Having been to a large number of summer/fall showcases and tournaments, I can tell you the wasted feeling of having your son play in front of nobody. We’ve been to tournaments where you feel there isn’t a scout within a hundred miles. Now partly that’s on the showcase organization. They have the opportunity to pick the tournaments well in advance and they know which ones are going to attract the most colleges.
But you want to be able to walk around and simply bump into a half-dozen college coaches on your way to the restroom! Call it the “restroom test” or whatever you want to call it. It’s a feeling that there are a ton of scouts watching and thank goodness my son has the opportunity to play in front of these guys, whatever the result.
So without further delay, here are my top five tournaments for college recruiting followed by my top five showcases for college recruiting. Note, these were selected with college recruiting as the top priority versus pro-scouts, and without any hard college attendance numbers (I’m always skeptical of these numbers anyway). It’s the “restroom test” based on our actual experiences from what we’ve seen with our own two eyes or heard from other reliable parents.
Top 5 Tournaments For College Recruiting
PerfectGame – 16U WWBA National Championship (Cartersville, GA – early July)
Honorable Mention: ProspectWire – World Series (Pt. St. Lucie – late July), Prospect Select – Black Bear Classic (Greenville, SC – late June), Prospect Select – Boston Open (Boston – mid July)
Note: The PerfectGame WWBA World Championship held in October in Jupiter, Florida, is a phenomenal tournament, but from what I saw, it was mainly for pro scouts. Many of the players were already committed to colleges years prior.
Top 5 Showcases for College Recruiting
PerfectGame – Junior National Showcase (Ft. Myers, FL – early June)
PerfectGame – Fall Top Prospect National Showcase (Cartersville, GA – late Oct)
PerfectGame – National Academic Showcase (Cartersville, GA – mid July)
ProspectSelect – Black Bear Select (Clemson Univ, SC – late June)
ProspectSelect – TOPPS Palm Beach (Palm Beach, FL – early June)
Honorable Mention: Many large showcase travel team organizations have their own showcases in November or early January. These showcases can attract large numbers of college coaches. I’ve been at one where there were close to 80 colleges. These are fantastic showcases to attend in lieu or in addition to the above.
Note: The PerfectGame National Showcase is “the” primetime national showcase. However, mostly all the players who attend have already committed to college and this is mainly a pro-scout showcase.
Behind the Curtain
But the caveat is that your showcase travel team better play at the right venues when they get to the heavily attended tournaments. What do I mean by that? Well, these tournaments are huge. 200+ teams in just one age group. Yes, that’s right. Some have over 300 teams. Imagine what the scheduling is like. A nightmare. They take every minor league complex and high school field within a 50-mile radius.
Thankfully there’s usually a hub centered around a minor league complex with eight+ fields or if you’re PerfectGame, you build a state-of-the-art complex in north Atlanta with a dozen+ fields. The scouts, as you might imagine for efficiency reasons, congregate around these “hubs”. It’s easier for them to see more players rather than driving 30-minutes away to some remote high school where they might just see one, maybe two, players. Sure, the scouts will go to the remote high school but if you’re constantly playing at these remote high school fields, then your coaches better be texting or hitting the phones non-stop to get the colleges to show up. It’s tough. Yes, your son can send emails or texts to coaches with his tournament schedule if he knows they’re at the tournament. But normally that’s hit or miss.
If your son plays for a larger showcase travel organization who brings 5+ teams in the same age group, then the likelihood of the best “prime” team getting to play at more “hubs” is greater than the organization who brings just two teams. Just saying. I have no hard evidence that this indeed happens regularly, but I’ve seen the scheduling and that’s just how it feels.
Also, with regards to showcases, be very cautious. Some are very expensive and at the end of the day, they won’t give your son the exposure. Some require tryouts and further progression in order to get to their national showcase. You can spin your wheels going from tryout to tryout with little to no exposure and then be left out of their “All-American” game or national showcase in the end. Read more
Travel Baseball: The Ultimate Guide for Parents and Players
For many families, the transition from Little League to travel baseball comes with stress, anxiety and questions about what to look for in a team and what to expect from the experience — not to mention the question of whether making the switch from a more laid-back rec ball program to a more competitive (and expensive) travel club is the right decision in the first place.
What is Travel Baseball? First, it’s important to understand what a travel baseball team is and how travel baseball is organized. There are tens of thousands of travel baseball teams around the country, and their popularity has exploded over the past two decades. As recently as the 1990s, travel baseball was a niche experience limited mostly to elite players in baseball-rich areas like Texas and California. Today, participation is seen by many as a near necessity for talented players to develop their skills and hone their game against the best competition they can find.
Whereas Little League is the dominant organization when it comes to recreational youth baseball, there are multiple organizations throughout the country that host hundreds of travel tournaments each year. Some of the biggest and most popular are USSSA (United States Speciality Sports Association), AAU (Amateur Athletic Union), Triple Crown Sports, and Perfect Game. Travel baseball teams often participate in tournaments organized by more than one of those organizations.
A team can be started by anyone. Many are formed by parents, but many others are formed by high school and former college coaches. Depending on their organizational goals, some programs have just one team that participates in one age bracket (such as 10 and under), while some are run like businesses and have teams that compete in every age group.
Here are eight things to think about when evaluating teams. These factors will make a big difference when it comes to your overall experience, so take the time to think about them, and don’t be afraid to ask questions of parents and coaches.
Coaching: A coaching staff can make or break a team. How coaches manage players, keep the game fun, instill the fundamentals, and focus on development — not only as athletes, but as young men and women — is extremely important. Some travel baseball teams have parents or grandparents serving as the head coach. While that can be fine, it’s important to make sure those coaches don’t make keeping their own child on the field a priority. Before committing to a team, spend some time researching it by watching a practice and talking to current and/or former players and parents.
Cost: For many parents, this is the most terrifying aspect of travel baseball. Just how much of a toll is this going to take on your bank account? The specific answer varies, but the typical range of cost for participating in travel baseball is between $500 and $2,500 per year. There are a number of specific factors that go into how much it costs to be on a team: * Where you live. * Whether you have to buy your own equipment. * Whether you have to rent facilities. * Whether or not coaches are paid. * How competitive the team is.
Location: As stated earlier, location is a key factor in deciding which travel team to play for. If you’re fortunate enough to live in California, Florida or Texas, you’re going to have a lot of opportunities to play with and against high-level competition right in your backyard. But outside of those states, it’s a little bit tougher, and you have to decide how committed you are to playing at the highest possible level. So you’ll be faced with the following choice: play on a lower level team that’s closer to home, or drive a hundred miles or more for twice-weekly practices? It may sound crazy, but many families do just that. Why would they commit so much time and money to their son or daughter’s athletic pursuits? It comes down to goals. Better teams often provide better coaching and more opportunities for exposure to college and professional scouts.
Mission: What’s the team’s mission? Is the focus on fun, player development, college exposure, or a mix of all there? Teams can have many different goals and missions, and there’s no right or wrong approach. However, it is possible that a team’s mission does not align with your values and goals, and you need to think about this before committing, as a compatibility mismatch can lead to coach-parent and coach-player tension.
Organization: Consider the reputation of the organization you’re evaluating. When you join a team, you and your son or daughter will essentially be endorsing everything the program stands for. If they’re known for dirty play or being disrespectful to the game, you’ll be associated with that. And believe it or not, the baseball world is a small and surprisingly tight-knit community. College coaches tend to know which programs produce bad apples — and they avoid them. In fact, many college coaches will completely write off an entire organization that has a reputation for not playing the game the right way or for having disrespectful players.
Playing Time: There’s an important balance between getting enough playing time and being challenged. Before committing, ask the coaching staff what kind of playing time your child can expect — including at what position. If there are two returning shortstops, he or she most likely won’t be playing there and might have to learn another position. That’s not a bad thing: college coaches want players that are versatile, and many players change positions as they get older and their bodies develop.
Skill Level: Be realistic about your child’s skill level, and pay attention to the level of competition around him or her at tryouts (i.e., the skill levels of the other players). If your kid has the fight and desire to compete for a spot (like they’ll have to do if they make it to college ball), then putting them on a team where they’ll be challenged is the best option. But if he or she is there to have fun and make friends, with no burning desire to be constantly improving, then choosing a travel team that’s more low-key will be the better call.
What You’re Giving Up: Travel baseball tournaments are on weekends, and players often have to sacrifice certain things that are part of a normal childhood. Is your son or daughter willing to miss out on things like birthdays, sleepovers and school dances, because most of their time is spent doing homework, traveling to and from games and practices, practicing on their own (possibly including private lessons), and spending nearly every summer weekend at the ballpark?
For some, their love of the game is so great that giving up these things is a no-brainer. For others, they may regret missing out on these social activities. And that’s perfectly fine! Just be honest with each other and talk about the true costs of travel baseball — because it’s not just the sticker price.
Travel Baseball Pros and Cons
There are positives and negatives when it comes to travel baseball. Here are a few of each.
Better competition: Players are more serious about the game and more driven to improve. This higher level of competition will help push your son or daughter to improve their own skills.
Better coaching: Travel baseball coaches tend to be better qualified, more knowledgeable, and better-connected. At the highest levels of travel ball, teams often employ former professional coaches.
More exposure: Aside from high school baseball, travel ball is the primary means of exposure to college coaches and pro scouts. Plus, travel teams often attend showcase tournaments and camps.
More games played: Travel teams play significantly more games per year than rec ball teams.
Facilitates travel: Sometimes seen as an ancillary benefit, the travel itself can be a valuable and eye-opening experience for players. Many kids don’t have an opportunity to travel out of their own area or state, and travel baseball can provide that.
Encourages character development: Because travel teams are more serious, there’s a greater emphasis put on things like being on time, demonstrating maximum effort, and having a good attitude.
Cost: Travel baseball is expensive — sometimes absurdly so. Families often spend around $2,500 per year, but the costs can be even higher.
Time commitment: Even a moderately competitive travel team can consume an entire summer’s worth of weekends.
Ultra-competitive: On most travel teams, there’s a balance between player development and winning. What you won’t often find is an “everybody plays” approach. For the most part, the best players will play the most, which makes for a highly-competitive environment.
Tougher workouts: This can be a pro or a con, depending on the player’s perspective and goals. Tougher workouts can lead to better outcomes, but they can also be mentally and physically taxing if the player isn’t fully invested.
Lack of diversity: Because travel baseball is expensive, it has often been criticized for a lack of socioeconomic and racial diversity.
Remember, this is your child’s choice to. Help them see the pros and cons of each option. And although we stated it earlier, we cannot stress this enough: you cannot dictate your son or daughter’s commitment to the game of baseball. It’s up to them. So, support them in whatever capacity they want to participate. If you do, they’ll never regret or forget the amazing experiences, friends, and lessons learned playing this great game. Read more
Tippy Martinez, retired MLB pitcher showed up after the Championship game for a “photo op”. He was a major weapon in the 1983 Baltimore Orioles World Series Championship over the Phillies. Read more
Notice the diversity of kids. This was another banner year because Emmanuel who batted in the 4-hole struggled all season. However, he came alive when it counted. He hit 2 bombs completely out of the ballpark (over 300 feet as an 11 year old). They are still the longest balls ever hit on Memorial Field.
The Panthers are looking for rising stars to join our 14U travel baseball team this coming season. Players must NOT turn 15 before May 1, 2021.
Saturday, September 5, 2020 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM Fullerton Park
4400 Fullerton Avenue, 21236
Those interested in a private/Covid-safe tryout need to register online and send an email to email@example.com.
About Our Program:
FUNDAMENTALS! As Head Coach, I could not say enough about the mistakes many, many young players, parents and coaches make when it comes to teaching kids the basic ingredients of baseball. “Repetition is the MOTHER of SKILL”. Cal Ripken says, “Practice does not make perfect. Rather Perfect Practice does”.
It doesn’t matter if you are 8 years old or 18 years old, the key ingredient is: Development, Playing Time and being around a Competitive Environment. My Top 3 Goals at every practice and every game is to have FUN, do your BEST and always behave in a way that exemplifies good SPORTSMANSHIP.
Coach Brooks played little league travel baseball since he could walk and won the 18U Maryland State Championship, was a former high school athlete with over 8 varsity letters and even played competitive baseball on some semi-pro teams. He has been coaching for over 10 years and has experience coaching on several high schools in the Baltimore area.
Scott Massengill, Assistant Coach also has enormous sports background and great attitude about the game. He has coached for over 5 years and loves seeing players develop!
We will compete in the M.A.B.A. as well as Regional Tournaments in the Fall, Spring and Summer. Approximate cost will be $500 per player (subject to change depending on sponsorships and fundraising). We have a variety of training opportunities offered throughout the off season and in season such as position specific development clinics, indoor facilities @ Extra Innings and NCAA college player instruction.
sponsored by Roland Park Baseball Leagues (RPBL) will be a series of four WORKSHOPS at local indoor facilities convenient to Roland Park. These events are designed to address all five of our little league age groups teaching various SKILLS including hitting, base running, infield, outfield, pitching and catching as well as, organizing an effective practice.
Beginner – targeting T-Ball and International League Teams (ages 5-8) Intermediate – targeting National and American League In-house Teams (ages 9-11) Advanced – targeting Teen League and Travel Teams (ages 9-15)
Date: Saturday, February 17 Times: (each workshop is approx. 90 minutes each)
9:00 AM – Beginner
10:30 AM – Intermediate
12:30 PM – Advanced
Location: S3 Training Center Address: 1412 Shoemaker Road Balt., MD 21209 Guest Speakers: Impact Sports founder Brett Linnenkohl and Coach Dave Meile;
Bill Greenwell, Boys Latin Coach; Brooks Kerr, Calvert Hall Coach and Joe Palumbo, Archbishop Spalding Coach
Date: Sunday, February 25 | Time: 12:00 – 3:00 PM Location: Gilman (middle school gym) | Address: 5407 Roland Avenue Guest Speakers: Larry Sheets and Russell Wrenn, Gilman Coaches
Date: Sunday, March 4 | Time: 12:00 – 3:00 PM Location: Boys Latin (middle school gym) | Address: 822 W Lake Avenue Guest Speaker: Bill Greenwell, Boys Latin Coach
Date: Sunday, March 11 | Time: 2:30 – 4:30 PM Location: Friends (wrestling room / gym) | Address: 5114 N. Charles Street Guest Speakers: Impact Sports founder Brett Linnenkohl and Coach Dave Meile
Bios of our Trainers
(and a few Cameo Appearances)
Brooks Kerr Calvert Hall Varsity Coach
A 1987 Calvert Hall graduate, played varsity baseball as well as basketball and football during his years at Calvert Hall. After graduating from The Hall, Coach Kerr attended Frostburg State University and was a 4-four year baseball letterman and captain his senior year. He is among Frostburg State’s leaders in on-base-percentage, stolen bases and fielding percentage.Coach Kerr joined the Calvert Hall coaching staff in 1992 as the first Freshmen Baseball team Head Coach. He then became the Head Coach on the Junior Varsity in 1993 and won 5 MIAA championships from 1993 to 2000. Coach Kerr became the assistant varsity coach in 2002 and currently is a Guidance Counselor at The Hall. Frostburg State Univeristy – B.S.
Joe Palumbo Archbishop Spalding Varsity Coach
As a high school player, Joe Palumbo provided the spark that drove DeMatha to three straight WCAC baseball championships. When Archbishop Spalding named him as his father’s replacement as head coach on June 19, it was Palumbo’s competitive fire and winning ways that once again set him apart.At DeMatha, Joe was always a coach on the field, says DeMatha Head Coach Sean O’Connor. He was a great two-sport athlete. I am really happy for him and I think he will do a great job at Spalding.In 2004, the All-County shortstop was the Stags’ co-captain and co-MVP on the baseball diamond as well as the valedictorian of his senior class. Palumbo’s efforts earned him a scholarship to the University of Maryland where he went on to play. At Maryland, Palumbo earned All-Academic ACC honors and was known by his coaches for his leadership abilities and clutch hitting.
As an alumnus of Spalding and being Joe’s brother I’m excited, said Dan Palumbo, head coach of the 14U Chesapeake Baseball Association champion Southern Maryland Red River Dogs. Spalding baseball is in good hands. As far as a transition is concerned, Joe will carry on many of my dad’s traditions at Spalding and the players will benefit greatly from that.Continuity in the hand-off between father and son will be a key element in the Cavaliers’ continued success. After winning the MIAA A championship in 2011 and coming close in 2012, Jeff Palumbo, Joe’s father, stepped down from his position at Spalding this spring and accepted the job of president and principal of Pallotti High School in Laurel.Joseph will be great for the players at Archbishop Spalding, says Jeff Palumbo. He is intensely competitive with a great knowledge of the game. He understands what it takes, on and off the field, to compete at the highest levels of high school and college baseball.
In college, Joe Palumbo faced some of the ACC’s best talent, including future big-leaguers Matt Wieters, Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun and Buster Posey, but big challenges have never daunted the 26-year-old Bowie native. When it comes to baseball I’m very similar to my father, says Joe Palumbo. We’ll play aggressive baseball at Spalding. We’ll take some chances on the base paths. We’re going to create runs any way possible. At the plate we’re going to be a team of tough outs. We’ll play with passion and it will be my job to put my players in a good position to succeed and win games. Read more
Larry Sheets Gilman Varsity Coach
Born December 6, 1959 in Staunton, Virginia, and is a former Major League Baseball outfielder and designated hitter who played for the Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers, and Seattle Mariners from 1984 to 1990 and 1993. He also played one season in Japan for the Yokohama Taiyo Whales in 1992.Sheets attended Eastern Mennonite University, where he played basketball. He was named to the Old Dominion Athletic Conference’s all-conference second team in 1980 and to the first team in 1982. He graduated from Eastern Mennonite in 1984. He was named to Eastern Mennonite’s athletic hall of fame in 1988. Sheets currently operates a youth sports facility in Westminster, Maryland, and serves as Gilman School’s head Varsity Baseball coach.He has a son named Gavin in the Chicago White Sox organization. Read more | Stats
Russell Wrenn Gilman Varsity Coach
Coach Wrenn was a three-sport athlete at Gilman. His senior year, he played on the 1996 A Conference championship baseball team; Gilman’s first A conference championship in baseball. Wrenn went on to play baseball and football at Washington & Lee. Wrenn’s college coaching career started in 2000, when he coached football and baseball at Dickinson College. Wrenn next moved to Johns Hopkins, where he worked for legendary baseball coach Bob Babb for two seasons, before returning to Dickinson as the head baseball coach from 2003-2006. As the youngest full-time college baseball coach in the country, Wrenn led Dickinson to their first (and only) conference playoff appearance in his first season. The program established eight school records during Wrenn’s tenure.
Wrenn spent a decade coaching at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta before returning to his alma mater Gilman in 2016. Wrenn’s Westminster baseball teams experienced unparalleled success, culminating in the school’s first baseball state championship in forty-one years in 2016. Wrenn’s Westminster teams won two region titles and advanced to the state semifinals or finals four consecutive seasons – no other school in the state of Georgia accomplished this level of sustained success from 2013-2016. Wrenn was named the state coach of the year in 2013 and 2016, Atlanta Braves Metro Coach of the Year in 2016, and the America Baseball Coaches Association’ Regional High School Coach of the Year in 2016. Wrenn helped mentor Westminster baseball players who went on to play for LSU, Georgia Tech, Duke, Missouri, Notre Dame, Harvard, Wofford, Butler, Mercer, Richmond, W&L, and the 2016 1st-round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians. Russell is married to Erin Wrenn, a lawyer in the state Attorney General’s office, and they have three children, Ronan (8), Cormac (6), and Cavan (4). Gilman News | Read more
Bill Greenwell Boys Latin School of MD Varsity Head Coach
MIAA B Conference (Champions 2017 and 2016)
1992-2012 Grand Slam USA Owner and director of instruction
1999-2001 Seattle Mariners Associate Scout
2001-2003 Park School Varsity Head Baseball Coach
2004 Harford Community College Assistant Baseball Coach and Recruiting Coordinator
2008-2013 Diamond Pros and Fowble Foundation Head Coach
2011-Present Boys’Latin Head Baseball Coach
Brett Linnenkohl Founder of Impact Sports Baseball
Former Friends School Varsity Baseball Head Coach (MIAA B Conference). Impact founder Brett Linnenkohl always had passion and talent for sports. His dedication took him from little league all-star teams to all-state awards in high school, successes which made him the envy of top Division-1 programs like University of Washington, Oregon State, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Dartmouth, NC State, and Washington State University.In 2004, Brett was a projected 7th round draft pick by MLB.com, but decided to attend Wake Forest University and become a Demon Deacon. Between seasons at Wake, Brett played on college summer circuit, including the notable Alaska and Cape Cod Leagues. An unfortunate injury in 2008 extinguished Brett’s playing career, but sparked a fire for coaching that still burns today. Impact Baseball | Baltimore Sun | College Baseball
Dave Meile Impact Baseball Instructor
Coach Dave played at Shepherd University on scholarship, playing infield and providing the power in the middle of the lineup. Dave continued his career as a coach a Frostburg State University, assisting the team to their first CAC championship. He has worked with numerous kids in surrounding leagues through Impact and has earned the reputation as one of top youth development coaches in the area. Coach Dave is an expert not only in the game of baseball, but a true expert in inspiring athletes to give their all in every workout, while making it fun and enjoyable. Read more
Mike Gottlieb Former Towson University Coach
Mike Gottlieb has been associated with the Towson baseball program for nearly four decades. Gottlieb came to Towson as a player, before joining Bill Hunter’s staff as an assistant coach. He took over as the Tigers head coach prior to the 1988 season. Since taking over, Gottlieb has led Towson to 713 victories, three conference tournament championships and three trips to the NCAA Tournament.Gottlieb made an immediate impact in his first season as head coach, leading the Tigers to their first appearrance in the NCAA Tournament. He guided Towson to a 30-17-1 record, including capturing the East Coast Conference regular season championship with a 12-2 record.
Junior Brady Policelli led the CAA with a .375 average on his way to earning First-Team All-CAA honors. Policelli would be drafted in the 13th round of the Detroit Tigers. Under his guidance, Gottlieb has had 16 players selected in the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft, while a handful of other players have signed professional contracts. Left-hander pitcher Chris Nabholz became the first Towson player under Gottlieb to make it to the majors. Nabholz made his major league debut for the Montreal Expos on June 11, 1990, after being selected by the Expos in the second round of the 1988 draft. Nabholz is still the highest drafted player in Towson history.
Casper Wells became the second player from the Gottlieb era to make it to the majors when he made his debut with the Detroit Tigers on May 15, 2010. Wells was selected by the Tigers in the 14th round of the 2005 draft. Gottlieb is also responsible for recruiting and coaching all eight All-Americans and all three Freshman All-Americans in school history. He has also coached seven Academic All-Americans and 18 Academic All-District honorees. Read more
Rob Slade Strength & Conditioning Trainer
As owner and developer of the Sport-Speed-Strength Training Program, Rob Slade is the true keystone of S3 Training Center. As a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (C.S.C.S) NSCA, Rob has been training sports teams and individual athletes as well as Police and Firemen since 1981. Rob was awarded the Division 1 Collegiate Conference Strength Coach of the Year (Two times) NSCA. Rob’s past training experience also includes being the former strength and conditioning coach as well as the Assistant Track Coach for UMBC. He also was the former Strength Coach for the USA Sailing and Chessie Racing Teams. Rob has personally trained and provided fitness training for several Police and Fire Departments including Howard County, Maryland State Police and Baltimore County. He is a graduate of Towson State University and is from the Baltimore area. Rob is the physical education instructor for several schools in the area. Finally he holds several patents for the design of exercise equipment used in training. Facebook
Joe Orsulak Private Instructor
Joe’s career spanned 1983 to 1997, with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, New York Mets, Florida Marlins, and Montreal Expos. Orsulak, who threw and batted left-handed, played mostly in the outfield, although he played some games at first base. On the basepaths, he had better than average speed, until a 1987 knee injury slowed him down. His strong arm helped him lead the league, in 1991, in outfield assists. In 1992 he made the first out at the Orioles’ new Camden Yards ballpark, going on to lead the team that year in batting average. Despite his relatively long career (with five major league clubs), he never played in the post-season in the Majors. Wikipedia / NY Times / Baseball Warehouse
Sam Snider Private Instructor
Sam was with the Baltimore Orioles from 1980-2007 serving as the batting practice pitcher, bullpen catcher and bullpen coach. Sam was hired full time with the Orioles by Cal Ripken Sr. in 1987. In his time with the Orioles he threw batting practice to Hall of Famers Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr. and warmed up greats such as Jim Palmer, Scott McGregor and Mike Mussina in the bullpen. After the Orioles, Sam went on to coach in the Atlantic League alongside Orioles Hall of Famers Chris Hoiles and Tippy Martinez for the York Revolution. He briefly managed the team in 2009. Sam has 30 years of professional baseball experience and is a wealth of knowledge in all areas of the game. Facebook
I would like to thank Kurt Overton, Bill Greenwell, Rob Slade, Andrew Wolfe, Chris McCullough, Tim Holley and all the Athletic Directors for making this happen and letting us use their indoor facility!
Also, special thanks to ALL the Trainers, including Brett Linnenkohl for providing solid support to RPBL for many years and making a big impact on the development of some outstanding baseball players.
These events are a direct response to some of the feedback from our parents during the 2017 Spring In-house season. We heard your voice and want to make RPBL better. Instructors will include the very best in the business – high school, college and MLB professionals. Also, be sure to check-out some of the “Ripken Way“ online videos and RPBL Coaches’ page. +
What is the difference between a promoter and a hustler?” Bill Veeck asks. “Well, let’s look at it this way. Neither one of them is an advertiser. An advertiser pays for his space. A promoter works out a quid pro quo . A hustler gets a free ride and makes it seem as if he’s doing you a favor.”
William Louis Veeck Jr.
(February 9, 1914 – January 2, 1986), also known as “Sport Shirt”, was an American Major League Baseball franchise owner and promoter.
After marrying Mary Frances Ackerman, Veeck bought an 80% stake in the St. Louis Browns in 1951. Hoping to force the NL’s St. Louis Cardinals out of town, Veeck hired Cardinal greats Rogers Hornsby and Marty Marion as managers, and Dizzy Dean as an announcer; and he decorated their shared home park, Sportsman’s Park, exclusively with Browns memorabilia. Ironically the Cardinals had been the Browns’ tenants since 1920, even though they had long since passed the Browns as St. Louis’ favorite team. Nonetheless, Veeck made a concerted effort to drive the Cardinals out of town.
Some of Veeck’s most memorable publicity stunts occurred during his tenure with the Browns, including the appearance on August 19, 1951, by Eddie Gaedel, who stood 3 feet 7 inches tall and is the shortest person to appear in a Major League Baseball game. Veeck sent Gaedel to pinch hit in the bottom of the first of the game. Wearing elf like shoes and “1/8” as his uniform number, Gaedel was walked on four straight pitches and then was pulled for a pinch runner.
He was the man who brought a midget to home plate and explosives to the outfield of Comiskey Park. But beyond the flash, legendary owner Bill Veeck’s open-minded approach brought positive changes to the game of baseball.
On Aug. 19, 1951, a 3 foot 7 inch man named Eddie Gaedel walked to the plate as a pinch hitter for the Browns. Wearing the uniform number “1/8,” Gaedel used his miniscule strike zone to draw a walk on four pitches. He was promptly replaced for a pinch runner at first base, completing his day as the shortest man to ever play in the major leagues.
Veeck was just four years old when his father, sportswriter William Veeck, Sr., was named president of the Chicago Cubs. As a teenager, the younger Veeck learned about team management while he worked multiple jobs as a vendor, ticket salesman and junior groundskeeper.
In 1941, Veeck partnered with former Cubs star Charlie Grimm to buy the Triple-A Milwaukee Brewers. Arriving in Milwaukee with just 11 dollars in his pocket, Veeck put his creative mind to work. He gave away live animals during Brewers games, scheduled morning games for night-shift workers and staged weddings at home plate. Five years and three American Association pennants later, Veeck sold the Brewers for a $275,000 profit.
After a stint in World War II, during which he lost his right leg, Veeck sought a path into the major leagues. Devising a debenture-stock group that enabled financial backers to put the majority of their money into loans for the team, Veeck was able to become a minority owner of the Cleveland Indians for only $268,000 in 1946. Read more
After the 1952 season, Veeck suggested that the American League clubs share radio and television revenue with visiting clubs. Outvoted, he refused to allow the Browns’ opponents to broadcast games played against his team on the road. The league responded by eliminating the lucrative Friday night games in St. Louis. A year later, Cardinals owner Fred Saigh was convicted of tax evasion. Facing certain banishment from baseball, he was forced to put the Cardinals up for sale. Most of the bids came from out-of-town interests, and it appeared that Veeck would succeed in driving the Cardinals out of town. However, just as Saigh was about to sell the Cardinals to interests who would have moved them to Houston, Texas, he instead accepted a much lower bid from St. Louis-based brewing giant Anheuser-Busch, who entered the picture with the specific intent of keeping the Cardinals in town. Veeck quickly realized that the Cardinals now had more resources than he could even begin to match, especially since he had no other source of income. Reluctantly, he decided to leave St. Louis and find another place to play. As a preliminary step, he sold Sportsman’s Park to the Cardinals.
At first Veeck considered moving the Browns back to Milwaukee (where they had played their inaugural season in 1901). Milwaukee used recently-built Milwaukee County Stadium in an attempt to entice the Browns. However, the decision was in the hands of the Boston Braves, the parent team of the Brewers. Under major league rules of the time, the Braves held the major league rights to Milwaukee. The Braves wanted another team with the same talent if the Brewers were shut down, and an agreement was not made in time for opening day. Ironically, a few weeks later, the Braves themselves moved to Milwaukee. St. Louis was known to want the team to stay, so some in St. Louis campaigned for the removal of Veeck.
He got in touch with a group that was looking to bring a Major League franchise to Baltimore, Maryland. After the 1953 season, Veeck agreed in principle to sell half his stock to Baltimore attorney Clarence Miles, the leader of the Baltimore group, and his other partners. He would have remained the principal owner, with approximately a 40% interest. Even though league president Will Harridge told him approval was certain, only four owners—two short of the necessary six for passage—supported it. Realizing the other owners simply wanted him out of the picture (indeed, he was facing threats of having his franchise canceled), Veeck agreed to sell his entire stake to Miles’ group, who then moved the Browns to Baltimore, where they were renamed as the Orioles, which has been their name ever since. Read more
Edward Carl Gaedel (June 8, 1925 – June 18, 1961) was an American with dwarfism who became famous for participating in a Major League Baseball game.
Gaedel (some sources say the family name may actually have been Gaedele, which is the name seen on his gravestone) gained recognition in the second game of a St. Louis Brownsdoubleheader on August 19, 1951.Weighing 65 pounds (29 kg) and standing 3 feet 7 inches (1.09 m) tall, he became the shortest player in the history of the Major Leagues. Gaedel made a single plate appearance and was walked with four consecutive balls before being replaced by a pinch-runnerat first base. His jersey, bearing the uniform number “1⁄8”, is displayed in the St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck, in his 1962 autobiography Veeck – As in Wreck, said of Gaedel, “He was, by golly, the best darn midget who ever played big-league ball. He was also the only one.”
Due to his size, Gaedel had worked as a riveter during World War II, and was able to crawl inside the wings of airplanes. He was a professional performer, belonging to the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA). After the war, Gaedel was hired in 1946 by Mercury Records as a mascot to portray the “Mercury Man.” He sported a winged hat similar to the record label’s logo, to promote Mercury recordings. Some early Mercury recordings featured a caricature of him as its logo.
Browns’ owner Bill Veeck, a showman who enjoyed staging publicity stunts, found Gaedel through a booking agency. Secretly signed by the Browns, he was added to the team roster and put in uniform (with the number “1/8” on the back). The uniform was that of current St. Louis Cardinals managing partner and chairman William DeWitt, Jr. who was a 9-year-old batboy for the Browns at the time.
Gaedel came out of a papier-machecake between games of a doubleheader at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis to celebrate the American League’s 50th anniversary. The stunt was also billed as a Falstaff Brewerypromotion. Falstaff, and the fans, had been promised a “festival of surprises” by Veeck. Before the second game got underway, the press agreed that the “midget-in-a-cake” appearance had not been up to Veeck’s usual promotional standard. Falstaff personnel, who had been promised national publicity for their participation, were particularly dissatisfied. Keeping the surprise he had in store for the second game to himself, Veeck just meekly apologized.
Although Veeck denied the stunt was directly inspired by it, the appearance of Gaedel was unmistakably similar to the plot of “You Could Look It Up,” a 1941 short story by James Thurber. Veeck later insisted he got the idea from listening to the conversations of Giants manager John McGraw decades earlier when Veeck was a child.
At the plate
Gaedel entered the second half of the doubleheader between the Browns and Detroit Tigers in the bottom of the first inning as a pinch-hitter for leadoffbatter Frank Saucier. Immediately, umpire Ed Hurley called for Browns manager Zack Taylor. Veeck and Taylor had the foresight to have a copy of Gaedel’s contract on hand, as well as a copy of the Browns’ active roster, which had room for Gaedel’s addition.
The contract had been filed late in the day on Friday, August 17. Veeck knew the league office would summarily approve the contract upon receipt, and that it would not be scrutinized until Monday, August 20. Upon reading the contract, Hurley motioned for Gaedel to take his place in the batter’s box. (As a result of Gaedel’s appearance, all contracts must now be approved by the Commissioner of Baseball before a player can appear in a game.) The change to that day’s St. Louis Browns scorecard, listing Gaedel and his uniform number, had gone unnoticed by everyone except Harry Mitauer, a writer for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.The Browns’ publicity man shunted Mitauer’s inquiry aside.
Gaedel was under strict orders not to attempt to move the bat off his shoulder. When Veeck got the impression that Gaedel might be tempted to swing at a pitch, the owner warned Gaedel that he had taken out a $1 million insurance policy on his life, and that he would be standing on the roof of the stadium with a rifle prepared to kill Gaedel if he even looked like he was going to swing. Veeck had carefully trained Gaedel to assume a tight crouch at the plate; he had measured Gaedel’s strike zone in that stance and claimed it was just one and a half inches high. However, when Gaedel came to the plate, he abandoned the crouch he had been taught for a pose that Veeck described as “a fair approximation of Joe DiMaggio’s classic style,” leading Veeck to fear he was going to swing. (In the Thurber story, the player with dwarfism cannot resist swinging at a 3-0 pitch, grounds out, and the team loses the game.)
With Bob Cain on the mound—laughing at the absurdity that he actually had to pitch to Gaedel—and catcher Bob Swift catching on his knees, Gaedel took his stance. The Tigers catcher offered his pitcher a piece of strategy: “Keep it low.” Cain delivered four consecutive balls, all high (the first two pitches were legitimate attempts at strikes; the last two were half-speed tosses). Gaedel took his base (stopping twice during his trot to bow to the crowd) and was replaced by pinch-runner Jim Delsing. The 18,369 fans gave Gaedel a standing ovation.
Veeck had hoped that Delsing would go on to score in a one-run Browns victory, but he ended up stranded at third base and the Tigers went on to win the game 6–2. American League president Will Harridge, saying Veeck was making a mockery of the game, voided Gaedel’s contract the next day. In response, Veeck threatened to request an official ruling on whether Yankees shortstop and reigning American League MVP Phil Rizzuto, who stood 5’6″, was a short ballplayer or a tall dwarf.
Initially, Major League Baseball struck Gaedel from its record book, as if he had not been in the game. He was relisted a year later, as a right-handed batter and left-handed thrower (although he did not play the field).Eddie Gaedel finished his major league career with an on-base percentage of 1.000. His total earnings as a pro athlete were $100, the scale price for an AGVA appearance. However, he was able to parlay his baseball fame into more than $17,000 by appearing on several television shows.
On Saturday night in Houston, the Astros defeated the Yankees by a score of 4-0 (box score) in Game 7 of the ALCS. The Astros will now advance to take on the Dodgers in the World Series, which begins Tuesday in Los Angeles.
As for Game 7, Houston starter Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers pitching in relief combined for the three-hit shutout. For the Astros, Evan Gattis and Jose Altuve homered, and Alex Bregman shined on defense. On the other side, CC Sabathia allowed only one run despite putting eight men on base in 3 1/3 innings. However, Tommy Kahnle, who had been perfect in the 2017 postseason, gave up three runs in 1 1/3 innings. On offense, the Yankees as a team went 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position.
Here are 14 more things to know about Game 7.
Morton was nails
What an effort from Charlie Morton in the biggest game of his life. He coughed up seven runs in 3 2/3 innings in his previous ALCS start, but this time around, he threw the ball very well.
Morton was efficient, needing only 54 pitches to get through five innings, 37 of those pitches going for strikes. He had the stuff, sitting mid-90s with the fastball and masterfully weaving in the ol’ 12-to-6 curveball. He allowed just two hits while striking out five and walking one.
The Astros were likely prepared for anything when it came to the pitching plan in this one. Among the most unlikely outcomes heading in, at least for outside observers, was Morton dealing for five scoreless.
It was only five innings — by design — but Morton deserves heaps of praise in this one. He stifled a very good offense.
Home field rules
We just witnessed a seven-game series in which the home team won every game. It feels like this happens often in the NBA, but in MLB it’s not commonplace. In fact, there have only been four postseason series where the home team won every single game (via Dan Hirsch):
1987 World Series – Twins over Cardinals
1991 World Series – Twins over Braves
2001 World Series – Diamondbacks over Yankees
2004 NLCS – Cardinals over Astros
Jose Altuve has led the American League in hits each of the last four seasons, his total adding up to 845. It’s likely none of them evoked the kind of animated display the Houston Astros second baseman let loose after his fifth-inning single Friday.
Jose Altuve was the Astros’ emotional leader in Game 6, firing up the team with a pair of huge key hits.
His fellow Astros hitters were nearly as pumped.
For five-plus games, the most prolific offense in the majors had been bottled up in the AL Championship Series, held to a mere nine runs and a .147 batting average by the New York Yankees pitching staff.
Friday’s do-or-die Game 6 was looking much the same until Brian McCann broke through with a fifth-inning double for the night’s first run, after Houston had gone 4-for-27 in its previous chances with runners in scoring position in the series.
But it wasn’t until Altuve followed three batters later with his two-RBI hit that Minute Maid Park truly exploded, as the sellout crowd of 43,179 sensed a decisive Game 7 would be in the offing.
GAME 6: Verlander dominates again as Astros force decisive Game 7
Wow, it’s hard to believe the season is almost over! 2017 has been an exciting pennant race with the Boston Red Sox going out early and my local favorite – Washington Nationals losing again.
It just seems like Dusty Baker chokes when it counts. They say that baseball is a game of inches. Well, their lost to last year’s World Series Champions – Chicago Cubs was very disappointing given the fact that they had an incredible regular season.
What has been very frustrating this year is the fact that the Baltimore Orioles started off the season with one of the best winning records. However, by late April / early May they fell apart and never saw first place again. The O’s finished in last place.
So, now I’ve switched to the Houston Astros, which I predict are going to beat the Yankees and play the Dodgers in the World Series.
5 Ways To Help Your Infield Skin Rebound From Rain Quickly
(following excerpts are from original material at Ballfields.com)
While the western quarter of the US is battling a daunting drought, the central portion of the US has been dealing with lots of rain over the past couple of months. Think about it. In a three week span, the entire state of Texas went from a major 4-year drought to being totally drought free. It takes a lot of rain to knock out four years of drought in just three weeks. With all that rain, surely there are many who are having issues with trying to get their fields ready after a rain. Let’s take a look at what you can do to help your fields recoup from a rain event as quickly as possible.
Keep Your Infield Properly Graded First and foremost, make sure that your infield is properly graded to promote positive surface drainage. Ideally, the infield should be graded so that the area around the base of the pitcher’s mound is the highest point on the infield with the surface grade then sloping away from the mound in all directions. However, depending on the lay of the land that the field was built on, the other way of grading an infield would be to “sheet drain” it. This means the entire infield is tilted in one direction; for example, the infield may tilt from the first base foul line towards left field. In either instance, both of these surface grades are only efficient at draining the water off it if the surface is smooth and consistent. In other words, there are no high spots or low spots to impede or deflect the drainage. Proper nail and float dragging are crucial maintenance practices that, when done correctly, will keep your skin surface in smooth and consistent surface draining condition.
Maintain Your Turf Edges Maintaining your turf edges to prevent lip buildup will allow the water to easily pass over from infield skin to turf area without any issues. When infield soil and infield topdressing buildup in the edges of the grass, that ridge or “lip” impedes the water from freely moving off the field. The more severe the lip, the more water it will hold back onto the infield skin. Properly maintain those lips to keep them from slowing your field from recuperating.
Choose Appropriate Infield Soil Material
The right ￼infield soil material has a huge impact on speed of reentry onto an infield after a rain. Infield soils that are either high in silt or high in fine and very fine sand drastically effect how quickly the field is playable again after a rain. Even worse is when you have both problems! High silt and high fine sand content infield soils can take a day or multiple days to recuperate. Have your infield soil tested to check to see how your soil material lines up with the acceptable specifications. Strive for a balanced infield soil with the right amounts of medium to coarse sand and the proper ratio of silt to clay. It’ll make all the difference in the world as to how easy it will be getting the infield back into playing condition.
Use an Infield Top Dressing
Use a topdressing on your infield skin surface. An infield topdressing is a ¼” to ½” layer at the infield skin surface of a granular material that will not stick to a players cleat, even when wet. These materials, usually made of calcined clay, vitrified clay, expanded shale, crushed aggregate or crushed brick, tend to dry more quickly on the surface then if you just had the bare soil exposed. The topdressing will dry on the surface while your infield soil underneath is still moist, but the topdressing allows you still to reenter the field. It acts much like a mulch in a landscape bed and provides many benefits in the performance of the infield.
Drag the Field Before Rain Storms
When you know a rain is coming, keep the field dragged smooth if at all possible. The water will flow more easily and rapidly off the infield if it is smooth and not pock marked with cleat marks and divots. Additionally, keep the field TIGHT! A tight field absorbs less water than one that has been deeply nail dragged, which will create pore space for water to fill and slow the drying process down considerably after the rain event.
How it rains also can have an impact in how fast your field will recuperate and come back up online for play. A long, slow light to moderate rain of a couple hours or more is very penetrating and will be deeply absorbed by your infield soil. This type of a rain usually requires longer for the field to dry from. Compare that to a heavy rain lasting 15 to 30 minutes, or even an hour. This kind of rainfall, while possibly dumping many times the amount of water than a slow rainfall did, is a violent rainfall to the soil.
A former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, Paul graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1984 with a Bachelor’s in Soil Science with a specialty in Turf & Grounds Management. Paul took over as head groundskeeper for the Orioles’ final season at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and then was heavily involved throughout the design and construction phases of Oriole Park at Camden Yards which debuted on April 4, 1992. Read more
Game seven is the final game of a best of seven series. This game can occur in the postseasons for Major League Baseball (League Championship Series and World Series), the National Basketball Association (all rounds of the NBA playoffs), and the National Hockey League (all rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs). Read more
Last year, the Blaze finished the regular season in last place (0-14). There is something to be said for coming back from a large deficit. But what about turning around your entire life? Take Rollie Hemsley for example. Nevertheless, we finished the 2016 season with 9 wins, 2 loses and 2 ties which was good enough for the #3 seed going into the Playoffs.
What is particularly interesting is the fact that our team really came on strong after May 16 disappointing loss to the Bears. We fault hard against the Royals a few days later and tied. But, best of all, going into the playoffs we had a 4 game winning streak.
“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”-Vince Lombardi
Final Four: Game Summary
Blaze took an early lead 3-1 after the 1st inning.
However, we gave up 7 runs in the 2nd inning and 4 runs in the 3rd inning.
At the end of three, we were losing 12-4 (down 8 runs).
Next thing you know, the Blaze came alive in the bottom of the 4th inning with 9 runs batted in during a 2 out rally.
In particular, Amelia smashed a 3 RBI homerun out of the park, followed by another 2 RBI homerun by Blake. This was enough to regain the lead.
Blake had 3 Ks in the top of the 5th inning and Henry struck out the final batter to get the save in the top of the 6th inning.
Blaze win 13-12. On to the World Series Championships!
Arguably, the most thrilling game of the century. At least the ONLY one that I was ever involved with that had such an amazing come from behind victory.
As a matter of fact, my very first Blog was about Victory and Defeat which I published back on April 17, 2016. Having attended Boys Latin High School, our slogan was Esse Quam Videri. Later in life, my favorite Latin expression became Carpe Diem after watching the movie “Dead Poet Society”.
Robin Williams, was another hero of mind. In this scene above, he concludes by saying,
“Thank you boys”
Keep in mind, we were one of the few teams with a girl. And to make it more interesting, she won the MVP twice during the regular season.
So, when I sat down to write this blog, I struggled for the best title. I love the expression, “Every game is game seven” because it remind me of the famous “One Day at a Time” proverb. But then I thought about the Roland Park Baseball League Mission “Little League, BIG FUN! The purpose of Roland Park Baseball is to instill sportsmanship and to provide a nurturing environment, which will allow the children to mature physically, mentally, and emotionally. Further, the league strives to work with parents to develop realistic expectations of their children.”
I love U2
I continued to wrestle for a title and thought about naming it “Never forget!” If this game doesn’t build a child’s memory, I don’t know what does. In fact, I believe that everyone that was at that game witnessed a miracle. Speaking of miracles, listen to the following song…
Have you ever looked up the lyrics of a song? I love U2. They are by far, my favorite band for a lot of reasons. Mostly because of the spiritual words in their songs.
“As long as I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”
John 9:5 (fast forward 4 minutes and 15 seconds)
When my wife and I dated for about 10 years, she always used to say, “I love you”. I was not ready to commit and often jokingly said, “I love U2”!
Getting back to the game, rather than clutter this blog with a bunch of images, I’ll let readers browse “Final Four” photos on their own by Clicking Here. These are some amazing candid shots by one of our parents.
Another title for this blog indicative of the drama we went through is “And now the end is near. And so I face the final curtain.” When we started the top of the 4th inning, I started to prepare our Coaches game summary “Defeat speech”. I told the team afterwards that I honestly thought there was no way we could come back and they all booed and hissed me, and even started throwing grass at me.
See if you can get some hidden messages in this classic…
Another possible title is “Repetition is the mother of skill.” I am a firm believer that if you practice fielding ground balls and swinging a bat, eventually you’ll become a master. Obviously, I love quotations and started compiling a list of my favorites about 20 years ago (Click Here).
“You can spend all your love making time”
I was listening to this song immediately following our “emotional roller-coaster”. Do you notice the resemblance? Here are the lyrics:
“All alone at the end of the evening
And the bright lights have faded to blue.
I was thinking ’bout a woman who might have loved me
I never knew.
You know I’ve always been a dreamer
Spent my life runnin’ ’round
And it’s so hard to change
Can’t seem to settle down
But the dreams I’ve seen lately keep on turning out
And burning out and turning out the same.
So put me on a highway and show me a sign
And take it to the limit one more time.
You can spend all your time making money, You can spend all your love making time…
Take it to the limit, take it to the limit
Take it to the limit one more time.”
Finally, you may be wondering what’s the point? It’s simple. Success is much more than just a trophy. If you play every game like it’s the last game of the World Series, field every ball like the game is on the line, get in the batter’s box with all the confidence in the world that you are going to hit a hard line drive, then you are well on your way to enjoying the purpose of life.