Tag Archives: Perseverance

Showcases and Tournaments

Top Baseball Showcases and Tournaments For College Recruiting

Perfect Game Schedule – Click here

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

  1. PerfectGame – 16U WWBA National Championship (Cartersville, GA – early July)
  2. PerfectGame – 16U BCS National Championship (Ft. Myers, FL – mid July)
  3. ProspectWire – 16U Music City Classic (Nashville, TN – late July)
  4. USA Baseball – 17U National Team Championships (Goodyear, AZ – mid June)
  5. PerfectGame – WWBA Underclass World Championship (Ft. Myers, FL – Oct)

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

  1. PerfectGame – Junior National Showcase (Ft. Myers, FL – early June)
  2. PerfectGame – Fall Top Prospect National Showcase (Cartersville, GA – late Oct)
  3. PerfectGame – National Academic Showcase (Cartersville, GA – mid July)
  4. ProspectSelect – Black Bear Select (Clemson Univ, SC – late June)
  5. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Pros:
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.

Cons
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.

Travel TRYOUTS

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 humanvacuum5@gmail.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!

Program Features:
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.

Visit us on our TEAM HOMEPAGE

The Ripken Way

Cal Ripken Jr. acknowledges the crowd after officially breaking Lou Gehrig’s record.

IRONMAN

Cal Ripken plays in his 2,131st consecutive game, breaking Lou Gehrig’s record; truly one of baseball’s magical, once-in-a-lifetime moments.

Perfect PRACTICE Makes Perfect

Practice does not make perfect. How is that possible? Because bad habits may be practiced, and practicing a flawed technique will get a player nowhere. The only way to do something is to do it right. Practicing good habits is what makes a better player. Habits are formed in practice and then become automatic in the game. You play like you practice; If you practice correctly, you will play correctly.

TEACHING BaseballPrintable Lessons as well as Video Lessons (click hyperlinks below) on the Basic Fundamentals of Hitting, Infield & Outfield Play, Pitching and even a Glossary. Instructors include Cal Ripken Jr., Billy Ripken, John Habyan and Joe Orsulak.

HITTING

Hitting is probably the most difficult part of the game. However, it is also the most enjoyable and satisfying part, as we all love to hit a baseball. It’s difficult because the pitcher has the ability to throw the ball hard, or not so hard, or to make it curve or sink. As the hitter, we not only have to determine what pitch has been thrown, but also whether it is a strike or a ball. If it is a strike, we have to attempt to hit it. All of this must be done in a fraction of a second. Like all parts of the game there are basic fundamentals that can help make us become better hitters. Click on Hitting Lessons with Cal: Fundamentals, Choose Right Bat, Right Grip, Stance, Weight Shift, Release Point, Stride, Swing, Tee Drill, Soft Toss Drill, One Hand Drill, Make It Fun

INFIELD

Infield defense can be broken down into two parts: catching and throwing. It’s as simple as that. If we don’t catch the ground ball, we certainly can’t throw it. If you take that concept to its extreme form, a double play is five simple parts: a catch, a throw, a catch, a throw and a catch. Click on Infield Lessons with Bill & Cal: Defense-Catch & Throw, Playing Catch, Get Wide, Roll Ball Drill, Backhand, Throwing Side Foot-Backhand Drill, Glove Side Foot-Backhand Drill, Routine Backhand Play, Infield Throwing, Underhand Flip, Underhand Toss Drill, Box Drill Short-Second, Box Drill Second-Short, Double Play, Firstbase Fundamentals

OUTFIELD

Outfield play, especially at the youth levels, often gets overlooked. Even though the outfielder is not directly involved in the majority of plays, coaches need to stress the importance of the position. An outfielder has to be able to maintain concentration throughout the game, because there may only be one or two hit balls that come directly to that player during the course of the contest. Those plays could be the most important ones. There also are many little things an outfielder can do — backing up throws and other outfielders, cutting off balls and keeping runners from taking extra bases, and throwing to the proper cutoffs and bases – that don’t show up in a scorebook, but can really help a team play at a high level. Click on Outfield Lessons with Joe Orsulak: Straight Away, Good Stance, Pick Up Ball Off Bat, Cross Over Step, Drop Step, DS Drill, Get To Spot, Catch Ball, Fast-Slow-Fast, Throwing-Grip, Throw Using Body-Crow Hop, Make Accurate Throw

PITCHING

As a pitching coach or an instructor, you do most of your work from behind the mound watching pitchers throw. There is a certain progression to use when you are observing pitchers. The first thing to do, especially when watching pitchers for the first time, is to just observe. Resist the urge to discuss any theories or any expectations. Just give them the ball and let them throw for 10 minutes. When watching pitchers throw for the first time, it’s important to look for three things, and one of them isn’t mechanics. Don’t really concentrate on mechanics as one of the first things. Click on Pitching Lessons with John Habyan: Mechanics-Strikes, Five Links, Four Seam Fastball Grip, Two Seam FB Grip, Five Links of Chain, One Knee Drill, Tee Drill, Power Position Drill, Breaking Balls-Grip, Breaking Ball-Mechanics, Change Up

LIGHT BULBS

Lessons: First Baseman, Box Drill-Cross Over Step, Following Pitch

Triple Crown

Country House

In the most controversial decision in Kentucky Derby history, 65-to-1 long shot Country House was named the winner of the race after Maximum Security, who went under the wire first, was disqualified by stewards. In 1968, In the most incredible post-running of the Kentucky Derby, Maximum Security was disqualified for interference on Saturday and Country Home was declared the winner of the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Kentucky Derby history was set Saturday at Churchill Downs in Louisville. Maximum Security led nearly wire-to-wire in the Run of the Roses, but a ruling upon objection caused the horse to be the first winner ever disqualified in the American Triple Crown race for a riders’ objection. So yes, Country House has won the 2019 Kentucky Derby. The second-biggest underdog ever to win at 65-1 came out ahead in part because it stayed wide while previously undefeated Maximum Security caused a ruckus inside. Code of Honor finished second, and Tacitus was third in the rectified results. Country House likely was not impacted as Maximum Security left its lane, but Country House’s team (his jockey was Flavien Prat, and his trainer William I. Mott) pulled the objection because of a wide swing that likely caused War of Will and possibly other horses to slow down. The winner of a Kentucky Derby never had been disqualified.

Maximum Security took an early lead as many expected on the wet track and led for most of the early going, which was expected by SportsLine horse-racing expert Hank Goldberg. He held it all the way, only to see the victory taken by review.
2019 Kentucky Derby Final Results
1. Country House
2. Code of Honor
3. Tacitus
4. Improbable
5. Game Winner
DQ: Maximum Security

Kentucky Derby payout information

Country House, 65-1 — WIN $132.40, PLACE $56.60, SHOW $24.60
Code of Honor, 14-1 — PLACE $15.20 SHOW $9.80
Tacitus, 5-1 — SHOW $5.60
$2 exacta — $3,009.60
$1 trifecta — $11,475.30
$1 superfecta — $51,400.10

This is the second straight year the Derby was held on a sloppy track after record rainfall drenched Churchill Downs in 2018. The weather didn’t exactly put a damper on the previous winner, either, as Justify not only snapped a more than 100-year-old Apollo Curse but went on to win the American Triple Crown thanks in part due to his performance in muddy Louisville. The win marked the fifth career Kentucky Derby victory for trainer Bob Baffert, who had three different horses in Saturday’s competition.


Winner is the favorite to win the Kentucky Derby at 9-2. Game Winner is followed by Roadster and Improbable (both at 5-1).  The entire event along with pre-race coverage and more on www.NBCSports.com (including streaming Friday through Saturday).

Live event coverage from the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs will take place on Saturday with a post time of 6:50 p.m. ET.  Game Winner is now the favorite to win Saturday after Omaha Beach was scratched. Read more

LOUISVILLE, KY – MAY 07: Guests engage with a Kentucky Derby horse at 142nd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 7, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Only 12 horses have won the Triple Crown: Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978), and American Pharoah (2015).Mar 30, 2016

Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing

  • Sir Barton, the first Triple Crown winner, at the 1919 Preakness Stakes
  • American Pharoah, the 12th and latest winner, at the 2015 Preakness Stakes

The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, commonly known as the Triple Crown, is a title awarded to a three-year-old Thoroughbred horse who wins the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. The three races were inaugurated in different years, the last being the Kentucky Derby in 1875. These races are now run annually in May and early June of each year. The Triple Crown Trophy, commissioned in 1950 but awarded to all previous winners as well as those after 1950, is awarded to a Triple Crown winner.

Only twelve horses have won the Triple Crown: Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978), and American Pharoah (2015).

Secretariat holds the stakes record time for each of the three races. His time of 2:24 for  1 1⁄2 miles in the 1973 Belmont Stakes also set a world record that still stands. Read more

Secretariat

An older stallion. Sire Bold Ruler. Grandsire Nasrullah. Dam Somethingroyal. Damsire Princequillo. Sex Stallion. Foaled March 30, 1970 The Meadow, Caroline County, Virginia. Died October 4, 1989 (aged 19) Claiborne Farm Paris, Kentucky. Breeder Meadow Stud (Christopher Chenery). Owner Meadow Stable (Christopher Chenery, Penny Chenery). Racing colors Blue, white blocks, white stripes on sleeves, blue cap. Trainer Lucien Laurin. Record
21:16–3–1. Earnings $1,316,808

Secretariat (March 30, 1970 – October 4, 1989) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse who, in 1973, became the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years. His record-breaking win in the Belmont Stakes, where he left the field 31 lengths behind him, is widely regarded as one of the greatest races of all time. During his racing career, he won five Eclipse Awards, including Horse of the Year honors at ages two and three. He was elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1974. In the List of the Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century, Secretariat is second only to Man o’ War (racing career 1919–1920), who also was a large chestnut colt given the nickname “Big Red”.

At age two, Secretariat finished fourth in his 1972 debut in a maiden race, but then won seven of his remaining eight starts, including five stakes victories. His only loss during this period was in the Champagne Stakes, where he finished first but was disqualified to second for interference. He received the Eclipse Award for champion two-year-old colt, and also was the 1972 Horse of the Year, a rare honor for a horse so young. At age three, Secretariat not only won the Triple Crown, he set speed records in all three races. His time in the Kentucky Derby still stands as the Churchill Downs track record for  1 1⁄4 miles, and his time in the Belmont Stakes stands as the American record for  1 1⁄2 miles on the dirt. His controversial time in the Preakness Stakes was eventually recognized as a stakes record in 2012. Secretariat’s win in the Gotham Stakes tied the track record for 1 mile, he set a world record in the Marlboro Cup at  1 1⁄8 miles and further proved his versatility by winning two major stakes races on turf. He lost three times that year: in the Wood Memorial, Whitney and Woodward Stakes, but the brilliance of his nine wins made him an American icon. He won his second Horse of the Year title, plus Eclipse Awards for champion three-year-old colt and champion turf horse.

At the beginning of his three-year-old year, Secretariat was syndicated for a record-breaking $6.08 million on condition that he be retired from racing by the end of the year. Although he sired several successful racehorses, he ultimately was most influential through his daughters’ offspring, becoming the leading broodmare sire in North America in 1992. Secretariat died in 1989 due to laminitis. His daughters produced several notable sires, including Storm Cat, A.P. Indy, Gone West, Dehere and Chief’s Crown, and through them Secretariat appears in the pedigree of many modern champions. He continues to be recognized as one of the greatest horses in American racing history. Read more

Watch the movie – Click here

Kentucky Derby

Saturday, May 6th @ 2:30pm is the 143rd running of the Derby

Check out the News. The Kentucky Derby is a horse race held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, United States, on the first Saturday in May, capping the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival. Location: Churchill Downs; Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. Track: Left-handed. Distance: 1 1⁄4 miles (10 furlongs; 2,012 m). Purse: US$2 million; 1st: $1,425,000. Record: 1: 59 2⁄5 secs, Secretariat (1973). Qualification: 3-year-old. Inaugurated: 1875.

The Infield – The People’s Race…The People’s Party

Saturday, May 20th is the Preakness

Pimlico

Opened in the fall of 1870, with the colt Preakness winning the first running of the Dinner Party Stakes. Three years later the horse would have the 1873 Preakness Stakes named in his honor. The track is also noted as the home for the match race in which Seabiscuit beat War Admiral in the second Pimlico Special, on November 1, 1938, before a crowd of 43,000. The capacity of the stadium is 98,983.

The Preakness Stakes and the Pimlico Special are run at a distance of 1 3/16 miles. The Pimlico track record for that distance is held by Farma Way, who set it while winning the Pimlico Special in 1991.

In the century and more since its opening, Pimlico Race Track has weathered much outside history including the 1904 Great Fire of Baltimore, Great Depression of the 1930s, and several notable Baltimore riots. Pimlico also survived Prohibition and even an anti-gambling movement in 1910. As Alfred G. Vanderbilt said, “Pimlico is more than a dirt track bounded by four streets. It is an accepted American institution, devoted to the best interests of a great sport, graced by time, respected for its honorable past.” The races held at Pimlico, especially the Preakness, draw spectators from the Mid-Atlantic region. In 2007, the official attendance was 121,263 for the Preakness, the most people to watch a sporting event in Maryland history. More than $87.2 million in bets were made.

On March 23, 2010 an agreement was reached to sell the two Maryland Jockey Club tracks (Pimlico and Laurel Park) from Magna Entertainment Corporation to its parent company, MI Development. On May 7, Penn National, with MI Development, announced they would jointly own and operate the Maryland Jockey Club. Penn National, which began in 1973, operating a thoroughbred race track near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has grown to become the largest racetrack operator in the country.[3]

In June 2011, The Stronach Group took control of the tracks when MI Development bought out Penn National Gaming’s minority stake in the Maryland Jockey Club, which owned Laurel Park Racecourse, Pimlico, and a training facility in Bowie. The Stronach Group is owned by Canadian horse breeder and owner Frank Stronach, who also was MI Development’s chairman and chief executive, a position he gave up in order to run Maryland’s racetracks. Penn National bought a 49% stake in the Jockey Club in 2010 in hopes of securing a slots license at Laurel Park. Read more

Belmont Stakes

The 149th Running of the Belmont Stakes will take place on Saturday, June 10, 2017. Read more. The Belmont Stakes is an American Grade I stakes Thoroughbred horse race held every June at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. It is a 1.5-mile-long (2.4 km) horse race, open to three-year-old Thoroughbreds. Colts and geldings carry a weight of 126 pounds (57 kg); fillies carry 121 pounds (55 kg).

The race, nicknamed The Test of the Champion and The Run for the Carnations, is the third and final leg of the Triple Crown and is held five weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three weeks after the Preakness Stakes, on a Saturday between June 5 and June 11. The 1973 Belmont Stakes and Triple Crown winner Secretariat holds the mile and a half stakes record (which is also a track and world record on dirt) of 2:24.

The attendance at the Belmont Stakes is among the American thoroughbred racing top attended events. The 2004 Belmont Stakes drew a television audience of 21.9 million viewers, and had the highest household viewing rate since 1977 when Seattle Slew won the Triple Crown.

The Hustler’s Handbook

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.”

Appearance
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.

Baseball reaction
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.

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https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Gaedel?wprov=sft

Rain Rebound

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

 

Paul Zwaska

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

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Win one for the Gipper

knute-rockne

As Notre Dame was about to play Army in 1928, football coach Knute Rockne invoked the name of former player George Gipp.  Gipp’s deathbed request eight years earlier supposedly had been to use his memory to motivate the Fighting Irish for a big game.  “‘Rock'”, the coach said Gipp told him, “‘some day when things look real tough for Notre Dame, ask the boys to go out there and win one for me.’

Given the 2016-17 Presidential climate, I (Coach Brooks) never knew the history of this quote.  I suspect just about every competitive athlete and coach has heard this expression, “Win one for the Gipper“, but now it’s even more meaningful understanding the origin!

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Well, I’ve never used Gipp’s request until now.  This is the time.” Notre Dame won.  A New York Daily News writer later reported Rockne’s emotional locker room speech in a feature story headed, “Gipp’s Ghost Beat Army / Irish Hero’s Deathbed Request Inspired Notre Dame.”  Two years later Rockne embellished the legend when he wrote in a magazine that Gipp told him, “‘Some time, Rock, when the team’s up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys—tell them to go in there with all they’ve got and win just one for the Gipper.” In 1940, an adaptation of these words, “Tell’em to go out there with all they got and win just one for the Gipper,” provided the dramatic denouement of a movie in which Ronald Regain played George Gipp.  That movie (whose script was written by Robert Buckner), and Reagan’s lifelong identification with this role, made “Win one for the Gipper” a permanent part of America’s athletic-political lore. (The Quote Verifier: Who Said What, Where, and When by Ralph Keyes. St. Martin’s Press, Apr 1, 2007).  Read more


George Gipp (February 18, 1895 – December 14, 1920), nicknamed “The Gipper”, was a college football player who played for the University of Notre Dame. Gipp was selected as Notre Dame’s first Walter Camp All-American. Gipp played several positions, particularly halfback, quarterback, and punter.  Gipp died at the age of 25 of a streptococcal throat infection, days after leading Notre Dame to a win over Northwestern in his senior season,[1] and is the subject of Knute Rockne’s famous “Win just one for the Gipper” speech. In the 1940 film Knute Rockne, All American he was portrayed by Ronald Reagan. Read more


Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was an American politician and actor who was the 40th President of the United States, from 1981 to 1989. Before his presidency, he was the 33rd Governor of California, from 1967 to 1975, after a career as a Hollywood actor and union leader.

Raised in a poor family in small towns of northern Illinois, Reagan graduated from Eureka College in 1932 and worked as a sports announcer on several regional radio stations. After moving to Hollywood in 1937, he became an actor and starred in a few major productions. Reagan was twice elected President of the Screen Actors Guild, the labor union for actors, where he worked to root out Communist influence. In the 1950s, he moved into television and was a motivational speaker at General Electric factories.

Reagan essentially did not become very FAMOUS until after his 56rd birthday – Governor of CA and especially after his Presidency.  He often used the expression, “Win one for the Gipper” in his political speeches.

He twice ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for the U.S. presidency in 1968 and 1976; four years later, he easily won the nomination outright, becoming the oldest elected U.S. president up to that time, defeating incumbent Jimmy Carter in 1980.  Read more

This will continue to be my #1 “locker room motivation pep talk” until I retire from coaching (which probably won’t be until Blake goes to college).  Reagan is often regarded as one of the most popular and influential American Presidents alongside Kennedy and Lincoln in the history of the United States.

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William Joseph Patrick “Pat” O’Brien (November 11, 1899 – October 15, 1983) was an American film actor with more than one hundred screen credits. Of Irish descent, he often played Irish and Irish-American characters and was referred to as “Hollywood’s Irishman in Residence” in the press. One of the best-known screen actors of the 1930s and 1940s, he played priests, cops, military figures, pilots, and reporters. He is especially well-remembered for his roles in Knute Rockne, All American (1940), Angels with Dirty Faces (1938), and Some Like It Hot (1959). He was frequently paired onscreen with Hollywood legend James Cagney. O’Brien also appeared on stage and television. Read more

 

Davey Johnson

davey_johnson

Sometimes things don’t always work out between owners and managers.

David Allen “Davey” Johnson (born January 30, 1943) is an American former professional baseball player and manager. He played for the Baltimore Orioles (1965–1972) and was the head coach for the Orioles (1996–1997).  He also managed the New York Mets, Washington Nationals and several other MLB teams.

Johnson was the starting second baseman for the Orioles when they won four American League (AL) pennants and two World Series championships between 1965 and 1972. johnsondavey_oriolesplayerHe made four All-Star Game appearances and received the Rawlings Gold Glove Award three times. Johnson won the American League’s Manager of the Year Award in 1997 when he led the Baltimore Orioles wire-to-wire to the American League East Division Championship. He won the same award in the National League in 2012 when he led the Nationals to the franchise’s first division title since 1981.

His biggest success as a manager was when he led the Mets to the 1986 World Series title.
The ball club captured the National League (NL) East under his watch in 1988. The teams he piloted in the three years from 1995 to 1997 all made it to their respective League Championship Series – the Cincinnati Reds in 1995 and the Orioles in both 1996 and 1997. He later managed the Dodgers and Nationals.

johnson_thrown_out_of_game

Johnson rankled Mets management with his easygoing style. Years later, he summed up his approach to managing by saying, “I treated my players like men. As long as they won for me on the field, I didn’t give a flying fuck what they did otherwise.” When the Mets struggled early in the 1990 season, starting the season 20-22, he was fired. He remains the winningest manager in Mets history and was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame with Frank Cashen, Darryl Strawberry, and Dwight Gooden on August 1, 2010.  Johnson and Schott had never gotten along, and relations had deteriorated to the point that he had nearly been fired after the 1994 season.  Also, Johnson and Orioles owner Peter Angelos never got along. In fact, the two men almost never spoke to each other. On October 1, 2012, Johnson led the Nationals to the franchise’s first division title since 1981 (when they were the Montreal Expos), eventually achieving a franchise-record 98 wins—the most wins in baseball that year.  Read more

 


Vince Lombardi

(June 11, 1913 – September 3, 1970)

vince-lombardiProfessional football coach Vince Lombardi became a national symbol of single-minded determination to win. In nine seasons as the head coach of the previously moribund Green Bay Packers, Lombardi led the team to five NFL championships and to victory in the first two Super Bowls.One of my favorite quotes–”It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” 

Life is full of bumps.  “Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense” –Winston Churchill

There are so many people who I have met and experiences that I have had that I hope I can communicate some of that wisdom to others.  Stay Inspired.

Stephen Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.  Think about what you want written on your tombstone“.  I hope that they will engrave, ‘Brooks was a man of integrity’ on my grave.  B. Robinson certainly is a CLASS ACT and a very hard act to follow.

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There have not been many success stories as a head coach, but enough to make me feel complete.  Two of the most significant experiences was last year when we came back from a 9 run deficit with 2 outs at the end of the game.  Then in the championship game, in spite of our lost, receiving the Gatorade Shower and the opposing team players saying, “That is the happiest LOSING team I have ever seen!” Play every game as if it were Game 7.

tony_hopkinsYou’ve got a lotta nerve to say you are my friend.  When I was down you just stood there grinnin’. You’ve got a lotta nerve to say you got a helping hand to lend. You just want to be on the side that’s winnin’. You say I let you down, ya know its not like that. If you’re so hurt, why then don’t you show it? You say you’ve lost your faith, but that’s not where its at. You have no faith to lose, and ya know it.

I know the reason, that you talked behind my back. I used to be among the crowd you’re in with.

Do you take me for such a fool, to think I’d make contact. With the one who tries to hide what he don’t know to begin with? You see me on the street, you always act surprised. You say “how are you?”, “good luck”, but ya don’t mean it. Positively 4th Street. Bob Dylan Listen

People Who Switched Careers After 50 and Thrived!

Just a few examples:

Betty White: This superstar wasn’t a household name until the age of 51 when she began playing “The Happy Homemaker” Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1973-1977).

Regis Philbin was on the small screen on many occasions before his big rise to fame with Kathie Lee Gifford in 1988. When the pair launched Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, Regis was 57.

Sharon Osbourne: Although husband Ozzy Osbourne had been famous since the late 60s as lead singer of The Black Sabbath, his wife wasn’t a household name until The Osbournes premiered on MTV in 2002.

Morgan Freeman didn’t become a superstar until playing chauffeur Hoke Colburn in “Driving Miss Daisy” at the age of 52 (although he was 50 when he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in the film “Street Smart”).

Although Tommy Lee Jones has been on the big screen countless times for decades, he didn’t achieve household recognition until his role in “The Fugitive” at the age of 53.

Although Chris Gardner made it big in the business world years earlier, he did not become a household name until the release of the autobiographical movie, “The Pursuit of Happyness,” starring Will Smith

Julia Child didn’t start cooking until the age of 40 and she didn’t have a television program until “The French Chef” aired in 1963 when Child was 51.

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