RPBL Coaches’ Clinic

Train the Trainers

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.

Workshops

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)

Handouts

Agenda – Session1

Impact Baseball – Skill Benchmarks

Impact Baseball – Training Camps

Calvert Hall – Drills

Archbishop Spalding – Drills

Gilman – Drills

Grand Slam Baseball Camp

S3 Training Center – Programs

Extra Innings – Lessons & Tunnel Rentals


Three Sessions in One

Date: Saturday, February 17
Times: (each workshop is approx. 90 minutes each)

9:00 AM – Beginner

10:30 AM – Intermediate

12:30 PM – Advanced

LocationS3 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

 


Advanced Workshop

Date: Sunday, February 25  |  Time: 12:00 – 3:00 PM
LocationGilman (middle school gym)  | Address: 5407 Roland Avenue
Guest Speakers: Larry Sheets and Russell Wrenn, Gilman Coaches


 


 

 

Intermediate Workshop

Date: Sunday, March 4  | Time: 12:00 – 3:00 PM
LocationBoys Latin (middle school gym)  | Address: 822 W Lake Avenue
Guest Speaker: Bill Greenwell, Boys Latin Coach



Beginner Workshop

Date: Sunday, March 11  |  Time: 2:30 – 4:30 PM
LocationFriends (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

Baltimore Sun #1 | Baltimore Sun #2 | Baltimore Sun #3


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.[1] His strong arm helped him lead the league, in 1991, in outfield assists.[2] 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

 


Acknowledgements

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.

Brett Linnenkohl of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons hustles into third base versus the Clemson Tigers during the second game of a double header at Gene Hooks Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC, Sunday, March 9, 2008.

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. +

 


 

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Skipper

Al Gallagher

The BEST thing I heard after our disappointing 10-0 loss in the Championship game was from a complete stranger.

A young boy was walking by immediately following my Gatorade shower and said,”That’s the happiest losing team I ever saw”!

IMG_7181

Every baseball player and coach wants to win, generally.  That’s why you keep score.  The biggest showcase of the year is the World Series and that’s where all the hard work throughout the season comes to a close.  If you had a successful season and won enough games to make it to the playoffs you have a shot at taking home a National Championship.

However, there have been many, many great baseball players that were not very popular like Al Gallagher.   So, when you think of some the BEST ballplayers, you automatically associate their stats.  What was his batting average? What was his ERA?  And yes, coaches also are measured on stats.  Yet, considering how difficult it is to make it to the World Series, it is fascinating to me that Joe Torre won the Championship four (4) times. Read more.

manager_success

joe_torre_record_index

joe_torre_record

 

Buck Showalter

If you want to be the best ___ [fill-in the blank]. Find someone who has already achieved that success. Then just copy everything they do! Eventually, you’ll develop your own “signature”.  I’ll stick with the home town hero, Buck Showalter.

Earl Weaver

Notice that Buck was the Yankees coach before Torre. But I grew up watching Earl Weaver.  Buck Showalter loves scouting reports — except when it comes to assessing the personalities of people he’s never met.  In that regard, the Orioles’ manager insists upon formulating his own opinion.  “People will start to tell me about a player that’s coming,” Showalter said, “and I stop them and say, ‘I got this. We’re starting fresh. I’m going to make up my own mind about him.'”

Buck Showalter

Showalter’s reputation preceded his arrival in Baltimore. Taskmaster, drill sergeant, disciplinarian — those words were often associatedwith him during his tenure as manager of the New York Yankees (1992-95), Arizona Diamondbacks (1998-2000) and Texas Rangers (2003-06).  So when the feisty skipper was hired by then-president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail to turn around a franchise in search of its first winning season since 1997, the players knew what was coming…

“Some people’s reputation before you meet them is not the same after you get to know them.

Sportsmanship

MVP

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Every game we handed out a trophy for the Most Valuable Player.  This idea came to me from watching my son’s Head Baseball Coach, Doug Bassett (Facebook).  My son left RPBL in 2014 and he and I got involved with the WM Warriors.  I was the Assistant Coach on the 8U-B travel team.  In 2015, Blake had the most success season to-date winning the MVP in the “35th Annual HCYP Invitational Baseball Tournament in Ellicott City, MD”.  This medal was awarded by the opposing Manager.  His 8U-A team also went undefeated in the 2015 Essex Express Baseball Father’s Day Summer Classic

Positive Reinforcement

IMG_4696August, 2001 my girlfriend Rene and I drove to the Eastern shore with our first born child AKA dog Brendan.  The breeder named him Snow because he was so white.  So, when we set out to train him and enrolled him in multiple obedience classes.  This is where I learned one of the most valuable lessons in life. She said,

“Have you ever wondered how trainers are able to get dolphins to jump out of the water on command and do a flip at SeaWorld? It’s through “positive reinforcement” using fish.”

So, instead of fish we used Cheese Balls and it was AMAZINGLY effective.  I managed to train Brendan to Sit, Stay and Come on command beautifully.  He was literally like a son to us.  We loved him so much he became our “ring bearer” at our wedding @ the Inn at Perry Cabin.

This style of teaching proved to be very important in my teaching career, as well as coaching.  I began awarding a Most Valuable Player (MVP) trophy at every game. There is NO “I” in TEAM. For example, Kansas City Royals’ Salvador Perez was named 2015 World Series MVP. Read more He wears jersey #13. Guess who else wears that unlucky number on the Orioles? Gold Glove 3rd baseman – Manny Machado

Major_League_Baseball_LogoAt Closing Ceremonies this year, we will be presenting the first ever RPBL Coaches Award to one player on each National League Team (9-10 age group) who best represents the values of RPBL.   These values include:

  • Sportsmanship
  • Teamwork
  • Effort
  • Positive Attitude
  • Proper Manners
  • Enthusiasm
  • Fair play

The winner on the Blaze goes to Henry Fischel.  He always had a smile on his face, hustled, followed direction well, cheered for his teammates and most of all was a great asset to the overall success of our team this year.  In fact, he managed to have some key offensive hits when we needed it most and his defensive pitching performance was outstanding.

However, it was not a land slide.  We had many players who were very easy to teach and seemed to be enjoying the game.  But there were two special players who deserve to be recognized.  Amelia Overton & Wyatt Winstead – Honorable Mentions.  I believe their best example of “Sportsmanship” was shown when they consistently went out of their way to acknowledge me not only after every game, but after every practice as well.  “Thank you Coach” are the 3 magic words any Skipper loves to hear!

One last player who made remarkable improvement was Sawyer Ross.  He wins the “Most Improved” award.  Here’s a guy who had never played baseball before.  Yet, I knew he was a great athlete because he played soccer with my son.  He became my “pet project”.  I worked with him and tried to teach him how to bat.  Sure enough, when the game was on the line, he came through. Read Victory & Defeat

Don’t be a Sore Loser

Sportsmanship is an aspiration or ethos that a sport or activity will be enjoyed for its own sake, with proper consideration for fairness, ethics, respect, and a sense of fellowship with one’s competitors. A “sore loser” refers to one who does not take defeat well, whereas a “good sport” means being a “good winner” as well as being a “good loser”. (Someone who shows courtesy towards another in a sports game).

positionsRPBL requires that we play every player in the outfield. So, we will continue to make adjustments this season experimenting with players at pitcher, 1B and SS. I will continue to keep the batting lineup in descending order alphabetically. This gives everyone equal plate appearances.

In general, sportsmanship refers to virtues such as fairness, self-control, courage, and persistence, and has been associated with interpersonal concepts of treating others and being treated fairly, maintaining self-control if dealing with others, and respect for both authority and opponents.  The four elements of sportsmanship are often shown being good form, the will to win, equity and fairness.

The important thing to remember is that we win and lose as a TEAM. “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” –Babe Ruth

Orioles_InfieldSince every sport is rule driven, the most common offence of bad sportsmanship is the act of cheating or breaking the rules to gain an unfair advantage. A competitor who exhibits poor sportsmanship after losing a game or contest is often called a “sore loser” (those who show poor sportsmanship after winning are typically called “bad champs”). Sore loser behavior includes blaming others for the loss, not accepting responsibility for personal actions that contributed to the defeat, reacting to the loss in an immature or improper fashion, making excuses for the defeat, and citing unfavorable conditions or other petty issues as reasons for the defeat. A bad winner acts in a shallow fashion after his or her victory, such as by gloating about his or her win, rubbing the win in the face(s) of the opponent(s), and lowering the opponent(s)’s self-esteem by constantly reminding the opponent(s) of “poor” performance in comparison (even if the opponent(s) competed well). Read more


 

Heat of the Moment

Orioles shortstop Manny Machado and Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura were both ejected Tuesday night following a bench-clearing melee that was precipitated by Ventura throwing at Machado (read more).

With one out in the bottom of the fifth inning and the Orioles leading 5-1, Ventura’s first pitch to Machado — a 99 mph fastball — hit the Baltimore slugger in the back. Machado charged the mound as Ventura prepared for the confrontation by taking off his hat and glove. Machado threw a punch at the Kansas City starter and slammed him to the ground.

robinson_fieldingWith the crowd at Camden Yards chanting, “Man-ny, Man-ny,” both benches and bullpens flooded the field. Machado was restrained by teammate Chris Tillman after the initial contact.

I was thinking about this as it relates to how I might react today?  What should I tell my kids?

All I can think of is the following: Filter comments and actions according to:

  1. Is it truthful
  2. Helpful
  3. Necessary
  4. Critical
  5. God’s will

Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?

I love reading about Brooks Robinson.  However, most pictures of him show him posing for the camera.  I’m coaching young 9-10 year old players and it is VERY important the kids get into the proper fielding position on every pitch.  This is something I’ve been trying to explain for years to my son (read more).

Bobby DickersonAlso, found a funny video of Brooks and his self-deprecating personality (click here).  It’s interesting what Buck Showalter said about the situation.  Also, notice at the end who is standing next to him.  It’s Bobby Dickerson, another favorite coach of mind.

Nevertheless, I like how Manny turned and took the ball on the back.  I would argue, as big as he is, it probably did not hurt that much.  It stung for about 5 minutes, tops.  Notice how out of breath he after the brawl.

Here’s is what Buck had to say (click here).

 

Victory and Defeat

Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat

I will never forget this commercial growing up => ABC Wide World of Sports featuring Howard Cosell and Muhammad Ali.

ABC’s Wide World of Sports is an American sports anthology television program that aired on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) from April 29, 1961 to January 3, 1998, primarily on Saturday afternoons. Hosted by Jim McKay, with a succession of co-hosts beginning in 1987, the title continued to be used for laurel_wreathgeneral sports programs on the network until 2006. In 2007, Wide World of Sports was named by Time Magazine on its list of the 100 best television programs of all-time. Read more

A laurel wreath is a circular wreath made of interlocking branches and leaves.  In ancient Greece wreaths were awarded to victors, both in athletic competitions, including the ancient Olympics.

The important thing to remember is that we win and lose as a TEAM. “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” –Babe Ruth  Read Sportsmanship

 


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Hitter’s Mentality

Brewers topple Reds 12-2 @ St. Helena Park (300 Willow Spring Road Baltimore, MD 21222).  standings_2016-05We remain undefeated, with 3 Wins and Zero (0) Losses.  Our current standings would have more games played if it weren’t for all the bad weather.  Unfortunately, we had over 5 weeks of rainouts and holidays so we have a lot of games that need to get made-up.  For more info, visit www.over40baseball.org

Well, if you have been following my “web logs” AKA blogs, then you would know I came out of retirement three (3) years ago.  As a matter of fact, I am playing “Major League Rules” baseball with my old high school glove (over 30 years ago).  It’s a very small infielder’s glove that is broken in and I love it! I also acquired a newer glove to play softball for US Army – Aberdeen Proving Ground team back in 2010 which is a little bigger and I use for pitching.

BrewersLogoWe are required to use wooden bats and most little league and high school folks don’t understand why?  The simple answer is power.  A wood bat’s sweet spot, although usually quite smaller than composite or alloy, may perform as well as a certified bat. Also, wood bats are heavier to swing compared to aluminum and composite. Interesting side story: last year my son lost his little league glove (left at the field of the Essex Father’s day tournament).  Obviously, a baseball player’s glove is “irreplaceable” and arguably the most important piece of equipment.  It generally takes a few months to break a good Rawlings glove in properly.

So, to make a long story short, if MLB used aluminum they would have to build larger ball parks.  Home run fence would need to be extended at least another 100 feet.  The “Green Monster” is a popular nickname for the 37’2″ high left field wall at Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox baseball team. The wall is only 310–315 feet from home plate.

Nevertheless, the main reason for starting this article is because of my very poor performance this past weekend.  Even though we destroyed the Reds, I batted 0-4.  Batting lefty, I hit 4 ground balls all to the 1st and 2nd baseman.  However, one of them I hit on the “screws” but infielder made a nice play.  I need to start hitting line drives.  Hopefully, next weekend, Jun 12 when we face the Royals @ Martindale Park (990 Homberg Ave Baltimore, MD 21221), things will be different.  Last year I had two stand-up triples and anybody who has ever played the game KNOWS there is no better feeling.


Why tracking your Batting Average is HURTING your Batting Average

Every season, players and coaches set goals based on how they want to perform over the course of the season. Hitters want to hit .300. Pitchers want to have a sub-3 ERA. Coaches want to win 20, 30, 50, or 100 games, depending on the level of play. These measurable stats have existed since the beginning of baseball, and in particular the batting average has become the go-to number to illustrate a hitters success.

But is batting average, hits, or strikeouts really the way to measure the success of hitters throughout the course of the season? When they line out to the shortstop and see “0-1” in the stat book, is that a way for them to build confidence as a hitter? It’s probably the way for them to LOSE confidence as a hitter. Because according to baseball history, an out is the definition of a failed attempt. Which is crazy, because so much of this is out of our control!

Think about it, you did everything right over the course of an at-bat. You visualized hitting a missile in the on deck circle, and strolled up to the plate with a slight smirk knowing you were about to do DAMAGE to this baseball. You had a simple plan of attack. To HUNT the fastball, be on time for it, and LET IT FLY. You were focused, relaxed, and calm.

As you saw the first pitch fastball seeming to move in slow motion to your happy-zone, you did exactly what you had planned. YOU LET THE BARREL FLY! The barrel met the baseball with so much speed and pureness, that it sent it sizzling on a line…directly to the shortstop, whose momentum took him 2 steps back after catching the baseball at such a high speed…0-1

You’re not terribly mad at your at-bat, but you are disappointed you didn’t get the end-result. According to baseball you failed. According to the stat of all stats (batting average), you are a worse hitter than you were going into the at-bat. Which is starting to weigh on your head. Because going into the last month of the season, you’re hitting .308…and your average has been steadily declining over the last couple weeks.

If the mental aspect of the game is really 90% of success in baseball, then why not approach the game with a mindset that enables consistency? If consistency is the ultimate sign of a great player, why don’t we change our mindset to allow it to happen? Read more


Bryce Harper’s Hitter’s Mentality

Do you feel “lost’ at the plate? Have you had that feeling like there is nothing you can do to get a hit no matter what you try? Does self-doubt overtake you when you step in the batter’s box?

Sometimes, a string of bad at-bats can overwhelm a hitter. You may even start thinking that you are in a “slump” and feeling that you can’t hit anything. The fact is that you can’t hit every pitch, nobody can. The only way a string of bad at-bats turns into a slump is if you buy into the “slump” mentality.

Bryce Harper, 21, is the youngest player in the MBL, despite being in his third season in the big leagues. Harper hit .143 through the first five games for the Washington Nationals. Harper even showed signs of frustration slamming down his helmet and throwing his bat at a few bad at-bats. Harper started to think he was in a “slump.”

Harper said he received some good advice from his father who coached when he was young:

“Man, you need to stop thinking so much. Just go out and hit the baseball. Plain and simple… It’s sometimes where you start slow and that’s just part of the game and there’s nothing you can do about it. Just have fun, smile, laugh, just be as happy as you can all the time and good things will happen.”

Harper took heed to his father’s advice and it paid off with an eight-game hitting streak and a jump in his batting average to .340.

Harper started to trust his abilities, stopped over-thinking when in the batter’s box and knew the hits would eventually come if he focused on the process…

Maybe you had swung at some bad pitches… so what? Learn from the at-bat, have a calm mind, trust your swing, and move forward.

Adopt a hitter’s mentality: Take charge of your mental game. Focus on quality at-bats instead of your hitting average. This can help you focus on the process. (Read more).


 

 

Always like a Girl

I would be remiss if I did not include some stories about my daughter.  She is turning 12 next month and I’m so proud of all her accomplishments.  In particular, she has done exceptionally well in school and extracurricular activities like Piano, Dance and Theater.

When it comes to sports, there tends to be a big “misperception”.  My wife found this video and it brings tears to my eyes every time I watch it.

Chelsea is an excellent runner and swimmer.  This is her 7th year playing soccer and continues to excel with great success.  This spring she is playing lacrosse (2nd year) for the Roland Park Middle School “B” Lacrosse coached by Sarah Layng and Kelsy Mugele.  Read more

Personally, I played baseball my whole life so I was not familiar with some of the skills she needed to develop.  Thankfully, her coach suggested the following sites that has proved to be very helpful from the Denver, Colorado Women’s Lacrosse Team:

Professional Sports

Be the Best

Just about every athlete that I ever played ball with (including soccer, as well as other individual and team sports) always wanted to be the BEST. One of my most competitive sports was perhaps swimming. I used to train with Reds Hucht, coach of Knights of Columbus Orchards (KCO) back in 1980-81 when I was at the climax of my athletic career. I even made it to the Junior Olympics qualifying in 50 backstroke. Reds coached at Calvert Hall and KCO for over 50 years. Read Legacy and MD Hall of Fame.

However, baseball was always and remains to be my favorite sport. In fact, this article is a tribute to Duane Rhine, my good buddy growing up together in Bel Air, MD. I remember playing baseball with Duane just about every day and hitting balls into a “homemade batting net” he built in his backyard. He was a superstar at Bel Air High School and went on to play for some top colleges.

Well, the biggest RISK in life is not trying something you might be afraid of. At least I gave it a shot and tried out for the Baltimore Orioles back in 1985 after I graduated Boys Latin High School. I also tried out for the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates that same year. Interestingly, a noteworthy teammate of mine, Brian Kowitz went on to play in the Major Leagues for the Atlanta Braves. Also, that year our Cockeysville travel team won the Maryland State Championship and went up to the Meadowlands in New Jersey to compete in a regional tournament. Duane played short stop on the team. Some other great baseball players during that era were Brian Bark (MLB player from Randalstown), as well as Mark Belanger and Terry Crowley who both had sons that I ran into on the ballfield.

Wagners

Perhaps the highest level of baseball I competed in was in the All-American Amateur Baseball Association (AAABA). I played for Wagners Baseball who typically always gave Johnny’s a run for the money. Often we split a series. Brian Bark I recall was their star pitcher and I faced him a few times. In case you are not familiar with AAABA, here is a little history.

Johannes Peter “Honus” Wagner (February 24, 1874 – December 6, 1955) was an American baseball shortstop who played 21 seasons in Major League Baseball from 1897 to 1917, almost entirely for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Wagner won eight batting titles, tied for the most in National League history with Tony Gwynn. He also led the league in slugging six times, and in stolen bases five times. Wagner was nicknamed “The Flying Dutchman” due to his superb speed and German heritage.

In 1936, the Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Wagner as one of the first five members. He received the second-highest vote total, behind Ty Cobb and tied with Babe Ruth. Although Cobb is frequently cited as the greatest player of the dead-ball era, some contemporaries regarded Wagner as the better all-around player, and most baseball historians consider Wagner to be the greatest shortstop ever. Cobb himself called Wagner “maybe the greatest star ever to take the diamond.” In addition, Wagner is the featured player of one of the rarest and most valuable baseball cards in the world. Read more

Johnny’s

Everyone remembers Earl Weaver from the 80’s. Well, another semi-pro team that I competed against was Johnny’s. Now it’s called Youse’s Maryland Orioles and the All America Amateur Baseball Association (AAABA) tournament in Johnstown, Pa., will be seeking an unprecedented fourth straight national title by Youse’s Orioles. They have continued a tradition of excellence that has lasted more than a half-century. For the last five years the team has played under the name of Youse’s Maryland Orioles, in honor of the late legendary coach, Walter Youse, who guided the team the previous 46 seasons. Dean Albany, the most recent of the impressive list of assistants who served under Youse, is in his fifth year as the team’s leader. He is only the third coach in the team’s 55-year history. References: Facebook | Twitter | Wikipedia | Baltimore Wire

Over that period of time, Baltimore’s AAABA representative has won 23 national championships and finished second eight times. At last count, 48 former players have gone to the big leagues, including two Hall of Famers. Two others went on to become major league general managers.

Ray Muhl was the manager of the first Leone’s team that featured Al Kaline. He turned over the reins to Youse in 1957. Youse ran the team under three different names until he passed away five years ago. The team operated under the Leone’s banner until 1972, then had long runs under the names of Johnny’s, sponsored by Johnny Wilbanks, and Corrigan’s, with former Leone’s pitcher Bill Corrigan backing the team. The club has operated as the Maryland Orioles for the last eight years, with the support of the major league team. Read more and Press Box article

Yankee Rebels Baseball Club

In spite of getting a glimpse of the AAABA league, the most memorable experience growing up was when I played for the Rebels.

Yankee Rebels
The Yankee Rebels, under 19 team beat Putty Hill in the Baltimore Metro League, May 27, 2008

Once again, Duane Ryan was on the team. I definitely have a lot of pride mentioning that team and it will forever remain in my heart! As a matter of fact, I ran into Joe Palmer, my old coach at Extra Innings last year.

This marks the 43rd Year Anniversary of the Storied Yankee Rebels Baseball Club. In 1969 Young Joseph and Francis Palmer fresh out of the US Air Force launched a series of Yankee Rebels Baseball Clinics, while piloting a new 14u Ball Club. The 1969 team had a rough start, finishing with a record of 5-22. Things improved quickly with the decision after 1972 to have Joe manage the 14u team and Francis to head up the new 16u team. By 1976, the Yankee Rebels Babseball Club began recieving national attention by winning births to three consecutive World Series. The Palmers became Pioneers in their cutting-edge teaching techniques that gave Young Rebel Players the clear advantage over their counterparts. College Coaches and Pro-Scouts were now bombarding the Coaching Staffs for recommendations on players for their specific programs. Francis stepped in to assume the duties of State Commissioner of AABC in 1978 to rescue the troubled program from folding. This program became the pre-cursor for the Baltimore Metro Baseball League that was turned over to Rebels Coach Roger Faw.

The next twenty-five years included the creation of High School Fall Ball Leagues and the East Coast Premiere Fall Showcase Program. The Yankee Rebels Fall Showcase Program was designed for Graduating High School Seniors. By 2001 the Yankee Rebels Baseball Club included players from all over the State of Maryland with over 90% of them continuing their play at the collegiate or pro levels. Thirty-eight former Rebels Players signed Major League Baseball Contracts over the past 43 years. The Rebels have won 61 State and 24 Regional Championships, while competing in 47 World Series. The Yankee Rebels Professional Tree remains strong today with former players representing coaching at the High School, College, and Professional Ranks. Rebel Players are also currently positioned in areas of Pro-Scouting, College and Professional Umpiring, and Front Office Personnel in Colleges and Major League Baseball. Joe Palmer remains active in the Yankee Rebels Organization today, serving as President with General Manager Sherman Reed, Sr running the day to day operations of the Club. Read more

Yankee Rebels president Joseph Palmer said he has noticed a distinct difference between kids today with kids five years ago. Palmer said that kids today don’t have great baseball skills because of a lack of dedication. “If I challenge a kid like I did five or 10 years ago, he walks away. They want everything with a snap of a finger and don’t want to work for it. It’s mainly because parents put their kids on a pedestal, and the kids then think they don’t have to practice the skills part of the game.”

“People wonder how a scrawny kid like Dave Johnson [from Middle River] made it to the major leagues,” Palmer said. “He made it with hard work and by gaining baseball skills. All you need to do is be willing to work.” Palmer said some kids want to play games more than they want to learn the game. For that reason, more kids now are choosing to play in summer leagues than joining baseball camps. “Kids don’t realize that no one is going to remember who won yesterday’s game,” Palmer said. “They are focused on the winning and losing part of the game, but they can put that time into developing skills that will help them in the future.” Read more

Sterling “Sheriff” Fowble

Class of 1936 McDaniel College
Although he was a four-sport Green Terror, he excelled in soccer and baseball. After playing semi-pro baseball, he scouted for the New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds, discovering greats like Al Kaline, Ron Swoboda, and Dick Boswell. He also was noted for working more than 30 years with 15- to 17-year-olds in Baltimore’s amateur leagues.

Fowble, coach 46 years on sandlots, dies at 76
Sterling “Sheriff” Fowble was a baseball man to the end. Only a few weeks ago he was saluted by a national organization as amateur coach of the year for Maryland. He went to a Western Maryland Hall of Fame affair and attended Carroll County and Patterson Park old-timers functions.

On Friday, Fowble, who managed 14-16 age group sandlot teams for 46 years in Baltimore, died of congestive heart failure at the age of 76.

For decades, when you thought of amateur baseball in this area, you thought primarily of two men: Fowble and Walter Youse, general manager of Johnny’s in an older age group.

When Orioles general manager Roland Hemond spoke at an old-timers’ banquet last year, he said: “If there were more men like Sheriff Fowble and Walter Youse in other cities, baseball would never have to worry about anything.”

More than 800 boys came under Fowble’s guidance. Last summer, even when his health was failing, he was general manager of the Harbor Federal Savings and Loan team and his wife of 51 years, Virginia, as always, was scorekeeper. Bill Becker, who played under Fowble in 1955, was manager.

“We had no children of our own, but every year we kept 18 boys out of trouble,” Virginia Fowble said. “We were the richest couple in the world.”

Fowble worked as an accountant for Bethlehem Steel for 42 years. On the side, he scouted for the Cincinnati Reds for 15 years and for the New York Mets for 22. But his passion, and Virginia’s, was their sandlot team.

Twelve players managed by Fowble went on to the major leagues, including Al Kaline, Dave Boswell, Phil Linz, Jim Spencer, Ron Swoboda and Moose Haas. Kaline wound up in the Hall of Fame.

Swoboda wound up in the outfield of the New York Mets when they upset the Orioles in the 1969 World Series. Today he is the sports anchor for WVUE-TV in New Orleans — and a grandfather.

“Sheriff didn’t have kids, but in another sense he had a whole lot of them,” Swoboda said. “I was lucky enough to be one of Sheriff’s boys. If you didn’t play for Sheriff and Youse in Baltimore, you didn’t make it in pro ball. I’d never have been elevated to Youse if it hadn’t been for Sheriff.”

It was Fowble who switched Swoboda from third base to the outfield. Swoboda was indignant. Even his mother was upset.

“In my first game in left field, on the Patterson Park diamond near the tennis courts, a ball was hit over my head,” Swoboda said. “I ran it down and threw the guy’s butt out at third base. I thought, ‘Hey, you can win games out here, too.’

“Sheriff was relentless. When you did something wrong, you heard about it. It was the first time a coach yelled at me. He was never malicious, never tore you down.

Fowble’s teams, known variously as High’s Ice Cream, High A.C., Gordon’s Stores, G & M Scrap, Highland Lanes, Hi-Landers, Highland Federal Savings and Loan and Harbor Federal, won 24 Baltimore City championships.

He had a couple of undefeated seasons and during a stretch from 1956-58, Gordon’s Stores won 83 straight. In their East Baltimore home, the Fowbles have a baseball for every year they were active with a team, except Kaline’s year, 1951. Sheriff said somebody took it out of the display case.

It all began one day in 1946 when a group of neighborhood boys knocked on the Fowbles’ door and told Virginia they wanted Sheriff to manage a baseball team.

“He’s down at the tavern playing cards,” Virginia said. “Go ask him. It would be good for him.”

An all-around athlete at Westminster High, Fowble went on to Western Maryland College and played four sports there. An outfielder, he spent a few weeks with a Boston Red Sox farm team in the Piedmont League, but couldn’t throw a lick because of a cranky shoulder that lingered from his football days. Read more


Today, I still try to keep in shape and enjoy swimming. It’s important to have heroes in life! Nevertheless, like I said earlier, the nice thing about sports is that it builds character, because there is always someone better than you tomorrow. In 2001 I competed in my first triathlon.

Strikeouts

Why do players strikeout?

Answer: By regulation, baseball bats may be no more than 2.75 inches in diameter at the thickest part and no more than 42 inches long.  A MLB baseball is only 3 inches in diameter. Thus, it is very, very difficult.  As a matter of fact, you can fail 7/10 times and be qualified for the Hall of Fame (.300 batting average). Read more

strikeout_leaders

Batters

The top 15 Major League Baseball career strikeout leaders: (as of 2015 season)

  1. Reggie Jackson – 2,597
  2. Jim Thome – 2,548
  3. Adam Dunn – 2,379
  4. Sammy Sosa – 2,306
  5. Reggie_JacksonAlex Rodriguez – 2,220
  6. Andrés Galarraga – 2,003
  7. José Canseco – 1,942
  8. Willie Stargell – 1,936
  9. Mike Cameron – 1,901
  10. Mike Schmidt – 1,883
  11. Fred McGriff – 1,882
  12. Tony Pérez – 1,867
  13. Bobby Abreu – 1,840
  14. Derek Jeter – 1,840
  15. Dave Kingman – 1,816

Active batters with over 1,400 K’s:
(as of 2015 season)

  1. Alex Rodriguez – 2,220alex_rodriguez
  2. Ryan Howard – 1,729
  3. David Ortiz – 1664
  4. Carlos Beltrán – 1,592
  5. Mark Reynolds – 1,519
  6. Adrián Beltré – 1,518
  7. Curtis Granderson 1,459
  8. Adam LaRoche 1,407
  9. Melvin Upton – 1,406
  10. Miguel Cabrera – 1,400

Single season strikeout records (batters):

Rank Player Team Strikeouts Year
   1 Mark Reynolds Arizona Diamondbacks 223 2009
   2 Adam Dunn Chicago White Sox 222 2012
   3 Chris Carter Houston Astros 212 2013
   4 Mark Reynolds Arizona Diamondbacks 211 2010
   5 Drew Stubbs Cincinnati Reds 205 2011
   6 Mark Reynolds Arizona Diamondbacks 204 2008
   7 Ryan Howard Philadelphia Phillies 199 2007
   8 Ryan Howard Philadelphia Phillies 199 2008
   9 Adam Dunn Washington Nationals 199 2010
  10 Chris Davis Baltimore Orioles 199 2013

 

Strikeout records

Then there is the best pitchers who threw strikeouts.

Pitchers

The Top 20 Major League Baseball career strikeout leaders (active players in bold) (since 1901):[16]

  1. Nolan Ryan – 5,714
  2. Randy Johnson – 4,875
  3. Roger Clemens – 4,672Nolan_Ryan
  4. Steve Carlton – 4,136
  5. Bert Blyleven – 3,701
  6. Tom Seaver – 3,640
  7. Don Sutton – 3,574
  8. Gaylord Perry – 3,534
  9. Walter Johnson – 3,509
  10. Greg Maddux – 3,371
  11. Phil Niekro – 3,342
  12. Ferguson Jenkins – 3,192
  13. Pedro Martínez – 3,154
  14. Bob Gibson – 3,117randy_johnson
  15. Curt Schilling – 3,116
  16. John Smoltz – 3,084
  17. Jim Bunning – 2,855
  18. Mickey Lolich – 2,832
  19. Mike Mussina – 2,813
  20. Cy Young – 2,803

Active pitchers with over 2,000 strikeouts (as of 2015 season):

  1. CC Sabathia – 2,574
  2. Bartolo Colón – 2,237roger_clemens
  3. Félix Hernández – 2,142
  4. Jake Peavy – 2,105

The Top 10 Major League Baseball career strikeout-per-nine innings leaders (since 1900, minimum 1,000 IP):[17]

  1. Randy Johnson – 10.61
  2. Kerry Wood – 10.32
  3. Pedro Martínez – 10.04
  4. Tim Lincecum – 9.61
  5. Nolan Ryan – 9.55
  6. Max Scherzer – 9.51
  7. Trevor Hoffman – 9.36
  8. Sandy Koufax – 9.28
  9. Clayton Kershaw – 9.26
  10. Óliver Pérez – 9.22

The Top 5 Major League Baseball single season strikeout-per-nine innings leaders (since 1900, minimum 1.0 IP per team game):

  1. Randy Johnson, 2001 – 13.41
  2. Pedro Martínez, 1999 – 13.20
  3. Kerry Wood, 1998 – 12.58
  4. Randy Johnson, 2000 – 12.56
  5. Randy Johnson, 1995 – 12.35

The Top 10 Major League Baseball single season strikeout totals (since 1900):[18]

Pitcher Strikeouts Season Team League Overall Rank
Nolan Ryan 383 1973 California Angels AL 8
Sandy Koufax 382 1965 Los Angeles Dodgers NL 9
Randy Johnson 372 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks NL 11
Nolan Ryan 367 1974 California Angels AL 14
Randy Johnson 364 1999 Arizona Diamondbacks NL 15
Rube Waddell 349 1904 Philadelphia Athletics AL 18
Bob Feller 348 1946 Cleveland Indians AL 19
Randy Johnson 347 2000 Arizona Diamondbacks NL 20
Nolan Ryan 341 1977 California Angels AL 25
Randy Johnson 334 2002 Arizona Diamondbacks NL 30

The Top 10 Major League Baseball single season strikeout totals (all time):[19]

Pitcher Strikeouts Season Team League Overall Rank
Matt Kilroy 513 1886 Baltimore Orioles AA 1
Toad Ramsey 499 1886 Louisville Colonels AA 2
Hugh Daily 483 1884 Chicago Browns/Pittsburgh Stogies/Washington Nationals UA 3
Dupee Shaw 451 1884 Detroit Wolverines/Boston Reds NL/UA 4
Old Hoss Radbourn 441 1884 Providence Grays NL 5
Charlie Buffington 417 1884 Boston Beaneaters NL 6
Guy Hecker 385 1884 Louisville Eclipse AA 7
Nolan Ryan 383 1973 California Angels AL 8
Sandy Koufax 382 1965 Los Angeles Dodgers NL 9
Bill Sweeney 374 1884 Baltimore Monumentals UA 10

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