Tag Archives: Strategy

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

Midsummer Classic

89th annual Midsummer Classic will be held Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 8 p.m. at Nationals Park in Washington, DC.

Home Run Derby is on Monday, July 16 @ 8 p.m.

Read more => http://www.mlb.com/all-star/schedule

Robinson Cano’s 10th inning home run lifts American League to All-Star Game victory (read more).

Aaron Judge currently has the top 5 hardest hit baseballs (e.g. approximately 121 mph.) in MLB history. He was the 2017 champion of the “Home Run Derby” the day before All-Star game.

It was also fun to watch Jose Altuve leadoff for the American League, who is one of the top hitters this year batting 0.353 (as of 7/20/17).


American League wins 4-2. Since 1988 the

betts

American League has dominated, winning 22 of 29 with 1 tie (2002). Since inception, National League (43 Wins) American League (42 Wins).

bogaerts

I found it interesting there have been two ties (first one was in 1961 – Read more). This year the starting line-up for the American League included 4 Boston Red Sox Betts, Bogaerts, Bradley and Ortiz and the National League had their entire infield made up of 4 Chicago Cubs Rizzo, Russell, Bryant and Zobrist.

Major League Baseball All-Star Game, also known as the “Midsummer Classic”, is an annual professional baseball game

bradley

sanctioned by Major League Baseball (MLB) contested between players from the American League (AL) and the National

ortiz

League (NL), currently selected by fans for starting fielders, by managers for pitchers, and by managers and players for reserves.

The game usually occurs on either the second or third Tuesday in July, and is meant to mark a symbolic halfway-point in the MLB season (though not the mathematical halfway-point which, for most seasons, is usually found within the previous calendar week). Both of the major leagues share a common All-Star break, with no regular-season games scheduled on the day before or the day after the All-Star Game itself (Read more). Johnny Cueto and Chris Sale will be the starting pitchers in the 87th All-Star Game to be played tonight at Petco Park in

rizzo

San Diego (Read more).

Giancarlo Stanton turned the Home Run Derby at

russell

Petco Park into a contest of “Can you top this?” For most of the night, the Miami Marlins right fielder found himself trying to outdistance himself, and in the process he stole the show. In the finals, he went first and put the third-seeded Frazier on the defensive. Of his 20 homers, 11 went 440 feet or more (Read more).

Since I’m a loyal Orioles fan, I was cheering for Machado and the other 4 players selected. What is really cool is the fact that no one ever hit a ball off the scoreboard at Petco Park until Mark Trumbo hit a 479-foot homer (Read more). Another really interesting statistic is all the young players who played tonight.

Unfortunately, some people think that the game doesn’t mean anything. However, winning or losing does affect the “home field advantage” for the 2016 World Series. Moreover, I personally believe it is a showcase of the “crim de la crim”. If you love the game as much as I do, it’s exciting to watch the raw

bryant

talent and the camaraderie of the best athletes.

zobrist

Nevertheless, if you look back over the past 4 years that the A.L. had the home field advantage, Kansas City Royals won in 2015 4–1 over the New York Mets but in the previous year, it did not seem to make a difference losing to San Francisco Giants in Game #7 (2014). In 2012, San Francisco Giants also beat Detroit Tigers 4–0. Yet, in 2013, Boston Red Sox with home field advantage won 4–2 over St. Louis Cardinals (Read more).

It was officially decided in August 2009 at the IOC Board meeting in Berlin that baseball would not be included in the 2016 Summer Olympics. What a shame. It starts on August 5 (only three weeks away – Read more). However, the organizing committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has proposed the inclusion of five new sports in their event, with baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sports climbing and surfing being put forward (Read more).

This past spring at Roland Park Baseball, my son Blake started @ 3rd base in the annual RPBL All Star game (little league ages 9-10). Also, I had the honor to be selected as the manager and head coach and it was a blast!


Mike Gottlieb

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. He has averaged nearly 25 victories per season over his tenure. To put that in perspective, the school-record for victories prior to his arrival was 26. Born: October 24, 1956 (age 61) Lynbrook, New York

The Early Years
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. The Tigers swept through the ECC Tournament to win their first tournament championship. For his efforts, Gottlieb was selected as the ECC Coach of the Year and NCAA Regional Coach of the Year.

In their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the Tigers fell, 3-0, to eventual College World Series participant Miami, before rebounding for a 5-1 victory over VCU.  Three years later, Gottlieb led the Tigers to their second ECC Tournament championship and the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers opened the tournament with a loss to Mississippi State before rebounding for a 5-0 victory over Princeton. The victory over Princeton was significant as it marked the 100th victory in Gottlieb’s career. Gottlieb would lead the Tigers to another 30-win season in 1992, their final year in the ECC.

The CAA Era
After a down year in 2004, Gottlieb doubled the team’s win total in a 34-24 season in 2005. The Tigers got better as the season progressed, winning 17 of their final 24 games. The Tigers offense featured an explosive offense that led the country with 105 home runs. The lineup was led by Second-Team All-Americans Jason Maxey (23 home runs) and Casper Wells (17 home runs).

Wells, who is the only Tiger to earn CAA Player of the Year honors, would go on to be drafted in the 14th round by the Detroit Tigers. Shortstop Shane Justis would be selected in the 21st round by the Los Angeles Dodgers, marking the fourth time in the Gottlieb era that two Tigers were drafted in the same draft. The 2005 season also marked the first time the Tigers had reached the championship game of the CAA Tournament. Towson overcame an opening-round loss to knock off regular-season champions UNCW and Delaware on their way to the title game.

 

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.  The Tigers have produced at least one all-conference performer in 25-straight years under Gottlieb. That list includes four conference player’s of the year, three defensive player’s of the year, one rookie of the year and 77 all-conference selections.

Gottlieb arrived in Towson after playing two seasons at Nassau Community College. He played first base for two seasons before graduating in 1979. After graduation, Gottlieb remained at Towson as an assistant coach for Bill Hunter. Gottlieb spent seven years as an assistant under Hunter. When Hunter stepped down in 1988 to become the Director of Athletics, Gottlieb was immediately tabbed as his successor. Gottlieb currently resides in the Towson area. Read more

 

1981–1987: Towson (asst.)
1988–2017: Towson
Head coaching record: Overall 733–821–10

Mike Gottlieb (born October 24, 1956) is a former American college baseball coach, serving as head coach of the Towson Tigers baseball program from 1988 to 2017. He was named to that position prior to the start of the 1988 season. Gottlieb played two seasons for Nassau Community College before transferring to Towson. He played first base for the Tigers and graduated in 1980. Read more

 

Towson Baseball History

Three years ago, he became the first Towson coach to win 500 games when he earned his 500th coaching victory with a win over Mount St. Mary’s on March 12, 2008. Coach Gottlieb led the Tigers to a 30-28 record in 2008 as the team came on strong at the end of the year. After earning the sixth and final berth in the Colonial Athletic Association with a 14-16 record, the Tigers reached the CAA finals where they lost to James Madison, 6-1.

 

In November of 2002, Coach Gottlieb was honored as the College Coach of the Year by the Middle Atlantic Regional Scouting Bureau.  Read more

 

As their program lay on the edge of oblivion, the Tigers charged ahead, winning the Colonial Athletic Association and earning a berth in the NCAA tournament. The politics surrounding the potential axing of Towson baseball went all the way to Annapolis — and the program received funding to continue for two years.

“For whatever reason, I had a fool’s optimism that things would work out,” Gottlieb said. “I don’t know that I had any reason for that, but that’s how I felt. I never talked to anyone about another college coaching job. I have a couple of friends in the scouting profession, and I said to them that if something was available, could they let me know — but I never actively, once, called someone who had the power to give me a job and asked for one.”

The Tigers will now look to defend their CAA championship title this season. One of the positives for the team is that most of last year’s roster has returned in 2014.

“Every one of our nine starting players returned,” Gottlieb said. “That doesn’t happen very often. We’ve moved a few people around — Zach Fisher’s now behind the plate, and for most of our early games, we’ve had a freshman at third base — but everyone else is a guy who’s been out there already.”

But because of some key injuries on the mound, including Paul Beers and Kevin Ross, the pitching will require some fresh talent to play well in order to stay consistent.  Read more

 


A look beyond the gleaming Towson logo and gem-encrusted baseball diamond on Mike Gottlieb’s 2013 Colonial Athletic Association championship ring reveals a message with deeper meaning. The veteran former head coach had the team’s rings engraved with the phrase “Against All Odds,” a nod to the program’s incredible resilience on and off the field on the way to its first conference title in more than two decades.

On April 1, O’Malley bailed out Towson with a plan to free up $300,000 in state funds to help continue the program. By May 25, the Tigers were CAA champions with a backstory worthy of national headlines. They also won their opener at the Chapel Hill Regional before losing their next two games.

“It’s not like winning World War II, but we fought the good fight,” Gottlieb said.

Now, Towson will move on without Gottlieb. The Tigers hired former Orioles farmhand Matt Tyner for the job June 22. Gottlieb plans to find some way to stay around the game. He’d have to find the right situation to coach in college again, though. Scouting seems a better possibility.  Read more

 

Bill Belichick

Who gets more CREDIT for all the Playoffs and Championships?
Quarterback or Coach

Recently, I was asked who was my favorite coach and why?  Well, I’ve always been a huge fan of Coach K. Read more  I particularly admire great strategist and cool headed tempers.

William Stephen “Bill” Belichick

(born April 16, 1952) is the head coach of the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL). Belichick has extensive authority over the Patriots’ football operations, effectively making him the general manager of the team as well. He was previously the head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

Belichick’s father, Steve, was a longtime college football scout and coach who worked for 34 years at the U.S. Naval Academy. Bill often studied football with his father, and has cited him as one of his greatest mentors. He went on to play football and lacrosse in high school and football, lacrosse, and squash at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut. He was captain of the lacrosse team in his senior year.

Belichick began his coaching career in 1975, and by 1985, he was the Defensive Coordinator for New York Giants head coach, Bill Parcells. Parcells and Belichick won two Super Bowls together (XXI and XXV), before Belichick left to become the head coach in Cleveland in 1991. He remained in Cleveland for five seasons, and was fired following the team’s 1995 season. Belichick then rejoined Parcells, first in New England, and later with the New York Jets.

After being named head coach of the Jets in early 2000, Belichick resigned after only one day on the job to accept the head coaching job for the New England Patriots. Since then, he has coached the Patriots to six Super Bowl appearances. His teams won Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, and XLIX, and lost Super Bowls XLII and XLVI. He has led the Patriots to 13 AFC East division titles and 10 appearances in the AFC Championship Game. He was named the AP NFL Coach of the Year for the 2003, 2007, and 2010 seasons.

Belichick is the NFL’s longest-tenured active head coach, and currently is 4th in regular season coaching wins in the NFL at 232, and first in playoff coaching wins with 23. He completed his 40th season as an NFL coach in 2014 and won his fourth Super Bowl, tying Pittsburgh’s Chuck Noll for the most Super Bowl wins by a head coach. He is one of only five head coaches with four or more titles in NFL history. He is also the only head coach in NFL history to win three Super Bowl championships in a four-year span. Read more


 

tom brady

Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr.

(born August 3, 1977) is an American football quarterback for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL). He is one of only two players to win five Super Bowls (the other being defensive player Charles Haley) and the only player to win them all playing for one team.

After playing college football for the University of Michigan, Brady was drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. In Brady’s 15 seasons as a starter, he has quarterbacked the Patriots to eight Super Bowl appearances, the most for any player in history.

1998-Tom-Brady

Brady has been honored with four Super Bowl MVP awards (Super Bowl XXXVI, XXXVIII, XLIX, and LI), the most ever by a single player, has won two league MVP awards (2007 and 2010), has been selected to 13 Pro Bowls, and has led his team to more division titles (15) than any other quarterback in NFL history. As of the end of the 2017 regular season, Brady is fourth all-time in career passing yards, tied for third (with Drew Brees) in career touchdown passes, and third in career passer rating. His career postseason record is 27–9, winning more playoff games than any other quarterback, and he has appeared in more playoff games than any player at any position. Brady has never had a losing season as a starting quarterback in the NFL. His combined regular-season and postseason wins are also the most of any quarterback in NFL history. Because of his accomplishments and accolades, many analysts and sportswriters consider Brady to be among the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Due to his late draft selection, Brady is considered to be the biggest “steal” in the history of the NFL Draft. Read more


 

Regarding ORIGINAL question above, I think the Quarterback gets the most credit.  However, the combination of having a great coach certainly helps!!!

 

 

 

Lost Art of Bunting

Our little league recently tried a new strategy to encourage all hitters to pay closer attention to the strike zone and weaker hitters to have a better chance of getting on base…

I am a big believer in “base hits” win ballgames!

Unfortunately, our team has struck out 59 times in seven games. Breakdown per game: 13, 4, 6, 6, 10, 12 & 8.


MLB Traditional Methodology

Many coaches are in favor of giving up an out by bunting a runner over to second or even third base. I believe this is a bunting strategy that should be determined by a number of factors.

  1. Is it a close game
  2. Is it late in the game
  3. Can the runner steal second instead of being bunted over
  4. How well can the hitter bunt
  5. What is the batting average and on base percentage of the hitter

It really doesn’t make any sense to me, to have a batter at the plate with a high on base percentage or batting average and have him make an out just to move a runner over one base, especially
third.

I may give you in a very close game where one run will win it to
bunt a man over to third with no outs, then have a squeeze bunt if the next hitter is a capable man who can get the job done.

In Pony baseball, the chances seem to be better in favor of attempting
a steal, but again factors such as the runners ability to get a good jump and the catcher’s arm come into play.

In most situations, bunting a runner over early in the game just doesn’t make a lot of sense unless you are fairly sure it will
be a close game.

There is also something to be said for scoring the first run giving your team a psychological advantage. But before you bunt a man over consider who is coming up: are the chances favorable he can get
the job done with a base hit or fly ball, or is the hitter weak and bunting is probably the best option for him?

Even so, you’ve got to consider who is coming up after him whether they can
be counted on to get a hit or fly ball.
Here is one bunting strategy that works almost every time.

Runner on third, or runners on any other base. Less than two outs. The batter at the plate is an average or less hitter,
with weaker hitters coming up behind him….and you really want
to get a run in.

The batter bunts the ball down on the ground towards the third baseman. Have the runner on third follow the third baseman down the line, staying back from him 10 feet or so.

When the player throws to first for the out, you’ve got yourself an easy run. Do remember, if the shortstop is playing heads up ball and the third baseman is in the game, there may be an out at third, depends on how far the second base runner is advanced and how far the ball is bunted. But the chances of this happening are fairly slim, the odds are in the offenses favor.

There really are no hard and fast rules that are absolute, but the one thing I’m not in favor of early in the game is to
bunt a man over with decent hitters at the plate.

Even though everyone should be able to lay down a bunt if called upon, the better hitters in the lineup usually have little bunting experience in the game and so as a general rule are not really
that good at bunting simply because in most games in their past, they hit and didn’t have to bunt.

Remember what Earl Waver said: “If you play for one run, that’s usually all you’ll get.” Read more


Reading the pitcher

In this bunting strategy – recognize a pitcher’s weakness and exploit it for more bunt hits.

Bunting for a hit is an extremely valuable skill, and can even be the deciding factor in a close game when hits and runs are scarce.

Baseball players are creatures of habit!

Most people – and pitchers in particular – are creatures of habit. You can use this to your advantage.

How many times have you seen a ground ball hit back to the pitcher? He usually reacts in one of two ways: Take his time and make a nice throw to first base for the out, or secure the ball start running over to first base and give an underhand flip. As insignificant as this play seems it may tell us a few things about the pitcher and his mindset. This can be extremely important if you can and are willing to bunt.

Typically pitchers work on bunt plays where the baseball is bunted right back to them or towards third base where they can pick it up and throw it to first base. The whole thing becomes very instinctive and doesn’t require much thought or variation on the pitcher’s part.

So how can this help you out?

This can tell you if you should try to bunt against this particular pitcher.

(1) There’s a good chance you’ll be able to predict how he will handle that same scenario in the future

(2) You’ll have a clue as to what type of play is difficult for the pitcher (i.e. if this is a weakness for him) and then you can use this to your advantage.

Will he make a throw to first, or try to run and flip it?

Now lets go back to our pitcher and how he handles a throw to first base on a come backer.

If the pitcher throws the ball to 1st base, it’s a clue that he may be fairly athletic and feels comfortable in throwing a ball outside of his normal pitching motion. In this case, bunting may not be the best option.

However, if a pitcher runs it over towards first base and under hand flips it, there is probably a reason for that. It could be that he not confident in his throwing ability. Maybe he has thrown balls passed the first baseman in the past and now this is his go to move, or perhaps throwing to bases is something he doesn’t practice and doesn’t feel comfortable with. Either way, it can indicate a weakness you can take advantage of by bunting for a hit.

Taking advantage of the pitcher’s weakness

You can force the pitcher to make an athletic throw by laying a soft bunt down the first base line.

This is not a standard push bunt, you want to make sure it’s hard enough where the catcher can’t get it and the ONLY person that can make a play is the pitcher.

A pitcher who isn’t too confident in making an athletic throw will have difficulties with this play.

He has to get to the ball quickly, so his momentum not going in the direction of first base. Then he needs to make a throw to the first baseman without hitting the runner or throwing it into right field.

Since this isn’t a play that is practiced often, and it is a very difficult play, you will quickly tell how athletic the opposing pitcher is and if bunting may be a way for your team to scratch across a few runs.

The reason I picked this type of bunt strategy is because a bunt down the third base line is a play that happens so fast for the pitcher that he doesn’t have time to think about it. This tends to be an easier throw for him to make. Also, pitcher’s practice fielding this bunt often.

Of course, just because a pitcher runs and under hand flips a ball to first base on a come backer doesn’t guarantee that he is uncomfortable making an athletic throw. But paying attention and seeing this as a potential way to attack the pitcher may help you get to a pitcher that is tough to score runs against.


No More Easy Outs

Alfonso Soriano studied Willie Randolph, the Yankees’ third-base coach, as he touched his cap, his nose, his ear, his arm and his belt, and somewhere in Randolph’s rapid collection of movements was a sign for Soriano to bunt. This happened three different times while the Yankees played the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park last month. Each time, Soriano looked inept as he failed to produce a sacrifice.

When Soriano was reminded of his failures, he offered a facial expression that made it seem as if he had gulped salt water. Then Soriano added revealing words to his already revealing actions.

”Bunting?” Soriano said. ”No. Sometimes when they ask me to bunt, I bunt it straight to the pitcher. I’ll be really mad if I make an easy out. I’m not really comfortable bunting. If I could put it down the line, O.K. It’s very important, but I’d rather hit the ball.”

Soriano made his comments while sitting near his locker at Yankee Stadium, but the words could have been spoken by almost any position player in any major league clubhouse. For other than a small percentage of adept bunters, the ability to deaden a pitched ball with a bat while simultaneously placing it away from the charging opposition is not considered a critical talent. Remember, baseball stages a home run derby at the All-Star Game, not a bunting contest.

”It’s not a glorious or a glamorous thing,” Mets pitcher Tom Glavine said. ”Other than starting pitchers and a handful of leadoff guys, players don’t do it. It’s lost its prominence.”

Baseball’s evolution has included smaller parks, bigger players, livelier balls and thicker contracts, but not necessarily heftier paychecks for a player who can bunt for a hit or to advance a runner. And just as influential, there are statistically attuned executives who dispute the traditional notion that bunting builds rallies, and they have data to support their theories.

Those general managers, like Oakland’s Billy Beane, Toronto’s J. P. Ricciardi and Boston’s Theo Epstein, are the current equivalents of Earl Weaver, who despised using the bunt as manager of the Baltimore Orioles across 17 seasons. The general managers have statisticians who support their belief that they should resist it. Read more

 

Broken Clock

Were you late for any meetings this week (e.g. Monday, March 13)?  How many clocks did you have to change in your house and office? Well, I have at least a dozen or more. This includes microwave, coffee maker, watches, etc.

A broken clock is right twice a day.  Thank God for “smart phones” that automatically adjust twice a year.  Hopefully, I am right more often than I am wrong, but that is often debatable. Two steps forward, one step back.

Nevertheless, if you are like me, you might have some broken clocks, or a watch with a dead battery.  In fact, if you are really behind the eight ball, you may have to update your calendar or your watch because February only has 28 days and your watch may be 3 days behind if you have not worn it in awhile.

Daylight Saving Time

The good news is the days are getting longer and you will start seeing more daylight.  Daylight Saving Time changes at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March in the U.S. when we set our clocks forward (“Spring Forward”) one hour ahead of Standard Time. We turn the clocks back at 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday in November (“Fall Back”), thus returning to Standard Time. Read more

You may recall my Introductory “Little League” Letter was all business.  Well, actually I’m pretty laid back and often digress – side track or even worse, regress move backward.  Did you know that moving your clock forward one hour is a lot easier than moving it back in the fall because you have to cycle through 11 hours?  Depending on whether you have an Analog or Digital clock, when you change the time from 2am to 3am it’s real easy.  However, changing from 2am to 1am means you have to go all the way around.

This reminds me of my life.  Physically “In old age, one’s body regresses.”  Frequently, “I battle with ONLY two gears in my life”.  Forward or Backwards.  Rarely do I Park and Sit Still. That is my greatest challenge – moderation and being low key.

When local standard time was about to reach Sunday, March 12, 2017, 2:00:00 am clocks were turned forward 1 hour to Sunday, March 12, 2017, 3:00:00 am local daylight time instead.  Sunrise and sunset was about 1 hour later on Mar 12, 2017 than the day before. There was more light in the evening.  However, there is a one week, one hour time difference Eastern Standard Time (UTC-5) or Eastern Daylight Time (UTC-4) depending upon the season (Spring forward, Fall back), so please adjust accordingly. Read more

As your Skipper, I believe it is better to give you too much information than too little. That gives you the autonomy to decipher what is important to you. For example, this Friday, March 17 is Saint Patrick’s Day and Monday, March 20 is the First Day of Spring.  Another life lesson I have found is that it is easier to lighten up than tighten up.

During our Parent Meeting at our last practice (March 11), I discussed the importance of having Fun this season.  This is a very big philosophy of Roland Park Baseball League and I want to reinforce this principle.  Too often I see kids get burnt out or lose interest.  My goal every time I coach is to develop talent and make it enjoyable.  If you are not getting better than it quickly becomes no fun.  I stressed the importance of Parent expectations and think Mike Matheny said it much better than I could ever articulate.  However, I do want to emphasize my promise to you that I will try my best to keep email communication short and sweet.  I will routinely post pre-game and post-game blogs and interact with the League Toolbox as far as scheduling goes.  Notice on this blog that there are many, many baseball and sports related Hyperlinks that will keep you busy for hours.

In terms of practice plans, we will typically start out every practice and game with stretching and conditioning (running stairs is a great way to get the heart rate pumping).  Then we will break-out into 3 groups focusing on pitching, fielding and hitting.  I like to end the practice with a scrimmage and really concentrating on “situations” for both offense and defense (e.g. what do you do with one out, man on first and the ball is hit to the shortstop?). More importantly, I am very serious about sportsmanship and hustling.  I don’t ever want to see kids teasing each other or their opponents and insist on running on and off the field between innings.  Also, I prefer that the kids help setup the equipment, carry the bags to/from the coaches car and cleanup and the end of every practice & game.  That’s how we did it when I played little league.  And I remember distinctly the coaches telling me that when the college and MLB scouts show-up at our games, they are paying particular attention to ATTITUDE.

Moving forward, we need lots of help!  I’m still looking for volunteers to help run stations.  I received some questions about Uniforms and it would probably be best if we all wore Black baseball pants with black socks, but I’m flexible.  If you already have grey or white pants, that’s fine.  Also, if you are considering investing in a helmet, Baltimore City requires that you wear a face mask.   The RPBL gives us more than four team helmets with mask.  I suggest if you are concerned about hair lice that you purchase your own.  Just make sure it is comfortable (snug and doesn’t slide around) and can see well.  We also have 3-4 baseball bats and you are welcome to take home with you, but if you would like to buy your own I can help you decide.

Youth Baseball Bats feature a 2 1/4 inch barrel diameter and are often lighter, with a length to weight ratio between -8 and -13. Youth bats are sometimes referred to as small barrel bats or Little League baseball bats, and are used by players that play in leagues that mandate a bat with a 2 1/4 inch barrel. Most will be Little League approved bats and should also be legal in one or more of the following associations: Babe Ruth, Dixie, Pony, AABC, or USSSA. NOTE: As of January 1, 2018, the new USA Baseball Bat Standard will be implemented. Little League-approved baseball bats that are approved for use for the 2017 season will no longer be acceptable for use in any Little League game or activity. Read more

 

Mike Matheny

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 14: Manager Mike Matheny #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals looks on while taking on the San Francisco Giants in Game Three of the National League Championship Series at AT&T Park on October 14, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – OCTOBER 14: Manager Mike Matheny #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals looks on while taking on the San Francisco Giants in Game Three of the National League Championship Series at AT&T Park on October 14, 2014 in San Francisco, California

Read his letter to Little League => Click Here

Great philosophy!!!

Humility & Teachable.

Watch Robinson Canoe turns a double play

Michael Scott Matheny (born September 22, 1970) is an American former professional baseball catcher and the current manager of the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball (MLB), a position he has held since 2012. A product of the University of Michigan, Matheny was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth round of the 1991 MLB Draft. He made his MLB debut for the Brewers in 1994 and retired in 2006 with the San Francisco Giants. He also played for the Toronto Blue Jays and Cardinals during his thirteen-year catching career.

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Though not a prodigious hitter, Matheny was one of the most accomplished defensive catchers of his era, winning four Rawlings Gold Glove Awards. Further, he established major league records among catchers for consecutive games played without committing an error (252), and consecutive chances fielded without an error (1,565). Matheny is one of only three Major League catchers with an errorless season of at least 100 games, and he set a Giants single-season team record in 2005 for catcher’s fielding percentage at .999. He retired from playing due to persisting concussion symptoms, and has since become an advocate for its prevention and for improved catcher safety.

mike_matheny_umpireAfter his playing career, Matheny coached Little League Baseball. The Cardinals hired him to manage following the 2011 season in spite of having no previous professional experience. In 2015, he became the first manager in MLB history to lead his team to the playoffs in each of his first four seasons, and, in 2014, just the fifth to a League Championship Series appearance in each of his first three. His furthest title claim occurred in 2013, when the Cardinals won the National League pennant, only to fall to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. Read more

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”!

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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 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.

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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.