Thursday, October 28, 2010


RT Staff Note:The following is an exerpt from the Book Athletes wanted by Chris Krause, founder of National Collegiate Scouting Association, Chicago, IL.

Rule #1:

Don’t be a helicopter mom or we dad.

This rule applies regardless of how old a child is, and whether dealing
with a child, athletic director, high school coach, college coach, or Pee
Wee football coach. A helicopter parent hovers over the child, not
allowing her to grow or act for herself. As parents, w live vicariously
through the child’s accomplishments.

Remember, in the parent/student-athlete relationship, the student-athlete must become the team captain! Th e greater load the student-athlete takes and is able to handle, the better. Th is particularly applies to communicating with the coach.

Don Beebe, a former member of six Super Bowl teams, now runs a program called House of Speed in which he teaches athletes to build character through sports. The most important role he sees for parents is to create an environment that fosters positive growth.

Beebe had the following advice for parents: “Th e biggest thing is
to stop putting pressure on kids. If playing sports is her passion, back
her and support her. If a child puts her heart and soul into a game and
still loses, a parent should pat her on the back with as much enthusiasm
as if she had beat a world record.”


On the fl ip side, young athletes—especially those who are talented—can receive too much support, develop attitude problems, and become less motivated in important activities outside of their sport. Quality parenting can make the diff erence between a child who thinks he is king of the world and a humble, gracious child who works hard and excels as an athlete and a student, said Michel Balasis, the
former kicker for Michigan State University and head of Loyola University’s department of visual communications.

“Student-athletes are a mixed bag. Because they are great athletes, the pampered ones think they can skate by,” said Balasis, noting they are easy to spot for their lack of work ethic.

But Balasis takes notice of the students whose parents expect more of them. These students are also easy to spot because of their rigorous work ethic and ability to go the extra mile.

Parents are primarily responsible for their children’s attitude. Children who strut into class thinking they will sail by because they are student-athletes will learn a lesson later in life. Parents who teach their children early to work hard will save their children from years of suff ering while in college and later during their careers.

“Teach your kids that they need to earn what they have,” agreed Beebe,who knows a thing or two about hard work. “When they cross the line in sports or academia, step in and tell them they have to change.”

To compete successfully in sports, a student must maintain an academic standard. Parents should insist on it now, and their child will be better prepared for the demands of college. If parents overlook it now, their student-athlete might not make it past freshman year in college. Like a good coach, a good parent will discipline their children who have stepped over the line.

What the student does to the fi eld is just as important as what takes place on the fi eld. As the recruiting process begins, maintaining good grades becomes more and more important. Performance in the classroom tells a coach plenty about an athlete’s likelihood of reaching their potential on the playing eld. Coaches know that good students tend to make the most of their abilities and stay out of trouble.

Michael Stonebreaker, two-time All American from Notre Dame, reports that his father made him go to summer school because he received a C on his report card. Stonebreaker was not happy with the requirement, but it was the only C he would ever receive. Later, his high GPA helped him earn a full scholarship to Notre Dame, so while he had to devote his summer to academics, he learned a valuable lesson.
We suggest the three-part ACE formula for teaching students to be accountable.

More Tomorrow....

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Parents Role In Recruiting

RT Staff Note: The following is an excerpt from the book Athletes Wanted...By Chris Krause, CEO of The National Collegiate Scouting Association in Chicago.

FOR PARENTS, the recruiting process can be one of the greatest
challenges—a test of patience, endurance, and discipline all wrapped
into one exhilarating yet anxiety-plagued package. In some ways,
parents have been preparing for this time since rst enrolling their child
in AYSO soccer, Little League baseball, or Pop Warner football. Th ey
have invested time, money, and sweat for a decade. It can feel as if Mom
and Dad have almost as much at stake as the athlete does.

A parent’s primary challenge is to walk the the line between
guiding the athlete through the process and becoming overbearing.
Parents might be tempted to take full control, especially when they see
how overwhelming the experience can be. A parent’s goal is to fi nd the
middle ground between a “hands on ” parent and one who micromanages
every move the student makes.

These parents o ffer a certain threat to their children. By taking complete control of the process, these parents jeopardize their children’s ability to learn and grow from the experience. As well, they can annoy the living daylights out of college

Bob Chmiel, NCSA Education Speaker and former football coach at Notre Dame, said he stayed a mile away from children of “we dads.”

“You always know who the ‘we dads’ are because they start every sentence with the word we. ‘We are applying to Georgetown. We had a great season.’”

Chmiel goes on to explain that college coaches do not want to be
distracted by overbearing, meddlesome parents, so a parent who seems
too controlling might actually hurt an otherwise-quali ed student’s
ability to be recruited.

Perhaps Chris Ducar, North Carolina’s assistant women’s soccer
coach put it best. Ducar once told me that in his twelve years as a coach,
he has never once recruited a mom or dad to play for him.

“It isn’t unusual to drop a prospect from the recruiting
board because the parents are a problem,” said Randy
Taylor, former recruiting coordinator for UCLA .

Some parents, on the other hand, take a completely hands-o ff
approach, even though the athlete is still a teenager and can lose focus.

A gentle guiding hand is the perfect touch, though not always easy for a
parent to produce.

More Tomorrow...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Failure= Opportunity To Grow

RT Staff Note: The following is from Jim Giles of Jims web site has a lot of inspirational thoughts about the game of baseball and how to be a better player. He also helps out with the SGV Arsenal, one of the premier, low cost travel teams, located in southern California. Enjoy!

Through every failure, whether it is athletically or in our lives in general, there is an opportunity to grow. In fact, it can often be said that the only true failure in life is your failure to learn from a past event or your failure to move forward from it.

It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to truly succeed at something without first experiencing some form of failure along the way. I truly believe that if you do not fail at some point, you are not trying hard enough. The key in this endeavor is developing the attitude of not focusing on the fact that you have failed in the task, but rather focusing on what you do AFTER the failure. This is a key step and a determining factor in your ability to truly succeed.

Another key element to experience success is continual growth. We need to find a way to continually grow as an athlete, and as a person, each and every day. True growth can only be found by “stressing” our current state and pushing ourselves further than we have on the previous day. This continual stressing and pushing may cause momentary failure along the way. In fact, if we are appropriately challenging ourselves, we will fail along the way numerous times as we are trying to push further away from our comfort zone and those activities which we know we can attain. By failing, we are given the opportunity to evaluate the process by which we have failed and use this in our next effort to rise above this. Critical to this process is applying the theory of only worrying about what YOU can control. The main thing that you CAN control is how you react to any given failure.

Drawing on another key aspect from Pete Carroll’s ideology is his emphasis on maintaining a positive attitude and approaching all challenges and triumphs as an opportunity to grow and get better. “Eliminate all negatives,” Carroll says. In an interview he was quoted as saying “I learned from (Former North Carolina State Basketball coach) Jim Valvano that you should never allow for negatives. It doesn’t matter what the issue is or what the obstacle is, there are no negatives. And through that, you can look at everything as a special opportunity to improve, reflect on or just sit back and enjoy.”

As an athlete, especially in a sport like baseball, failure will occur more often than perceived success. A hitter will “fail” in at bats more frequently than he will succeed and be considered a great hitter. During the course of a game, a Pitcher will make many pitches in his endeavor to win the game. Some of those pitches may be failures, producing results that they did not intend. But it is the continual learning from those failed at bats, or failed pitches, that provide a player with the opportunity to succeed at a higher level in the next attempt.

For those attempting to move on to the next level of sports, the scouts evaluating you LOVE to see you fail. In fact, they deep down inside probably are wishing that you will fail at some point. The few moments after that failure, can quite often tell these scouts more about what lies within you than hundreds of successful events. How someone reacts to failure will ultimately tell you what you can not easily see. That is character, motivation, drive, etc. which cumulatively determine your “Mental Make Up”. For a baseball player, this is the 6th Tool. This is often the most difficult attribute to evaluate. At the next level, this is one of the key attributes that separates players. Each level you step up, the competition is tougher, the players are stronger, the demands are greater, so only those that have the right “Mental Make Up” will succeed. Dealing with failure is critical to this process.

I recently watched a baseball game between two very talented teams. The Pitcher from one of the teams was one of the most highly regarded players in the country. His team was expected by some to win every game because of the talented players they had. Well on this given day, they were facing players who were experiencing success against them. In the first inning, things didn’t quite go as planned. The other team took advantage of some opportunities and suddenly had jumped out to a pretty big lead. Now the team could have folded and focused on their failure to stop their opponent. This player, who had not experienced much failure over the last year, was in unfamiliar ground. The team was in a position they possibly had not intended to be in, given “their guy” on the hill. If they focused on the failure of the first inning, the game would be over. If they focused on the opportunity that would present itself over the next several innings, the opportunity would be there to in the end succeed. Well as many of the scouts decided to leave to other games, they missed out on a great game which revealed great character. The pitcher found that inner strength and held the other team the rest of the way. His teammates found their ability to focus on the opportunity and came back scoring more runs than their opponent the balance of the game. Ultimately they came up one run short. But did they fail? I’d like to think they didn’t. While they failed to score more runs than their opponent that day, they didn’t fail in growing from the opportunity and hopefully will be able to use this learning experience in games ahead. They chose to make that Failure an Opportunity to Grow.

Jim Giles

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Prove It!

RT Staff Note: The following is the third in a series of Monday Morning articles from Carmen Bucci, President of The Complete Athlete. Carmen teaches high school athletes how to communicate better with their current coaches, college coaches and/or professional scouts. Since our theme for the past several weeks has been about communication, we welcome Carmen as a RT contributor.

By Carmen Bucci, The Complete Athlete
It’s not enough just to tell a college coach or professional scout that you work hard or you’re a leader on /and off the field. It’s not enough to tell a college coach you would love to attend their college to get an education and play ball. You need to Prove It! Show vs. Tell. What do I mean?

Think about what a college coach goes through in the recruiting process. Once they have narrowed down the recruits they are interested in, they’re going call them on the phone. In doing so, it’s evident that they like the player’s ability, but they also want to get to know them as a person. Let’s say they call 5 recruits in a night. If you’re one of the lucky ones to get that phone call, you’ll experience an array of emotions, one of which will be “nervous”. You want that coach to like you. You want that coach to know you’re interested in their school. You want the coach to know you’re a hard worker, a leader and someone that would be a great representative of their program. There are a lot of things that you want a coach to know about you, but you may not know how to say it. If you simply tell a coach you’re a hard worker, etc, than you’re no different than any other recruit. How many guys are going to tell a coach that they don’t work hard? How many guys are going to tell a coach that they have bad character, or they aren’t leaders? The answer is NONE.

The same can be said for an interview with a professional scout. It’s not just about ability when someone is thinking of investing money in you in the draft. As I have mentioned in previous articles, they are investing in you as a person…the whole package. The affect that making the wrong decision has on a club is more than just a wasted draft pick. Besides winning, professional baseball teams, as a whole, are concerned with the perception of their organization. They want to bring in the right people, not just the right players.

So how do you stand out to a college coach or professional scout? The easiest way is in showing instead of telling. If you call a coach or scout, who has not seen you play, and tell them you’re a good player, they’re going to want to see it with their own eyes. They’ll either want to see you on video or see you play in person. The same goes for telling a coach you’re a hard worker, you’re a leader, or you have good character. Let them see it. Provide examples of what you’re talking about. In the following example, which of the players would stand out to you?

Player 1 – “Coach, I’m a hard worker. I give 100% all the time, and I think I’m a leader on the field. And I was named captain this year.”

Player 2 – “Coach, I’ve always worked hard. Usually I am up at 6 am…I lift weights before school….Then, after school, my friends and I hit in the batting cages and take ground balls in the gym….I have been working with a hitting coach 2 times per week, for the past year….I try to finish first every time we run sprints….My teammates voted me captain this year, and I was elected class rep in school by my teachers.”

Of course, your answers as a player will vary depending on your activities and personality. But, Player 2 is going to stand out over Player 1. He was able to “paint a picture.” When you’re ready to answer a question from a coach or scout, ask yourself “how” or “why,” and answer thoroughly. Do you want a coach to know you’re interested in their school? Research a school before you speak with a coach or you take your visit, and make sure to talk about what you’ve learned through your research. Do you have good character? Give some examples of situations you’ve been in and have shown good character, or talk about clubs you’re involved in inside or outside of school. Whether it’s talking to a coach or scout, don’t assume that just telling is enough. Actions speak louder than words. Prove it!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Live Strong

In conversations with a few of our contributors, they have asked us to be a bit more detailed on the daily conditioning program during the school year, so that it can be applied to our popular 3-Part Series we published throughout this week. This post is a preview of a series on health and nutrition we will run next week.

Many strength and conditioning experts will have their own ideas and routines, and it would take three pages to give you all of the details...Plus, we are not licensed trainers...So, we have provided you an outline to use as a training template below. While you can do long toss, stretching, hitting, fielding and most core drills on your own, ask your conditioning coach at school or at the gym or a place like Velocity Training on the actual details as it relates to speed drills, equipment and amount of weight you should use. Or, just go to the right hand column of this site and click on the many different web sites that offer baseball training techniques and subscribe to their services.

Why is this important? Mostly to become a stronger player and above all to avoid injury...You are at the stage of your life as a High School Position Player or Two-Way Player, where you will be playing over 100 ball games a year, especially in the warm weather states where baseball is just about a year round activity. You need to be in top physical condition to be able to withstand that kind of schedule. Whether you pitch, play infield or outfield, you need to strengthen your legs, core, and turn your arm into an Iron Mike. You need to have a schedule and stick by that schedule everyday. As we mentioned in our 3-Part Series, take advantage of your schools facilities and work out at least two hours a day everyday with a different routine every other day. Also,it is very important that you eat a small snack prior to your school work-outs and then come home and eat a big, nutritious dinner. Consult your school trainer on the types and number of meals you should be eating every day. Because you are working out every day, be sure to drink at least 10 (8oz.)glasses of water everyday too..

Here's a sample schedule:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Stretch, band work, core conditioning....20 minutes
Long Toss....20 minutes
Hitting...200 swings Wood bat only
Speed conditioning...30 minutes
Weights...Upper body...30 minutes

Tuesday, Thursday
Stretch, band work, core conditioning....30 minutes
Fielding drills...30 minutes
Hitting...300 swings Wood bat only
Weights...Lower Body...30 minutes

Saturday, Sunday
Games, fall, winter ball wood bat only even in games when they use metal, you should use only wood and work on hitting the ball in the sweet spot.

We hope this helps...Trainers, specialists are welcome to comment on this post.

I Am Getting Letters From College Coaches...Now What????

If you attended the recent WWBA tourney in East Cobb or another Perfect Game Showcase, then you may have already received that letter that reads...

"We saw you play at a recent showcase and have recognized you as one of the top players in your area"

Yes, this is sort of a standard letter that is sent out to just about every participant at a showcase. Part of the agreement of these showcases is the release of the database of the teams, players and coaches e-mails and home addresses. However, that doesn't mean that you ignore it. All of these coaches and organizers know that not every one is a talented prospect. However, not even every talented prospect can be a prospect if he doesn't respond to the questionnaires and letters that he receives from the college coach that sent the letter.

Bottom line, respond to every letter...Fill out every questionnaire...Get on their database...Because it will show that you are an interested athlete.

Why? thing your son has that most baseball players that don't go to showcases and camps have is the desire to put their talent on display in front of the scouts. That says volumes about your sons character and desire for the game. That will make him a player to watch in future events. Now, it doesn't mean that they will recruit him. It just means that they will further evaluate him and see if the talent matches up to the desire and attitude. But, it's a start and a good position to be in.

Before we went to our first major camp (read my first post...we did some minor camps to get the kinks out first), my son and I sent out letters and e-mails to all of the colleges he thought he may want to go to school and play for and told them that he was attending the showcase. The letter and profile that we sent was very detailed. Below is a sample of the type of information you must put in a profile sheet. Include a good, "facing the camera" shot of your son...preferably torso up, so they can see his body type and frame.
<Travel Team Name
Positions: OF
Uniform#: #23
Coach: All Coaches Named Here

Personal Information
Phone: 888-888-8888
Address: 888 Baseball Rd, Baseball City CA 88888
Date of Birth: 01/01/1991 Age: 16
Height: 6'4" Weight: 190
High School: My High School Class of 2010
League: AAAA
Phone / Web 888-999-0000
HS Coach: Mr Coach (888) 777-8888
Positions: OF
Bats: R Throws:R
GPA: 3.8

Athletic Awards: Started Varsity as Freshman, All League 2nd team, County Times 2nd Team

Academic Awards: Frosh Deans List Honors Algebra Academic Award

Clubs/Activities: Freshman Class Treasurer

Hitting Coach: Coach Smith

Travel Baseball Background: 10U 7th Place USSSA Nationals, 11U 5th Place USSSA Nationals, 12U 2nd Place Cooperstown TOC, 13U USSSA 3rd Place Nationals, 14U National Champions USSSA, 15U National Champions Elite 16

Top Colleges Interested In: State U, State Tech, State A&M


As you can see from the profile info above, we included the following:

TRAVEL TEAM...This is important because the scouts and recruiters want to know how serious the players are about baseball and the way they challenge themselves against better competition. include your uniform number so they can spot you right away...this will vary...some showcases have pre-determined numbers that are given out...others will have the team just wear their travel ball uniforms. Also include your coaches phone number and e-mail so they can contact them with a profile of your abilities.

HIGH SCHOOL...High schools teams get the press, so if your player is on a high school team that gets a lot of local press, the scouts will know to look for you there. Also include the name, phone number and e-mail address of your high school coach. Depending on the league or the coaches reputation, they will contact that coach as well for an evaluation.

ACADEMICS...College baseball has always put more of an emphasis on grades than other sports...If a players grade point is above a 3.2, he will be recruited heavier than a student with a 2.8 or below...all things equal.

TRAVEL TEAM SUCCESS...While it doesn't matter what kind of success you had as a 10 year old, the fact that a player has had the discipline and desire to play those 100+ games and travel around the country for years, will help the coaches understand that you can handle the rigors of collegiate ball better than most.

LIST ALL COLLEGES YOU ARE INTERESTED IN...Don't be shy here..You will not make the coaches mad if their school is one of 10 listed. In fact, it shows that you have confidence in your ability to play there.

When we went through this process, we bought big 3" binders with the names of every college we sent letters and e-mails to and received letters from and organized the names on tabbed separators. We also wrote down notes of each and every showcase he attended and we did our own analysis of his performance....i.e. hits, plays made...60 yard time...SPARQ score etc.

This is just scratching the surface. There will be more on this subject later.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ask Coach Taylor

Coach Taylor, when sending highlight videos to colleges you’re interested in, should a cover letter be enclosed or just a note stating my interest. If so, what exactly should it state besides my desire to play for their organization?

I would definitely recommend including a cover letter. The only reason you might not include a cover letter with your video is if you already have sent one to this particular coach. It is a good idea to keep track of what you send to each coach.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when constructing your cover letter to coaches:

1. Most every coach now relies on e-mail to both contact and receive contact from potential recruits. That is the preferred method of communication. To find out the e-mail addresses for the coaches you are looking to contact, simply go to the college’s athletic website and look for a staff listing of names and e-mails or ask your Recruiting Coach.

2. Be brief. Coaches at all levels receive dozens and dozens of e-mails/letters from high school-aged players. All you are trying to do is show you have interest, pass along all of your contact information, your resume, and provide each coach with an upcoming schedule of your matches so he can see you play.

3. NEVER HAVE ONE OF YOUR PARENTS WRITE TO A COACH. You are the one the coach might be recruiting, so he/she wants to hear from you directly. (If the relationship develops and it appears that you might be attending that college, they’ll be plenty of time for your parents to have contact with the coaching staff.)

4. Provide contact information for yourself and your coaches. Nothing is worse for a college coach than to have to track down your coach’s e-mail or phone number. By having both an e-mail address and a phone number listed after his/her name, it allows for the college coach to quickly e-mail or call your private and/or high school coach to follow up.

5. Always include basic information about yourself such as grad year, high school, athletic history, GPA, SAT/ACT scores. Tell the coach why you are a good fit for their program.

6. Do not send a form letter that starts out with “Dear Coach” and does not mention anything specific about his/her program and school. The bulk of your e-mail will be kept the same for correspondence you send out to various coaching staff; however a portion of it should be personalized. Bring in something specific about it that you learned by going through the website. State your interest in the school and specific reasons (like “my Dad went to Madison and I want to carry on the tradition” or whatever fits you personally)

7. Detail is important! Be sure that you use spell check and proper English. This is a reflection of your ability. You may send your letter to NCSA to revise.

8. If you are emailing rather than regular mail, DO NOT mass email a bunch of coaches. This comes across as lazy and shows the coach that you didn’t take your time to personalize for them. Make sure to address the letter Dear Coach [[last name]].

Send your recruiting questions to

You can also get your questions answered directly by contacting an NCSA Recruiting Coordinator at 866-579-6272.

Read more: Ask Coach Taylor – What Should I Include In My Cover Letter? | College Recruiting Blog - Athletic Scholarships Blog | NCSA

NCSA Athletic Recruiting changes lives by building leaders through sports and connecting four key communities involved in the college athletic recruitment process: qualified high school student-athletes and their families, high school coaches and athletic directors, college coaches, and professional partners such as the NFLPA, ESPN, and more. NCSA is the leading collegiate recruiting source for more than 200,00 student-athletes and 35,000 college coaches across the country. /blog/2010/10/06/ask-coach-taylor-what-should-i-include-in-my-cover-letter/#ixzz12H2z0ktC

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Gretzky to Slap Baseballs Not Hockey Pucks

Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky's son Trevor committed to play college baseball at San Diego State University yesterday, where Baseball Hall of Famer and coach Tony Gwynn will attempt to guide him to the pros. Trevor Gretzky's a senior at Oaks Christian High School in Westlake Village, Calif., where he also played football and attempting to continue his family's domination of the Montana clan.

So as Trevor Gretzky commits to the diamond, it got us wondering: Why did he choose that path over the one to the rink as a young athlete, given his family legacy?

The obvious speculation is: He's Wayne Gretzky's son, and playing puck would be like Plácido Domingo's son trying to become a tenor. But the truth is that Trevor Gretzky played some hockey, and it might have been his game of choice ... were it not for some geographic restrictions.

From a Nov. 2008 ESPN "Outside The Lines" piece on the Oaks Christian football team's celebrity offspring:

Trevor, for instance, has had a hockey stick in his room his whole life, but Wayne never gave him any ice to go with it. "He's grown up in the Southwest, and he's never really had a desire to skate," Wayne says. "If you can't skate, you can't play in the NHL. It's pretty simple."

Says Trevor: "I played growing up -- I was a goalie. But there is nowhere to play out here." Over the years, Wayne would take a look at Trevor's wingspan -- on his way to 6-foot-4 -- and wonder whether the boy could've been a defenseman. And the kid played defense, all right: linebacker. "He's a football player," says Bill Redell, the head varsity coach at Oaks Christian. "Hockey's like watching two guys fish. He's not going to play hockey."

Turn out he's not going to play football, either, which was a difficult decision. As Wayne Gretzky told Pierre LeBrun last December: "He's a normal kid. When he's playing football, he says football; when he's playing baseball, he says baseball. ... The good news for him is that he does work hard, he's very humble, he's 6-foot-5 -- he has all the attributes."

Trevor wasn't the only chance to extend the Gretzky legacy in hockey. His brother, Ty, played at the prestigious Shattuck-St. Mary's high school in Minnesota back in 2007 but didn't return after one season. Said Wayne Gretzky in a 2008 interview:

"He didn't play a lot. He realized he was not going to be a player. But it was all good. He lived away from home and he loved the year. He's not going to look back when he's 25 wishing he'd given it a try."

With a famous father, the Gretzky boys (and there are two other brothers) are attempting to find their niche. In Trevor's case, it's baseball; and it's probably less intimidating to take on a sport where his family name isn't already littering the record books.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Is it Any Wonder That a Athletic Director Named Barbour Would CUT a Baseball Program?

The comical situation that is the Cal Athletic department has taken another turn. Now, after announcing that it was cutting baseball, Sandy Barbour is reconsidering her decision because donors have come forth. Huh? So...after she cuts a program...she talks to donors?

This decision by AD Sandy Barbour was a disaster and a lesson of what NOT to do as an executive at any position in any company or organization.

First of all, this should have never, ever come as a surprise to Esquer and the families involved. Now they are trying to scramble and save the program? After Cal has had to let go of its 2012 recruits...thereby basically giving itself a self imposed death penalty????

Why not discuss the possible ramifications and possibilities that the program MAY BE in danger of being cut PRIOR TO making a decision to cut it? Why not discuss ways to save it PRIOR TO announcing to the world that the 118 year old program, one of the oldest in the country, is being cut? What Sandy Barbour did and the way she did it is an embarrassment to the school, the State of California and makes her look quite bad as a leader...Let me rephrase that...she did not act anywhere near what a good leader would do. She did not communicate, discuss or take the time, effort and initiative to find solutions to a very big problem..She created a problem out of her inability to fight for her own program and now in a panic from fans, benefactors and alumni is being forced to fix a situation that she helped foster behind closed doors with a group of anti-sports school board members.

Cal needs a guy like USC's Pat Haden to run that athletic program...Someone that will fight, raise money and has the fire to make it all work. My sources tell me that Sandy Barbour does what she is told, not what is right in that department.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Cost Of Traveling with Your Youth College Development Program

This post isn't just about dollars and cents, it's about how we have altered our lifestyles, to give our sons a chance to be the best they can be at baseball. The questions that we always hear are, after all of the travel and nights away from the rest of the family, work, friends, costly lessons, tournament fees, coaches per diems and $400 bats, are our sons better baseball players? Do they understand and love the game more? And, is it their passion or ours?

It's unanimous here at Rounding Third. It definitely was well worth the experience. All of our sons are playing D-1 college ball. We think that if they had taken the route that most of their friends took, and had relied on their high school coaches and the local leagues to get them to the next level, our sons would not have had the offers or the opportunities to play D-1. Now we know that there are exceptions. Some of our sons friends may get a chance to play JC ball and if they step up their routines and become more serious about the game, they could get a chance to play at the next level.

But the one thing our sons have that their other friends do not, is a passion, self discipline and serious attitude about baseball and the knowledge that the game requires a devoted work ethic both in the off season and in pre-game preparations that we have witnessed many rec ball athletes do not have. It's not their friends fault. That's the way they were taught. There are distinct philosophical differences in the way a travel ball coach develops his players and a Babe Ruth coach develops his.

Nevertheless, below we have listed some characteristics of a traveling College Development Program (CDP) to look for and even some things we would have done differently based upon our last 6-7 years of CDP ball.

What is a good CDP? Our definition is a team that has it's total focus on the development of the players and not just on winning that $5 piece of plastic for the sake of the coaches egos. The costs of a good CDP can be daunting, but make sure that your team is going to the right tournaments and showcases that will:

1) Get exposure for the players first and foremost. Many of the top high school tournaments will have scouts in attendance and you want your team to be there. There are many so called "travel teams" that beat their chest because they win a lot of local and regional tournaments. While it's great that they are playing good ball that is probably a step up from the rec alternatives, when you weigh the costs versus benefits, what was accomplished by winning that trophy that's bound for an old box in the garage?

2) Works with the tournament organizers to make sure your team is playing against the best competition. While winning is great for the psyche of the team as a whole, it's not always going to benefit them if they are playing patsies to get to the championship round. Some people will disagree with us on this, but we strongly feel that your sons will gain more grit playing the good teams early. And, if your CDP has a great reputation, you'll get more scouts at those early games against the better competition.

3)Be Organized! Be wary of the "travel programs" that don't have their summer of 2011 schedule completed by January...Yes that's right...January!!! Many of the top tournaments and showcases like the Junior Olympics are invitation only and if a newer organization wants in, they will have to campaign to get their team in the tournament early in the year. Other showcases tournaments have deadlines and they are usually very early. A lot of planning and logistics go into these national tournaments and they usually don't accept late entries unless there is a cancellation.

4)Have 90% of their roster in place by December of 2010. Many of the top clubs have already had their try-outs this fall. Some in the Sun Belt are still amidst the try-out process via fall ball. It's important that a club knows it's roster so that it can have the spring to create their own player profiles to send out to college recruiters. This does not negate your sons efforts to send out letters and profiles however. Your son needs to do his own marketing on top of what his coaches are executing. (Refer to our post from October 22, 2008...I AM GETTING LETTERS FROM COLLEGE BASEBALL COACHES)

5) Has a reputation as a winning, professional organization with the college and pro scouts. Look at the CDP's web site and look at their alumni page. Many of the better organizations will have a section of their web site dedicated to former players that have gone on to college or even the pros. That says volumes about their dedication to player development. Many college coaches look to these organizations for help and player profiles. Also, ask them if they are communicating with college coaches and where they feel your son fits in with the type of colleges they will be contacting.

6)A payment plan that precedes the season. It is our experience that if a club has a payment plan that is paid prior to the season, then that team gets 100% participation with its players. These payment plans are usually monthly and more reasonable to budget for. These clubs also have travel agencies that they work with and their web site is like a one stop shop. If you have a good, competitive club and they don't have this set-up...have the coaches get it done this way. It's easy and web site set-up costs are usually free or very inexpensive. There are other clubs that have a pay as you go policy and they are the ones that usually are scrambling for players before every tournament. Those type of clubs are usually very frustrating and costly experiences.

7)Coaches as teachers. The best organizations have coaches that work with each individual player to help make him a better player. They are also the teams that gather as a group every inning before their at bats, going over the decisions that the players made in the field, talking about adjustments that need to be made at the plate and getting them in the right frame of mind. Most of these coaches really know the game and love spreading that knowledge to their players. That's the type of added value that makes a good CDP team worth the investment for your son.

We have heard time and time again that travel ball is for rich dads that want to live vicariously through their kids. Not true! Yes, there may be a good number of parents that fall into this category and a good number of "travel clubs" that will accept any ones money to feed that parents desire. But, for the most part, good CDP's are about developing and giving players the opportunity to take their game to the next level. And, those top CDP's have a cost. And, we as parents are whipping out that check book like it was a sure stock tip.

The one thing we would have done differently, would have been to get our kids way more involved in the fund-raising aspect of their travel team. Many of these kids have it too easy and we as parents are guilty of making it easy for them. I know of several Georgia, Florida and Texas teams that raise 100% of their travel costs and coaches fees through candy drives, car washes, raffles and bake sales. Their kids are a part of that fund raising process. There's nothing wrong with parents bringing those candy bars to the office...that's usually pretty easy money...but so is a group of athletic looking kids in baseball caps going door to door or sitting up at the grocery store selling cookies, candy, and raffle tickets to help pay for that trip to East Cobb, Orlando or San Diego. This discipline also gives them ownership of their team and their accomplishments. It also keeps costs down for you, because depending on the organization, the total summer expenses for a high school CDP that is entered into all of the top tournaments and showcases can run in excess of $7,000.

That $7,000 is broken down as follows:
1) $1,500-$2,000 coaches fee/tourney fees. Fees vary by team and region.
2) $350 uniform and equipment costs
3) $2,500/Car Rental/Gas/Airfare for 2
4) $3,000+ (Two,1 Week Trips @ $85 a Night, Six 3 night Stays at $75 a Night) Plus../Food/Gate Fees/Entertainment For 2

These costs can be cut drastically if you room with another family and opt to go to the grocery store and barbeque by the hotel pool (much cheaper, healthier and more fun in our opinion)instead of eating out every night. Also, the advantage of having a travel team that plans ahead will allow you to shop for airfares and hotels well in advance and take advantage of discount rates.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Big Things Can Happen At Small Colleges

We are a site dedicated to helping players play at the next level...period...Although we have mentioned the subject of today's post a few times over the last three months, it bears mentioning again, because now is the time to act!!! Senior players who aren't committed to a college yet...and aren't going to get an offer during the November 10th-17th initial signing period this year, there are hundreds of D-II's, D-III's, NAIA and JUCO's ready to add to their rosters from April 13th-August 1st, 2011...the next signing period.

So, get those letters written, profiles updated, send them your high school schedule (your coach should have that posted by now)and travel team coaches recommendation. More importantly, make sure all your transcripts, SAT's, SAT II's and/or ACT's are ready to send out with the school application. If you haven't applied to the college you are sending a letter to, do so now! Many schools have admissions deadlines for applications for the Fall 2011 session and that deadline is probably coming up soon. Ask the coaches of that school or an admissions administrator what their policy is. There's no cookie cutter answer to this issue. All schools have different policies.

Bottom line, these smaller colleges could be the best thing that ever happened to many young athletes...especially if they are still maturing as a baseball player, but have the talent to play at the next level. Yes, it takes talent...Collegiate baseball at any level is competitive and can lead to bigger opportunities just like the D-I's. And, many players have taken full advantage of the opportunity they recieved at the small colleges they attended. Did you know for example, that 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.

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. Again, get those letters and school applications out now!!! 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..

RT Staff

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

7 Traits of a Successful Hitter

RT Staff Note: Jon Doyle's Baseball Training Secrets has numerous articles on Hitting, arm strength, speed training and strength and conditioning on his web site. He also has some of best video training programs in the business. Click the link above to view all of his articles and other offerings. The following is one of our favorite articles that he has written.
RT Staff

By Jon Doyle
As you may know there are numerous hitting methods and styles that exist in the world of baseball. They all claim the same thing: that they are the best. So who’s right and who’s wrong? They all are. Now you are probably saying, “This guy must be nuts. What the heck is he talking about? He doesn’t even make any sense.”

My point being is that if a certain hitting style works for a particular player then that style is the best for him. However, that same style won’t necessarily work for you. It may, but it may not. That is because if a certain style doesn’t work for you it’s not the best.

We must remember that hitting is an art. Trying to carbon copy hitters is the worst possible thing you can do. I encourage you to try different approaches, stances and follow throughs to see what works and doesn’t work for you. Let’s look at the 7 common traits shared among great hitters, no matter what hitting method is used.

1. Confidence

Believing in yourself and your ability is vital to becoming a great hitter. If you don’t believe in yourself who will? Questioning yourself on deck or in the batters box is pointless because it is way too late at that point to worry about anything. You must trust that the work you put in has gotten you ready to perform, no matter the pitcher or the situation. I firmly believe that most hitters get themselves out more often than the pitcher gets them out. Simply doing the correct preparation, both mentally and physically, can place you in the mind frame needed to be a great hitter.

2. Comfort

If you are not comfortable you will not hit. Period. Yes, when first experimenting with a new stance or hand position or whatever you might feel a bit uncomfortable. However, this should soon disappear as you practice this new technique. If it doesn’t disappear it probably is a sign that it’s not the best for you. However, remember that you can come back to this at a later time and it might feel great. That is the beauty of the swing. It can be an ever changing art form. The bottom line is: find your comfort zone and work from there.

3. Baseball Specific Vision

The ability to recognize and react to pitches is evident in all great hitters. You have a miniscule amount of time to see the ball, recognize the pitch, its velocity and location and then have the ability to generate the mechanics to make hard contact. There is a specific way to develop the vision skills that great hitters possess. However, virtually nobody knows about it. Vision drills that use colored balls (Never quite understood this one as we all know a baseball is white with red stitches), video games and other wacky equipment may improve certain aspects of “vision”, but not the vision need to track and react to a baseball. I’ve tried them all on both myself and my students. I have tested them in the real world. I know what works and what doesn’t. This skill is obviously vital as the old saying goes “You can’t hit what you can’t see.”

4. Reactive Strength and Abilities

Your ability to react will determine how good, or bad, of a baseball player you are. The game is consistently challenging you on how quickly you react to different situations. For example do you know where to swing the bat before the pitch is thrown? Of course not. You have an idea of what you want to do with the pitch, but have no clue where it is going until it leaves the pitchers hand. In very simplistic terms you are reacting to the pitch. Great hitters react very well, bad hitter don’t really react much at all. For a deeper, more in depth explanation on this I will be releasing a three-part series titled “The Biggest Secret in Baseball.”

5. Triple Threat Torso – Quick, Powerful and Flexible

You must develop a torso that has the above three qualities. If you lack even one you are severely limiting your potential. Everything else happens as a result of the torso. Leg movement, path of the hands, contact position and follow through all are effected by the abilities of your torso, or core. By developing these abilities every aspect of your swing will improve. Trust me you won’t get the triple threat by training the core in a manner that is shown on late night television infomercials or by balancing on a wobble board. Baseball specific training with the correct exercises, weights and tempo can deliver a triple threat torso to die for.

6. Short Swing

We all know that you must keep your hands inside the ball in order to consistently make hard contact on the sweet spot, especially against a good fastball. No matter which hitting method you follow, a short, compact stroke is a major emphasis and is crucial to success. I like to say, “If you swing is long, your day will be as well.”

7. Balance

If you cannot maintain balance before, during and after the swing you are severely doomed to inconsistent and unimpressive performance. The better your balance the more consistent your swing will be. If you are falling in any direction you will not only make poor contact most of the time, but you will have a hard time putting anything behind the swing.

This does not mean standing on some sill wobble board or stability ball. It means the ability to maintain your equilibrium throughout your swing. This is swing-specific balance I’m talking about here. Don’t be fooled by a fitness and training industry that is riddled with low-level “trainers” who simply don’t understand your needs.

To become a flat out stud, you must be sure that your training is specific to the traits I have listed above. Bodybuilding routines and mindless batting practice will not do the trick.

There you have it, the 7 traits that are found in every great hitter. Experiment with what works for you and what you feel comfortable with. These traits can be developed, usually quicker than you think, with proper training. Develop the qualities that I spoke about and you will be on your way to complete and utter domination.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Another Convert To CDP's

We received a series of e-mails from a reader in Tennessee that said that his son just recently converted to "travel ball" (we like to call it 'College Development Programs' or CDP's,as our faithful listeners will attest) after playing in local rec leagues from an early age through his sophomore year in high school. The readers son was always a dominant pitcher/ infielder in his local rec leagues. He had a mid to upper 80's fastball that rec ball players couldn't touch. His son was in a mediocre high school league and the success continued through his freshman and sophomore years on the freshman and JV teams.

The player was frustrated that he didn't get called up to varsity with his success, but his high school coach was an upperclassman supporter and rarely, if ever brought up young underclassmen. The rec season had ended and he wanted to play more so that he could make an impact at varsity the next year. At the suggestion of one of his neighborhood friends that attended a local private high school, he filled in as a pitcher in a weekend tournament on a well respected local CDP in the last week of June of this year.

At that tourney, the dad told me, he acted like one of those typical blow-hard dads that thought his son was the next Nolan Ryan. When other parents on his new CDP wanted to know about his son and the teams he had played on, the dad told him of his sons multiple no-hitters and sheer dominance at the league he had played in. The parents were nice to him and told him that they looked forward to seeing him pitch.

The CDP coach was a good coach and didn't throw his newest player into the fire until the third game that weekend, which at the time, angered the father of the new player. His son did get to play some second and had a few at bats to get himself acclimated. He always led his rec leagues in Home Runs, but in five at bats, only managed an infield hit.

The father WAS impressed at the level of play and was amazed at how well coached each of the teams were and how well they executed. Still, he was confident that his son would enjoy the same results as a pitcher that he always had. He didn't see too many guys out there that threw as hard or harder than his son. There would be no problem, he rationalized.

When his son pitched in his rec league, kids would always stand up against the fence when he was warming up and he would hear the oohs and ahhhs as his sons fastballs popped the glove of the catcher. He looked for that same kind of response from the team from Knoxville that they were about to face in that third pool play game, but instead, he saw the first five batters out of the dug-out watching his wind-up, swinging away as he delivered the pitch. They seemed locked in. That's something he never saw in his sons rec league.

Right before the throw down to second, the opposing coach gathered his players and evidently had a plan on how to approach our readers son, because what was about to happen that inning was "a Welcome to CDP Ball" awakening.

The first batter took the first pitch deep for a home run. That was the first home run, our readers son ever had hit against him in over two years of pitching. The second better got a single up the middle, the third batter walked, the fourth batter also went deep and the fifth hit a triple. The coach called time, went to the mound and calmly had a chat with his new pitcher. The next two batters walked and with the bases loaded, the eighth batter of that inning hit a three run bases clearing double. With no outs and eight batters faced, the score was 7-0 and our readers son had a look of shock and embarrassment on the mound. The coach called time, and gave his new pitcher a pat and replaced him.

After the game, the dad was full of excuses, blaming the catcher, the coach, the pitches that were being called and grabbed his son and said that they were leaving. He didn't want to see his son humiliated like this again and ruin his confidence.

What happened next was a total shock for our reader. His son, said no. He liked the team...liked the coach and was not as discouraged with his performance given the circumstances. "Circumstances...what were shelled...that outing was a disaster."

"The coach says that I have potential. He likes my delivery, my size, my velocity and he says that I have an...upside?" Our reader didn't know what that meant at the time, and then asked his son what the coach had said to him on the mound.

"He asked me how many pitches I had."

"That's all...I mean you have a curve ball, but you never really had to use it much"

"Well, it wasn't working and he wanted me to locate my fastballs and asked if I had a change-up."

"What did you say?"

"I dunno, I said I would try and then I walked the next two guys. So after that I just wanted to get it over the plate and that's when the guy hit the double."

"And you still want to play in this league? Don't you feel humiliated?"

"No, a lot of the guys on the team that pitch said that they started out slow like me and that our coaches are really good and will teach me how to pitch."

About that time, his sons coach came up and introduced himself. He said that he was impressed with his sons fastball and that it was a good base to build on. He went on to explain that his son is now just a thrower and that over time, he will learn how to pitch. He stated that anyone can hit a 88mph fastball, but a real pitcher keeps his hitters off balance and always guessing. He wanted his son to learn how to throw and master a change-up, a curve and really learn how to locate his fastball. His philosophy was that a located fastball was the most devastating pitch in a pitchers arsenal. That's the first thing his son needed to work on.

The reader said that although it has cost him a few extra hundred dollars that he never had to spend when his son was in rec ball...the transformation that has happened to his son has been nothing short of phenomenal. His son's next few outings progressively got better and better and he stated that last week, his son pitched a 7 hit complete game in the semifinal of a regional tournament that was attended by scouts. And more important...his son received his first letter from a major college.

Of all of the no-hitters, one hitters and games where he consistently struck out the side in rec ball...our reader was never more proud of his son that the performance he had against a very good team from Georgia in that 3-1 win. He was proud because the competition was real...his son learned to pitch and above all, his son had new found competitiveness that was based on players that all started out being better than him, but that gap was closing. His son has aspirations of being a big fish in a bigger pond...and doesn't miss one bit the small pond experience he had at the rec level.

Folks...this is what CDP ball is all about. It's about learning, growing, competitiveness, confidence and facing reality. That's why we write this blog and why you all read it. Good luck to all that are traveling to the Arizona Fall Classic in the next few weeks, as well as the big Jupiter, Fl. Tourney. Don't forget to send us your sons verbal commitments too!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Play the Best

We were at a tournament recently where a coach complained that their team was in the toughest bracket. Honestly, if you are a coach of a travel team with legitimate prospects and there are scouts at your tourney you should be very happy that you were placed in the tough bracket. How else are recruiters going to get a good gauge on the true talent of your players if they aren't playing against the best competition. As a coach, you should be requesting the toughest teams...At the 2011-12 graduating class level and above, it's not about just's about getting better and getting seen.

BTW, you should not be entering major tournaments that involve a good amount of out of pocket money for travel, hotel and meals out, if there are not at least some scouts and recruiters there. If your team has a local warm-up tourney to get ready for a big showcase event...fine...but if your team is consistently entering tournaments for the purpose of winning that $5.00 piece of plastic...shame on you.

Your players deserve to compete against the best players at any tournament you are playing in. Recruiters would rather see the best teams play each other as well. That way, they can scout and assess more promising prospects at one game. Economy of scale...everyone wins.

This is a short post today...Busy with my real job...but can't let down my readers.

RT Staff

Friday, October 1, 2010

College baseball dying as Title IX stays alive

By: Greg Hansen Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

In each of its financial crises over the last 25 years, the UA's athletic council establishes a hypothetical doomsday scenario. It asks: If we absolutely have to eliminate a sport, which one goes?

It doesn't take long to get down to baseball.

Is it unthinkable? Yes. In a century of sports competition, Arizona has a deeper baseball tradition than it has in any other sport.

Arizona would no sooner eliminate baseball than, say, the Cal Bears.

On Tuesday, running a $12 million sports deficit, Cal announced that baseball will no longer be part of its athletic program. Blowing up baseball might save the Bears about $1.2 million per year.

While hitting fungoes to some ballplayers at Kindall/Sancet Stadium, UA coach Andy Lopez was informed that his dear friend, David Esquer, Cal's baseball coach, will be out of work by June.

"Is this a bad joke?" he asked.

Here are some earlier bad jokes: College baseball no longer exists at Colorado, Wisconsin, Iowa State and Wyoming. That's not much of a surprise. Yes, it's often too cold for springtime baseball, but mostly it's because it costs so much to operate a women's soccer program and a women's basketball team.

Baseball also died in warm-weather precincts like UTEP, Tulsa and SMU. Why? Because women's track teams and the women's volleyball teams absorb so much of strained budgets.

"I almost refuse to believe what I've heard," said Lopez. "It's like being hit over the head."

Once an august entity such as Cal whacks its baseball team, it's time for every middle-income college baseball program to worry. Because of Title IX regulations and ratios, women's sports are untouchable. At most baseball places, including Arizona, baseball runs a notable deficit. Arizona baseball had expenses of close to $450,000 last year, the school's most costly nonrevenue men's sport.

There is some irony at work here. New Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott met with the league's baseball coaches about a month ago and talked aggressively about a way to market the sport, gain exposure and turn a buck.

Lopez, UCLA's John Savage and Stanford's Mark Marquess were appointed to a committee to promote Pac-10 baseball, and later, the Pac-10 dispatched its director of marketing, Danette Leighton, to meet with Lopez in Tucson.

There are some grand plans, such as the creation of a Pac-10 tournament, possibly to be played at Spring Mobile Ballpark in Salt Lake City, a baseball haven that seats 15,500, a delightful place to celebrate Pac-10 baseball.

Yet a few weeks later, Cal's baseball program was dumped.

"I flew home from the Pac-10 meeting in San Francisco genuinely excited about Larry Scott's passion for college baseball," said Lopez. "When it starts at the top like that, it makes you think about all the good possibilities."

In the public mind, Pac-10 baseball has been dormant for years, living off the long-ago reputations of Bobby Winkles, Rod Dedeaux, Jerry Kindall and Jim Brock.

Until Oregon built the first SEC-type, get-the-fans-involved ballpark two years ago, the Pac-10's baseball season just sort of trudged on. Cal never did install lights at its on-campus field. Arizona has been similarly slow to move forward.

When perennial national power Wichita State played at Kindall/Sancet Stadium in March, Shockers coach Gene Stephenson inquired as to where he, and his players, might relieve themselves, if the need arose.

He was directed to a porta-pottie down the right field line.

When Lopez took the Wildcats to Wichita State in 2007, a sellout crowd of 7,851 attended at Eck Stadium. He was knocked out by the facilities: restrooms and showers connected to the dugouts, loge boxes and suites for corporate and high-end guests, a terrace to protect fans from the sun, and a berm in the outfield for picnics, social interaction and prime viewing.

Imagine what Stephenson and the Shockers thought when a team with a nationally elite reputation such as Arizona drew just 918 and 1,090 for the two-game series in Tucson.

Given new direction at the Pac-10 level, and with the aggressive approach of first-year athletic director Greg Byrne, Arizona is likely to change the way it markets baseball. Lopez's team is loaded, projected to be a strong contender for the 2011 College World Series, and it wouldn't be a shock in coming years if the Wildcats play some games at Hi Corbett Field or Tucson Electric Park, find a way to give their customers some shade, and maybe even build a field-level restroom for the players and coaches.

"Year in and year out, Pac-10 baseball is probably the strongest in the country," said Lopez. "We get more of our people drafted and put more of our players in the big leagues than anyone. It's a shame that it's almost a secret."

Unfortunately at Cal, baseball is no longer a secret. It's past tense.