium itself that are expected to be part of lease negotiations.

Camden Yards opened in 1992, with its original 30-year lease set to expire in 2021. The ballpark launched a wave of stadium construction aimed at tapping into the retro feel of Camden Yards. Three decades after opening its gates, Camden Yards remains one of MLB’s quintessential ballparks, worthy of discussion with Fenway Park and Wrigley Field as one of the true gems in the majors.

Read more =>

https://www.nj.com/yankees/2021/02/mlb-rumors-orioles-could-leave-camden-yards-in-two-years.html

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Baltimore amassed a huge ERA (5.18) while serving up 234 home runs. The ace of the franchise was Dylan Bundy who now plays for Los Angeles Angels. Read more

Baltimore Orioles third baseman Renato Nunuez (39), shortstop Jonathan Villar (2) and first baseman Trey Mancini (16) at Yankee Stadium.

In 2019, the Orioles (54-108) were just as bad. In 2020, these Orioles took some steps forward and should improve. Read more


Back in April 2016, I had an exciting weekend.  The Orioles beat the World Series Champions – Kansas City Royals 8-3.  The Birds record is 11-5 as of Saturday. Our Over 40 team, Brewers beat the Nationals 15-2 and our record is now 2-0. The Roland Park Rangers travel team beat the TowsonTowne Tbirds 6-5 and continue to remain undefeated this season (record 5-0). Our RPBL In-house team (9-10 Nationals Little League) the Blaze beat the Ironbirds 5-3 and we have a 2 game winning streak (record 3-1-1).

Here are some quotes to pump you up:

  1. Every game is game seven.
  2. Teamwork makes the Dream work.
  3. Attitude is Everything.
  4. Be prepared! “If only” are the famous last words of those who weren’t.

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60 Game Season


What you need to know about 60-game season

Baseball is back. Three glorious words.

After months of unsuccessful negotiating with the players’ association, MLB has imposed a 2020 season and the two sides have agreed on health and safety protocols.

The new season will not, however, include a few of the rule changes you may have recently read about.

Here are all the details you need to know about baseball’s shortened upcoming season.

When does the MLB regular season start?
Opening Day will be July 23, with two games taking place — Yankees vs. Nationals and Giants vs. Dodgers. The Phillies will begin play on July 24. MLB will attempt to cram 60 games into about 66 days. Players reported to camp on July 1 for Spring Training II.

How many games?
It will be a 60-game regular season. The league had proposed as few as 50 games and the players’ association had proposed as many as 114. In the end, 60 was the number the league chose when it unilaterally implemented the 2020 season.

Given MLB’s new coronavirus cases, the league’s desire to play the postseason in October, and the length these negotiations took, a regular season much longer than 60 games was no longer feasible. But the players still rejected the league’s 60-game proposal for a few important reasons. Read more

It began and suddenly halted four months ago in spring training and then restarted as summer camp. Now, filled with trepidation the time has come.

It’s the 2020 Major League Baseball season.

It finally has arrived, 119 days later than originally scheduled, and will be the first major team sport to return to the world beginning at 7:08 p.m. ET Thursday with the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals playing the New York Yankees in the nation’s capital.

There will be no fans in attendance. Only cardboard cut-outs. Pumped-in fake crowd noise required by every team. No smell of hot dogs. Virtual advertising everywhere you look. Players sitting in the stands and makeshift dugouts, socially distancing, six feet apart. And there will be displays of social messaging too, with players permitted to wear “Black Lives Matter” or “United for Change’’ patches on their uniforms, with “Black Lives Matter” stenciled on the pitcher’s mounds during the opening weekend of games. Read more


M.L.B. Proposes an 82-Game Season Starting in July

The Korean Baseball Organization is back from the coronavirus shutdown. Is this what MLB games will look like? In South Korea and Taiwan, where its league also recently resumed the season, stadiums are empty except for players, staff, umpires and some media members. Base coaches and umpires must wear masks and latex gloves on the field, and the teams’ training staffs wear masks in the dugouts. Read more

Major League Baseball has formalized its plan to return to the field, with teams agreeing Monday on a proposal to send to the players’ union for an 82-game season that would start without fans in early July. The plan would include an expanded playoff field and the designated hitter for all games, even those in the National League, where it is not typically used.

The plan must clear major obstacles to become reality. Even if the union accepts the structure of a truncated season, the sides would also have to agree on a salary structure for players. The league would also need to have enough tests for players and employees without depleting the public supply, and agree with the union on working conditions, including protocols in case of positive tests.

Details of the proposal were confirmed by multiple baseball officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan cannot be official until authorized by the union. The league’s proposal would authorize the shortest season since the early years of the National League in the late 1870s. To minimize travel, teams would play only against divisional rivals as well as teams in the corresponding geographic division of the opposite league. The proposal, which would require approval from the players’ union, would have teams start the season in early July and mainly play teams in their geographic region. Read more

“Needs to get approval by the Players’ Association, the Mets and every other team in the National League East should anticipate…” Read more

MLB Reportedly Considering Playing in Empty Stadiums During Coronavirus Pandemic. Major League Baseball is reportedly considering starting the 2020 season with games at spring training sites in either Florida or Arizona without fans in attendance because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Friday the chances of playing games at home parks this summer with a crowd are becoming “increasingly remote,” leading the league to consider alternatives. However, trying to station all 30 clubs in one area would be “extremely complex and potentially controversial” amid COVID-19. There are numerous hurdles MLB would need to jump before making the plan reality. Read more

“The owners of the 30 MLB teams held a virtual meeting Monday and agreed to a proposal for the restart of the 2020 season. Commissioner Rob Manfred is presenting that proposal to the players Tuesday. That’s the good news. The bad news is this: It’s a long journey from proposal to playing, largely because so many things that have to happen are out of MLB’s hands…” Read more

NBA

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a men’s professional basketball league in North America, composed of 30 teams (29 in the United States and 1 in Canada). It is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada, and is widely considered to be the premier men’s professional basketball league in the world.

1988 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Michael Jordan vs. Dominique Wilkins

The league was founded in New York City on June 6, 1946, as the Basketball Association of America (BAA). It changed its name to the National Basketball Association on August 3, 1949, after merging with the competing National Basketball League (NBL). The NBA’s regular season runs from October to April, with each team playing 82 games. Its playoffs extend into June. NBA players are the world’s best paid athletes by average annual salary per player.

The NBA is an active member of USA Basketball (USAB), which is recognized by FIBA (also known as the International Basketball Federation) as the national governing body for basketball in the United States. The league’s several international as well as individual team offices are directed out of its head offices in Midtown Manhattan, while its NBA Entertainment and NBA TV studios are directed out of offices located in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Read more)

Standings

Any predictions on the final four this year? I’m rooting for my Alma Mater – MD Terps – Ranked #7. AP College Basketball Poll Week 16 Rankings

  1. Baylor
  2. Gonzaga
  3. Kansas
  4. San Diego State
  5. Dayton
  6. Duke
  7. Maryland

Click here

Ravens fall apart

What a dissappointment!!!

However there is a learning OPPORTUNITY…

Never get too “over confident”.

Interception early in 1st quarter, 4th down conversions and penalties destroyed the Ravens offense.

They beat themselves.

Tennessee had more gusto and enthusiasm.

Discipline. Focus. Running game prevailed.

Being from Baltimore and originally a Colts fan, it’s hard not to predict that the Ravens are definitely going to win the National Championship this year.

Their quarterback has so many weapons including his amazing ability to run the football.

Lamar Demeatrice Jackson Jr. is an American football quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League. He played college football at Louisville where he won the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, and was unanimously selected as an All-American as a sophomore in 2016. 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamar_Jackson?wprov=sfla1

Super Bowl LIV 2020 will be at 6:30 PM on
Sunday, February 2.

The NFL has decided on the locations of the 2019, 2020 and 2021 Super Bowls.

The vote took place at the NFL owners meetings in Charlotte on Tuesday.

Atlanta will host Super Bowl LIII in 2019, while South Florida (Miami) will get the event in 2020 and Los Angeles will host in 2021.

https://www.nbcsports.com/washington/ravens/nfl-announces-locations-2019-2020-and-2021-super-bowls

Super Bowl 35 was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Baltimore Ravens and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion New York Giants to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 2000 season.

Super Bowl XXXV

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Bowl_XXXV?wprov=sfla1

National Hockey League

Click here to see the NHL standings and click here to see ESPN

Around the same time I started playing baseball, I also started skiing. Thanks to my parents they took me to some very cool ski resorts early in my childhood. For example, I remember like yesterday learning how to ski in the Poconos, PA. From there we went to Seven Springs, Killington and then Vail, Sun Valley, etc.

Typically when I was not skiing folks would go ice skating. I tried many times but never learned how to successfully skate backwards. I probably had less fear learning how to roller blade backwards but still have a lot of trouble.

Thus, I always tell people that’s why I did not play hockey. In fact, I’m perhaps not alone when it comes to skating because until you try it, you don’t realize how difficult a sport it really it. More importantly, I would honestly say there are 3 things I typically look for when I tune into a hockey game live or on TV:

  • Fist fights
  • Fast moving play similar to soccer and lacrosse
  • Low scoring games

So, since this BLOG is designed to be not just about baseball, I thought I should include my first entry on the sport of hockey. I have 2 cousins that were fantastic hockey players. One of them actually was a professional and played for a Canadian team. I also have 3 nephews that all played hockey and were very good. Just like skiing, I learned it is a very expensive sport because of the equipment.

Above is the current standings of the TOP 10 teams in the National Hockey League. Interestingly enough, I just learned how it is divided with 31 teams. There are two (2)

Notice that besides winning the World Series last month, the Washington Capitals are the 2018 Stanley Cup Champions.

Bat Guidelines


2020 – Fourteen and Under

My son Blake turns thirteen at the end of the year and he has spent the past couple of years in 12U Leagues getting comfortable with drop 10 USSSA and USA bats. He is only 4’10” and 100 lbs.

Using the “Bat Sizing Chart” it recommends 30 inch length.

However, he has been having a lot of success using a 31″ 21 lb. (-10) so moving to the heavier bats is going to be a big adjustment.

To use the bat size chart below, all you have to do is follow these simple steps: * Move the top slider on the chart to the player’s height range * Move the bottom slider on the chart to the player’s weight range Click here

I’ve reached out to my network and most coaches replied, “it depends on the league”. Also, it was pointed out that the “increased bat weight is offset in significant part by the increased distance from the pitching rubber to home plate. The 12U game at an advanced level can be more challenging than the 13U due to the infield dimensions.”

From the Desk of Matt Tyner, Head Baseball Coach, Towson Tigers

“Age 13 is big field time. The transition is the great equalizer. It’s the separation mechanism that makes young players play a different sport. Very seldom does a young player dominate on the big field, Bbcor bats etc. if there is one that does, he’s easily identified. Take it in stride. Speed is the key.”

Convoluted Needs of 13U Players

Getting the right bats for a 13u player is far more complicated than any other age. Not only do a variety of bat standards apply depending on context, but BBCOR bats are looming in the near future for players who hope to continue playing in high school.

Nearly all 14u travel ball tournaments require players to swing BBCOR bats. So let’s say you turn 13 in April of 2018. Starting August 1, 2018, you’ll be using a BBCOR bat in travel ball games. Some 13u players are required to start using BBCOR earlier than that as part of a middle school baseball program or if playing on a 14u team.

It is much, much easier for players to swing a light bat than a heavy bat. At the younger ages, many players have poor hitting mechanics, and the quickest fix for that is to switch to a bat that is so light that it can be used to good effect in spite of poor mechanics and/or lack of strength.

Some kids who never develop good swing mechanics continue to use a light bat until they are forced to switch to BBCOR at the age of 14. I see some players on my son’s 13u and 14u PONY division swinging drop 10 bats. Switching to BBCOR (combined with better pitching) from a drop 10 bat is so drastic that typically, mechanics change for the worse and hitting results plummet. The switch to BBCOR contributes to some players deciding to quit the game.

The local coaches with whom I’ve discussed BBCOR have all said that it’s very helpful to practice with increased weight for many months before BBCOR bats are required. So it might look something like this:

January through May of 13u year: Use a drop 8 bat for games, drop 5 off the tee. Even better if a player is big/strong enough to start with such heavy bats at an earlier age, but many players won’t be big enough until they’re 13.
June and July: Use a drop 5 bat for games, BBCOR off a tee
August: Begin using BBCOR always as a 14u.
Also helpful is to regularly do calisthenics such as pushups, pullups, crunches, planks, and squats.

It’s very important to maintain good mechanics when switching to a heavier bat. It can be helpful to practice with the heavier bat off a tee, being careful to focus on good mechanics, rather than just at batting practice and games where the player will focus more on hand eye coordination than mechanics. Read more

BBCOR (Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution) is something you’ve probably heard a lot about; it’s the standard currently governing adult baseball bats used in High School and Collegiate play. Rather than measuring the ratio of the ball exit speed to pitch and bat speeds, BBCOR measures the trampoline effect of the bat.

-3 is BBCOR. That’s high school and college. USSSA is what we used this year. They should allow USA also.

I think 14U is usually BBCOR. 13U leagues are sometimes BBCOR.

14U & Below: You may use either a 2 5/8″ or 2 3/4″ barrel diameter with a maximum allowed length of 36 inches. Your bat must feature either the USSSA 1.15 BPF certification or the BBCOR .50 certification.

All bats must be stamped BBCOR. Wood bats allowed. 19u: To be considered a wood bat, a bat must be made of a single piece of wood. All other bats such as bamboo or two piece must meet the BBCOR standards and have the BBCOR stamp

Adult baseball bats must have a -3 length to weight ratio and 2” barrel. In high school and collegiate sanctioned leagues, bats must be 31″-34″ long to be legal.

BEST BASEBALL BATS FOR HIGH SCHOOL
  • Easton Beast (X Speed BBCOR)-High School/College (-3 Drop)
  • Marucci MCBC7 (Cat7 BBCOR)
  • Louisville Slugger Omaha (517 BBCOR -3)
  • Rawlings Velo (Hybrid Balanced BBCOR) High School /College.
  • Louisville Slugger Solo (617 BBCOR-3)

Read more

Additional References

2019 – Twelve and Under

In 2018, many league requirements forced players to purchase new, and expensive, bats that complied with the USA Bat Policy (i.e. bats stamped with the “USA Baseball” logo). However, this year they have reversed course so now the “old” USSSA bats will once again be permitted for league play along with USA Bats.

Bats come down to personal preference, so if your player is happy with a USA bat, he can continue to use it. However, most kids prefer the older, big barrel (2 5/8″) USSSA bats as they have more pop which results in the ball travelling farther when hit. Right now, you can find tons of quality used bats USSSA bats on e-Bay at a fraction of their original cost and most are lightly used and come with new grips, making them feel like new bats. Another option would be to search local, used sporting goods retailers but that takes more leg work than shopping on-line. Please note that while 2 5/8″ barrels are approved, 2 3/4″ barrels are not approved for HCTB play; however, some tournaments may permits the use of those bats.

Be sure to check your individual league website for updates and information on bat restrictions.

2019 Bat Rules

Age Group Bats
8U-10U USSSA BPF 1.15 2 ¼” Barrel or USA Bat (No barrel restrictions)
11U-12U USSSA BPF 1.15 2 ¼” or 2 5/8” Barrel or USA Bat (No barrel restrictions)
13U USSSA BPF 1.15 2 ¼” or 2 5/8” Barrel, USA Bat (No barrel restrictions), or BBCOR
14U-19U BBCOR Only
Some of the best USSSA Baseball Bats
  • DeMarini CF Zen -10 Senior League Baseball Bat (WTDXCBZ-18)
  • Easton Ghost X -10 Senior League Baseball Bat (SL18GX10)
  • Marucci Hex Alloy 2 -10 Senior League Baseball Bat (MSBHA2X10)
  • Louisville Slugger Solo 618 -10 Senior League Baseball Bat (WTLSLS618X10)
  • COMBAT MAXUM -10 Senior League Baseball Bat (SL8MX210)

Effective January 1st, 2018

USA Baseball is introducing a NEW standard. Traditionally, rules were always based on age groups. For example, 12U players are allowed to use baseball bats up to thirty-three (33) inches in length and less than two and one-quarter (2¼) inches in diameter. Now the new rule requires that bat barrels up to 2 5/8 inch barrel diameter are REQUIRED to carry the new USABat stamp.

USSSA has had a stated 1.15 BPF Small Barrel (2¼” barrels) and Big Barrel (2⅝” and 2¾” barrel bats) baseball bat performance standard in its rule book for 6 years for its sanctioned programs up to and including its 14U program. Read more

Traditionally, there has long been some confusion on the specific weight/length ratio limits, as well as the composition differences between wood, metal (aluminium), composite and BBCOR. When you move up to 13U they can use thirty-four (34) inch bats, and composite is allowed if BBCOR barrel is no larger than 2 5/8. Read more | Bat Standards | Announcement

Youth Baseball Bats that feature a 2 1/4 inch barrel diameter and are often lighter, with a length to weight ratio between -8 and -13. Youth bats are sometimes referred to as small barrel bats or Little League baseball bats, and are used by players that play in leagues that mandate a bat with a 2 1/4 inch barrel. Most will be Little League approved bats and should also be legal in one or more of the following associations: Babe Ruth, Dixie, Pony, AABC, or USSSA. If you’re in search of youth baseball bat sales, check out our Closeout Youth Bats or Youth Bat Packs page for discount bats and great deals! Read more


The new USA Baseball bat standard (USABat), which will apply to bats that are classified below the NCAA and NFHS level of play, will be implemented on January 1, 2018, allowing the bat manufacturers sufficient time to bring these bats to the marketplace.

Similar to the NCAA and NFHS BBCOR standard, which helped to eliminate discrepancies with different length bats and thus provide a more direct measure of bat performance, the new USA Baseball bat standard will allow youth baseball organizations in the United States to reach their goal of establishing a wood-like standard, a standard that will provide for the long-term integrity of the game.

There will be no immediate change to youth baseball organizations’ bat rules. All bats, currently accepted for the respective leagues, remain permissible through December 31, 2017. Each participating national member organization will incorporate the new standard into their rules for the 2018 season and will begin, with this announcement, to inform their membership of the USABat standard.

Frequently Asked Questions about the USABat standard:

Which national member organizations are implementing this new standard?
To date, the following organizations are participating (in alphabetical order): American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC), Babe Ruth Baseball/Cal Ripken Baseball, Dixie Youth Baseball, Little League Baseball and PONY Baseball.

Why the change to a wood-like standard?
USA Baseball’s national member organizations believe that a wood-like performance standard will best provide for the long-term integrity of the game. The new standard will not have a drop-weight limit, so young players can use bats made with light-weight materials.

Why not just use wood bats?
Wood is a scarce resource. The new bats will be designed to perform much like wood, where its performance will be limited to the highest performing wood.

How is the USABat standard different from the BBCOR standard used by the NCAA and NFHS?
Both the USA Baseball and NCAA bat performance tests are based on the coefficient of restitution from a bat-ball impact. The scale of results is different, however, since they use different test balls and test speeds. The testing difference is necessary to address the various levels of play in the respective age groups.

Why is USA Baseball involved?
The national member organizations asked USA Baseball as the national governing body to take the lead in this process to establish a new standard. Many other national governing bodies set and enforce standards for the equipment in their respective sports. To that end, USA Baseball established a Bat Study Committee of leading scientists and conducted theoretical modeling, field testing and lab testing. The committee shared its findings with the national member organizations, who then endorsed the new USABat standard.

Why wait until 2018?
The implementation date of 2018 will allow bat manufacturers sufficient time to conduct the appropriate research, design, testing, manufacturing and shipping needed to get new bats into retail outlets. This date also allows the participating national member organizations adequate time to educate their memberships of the USABat standard.

Is my current bat good for league play?
Yes. Current league-approved bats can be used through December 31, 2017.

Is safety the reason for the change?
No. Youth baseball continues to be one of the safest of all sports for youth participants.

How will I know which bat to buy?
All new bats that bear the USABat licensing mark will be permissible for play in the leagues and tournaments of the participating youth baseball organizations.

When can I buy the new bat?
It is the intention of the bat manufacturers to make the new bats available in the fall of 2017, in sufficient time for the 2018 season. Read more


Other bat retailers I recommend include:

Little League World Series

Friday on our way back from Cooperstown, my son Blake and I visited Williamsport, PA and met the Japan team. Click here

Little League World Series

The Little League Baseball World Series is an annual baseball tournament in the eastern United States for children (typically boys) aged 10 to 12 years old. Originally called the National Little League Tournament, it was later renamed for the World Series in Major League Baseball. The Series was first held 72 years ago in 1947 and is held every August in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.[3] (Although the postal address of the organization is in Williamsport, the Series itself is played at Howard J. Lamade Stadium and Volunteer Stadium at the Little League headquarters complex in South Williamsport.)

Initially, only teams from the United States competed in the Series, but it has since become a worldwide tournament. The tournament has gained popular renown, especially in the United States, where games from the Series and even from regional tournaments are broadcast on ESPN. The United States collectively as a country has won a plurality of the series, although from 1969 to 1991 teams from Taiwan dominated the series, winning in 15 out of those 23 years. Taiwan’s dominance during those years has been attributed to a national effort to combat its perceived diplomatic isolation around the world. From 2010 through 2018, teams from Tokyo, Japan have similarly dominated the series, winning five of those matchups.

While the Little League Baseball World Series is frequently referred to as just the Little League World Series, it is actually one of twelve tournaments sponsored by Little League International, in twelve different locations. Each of them brings community teams from different Little League International regions around the world together in baseball (five age divisions), girls’ softball (four age divisions), and boys’ softball (three divisions). The tournament structure described here is that used for the Little League Baseball World Series. The structure used for the other World Series is similar, but with different regions.

The 2019 Little League World Series is being held from August 15 to August 25 at the Little League headquarters complex in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Eight teams from the United States and eight teams from around the world are competing in the 73rd edition of the Little League World Series.

Tournament changes
Among the changes made by the Little League International Board of Directors to the rules, regulations, and policies of Little League was introduction of a rule concerning tied games. Should a game complete seven innings with the score still tied, the offensive team in each subsequent half-inning will start with a runner placed on second base. The runner is the player in the team’s batting order who is scheduled to bat last in the half-inning. Read more

Watch Virginia vs. Louisiana and Watch Louisiana vs. Hawaii below. Visit main website – Click here


Cooperstown

Watch my summer slide show – Click here

2019 RPBL Rangers ranked 35/104 after 6 game seeding round. Season ended early on Wednesday, August 21.

Opening Ceremony

Wyatt hits Grand Slam (team’s first home run) in Game 4 which was a major turning point.

Blake on the mound in Game 7 – Elimination round

Visit Ted Winstead’s amazing photo gallery – Click here



Two powerful hitters, two dominant starters and two lights-out relievers.  Six Hall of Fame legends, all a part of the Class of 2019 at the Baseball Hall of Fame.  The game’s newest immortals take their bow July 19-22.  More than 50 Hall of Famers are scheduled to be in Cooperstown to honor the Class of 2019 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum – Harold Baines, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Mariano Rivera and Lee Smith Induction on July 21, 2019. Read more


I am sincerely grateful to simply be here in Cooperstown to watch my son Blake play in these tournaments. I hope he has fun and will remember this forever!  Visit Dream Park and All-Star Village.

When Blake and I first arrived we went straight to the museum and took a picture of #10 Chipper Jones. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018. Click here

2019 Results: LTRC Comets seeded 19 out of 50 and made it to “Sweet 16”. Click here

2018 Results: Harrison Hurricanes Click here Bergen County Hawks (NJ) Click here LI Sharks Sharks Click here

My week in review – Click here. Some interesting trivia below: We finished preliminary seeding week 79/104 with a record of 1 and 5 averaging 10.83 runs allowed per game.

Kawhi Leonard

Everyone I spoke to said Golden State would sweep the Raptirs. They are stacked with 3 Hall of Fame basketball players. Well, unfortunately due to injury Kevin Durant did not have a chance to help.  Read more

Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard, centre, celebrates with the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy after defeating the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.  Kings of the NBA: Toronto Raptors capture 1st crown in thrilling win over Warriors  Read more

With a victory in Game 6, the Raptors dethrone the league’s reigning dynasty and claim the first title in franchise history. Kawhi Leonard goes to the basket against the Golden State Warriors during during Game 6.  Toronto Raptors Win the NBA Championship – WSJ Read more 

Base Running

What do you do when you hit the ball? How do you get a hit? Read “Lost Art of Bunting“. Even after a 3rd dropped strike with nobody on 1st base and less than 2 outs. Fortunately, I live near Al Bumbry and have spoken to him multiple times in person. Read more

Earlier this year during “Winter Spring Training” Al gave my son Blake a lesson on taking a lead off of 1st base. It was almost identical to Coach Justin above.

Rickey Henderson

He is my all time favorite!!! When I went up to Cooperstown last year I was in tears watching Rickey interview and how he played the game. Read more

Rickey Henderson was the fastest, most aggressive base runner I have ever watched play baseball. His stats and success speak for themselves. Notice he has 1,406 lifetime stolen bases, appeared in 2 World Series games and 10 All-Star games.

If there was ever the PERFECT Lead-Off hitter, it was definitely Rickey Henderson

THE LEADOFF: Your leadoff should be one of your team’s best hitters and fastest players. The goal of any good leadoff hitter is to get on base, however they can. Your on-base percentage leader should fit well in the leadoff spot, if you’re keeping track of that stat. Remember, whether they hit the ball for contact or they walk, they’ve got to get on base. Speed is a plus for this position. Don’t look for power in the leadoff—save power hitters for later when there are more baserunners positioned. If your kids are competing for this spot, remind them that the leadoff hitter usually only leads once.

Below are some other interesting links:

Wally Backman

Reference Our Bench Coach on the 12U RPBL Rangers A Travel Team told me about Wally. Watch his YouTube video of getting a lead on 1st Base

Help me, Help you

Some of my favorite players include Hank Aaron, Aaron Judge, Rickey Henderson and Babe Ruth.

Batting Lineup

THE LEADOFF: Your leadoff should be one of your team’s best hitters and fastest players. The goal of any good leadoff hitter is to get on base, however they can. Your on-base percentage leader should fit well in the leadoff spot, if you’re keeping track of that stat. Remember, whether they hit the ball for contact or they walk, they’ve got to get on base.
Speed is a plus for this position. Don’t look for power in the leadoff—save power hitters for later when there are more baserunners positioned. If your kids are competing for this spot, remind them that the leadoff hitter usually only leads once.

2 SPOT: The 2-spot player is on-deck at the start of the game and should be a fundamentally sound hitter. You must rely on them to make contact with the ball. The goal of the second hitter is to advance your leadoff player, as well as make it on-base themselves. Players who frequently strike out will kill momentum in this position.

3 HOLE: Just as before, the 3 hole should be one of your team’s best hitters. This can be someone who has a great batting average and doesn’t lack power.
This position should be filled by a good all-around hitter who really gets the concept of batting against another player. You want the 3 hole to move players around, or drive in the first runs of the game. If you look at your stats and see a player with a comparatively high batting average, a couple doubles and several RBIs on the season, try batting them third.

CLEANUP: One of the most admired spots in the batting lineup, the cleanup position is typically your most powerful hitter. In youth baseball, that doesn’t just mean the player that has a lot of homeruns. The cleanup player hits the ball hard. Hard hits typically get through the infield and sometimes can get to an outfield gap or even past an unskilled outfielder. When this player steps to the plate, the infielders take a step back.

5 POSITION: Sometimes the cleanup hitter doesn’t quite clear the bases—and that’s what the 5-spot is for. Like the cleanup position, the player batting fifth should have higher than average batting power. This player should not strike out as much as feast-or-famine cleanup hitter, but should still be able to crank out a few doubles or hard-hit singles. When you examine your stat sheet, look for players who are hitting more than singles and are in the bottom half of all strikeouts (or who have a lower-than-average strikeout to at-bat ratio). Throughout the year, you’ll want to switch up your fourth and fifth positions. This will challenge your players and give you a better idea of who fits best in which role.

SPOTS 6 & 7: Unless you’re one lucky youth baseball coach, this is where you’ll probably reach a challenge in your lineup. The 6 and 7 spots are important in your lineup, even if they don’t perform as well at the plate. A batting average of .200 or .225 can wreak havoc on the other team. Hope for singles from these players, or try putting a good bunter in this role. If you’ve got players who are about equal in hitting ability, speed should be the deciding factor.

BATTING 8: At the youth level, the 8 spot is ideal for developing hitters. In many cases, the 8 position is for a player who is the worst fundamental hitter on your team and strikes out the most. Remember, every team has a player who has not yet caught onto hitting.

9 PLAYER: This less-than-desirable spot is often reserved for the weakest hitter on the team—but we think the nine guy is worth extra consideration.
At the youth level, you should make it a habit to shuffle your 7 to 9-spot hitters, so you do not consistently send a negative message to any one player. The 9 spot should not go to your player who strikes out the most, but someone who you’ve seen scatter singles throughout the season. This player could jumpstart a middle inning for the top of the order.

BATTING THROUGH YOUR LINEUP
In many youth baseball organizations, your team must bat through the lineup. That is to say, if you have 12 kids on a team, all 12 must bat before you start at the top of the order. In these cases, we suggest you follow the above guidelines for positions 1 to 7 then rotate players 8 to 12, keeping them even on at-bats when the season closes.
Remember, your job as coach is to ensure your roster is having fun, developing skills and gaining confidence. Playing a less competitive team? Consider changing up your lineup to challenge your team and give everyone an opportunity. They may surprise you—and themselves.

Well Coached Players: “The best situation for all of us is for you to plan on handing these kids over to me and the assistant coaches when you drop them off, and plan on them being mine for the 2 or so hours that we have scheduled for a game, or the time that we have scheduled for the practice.  I would like for these boys to have some responsibility for having their own water, not needing you to keep running to the concession stand, or having parents behind the dugout asking their son if they are thirsty, or hungry…

Players on the bench will not be messing around. I will constantly be talking with them about situations and what they would be doing if they were in a specific position, or if they were the batter.”  ~Mike Matheny.  Often I find myself saying to my 10 year old son, “Help me, Help you” similar to scene from Jerry Maguire played by Tom Cruise. However, be careful showing this to young women because clip ends with Cuba Gooding parading around locker room in the nude (Caution: R rated).

Nevertheless, whether you are a sports agent or a parent coach, the responsibility and sacrifice can be daunting at times, to say the least.


Hustle

Baserunning is a fundamental of the game that incorporates many facets that players can work on no matter what their running speed. Coaches of young players often do not work with their teams on this part of the game. Running the bases is an art. If coaches teach baserunning correctly, they will increase the ability of their players to steal bases and take extra bases. Fast base runners force fielders to throw to another base because the runner got there quicker than the fielder expected. In the field, faster players are able to get to and catch more balls. Before working on baserunning, coaches need to teach young players how to run properly and have them run every day to get faster. Speed and agility training is an important part of helping young players develop their athleticism. After a young player has developed his athleticism, all the facets of baserunning become a lot easier. Most of the time players cannot develop athleticism by playing baseball. This should be a priority when it comes to helping young players run the bases better.

To work on running and running the bases, your warm-ups in practice and before games need to be organized around running. Running needs to become a habit for young players. You can begin and end practices with fun running drills and games. Keep in mind that you always want to end practices with a competitive and fun activity because the last thing they do is what they remember. You want them remembering that practice was fun so that they learn faster.

Coaches should talk to track coaches to learn the proper running techniques so that they can help their players run better. Track coaches can teach the techniques and drills that allow players to perfect their running.

A few things need to be taught to help with all facets of baserunning. First is the ability to move quickly from one spot to another. This art is used in baseball and in many other sports. It begins with the hip turn, pushing off one foot and going. This turn will help runners and fielders. In this technique, players turn their hips as quickly as possible, keep the feet low to the ground, and turn on the angle that they need to run. The hip turn helps them move their feet faster. As they turn their hips and their feet touch the ground, they push off with the back foot. This turn can be practiced in warm-up drills, as we explain in the following drills. Read more


To be a well-rounded baseball player, you must develop and practice your base running skills. As my Guide To Base Running Strategy states, because rounding the bags happens almost every play, it is critical to allot time each practice to base running.

To be a talented base runner, you must first recognize when the defense makes a mistake, then be able to capitalize on the opportunity. Develop your team’s base running skills with the following four drills. Each base running drill can be practiced individually, in small groups, or as a team—to incorporate a unified base running mentality.

Base Running Drills

Ground Ball Reads: Anytime a player can eliminate the need for a sacrifice bunt to preserve an out, it’s a huge advantage for the offense. Consider the benefit for your team if you habitually advanced from first base to third through a series of steals.
The Drill: The drill begins with a runner at first, taking a conservative lead. The coach feeds himself the ball and hits it toward centerfield. When the coach feeds himself the ball—the toss serves as the pitch—the runner takes a secondary lead. Once the ball is hit, the runner reacts to the ball by sprinting to second base, while keeping his eye on the ball and the fielder. Before arriving at second base, the runner should have already made a decision on whether to advance to third. As a rule of thumb, continue to third base if you reach second before the outfielder has the ball. Keep in mind: it’s far easier to slam on the brakes than turn on the jets. If the fielder has the ball, simply round the bag and watch the throw, ready to take advantage of a throwing error.

Dirtball Reads: When a pitcher throws a ball in the dirt, take advantage of the opportunity by stealing an extra base. If a ball skips away from the catcher, runners must take advantage of the situation by advancing. The trouble lies with in-between balls, those that stray out of the batter’s box but not out of the dirt circle. This is where a little anticipation comes in handy. Know the count, the situation, where the other runners are and what they may be thinking. If it’s a breaking ball count (0-2, 1-2, even 1-1), expect a ball in the dirt and take an extra step toward the next base. This drill should be performed with a loaded infield and any number of runner combinations. The runners should start at any base in the infield. The coach short hops the ball to home plate, so the catcher, forced to block the ball, allows the runners time to read the situation and quickly decide whether to advance to the next base. The coach should keep the runners honest by mixing in strikes.

Tennis Ball Drop: Obviously, there is no better way to improve your stealing skills than to face a pitcher practicing his pickoff moves. However, this opportunity isn’t always available. When a pitcher isn’t available, use the Tennis Ball Drop drill to improve your reaction time. With a player on the pitcher’s mound holding a tennis ball, the runner takes a lead off first base. The player releases the tennis ball, triggering the runner’s break for second base. Whether the runner runs the full distance to second base, the first ten feet, or halfway, it doesn’t matter, since the first few steps are most important. The player on the mound should vary his release time to eliminate any chance for the runner to time up the pitch.

Resistance Steal Breaks: When it comes to stealing, your first step is your most important. This drill can be done with a tennis ball, a live pitcher or verbal signals. The runner starts by taking a normal lead off first base. Instead of balancing his weight on both feet equally, the runner should exaggerate his lean toward second base by placing more weight on his right foot. A partner standing to the right of the runner place his hands on the runner’s forward leaning (right ) shoulder. The runner should feel somewhat unbalanced. Once in this position, the partner lets go, then pushes the runner forward, propelling him into a sprint. This forces the runner to run fast enough to keep his balance.  This drill makes the runner explode out of the gate toward second base. Again, the distance you run can vary between the first ten feet to the entire distance. Just make sure to concentrate on a good start. Read more


Excellence: Baseball is an island of activity amidst a sea of statistics.  Baseball is also the only place in life where a sacrifice is really appreciated. “Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.”

Mr. Hoover