Thursday, April 30, 2009

4 Consecutive No Hit Games

RT Staff note: Patrick Schuster lost his bid for 5 consecutive no hit games, but 4 no-no's is a great accomplishment.

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — How long will Patrick Schuster’s luck last? It is a question his mother, Sharon, has worried about since well before Schuster, a senior at Mitchell High School near Tampa, pitched the first of his four consecutive no-hitters on April 3.

There is so much that is out of the left-handed Schuster’s control, even though he has a despot’s command of his pitches. It is never far from his mind that on any given day — maybe even Tuesday, when the Mitchell Mustangs open the 6A playoffs — an opponent, in desperation, can poke his aluminum bat at one of Schuster’s 90-mile-an-hour fastballs and snap the streak with a ping heard ’round Pasco County.

Schuster, 18, has struck out 60 during his state-record string of no-hitters. In addition to his fastball, he has a nasty slider and curve, each of which he trusts enough to throw on 3-2 counts.

With his gangly frame and gossamer goatee, Schuster calls to mind the Shaggy character in the “Scooby-Doo” cartoons. He turns into a pit bull on the mound, chasing hitters off the plate like his favorite major leaguer, the Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Scott Kazmir, whose aggressiveness Schuster admires.

Schuster, who did not throw a no-hitter in his first three years of high school, is two shy of the national prep record of six consecutive no-hitters set by Chris Taranto in Mississippi in 1961 and equaled by Tom Engle in Ohio in 1989.

“I don’t really focus on it,” Schuster said, referring to the streak. “I look at it as getting the win for my team.” He paused. “But I can’t lie. It’s going to be on my mind Tuesday.”

In Florida, April is when spring football blooms, but Schuster, who has signed a scholarship to play at Florida, has managed to embed high school baseball into people’s consciousness. His feats for the 22-3 Mustangs have been splashed across the front pages of the local newspapers.

Last week, during Mitchell High’s regular-season finale at Zephyrhills, Schuster’s mother and his father, Roger, heard from one of the other team parents that someone traveling through Scotland had read about Schuster’s fourth no-hitter in a paper there. His last start attracted two dozen major league scouts, TV crews and an estimated crowd of 1,000, which Roger guessed was about 900 more than attended the home opener. In opposing dugouts, the players have tried to distract Schuster by chanting, “Hey, ESPN boy!”

As she settled into her lawn chair and wrapped herself in a homemade blanket, Sharon said, “Roger and I can’t get our heads around it.”

Her husband, who was pacing behind her, as he often does during games, said, “The other day I asked Patrick if all of the attention was making him nervous and he told me, ‘When I’m out there on the mound, it’s the most comfortable place in the world.’ ”

The spotlight shining on Schuster’s senior season has lifted some of the darkness that descended on the family during his older brother Shane’s senior year. In November of that year, Shane Schuster was found to have a juvenile form of bone cancer. He died four years later, in 2002, when Patrick was 11.

“This is the time in Shane’s life when he was sick,” Sharon said. She added: “November was really stressful. It just brought back all the memories.”

In an interview last week at his school, Schuster, who has an older sister, grew misty-eyed when he talked about Shane. “I didn’t understand at the age I was what was happening,” he said, adding, “I think his death brought my family a lot closer.”

To honor him, Schuster has written Shane’s initials, STS, on the back of his cleats, and 9/21, the date of his death. He used to wear Shane’s Little League All-Star T-shirt under his game jersey, but it became so tattered and so tight on his sprouting 6-foot-2 frame that his mother finally confiscated it last summer. Sharon said, “We had to about peel it off him.”

Schuster was 4 when Roger introduced him to baseball. Not realizing his son was left-handed, his father taught him how to hit right-handed, and that is how Schuster still bats. During his brother’s illness, Schuster remembers being disappointed that he never had both his parents in the stands for his games. They would trade off, with one ferrying Schuster to the ballpark while the other, usually Sharon, stayed at the hospital with Shane.

“After Shane’s death, I think baseball was part of the healing process,” Sharon said. “After that, we said we’d never miss another game.”

They were there for Schuster’s first start of the season, when he was pulled from the game after six no-hit innings. He and Scot Wilcox, the Mustangs’ coach, had agreed on an 85-pitch limit. “I was sitting in the dugout after he took me out thinking, That was such a bad idea,” Schuster said with a laugh. He accepted the restriction, he said, “because I averaged about 110 pitches a game last year, and scouts were getting scared when they saw that.”

His pitch total was 109 in his last outing. He talks as if a hurricane warning couldn’t budge him from the mound now. “This team has a chance to do something really special,” he explained.

Sharon has worn the same black T-shirt during each of Schuster’s no-hitters. She is too superstitious to change her wardrobe. Schuster’s talisman is his facial hair. He has vowed not to shave until the streak is over. Stroking his goatee, he said, “I hate it.”

Schuster is also not thrilled about the part-time job his mother insisted he find after he received a speeding ticket on his way to a Florida football game. He works weekends at the Turtle Cove Marina, which requires him to rise at 7 a.m. “I think she wanted me to experience the value of a dollar,” Schuster said. “We all believe I’m never going to have a real job because I’m going to be playing baseball.”
“Baseball,” he said, “has never felt like work.”

Baseball Specific Training

The Truth (Part 3)
By Jon Doyle

In this 3 part expose, Jon Doyle will reveal the current state of baseball specific training, strength and conditioning information, explain what the baseball player needs and tell you how to get there…

Ok, now that you've learned why most baseball training programs are not designed properly in order to develop the athleticism and skills for drastically improving your game, I will take this time to explain how your workouts need to be structured in order to train optimally and get the results you desire.

The biggest mistake I see in the structure of baseball specific training programs (besides the wrong exercises and emphasis on "strengths") is how there's not a focus on building the complete athlete.

Most programs have a weak warm-up, then go straight into weight training and then throw some "abs" in at the end. That's it. No focus on baseball-specific movement patterns, joint angles or strength, speed and power that will transfer over to the field.

Well that's all about to change after you read these tips on what your baseball workouts need to look like…

1. Warm-up Dynamically with exercises such as hurdles, tumbling, spider lunges and inchworms.

2. Perform some type of active conditioning drills that will not only increase conditioning, but also develop coordination, balance, flexibility and baseball-specific endurance. Some examples of these drills are GPP, weighted GPP and speed ladder work.

3. Now it's time to move on to weight training. Rest time between sets should be very short, even in "strength" building phases. There's no point in sitting around. Force your body to replenish itself quickly and it will adapt. If you sit around for 2-5 minutes between sets you won't become a better athlete and you're probably using too much weight to begin with. There is rarely ever a need for the weight training portion of your workout to last more than 30 minutes. You can easily do 20-24 work sets in this time period.

Your weight training session should consist of large compound movements. We call these "Focus Lifts". Next, you should perform "supplemental Lifts" that focus on the posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes and low back) as well as scapular and rotator cuff exercises.

4. Next "core" work should be done. Now this doesn't mean do a bunch of crunches. If you're familiar with my writings you know that crunches do very little for athletic development and core strength. Here is where you should perform movements from Unbreakable Abs and core postural holds such as planks, side planks, tables and bridges.

5. Finally, static stretching is done. Because your muscles are warm and your body temperature is elevated, static stretching is done to increase joint range of motion and facilitate recovery. This is the only time static stretching is effective.

So there you have it. How a world-class baseball specific training program should be structured. By following the above outline you will be able to perform extremely effective and efficient workouts. We get all of this done in just 45-50 minutes!

If you want to take all of the guesswork out of creating a program and have every single exercise, set, repetition, and structure laid out for you in a proven workout, check out my limited release Speed, Strength & Power baseball workout that has been used by my private youth, NCAA and MLB athletes.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Baseball Weight Training

The Truth About Baseball-Specific Training - Part 2
By Jon Doyle

In this 3 part expose, Jon Doyle will reveal the current state of baseball weight training, strength and conditioning information, explain what the baseball player needs and tell you how to get there…

In Part 1 of "The Truth About Baseball-Specific Training" I covered a great deal about baseball-specifictraining that had never been published before. I told exactly why most baseball weight training programs aren't worth the paper they are printed on. I explained exactly why maximal strength (weight on the bar) is not as important as most make it out to be. I went on to tell about force production and how that is the real key to developing into a strong, explosive athlete and baseball player.

In this installment I will go into detail about what needs to become the center of your training program if you ever want to become a great athlete…Speed and Reactive Strength.

Speed (or Reactive) Strength is rarely developed in American athletics today, especially baseball players. The ones who have a great deal of this strength were simply blessed with it.

Speed strength is so misunderstood by most coaches it's mind-boggling. As I covered in Part 1 of this series, maximal strength is targeted by the majority of baseball players. As you know, this is a monumental mistake.

Speed strength is the ability of the neuromuscular system to produce the greatest possible impulse in the shortest possible time. Furthermore, the two aspects to speed strength are starting strength and explosive strength.

Or in other words, How fast you can react and move in game-like conditions.

Can someone please explain to me what the heck is the point of being "strong" if you move slowly and mechanically?

When is the last time a good baseball player threw with slow arm speed or slow bat quickness?

It simply doesn't happen.

These three training methods should be avoided like the plague if you want to develop a tremendous amount of speed strength:

1. Working until failure. Please do not work until failure. Not only is it counterproductive, but it will increase injury-risk dramatically due to improper postural changes and excessive force on the joints.

2. Always working above 80% of 1 RM. While there are certainly times in your baseball weight training program where higher loads need to be used, be very careful of how long you spend in this range. The sad thing is almost every program I review when taking on a new client is work above 80%.

3. Lifting slow. I'm sure you have been told to lift weights "slow and controlled" for maximum safety. What a bunch of BS. When does anything in baseball happen "slow and controlled?" The real secret is lifting "fast and controlled," just as the game is played. If you train to be slow you will be slow. It's really as simple as that. Teach your body to explode AND be in control and watch your performance skyrocket and your body become bullet-proof.

Of course these are just a few of the baseball weight training mistakes I see. But they certainly are the most common. Remove these techniques from your program and watch yourself turn into a more explosive, more productive athlete.

We spend a great deal of time using loads between 40-65% of a theoretical 1RM. At first, many scowl at this notion. However, when they see us and our athletes move at blazing speeds almost effortlessly, their skepticism quickly turns to intrigue.

In the sport of baseball your ability to move a sub-maximal object (baseball or baseball bat) under control at lightning speeds will determine just how well you perform. That and, of course, your reaction time. For those of us not born with it, this will largely come from proper training methods.

Next installment, in Part 3 of "The Truth About Baseball Weight Training," Jon will go into detail about specific training methods you can use today to immediately make you a better athlete.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Baseball Strength Training

Baseball Strength Training -
The Truth (Part 1)
By Jon Doyle

In this 3 part expose, Jon Doyle will reveal the current state of baseball strength training and baseball conditioning information, explain what the baseball player needs and tell you how to get there...

Look at any "baseball strength training conditioning" program and you will find glaring mistakes that will lead to decreased performance and increase chance of injury. To those coaches who know what the heck they are doing these mistakes stick out like a sore thumb. The problem is 99% of "coaches" out there do not understand this, yet continue to damage our young ballplayers…robbing them of their athletic ability.

Baseball strength and Conditioning should enhance athleticism, not debilitate it. So why are baseball strength training and baseball conditioning programs so bad? In my opinion there are far too many self-proclaimed "experts" who do not truly understand the body or the game of baseball. Far too many bodybuilding and football workouts have simply been renamed with "baseball" on it.

This is even rampant at the NCAA and professional level, where one would never fathom that this could occur. You would surprised how easy it is to get one of these cush jobs simply because you know someone or have kissed enough butt. In truth, the real coaches out there don't want these jobs because the hours suck and the pay isn't great.

Ok now that I have cleared the air, let's get into the reason why I am writing this article in the first place.

Far too often, the term "strength" is thrown around in a very vague manner…but never with an explanation. Well, I here to explain exactly what is wrong with your current baseball strength training program and how to fix it.

"Strength" is a very broad term. There are many aspects of strength such as speed, reactive, relative and starting. Typically, when someone says "strength" or "strong" they are referring to how much weight can be lifted. They are looking at one aspect of strength…the weight on the bar. This is referred to as maximal strength.

While maximal strength shouldn't be ignored (as with any aspect of strength) it should not be considered the Holy Grail of strength and conditioning work when looking at addressing the needs of a baseball player. In fact, maximal strength is not even in top three aspects of strength that are used on the baseball field.

With that said it amazes me that a 95% of baseball strength training and baseball conditioning programs revolved around maximal strength. (side note: the ones not falling in that 95% do not stress maximal strength enough) There needs to be a delicate balance of all aspects of strength, not just maximal.

So you ask, "What is the Holy Grail of Baseball Strength Training?" Ladies and gentleman…with great pleasure I introduce to you…"Force Production"

I think everyone agrees that in order to swing a baseball bat at 90 mph, throw a pearl at 95 mph or run a 6.5 sixty a great deal of force must be produced. This is fact. How you get there however, is where we run into problems.

First let me give you a simple, basic scientific fact…Force = mass x acceleration.

In order to increase force one must increase the mass (weight on the bar), acceleration (speed at which bar is moved) or a combination of the two.

Most programs simply rely on increasing the mass, or amount of weight lifted. This is a monumental mistake.

As with most things in life the law of diminishing returns comes into play. If you continue to increase the weight on the bar, naturally the speed at which you perform the lift will decrease. So, what exactly are you accomplishing? Not much for sure.

There is a certain percentage (typically 40-65% of a theoretical 1 rep max) that yields the highest force production. Typically, baseball players train 85% or above a large majority of the time.

This type of training will not only LOWER force production, but will significantly increase risk of injury due to postural breakdown. Talk about a double-whammy!

This is not to say heavier loads (i.e. 70% and greater) are never used. Of course they are. But they are carefully placed within a training program, not the sole basis of one.

Training to increase force production will enable the athlete to generate force from within. Look at some of the current great sluggers such as Albert Pujols or Alex Rodriguez. Watch Josh Beckett pitch. These players are very "quiet" and then BAM! They explode.

They have developed the ability to generate a great deal of force from within their bodies. As they say the calm before the storm. These players are great examples of athletes who are dialed in to their bodies and know how to maximize force production.

THAT'S what baseball strength training is about.

Next installment, Jon will cover just how important reactive, or speed strength is to the baseball player...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Summer College Baseball Primer

College baseball does not end when school gets out, so, when your son goes off to college don't plan on seeing your son for a major part of the summer after the college season is over. There are numerous summer college baseball leagues across North America that your son will get assigned to by his college coach. You should be aware of all of them and start to get to know each and every one right now.

These league are almost all wooden bat leagues that allow college players can continue to play baseball during the summer while college is out of session. They get the chance to hone and improve their skills. Almost all of these leagues have seasons that run from June through August. Following is our of both summer college baseball associations, and summer college baseball leagues.

Summer College Baseball Associations

National Alliance of College Summer Baseball (NACSB)
Association consisting of 8 summer college baseball leagues.

National Baseball Congress (NBC)
Association consisting of 21 summer college baseball leagues. The NBC also hosts the
NBC World Series in Wichita in late July/early August for teams from across the association.

Summer Collegiate Baseball Association (SCBA)
Association consisting of 3 summer college baseball leagues.

Summer College Baseball Leagues

Alaska Baseball League (ABL), member of the NBC
The Alaska Baseball League summer collegiate baseball league fielding 6 teams - the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks, Anchorage Bucs, Anchorage Glacier Pilots, Fairbanks AIA Fire, Kenai Peninsula Oilers, and the Mat-Su Miners.

Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League (ACBL), member of the NACSB
The Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League is a summer college baseball league fielding 9 teams - the Jersey Pilots, Kutztown Rockies, Lehigh Valley Catz, Long Island Mustangs, Metro NY Cadets, New York Generals, Quakertown Blazers, and the Stamford Robins.

California Collegiate League (CCL), member of the NBC
Founded in 1994, the California Collegiate League is a is a developmental baseball league based in Carpinteria, California. It fields 6 teams - the California Oaks, Clovis Outlaws, Monterey Bay Sox, San Luis Obispo Blues, Santa Barbara Foresters, and the Santa Maria Indians.

Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL), member NACSB
Founded in 1885, the Cape Cod Baseball League, is an amateur baseball league based on Cape Cod. It fields 10 teams - the Bourne Braves, Brewster Whitecaps, Chatham Athletics, Cotuit Kettleers, Falmouth Commodores, Harwich Mariners, Hyannis Mets, Orleans Cardinals, Wareham Gatemen, the Y-D Red Sox.

Central Illinois Collegiate League (CICL), member of the NACSB
Founded in 1963, the Central Illinois Collegiate League fields 4 teams - the Danville Dans, Dubois Bombers, DuPage Dragons, and the Quincy Gems.

Clark Griffith Baseball League, (CGL), member of the NBC
Founded over 60 years ago, the Clark Griffith Baseball League fields 5 teams - the Bethesda Blue Caps, DC Grays, Fairfax Nationals, McLean Raiders, Vienna Senators, and the Wooden bat college.

Coastal Plain League (CPL), member of the SCBA
Founded over 11 years ago, the Coastal Plain League fields 15 teams - the Asheboro Copperheads, Columbia Blowfish, Edenton Steamers, Fayetteville Swampdogs, Florence Redwolves, Gastonia Grizzlies, Martinsville Mustangs, New Bern River Rats, Outer Banks Daredevils, Peninsula Pilots, Petersburg Generals, Spartanburg Stingers, Thomasville Hitoms, Wilmington Sharks, and the Wilson Tobs.

Dallas Amateur Baseball Association (DABA), member of the NBC
The Dallas Amateur Baseball Association fields 18 teams that play on 5 fields in Dallas and Irving, Texas. The teams are - the Apaches, Gators, Heroes, Mustangs, Orioles, Pirates, Texans, Wranglers, Wildcats, Dogs, Knights, Jaramillo, Blue Sox, Blazers, Dallas Bucs, Blue Devils, and the Truckers.

Florida Collegiate Summer League (FCSL), member NACSB
Founded in 2003, the Florida Collegiate Summer League is a collegiate wood bat summer baseball league based in Central Florida. FCSL fields 6 teams - the Altamonte Springs Snappers, Leesburg Lightning, Orlando Hammers, Sanford River Rats, Winter Park Diamond Dawgs, and the Winter Springs Cudas.

Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League (GLSL), member NACSB
The Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League fields 11 teams - the Anderson Servants, Cincinnati Steam, Columbus All-Americans, Delaware Cows, Grand Lake Mariners Grand Lake Mariners, Lake Erie Monarchs, Licking County Settlers, Lima Locos, Southern Ohio Copperheads, Stark County Terriers, and the Xenia Athletes in Action.

Jayhawk Baseball League, Member of the NBC
Founded in 1976, he Jayhawk League is a Summer Collegiate Baseball league. It has 7 teams in Kansas and Missouri - the Derby Twins, El Dorado Broncos, Hays Larks, Liberal Bee Jays, Nevada Griffons, Southwest Slashers, and the Dodge City A\'s.

Kentucky, Illinois and Tennessee League (KIT), member of the NBC
Founded in 2004, the Kentucky, Illinois and Tennessee League is a collegiate summer wood bat baseball league with 6 teams - the Farmington Firebirds, Fulton Railroaders, Owensboro Oilers, Sikeston Bulls, Tradewater Pirates, and the Union City Greyhounds.

MINK League, member of the NBC
Started in 1910, the M.I.N.K. League is composed of teams from Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas. The MINK League fields 6 teams - the Beatrice Bruins, Chillicothe Mudcats, Clarinda A's, FCA Gray, Ozark Generals, and the Topeka Golden Giants.

Mountain Collegiate Baseball League
The Mountain Collegiate Baseball League is a summer collegiate baseball league with teams in Colorado and Wyoming. It fields 5 teams - the Cheyenne Grizzlies, Fort Collins Foxes, Greeley Grays, Laramie Colts, and the Parker Xpress.

New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL), member of the NBC
The New England Collegiate Baseball League is a baseball league for college players that features wood bats, grass fields and major, and league scouts. It fields 12 teams - the Concord Quarry Dogs, Danbury Westerners, Holyoke Giants, Keene Swamp Bats, Manchester Silkworms, Lowell All-Americans, Newport Gulls, North Adams SteepleCats, Pittsfield Dukes, Sanford Mainers, Torrington Twisters, Vermont Mountaineers, and the Vermont Mountaineers.

New York Collegiate Baseball League (NYCBL), member NACSB
The New York Collegiate Baseball League was founded in 1978. It is a a summer wood bat league that fields 14 teams - the Allegany County Nitros, Amsterdam Mohawks, Bennington Bombers, Bolivar A's, Brockport Riverbats, Elmira Pioneers, Geneva Red Wings, Glens Falls Golden Eagles, Hornell Dodgers, Little Falls Miners, Niagara Power, Saratoga Phillies1, Watertown Wizards, and the Webster Yankees.

Northwoods League (NWL), member of the SCBA
The Northwoods League fields 15 teams - the Alexandria Beetles, Battle Creek Bombers, Brainerd Blue Thunder, Duluth Huskies, Eau Claire Express, Green Bay Bullfrogs, La Crosse Loggers, Madison Mallards, Mankato MoonDogs, Rochester Honkers, St. Cloud River Bats, Thunder Bay Border Cats, Waterloo Bucks, and the Wisconsin Woodchucks.

Pacific International League (PIL), member of the NBC
Established in 1992, the Pacific International League is the Northwest's premier competitive wood bat league. It is a developing ground for college players as well as a second chance for professionals. The Pacific International League fields 4 teams in the U.S. and Canada - the B.C. Ballers, Everett Merchants, Skagit Eagles, and the Seattle Studs

Pacific Southwest Baseball League, member of the NBC
The Pacific SouthWest Baseball League has 6 teams in Arizona and Nevada - the Havasu Heat, Garden Of Gears, Casa Grande , Las Vegas Devils, Arizona Clash, and the Prescott Blazers.

River City Victory League (RCVL), member of the NBC
The River City Victory League is based in Wichita, Kansas and fields 6 teams - the Cowboys, Astros, Lil Help, Outlaws, Titans, and the Scorpions.

Sooner Collegiate League
Founded in 2005, the Sooner Collegiate League is a summer college wood bat baseball league based in the Tulsa, OK area. It fields 6 teams - The Tulsa Lookouts, Dirtbags, Rogers State - Claremore, Oklahoma Kubs, Tulsa Diamond Jaxx, and Team Tulsa.

SCC Baseball League, member of the NBC
Started in 2006, the Southern California Collegiate Baseball League (SCC Baseball League) fields 6 teams - the E. LA Dodgers, PS Power, S. Bay Saints, SoCal Bears, SoCal Fire, and the SoCal Glory.

Southern Collegiate Baseball League Home Page (SCBL), member NACSB
The Southern Collegiate Baseball League is a wooden bat league that fields 9 teams - the Asheville Redbirds, Carolina Chaos, Davidson Copperheads, Monroe Channelcats, Morganton Aggies, Spartanburg Crickets, and the Tennessee Tornado.

Sunshine College Baseball League (SCBL)
Founded in 2006, the Sunshine College Baseball League is a competitive collegiate summer league that plays its games in South Florida. The league consists of 4 teams - the Lions, Jaguars, Panthers, and Tigers.

Valley Baseball League (VBL), member NACSB
Founded in 1993, the Valley Baseball League is a wooden bat league that fields 11 teams - the Covington Lumberjacks, Fauquier Gators, Front Royal Cardinals, Harrisonburg Turks, Haymarket Senators, Luray Wranglers, New Market Rebels, Staunton Braves, Waynesboro Generals, Winchester Royals, and the Woodstock River Bandits.

Walter Johnson Baseball League, member of the NBC
Based in Wichita, Kansas, the Walter Johnson Baseball League was established over 30 years ago. It fields 9 teams - the Great Bend Cardinals, Newton Rebels, Park City Rangers, Pratt Drillers, Salina Bluejays, Wichita Blackhawks, Wichita Braves, Wichita Dirtbags, and the Wichita Wheatkings.

Western Baseball Association, member of the NBC
The Western Baseball Association is a wooden bat league based in Southern California. It was founded in 1998 and fields 12 teams - the Inland Empire Rockets , San Diego Black Jacks , San Diego Waves , South Bay Saints , Newport Beach Storm , San Diego Mavericks , So Cal Fire , U.S. Marines , San Diego Barona Stars, San Diego Mustangs, SoCal Tremors, and the U.S. Military All-Stars.

West Coast Collegiate Baseball League (WCCBL), member of the SCBA
Based in the Pacific Northwest in Wenatchee, WA. The West Coast Collegiate Baseball League fields 8 teams - the Bellingham Bells, Bend Elks, Corvallis Knights, Kelowna Falcons, Kitsap BlueJackets, Moses Lake Pirates, Spokane RiverHawks, and the Wenatchee AppleSox.

Western Major Baseball League (WMBL)
The Western Major Baseball League is a wood bat league based in Canada. Its history dates back over 50 years. It fields 11 teams - the Lethbridge Bulls, Medicine Hat Mavericks, Melville Millionaires, Moose Jaw Miller Express, Okotoks Dawgs, Regina Red Sox, Saskatoon Yellow Jackets, St. Albert Prospects, Swift Current Indians, Weyburn Beavers, and the Yorkton Cardinals.

Friday, April 24, 2009

College Or Pro

As many high school graduated players ponder 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, April 23, 2009

More Baseball Prose

RT Staff: The following was written by a writer that only identifies themselves as L.E.M.S. We liked it and therefore felt compelled to re-print it. Enjoy!

The beauty of the game - and why some women love the men who play it.

Since I can remember baseball was a part of my life. I had three cousins living with us when I was a year or so, and I credit my two older boy cousins for rubbing some of their youthful roughness and competition off on me.

For some who may not believe that I had my own understanding of the game by the ripe age of 2 take my father's college graduation into account. Me, all dressed up like a perfect princess, but standing on my chair in the crowd chanting as loud as I could, "let's go Mets, let's do it again!' Okay, to give myself some credit it was a large crowd (very stadium-esque) that I was in, and how many 2 1/2 year olds really know where they are all the time? But yes, this was proof that I had learned a lot from my Uncle's 1986 Christmas card video which was highlights of the glorious 86 Mets season.

I lived for baseball... for playing it, and for the season itself. I was child of summer. I had a larger collection of baseball cards than most boys I knew- and next to my Mark Paul Gosselaar and JTT posters in my bedroom was a giant Nolan Ryan poster. I loved Doc Gooden too- but after my cousins broke the drug scandals to me in the early 90's I had to hide my adoration. He wasn't a good role model according to my parents.

I played softball like it was the greatest skill I had ever learned. I had to, they forced once the town I lived in split into girls and boys leagues. Pitcher, shortstop, 3rd base, 1st base and then the outfield after we discovered that I had a wicked arm. I loved going to professional games, but I loved playing in my own even more. I went to Mets games with my Uncle, the one credited with teaching me all the chants and the most die-hard Mets fan I know to this very day. I guess I fell in love with the game before I even knew what love was.

Half the fun of being a baseball fan was having one side of the family as Mets fans, and the other as Yankees fans. The bickering and trash-talking always amazed me, and still to this day does. By the time I reached high school I had been to four professional baseball stadiums and one minor league one. I played softball all through high school, and even entertained the idea of playing in college.

I ended up going to college in the Hudson Valley far enough from home, still close enough to the city. That's right, the only city in the world that I love - New York. I was thankful I was still so close to see games whenever I wanted. I credit my college boyfriend for restoring much of my faith in the game after I lived in agony over the 2000 Subway Series.

As a Red Sox fan he taught me the true art of dedication. I knew disappointment as a Mets fan, but not to the extent he was living in. I learned so much that I eventually developed a bit of a dedication to the Sox (and to Gabe Kapler's beautiful arms in right field and Derek Lowe's farmer-meets-surfer looks). After deciding it wouldn't make me a traitor to have a favorite NL and AL team, I accepted my Red Sox t-shirt he bought me for my birthday. Because yes, he refused to buy any other MLB merchandise than the Sox. Hey, at least we spent Valentine's Day in Cooperstown one year.

Somewhere along the way my love for the game grew to a love of those who play it. I know it's partially out of awe and admiration- I envy them for playing a game for a living. I admire them for having a job that they are so passionate about. I know I always liked ballplayers, and that I've always gotten along better with athletes in general. They understand that aggressive, competitive gene that I have in me.

Before the summer of 2005 the only ballplayers I knew were my friends from home and the few I knew in college. Professional ballplayers and I had never been a part of the same social crowd. Until, my internship in the minor leagues. Blame the chubby relief pitcher for turning me into a giggling stupid school girl while he asked what hats I liked better that we sold in the store.

A lot of ballplayers believe girls chase after them for the uniform, which yes, is partially true because it's part of the deal. But there's another part that is often overlooked, the part that honestly means more than whatever size paycheck they earn. Maybe minor league players have the best, because they haven't reached that status in the press, they don't worry about all of the off-field antics, they live to play the game, and hope that they do it well enough to make a living. They have a passion for the game like they're still kids playing little league. Really, they're just a bunch of 7th grade boys with overactive sex drives. Or so the 2005 South Atlantic League taught me.

I love the game for its innocence, for the feeling I get when I'm in a stadium watching what is truly a work of art. Maybe I like ballplayers because they remind me that people still follow their dreams. Because they prove to us that heroes aren't always perfect but we can still learn from them, and love them. Maybe I love how I don't have to explain why I'm a bad girlfriend during baseball season, because they get it. Because for the players, baseball also comes before everything else. They get my love for the game, my dedication for the whole season without a lengthy explanation.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Be Ready To Compete

We have been receiving e-mails from high school seniors and their parents that have signed to play in college next year about what they should do this summer. Although we have touched upon this subject before, the best thing is to ask your future college coach.

That said, just be aware that the incoming college sophomores and juniors on those same college teams that your son will be competing for are all playing in summer leagues for the next few months. They won't be resting one bit. They certainly DO NOT want to lose a position in the line-up to the new incoming freshmen. Our suggestion is to approach this summer season with the intent to get in better shape, and work on your weaknesses. No matter how good you did this past high school season, college ball is a huge step up. You need to hook up with a team that plays a competitive schedule against top teams in the area. Travel ball teams are harder to find at the 19 and under level, but there are many Connie Mack teams that are comprised of JC players and small college freshman teams that could prove to be beneficial for many graduated seniors.

If many of you older parents remember the movie American Graffiti, it's all about the summer after graduation and the fun that ensues. Well, we are not asking seniors to give that up. It is an emotional thing to see an era like high school come to an end. Many of your sons will want to spend a lot of time with their good friends and girl friends as much as possible before they all move on to the next stages of their lives. If they are like me and some of my friends, many of them will hardly ever see each other again until a reunion or a trip home on holidays.

However, it is not wise to turn the baseball spiggot off either. This is a time to realize that all of you are legally adults. And it's time to take on the responibilities of adults. One thing to realize is that your future college coach made a huge investment in each of you. Depending on the cost of the school, that first year investment could approach $10,000 or more. To a baseball program, that is a lot of money and they want to make sure that they invested properly. And many of you parents invested a lot of money in travel ball, showcases, camps and tournaments, and with even more at stake than ever before, it would be a shame to get complacent now.

Time management this summer is really the key to your sons future success. He can have it all this summer if he has a plan. And, that plan is NOT sleeping in till noon and staying out till 2AM everynight. His plan should be an extensive strength and conditioning program this summer with a licensed trainer. He doesn't have to go to this trainer every day. Just get a work out plan from him once or twice and do his work-outs every day with a friend or...if dad or mom is in shape or wants to be, what a way to bond with your son before he leaves for school.

When his collegiate life begins this fall, the time management exercise he experienced this summer will have paid dividends, because he will be overwhelmed with activities once school starts. Most student athletes, if not all, have early morning work-outs, a full class schedule of 16 units, more work-out time or BP, dinner and mandatory study hall. That schedule takes them to about 10:30 or 11:00pm before they have to start that routine all over again the very next day. The fall school schedule will especially be rough because they will have to max out their units. In the spring, during the season, they can only take 12 units, due to the extensive and compacted schedule of 5 games a week. Either way, it will be taxing on the student athlete and practicing that schedule on a smaller scale this summer will at least lessen the learning curve they will most likely experience.

RT Staff

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

From The Fans

By Emma Stewart

Baseball is not just a game. I do not consider myself to be, simply, a fan. I call myself a "baseball connoisseur." A connoisseur is defined as "a person with expert understanding of artistic and similar subjects." Baseball is art to me. Art that takes my breath away.

I watch as the infield plays pepper with balls hit toward them. They know where their teammates are without having to look. Tossing the ball to second base. Out. Then a quick, accurate throw to first. Out again. It is choreographed much like a ballet.

The pitcher takes the mound. He may not be the fastest or strongest pitcher ever to play, but very accurate. Low and away and still in the strike zone. The next one is just a little higher. Strike two. He has a pitch to waste, but he doesn't. High and inside. Still in the strike zone. Strike three; the batter goes down looking. Painting the corners like van Gogh.

The center fielder is in left center. He plays more shallow than most in the Major League. The ball is hit, it goes back, back, back, over his head and out of his reach. He back pedals, as usual. Makes a running jump at the wall. He has stolen another home run from some unlucky hitter. That, too, is art. Not graceful like the pepper ballet in the infield, but art just the same to someone who loves good baseball.

Comedy is a form of art as well. The boys in the dug out are a riot. The trainer is rocking back and forth, keeping the beat that is only heard in his head. Gum is sticking to the brims of baseball caps. The manager just smiles as the last batter relives his last at bat. The third baseman tells the short stop a joke and they both laugh.

The best part of watching the team is how they come together and play like little leaguers. Not putting down their abilities in the least. They play like little leaguers because of their love and passion for the game. They seem to always have a good time. The boys put their whole hearts into baseball. They haven't lost the original awe they felt the first time they took the field. The smell of the grass. The sound of the flags flapping in the breeze. The roar of the crowd as they do the wave. These are grown men, earning a living, doing something they use to do for free; playing a game with all the zeal and heart they had as children. And, loving every moment of it. That, too, is art; loving what you do and doing what you love.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Connecting With The College Game

RT Staff Note: This post is from John Meadus, a college baseball player that has a few things to say about the lack of publicity the college game gets. Enjoy.

It's April. Football season has been over for two months, and won't start up again for another four or five months. Basketball and hockey are both ending their regular seasons and beginning their playoffs.

It is baseball season, but not just for professional baseball! Not just the guys who get paid millions of dollars to sit on the bench with a sore pinky toe. Not just the guys who don't run out ground balls or pop-ups to the infield. I am talking about the kids who may not make it to the next level, but still put out more effort and hustle than the "pros" do. I am talking about college baseball.

Everyone loves college football because of all the big crowds, and the atmosphere in huge stadiums across the country. The same goes for college basketball: guys running up and down the court, diving on the floor for loose balls and taking charges. These are the things that professional games lack these days, which makes some people enjoy college sports more than professional sports.

What is so different about college baseball?

I really don't think college baseball gets the kind of recognition that it deserves. It has all the passion and desire that the professional game has and more. You can just see the desire in players' faces when they play, because for most, this is their last chance to play this game in such a highly competitive way. You can see these kids dive all over the field, not because they're getting paid to, but because they are having fun and playing out of love for the game.

I am a college baseball player, myself, and I believe that there should be more college baseball games on television for people to see. I think that college baseball is always exciting to watch, because even a five-run lead is not safe when hitters are using aluminum bats. While it's true that ESPN shows the College World Series, there are plenty of other games out there during the regular season to watch. For example, take when Florida State plays Florida, or UCLA plays Arizona State.

The College World Series is great, because you can see all the emotion that goes into the game. For the winners and even the losers, all their pent-up emotions come out after the games, and even on the field during play. It's tough to say that about the Majors these days.

I don't think that, watching on TV, you can say that every player gives 100 percent every game. They do play three times as many games as college kids do, but it makes no difference to me. College baseball players always play hard, and when they get to the College World Series and are on TV for once, they play even harder, which makes it great to watch.

I am not advocating putting college baseball games on ESPN in place of MLB games, but when I am going through the channels and I get to ESPN2, I see drag racing on for three hours.

Maybe, instead of televising one of the least popular sports in America, they could show a college baseball game every once in a while.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Mater Dei Is Anderson Bat National Classic Champion

Mater Dei, CA- 2 vs El Toro, CA - 1


There aren't many high school baseball teams that can turn to its No. 4 starter in the rotation and expect a solid performance.

Mater Dei did, and Ruben Orosco delivered.

Orosco (2-0), a senior left-hander headed to UC Irvine, pitched six innings, allowed one run on four hits and struck out eight to lead top-ranked Mater Dei to a 2-1 victory over No. 2 El Toro in the championship game of the National Classic on Thursday night at Cal State Fullerton.

"It is quite remarkable how much depth we do have on the pitching staff," Mater Dei coach Burt Call said. "It is very assuring as coaches that you know that you're going to be in games.

"Ruben was huge tonight. He pitched a great game against a great hitting team. He hit his spots and made pitches when he had to. He had a lot of poise and confidence out there."

Matt Blanchard pitched a scoreless seventh for the Monarchs (16-2) to record the save.

El Toro (15-3) had slugged its way into the championship game by scoring 35 runs in three games.

That's what Orosco had to deal with, but he accepted the challenge without hesitation.

"My go-to pitch was my cutter," he said. "I was commanding my fastball well and my slider was getting me out of situations."

A couple of those situations occurred in the fifth and sixth innings.

In the fifth, El Toro had runners on first and second with two outs, but Orosco retired Trevor Jensen on a groundout.

In the sixth, the Chargers had runners on first and second with one out, but Grant Andersen and got Ryan Joyce both popped out.

"I was glad that I got out of those spots," Orosco said. "I had some good defense by my teammates."

Orosco was staked to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Brian Frattali, who was selected tournament MVP, hit a two-run homer off El Toro starter TJ Kendzora. It was the only mistake Kendzora made, but it proved costly.

Kendzora pitched 6 2/3 innings, but took the loss. He allowed three hits and struck out eight.

"He was unbelievable," El Toro coach Mike Gonzales said. "He had a great performance. He threw strikes. … I couldn't asked for anything else.

"We just came up a little short offensively. We had our opportunities, but we just couldn't get the hit when we needed it."

Derek Campbell and Blanchard, who won two games in relief, were selected to the all-tournament team for the Monarchs.

Aaron Northcraft of Mater Dei was picked as the most outstanding pitcher.

Ryan Joyce, Aaron Wirsch and Chris Manning earned all-tournament honors for the Chargers.

Nolan Arenado was selected as the most outstanding offensive player.

The other consolation games to round out this week long tournament were:
Game #25 Aptos, CA - L vs Don Bosco Prep, NJ - W
Game #26 Mamaroneck, NY - W vs Spanish Fork, UT - L
Game #27 Arch Bishop Mitty, CA - 13 vs El Dorado, CA - 7
Game #28 Notre Dame, AZ - 11 vs Notre Dame, CA - 6
Game #29 Northview, CA - 7 vs Jesuit, CA - 5
Game #30 Esperanza, CA - 4 vs Palm Beach Central, Fl - 1
Game #31 Norco, CA - 10 vs De La Salle, CA - 7

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mater Dei vs. El Toro In Finals

The Anderson Bat Classic is an opportunity to showcase talent from around the country. It's a chance for the East to show how it stacks up with the west. For Northern California to prove that it can hang with it's cohorts to the south, but just about every year, it boils down to two southern California powerhouses duking it out in the championship game.

Last year it was Crespi and Orange Lutheran featuring Yankees 1st round draft pick Gerritt Cole who chose UCLA over the Bigs. While Palm Beach Central took the crown in 2007 and DeLa Salle in 2006 against SoCal opponents, the other years have featured SoCal teams.

We mentioned how DeLa Salle and Don Bosco Prep are nationally ranked multi-sport schools...Well, Mater Dei is also dominant in just about every sport as well.

Sports Illustrated reecently named Mater Dei the #2 high school athletic program in America. Competing annually against the best competition in Southern California, Mater Dei has compiled an enviable record for football success:

462 wins and only 171 losses
25 league championships
9 CIF championships
2 USA Today national championships
5 undefeated seasons
Only 4 losing seasons

In addition, Mater Dei is one of only two high schools in America that has produced two Heisman Trophy winners. Quarterback John Huarte (Mater Dei Class of 1961) won the award in 1964 after an All-American career at Notre Dame. And quarterback Matt Leinart (Class of 2001) won the award in 2004 after completing a record-setting career at USC.

In Basketball the Monarchs have enjoyed 7 state championships, 19 CIF championships, 25 league championships, and an overall record of 797-74 as well as many top recruits. This year they featured 6'10" twins David and Travis Wear who are headed off to 2009 National Champion North Carolina Tar Heels next year. Over 31 Mater Dei senior athletes in boys and girls sports will be playing Major D-I sports in 2009-2010.

But it's baseball that is being played today by the Monarchs and they have the stars on this sqaud too. Five players have signed to play D-I ball next year. They are: Jake Hamblin, University of Southern California, Stephen Lapchak, University of California, Santa Barbara, Ian McCarthy, Oklahoma State University, Ruben Orosco, University of California, Irvine and Spencer Venegas, Dartmouth College

El Toro doesn't have the overall pedigree of Mater Dei, but they can play baseball. Coming off a 25-7 record and a 2008 CIF Southern Section Championship, the 2009 Chargers are looking to repeat for another CIF crown.

They are led by Nolan Arenado and AFLAC All American, Chad Thompson who are headed to Arizona State. The University of San Diego has signed Aaron Wirsch and UC San Diego will enjoy the talents of Dillon Penprase next year. The Chargers of El Toro have mowed down their competition in the Anderson Bat Classic, outscoring their opponents 35-10. Their last opponent was Florida power Palm Beach Central. The Chargers showed no mercy and won 10-1. Can their bats stay hot against a nationally ranked Mater Dei?

It should be a great Championship game.

Wednesdays Results
Game #17 Aptos, CA - 3 vs Mamaroneck, NY- 8
Game #18 Spanish Fork, UT- 6 vs Don Bosco Prep, NJ - 5
Game #19 Norco, CA - 7 vs Northview, CA - 4
Game #20 Jesuit, CA ____ vs De La Salle, CA ____ - Field #1, 4:00pm
Game #21 Notre Dame, AZ - 12 vs Arch Bishop Mitty, CA - 11 (8 inn)
Game #22 Notre Dame, CA - 13 vs El Dorado, CA - 10
Game #23 Mater Dei, CA - 6 vs Esperanza, CA - 5
Game #24 Palm Beach Central, Fl - 1 vs El Toro, CA - 10

Today's Games
Game #25 Aptos, CA ____ vs Don Bosco Prep, NJ ____ - at Field #1 (JV), 2:00pm
Game #26 Mamaroneck, NY ____ vs Spanish Fork, UT ____ - at Field #2, 4:00pm
Game #27 Arch Bishop Mitty, CA ___ vs El Dorado, CA ___ - at Field #2, 10:00am
Game #28 Notre Dame, AZ ____ vs Notre Dame, CA ___ - Field #1, 10:00am
Game #29 Northview, CA ____ vs Loser of Game #20- at Field #2, 1:00pm
Game #30 Esperanza, CA ____ vs Palm Beach Central, Fl ____ - at Field #1, 1:00pm
Game #31 Norco, CA ____ vs Winner of Game #20 - Fld #1, 4:00pm

Championship Game
Game #32
Mater Dei, CA ____ vs El Toro, CA ____

At Field #3 - Cal State Fullerton, 7:00pm

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Day Two...National Classic Showdowns

The battle for position in the National Polls has started to heat up. The Anderson Bat National Classic boasts 5 teams in the top twenty with three of those is the top ten.

Mater Dei showed why they are ranked 6th in the nation in a Baseball America Poll with a dominating 7-0 win over the nations #4 team, Notre Dame Prep of Arizona. Tenth ranked Archbishop Mitty of San Jose, CA finished off a 10 inning marathon by downing Northview, CA 9-8...but then dropped the nightcap 10-3 to Esparanza. Fourteenth ranked Palm Beach Central, FL went 2-0 and handed Notre Dame it's second straight loss with a 7-6 victory.

The most interesting match-up of the day was seventh ranked Don Bosco Prep of New Jersey vs. DeLa Salle of Concord, California. Both schools are dominant in just about every sport they compete in. Both have been ranked by Sports Illustrated as one of the Top 10 High School Sports Programs in the nation.

Earlier this year the two met in a nationally televised football game with Don Bosco winning a thriller 23-21, handing DeLa Salle it's only loss of the regular season. Don Bosco won it's third straight New Jersey State title and finished the season ranked 15th in the nation in the USA Today poll. DeLa Salle, winner of the USA Today National Championship 5 out of 6 years from 1998 to 2003 was the California state runner up and finished the season ranked 18th. DeLa Salle also has more active players in the NFL than any other high school with 6. They are Matt Gutierrez, NE; Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX; Derek Landri, JAX; Amani Toomer, NYG; Demetrius Williams, BLT and D.J. Williams, DEN.

After that heartbreaking loss in the fall, the Spartans were out for revenge and came up big with a 7-4 victory, handing DB Prep it's second straight loss of the tournament.

Here is Tuesday's recap:

Game #9 Aptos, CA - 0 vs Norco, CA - 10
Game #10 Northview, CA 7 - vs Mamaroneck, NY- 3
Game #11 Spanish Fork, UT - 9 vs Jesuit, CA - 11
Game #12 Don Bosco Prep, NJ - 4 vs De La Salle, CA - 7
Game #13 Mater Dei, CA - 7 vs Notre Dame, AZ - 4
Game #14 Arch Bishop Mitty, CA 3 - vs Esperanza, CA - 10
Game #15 Palm Beach Central, Fl - 7 vs Notre Dame, CA - 6
Game #16 El Dorado, CA - 3 vs El Toro, CA - 17

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Battle in SoCal

It was a day of some exciting baseball in Southern California. Three games were decided by one run. Four games had a differential of two runs and one game has to be continued this morning because it was a tie at 7 a piece. Don Bosco Prep hasn't had much time playing outdoors because of the weather in Jersey, and for the most part played a solid game before bowing to El Dorado of California 9-7. Palm Beach, FL, had a close call against Mamaroneck 8-7 and nationally ranked Mitty of San Jose will continue it's marathon battle against Northview at 9:00am. All in all, it was a fitting start to this nations greatest high school tournament.

Game #1 - Aptos, CA - 3 vs Mater Dei, CA - 4
Game #2 Notre Dame, AZ - 9 vs Norco, CA - 8
Game #3 Northview, CA - 7 vs Arch Bishop Mitty, CA - 7
To be continued at 9am at Esperanza HS - Tues 4/14
Game #4 Mamaroneck, NY - 7 vs Esperanza, CA - 8
Game #5 Spanish Fork, UT -1 vs Palm Beach Central, FL - 3
Game #6 Notre Dame, CA - 8 - vs Jesuit, CA - 6
Game #7 Don Bosco Prep, NJ - 7 vs El Dorado, CA - 9
Game #8 De La Salle, CA - 6 - vs El Toro, CA - 8

Monday, April 13, 2009

2009 Anderson Bat National Classic

One of the best tournaments in the country will start today and what a field of champions it is...From Southern California, Mater Dei, El Dorado and Norco will square off against the best from the north and the East Coast.

The top team from the East Coast is all sport power house Don Bosco Prep. Last year, they had over 9 players go on to play D-I baseball. This year over a half dozen will do the same. Joining them in the cross country trip will be Mamaroneck, NY, and Florida power, Palm Beach Central.

From the Northern half of the state...two top 10 state programs will challenge for the championship in Jesuit from Sacramento and nationally ranked Archbishop Mitty from San Jose.

We will be covering this tournament all bookmark us and follow the results.
Here is the schedule...

Game #1 - Aptos, CA vs Mater Dei, CA at Field #2, 10:00am
Game #2 Notre Dame, AZ vs Norco, CA - at Field #2, 1:00pm
Game #3 Northview, CA vs Arch Bishop Mitty, CA - at Field #2 , 4:00pm
Game #4 Mamaroneck, NY vs Esperanza, CA - Field #3, 7:15pm
Game #5 Spanish Fork, UT vs Palm Beach Central, FL - at Field #1, 10:00am
Game #6 Notre Dame, CA vs Jesuit, CA - at Field #1, 1:00pm
Game #7 Don Bosco Prep, NJ vs El Dorado, CA - at Field #3, 4:30pm
Game #8 De La Salle, CA vs El Toro, CA - at Field #1, 4:00pm

Friday, April 10, 2009

Teaching One Inning At A Time

We were on a conference call the other day comparing notes with our warm weather colleagues on high school games they have seen the past two weeks and several including myself, had the pleasure of watching coaches involved in every aspect of the game, yelling out situations, adjusting a hitters position in the batters box or moving a fielder over to compensate for a certain hitters statistical preferences. Many will huddle with the fielders before they enter the dugout after a defensive half inning and talk about the way they handled certain defensive situations and then pump them up with a player led "break". Their philosophy...and we have talked to plenty of that this game has hundreds of situations and in order to build instinctual reactions on the field and at the plate, they need to be constantly reminded until it becomes second nature to them.

Face it, even the pro's need constant reminders of how to play the game. What do you think they teach in Rookie League? Why do they call it Instructional League? Why do they have four different layers of Minor Leagues? Because the game is hard...and it takes a lot of game knowedge to make it to the bigs (talent helps of course)!!!

Yet we mostly see rec ball coaches assume that their players should know the game like the the guys in the majors? There IS a lot to know about this game and it is easy to have a brain freeze every once in a while. One of our contributors said that his youngest sons youth rec ball coach just sat on his bucket the whole time and never said a word...then after the game, he yelled at the top of his lungs and dressed each one of them down about the things they did wrong. Now the team lost, but wouldn't it have been better to anticipate those situations and yell out a reminder to his players on what to do or not to do? You can't predict outcome no matter what you yell, but for goodness sakes, play the percentages and maybe one of those reminders could prevent a missed assignment and maybe evenbring home a "W". As one of our guys said, It's called "Coaching" not "Bucket Sitting".

That's why we like high school basball. Part of the advantage of playing in high school is the opportunity to practice everyday. But how do HS coaches run their practices? Again, we relied on our network of baseball snoops and many good coaches of consistently competitive teams start their practices with fundamentals one day, defensive situations the next, base running the next, reading and performing pick off moves the next and while they are hitting, hitting situations by pitch type, count and with RISP.

One such coach we know spends the first two weeks teaching his kids how to hit to the opposite field. Anything hit to the left of second is five pole to poles. Do you think that team knows how to go oppo at the end of the two weeks. You bet. There is so much to learn about this game than just cage hitting and conducting infield drills. Good team defense takes practice. Player's must know their role and the objective of each play. Since each play called relies on more than one player for proper execution, timing is essential. As a coach you want your team prepared for every situation.

Good team defensive involves having a good strategy, practicing the plays that are part of that strategy, and then calling those plays in the game. The same goes with offense...knowing what to expect whatever the pitch count....where to try to hit a ball with runners on base, reading a pitchers pick off move, when to run based upon where the ball is hit when not in a force situation, etc. If you're team is well prepared then a coach will feel confident calling plays during the game, and he may actually look to take advantage of other team's offensive weaknesses with his defensive strengths or offensive knowledge of the game. More about this subject later.

RT Staff

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The "Invited" Walk On Player

RT Staff: We are in the middle of the late signing period and a lot of parents and senior players are getting e-mails and letters asking them if they would be a recruited or invited walk-on for the 2009-2010 year. Many of our readers are confused about this. We did some research and the best explanation we found for baseball is on our favorite web site High School Baseball Web. This article was written by their resident genius, Bob Howdeshell...Enjoy!

The "Invited" Walk On Player
by: Bob Howdeshell
High School Baseball Web

There are several significant differences between being a walk-on college baseball player and in being an "invited" walk-on player. When a college coach contacts a high school player and invites him to walk-on at his program he has a "real" interest in that player. We take a look at the topic.

The typical walk on player is one that comes out in the fall of the year. Usually after seeing a notice for baseball try-outs. (Many schools still require their programs to hold try-outs)

The "invited" walk-on is the player that a college baseball coach specifically calls or invites in person, to come and be a part of their program as a walk-on. Those players are the focus of this article.

As funding for college baseball programs continues to get tighter and tighter and team rosters seem to be getting larger (numbers) at many schools each year, the walk-on is becoming more and more important.

This is especially true when the player is an in-state student.

An invited walk-on player almost always has a chance to earn some scholarship money as he continues to contribute to his team. Invitees also are usually given a much longer "look" by the coaching staff. This may involve getting to play in mid-week games, etc.

Keep in mind that the walk-on player will have to be clearly better than the scholarship players at his position to get significant playing time. This is just the way the world works. It's not always fair.

In many cases the invited walk-on player is given the use of the same resources as the scholarship players. Things such as weight room usage times, training staff, dorm assignments (the walk on will pay a dorm fee (board), use of the athletic dining room (again the walk-on will pay), athletic department tutors, athletic department academic advisors among other items.

NCAA non-scholarship players do not sign a National Letter of Intent. The LOI comes into play only when scholarship monies are involved.

The same is true for NAIA and NJCAA letters of intent.

Some schools require all players to sign a "code of conduct" type of agreement, this applies to both scholarship and non-scholarship players. This agreement is a "one way" document that allows the school to terminate the players involvement with the baseball program for violations of team rules.

The signing of one of these "conduct" agreements does not prohibit a player from transferring to another school.

In the case of ALL invited walk-on players the acceptance of the initial offer to be an invitee is a verbal commitment. There are no binding written agreements involved. A player is free to sign a scholarship offer with another school after verbally agreeing to walk on at the first school. I will leave the moral and ethical debate on this issue up to the individuals and their families.

As we have discussed on this site before -- Being a walk-on player can be a great experience for some, for others it is not. I suggest that the player and his family research a school's, and the head coaches history of playing walk-ons before agreeing to do so.

In some cases it is better to get a small scholarship at a lesser baseball power or a junior college than it is to be a walk-on at a major college baseball program.

The name of the game is "PLAYING TIME", all players ultimately want to play, not sit on the bench. Being invited to walk-on makes a big difference, just be sure to do your homework.

I suggest reading the High School Baseball Web article entitled Walking On as well as this article.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Let The Coaches Decide

It’s amazing to us the way news travels when there are issues like parental interference with coaches. The hits on our web site have quadrupled the past few days and that’s been an ominous sign that this issue is a bit more pervasive than we thought.

For the most part, coaches are thick skinned enough to handle all of the pressure. We were told a humorous story that kind of sums up the whole issue…

A college coach was being e-mailed to death by a raging father on the playing time of his son. The coach, after about 6 lengthy e-mails from the dad called him into his office. The dad arrived and the coach started off the conversation” Now let me get this straight. So what you want me to do is play my BEST 8 players...and then Your Son…Is that the message I’m getting from your e-mails?”

Well that’s the message we are hearing is going on in schools from coast to coast. The college coach’s response is what many wacky parents need to hear. I was told the meeting with the college coach was very short and the father quickly got the message. But will everyone get the message or are there some parents out there that really think that their opinion of their son is more accurate than the coaches?

Have you ever watched the first half dozen episodes of American Idol when they are auditioning the talent and the reactions of the contestants and their parents when they are told they are absolutely, no good? There must be a traveling gene that goes awry like that with baseball parents as well. Some of these parents are just living in a world of their own and oblivious to the realities of their sons talent. I mean, he is probably not a bad player, or he would not have made the team, but there are those that think that their son is the next A-Rod. Believe me, if he was, then he WOULD NOT be sitting the bench. No coach is that clueless.

There’s one player on a team we know whose son sits the bench, but he insists is better than the 3rd baseman that was first team all-league, all- section and verballed to a major D-I as a junior. Let’s try that college coach approach on this guy, shall we…”So, let me get this straight Mr. Father of the Son Who Is Sitting The Bench, you are telling me that everyone in the league, section and state has it all wrong…Do you mean the D-I University made an offer to the wrong guy???”

Yep, that’s how crazy it is out there folks. Cats and Dogs living together pandemonium. When will it all stop? Well, if one these genetic modification and altering companies can speed up the timetable on Flying Pigs, then maybe we can do something about it soon. In the meantime, it just takes a lot of education and we will be here to help anyway we can. It looks as if we have a good start. We know of at least three principals, 12 coaches and 85 parents from 37 states that are sending out copies of our first two articles. That’s us...Rounding Third...Changing the world one article at a time.

RT Staff

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Parents That Get It

We have a unique reader base. Our readers are the parents that get it and are constantly in search of more information and education about baseball for their son. They understand that there is only one way for their sons to achieve success and that’s through hard work, a great attitude and an undying passion for the sport. If they don’t have those three attributes, along with their talent, then their chances of success will be greatly diminished.

Most of our readers have sons that play travel ball and through that experience, they understand that there is always a better player ready to take their sons position…many parents want their son in that position…it’s an incredible life lesson…because in the real world, there are tons of obstacles, thousands of competitors, mounds of stress and grizzly, man eating bosses and executives ready to churn and burn your ego. My son loved those hard nosed coaches…still does. They motivate, exhilarate and create a desire to be better…not to mention make life very interesting.

The parents that need this the most don’t read this site. They don’t care to. They live in their overly protected world and create drama for those that dare trespass into it. They don’t want competition, they want democracy. They don’t want their son to have to put up with a grizzly coach…they want Ward Cleaver. They protect their son, but in the process leave him so vulnerable to the realities of the outside world. They only want to win, if their son is part of the victory..,otherwise, they are the type of parent that loves to see a .450 hitter strike out and then say. “See, he’s not that good, my son could do better than that.”

So send a copy of our articles to a parent that doesn’t care to read what we have to say, but has to…Who doesn’t think that what we say is of any importance, but is important for them to know that there are others who don’t agree with them…to a parent that will read this and feel real uncomfortable and hopefully find comfort in our message. Then send it to your coach and tell them that we have their backs…and so do you. More on this topic tomorrow.

RT Staff

Monday, April 6, 2009

8 Habits Of Serious Athletes

RT Staff Note: There are so many talented baseball minds out there and Paul Reddick is one of them. Paul is the Director of The Yogi Berra Baseball School and has also worked camps with Bobby Valentine, Steve Balboni, Tom House and many other baseball greats. Paul is also a ghost writer form some of baseball's best known authors. You have read Paul's work...for sure. Paul has worked on The Picture Perfect Pitcher with Tom House, Mike Epstein on Hitting with Mike Epstein, and Surprise Baseball with Stu Southworth...and many others due out. Paul is currently reworking some of baseball's classic instructional books. Over the last ten years Paul has served as a coach, scout, and consultant to over a dozen major league teams. Paul has spent the last 6 seasons as a recommending scout with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Paul also served as a state delegate for USA Baseball and coached in the Montreal Expo farm system. This is Pauls 8 Habits of Serious Athletes...Enjoy!

Habit 1 – Be Proactive
Great players take responsibility for everything that happens in their career. They take responsibility for their time and for making sure that every day they are working towards their goals. When you are proactive, you take control of your time and you stay in green lights. When you start acting reactive you fall into red and yellow lights.

Habit 2 – Begin With The End In Mind
Know what you want to accomplish. Have a DETAILED daily plan to take you closer to the overall goal. Remember, yard by yard it is hard, inch by inch it is a synch. Today + Today + Today = Your Career. Get the most out of today, live in the present moment, and the end results that you wish will take care of themselves, ONE DAY AT A TIME.

Habit 3 – Put First Things First
You must put YOURSELF first. Fighters can get consumed by things outside of their control, media, fans and people looking to get a piece of your action if YOU let them. Put your training and your health above public appearances, interviews and social engagements. When you put first things first, you prioritize and can feel good about saying NO.

Habit 4 – Think Win–Win
You’re only as good as your training partners! So manage your relationships well. Don’t beat on your partners so bad that they never want to train with you again. Instead think win-win. Make sure you show that you care about their MMA game and that you will help them to get better. That way when you show up to the gym you will always have someone to train with. Likewise if your training with fighters better then you, make your situation win-win by always giving them 100%, being on time for practice, having a good attitude… etc.

Having a win-win environment with your MMA training partners makes your team more efficient, provides a more positive place to train, causes less feuds and creates partners that want to see you improve instead of secretly jealous teammates that wan to see you fail.

Habit 5 – Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood
Empty your cup young grasshopper. No one wants to train with a fighter that thinks he knows it all. Some fighters egos are so delicate that they think they’re always right. These type fighters never listen and are always the first to have the answer. In the world of MMA there are so many different styles and approaches, it seems that we all believe to have the perfect training formula or martial art style.

There is something to learn from everybody and from every style. So empty your cup first before every class so that others may pour there knowledge into your cup. Don’t make the mistake thinking you know it all or you’ll miss out on learning new things…. Seek first to listen (opening your mind to new things) and then to be heard (sharing what you have learned along the way).

Habit 6 – Synergize
2+2=5 or more. When you synergize you surround yourself with others who believe in you and help to make you better. Synergy happens when you are in green lights and are with training partners and coaches that take you to a place you can not get to by yourself. Together we are stronger than when we stand as individuals.

Habit 7 – Sharpen The Saw
Sharpening the saw means continuing to refine and rejuvenate your greatest tool… YOU. Getting adequate rest and relaxation., having an understanding of nutrition and how you can eat to win is an area that fighters need to tap into. Having consistent sleep patterns, consistent eating schedules and consistent thoughts leads to consistent performance.

Habit 8 – From Effectiveness To Greatness
Greatness is learning how to have a consistent routine that you can follow on a daily basis. It is learning from your mistakes and getting better everyday. Greatness is becoming a student of yourself and knowing what you need to do to fight your best fight. It is knowing how to get from yellow and red back to green as quickly as possible.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Relax Underclassmen, Your Time Will Most Certainly Come

RT Staff Note: We get a lot of e-mails from players asking us for advice. Many of them are from underclassmen that aren't getting playing time on varsity. We have paraphrased them into one e-mail like the one below in bold. Our response is in regular type below that.

I am high school sophomore that is playing on his varsity team. Our team has played 20 games total and I have only received a few at bats and pitched 11 innings. I have delivered some good hits and have not allowed a run as a pitcher.

I want to play JV so I can get some innings, but the coach wants me on varsity...yet I don't play despite starters that are hitting in the mid .200's.

Our coach plays his seniors and juniors first, yet I know that I am better than they are. I am a talented player who starts on my travel team and we are traveling to all of the top showcases this summer. What should I do?

Your coach and many coaches like yours are teaching you a valuable lesson called paying your dues. He likes you...he really does, or he would not have brought you up. He just doesn't want to rush it too early. We have seen players brought into the fray way too early, struggle, lose confidence and move several steps backwards.

What you don't realize is how important you are to the rest of the team. Just you being there challenging the older players and showing them that there is a sophomore trying to take a upperclassman's position is a valuable contribution to the team. You should be causing the upperclassmen to work harder out of pride alone.

In addition, the coach is teaching you the values of hard work and patience. He is basically asking you to observe this year and learn from the leadership of the team captains and seniors on the team. Because he brought you up, he is hoping you are listening, learning, and taking that knowledge into your summer season and next year. He is not going to bring a sophomore up if he doesn't have big plans for you next year. Have patience. Many of the best players in major league history never even played on varsity until their junior year. You are obviously a special kid, but you must be handled with special care too. Play hard, never give up and have a great summer. By the time you junior year comes around, all of this will be so familiar to you. You will be way ahead of other juniors and will be looked at as their leader. Take advantage of that and show them what it takes to play varsity.