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.