Friday, November 30, 2007
We received an e-mail the other day from Nate Trosky about a concert he is having tonight.. Nate is the co-founder and head trainer at the Trosky Baseball School. Nathan spent 4 years as a player coach in Europe’s professional leagues and 2 years in the states in the minor leagues. Seasonally, when he goes back to Europe to coach with the Croatian Olympic team, he scouts for the Arizona Diamondbacks...and Nate loves baseball. In fact, he loves the game so much he is a writes songs about it...professional quality songs with catchy tunes and lyrics...One in particular was the subject of a story in the Monterey County Weekly...We are re-printing this story because it's guys like Nate that give baseball its character. He takes the term "respect the game" to a whole new level. We hope you enjoy this story as much as we did....
Baseball was a given for Carmel’s Nathan Trosky—it was in his blood. The love affair between the Trosky family and America’s pastime dates back to his grandfather, Hal Trosky, whose face landed on a box of Wheaties after he hit 42 home runs for the Cleveland Indians in 1936.
“I think when something is just there, when it’s such a big part of your life, you don’t think too much about it,” says Trosky, 37. “It wasn’t until high school that I started to grasp who my grandfather really was.”
This month, Trosky shared that inherited passion with hundreds of thousands of Major League Baseball fans when his original tribute to Jackie Robinson played at stadiums around the country.
Only when his own career as a full-time pro player and coach started to wind down in the mid-‘90s did Trosky discover just how important baseball was to his family.
“I wasn’t traveling so much, so I had more time to explore my family’s history in baseball,” he says. The increased leisure time brought a revelation—he was actually one of eight members of the Trosky family lineage to play under pro stadium lights.
“Our family’s huge, and most of them are from Iowa, so we’re not always in dialogue with each other,” he says. “With that separation, it’s difficult to have connections with all of them. Some of them, uncles and cousins who played in the pros, I’d never met before.”
Since his discovery, he’s committed himself to sharing his family’s baseball history, and the folklore surrounding the great players who played alongside his grandfather. He does that in different ways—as co-owner of Carmel Baseball, a youth baseball clinic on Sixth Avenue which doubles as a memorabilia shop, and as a musician.
Trosky’s part-time country music career has taken him to the stage at the San Francisco Blues Festival and KTOM Summer Jam. He’s also co-writing and performing in the Old Time Baseball Show, which premieres at the Carl Cherry Center next month.
Six months ago, he began working on a different project that would combine his love of music and baseball, an album about the great icons of baseball. One of the songs, “Born Right On Time,” is a twangy Americana ode to the life and legacy of Robinson.
“Without Jackie Robinson, who knows when society would’ve reached those milestones,” Trosky says. “He had a purpose, he was born to make a difference, and I think he knew that there was a greater plan at work.”
In 1947, 20 years before Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Robinson personified the civil rights movement when he became the first African-American player signed to a major league roster. Robinson’s impact transcended baseball: the NFL and NBA were integrated in 1948 and 1949, respectively. By the time his playing career ended in 1956, Brown v. Board of Education had integrated schools and Rosa Parks had kept her seat. Martin Luther King Jr.’s bus boycott would desegregate Birmingham’s public transit a short time later.
After finishing “Born Right On Time,” Trosky approached the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, to gauge its interest in using the song as part of the league-wide salute to Robinson on April 15, the 60th anniversary of Robinson’s Major League debut.
“The Hall of Fame loved the song, and gave us the rights to the footage,” Trosky said. He pieced clips of Robinson’s playing career into a music video, and sent the finished product to major league ballparks. The clip aired before games at MacAfee Coliseum in Oakland and Turner Field in Atlanta. The Philadelphia Phillies, whose April 15 game was rescheduled due to rain, aired the clip before Monday’s game with the Houston Astros.
Trosky sees some poetic justice in the fact that his tribute to Robinson was featured in Philadelphia, as Robinson’s experiences there during his rookie season were particularly painful. Since none of the hotels in the city would accept him, he and his wife were forced to stay at the YMCA. Phillies’ manager Ben Chapman, a native of Alabama, instructed his players to berate Robinson with a violent stream of racial epithets. Chapman himself screamed that Robinson should “go back to the cotton field.”
Robinson laughed last, however. At the end of the 1947 season he was named Rookie of the Year. Chapman, with his team mired in last place, was fired within a year.
To Trosky, that’s why Robinson is such an inspirational figure—when he was confronted by the ugly face of hatred, he only played better.
“He understood what he was called to do,” Trosky says. “That’s what allowed him to withstand even the most incredible persecution.”
Jackie Robinson’s story of perseverance is just one of many lessons that can be learned from studying baseball’s history, Trosky says. He tries to instill those lessons in the kids he coaches at Carmel Baseball.
“They were old school,” Trosky says of Robinson and the other great players of his grandfather’s generation. “Kids need role models like that to develop, people in their lives to teach values and good decisions.”
Thursday, November 29, 2007
When a company like Apple Computer wants to introduce a new product, the timeline to bring it to market involves a synergistic relationship between several departments within that corporation…From research and development to engineering to IT and software development to manufacturing to finance and finally to marketing…The process involves each department communicating and handing down data and specs to bring a product to market that is consistent with what was conceived by the research and development teams that originated the idea….like the iPhone.
Doesn’t this analogy say it all? Imagine a world where we didn’t communicate with one another for a common goal. We wouldn’t allow this to happen in our places of employment, yet in some cases there adults that are letting it happen in the development of a child. Whether it’s a math teacher communicating a students weaknesses to a private tutor or a coach giving his assessment to a private instructor, open lines of communication will create a more consistent and successful result.
This series on Synergy has been controversial to some and an eye opener for others. We at Rounding Third definitely have strong opinions about this subject and we do it all without hidden agendas. We don’t run or own a travel club, batting cages, hitting/pitching instruction business, or are presently high school or travel coaches. We do have sons that played ball and have been heavily involved in all of the aforementioned activities. We have seen the good and the bad of both sides of the fence and the only side that anyone should be taking is the side that benefits the player the most. And, that side involves all sides communicating and handing down facts, data and evaluations from one coach to another and another so that the end result can be a consistent with what was conceived by the teams, coaches and instructors that originated the initial assessment and goal of the player.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Holistic Synergy sounds like a New Age practice found off the shores of the California Coast. In fact, it was a suggestion from a reader on the cooperation that all coaches should have with everyone involved in the development of a top rated player. Actually, it also sounds sort of redundant, but that's what baseball is all about...Repetition, repetition, repetition. Players need to keep in baseball shape year round and with the seasonal state restrictions on HS coaches and the geographic difficulties in seeing travel coaches, players need to seek out extra help. That increases the need for High School and Travel coaches to have a ongoing relationship with hitting, pitching and conditioning instructors. Like our past three posts, this is another one of those instances where the lack of communication gets in the way of results.
Instead of being long winded on this topic...we are going to be a bit more blunt...Coaches...You need to talk with the private instructors and instructors need to talk with the Coaches.
Baseball players aren't industrial patents...there are no ownership rights of their impending successes to brag about. We hear too many times about instructor "Smith" claiming that Player "Jones" was the result of his "Innovative 8 Step Program"...Blah, Blah, Blah. Guess what? Forget about which instructor did the best job...Everyone is responsible...The high school coaches, the travel coaches, and the instructors...The end result however could be even better, if all of your sons coaches stopped working independently of one another and worked together. Communication handed down from one coach to another will help that player use the information and build a successful career with it.
Again, everyone wins and maybe, just maybe, coaches and instructors could learn something along the way. Face it coaches... After the high school season they will play travel ball and after that they will seek out hitting and pitching and conditioning instructors during the off-season...it's an ongoing cycle and it's a smart way to keep the mechanics top of mind and build muscle memory...Everyone needs that type of consistent training.
Work together guys. It's the "New Age" of total communication for the Betterment of Baseball!!!!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Every year around the beginning of November, many of the top college coaches meet one on one with their players and give them their summer assignments. The Top players are assigned to leagues like the Cape Cod, Northwoods, Great Lakes and even Alaska. College coaches from all over the country work in direct contact with officials from the National Baseball Congress(NBC), National Association of College Summer Baseball (NACSB) and the Atlantic Baseball Confederation Collegiate League(ABCCL) and other smaller leagues to get their players placed. Click on those links for a look at the leagues and their teams.
One of the mission statements of the NACSB is:
"To foster better relationships between collegiate coaches and the NACSB in conjunction with the ABCA".
The ABCCL's mission statement is:
* To serve as a convenient, accessible and quality resource for college baseball players to strengthen their skills and compete with their baseball peers.
* To provide college baseball coaches with an organized, constructive extension to their school programs during the traditional summer "off-season".
* To act as a venue for all college players to improve and showcase their talent before intercollegiate and professional evaluators.
Now That's Synergy!
Then it occurred to us...what if the high school coaches and the travel coaches took their communication to this level? Their college counterparts want their players to continue at a high level of competition...The leagues themselves (according to the ABCCL website)...are designed to improve the players by maximizing playing opportunity. As a result, they will improve their performance upon returning to school and increase their awareness among the professional scouting community.
Substitute the word professional with collegiate and that same synergy could exist with high school players. Again, we can not reiterate enough...the communications lines between the High School Coaches and the travel teams and leagues needs to come from both sides...and now is the time to make that contact! There is absolutely no reason why this can't happen...It's a huge win-win for both programs and an incredible upside for the players.
Monday, November 26, 2007
We have received dozens of suggestions via e-mail on a follow-up to last weeks article on high school coaches. There have also been many discussions on various national and regional message boards about the role of the high school coach when it comes to promoting players to the next level. So over the past several years, we have heard just about every argument and opinion, good and bad. Everyone seems to have a personal story, some of them extremely touching and some not, about an experience they had with a high school coach. Therefore, everyone seems to have an opinion about what the HS coaches role should be...so do we.
In our opinion, the role of the high school coach is to coach...period. Now, let's define the term "coach". High schools coaches see their players nearly every day of the school year...depending on their status at that school. By that, we mean many head coaches are also teachers. So those coaches influence on their players are in many cases, a bit more involved. Despite the restrictions many state High School associations have on off-season practices, a full time teacher/coach will encourage his players to buckle down in school, practice on their own, and open up the facilities for off-season conditioning. During the season, the role of the coach is dedicated to molding his players into fundamentally sound, disciplined, smart, competitive ball players. His job is to make sure that those players taking the field are the nine best players he has seen in action at that point. Those nine can and probably will change throughout the season because good high school coaches will always create that kind of competitive atmosphere. And, no matter what combination of nine players are on that field, they will be the most competitive nine at that given time. That's what high school baseball is all about. High School coaches are a huge influence in the development of baseball players and the better coaches take this role very seriously. This is a full time job that is not only emotionally draining, but these decisions often come with the baggage of over-zealous parents and other critics as well.
So with that in mind, we do not think his role should be that of recruiting facilitator on top of all of the aforementioned duties. It doesn't mean he is not a part of the process...he is, but just in a reduced role...more later...This is usually where the critics seem to disagree. If this question was asked 25 years ago, we would have said, sure...the high school coach should be involved. Today however, the rules of the recruiting game have changed. The high school season is not a time when college recruiters can realistically observe players. Most college recruiters are assistant coaches and are too busy with their own schedules to find the time to go see a high school game. There are exceptions in areas like Houston, the North Carolina Research Triangle area, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose area where their are 6 or more D-1 schools within an hours drive. Even then, unless it's a big time tourney like Southern California's Phil Nevin Classic or Florida's Lincoln National Spring Break Invitational, which features a multitude of potential recruits, it isn't cost effective for a recruiter to take the time away from his own teams duties to go see one or two players.
Therefore, the job of recruiting coordinator falls upon the families themselves, with a boost from their travel/select baseball organizations. Families must remember, if baseball wasn't in the picture, the application process would be 100% on the student. The same should apply WITH baseball in mind. That doesn't mean that parents shouldn't seek out additional help...For instance, many good showcase or travel teams have great databases of college recruiters e-mails and snail mail addresses available. Players and their parents should also ask the travel team coaches to help assist them with the proper format for a profile sheet. Many of the top travel programs, like the teams we profiled in our "Top 5" list last month, will even send out material for their players prior to a big showcase and while at the tourney, do a little tub-thumping on behalf of their players. However, student/athletes still need to send out their own letters and e-mails to every school on their wish list. A player must take that initiative...if for no other reason, to show the coaches that he has a vested interest in the recruitment process.
Now, here's where the high school coach comes back into play...and where our article last week needs to be taken seriously by both the HS and travel coaches... If a college recruiter has an interest in a player, there are two references he WILL phone or e-mail. One is the travel coach...the other is the High School Coach. A good travel teams M-O is to get their players placed, so that phone call is a no-brainer. The unknown in many cases is the reaction of the high school coach. It's not his fault...he didn't see his player play in the summer showcases...But, he should either seek out or be given that information...For instance, a player may not have had a great High School season, but really showed his mettle during the summer against better competition that really impressed a college recruiter. Depending on the High School League, some top players actually under perform at the plate during the HS season because they are ahead of or are over swinging at the slower and inconsistent pitching. The opposite also occurs, where a player may hit his stride and be MVP of his High School team, but can't come close to catching up with the faster, more controlled pitching of the travel tourneys.
So, in our opinion, the role of the high school coach is to follow-up with the travel team coaches to get assessments of his players progress. A high school coach must know that the high school season is half of that players time on a field. He needs to know about the other half or summer season as well, so when he gets that phone call from a college recruiter about one of his players, he can base that particular players assessments based on all of the facts...or at least give the college recruiter an idea of his players progression. A High School Coach should never say a player is not ready for the next level based on half of that players season...especially when that recruiter saw him play in the summer and the HS coach did not...and evidently that has happened on occasion, based on e-mails we have received.
Bottom line...A college recruiter wouldn't even waste his time calling a High School Coach if that recruiter didn't see something positive in that particular player. These guys know what to look for and know what they want. At the very least a high school coach should talk about potential or that players projectablity if he doesn't want to talk to travel coaches for whatever reason. But, we feel that it is in the best interest of all parties for all coaches to know all of the facts before they say anything to a recruiter.
And, likewise, we also feel that it is equally the responsibility of the travel organization to help break the ice and call the high school coaches and give them an assessment of their players progress and interest from colleges throughout the summer. And, as our last "Synergy" article suggested, this contact between the two should happen before the summer season starts as well. Once that is done...then hopefully it will become an annual ritual...all for the betterment of the player and baseball in general.
RT Staff (post your comment below by clicking the word "comments")
Friday, November 23, 2007
It's the day after the usuals...Turkey, mashed and sweet potatoes, green bean casserole (it's like fruit cake, the only time we see that dish), cranberry whatever (don't drink milk after eating that stuff), 20 different varieties of stuffing that the relatives bring over because theirs is the best...and at last count...327 pies. And then there was Brett Favre, his arm looking like a healthy Roger Clemens, throwing for more yards yesterday than the Rocket had strike-outs in a Cy Young award winning season....At the age of 38!
And that brings up the topic of age. Does it seem to you that more players are getting better as they get older? Clemens, Johnson, Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Wells, Schilling, Rivera...all are effective pitchers. Omar Vizquel is still one of the better shortstops in the national league. Is it possible that as you get older, you get smarter about the game???...able to anticipate, concentrate and focus more. The adage of wise old men rings very true in this case. Many players are never able to harness that frame of mind. They rely on their physical attribute to get by, but never to get ahead. In today's game...a player needs to harness the mind first...then the physical part of the game becomes a bit easier.
It's not all hocus-pocus stuff...In our daily searches of all things baseball, we came across a few sites that offer books and training to help a player with the mental edge...and as we conclude this this post to make a turkey, stuffing and cranberry sandwich, we leave you with some links that would make great stocking stuffers for your son on this Black Friday shopping extravaganza.
Enjoy the rest of your holiday....AND...look at our NLI listings...we are approaching the end of the list...get your son's or players name in today...e-mail us at email@example.com
Mental Toughness Sites and Books
Baseballs Mental Fundamentals
The Hitting Edge
Big League Edge
Baseball Warehouse Available Books and Videos on Mental Training
Steve Springers Quality at Bats
Baseball Training Secrets
Be a Better Hitter...Mental Approach
Thursday, November 22, 2007
This years first Turkey Award goes to the folks at the NCAA. Maybe this is not a politically correct stance to take since we extol the virtues of colleges on this site, but again our views are opinions for the betterment of baseball and we vehemently disagree on their recent rulings.
The ruling that disturbs us the most is moving the start dates of college baseball up to March 1 from February 1 without decreasing the number of games being played. That means that schools must squeeze in 56 games in four fewer weeks. Many teams must now play up to 5 games a week to comply with this change. To top it off, the NCAA's new Academic Performance Rates (APR) have gotten tougher. APR measures each student's progress toward obtaining an academic degree. Teams failing to score 925 in the APR -- equivalent to a 50 percent graduation rate -- can lose scholarships. So, baseball players, which on average enter college with GPA's much, much higher than the players in the "revenue generating" sports, have an additional target on their back to perform even more with much less time available to them in the classroom.
Under the new rules, players also must be academically eligible during fall semester to play the following spring, which will require more players to attend summer school. Football and basketball players address this by going to summer school to improve their status. The difference is that those sports give 100% scholarships that cover the costs of summer school. Most college baseball players don't attend summer school because their limited scholarships, which to begin with are only 33-50%of the total universities costs during regular school year, don't cover it. But, what the NCAA seems to forget is that traditionally, baseball is a SUMMER sport. For most baseball players, summer school is out of the question, because the better players are shipped to the summer leagues like Cape Cod, Northwoods and Alaska... What are they supposed to do???? And, for those that want to go to school, that cost is totally out of pocket, because their 33-50% scholarship doesn't cover it.
Want more???...Also under the new rules, which will go in effect for the 2008-09 academic year, baseball rosters will be capped at 35 players, with only 30 players being eligible to receive financial aid. Starting in 2009-10, only 27 players can receive financial aid, each of whom must receive at least one-third of a full scholarship. So here's the scenario...56 games in four fewer weeks means a team will need more pitchers...but, since the roster is now capped and the scholarship minimum raised to 33%...well....it's not a great time to be a developing position player....teams will only recruit impact guys at positions, so they can concentrate on recruiting more pitchers.
As it is, College baseball receives fewer scholarships that programs that generate a fraction of the revenue. For instance, women's equestrian can dole out 15 scholarships, and women's crew teams can award 20 scholarships.
Ron Polk, the Mississippi State Coach, a huge opponent of the legislation stated, "They're giving us chump change, and now they're telling us how to spend the chump change," Polk said.
The new college baseball rules also include legislation that is targeted at increasing player retention and graduation rates for college baseball. In the past, baseball players could transfer from one school to another without penalty. Football, basketball and men's hockey players have to sit out one season at their new school if they transfer. Under the new rules, baseball players also will face that one-year penalty if they leave.
Most college baseball coaches agree that they need to do a better job of retaining and graduating their players. But decreasing the size of scholarships isn't the way to achieve that goal, Polk said.
Polk believes the new rules will do more harm that good. Because of the new rules, Polk said college baseball teams won't be able to lure top high school players to their schools anymore. "How am I going to be able to convince a kid to come to college, instead of going pro, when I can only give him a 33 percent scholarship?" Polk said.
Rounding Third asks..."What IS the message being sent??? The NCAA wants players to graduate...yet they cap the roster at 35...which means that some upper classmen may have to be cut to make room for new recruits...Those upper classmen can't transfer, they lose their scholarship and then what? Hopefully they have the financial wherewithall to stay in school and graduate, so it doesn't affect the schools APR...Another scenario involves draftable players...how can you convince them to stay in college after their junior year when there are 50 rounds of the draft selecting over 1,500 players? As a contrast, basketball drafts 60 players...and baseball's APR is still pretty even with basketballs...So given all of the outside influences, why is baseball even being targeted???"
Our number one rant is that these players are going to school to play baseball...but they are going to school first...and the NCAA is making it harder for them to make the grade...yet... wants them to makes the grades. Yes, there was a disparity between the sun-belt schools and the frost belt schools when the season started on February 1...And, strapping on full football gear in the Arizona 100+ degree heat or the stifling Florida humidity in late August and early September is tough too, but you don't see those schools wanting to move the football season to October. Bottom line, it's about the players and their educational needs. The NCAA in our opinion just made it a lot harder for those academic needs to be satisfied.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
For many of our readers, this is a travel day to visit family. For others, it's one of those clock watching days at work in anticipation of a 4 day holiday. In our baseball world, it's the last official day that players can sign their NLI in the early period and although most kids are prone to procrastination when it comes to taking out the garbage or cleaning their rooms, I doubt if even one player waited until today to sign their NLI. So, most of the signings are done and our list continues to grow. And, because it's the day before Thanksgiving, we'd like to say Thanks to all of the players, parents and the hundreds of coaches that have sent us e-mails proudly announcing the signings. We'd also like to give a big THANK YOU for making Rounding Third so popular in it's first few months. Every day, we break our own personal records on the number of hits and page views we receive. Also, thank you for all of the kind e-mails from our readers complimenting us on our content and resources we provide here at Rounding Third. Keep spreading the word. Our goal is to make a difference and it's readers like you that are helping us reach that goal. There's a lot to look forward to in the upcoming months. We will start to preview the high school season region by region, track draftable players and also give you a heads up on what college freshman are doing on their new teams. As always, we will respond to e-mails and any topics that you may want to talk about.
And all of you readers out there...be thankful for the incredible support group that is the baseball community. Unlike any other sport, the baseball families are a close knit, caring and supportive group of individuals. That's what inspired us to start Rounding Third. We wanted to give back, what was given to us for so many years.
So enjoy your holidays...we still will be posting through the break and adding to that NLI list...In fact tomorrow, we will give out our Turkey award and it's another rant that we will write from time to time...all for the betterment of baseball...of course:)
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
As we continue to receive e-mails from both High School coaches and travel/summer coaches on their players NLI signings, some of the names were duplicated between the two...and the thought occurred to us that it would benefit everyone if the two parties would just work closer together and take an interest in each others role in the development of the players that they have in common. We don't know how these coaches feel about one another in your neck of the woods, but around here, the relationship between HS and Travel coaches can be a bit strained. But it sure doesn't have to be that way. In fact, the ultimate success of their players revolves around the two of them working together to produce smarter, mentally tough, fundamentally sound ball players.
High School is about daily repetition, mental toughness, playing in front of crowds, and discipline. Summer ball is about putting that extensive training to the test against top competition and in front of recruiters. So to us, it would be highly beneficial to both coaches if they talked with each other about the progress, abilities and potential of their players with each other, so that the players can improve upon their game in the forthcoming seasons. Bottom line, they both see each others players about equally. A HS coach will conduct about 60 practices and 30 games with his players and a Travel coach about 60+ games and 20 practices. Coaches that spend that much time with players, know what their players can and can't do, and should communicate those points with each other for the betterment of the players.
Here's an example: Let's say a HS team has an underclassman with projectable skills, but he is a bit apprehensive at the plate and in the field. The HS Coach however, sees a hidden potential in this kid. Towards the end of the season, this kid gets more confident and contributes more to the team. In other words, the coach was right, this kid will be a big contributor to the team next year. Now, here's a perfect opportunity for that coach to contact that players summer coach and give him a full report on this kids progression, strengths, weaknesses and communicate what his player needs to continue to work on. It's a win-win for both the player (the most important benefit) and both teams. But often times, egos get in the way and the players suffer as a result. If they don't communicate, the summer coach may not see what the High School coach saw and the player regresses rather than improves that summer season. The opposite happens from summer/fall to the HS season. Why does this happen? We don't know, but for the sake of the players, open communication and synergy between the two programs is paramount to the progression of a players abilities. What are your thoughts? Click the comment button just below this post and communicate your opinions on this issue.
Monday, November 19, 2007
A lot of our information for the NLI signings are coming from High School baseball coaches and in particular state associations from all over the country. Thanks guys, we really appreciate your help…It then occurred to us, that it may seem like we really push travel ball on this site and if we do, it’s is not to slight the incredible importance of High School Baseball one bit. We only stress Travel/Select baseball because that is when most of the scouts and coaches in college have the time to actually see the players. It’s economy of scale. And in reality, the recruiters are all just doing a follow up to see first hand, the abilities of the player that had a great high school year.
High School baseball benefits baseball players in so many ways. First, there is the support of the built-in fan base and community that schools provide. If a team or certain players had a great game, it is published all over the local community newspapers and announced in the early morning school announcements. This type of publicity sets up showdowns with other schools and rivalries in their league and sections. And, it’s those games that have great meaning not only to players, but alumni as well.
Many cities have high school rankings and there are bragging rights for teams to strive for. This engages entire metropolitan areas to follow the successes of certain teams and players. In many areas of the country, message boards on the Rivals network and other local sites get as busy as talk radio when it comes to match-ups, league standings, play-offs and top players. So, the publicity for many top HS teams can stretch well beyond their local county papers to the entire region and even the whole state.
HS also gives players the ability to hone their skills each and every day in the off-season with their very own private work-out facility. Parents, we have to pay for these privileges at health clubs and franchised gyms. Players have the luxury of the schools tracks, weight rooms, fields and coaches at no cost. During the season, the everyday practice is invaluable. The one thing that summer ball can’t offer is access to the fields and coaches for three hours a day, 6 days a week. If your son loves baseball, he should love the opportunity to take advantage of this huge benefit. When you throw in 25-30 games on top of all of that practice, your son should be at the top of his game by the time recruiting season gets started in the summer.
So, hat’s off to High School Baseball. We are nearing the end of 2007, which for many of us in the sun-belt, means January practices and try-outs are just around the corner. As important as travel ball is to recruiting, there’s still nothing like the excitement and anticipation of a high school baseball season. Thanks to all of the high school coaches that take the time to make high school baseball special for all of our players. And, thanks to all of the high school coaches that have been sending us e-mails and proudly announcing the success and signings of their college bound seniors.
Rounding Third Staff.
Friday, November 16, 2007
The partial list of NLI signees is coming along quicker than we thought.
We have some unique features to our list that no other service has. We are providing links to AFLAC All American profiles, University Baseball sites and player profiles linked to the travel ball web site. Be assured, we WILL have the most complete list of NLI signees in the country when we are all finished. We hope to have a complete list by the end of next week.
We still are missing details on some of our signees, such as height, weight, position, etc. If we missed anyone, E-mail your stats to firstname.lastname@example.org
Do You Want To See The List Of Signees??? Here's the Link: National NLI Signings (Updated Daily)
Thursday, November 15, 2007
RT STAFF note: The list of NLI's from our readers and other sources are pouring in and WOW...it's a daunting task to put all that info together. What were we thinking? But as promised, that list will be available in chunks starting tomorrow. In the meantime, we have a few issues to get off of our chest. Enjoy and Comment.
As we scoured the nations newspapers looking for news on players that may have slipped our web of contacts, we noticed that 95% of newspapers nationwide did not cover or mention any baseball National Letter of Intent signings. Those same newspapers did announce basketball NLI's. This isn't new and it's been done this way for years because baseball is not considered a revenue generating sport like basketball and football. But as the true American Pastime, the sport deserves better.
The good news is...we see a change in the making as it relates to baseball as a revenue sport. The past few years have seen more national TV coverage of college from ESPNU and Fox. The much publicized hiring of George Horton at Oregon had the same feel and excitement of the hiring of a major college basketball or football coach. With help from Nike's Phil Knight, watch out for the Pac 10 and the rest of college baseball to change the nations perception of the college game.
But even now, baseball IS a revenue generating sport in many SEC and Big 12 south schools. Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi St, Wichita St., Oklahoma St., Nebraska, Arizona St, LSU (Who leads the nation in baseball attendance and sell-outs), Baylor, Rice, South Carolina, Fresno St. to name a few, are all profitable college baseball programs. When Rice built it's new stadium, it's attendance doubled. Nebraska averages well over 3,000 fans a game.
According to an article in 2006 from SECsports.com, "the SEC broke an attendance record in it's 12 SEC ballparks by drawing over 1.5 million fans. The SEC has drawn over one million in paid attendance for five straight seasons. No other conference has ever drawn a million or more fans to its baseball stadiums during a single season. During the 2005 season, for the first time in college baseball history, two schools (Ole Miss and Mississippi State) had on-campus crowds of over 10,000 fans for a regular season game on the same day. The largest on-campus crowd in the country so far in 2006, over 13,000, witnessed Georgia at Mississippi State on April 8. The 2006 SEC Baseball Tournament, held in Hoover, Ala., drew over 100,000 for the 3rd time in the last four years. Nearly 10,000 fans were in attendance to the see championship game between Ole Miss and Vanderbilt."
We encourage more influential people like Phil Knight to propel college and high school baseball as a revenue generating sport for the rest of the country, outside the SEC, Big 12 and several Western state schools.
But, for that to happen, we need to see more top round draftable players opt for college and play for their state or area school, get an education, and not just disappear into the minor league system for three-four years. If players would opt for college, we as fans can continue to follow them via the growing number of broadcast options available to us such as ESPN, FOX, CSTV and others. And, as more top prospects enter college, the competition would start to mimic the minors. In addition, the summer leagues in Cape Cod, Northwoods, Coastal Carolina, Alaska, etc. would play an even more important role in the development of future pro prospects. Plus, did we mention that these players could get a meaningful, life altering, career boosting, brain stimulating, college education?
As you can tell, we love college and college sports in general. Wouldn't it be nice to hear Fox's Joe Buck or ESPN's Jon Miller introduce MLB players as a product of their college, like they do in football and basketball? Wouldn't you like to see more pages dedicated in sport magazines and newspapers to collegiate baseball? We would too. Here's a start. Call your local newspaper and tell them to announce the baseball NLI signings. So what, it's not baseball season...these high school baseball players worked hard to sign that life changing piece of paper and they should be recognized as well.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Congratulations to all Baseball players that will be signing TODAY through November 21. You all should be proud of what you all have accomplished thus far in your lives. It’s really an honor to play a sport in college…and hard.
As you sign your Letter of Intent…Ask yourself what IS your intent? Will you strut around feeling full of yourself, or will you continue with that same hard nosed work ethic that got you here in the first place? Well, we along with your parents, coaches and future coaches encourage the latter, because it certainly won’t get any easier for you.
Each step in your life just keeps getting harder and more competitive. You may be the best in your high school or league, but next year, you will compete against all the best players in all the best leagues in your state or region of the country. Travel ball certainly helped you prepare for this moment, but now size, strength, stamina and heart are the wild cards to compete against and strive for. It’s time to get serious, be the senior leader, and show your future coaches that they have a lot to look forward to.
The same work ethic needs to extend into the classroom too. There really is no comparison between high school and college. Bottom line, college is much harder and just as you would train your body for a long grueling season ahead, you need to train your mind and prepare it for the rigors of higher learning.
Parents, savor this moment as well. It’s not too corny to break out the digital camera and take a few pictures of the signing. In fact, it will be a great moment. We even bet that as you drive away from his new surroundings next fall and head for home with the nest a bit emptier, you’ll break out those signing pics and your mind will rush with all of the memories of snack shack dinners, long drives with noisy players in the back, muddy floorboards, smelly socks, Motel 6’s when nothing else was available, diving catches, and the blur of acronyms like RBI’s GWH’s, HR’s, K’s, BA’s, OBP’s, ERA, SLG’s, and wonder how it went by so fast.
Congrats 2008’s!!!! Play Hard and Smart…Make us all proud!!!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
As much emphasis as we are putting this week on signed players, we know that not everyone reading Rounding Third is committed to a college. This site is dedicated to helping all baseball players realize their dream...So, we are re-visiting a subject that we touched upon last month. That particular and very popular post last month, stressed that uncommitted Seniors should not give up on their dream and continue to market themselves.
Recently, we encountered some statistics to support why Seniors should step-up their recruiting efforts. Did you know that when you take into consideration D-II, D-III, NAIA and JC's, that there are more college scholarships awarded in April signing period than in November? Yes, most of the majors and some mid-major D-I's will have fullfilled their needs in the November period. However, most of the D-II, D-III, NAIA and JC's sign their players in April.
That should be encouraging for most of the unsigned players. So, knowing that...it's time for uncommitted Seniors to change their focus and target the schools that may or may not have been on the original lists. Forget the major D-I's at this point. While there certainly will be exceptions, they are done recruiting for the most part. Start to research other options and go after them as aggressively as the original list of colleges.
As a start, if a player was a big contributor on their high school or travel team last season, they should ask both coaches to write a letter of recommendation. Then, write a personal letter and, along with the profile sheet, recomendation letters and video if one exists, send them out to a whole new list of smaller colleges. This time, make sure to follow it up with a phone call. Seniors should not hesitate to ask the college coach or recruiter if there is any interest. Don't be afraid to call and do not wait for a written response back. That response is somewhat hollow anyway. When players send out letters, they will get a letter back in most cases....However, a response letter is not an indication that they are interested. It's basically a confirmation that they received the letter. Some college coaches will include an invitation to a winter camp. Again, a camp invitation is not necessarily an indication of interest. I should not have to say this, but the call must come from the player...NO PARENT INTERVENTION!
Now that the April signing period is the new goal, the emphasis on a players senior year in high school takes on more importance. Step up the off-season conditioning program. Send the college coaches high school schedules. Work hard to ensure a spot on the team. If players are unsure of their role on the school team this upcoming season, ask the high school coach for advice on what he wants from you as a player...and then DO WHAT HE SAYS!!! Just because a player talked with their coach doesn't mean they are off the hook. It means that he is going to look at that player a bit differently to see if they followed through on his advice. All Players must step-up the work ethic several notches.
In the warm weather states, most high schools will already have 15 games under their belt by the beginning of the April signing period. E-mail stats and any local articles that might have been written and send them to the targeted colleges to get an early jump. But, don't worry frost belt players, the late signing period is quite a bit longer than the one-week November signing period. The late signing period is from April 9,2008-August 1,2008. The longer signing period gives players an opportunity after the high school season is over, to continue with a travel team and seek out more camps and showcases that will accept uncommitted seniors. We have a list of most of the prominent camps and showcases in the right hand column.
So, we hope we have shed a little light and given baseball players hope that there is still a lot of time to fulfill your dreams. Just work hard, play smart, continue to contact coaches and excel in the classroom and many will fulfill their dream to play at the next level.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Rule, Rules, Rules. There are plenty of them to consider when going to college and even more to consider when you are a student athlete.
First, there is the recruiting. We are now in what is considered a contact period. What’s a contact period you ask? The NCAA web site has all of the following on their web site, but we thought we would explain in a little more detail about how these rules are interpreted by the schools and the organizations that run the showcases and camps. The NCAA definition from their web site is in regular type and ours and additional info we gathered from scouring through the rules and regulations manuals is in (parentheses and italics.)
Contact- A contact occurs any time a coach has any face-to-face
contact with you or your parents off the college's campus and says
more than hello. A contact also occurs if a coach has any contact
with you or your parents at your high school or any location where
you are competing or practicing.
Contact Period - permissible for authorized athletic department staff members to make in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts and evaluations. (The coach may also watch you play or visit your high school. You and your parents may visit a college campus and the coach may write and telephone you during this period. Schools can have face-to-face off-campus contact with prospects and parents...usually at showcases and camps...and prospects can take part in activities designed for evaluating athletic and academic abilities.)
Dead period - not permissible to make in-person recruiting contacts or evaluations on- or off-campus or permit official or unofficial visits. (Seems self explanatory, but schools may write or telephone prospects during this period.)
Evaluation- An evaluation is an activity by a coach to evaluate
your academic or athletics ability. This would include visiting your
high school or watching you practice. (Or compete in a camp, showcase or other major national tournament event such as the WWBA, BCS, Junior Olympics, etc.)
Evaluation period - permissible for authorized athletics department staff to be involved in off-campus activities to assess academic qualifications and playing abilities. No in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts with a prospect are permitted. (These are usually showcases and camps as well, but the schools may not have face-to-face contact with prospects and parents at all. A coach may write and telephone you or your parents during this time.)
Quiet period - permissible to make in-person recruiting contacts only on the member institution's campus. (The coach may not watch you play or visit your high school during this period. You and your parents may visit a college campus during this time however. No contact or evaluation may be made off campus.)
Official visit- Any visit to a college campus by you and your parents paid for by the college. The college may pay the following
• Your transportation to and from the college;
• Room and meals (three per day) while you are visiting the college; and
• Reasonable entertainment expenses, including three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest.
Before a college may invite you on an official visit, you will have
to provide the college with a copy of your high school transcript
(Division I only) and SAT, ACT or PLAN score and register with the
NCAA Eligibility Center
Detailed information about recruiting is available in the online edition of the NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete.
Now, that you understand the terms, here is the baseball calendar:
The dates in this calendar reflect the application of Bylaw 30.11 at the time of publication but are subject to change per Constitution 126.96.36.199 or if certain dates (e.g., National Letter of Intent signing dates) are altered.
August 1-31, 2007: Contact period
September 1-13, 2007: Quiet period
September 14 through November 11, 2007: Contact period
November 12-15, 2007: Dead period
November 16, 2007, through February 29, 2008, Quiet period
Jan. 3(12:01 a.m.)through Jan. 7, 2008(12:01 a.m.) Dead period
March 1 through July 31, 2008, Contact period
April 7-10, 2008: Dead period
So there you have it on the recruiting rules for baseball. Confused? Don't be. The rules in place are actually in place to even out the all teams and to ensure that all schools big and small have the same opportunities at showcase and camps to evaluate and observe.
Friday, November 9, 2007
As we approached our deadline for Fridays post on the process of an athlete deciding whether or not to choose the pros or college, we came across an article written several years ago by retired Director of Team One Showcases, Jeff Spelman. It's a timeless article that holds true even in todays competitive recruiting environment...So with the permission of the staffers at Team One Baseball, we are reprinting his article...Enjoy...RT Staff.
College vs. Pro
By Jeff Spelman
For many "blue chip" high school baseball players the most difficult decision to make is not which college to attend.
Thousands of high school senior baseball players will be looking forward with great anticipation and hope to the Major League Amateur Free Agent Draft, held each June.Four or five seniors will become instant millionaires.Perhaps a hundred or so others will be very happy with the draft. All others will likely be disappointed because they were chosen late or not selected at all.
Major League teams can make as many selections as they want. In 1995, several teams bowed out after the 45th round while others went beyond 80 rounds. But the later a player is drafted, the less likely he is to sign. Of the 1,666 players drafted in 1995, approximately 780 were high school players. Of the number drafted, usually 225 to 250 high school players sign contracts.
WHAT'S BEST FOR YOUR SON? Be realistic and look at the numbers. Pro teams thrive on players that think they will overcome the long odds against becoming a major league player. Actually only 5 to 6 percent of drafted players ever play a day in the major leagues And about 40 percent of the first round draft picks never make it either.
If your son chooses a pro career, he is a least significantly delaying if not giving up a college education. Questions to consider; What's a degree worth, and how far will he be behind his peers if he enters the work force four years after they do?
If a high school player signs a bonus of $100,000 (roughly third round money), how long will it last? Uncle Sam claims 31%, for taxes, leaving your son with $69,000. He may use $10,000 for a down payment on a car. That leaves $59,000. His minor league salary will be about $850 per month - during the six month season only. So if he wants to live on $20,000 a year, he'll have to use his bonus money. At that rate, he'll use it up in four or five years. By then, he'll be out of baseball, still be making $15,000 a year in the minors, or possibly be in the Major Leagues.
On the other hand, major league teams do offer players entry into professional baseball at a younger age, which can translate into earlier higher earnings and additional benefits. And although many college coaches disagree, Major League Baseball says the best instructors in the world are available to your son.
WHEN DEALING WITH SCOUTS, always be honest and consistent. But remember, you do not have to give them direct answers to all of their questions. For example, scouts commonly ask if your son wants to sign out of high school and how much money it would take to sign him. Don't give a range or a figure. Many parents simply respond, "My son would definitely be interested in signing, if it's the right offer."
Teams not only draft for talent but also for signability. If you do not want your son to sign a pro contract, out of high school and you let the pro scouts know that, then be prepared for the fact that he probably won't be drafted at all. Players who have signed scholarships with to top academic universities often go undrafted or get chosen later than expected because teams are worried about their signability.
If your son may be a high draft pick, you'll notice large numbers of scouts at his games late in the high school season, and a major league team's top scouts - regional supervisors, cross checkers, and even scouting directors - will attend.
AS A PARENT OF A POTENTIAL draft pick, try to keep your son from being distracted by all the hype. The only way he can enhance his draft status is by performing well on the field -- and distractions can hurt his performance.
Prepare your son emotionally for what might happen in the draft. It's nice to dream, but you and your son need to be realistic.
Always consider not taking a team's first offer. Many players earn more by holding out a week than they would have earned in a whole season had they taken the first offer. However, this strategy may have diminishing returns if the hold out lasts too long.
Deciding between college and an immediate pro career can be a difficult decision. There's no magic formula. Look at all of your son's options, which may include a couple of years of college first, then discuss them with him.
And enjoy the attention your son receives. It's a "once in a lifetime" experience. So be sure you are prepared.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
We have mostly talked on this site about how to go about getting recruited by 4 year colleges and little about Junior Colleges. We don’t mean to slight JC’s. In fact, Junior College baseball is in many cases a perfect fit for some high school players. And, like D-I, D-II and NAIA, JC’s offer scholarships at the NJCAA-I and NJCAA-II level.
There are many reasons to go to a JC, but like the four year colleges, we at Rounding Third stress that you go to a place of higher education...to get an education...no matter if it's a D-I or JC. If a player is going to a JC to improve his academic standing to get into a better four year college, then that needs to be the focus. While he is accomplishing that goal, he can also enjoy the great, competitive baseball environment that many JC’s offer. JC baseball is sort of a hybrid that combines the local schedule of high school ball with the rigors of long bus rides to other regional or cross state match-ups. This provides many young freshmen a chance to ease into what it would be like at a four year, while they concentrate on getting their academics in order at the same time.
Another reason to attend a JC is if certain players didn’t get accepted into their list of four year selections, due to size or developing ability. Many four year coaches and recruiters will tell a prospect with potential to use the Junior College to work with the strength and conditioning coaches to develop a stronger core, build more muscle and quickness. That alone, in many cases can build a players confidence as well. After that, it is up to the baseball coaches to develop the talent. Many JC’s have year round conditioning that include fall scrimmages and games, winter work-outs to get ready for the long season ahead. But more importantly, it gives that player a chance to play.
Let’s say a very good player gets a small offer from a D-I, but he has two established sophomores ahead of him in his primary and secondary positions. It may behoove that player to go to a JC to develop and play, rather than sit the bench his first two years in college. And yet another scenario involves enrolling in a four year college and playing for a close-by JC that is known to be a feeder to that school. That's a win-win for both the player and the 4 year coach, because the player gets a better chance to play and also enjoy the atmosphere of college life away from home. The 4 year coaches have the advantage of keeping close tabs on what could be their future player in their own backyard.
Finally, there are some players that may have been drafted in the later rounds (15th and higher) and choose to play at the JC to improve their draft status the following year. Unlike four year colleges, in which a player is not eligible for the draft until after his junior year, a JC player is eligible both years that he attends that JC. Including the year after high school, that player could possibly be drafted three times before his junior year. In some cases, a MLB team could draft a player and then hold the rights to that player until next year. That way, they have a full year to evaluate his progress throughout the summer. If into the fall and spring seasons, all goes well with the players progress, that MLB team could then exercise their right to sign him in the ten days prior to the next draft. This is called a “Draft and Follow”.
So we have covered D-I, small colleges and now JC’s and there are advantages to all. Bottom line, really study all of your options hard and do what is best for you and the career path you choose to follow in your adult life.
Rounding Third Staff
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Jeff Francis, the 6'-5", 17-game winner for the Colorado Rockies played a significant role in the teams red-hot winning streak that propelled them into the World Series this year. However, the path Francis took to the Majors is quite different then the majority of today's big leaguers. The Vancouver native chose to hone his skills at University of British Columbia, a small NAIA school. Since Francis’ success, 10 former UBC Thunderbirds have been drafted.
NCAA Division II schools had 63 players taken in the 2007 MLB draft and D-III schools have an average of 30 players taken each year. Our point is...There is great baseball at the small colleges and in many instances a more well rounded education as well.
While the smaller schools aren’t as loved by the national press, they are the darlings of the local media, especially in the smaller communities. Many of these small schools are the pride of the small towns they reside in and have a great fan base as well. (Not all small schools are in small towns, but many are) And many of these smaller schools have every bit as much tradition and history as the D-I’s too.
And here’s a couple of interesting facts…Did you know that while D-III doesn’t offer athletic scholarships, more athletes play in D-III than any other NCAA division? Another interesting note is that NAIA schools can actually offer more funded scholarships. (not a lot more…but more nevertheless) NAIA can give out 12 scholarships, while D-I is stuck at 11.7.
Division III and NAIA colleges and universities offer some of the best education in the country as well. Ranked D-III schools, Johns Hopkins (34-9 in 2007) and Washington University in St. Louis (30-9 in 2007) have two of the most prestigious medical schools in the country. Many NAIA, D-II and D-III schools provide greater student-teacher ratios, attractive settings, and some of the best job placement opportunities in the nation after graduation.
High school student athletes who want to play sports in college, and are not being recruited by major college programs may still have a chance to play baseball at NCAA Division II, III or NAIA colleges. So, expand your letter and e-mail campaign to the many smaller colleges in your area as well. In the right hand column of this site, you will find a list that includes all D-I, D-II, D-III and NAIA schools that offer baseball. Look at their sites and see which one may fit your goals academically, while satisfying that competitive urge to play a college sport. Good Luck..till next time..
The Rounding Third Staff
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
A few weeks ago, we talked about the recruiting timeline and getting your sons name out to the targeted colleges he wants to play for. One reader e-mailed us and said that if a kid is good enough, the colleges will find him. Well, let me put that comment in perspective. There are far more job opportunities than baseball roster spots. So, when a student graduates from college…if he is smart enough, there’s no need for resumes or interviews…the jobs will find him right? Getting the right offer is like interviewing for a job. As we stated in our post on October 18 and 22nd, your son needs to be proactive and aggressively go after the colleges to ensure that they indeed know about him. Rounding Third is one of many sites dealing with college recruiting and yet we have received nearly a thousand responses in just the last three weeks asking for advice and suggesting topics for us to write about. All of the parents and players that wrote us are in the recruiting process. And, they are just a fraction of the tens of thousands of students wanting to play college ball. In fact, the real numbers are: 114,159 graduating high seniors versus 13,137 slots open. Now, do you begin to see the need to step up the recruiting effort?
Picking the Right Colleges
Pick the school first and the baseball program and it’s coaches second. First of all, they are STUDENT athletes. Players should ask themselves, “Would I go to school here if I wasn’t playing baseball?” Other criteria that must be at the top of your list are:
1) The schools academic reputation. This goes both ways. If your son is in the top percentile in GPA and his SAT’s, then target the schools that will benefit him academically first. If your son is in the middle of the pack academically, then your choices may be limited, so a bit more research on the eligibility requirements of the schools must be done. Either, way, there’s a good chance that baseball may not be a career choice. So, does the school offer the faculty support, study environment, student-teacher ratios and most importantly, in-season tutoring and curriculum that your son wants to major in to advance his own post college career? In–season tutoring is very important, especially since there will be increased time away from the classroom starting this year. The NCAA, in an effort to supposedly even the playing field between Northern and Sunbelt schools, moved the season start date from February 1 to March 1. That means that the same 56 game schedule has to be condensed into 4 fewer weeks. Your already time-stretched son will have as many as 5 games a week to balance with his academic workload. Many top programs offer student-athlete tutoring, so make sure that this is offered at his school of choice.
2) What about the cost? Baseball does not offer full rides. The average scholarship is about 50-60% of the total expenses depending on position. Pitchers usually get more in many cases and position players less. There are exceptions of course. A typical good offer for a top prospect will pay for 100% tuition and books, but the cost of out of season meal money and housing for the year is the responsibility of the student. Also, look at the costs of in-state vs. out of state. If you are on a budget, ask if the scholarship covers the increase of out of state fees. If not, it may be better to stay in-state.
3) Location. This is a personal choice. Does the player want to be close to family? Do the parents want to be able to travel to watch some games? Families need to sit down and discuss these issues. But remember, a school is a very important lifelong decision. The school that best fits him, his goals and his abilities may be far, far away.
4) Be Realistic. As we stated in yesterdays post, match your son's evaluated baseball talent with the school that will offer him the best opportunities. Not everyone can play at Oregon State, UNC or ASU. It’s Ok to target as many as 40-50 schools, but make sure you mix in some smaller D-I’s, D-II’s, D-III’s (no scholarships offered at D-III) or NAIA schools in your areas as well. All of the schools are listed in the column to the right under, USEFUL NCAA AND HIGH SCHOOL PROSPECTS BASEBALL SITES. There have been many instances where players were determined to walk on at a Division I college, when they could have had a better chance to get an offer from a DII or NAIA. Research some of the smaller colleges. In more cases than not, you will be surprised at the quality of education, atmosphere, and social life are just as rewarding at a smaller school, then at the big state universities…So is the Baseball.
5) Reputation of the baseball program. Now after you have evaluated all of the above, then look at the program itself. Look at the tenure of the coaches, the facilities, and the alumni. A wonderful resource that we have used is called the Official Athletic College Guide: Baseball from Sports Source. It costs $34.95 and is well worth the investment.
6) Oh yeah, we almost forgot. Social Life...An important and not always easy thing to admit as a top criteria. But come on, wasn't college the best time of your life? It's an important life experience and one that will stick with your son forever.
There is far more to discuss on this subject, but we have real jobs in addition to this site and it’s time to get back to our paying world. Throughout the week, we will be discussing the advantages of Small Colleges and Junior Colleges. As always, don't hesitate to put in your two cents in the comment section below this post.
Monday, November 5, 2007
We have been receiving e-mails about what we think is a realistic outcome of all of the camps, showcases and travel ball we tout on this site with ball players. Well, there is no magic formula. But, if you want to know what the outcome will be…then just be realistic.
For instance, some think that the camps and showcase organizations are in it for the money and not the kid, because many parents disagreed with the assessment of their son’s performance and the lack of attention he received from college coaches after the showcases circuit was completed. If there is one tidbit of advice that we would like to share with everyone that has experienced similar feelings, that advice comes from a quote by Norman Vincent Peale:
“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.”
In other words, listen to what your coaches, instructors and showcase scouts tell you. Be realistic and react accordingly to the assessments that the evaluators share with you and your son. There’s no need to be defensive or mad if the evaluation differs from your own assessment of your son. …just be grateful that you know and understand where your child stands in the grand scheme of the baseball world order. Many of the top Showcase and Player evaluation organizations know exactly what colleges and pro scouts want. They are going to be honest… brutally honest in some cases. The bottom line…Your son isn’t a part of those 5 year old recreational soccer teams that gives out a trophy to everyone in the league anymore. He’s in the real world now, on his way to being a man.
If your son received a poor report card at school, do you criticize the school, or would you have a plan in place for your son to develop better study habits and seek out tutoring if necessary? Of course, most of us would enforce the latter because school grades are with him for the rest of his life and will dictate his future. Likewise, if your son received a less than stellar player evaluation, you should also develop a plan that will help him improve those weaknesses. If it’s one thing a recruiter or scout loves to see, is that player that falls into the category of most improved. It’s those players that have the attitude, desire and heart that teams fight over. Players that defy their perceived abilities have gone on to become fan and clubhouse favorites. Look at David Eckstein or Dustin Pedroia. In fact, pick up the book “Have Heart”, by David Eckstein and you will understand what we are trying to convey here.
For some players, it works out and for others it doesn’t, but at least for those who may not make it, they should hold their head up high and be proud that they at least tried their best against the best. For those that have a better shot, listen and learn from your experiences. Work hard…and if it is your son’s dream to play baseball at the next level, then help him understand that like school, baseball has homework too and that by hard work and determination their dreams could be a realistic outcome.
Friday, November 2, 2007
Part 4 In the Travel ball series. Whenever someone comes out with a poll or ranking, they are going to get opinions and due to our Top 5 Travel Team Rankings, we joined the club and have received plenty of opinions, suggestions and critiques. But, unlike the pompous nature of a BCS, or media poll, we listen, recognize and even admit that we may have missed out on a team or two. Although we feel strongly about our choices and provided back-up and stats to state our case, we also received e-mails and opinions from some very reputable and noteworthy coaches and fans that we just can't ignore. After reading through the assortment of e-mails, we concluded that there are a plethora of great baseball teams and organizations out there and all of you coaches running those clubs should be very proud. So below, our readers (we've kept the names anonymous) give us their take on the rest of the great travel clubs in America as well as some comments on our site...
Nice...surely need give serious thought/consideration to include:
*Scott Luke's Placentia Mustags (now, called/play as SoCal National Travel Team Orange County, CA
*Houston Banditos Baseball Club--Ray DeLeon, Houston, TX
*Ricky Diehl's Vipers Baseball Academy, Huntsville, AL
*Georgia Seminoles (or whatever they're now called!)--Rick Cosper, Peachtree, GA area
*Miramar Canes--Carlos Guzman, Miramar/Pembroke Pines, FL
THESE PROGRAMS ARE ALL SOLID...and, hugely successful in many ways.
Just my well-intentioned, non-presumptuous suggestion...keep up the initiative to recognize kids and WORTHY organizations that truly support kids' development in baseball and in life.
All the best...STAY BALANCED in all things!
I do not agree with the exposure part because these guys are already known to everyone. Don't get me wrong they are good "organization" but recruit players when they are young and develop them then comes a true reward. As one former player said "The team is a just a rich man's toy and he quest to win." I guess if you have the resources the run with it. _______________________________________________________
Here are the most consistent programs in the country in the categories of producing USA Baseball National Team Members, Division 1 Scholarships, and National Championships.
* Boys of Baseball-Steve Cosgrove...I estimate 2 dozen USA National Teamers, a dozen 1st round picks, 100 collegiate players.
* Nor Cal-Rob Bruno Dozens of college players
* ABD-Mike Spiers Dozens of college players
* So Cal NTT-Scott Luke...12 USA National Team Members and 70 college scholarship players
* East Cobb, GA
* San Diego Stars-Lyle Gabriel Now only 12 and Under
* Anderson Arsenal-Last 3 years have developed into a national force
* Utah Baseball Academy
....You preach about development all over your website, but where do you think that all these kids started off their development? Where do you think that East Cobb, Norcal, Houston Heat, etc. get their players? The Banditos Baseball Club out of Houston, Texas has been around for 15 years now and established themselves as the BEST Travel Select organization in the country bar none. They have been highlighted on ESPN, FOX Sports and A&E is looking into doing a documentary on their success. Kyle Drabek, Troy Patton, Taylor Grote, Bradley Suttle and Drake Roberts just to name a few began their development under Mr. Deleon who heads up the Banditos Baseball Club.
Facts are facts, they have traveled all over the US and left their mark where ever they have gone. Geez, they have a team now that has won 137 games in a row in their age division. This is an incredible story to headline on your website. They have been feature on several news stations, which you can find on their website (www.banditosbaseballclub.com).
You talk about the development and I agree, but you have to go to the grassroots of it all and where these kids began. The Banditos are by far the #1 organization and should be on the top of your list. They feed all the big teams in the country and have now began a new 16U & 18U program, which will take off this spring/summer.
This is a GREAT website! Tons of useful information all in one place - great job! I've forwarded it to a number of people interested in high school and travel baseball. I've given this information to (my son's) travel baseball coach so he can see the best tournaments to be in (even better than just giving him my opinion). We're almost at the end of our involvement in the training/coaching of my older son -he has a scholarship to (Major D-1) - and has attended many of the tournaments you mentioned on your website.... We've learned a lot from our experience and that will definitely benefit our younger son. Your website shares this same type of knowledge gained from experience, and is great for families going through this for the first time.
Thanks again - I really enjoy the website!
Thursday, November 1, 2007
RT Editors Note: This post is Part 3 in our Series on Travel/Select ball. We didn't pick Midland in our top 5 because we looked at the impact that our Top 5 have had in the past 5 years. But when it comes to the last 40...Midland has no peers. The consolation for them is this interview...Enjoy. RT Staff
What Joe Hayden has created in Clermont County is not just a baseball team but an organization: not just an organization but a world. In his country corner between Clough Pike and Bach Buxton Road in Amelia, he has handcrafted his own "Field of Dreams. Most baseball dreamers do something like this only at their desks, escaping into fantasy leagues that enable them to construct a lineup and call it their own. Hayden, on the other hand -- with funds from his family's foundation -- built a stadium complete with an indoor batting cage, a four-bay equipment garage and a professionally maintained playing field that was designed to simulate the park in Farmington, New Mexico, where the Redskins spend a heady week every August trying to bring home yet another Connie Mack national championship.
Hayden also built a great baseball Travel/Select organization. The Redskins program has been around for 40 years winning 10 Connie Mack World Series Championships as well as other notable national championships. Currently the Midland Redskins have 50 players active in the professional ranks with 13 of them being in the Major Leagues. Over the course of the 40 year history they have had 365 players drafted, 27 being first round picks. The Redskins have also produced 49 Major Leaguers. Since winning their first Connie Mack World Series title in 1984 the Redskins have posted a astounding 1,301-202-5 record (thats a .845 winning percentage). Barry Larkin, Ken Griffey Jr., Todd Bezinger, David Bell, Mike Matheny, Mark Mulder, Corey Patterson, Ryan Theriot, and Chris Duncan are just a few of the notable former Redskins.
The following is a interview with the director of the Midland Redskins, Brian Hiler.
RT:What is the most important goal of the Midland Redskins organization?
Brian: Exposure for the kids first and foremost. Second, it's a chance for these kids to play an entire summer (6-7 weeks)together, not just a tournament here and there. That equates to 60-70 games a year.
RT: I noticed that you have players from around the country that play on your team. How do you you handle their accommodations?
Brian: The players stay with host families much like college players that travel to the Cape or Northwoods leagues do every summer.
RT: So, you have players that practically dedicate their entire summers to your program. How do players and the parents of the players react to that?
Brian: Very well. These kids learn the value of time management, living on their own, being responsible for their own laundry, getting to practice on time, working out, hitting, fielding and general organization without the help of mom and dad. College coaches have said that getting a Midland player is like having a sophomore on their team, not a freshman.
RT: Where do you play most of your games?
Brian: 70% are at our facility in Amelia, Ohio. The rest are the major tournaments like Perfect Games WWWB in East Cobb, PG BCS in Ft Meyers and the University of Louisville and the AABC Connie Mack World Series in Farmington, NM.
RT: How much does all of this cost?
Brian: Nothing in the summer. All expenses are paid by The Midland Co, (an insurance firm with dealings in the shipment of goods via barge on the nation's waterways.)
RT: Does this interfere in any way when your players fill out their NCAA Clearinghouse Amateur Questionnaire?
Brian: No, it has not been a problem. We go by the Chapter 12 NCAA bylaws that deals with amateurism and dictates what we can or can't do. These are pages 69-83 in the in the NCAA Division I Constitution, Operating Bylaws and Administrative Bylaws, We have done it this way for decades without any issues.
RT: How do you pick your players?
Brian: Keeping our eyes and ears open at various showcases, camps and tournaments. We are obviously looking for an impact player, but above all we are looking for the right fit in our organization. A solid individual, that will adapt easily to our system.