The Ripken Way

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

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.

Introduction

Iron Man – 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. Watch Video

Teaching BaseballPrintable Lessons as well as Video Lessons (click # links 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. Lessons 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11

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. Lessons 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

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. Lessons 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 10, 11, 12

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. Lessons 00, 00b, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10

LIGHT BULBS

Lessons 00, 01, 02

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

Triple Crown

Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 7, 2016

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

Secretariat as 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.

 

 

Junior Orioles Dugout Club

The official Kids’ Club of the Orioles for fans 14 and under

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* Season subscription to Orioles Kids magazine
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Purchase here

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!

president_reagan

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.

knute-rockne-all-american


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.

thomas-a-edison_failed

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.

Read more

thomas-a-edison_give-up