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

 

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. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The other day, my new boss gave me the following letter => Click Here.
It is arguably the BEST comprehensive baseball coaching philosophy I have ever read!!!  I’m so grateful to be working for a great baseball manager who understands the game I love so much!  More importantly, I’m glad I have enough humility to be teachable because I do not know all the answers.  However, I have lots of heroes! For example, lately I’ve been telling my 10 year son Blake to 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.

mike_matheny_catcherThough 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

Bill Belichick

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 an American football coach

who 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

Midsummer Classic

American League wins 4-2.  Since 1988 the bettsAmerican League has dominated, winning 22 of 29 with 1 tie (2002).  Since inception, National League (43 Wins)  American League (42 Wins).  bogaertsI 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 gamebradley sanctioned by Major League Baseball (MLB) contested between players from the American League (AL) and the National ortizLeague (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 rizzoSan Diego (Read more).

Giancarlo Stanton turned the Home Run Derby at russellPetco 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 bryanttalent 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!


 

Skipper

Al GallagherThe 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”!

Every baseball player and coach wants to win, generally.  That’s why you keep score.  IMG_7181The biggest showcase of the year is the World Series and that’s where all the hard work throughout the season comes to a close.  If you had a successful season and won enough games to make it to the playoffs you have a shot at taking home a National Championship.

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

manager_success

joe_torre_record_index

joe_torre_record

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

Notice that Buck was the Yankees coach before Torre. But I grew up watching Earl Weaver.  Earl WeaverBuck 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.'”

Showalter’s reputation preceded his arrival in Baltimore. Taskmaster, drill sergeant, disciplinarian — those words were often associated Buck Showalterwith 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.