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MEN News of local sports and team sports ■ August 10, 2011 A LSO INSIDE L O PA R K CA LEN DA R 22 | RE A L E S TAT E T BAS EBALL ‘ All these guys have aspirations of making it to the major leagues. Every single one of them. David Klein, general manager, Menlo Park Legends The Legends gather at the Menlo College baseball diamond for a season-ending team photo. On the cover, Legends founder David Klein (center) celebrates a victory. 23 |C L AS S I F I E D S 25 For David Klein, manager of the Menlo Park Legends, baseball is a way of life Story by Dave Boyce Photos by Michelle Le ‘ SECTION 2 Sports om Hanks, in the 1992 film “A League of Their Own,” playing the manager of a World War II-era women’s baseball team, put it succinctly, definitively and memorably: “There’s no crying in baseball.” Somebody forgot to tell David Klein, an inductee in the Menlo-Atherton High School Sports Hall of Fame, a veteran of college baseball, and the founder, general manager and back-up catcher, pinch-hitter and pinch-runner for the semi-pro Menlo Park Legends. The Legends, a summer team for college players who have major league aspirations, recently completed the 2011 season, its third, with a win-loss record of 26-17. After a 13-7 victory over Sacramento’s Pro Player Baseball on July 28 at Menlo College in Atherton, the Legends, dressed in homefield pin-stripes, gathered in a tight scrum behind first base to say their goodbyes. “You guys came out here and rallied behind me,” said Klein, his eyes welling and his voice breaking repeatedly. “Wow. I appreciate this summer. I really do. It was a pleasure coaching all of you.” “Every single one of you guys got better,” he added. “I’ll be following all of you guys. I will. I’m heartbroken that it’s over. I love you all.” The next morning found Klein on another Atherton baseball diamond, this time sitting on an overturned plastic bucket on a pitcher’s mound tossing T-Ball baseballs to less advanced players and regular baseballs to the others. The occasion was the last of five week-long summer baseball camps for ages 6-12 at Las Lomitas Elementary School. Each of the two teams included two Legends players who set the tone Almanac Staff Write Almanac Photograper with continuous and encouraging on-field banter. “By playing alongside the campers we get the chance to lead by example and show them how the game is supposed to be played,” Klein said in an email. “The kids absolutely love playing with college baseball players.” The kids pounded ball after ball into the outfield, and ran the bases. Of those fly balls that weren’t caught, the throws to the infield were often on target and often arrived before the runner. During a break, the kids gathered on the bleachers beneath the shade of a beach umbrella to talk about the program. “It’s awesome,” said Laine Miller, 10, of Atherton. “You get to play with a team and have fun and learn how to catch the ball and throw it better than usual.” “It’s the best,” Drake Corrigan, 9, of Atherton said, noting that at the end of the day, there is a trivia contest where they can earn and trade baseball cards and candy. It’s also informative. This reporter, whose batting stance as a kid was regularly criticized, finally learned what to do with his rear foot. It’s supposed to rise up and rotate at the toe during the swing, as if squashing a bug, Laine said. “You rotate your foot to make sure it’s dead,” she added. “You don’t want it to suffer.” As for suffering, the kids said they have less of it at a Legends camp. “You can go to the bathroom any time,” said Drake. The other kids nodded in agreement. Asked to elaborate, he said that at other baseball camps, requests for bathroom breaks can be met with, “You should have gone at recess.” Asked to explain the difference between his camps and Little League, Klein said that dads-as-coaches, while well-intentioned, “haven’t been around the game too much. They don’t know how to coach kids.” “We really show them the fun of baseball,” he added. See page 17 August 10, 2011 N The Almanac N17

The Almanac 08.10.2011 - Section 2

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