LONG ISLAND EDITION
SUMMER I ISSUE
COVERING THE NEW YORK BASEBALL COMMUNITY
IN THIS ISSUE:
FIRST SERIES APPEARANCE DOWLING COLLEGE PAGE 18
GRAND SLAM CHALLENGE PAGE 50
COLLEGE BOUND INFORMATION PAGE 43
HALL OF FAME NEWS: NY METS & HONUS WAGNER PAGE 6 & 10
SILVER LINING: JOSH HAMILTON PAGE 21
2009 GRAND SLAM CHALLENGE ALL STARS: MARCUS STROMAN STEVE MATZ & ANTHONY ITALIANO
Real Training-Real Results! Private Lessons Team Training Speed & Strength Velocity Enhancement
CALL NOW: 631-777-7740
931A Conklin St. Farmingdale, NY 11735 www.PerformanceFactoryBaseball.com
2010 INAUGURAL SEASON 8U TEAM FULLY SPONSORED (Includes: 10 week winter clinic @ All-Pro uniforms, spring & summer seasons and tournaments) Where else can your child play for free year round? 10-14U TEAMS PARTIALLY SPONSORED All Falcons teams will be highly competitive. Falcons team tryouts in November 2009 @ ALL- PRO Registration for tryouts is now open visit us online to register @www.Lifalcons.com Interested in coaching 10 or 12U in 2010? Please email us at: Lifalcons @yahoo.com or call (631) 801-2792
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BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE S. SETAUKET, NY 11720
PUBLISHER ERIC CITRON
CREATIVE DIRECTION ISLAND COAST PRODUCTIONS
WEB MASTER BRANDON K
BASEBALL ADVISOR IKE GOLDSTEIN
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT ASHLEY CITRON
PRINTING HAIG GRAPHICS
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Baseball Player Magazine is designed as a resource guide for the baseball community. Its intent is to present all types of businesses that cater to families. When you purchase or utilize a product or service that you saw within the pages of BPM let them know you found it in Baseball Player Magazine. Thank You! In order to provide the Baseball Player Magazine free to consumers that advertisements and this publication are paid for by the advertisers. Unless specially noted, no services, ideas, columns or concepts in Baseball Player Magazine are endorsed by the publisher. Baseball Player Magazine reserves the unrestricted right to refuse, edit or otherwise alter any advertisement submitted for publication. All information in the magazine is copyrighted, including the text, the logo and the layout. All the content of the magazine or the website www.baseballplayermagazine.com may not be copied or distributed without the written consent of the publisher. The publisher of the publication does not warrant or make any representations concerning the accuracy or reliability of the information contained herein. For information about having Baseball Player Magazine distributed in your location or to advertise or submit a story contact 516-380-6775.
HALL OF FAME NEWS
HALL OF FAME NEWS
Talent Evaluation Systems International New York Mets
Letâ€™s Reclaim What Is Ours Honus Wagner
AND THE WINNER IS...
BEYOND THE BASEBALL ACADEMY
DOWLING COLLEGE BASEBALL
TAKING GREAT BASEBALL PHOTOS
A-ROD BOOK REVIEW
BATTING TEE STATIONS
INSIDE THE GAME
INSTRUCTOR OF THE MONTH
GRAND SLAM CHALLENGE
2009 Yastrzemski Award Performance Factory
First Series Appearance
The Josh Hamilton Story Sigma Lenses
Jeff Cavaliere Joe Francisco
Charles Ruotolo, MD
Sponsored by Sports Worx
Running the Bases
Tesi Sports will be bring a unique and exciting event to Long Island for the first time on July 30th and again on Aug 19th. Talent Evaluation Systems International will be hosting a youth baseball combine for all youth baseball players from the ages of 12 to 19. The purpose of the event is to provide a level playing field in evaluating a players ability on multiple levels. Each athlete will be tested up to four times a year on their physical fitness, strength and conditioning as well as their skills specific to their position on the ball field. The testing is provided in a systematic unbiased manner that allows no room for someone else's agenda. Each athlete will complete the combine and a TESI Score will be provided to the athlete. The score is a proprietar y system to evaluate an athlete based on what todays youth, high school and college coaches will be looking for in selecting their athlete's. Coaches and recruiters will have the ability to search the TESI data base looking for prospective players to fill their rosters. The coaches and recruiters will have the ability to search the data base based on the TESI Score as well as physical and skill based results. If your son is looking to make the net step in his youth baseball career or you just want to see how you athlete stacks up, all you need to do is go to the combine await the score and log into your athlete's home page on TESI's web site and you will see where your son or athlete measures against others. Unlike other programs
the TESI Scoring system is a scientific evaluation with consistent testing across all age groups. This is the only large scale program available today in this format. After attending the combine you will be provided with the information on a web page on the TESI Site. One of the unique things about TESI Sports is that TESI is not affiliated with any other programs or providing any recruiting, training, or any other form of sales pitch. The combines are there to help you determine if you are measuring up against the other athletes that may be trying to make the same travel, high school or college program you are. If you have been tested then you can determine what it is you need to work on to move to the next level. Not through someone's single opinion but from a systematical scientific method that is measurable at every level. Best of all TESI's events wont break the bank. For a two event combine, one in the summer and one indoor combine in late fall, the program is only $199.00 per event. That includes a TESI shirt and hat, video clips on a web page and your stats for you to provide to potential coaches, your family members or anyone else. If you sign up for all four, which happens in one calendar year, TESI will reduce the price by $25.00 per event. Think you got what it takes, find out at tesi sports.com and level the playing field. You can contact TESI Sports at their web site at www.tesisports.com or by phone at 631-486-8468.
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New York Mets
HALL OF FAME NEWS Seaver, 1969 Mets won as a team. Amazin’s celebrate 40th anniversary of World Championship By Craig Muder National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – It might be the greatest team accomplishment in a game built on team play. And the 1969 Miracle Mets certainly became one of the most celebrated teams in baseball history – thanks to a collection of players whose sum was greater than their parts.
Only one other Mets pitcher, Jerry Koosman, won more than 13 games that year – due in part to an offense that produced no players with more than 76 RBIs, just three players with at least 100 hits and totaled an on-base percentage of only .309. But under the direction of manager Gil Hodges – and with Seaver pitching every fifth day – the Mets stormed down the stretch and through NLCS.
But at the center of that team stood a superstar of the highest magnitude, a pitcher who became the definition of a Hall of Famer. George Thomas Seaver was the very embodiment of his team. And as the Mets celebrate the 40th anniversary of their 1969 World Championship, the contributions of Seaver to that title are more evident than ever. “We knew we had the potential for a pretty good pitching staff going into the season,” Seaver said. “I don’t think anyone had any idea what was going to happen, though.” What happened were 100 regular-season victories, the National League East title and a sweep of the Atlanta Braves in the firstever National League Championship Series. Seaver went 25-7 in the regular-season with a sparkling 2.21 ERA. He was later rewarded with the National League Cy Young Award and a second-place finish in the NL MVP voting.
The Mets’ 1969 World Series program played on the team’s quick rise, winning 100 games and making the Fall Classic in the franchise’s eith season after posting the worst record in modern history by losing 120 games their first season in 1962. Credit: National Baseball Hall of Fame Library, Cooperstown, NY
BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE . DEVOTED TO AMATEUR BASEBALL PLAYERS AND THEIR TEAMS
“Gil Hodges changed everything when he became the manager,” Seaver said. “That’s when we became a team.” But to complete the miracle, the Mets had to defeat the Baltimore Orioles – who won 109 games and were just two seasons removed from a World Series title. In Game 1, the unthinkable happened. Seaver, who had lost just seven of his 32 decisions during the regular season, allowed four earned runs in five innings and was saddled with the loss. Surely, this would derail the Mets.
to the Museum, as well as access to exclusive programs, such as the Voices of the Game Series. Additionally, members receive a subscription to the Hall of Fame's bimonthly magazine, Memories and Dreams, the 2009 Hall of Fame yearbook and a 10% discount and free shipping on retail purchases. For information on becoming a member, please visit baseballhall.org or call 607-547-0397.
But this team would not allow it. Koosman and Ron Taylor combined for a two-hitter in Game 2, and Gary Gentry and Nolan Ryan – the only other future Hall of Famer in the Mets’ lineup that year – shut out the Orioles in Game 3. That set the stage for Seaver, who allowed just one run in 10 innings in Game 4 – a game that ended when the Orioles misplayed J.C. Martin’s bunt, allowing Rod Gaspar to score from second base. The next day, Oct. 16, Koosman pitched a complete-game five-hitter to give the Mets their improbable title. Seaver pitched 17 more seasons, winning two more Cy Youngs with the Mets before being traded to the Reds during the 1977 season. He finished his career in 1986 with 311 wins and a 2.86 ERA. In 1992, Seaver garnered 98.84 percent of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame vote – the best percentage ever. “It was an honor to have so many people think you were deserving of the Hall of Fame,” Seaver said. “You don’t think about that when you’re playing. You’re thinking about winning. In 1969, that’s what we did.” Members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum receive free admission
The 1969 Miracle Mets beat a favored Baltimore Orioles team in the World Series, providing not only the franchise’s first World Championship, but its first-ever winning season. Credit: National Baseball Hall of Fame Library, Cooperstown, NY
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is open seven days a week year round, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Museum is open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. seven days a week. The Museum observes off-season hours of 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. from the day after Labor Day until Memorial Day Weekend. Ticket prices are $16.50 for adults (13 and over), $11 for seniors (65 and over) and for those holding current memberships in the VFW, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion and AMVets organizations, and $6 for juniors (ages 712). Members are always admitted free of charge and there is no charge for children 6 years of age or younger. For more information, visit our Web site at baseballhall.org or call 888-HALL-OF-FAME (888-425-5633) or 607-547-7200.
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LET’S RECLAIM WHAT IS OURS!
HITTING Joe Francisco is known as one of the top hitting instructors around. Since 2004 he has used innovative and cutting edge training methods to develop 4 Drafted players, 15 signed professional contracts and 6 HS Players of the Year. As a player he was 1994 New York City HS Player of the Year and rewrote the Wagner College record book. In 1999 he was drafted by the Atlanta Braves. Joe is the owner of Performance Factory, a training facility with the reputation of developing premier talent. Visit Joe on the web at: www.PerformanceFactoryBaseball.com
WAKE UP CALL: PART 2
“Losing the Battle” America is slowly losing its baseball dominance. The training protocol in other countries must be working when you think of how many foreign born players, especially Dominicans, are starting to dominate the game. In less then 20 years the amount of foreign born players has almost tripled in MLB. Let’s look at the Statistics: 855 Players in Major League Baseball 239 Foreign born players (27.9%) 7,021 Players in Minor League Baseball 3,356 Foreign born players (47.8%) Percentage of Foreign born players in MLB: 1990 – 10.3% 1995 – 13.7% 2000 – 19.9% 2005 – 23.3% 2009 – 27.9% Former General Manager of the New York Mets Steve Phillips was recently quoted as saying: “What we are currently doing isn’t working, and if we continue to do the same thing here in the U.S. that we
have been doing we are going to have fewer and fewer U.S. American born Major League players.” In explaining what he means, he says: “You go down to the DR…there are kids playing pickup baseball like they used to do in the 1950’s in the states. Kids play the game. They don’t do that here in the US anymore…There’s a disconnect, we have to figure out what we can do to continue to play, whether its in the suburbs or in the cities, kids are giving up the game, for whatever reason. Well, why are kids giving up the game here in the U.S.? One obvious answer, which we must challenge, is that here in the U.S. we have a lot more options for a career. There are many roads to financial gain and fame. But this answer rings false once we look more closely. The fact is that millions of kids in the states play baseball and there are thousands of schools for baseball across the United States. Baseball is a game that expresses the heart and soul of America. Consider the old adage of something being “as American as baseball and apple pie.” We’re losing our baseball props not because we have more options for kids, but because we’ve become society addicted to maximum gain with minimum effort. Look around you and you will see evidence for a softness and entitlement everywhere:
BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE . DEVOTED TO AMATEUR BASEBALL PLAYERS AND THEIR TEAMS
Bailouts for companies who abused their customers and fattened their executives—Deals to credit card customers who knowingly and willingly ran up their credit cards beyond their means (I’m not talking about unexpected medical expenses)—Corrupt credit card companies that send credit cards to kids knowing their parents will pick up the tab— Huge vehicles that continue to waste resources and damage our planet—Laundromats that offer massage chairs that rub your butt while you wash your clothes— Parents who engage in personal warfare with schools and teachers because their “C” level student only got a “B”. This soft, sloppy, entitled, empty ethic has entered every aspect of American Life, including baseball. John Hagemann, scout for the Philadelphia Phillies recently said to me: “Its amazing how there is probably more baseball facilities out here than anywhere else in the country but you can’t find a hitting prospect on all of Long Island…Why is that?” I know why, because I see it every single day. We have become soft. We think hard work is an hour or two of training a week. We do not understand that drills, exercises, training and playing games must take place every day. When the student is not doing it—he needs to be thinking about doing it. You can’t work hard part time. It has to become part of you—your love, vision, passion, angst and your thought, feeling and action. American players think they have a spot on the team, a college scholarship or professional contract sitting waiting for them just because they have talent. Talent is equally distributed across the planet. It does not concentrate itself in a particular region, ethnicity or race. What distinguishes greatness from mediocrity is not merely talent but back breaking hard work. Here are a few of the things that get in the way of kids learning and loving this sport: High Income Idiot Syndrome—giving our kids everything we didn’t have and demanding nothing from them—no real effort, no hard work, no sweat, no tears. Video Games and Other Endless Diversions—life is not entertainment. Life is work, success and failure, joy and pain, trying hard, falling down, getting hurt, making a comeback, and overcom-
ing adversity. Parents complain to me constantly about their kids’ obsession with video games. Last time I checked, we still have child labor laws, so I find it hard to believe the kids are buying these things for themselves. Lack of Discipline—with no responsibilities at home our children have been conditioned to get not to give. Their hands are always out for the next parental donation. But true self-esteem, confidence and focus does not arise from getting stuff—material possessions, grades and accolades that the one does not deserve. It comes from working hard and achieving results. Real Instruction—being able to find passionate and knowledgeable individuals looking to bring players to the next level and beyond. Educating our coaches, players and parents on what it takes to be successful in this sport. Bottom Line these are the facts: • MLB pours millions of dollars into academies in Latin America to develop their players. • There are players from 16 different countries that are active on MLB rosters. • Every year the number of foreign born players is increasing at an alarming rate. Reality Check—if you want something in this sport you have to be willing to take it! Lets go out and reclaim what is rightfully ours—BASEBALL, the greatest game in the world—and lets bring it back to the U.S. It’s time for us to stop pointing the finger and using excuses for every bump in the road and start looking within ourselves. Let’s run faster—hit balls farther—throw balls harder and train relentlessly until we achieve our goal of making this sport “America’s Pastime” once again. For any hitting or training questions or comments: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: BPM Hitting Comment Or Contact Joe Francisco at: Performance Factory Baseball 931A Conklin Street Farmingdale, NY 11735 (631)777-7740 www.PerformanceFactoryBaseball.com
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HALL OF FAME NEWS Wagner card still popular at age 100. Baseball’s most famous trading card thrills collectors. By Trevor Hayes National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – It may be fitting that the man who is known as the greatest shortstop of alltime is immortalized on the greatest baseball card of all-time. A single card, called the T206 Honus Wagner which features the legendary Pirates shortstop, changed the baseball card industry forever. In September 2007, the most famous version of that card, the Gretzky T206 Honus Wagner, sold for $2.8 million. With the auction’s closing, the evolution of baseball cards was complete, going from cigarette packs, to chewing gum for kids to glossy packaging. In their earlier days and innocence, they were put into bike spokes and swapped without a thought about their value. Now they are auctioned, and locked away behind plastic and glass to preserve their condition. Most historians trace the roots of baseball trading cards to the 1880s. Cards depicting baseball were around earlier than that, but mass-production and distribution didn’t start until two decades after the start of the Civil War. What is believed to be the earliest known card was produced sometime between 1800 and 1830 and features an illustration of boys playing an early version of the game with a caption that says “Boys delight with ball to play.” The industry almost died when the American Tobacco Company gained a virtual monopoly on tobacco products in the 1900s, but by 1909 they had competition and started including a single card with each pack of 10 cigarettes. ATC’s first series of cards, the “White Borders,” produced from 1909 to 1911 became known in the card industry as the T206 series, for the catalog designation assigned by Jefferson Burdick in his book The American Card Catalog.
The T206 Honus Wagner, of which less than 60 copies are known to exist, is the most expensive baseball card in the world, sellinf for $2.8 million in 2007. Credit: National Baseball Hall of Fame Library, Cooperstown, NY
The T206 series features over 520 cards depicting players from the National League and the American League, including 70 Hall of Famers like Ty Cobb, Cy Young, Walter Johnson and – of course – Wagner. Its closest competitor is the 1911 T205 “Gold Border” set which has only 209 cards. The T206 collection became known as “The Monster” and the Wagner card became the Holy Grail. All of the T206 cards are illustrated with white-bordered lithographs, many of which are portraits – including Wagner’s – taken by one of the more notable baseball photographers of the era, Carl Horner. Some players are featured in more than one pose, like Cobb who appears on four different cards. Their backs feature 16 different cigarette brands which lead to much more than 520 combinations. Michael O’Keefe and Teri Thompson wrote in their book The Card that the T206’s vary in size. This has lead to many allegations that they’ve been altered to increase their value, but the cards are typically 1 7/16 by 2 5/8 inches. Estimates are that as many as 370 million cards were produced be-
10 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE . DEVOTED TO AMATEUR BASEBALL PLAYERS AND THEIR TEAMS
tween 1909 and 1911, but most were probably discarded by consumers more interested in cigarettes. Scot Reader, author of Inside T206: A Collector’s Guide to the Classic Baseball Card Set, speculates 1.6 million may remain. The series also includes a few other cards whose rarity has frustrated collectors. They range from the Eddie Plank card whose reason for scarcity is clouded; the Sherry Magee card, whose initial card was produced with his name spelled “Magie”; cards for Bill O’Hara and Ray Demmitt, who were traded after the 1909 season and had a few cards produced with their new teams; and “Slow Joe” Doyle who appears with two different caps on his card. One version features “N.Y.” to identify him as a New York Highlander, but another version reads “N.Y. Nat’l.” Reader believes the error was caused by the factory confusing “Slow Joe” with “Laughing Larry” Doyle of the New York Giants. But Wagner is the coveted card of the series, the Mona Lisa. There were probably less than 200 produced and it is estimated that there are only 50 to 100 in existence – including two at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. The reason for their scarcity isn’t completely clear. One reason is that the Wagner printing plate broke early into production, a likely scenario for the Plank card, but an unlikely cause for the rarity of the Wagner card due to the popularity of two other reasons. One version of the story is that Wagner didn’t want his image used because on a card that would help sell cigarettes. The other reasoning is that he wasn’t paid for the use of his image. Wagner was at the top of the game when the T206 series came out. His Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series in 1909, beating Cobb’s Detroit Tigers. Wagner batted .333 during the Series. His likeness appeared on a number of consumer products ranging from chewing gum to beer, analgesic balm and even gunpowder. Some companies
paid him for his image, but Wagner never expressed a lot of interest in endorsements, which weren’t a big money-making venture for players at the time. According to the Oct. 12, 1912 issue of The Sporting News, when the American Tobacco Company hired John Gruber to get Wagner’s permission for use of his image on the cards, Wagner told him no, writing he “did not care to have his picture in a package of cigarettes” and threatened legal action. Wagner’s image had appeared on cigarette trading cards before and his face had been on cigar boxes in both Pittsburgh and Louisville. He had even appeared in a newspaper ad for Murad cigarettes with a caption that read “A hit every time,” during the 1909 World Series. The Flying Dutchman was a known as a tough negotiator and was shrewd with his money. He announced his retirement at age 33 in 1907, which helped win him a 100 percent raise in salary for the following season. Though he didn’t quit the game until 1917, he always said he was sincere about the 1907 retirement. A counter argument to Wagner’s attempt for more money can be found in The Sporting News article. It reported that Wagner wrote a check to Gruber for $10, a large sum at the time and the amount Gruber would have been paid if he’d gotten Wagner’s permission. Gruber, however, never cashed the check, but framed it, which is one of the first known instances of check collecting in sports memorabilia. It is also true that Wagner chewed tobacco and enjoyed cigars, but he may have also been sincere about not wanting to endorse cigarettes. In
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1900, they were illegal in 14 states and looked upon both as low-class and a health risk. His manager, Fred Clarke, and Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss – both future Hall of Famers – hated cigarettes enough to pass over signing future Hall of Famer Tris Speaker because he smoked. By 1909, Wagner was such a force in western Pennsylvania that politicians wanted his endorsement. He was building a reputation as a star and a beloved figure in the eyes of children too. He would often let children slip in the gate as he entered the stadium, so they could see games for free.
Members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum receive free admission to the Museum, as well as access to exclusive programs, such as the Voices of the Game Series. Additionally, members receive a subscription to the Hall of Fame's bi-monthly magazine, Memories and Dreams, the 2009 Hall of Fame yearbook and a 10% discount and free shipping on retail purchases. For information on becoming a member, please visit baseballhall.org or call 607-547-0397.
“He loved children,” his granddaughter Leslie Blair said in The Card. “He wanted to teach kids good sportsmanship. When it came time for that card to come out, it wasn’t that he wasn’t paid. He didn’t want kids to have to buy tobacco to get his card.” Whatever the true reason, production was stopped. By 1933, The American Card Catalog estimated the T206 Wagner at $50, the most expensive card in the world at that time. The most successful version of the card became known as the Gretzky T206 Honus Wagner. The Gretzky card, which is a mint condition printing with a Piedmont cigarette ad on the back, surfaced in 1985. It was sold by a man named Alan Ray to memorabilia dealer Bill Mastro for $25,000. The card’s origin is shrouded in mystery. Ray said in 2001 that he got it from a relative and Mastro has said he purchased it from a printer – not Ray. There has even been speculation that it was cut from an original printer sheet during the 1985 deal. Mastro sold the card in 1987 to Jim Copeland for $110,000. This transaction revitalized the industry. Copeland sold his entire 873-piece card collection through Sotheby’s auction house, including a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle which sold for $49,500. Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky bought the Wagner card for $451,000, which was almost four-times the pre-auction estimate. With the purchase, the card became known as the Gretzky T206. Since then, the card has continued to escalate in value. In 2000 it was sold for $1.265 million on eBay. By 2007, it had more than doubled again with the record $2.8 million price. Only the Hall of Fame’s T206 Wagners, one of which is on display, may be more widely known than the Gretzky card. The Hall of Fame will hold a celebration in 2009 honoring the card’s 100th anniversary. For more information, visit www.baseballhall.org.
Honus Wagner was one of the five original members of the Hall of Fame after being inducted in 1936. Credit: National Baseball Hall of Fame Library, Cooperstown, NY
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is open seven days a week year round, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Museum is open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. seven days a week. The Museum observes off-season hours of 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. from the day after Labor Day until Memorial Day Weekend. Ticket prices are $16.50 for adults (13 and over), $11 for seniors (65 and over) and for those holding current memberships in the VFW, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion and AMVets organizations, and $6 for juniors (ages 7-12). Members are always admitted free of charge and there is no charge for children 6 years of age or younger. For more information, visit our Web site at baseballhall.org or call 888-HALL-OF-FAME (888-425-5633) or 607-547-7200.
12 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE . DEVOTED TO AMATEUR BASEBALL PLAYERS AND THEIR TEAMS
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2009 SUFFOLK COUNTY AWARD WINNERS - STEVE MATZ AND MARCUS STROMAN
AND THE WINNER IS......... The winner of the 2009 Carl Yastrzemski Award is Steve Matz. Presented annually to the outstanding baseball player in Suffolk County. "With all the talent in Suffolk County this year, I am humbled and honored to receive this award," Matz said in front of a packed ballroom at the county coaches association awards banquet at Villa Lombardi's in Holbrook on June 16, 2009. The award reflects the life-changing success of Matz's senior season. It began on a cold day in March with a scrimmage against Deer Park. With about eight major-league scouts on hand, Matz struck out the first six batters, using 21 pitches. The season ended in the playoffs, short of a championship, but by then, Matz had helped lead Ward Melville to its first league title in 35 years. He went 6-1, allowed two earned runs and 14 hits in 54 innings, struck out 74, batted .408, and generated a buzz heard across the Long Island baseball scene. "They wanted to see him throw every week," Ward Melville coach Lou Petrucci said of the scouts who constantly appeared at fields throughout the spring. The big lefthander consistently threw in the low 90s. His fastball moved. His curveball and slider were effective. His smooth delivery and 6-3, 192-pound frame - up from 5-9, 145 pounds as a sophomore - had observers gawking and talking. Matz also threw without pain, which he couldn't do in previous seasons as his body grew quickly. The spotlight shined brightest in mid-April at Patchogue-Medford. Representatives of all 30 major-league teams showed to see Matz square off with opposing pitcher Marcus Stroman, last year's Yastrzemski winner. While a collection of radar guns behind the backstop served as their pitching
background, Matz threw a one-hitter with 12 strikeouts, and Stroman tossed a three-hitter. Ward Melville won, 1-0. "It was a little nervewracking," Matz said of the attention, "but once you get going, you kind of just block it off and worry about winning." Matz, who turned 18 last month, continued to get phone calls at night from scouts who wanted to know where he would pitch next. At the same time, he put in the work when no one was watching. "Every day after he played a game, he would run two miles, go to the gym," Petrucci said. "He just worked and worked." Before the season started, at a 6 a.m. captain's practice, Matz was in the batting cage. "I don't want to just pitch at Coastal Carolina," he said, referencing where he had accepted a scholarship. "I want to hit there, too." Now the goals have shifted. Matz wants to pitch for the Mets, who selected him June 9 with their first pick in the second round, No. 72 overall. If all works out, the Yastrzemski Award will make up another line in his media guide biography page. The Prestigious Gibson Pitching award went to Marcus Stroman who has been drafted by the Washington Nationals. Marcus pitched for Patchouge-Medford and was last yearâ€™s recipient of the Yastrzemski Award.
14 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE . DEVOTED TO AMATEUR BASEBALL PLAYERS AND THEIR TEAMS
PROFESSIONAL MAPLE BATS BY THE
SUPERIOR BAT COMPANY
PLAYERS WHO HAVE USED
A Bats ARE...
Miguel Tejada Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez Jason Giambi Hanley Ramirez Placido Polanco
and many others! Carlos Lee
Butch Caulfield (cell) 516-343-6080 (work) 516-686-1315 (fax) 516-686-1219 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
PERFORMANCE FACTORY... A VISION FOR LONG ISLANDS BASEBALL FUTURE
BEYOND THE BASEBALL ACADEMY By Rocco LoBosco
Typical for the Performance Factory is the following scenario; someone whose kid has been trained in several facilities is recommended to owner Joe Francisco for evaluation. They come for in for an initial session. Parent quickly signs up their child up because they recognize they cannot get the kind of training offered by Francisco and his staff anywhere else on Long Island. One customer called him...“The Bruce Lee of Baseball Training” When you walk into Factory, you immediately realize you’ve entered a place relentlessly and intensely focused on one thing alone: peerless baseball training. You can literally feel the confidence radiating off the trainers as they instruct because they know the methods, techniques and system they use is simply unparalleled anywhere in the industry. And the proof is in the results. In only four years of operation the Factory already boasts 4 drafted players, 15 professional contracts, 6 high school players of the year, and 2 Diamond Awards. Baseball is a serious issue for owner Joe Francisco. “Don’t come here if you don’t want to work.” The Factory is an 11,000 square foot facility equipped with 6 batting cages, 3 pitching mounds, a two lane 35 yard track, a power room and areas for speed and strength training. Recently the Factory picked up an additional 2,000 square feet that will be dedicated to unique kid programs and extreme training never before seen in a baseball academy. The Factory has all the accouterments you would expect to find in a baseball academy—long leather couches, viewing areas, a large flat screen television, but as far as Francisco is concerned all that is filigree, window dressing necessary for
appearances. He says, “The fact is I can do a better job training you to hit a baseball in my garage then most people can do in a state of the art facility. That’s because the true state of the art is the training itself. First, you have to know every detail of what you will teach. Know it like the back of your hand. Then you must know how to teach it: each detail, each sequence, each transition, each turn, angle, every subtlety involved. You must then envision the drills and exercises to support what you are teaching. Finally, you must adapt each individual to your system. This is an art that no facility, however grand, or famous name, no matter how great, can ever replace.” Francisco ruthlessly maintains his system of training simply has no competition. His system is based on countless hours or swing analysis; before he even initiated any training, he studied video footage of major league swings for two years. He describes this period as a great awakening, a period following his own professional experience as a player for the Atlanta Braves when he fully realized the perfect swing in profound detail and clearly saw how it could be taught. He then developed unique drills and training
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regimes to train each and every component of the swing in order and context, so it would maximize precision, speed and explosive power. Joe brings a maniacal intensity and obsessive concern with training detail not found in the industry today. He demands no less from each member of his staff. “He’s not the easiest guy to work for,” says one staff member, “But you definitely come away knowing that you really know something other trainers don’t know and you can teach it.” Unhappy with the level of pitching instruction in New York, Joe relocated Sean Kramer, former Houston Astros pitcher from New Mexico to New York in order to teach a pitching program as dynamic and explosive as his own hitting system. The pitching program though young has already produced terrific results. Some stats from the velocity portion of the program: 10 YEAR OLD WENT FROM 49 TO 62 MPH IN 8 WEEKS 16 YEAR OLD WENT FROM 79 TO 84 MPH IN 5 WEEKS 17 YEAR OLD WENT FROM 79 TO 89 MPH IN 8 WEEKS 18 YEAR OLD WENT FROM 85 TO 93 MPH IN 6 WEEKS
Joe has big plans for the Performance Factory and Long Island Baseball in general. “Right now Long Island is way behind the rest of the country in baseball even though we have more players per square foot then any other part of the country. There’s only one reason for our poor showing: lousy training. I want to put Long Island on the map as a baseball powerhouse in the United States. We can only do this by raising the bar on the quality of instruction across the board. As far as the actual steps we will take to do this, I remain a bit secretive. But this much I’ll say: look for some dramatic changes in the next year.” For information on the last training facility you will ever visit: Performance Factory Baseball 931A Conklin Street Farmingdale, NY 11735 Phone: (631)777-7740 Website: www.PerformanceFactoryBaseball.com Email: joefrancisco@ PerformanceFactoryBaseball.com
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DOWLING COLLEGE BASEBALL - FIRST APPEARANCE IN THE COLLEGE WORLD SERIES
FIRST SERIES APPEARANCE
By Casey Rafferty Graduate Assistant Athletic Communications Dowling College
PHOTO: Dowling Athletic Communications
After being one of the better college programs on Long Island and in the Northeast for Division II over the past decade, the Dowling College Baseball finally broke through with their first appearance in the College World Series in 2009. Led by a pitching staff that led the nation in Earned Run Average and Hits Allowed Per 9 Innings, Dowling advanced to the NCAA East Regional in Rindge, New Hampshire despite falling in the championship game of the East Coast Conference tournament. After dropping their first game of the Regional to fall into the loserâ€™s bracket, Dowling looked like a team of destiny after pulling out two thrilling victories to advance to the championship round. Against Wilmington University a
protest wiped out a game tying hit allowing the Golden Lions to earn a 3-2 victory. That win was followed by a three run rally in the bottom of the 9th inning for a walk off 4-3 victory over number one seed Dominican College, sending Dowling on to face conference rival Adelphi in the championship round. A week earlier Dowling was faced with a similar scenario, needing two wins to defeat Adelphi on the final day to earn the East Coast Conference Championship but the Panthers prevailed 11-0. However the outcome would be different this time around as Dowling blanked Adelphi over 18 innings, winning 4-0 and 1-0. After six appearances in the NCAA Tournament over the past eight years, the Golden Lions finally had their first East Regional
18 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE . DEVOTED TO AMATEUR BASEBALL PLAYERS AND THEIR TEAMS
Championship and were off to the NCAA Division II College World Series held at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina. Buddy Cipoletti, a junior from West Islip, NY, was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after allowing only one run over 15.2 innings, including a complete game shut out over Adelphi in the 4-0 victory in the first start of his career. Dowling was faced with a daunting task in the World Series, as they were matched up against number one nationally ranked UC San Diego. Ace of the pitching staff Gabriel Duran, who hails from Brooklyn, NY, would throw a complete game three-hitter as the Golden Lions defeated the Tritons 3-1 to move into the winner’s bracket. Dowling’s next opponent was eventual National Champion Lynn University. After fighting back from a three run deficit to tie the game at 5-5, Lynn would take the game on a run scoring base hit in the bottom of the 8th inning. A rematch with UC San Diego followed, and the Tritons ended Dowling’s title hopes by a score of 13-1. The team finished with a program record for victories on the year, finishing with a final record of 35-18. Dowling would earn some national accolades after their run to the World Series including a final ranking of 12th in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper National Poll. The national ranking is the first in program history. Gabriel Duran also brought in numerous national honors, including being the second player in program history to be named an All-American. Duran,
PHOTO: Richard Orr Photography
only a sophomore, was named a First Team AllAmerican by Daktronics, American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings, and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. He also earned the prestigious National Pitcher of the Year honor from both Daktronics and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. With a team comprised of mostly Long Island talent, the Golden Lions lose only four seniors off of the 2009 squad. With the core of this year’s squad returning, the 2010 edition of the Dowling Baseball team should be in great position to make another run at a National Championship. PHOTO: Dowling Athletic Communications
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PHOTO: Richard Orr Photography
2009 HIGHLIGHT: Gabriel Duran SO-RHP, BROOKLYN, NY 2009 East Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year, 2009 Daktronics East Region Pitcher of the Year, 2009 Rawlings/ABCA East Region Pitcher of the Year, 2009 ECAC East Region Pitcher of the Year, 2009 NCBWA East Region Pitcher of the Year, Daktronics 1st Team All-American, NCBWA 1st Team All-American, Rawlings/ABCA 1st Team All-American, Daktronics National Pitcher of the Year, NCBWA National Pitcher of the Year - Program single season record 10 wins - Threw a no-hitter in his first start of the season against Felician College (14 K’s) - 2nd in nation in ERA and first in Hits Per 9 Innings - Closed out Golden Lions’ East Region Championship against Adelphi with 2.1 innings without allowing a hit to send Dowling to first ever College World Series - Threw a complete game three hitter in a 3-1 victory over No. 1 UC San Diego 10-2, 1.30 ERA, 14 APP, 11 GS, 6 CG, 3 SHO. 2 SV, 89.2 IP, 45 H, 17 R, 13 ER, 31 BB, 83 K, 10 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 301 AB, .150 BAA, 0 WP, 7 HBP, 1 BK, 0 SFA, 5 SHA 20 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE . DEVOTED TO AMATEUR BASEBALL PLAYERS AND THEIR TEAMS
FAITH AND A BASEBALL RAT HELPED HAMILTON BACK TO STARDOM
SILVER LINING By Joel Poiley/Baseballamerica.com CLEARWATER, FLA.â€”As Roy Silver watched the laser beam of a line drive rise from just above his head at the pitcher's mound to its landing about 500 feet away beyond the center-field wall, he had no doubt that Josh Hamilton still had the ability to play in the major leagues. It was Hamilton's mental state Silver was concerned with. During those dark days in early 2006, when baseball had given up on the thrice-suspended former phenom, Silver reached out to Hamilton at his lowest ebb, offering him one last shot at redemption. The amazing story of Hamilton's descent from uber-prospect into the abyss of cocaine addiction and alcohol abuse, and his subsequent revival, has become the stuff of baseball legend. Less well known is where it all began, in an empty ballpark in Clearwater. Silver, 46, runs a baseball academy called The Winning Inning at Jack Russell Stadium, where the Phillies trained from 1955-2003. His baseball pedigree is vast, having played, managed and coached in the Cardinals organization for 14 years. He also served as a manager in the Florida State League for the Rays when they were born in 199899. It was there he met Hamilton, when the then-Devil Rays made him the first pick in the 1999 draft. But 2006 was light years removed from that bright beginning, and Silver reached out to Hamilton when he seemed finally to have reached rock bottom, offering him one last shot at redemption. Hamilton arrived about two weeks later, and Silver put him up in the converted Phillies executive offices in a 10-by12-foot room with an air mattress. The arrangement was rent-free, and Silver provided all of Hamilton's food. In return, Hamilton would have to earn his keep, doing everything from cleaning toilets to pulling weeds to dragging the infield. His reward in the afternoon was time in the batting cage.
"He wasn't allowed to leave," Silver said. "His truck was behind a locked gate at night. He lived here under our rules. He could leave any time he wanted and go back to North Carolina. But as long as he was here he did what we said. "If he didn't get up some mornings to work, he lost privileges just like you would discipline your child. Money, his keys, everything was under our jurisdiction. And he wanted it that way." Hamilton, who by that time had drained most of his $3.96 million signing bonus on his addictions, said he was impressed with Silver's faith-based philosophy and motto: "Developing players from the inside out." And he felt it would be the right place to attempt his comeback in earnest. "Roy was offering me what amounted to a stay at a ballplayer's halfway house, and right away it sounded like the perfect opportunity for me," Hamilton said in his book, "Beyond Belief, Finding the strength to come back." Hamilton is the most high-profile case, but Silver has helped countless kids in the Tampa Bay area, including Nationals pitching prospect Tyler Clippard. Clippard drew considerable attention entering his senior year at Mitchell High in nearby Trinity, in 2003. But a drunken-driving arrest early in the baseball season almost derailed his budding career until his father brought him to Silver. "My world came tumbling down because baseball was my life," Clippard said. "I was like a lost puppy and Roy led me in the right direction. I got a head start on professional baseball my senior year in high school because I go to this guy who teaches me things I'm still using today as far as mechanics. And he made a bunch of calls to scouts on my behalf. "And the most important thing, outside of the baseball knowledge that he has, is that he gets you to look beyond what's happened to you and gets you to look at the bigger picture. Him getting me to look at those
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things at 18 had a huge impact on me being successful after I was drafted."
become a responsible father and reunite with his wife and daughters.
Clippard was drafted in the ninth round by the Yankees and reached the big leagues in 2007. He's currently pitching in relief for the Nationals' Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse. He wasn't surprised Silver not only reached out to Hamilton, but also helped him find his way.
"Getting his life back together was more important, by far, than baseball," Silver said. "I've been around a lot of first-rounders, and when someone throws a lot of money at you and you're 18, it changes you— most of the time in a negative way because it's not normal and you don't always fit in socially with older teammates.
"Roy's a genuine individual who does things because he wants to, not because he expects anything in return," said Clippard, 24. Randy Holland, Silver's partner in The Winning Inning, said Silver has been helping young men who need a second chance for years, often with little compensation. "Roy's a big-hearted guy who doesn't seek the recognition," Holland said. "Roy's heart, and mine, is for these young men to grow up to be responsible people down the road—fathers, husbands, leaders in their community—and they have a great experience playing baseball. The Josh Hamiltons are few and far between. Ninety-five percent of the kids that we see here aren't going to play professional baseball, and Roy wants them to go on and do something positive with their life." Undeniable Skills Silver said when Hamilton came to Clearwater, he obviously wasn't in playing shape, only months off his last drug binge. But the baseball skills were undeniable, even hidden beneath years of rust and neglect. "His skin color was off, and he had just put his weight back on while he was living with his grandmother, but it wasn't a healthy-looking weight," Silver said. "He didn't look like an athlete." None of that mattered when Hamilton stepped into the batting cage for the first time, though. "The first ball he hit sounded like a shotgun," Silver recalled, smiling. "Even though visually he wasn't Josh, he was still Josh. When that ball hit the back screen, he was excited. It put a lot of joy in his heart." Hamilton was drug-tested three times a week by Major League Baseball while living with Silver, a practice that's still part of his major league routine. The main goal, Silver said, was to help Hamilton
"Josh made some bad choices. He's been public about that. And he knew when he came here the scholarship was over. This was a second chance; but also a last chance. And he wanted it bad enough that he made it happen." Hamilton, who went through eight attempts at rehab, said Silver and Holland kept an eye on him, yet were also able to give him his space, which he appreciated. "Roy and Randy ran after-school camps and other group activities for kids in the area. It was part of their mission, using baseball as their ministry," Hamilton said. "This became one of my favorite things about the place. Being around the little kids reignited my love for baseball and made me realize why I had to give myself another chance to get back into the game." After several months with Silver, Hamilton attempted to hook on with an independent league team, but MLB wouldn't allow it. Upon reviewing his case, and hearing from doctors that being around baseball might speed his recovery, MLB did allow Hamilton to work out with Rays minor leaguers in June 2006. By the end of the month he was allowed to participate in minor league games and was assigned to short-season Hudson Valley. The rest is history. At the 2006 Winter Meetings, the Cubs picked Hamilton in the major league Rule 5 draft and sold him to the Reds. After a scintillating spring training, he completed his miraculous ascent to the majors when he made the Reds' Opening Day roster a little more than a year after Silver took him in. The Reds traded him to the Rangers before the 2008 season, when he made the American League all-star team and took the baseball world by storm in the Home Run Derby. He hit 28 home runs in the opening round, breaking Bobby Abreu's record of 24 set in 2005, though he eventually finished second in the final to Justin Morneau.
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"I thought it was a little soon, honestly," Silver said of Hamilton's return to the pro game. "But that special natural ability was always there, he just had to tap into it. He's in a class by himself. The only other guy scouts will put in that class is A-Rod. Older scouts will compare him to Mantle. No one else is close.
Silver's baseball mentor and close friend was George Kissell, the longtime Cardinals coach, manager, scout and field instructor who died last year at age 88. Signed by Branch Rickey in 1940, Kissell was employed by the Cardinals until his death, the longest affiliation with one club in baseball.
"Josh is the type of athlete that could've played wideout or tight end in football, point guard in basketball; he threw 97 mph lefthanded off the mound. Hands, feet, coordination; he had it all."
Silver got to know Kissell during his tenure with the Cardinals, was with Kissell when he died, and presided at his memorial at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg.
Just as important, Silver found Hamilton a willing student and good listener as he worked on his mental recovery.
"He was my baseball father," Silver said. "He took time for all the little guys. He hung with the big guys, but he was more comfortable being around the little guys.
"We just had to iron out a couple minor mechanical things he might've picked up in high school, but he's very easy to coach," Silver said. "We were maybe a month or so into it and I said, 'I feel like I've run out of things to say.' And he said, 'I want you to keep talking to me about baseball, the Bible; I want to get back into God's word.' " Silver doesn't push his faith on people, but religion has been a big part of his life since his minor league days. He runs Baseball Chapel services for the Blue Jays and Phillies on Sundays during spring training, then performs the same service for their Florida State League clubs during the regular season. He was glad to reach out to Hamilton. "He's a good kid, easy to like," Silver said. "The original bond was baseball, but I had gone down a similar road as Josh at one point in my life and he could see a model that was living a productive life. "It's a privilege to play in the major leagues, and it was important for Josh to realize that and be accountable for his actions. As long as Josh stays connected to God he's going to be fine."
"I learned balance from George. Earl Weaver and Sparky Anderson both wanted him on their staffs. But he was loyal to the Cardinals and his family, that's why he remained in Florida all those years. He's a big reason I started The Winning Inning, because it was a way to stay close to my family but still be involved in baseball." Silver has also lived a rich life in the game, even though he's unknown to many in the sport. A recent highlight for Silver was throwing batting practice for Team USA as they prepped in Clearwater this spring for the World Baseball Classic. He also served as a bullpen catcher during the team's training and said it was educational. "From a scouting standpoint it kept my eye sharp as to what major league pitches doâ€”the slider, the breaking ball, the fastballâ€”and the mental approach those guys took," said Silver, who also helps coordinate Yankees fantasy camps. "And I got to watch the hitters during BP and how they approach certain situations."
Holland, a certified athletic trainer who worked 18 seasons in the Blue Jays organization, said Silver has a unique ability to connect with kids and get them to confront their problems.
Silver and Hamilton remain close, communicating by phone and e-mail and seeing each other when the Rangers play in Tampa. Silver does not want credit for Hamilton's recovery; he's just glad to have helped him and many other youngsters like him get back on their feet.
"There's nobody better in baseball in the mental part of the game than Roy Silver," Holland said. "He can pull out things from kids, either in a group or one on one, about baseball, life, whatever it is to get them to focus on being a better person and player."
"It's a neat story and I was happy to be a part of it, but it was just the right time, part of God's plan," Silver said. "Had he come here a year or two earlier it would've been a different story because he hadn't hit rock bottom yet."
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TIPS FOR TAKING GREAT BASEBALL PHOTOS: SPONSORED BY SIGMA LENSES
TAKING GREAT BASEBALL PHOTOS By Eric Citron
WWW.SIGMAPHOTO.COM Strike one! Strike two! Strike three!
Baseball! America's Pastime, and a sport growing in popularity throughout the world, where the Boys of Summer slug it out. A baseball game is the perfect way to spend a lazy summer afternoon, plus it provides opportunities to take photos that last a lifetime. While many claim the sport of baseball is a slow-paced affair, when action does occur, it can happen very swiftly, almost too fast for an unskilled photographer to shoot the photos they desire. Baseballs fly quickly when hit or thrown, and timing the action for when to take a digital photograph requires split-second reflexes. Thus, before you plan on taking photos at a baseball game, you may wish to read the following advice: 1) First, make sure you are allowed to bring your digital camera to the baseball game. Some ballparks have no restrictions, others on the zoom length, some on using flash, and some may not allow you into the baseball game at all with your camera! If you have a giant zoom be courteous of the people around you. Also be careful when you swing the lens around to get that shot, the last thing you want to do is hit your seatmate in the head with your lens! 2) Change your camera settings to take the quickest photographs possible while still providing plenty of light for the photograph. You'll need to read your camera's manual on how to change these settings. Most cameras have an icon of someone running that is your sports indicator.
Just remember that the quicker the shutter speed, the less light enters the camera to take the picture. Thus, you'll need to compromise picture speed and the amount of light to take great photos. That is why baseball games work well with photography - many games are played on sunny days or in well-lit domes or stadiums that allow you to take crisp, highaction photos. 3) Before going to a big league ballpark, make sure you know the rules and nuances of the game. Practice taking photos at a minorleague, college, or high school baseball game. The stakes aren't quite as high if you miss a shot, and taking your camera to a game will give you more insight into when action occurs and when players just stand around. For those of you involved in Travel or in-house baseball this is a great venue to practice. Send us your best shots at email@example.com and we will publish them in an upcoming issue. 4) Have extra batteries and digital camera memory handy and practice switching both out quickly before the game! A three and a half hour game can put a tremendous strain on even the most power-miserly camera, and more often than not you will have to switch out power or memory in the middle of an inning. Extra batteries are a MUST.. 5) Don't worry if you miss a shot! Unless you have tons of digital camera memory, you may not be able to continuously shoot photograph after photograph. If you miss a key pitch, the swing of a bat, or a forced out, don't get angry! More often than not, new
24 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE . DEVOTED TO AMATEUR BASEBALL PLAYERS AND THEIR TEAMS
opportunities will arise for great photographs. The beauty of digital photography is that you can see and delete the shots you don’t want. 6) Study the lineup first. Know who are the key players and those who barely know how to swing a bat. Likewise, learn who has loose hands in the outfield and who is likely to win a Gold Glove. Focus your attention on the stars as they most likely will make the best photographs, but don't be so drawn to celebrity that you miss a role player making a crucial steal or diving catch that wins the game for their team! 7) When the opening lineup starts, look at the dugout. If you're rooting for the home team, the beginning of the game is a great time to get player photographs as they are running out onto the field. If not, take photographs during the middle of the inning. If you don't get the perfect photo, delete bad photographs during lull times and try later during the game.
fore the pitch; this usually is done by pressing the shutter button down half-way. • Time it... time it... then as soon as the ball is about to hit the bat, press down fully on the shutter button. • If the pitch is a strike or the swing is not one to be remembered, cancel the save so your picture is not written to memory. This way, you can save room for other photos. 9) Look around for photo opportunities not directly related to the action. Take a photograph of the grounds crew cleaning the bases and raking the dirt between innings. Get a few shots of the crowd. Take a picture of the scoreboard. Look at the surrounding area. If you want to remember the full experience of a baseball game years from now, you should take advantage of one of the best features of a digital camera - the ability to take lots and lots of photographs - and shoot photographs showcasing the FULL baseball experience.
8) To take a picture of a swinging batter that will 10) Take a break during last a lifetime, do the folthe game! You came to lowing: Sigma's award winning the baseball game to • Preparation is the key. 18-250mm lens enjoy the spectacle, not First, before the game, know how to operate your digital camera. just to take pictures, right? Designate a few Practice focusing the camera and quickly innings as photo-free time where you just sit deleting unused photos - sometimes you can back, munch on a hot dog, drink a soda, and delete an unwanted photo before it is com- soak in the environment. pletely saved to the camera's memory. • Before the pitch, focus your viewfinder on the batter's box and try not to cut out any of the batter's body. Zoom in as appropriate, but remember the more you zoom in, the slower the potential shutter speed needed to take a clear photo. • Anticipate shutter lag. Lock your focus be-
I highly recommend Sigma’s new 18-250mm antishake zoom lens. With this lens you will be able to take group shots and zoom in close for all the action without worrying about blurry photos. This lens has anti-shake technology built into it so your photos will be steady. All you have to worry about is finding that great shot. Visit Sigma’s website at Sigmaphoto.com for more information and to find a retailer near you.
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MORE THAN A BOOK ABOUT ALEX RODRIGUEZ AND STEROIDS
A-ROD BOOK REVIEW New Rodriguez Book Spills More On Slugger And Steroids By J.J. Cooper
We live in the age of the serious sports biography. The 1980s and 1990s were filled with autobiographies written by sportswriters with help from the stars themselves. They were generally quickly written, not so easily read and guaranteed to break little new ground on the subject. Now you can't turn around in a Barnes and Noble without finding an exhaustively researched book about a baseball star. Want to read about Roger Clemens? Between "The Rocket That Fell To Earth" and "American Icon," you have two books to choose from. "Becoming Manny" managed to get inside the head of Manny Ramirez, a seemingly impossible feat. And "The Yankee Years" managed to be a biography/autobiography/team chronicle rolled into one thanks to the collaboration of Joe Torre and Tom Verducci. In the wake of those four books you'd think it would be hard for another to get noticed, but when Selena Roberts' "A-Rod" broke the news that the game's biggest star tested positive for steroids, it was a tabloid newspaper's dream. Breaking the news on Rodriguez's positive steroid test is one of the bigger scoops in recent years in baseball, and gives "A-Rod" an instant hook. But that creates a problem: Because Roberts broke the story on SI.com months ago, her book arrives after everyone has already absorbed, dissected and moved on from the book's biggest news. Roberts lays out the case that Rodriguez's story of giving up steroids after he joined the Yankees doesn't ring true, but in the absence of any witnesses or drug tests, she's forced to rely on speculation. It's the same story with allegations that Rodriguez used steroids in high school: a lot of speculation and some reasons to think that maybe it happened, but nothing concrete.
None of that is Roberts' fault. Unless you can get your hands on drug tests or find someone who saw a player injecting steroids, it's hard to prove use without a doubt. It does mean that some will read the new book and wonder, "Is that all there is?" But this is not just a book about Rodriguez and steroids. It tries to explain the complicated life of the Yankees third baseman, the differences between his once squeaky-clean public persona and the behind-thescenes recklessness of strip clubs and swingers bars. It works when Roberts tells the story through interviews with Rodriguez's former friends and confidants. But sometimes the book tells us what Rodriguez was thinking and his motivations: "He was serious about everything. He was now a father with the birth of his daughter, Natasha, in November, and he was determined to grow up. Alex adored Natasha but was also taken aback at how much of Cynthia's attention was funneled to their newborn, not to him. Alex knew it was wrong to feel that way. What kind of man has these thoughts? With no attribution, the reader is left to wonder how Roberts knew that, or if it's just speculation, much like we're left to wonder on some of the steroid accusations. The books biggest other allegationâ€”that Rodriguez tipped pitched to opposing hitters in blowoutsâ€”is much of the same. Roberts throws out the charge with some speculation, but the reader is left to decide if the speculation rises to a level of believability. "A-Rod" is a quick read and generally well written. But in a year when books on Clemens and Ramirez explained the baseball stars in ways that hadn't been explained before, it's hard not to feel like A-Rod's best material had already been written.
26 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE . DEVOTED TO AMATEUR BASEBALL PLAYERS AND THEIR TEAMS
HOT TO USE BATTING STATIONS TO BUILD BASEBALL HITTERS
BATTING TEE STATIONS Batting Tees are for babies... you know, Tee Ball Players and any other serious player who wants to maximize his or her potential and see how far they can go in this way-toocomplicated game of hitting a round object with a rounded implement. Recent Baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn really did describe his off-season hitting workouts as (and I paraphrase) nothing but tee work until January of each year.... and remember, he was at spring training a month later in February! Here's An Important Bottom Line in Building a Successful Hitter: You must hit a lot off a batting tee! You must hit a lot in a soft toss station! You must hit a lot in front toss drills! (15 to 35 ft)! You will take plenty of live batting practice... It's the fun part! Why? Think About Always Having A Building Block Approach: Batting Tee Stations teach the repeatable mechanics without the need for ALSO tracking a moving ball. Soft Toss & Flip Stations build more repeatable mechanics but then adds the basics & confidence of tracking a moving object from its shorter distance. It builds confidence, strength and when done in parallel stations, can get an entire team the amount of swings that players really need to progress and improve. Short Toss Stations (where a coach sits behind a screen from 15 or so feet in front of a hitter and tosses underhand from the side of the screen to replicate the approximate angle of a
pitched ball)... this adds more realism for the hitter and increases the difficulty while allowing the player to "see" where the batted ball is travelling). Front Toss (coach stands behind an L Screen and tosses average speed pitches to particular spots). This, again increases the degree of difficulty while creating game-like conditions. Live Hitting is probably the most fun for players and coaches alike but just as kids progress from a tricycle to a bicycle with training wheels before flying down hills on a full size bike...the steps along the way are so very important. You may never forget how to ride a bike but because of the huge degree of difficulty in consistently hitting a moving round ball with a rounded stick... bad habits creep in almost unnoticed and we must stay with the basics as long as we play this game! You will be best able to maximize going into a batting cage or take live batting practice from "official pitching distances" and carry these great habits and the confidence these lessons will buildâ€Śright into your games and entire seasons too. Shortcuts - There are none if you want to stay in the game. There just comes a time when even the better athletes will face better trained players and previous successes give way to mediocrity and perhaps failure when. Summary: Make these simple stations part of your routine and that of your entire team too! If they are good enough for High School, College and Pro Playersâ€Ś they should serve you well too!
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WHAT IS MENTAL TOUGHNESS AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR ATHLETES?
MENTAL TOUGHNESS By Mike Posey The concept of understanding mental toughness is evasive for many. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to coach many players and one thing I can tell you without reservation is the best players were mentally tough. It’s a hard concept to explain until you see it, but it’s obvious when you see a player that has it. To clarify my point, not all of the best athletes have it. Not every big league player is mentally tough and there are plenty that never make it to the big leagues that have great mental toughness. It’s not about ability, I’ve coached many great athletes that didn’t have a clue about being mentally tough and would fold under pressure. They could perform well when there was nothing on the line, but when the game was in balance, or the competition was tough, they usually failed. On the other hand, I’ve witnessed many players with average skills, but mentally tough, perform in ways no one thought they could perform. A clutch hit, a key bunt, a great defensive play that stopped a rally, mentally tough players get the job done. In fact, the greater the pressure, the better they perform. One thing I’ve come to understand with experience is that mental toughness is not an inborn DNA trait, but rather one that is developed over
time and exposure to adverse conditions. Preparation in mental toughness begins with experiences at a young age. Parents can play a key role to begin the process of training mental toughness, but they need help along the way. A disciplined educational system with high expectations and good classroom rules, along with tough, but fair coaches (or mentors in other activities) with a positive mind set, is essential to developing a child mentally and building their self confidence, whether they are an athlete are not. This is one of the many reasons why it’s important for all children to be involved in balanced organized extra curricular activities at a young age: Karate, gymnastics, ballet, music, scouts, children and youth activities at church, or youth sports will play a part in beginning to instill the discipline and structure that is needed to develop mentally. Notice I said begin to play a part. It takes time and preparation. Mental development is also a reason that athletes need to be involved in a proper training program by the time they are 14 or 15 years old. A training program not only helps to build power, strength, and agility, but is important in developing mentally. Players should be accountable to a mentor (trainer, coach, etc…) as well as the camaraderie and pressure of a small peer group, even if it’s only one or two others.
30 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE . DEVOTED TO AMATEUR BASEBALL PLAYERS AND THEIR TEAMS
If a player is involved in a training program earlier than 14 or 15, it should be for the purpose of agility and speed training, along with teaching the proper techniques in strength conditioning without weights. Before any training program is started, please consult your child’s physician during their annual physical, as the development of each child is unique. DEFINITION of MENTAL TOUGHNESS Being mentally tough is having the psychological edge that allows one to perform at peak maximum effort and efficiency during the demands that are placed on them during training, practice, or competition. Specifically, when the demands are greatest or the conditions become adverse. Whenever the demands are the greatest is when the characteristics of mental triumph are the most evident. Some of the many characteristics that are evident include:
SELF-CONFIDENCE SELF-MOTIVATION FOCUS CONCENTRATION COMPOSURE CALMNESS POISE SELF- CONTROL POSITIVE ENERGY DETERMINATION PERSISTENCE LEADERSHIP Please note, this doesn’t mean that the outcome is always a win, in many cases these attributes can show up the most during a loss, especially a close loss to a tough opponent or during adverse conditions. But over time and with careful training the mental toughness of skilled players comes to light in championship games. DEVELOPMENT To have mental toughness one must practice attributes that lead to mental toughness. I wish there were a formula to follow, but there is not. It takes time and patience under the right leadership to develop mental toughness. Parents, educators, coaches, and other mentors must be systematically involved in the training process. Also, it takes failure and the ability to bounce back. Many people develop mental toughness through the experience of failure. Good
parents do not want their children to fail and I understand that. But today, too many blame others for the failure. Parents are quick to blame the teacher for problems in class or a coach when the child is not excelling in an activity. Mental toughness can not be developed properly when blaming others. In fact, the opposite is the case. Here are a some examples of those that worked through failure to develop mental toughness and succeed: “Every strikeout got me closer to my next homerun”. Babe Ruth Babe Ruth grew up in an orphanage. During his playing career he struck out a record 1330 times on his way to hitting 714 career homeruns. “…..Failure makes me try harder the next time”- Michael Jordan. Jordan was only 5’ 7” when he entered high school. Because of his speed and athleticism (and an older brother named Larry that the coaches knew well) he was invited to try out for the varsity, but didn’t make it. He was placed on the JV team where he routinely scored 25 - 30 points a game. By his junior year, he was 6’4” and made the varsity team. By then, he not only had the skill to play, but the drive and determination to be successful, while demanding the same from his teammates. (Michael's older brother Larry played a big role in helping with him develop mental toughness on the court.) Edmund Hillary failed three times before finally being the first to climb Mt. Everest. Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Steve Allen (his Microsoft co-founder) failed at their first business, Traf-O-Matic, which was developed to analyze traffic patterns. Walt Disney’s first animation business in the 1920’s failed after only one month, forcing him to take a job from another company at that time. Ten Free Tips on How to Develop Mental Toughness in Your Players at www.expert-baseball-tips.com/ mentaltoughness Article Source: http://www.youthbaseballinfo.com
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EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT WOOD BATS AND THEN SOME!
WOOD BATS By Superior Bat Company Have you ever wondered how we can make a bat weigh -1, or -4, without changing the design of the bat? Ever wondered what the real difference is between Maple and Ash? The biggest part of sales is to make your product appear to be the best out there. Unfortunately, that makes it difficult for you the customer to really be able to tell what bats are better than others. Most often it comes down to who has the best sales pitch. The price of a bat can be an indicator of quality, but not always. It is a well known fact that the higher the price of a product is, the higher the quality of the product is assumed to be. With wood bats especially, that is not always the case. Many times with maple bats, the less expensive bats are actually stronger. This is because in the last several years more and more players are switching from aluminum to wood bats. They want the same big barrels that the aluminum bats provide, but still want
the bat to be easy to swing. The combination of a big barrel and light weight make for a pretty weak maple bat. I'm sure you have seen it even at the pro level. Years ago, the pro's swung very heavy bats. The thought back then was the bigger and heavier the bat was, the farther the ball would go. Bats very rarely broke back than. In fact, it was not uncommon for a pro to go a whole season without breaking his bat! Fast forward to today. In the pro ranks, and just about everywhere else, the magic word is bat speed! The faster you can swing your bat the better! Bats started getting lighter, and shorter as the years passed. As the bats got lighter, they started breaking more. Today it is not uncommon for the average pro to go through 7 or 8 dozen bats in a single season! With the trend of bigger barrels, lighter bats, this has caused a sort of shortage of wood that is light enough to make those big barreled bats, and that is why you see many manufacturers with
32 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE . DEVOTED TO AMATEUR BASEBALL PLAYERS AND THEIR TEAMS
different prices for different models. They have to charge more for the bigger barreled bat, because everyone wants them so they run out of them faster. Coincidently, those bigger barreled bats are not as strong than their smaller barrel counterparts! Of course that is if the weight is the same. With the wood baseball bats of today, it is even more important than ever to choose a bat that fits you the best. Otherwise it can be a very expensive endeavor. We have put this information together for those of you who just want to know more. The how's and why's of wood baseball bats if you will. It's a bit long, so we have split it up into 5 parts. Wood Bats 101 Wood Bats are quickly regaining popularity since the aluminum bat basically took over baseball in the 70’s. Most of todays baseball players, young and old, really don’t know a lot about wood bats. We have put this page together to try to explain the facts and fictions about wood bats as accurately and honestly as possible. Making a wood bat is part art and part science. There is a lot more to it than meets the eye! Hopefully after reading this, you will have a little better idea on how it all works! Over the years, wood bat manufacturers have tried about every species of wood imaginable to make their bats out of. Ash was traditionally used because it is easy to work with, is naturally straight grained, holds up fairly well, and is inexpensive. Many other species were tried, but they all had too many disadvantages to be commercially used. With the introduction of modern kiln drying processes, there are a few species of wood that have made their way into mainstream baseball. Maple is by far the most popular non-ash bat out there today. Maple is much stronger and more durable than ash. It was used some in
the past, but it was just too heavy to be accepted in the mainstream. Modern kiln drying processes have made it possible. A common perception of maple is that it’s stronger than ash, but heavier. That is actually only partly true. Maple is definitely stronger and more dense than ash, but that does not necessarily mean that a maple bat will be heavier than an ash bat. That will be explained in detail below. There are several different species of maple, but they all fit into two categories, hard maple, and soft maple. Hard maple is what is used for bats. To be specific, sugar maple is the species that bats are made of. It is most commonly called hard maple, sugar maple, or rock maple, but they all refer to sugar maple. Soft maple is not great for bats. Although still a hardwood, soft maple will not last near as long as hard maple will in a bat. There are some manufacturers that do use soft maple for some of their bats. It is easier to work with, and half the price of hard maple. It takes a highly trained eye to look at a bat and tell if it is hard or soft maple. There are several different characteristics of both wood species, and bat design that contribute to how the bat performs at the plate. The characteristics of each species of wood is controlled by Mother Nature, but the same species growing in different climates will have slight differences. Since Mother Nature controls the characteristics of the species, it only makes sense that it is an uncontrollable variable. That is not totally the case. Every different species of wood has certain climate conditions that it thrives best in. As you get farther from it’s preferred conditions, it does not do as well, and the overall quality of the wood deteriorates. By only using wood that was grown in certain areas, you can control the quality. This is not a new concept. In the high end furniture industry, as well as the bat industry this was figured out long ago. The best quality hardwoods in the world come out of the northeastern part of the US,
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and southeastern Canada. In the high end furniture industry, it is a well known fact that the best Cherry in the world comes out of the forests of southern New York, and northern Pennsylvania. Louisville Slugger figured this out long ago, and even though they are based in Kentucky, their biggest sawmills (where their wood comes from) are in northern Pennsylvania and southern New York. The problem is, the location of the bat company has nothing to do with where they get their wood from, so there is no real easy way to tell where they are getting their wood. Now we’ll compare the differences between ash and maple. Maple has a much higher density than ash, so it only makes sense that maple is heavier. That higher density is one of the things that makes maple stronger than ash. The main reason maple was not widely used in the past was because of the high density. It was just too heavy. This is where the moisture content of the wood comes into play. Moisture content contributes to two things, the weight of the wood, and how flexible the wood is. Just think of a small branch on a tree, compared to a twig that has been on the ground for a while. The branch on the tree is very flexible, and much heavier, while the twig that has been on the ground for a while will break before you can bend it much, and is much lighter. The lower the moisture content in a piece of wood the lighter and less flexible it will be. If the moisture content gets too low, the wood will become brittle, and will break very easily. The standard for drying wood in the furniture industry is 6-8% moisture content. Ash bats are dried to a 10-12% moisture content. This is because at 10-12% moisture content, the weight of the wood is the easiest to work with. Even though hard maple has a higher density than ash, by drying it to a lower moisture content, you can make them weigh the same as an ash bat that is dried to a higher moisture content. Basically you get the same bat weight in the end, but the maple is much stronger. Grain structure is very important in a wood bat. When talking about grain structure, we are actually referring to the straightness of the grain, and the strength of the grain separations between different species of wood. For
wood bats, as a general rule the straighter the grain the better. The difference in the grain structure between hard maple and ash contributes to maple lasting longer. The grain structure in hard maple is very tight, with only a small visible line separating the grains of the wood. The grain structure in ash is very porous, which makes the bat very susceptible to flaking after extended use. The biggest difference between ash and maple to a ballplayer is the characteristics of the wood itself. With ash, there are several different grades of bats, all based on grain count. The higher the number of grains per inch the lower quality the bat. Since the grain separations in ash are so porus, they are weak, therefore the higher the number of grains in a bat, the higher the chance the bat will break. Due to the nature of how ash grows, the lower the grain count per inch, the stronger the grain is. The problem is that only a very small percentage of ash bats have the very low grain counts (top quality ash bats). The percentage is so small, that bat manufacturers will only sell those top quality ash bats to their pro customers. Even the minor leagues can not usually get the top quality ash. By the time you get down to the ash bats you can buy at a store, the only thing you can get is the lower quality ash. They may still be advertised as the same bats the pro’s use, and they very well could be the same model, but not the same wood quality. This is the main reason that maple is becoming so popular. Ash will always be in pro ball, because the top quality ash bats are very good bats. With maple, the only thing that separates high quality bats from low quality bats is the straightness of the grain and physical defects in the wood. No matter what species of wood you are using, straightness of the grain and defects is the first thing that the wood is sorted for, and it’s not considered to be good for a bat unless the grain is straight, and there are no defects. What this means is with maple you can actually get the same quality wood as the pro’s use! Even our youth bats are made out of the same quality wood that we make our pro bats out of. That’s not a just a pitch for our youth bats, it’s just that all other variables being equal, so long as the grain is straight and there are no defects, there are no wood quality differences with maple.
34 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE . DEVOTED TO AMATEUR BASEBALL PLAYERS AND THEIR TEAMS
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INSIDE THE GAME With Jeff Cavaliere
You see, long after the game is either won or lost on a particular day (sometimes even up to an hour after the last out is recorded), what very few people would know is that if you peek inside the closed doors of a major league weight room you are sure to find guys (those mentioned above…and hundreds others around the league either just like them…or rightly so, aspiring to be like them) getting in just a little extra workout at the end of a long grueling day, that generally started 10 hours earlier, in the hopes that those thirty extra minutes will come back to reward them in the form of 30 extra RBI’s, 30 extra strikeouts, 30 extra runs scored…and above all…a combination of all of the above the can lead to just 1 more win. If all the hard work amounts to just one more win, then every rep of every set was worth it. Mets fans, just think how crucial just one more win could have been in each of the last two seasons? I want to begin by introducing myself to you the readers of Baseball Player Magazine, and thanking you for welcoming me to share in your passion for the “Greatest Show on Earth”…the “Big Show”. My name is Jeff Cavaliere and I was most recently the Head Physical Therapist and Assistant Strength Coach for the last three seasons for the New York Mets. It was a position of both high honor and great responsibility, and certainly one not without it’s share of memorable moments…yes, good and bad (as any Mets fan will undoubtedly know…the bad ones still sting!). The opportunity to work on a daily basis with some of, not only New York’s greatest…but the game’s greatest, taught me more about not only what it takes for these athletes to physically get to this level…but more importantly, to stay there and continue to thrive year after year. Guys like Johan Santana, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, and John Maine to name a few…don’t have just the obvious gaudy numbers on the back of their baseball cards to support their arguments as great players, but less noticeably, the behind the scenes work ethic that makes their status among the best, as nothing less than a certainty.
That said, I look forward to providing you much more insight and an ongoing peek “Inside The Game” over the course of the summer right here in Baseball Player Magazine. I look forward to sharing my experiences with you in the hopes that you what you learn might not only answer a question that you’ve wondered for years about “how it works in the big leagues” but more importantly, spurs you to take action in your preparation to bring you ever so closer to realizing your dreams of one day knowing all the ins and outs of the major leagues…as a major leaguer yourself! Until next issue….
Jeff Cavaliere MSPT, CSCS
Best in health and baseball,
To read more about Jeff and his complete “step by step” system for training for baseball like the pros do… go to http://www.majorleagueinsidertraining.com. Also, inquire about the limited availability of group and individual coaching opportunities with Jeff by writing to questions @majorleagueinsidertraining.com. As David Wright’s personal trainer, you don’t want to miss this chance of a lifetime for your son or team.
36 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE . DEVOTED TO AMATEUR BASEBALL PLAYERS AND THEIR TEAMS
ARE YOU READY TO STEP INSIDE THE GAME AND TAKE YOUR BASEBALL TRAINING TO A WHOLE NEW LEVEL? NEW TRAINING MANUAL PEELS BACK THE COVER OF PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL TO REVEAL
THE STRENGTH TRAINING SECRETS OF THE GAME’S BEST PLAYERS
ONCE INSIDE, YOU’LL DISCOVER... ...Not only what lower body, upper body and core exercises you should be doing as a pitcher to maximize power and velocity...but when specifically you should be doing them! (Not knowing the correct timing could negatively impact performance) ...How one piece of equipment (costing less than 3 bucks) can mean the difference between warning track power and fence clearing Homeruns! (Also has the advantage of being able to be used easily in the comfort of your own home)
up physically with your peers, but also against the Big Leaguers at the position you play! (This information is priceless for determining if you are anywhere close to meeting your potential as a player) ...What type of conditioning you should NEVER be doing if your goal is to become an explosive player who makes scouts stop and take notice! (Ignoring this information might not only lead to decreased performance but more injuries as well) ...And much much more...... Learn what All Stars like David Wright, Johan Santana, Tom Glavine and others have known for years.......
ARE YOU IN?
...6 easy tests to determine not only where you stack
There's only one more thing to ask... and that is.....
TAKING PRIDE IN TEACHING
OF THE MONTH Joe Francisco is known as one of the top hitting instructors around. Since 2004 he has used innovative and cutting edge training methods to develop 4 Drafted players, 15 signed professional contracts and 6 HS Players of the Year. As a player he was 1994 New York City HS Player of the Year and rewrote the Wagner College record book. In 1999 he was drafted by the Atlanta Braves. Joe is the owner of Performance Factory, a training facility with the reputation of developing premier talent. Visit Joe on the web at: www.PerformanceFactoryBaseball.com
BPM: How long have you been instructing at Performance Factory? JF: I opened Performance Factory 4 years ago. Before that, I worked for Sal Agostinelli at the Long Island Baseball Academy for 2 years. BPM: What drives you to continue teaching? JF: The results. Making bad players good, good players great and turning great players into superstars. Getting all players to maximize their potential on the field has always been a passion for me. But my ultimate goal is to completely change the face of Long Island baseball and put it on the map as a powerhouse baseball region in the United States.
BPM: What are some of the most frustrating things you deal with when giving lessons? JF: A student walks in a lesson with me for the first time after years of prior instruction. The player has been taught concepts that have absolutely NO validity and is clueless on the most basic elements of hitting. This is by far the most frustrating thing to deal with. What people have to understand is that anyone can open a training facility and start giving lessons. Look beyond professional experience and personality and see if the instructor, who you are trusting with your child’s career, is really educated enough to get them to the next level. BPM: What has changed over the years in regards to the type of kid you work with? JF: Honesty. The players that come to my facility don’t want to be told how great they are anymore. They know it doesn’t work. They learn the system, follow the program, put in hard work and are seeing results they never thought possible. BPM: How have parents changed? JF: The parents now are seeking answers. They can read through bullsh*t a lot better than before. I see many of the parents are starting to “get it” and realize they can’t
teach what we can. Being able to “let go” and trust in someone else is a big step. BPM: What has been the most rewarding moment since you have been doing lessons? JF: Moment(s). My phone ringing at all hours from students and parents telling me about getting drafted, hitting a homerun, throwing a no-hitter or just getting their 1st hit in seasons. My career as a hitting instructor has been a journey of constant rewarding moments. BPM: What do you see as the future of youth baseball on Long Island? JF: I know the politically correct answer is the “future looks bright” and “it’s getting better and better every year”. To an extent that is true but I think a lot of work needs to be done at all levels to achieve this goal. Developing and educating our coaches, as well as the players, is the first step in this process. BPM: What area do you like instructing the most? JF: Hitting. All aspects of training hitting. What you need to understand is that there are many elements that need to work together in sequence to be a successful hitter on the field. Technique, mechanics, strength, vision and explosiveness just to name a few. BPM: How did you wind up at Performance Factory? JF: I wanted to open my own facility where I could set the programs, teach the instructors my system of training and fix what I thought the problems were in the industry. BPM: What do you want people to know about you? JF: I worked extremely hard to get where I am today and feel truly blessed to have been given the opportunity to reach the amount of players I have.
38 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE . DEVOTED TO AMATEUR BASEBALL PLAYERS AND THEIR TEAMS
IN-SEASON SHOULDER TRAINING
ORTHOPAEDIC A Physicianâ€™s Perspective on Pitching Biomechanics Charles Ruotolo, MD As a physician or trainer evaluating a pitcher one must first have a fundamental understanding of normal pitching biomechanics. This can aid in injury evaluation, treatment and maintaining the athlete at their top performance level. There are 5 phases of pitching: wind up, early cocking, late cocking, acceleration, and follow thru. Each phase has specific biomechanics that have to be achieved for optimal performance, and in each phase specific injuries can affect overall pitching performance. Wind up requires stance limb stability in the sense that one needs a stable base to initiate the kinetic energy of pitching. One needs an upright and balanced trunk and needs to minimize anterior-posterior sway. Weakness of the hip or lower back can affect this initial phase. In early cocking the hand needs to stay on top of the ball and the hands should remain apart. This prevents early external rotation of the shoulder and supination of the forearm, which is thought to increase the risk of injury. Also in early cocking one must lead with the pelvis. Again this distributes the kinetic energy of the lower extremities thru the trunk. Weakness of the contralateral hip and loss of hip motion can affect this phase. 60% of the power of the pitch is produced from the lower extremities and pelvis. In late cocking the arm should be in the throwing position and the lead shoulder should remain closed, meaning the lead shoulder should face third or first base depending on the throwing arm. This again prevents hyperangulation of the throwing shoulder. Hyperangulation can cause increased stress across the shoulder joint with increased risk of injury. In follow thru the stride foot should point towards home plate. This again prevents under or over rotation and directs the total sum of kinetic energy produced towards it target. In a study of pitchers age 9-17 by James Tibone, MD, pitching velocity was directly related to the pitcher having their hands apart and their hand on top of the ball as well as leading with their pelvis in early cocking. Velocity was also corre-
lated with the arm in the throwing position and the lead shoulder remaining closed in late cocking as well as the stride foot pointing towards home plate in follow thru. In this series the most frequent errors were inability of the pitcher to keep the trunk upright and stable and the inability to keep the lead shoulder closed. Tired pitchers will increase their lumbar lordosis (flex forward on their lower back), and drop their elbow. This can cause elbow problems as the force across the elbow joint goes up exponentially as the elbow is dropped during pitching. To evaluate a thrower with elbow or shoulder problems one must evaluate the entire kinetic chain as a breakdown in biomechanics can secondarily injure the elbow or shoulder. To return the athlete to optimal performance the underlying problem or deficiency causing the injury needs to be addressed to prevent re-injury. This involves examining the hips/pelvis, trunk, and scapula besides the evaluation of the elbow or shoulder that the athlete initially complains about. Thru a strong understanding of biomechanics appropriate assessment and treatment can be prescribed. Total Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, LLP The Office of Charles Ruotolo, MD, FAAOS and Gary Gonya, MD 5500 Merrick Rd Massapequa, NY 11758 www.orthodoc.aaos.org/ruotolo For Appointments call 516-795-3033 Specializing in Sport Specific Evaluation and Treatment of Orthopaedic Sports Injuries including Sport Specific Rehabilitation Programs for the Shoulder and Elbow Charles Ruotolo, MD, FAAOS Specializing in Sports Medicine, Arthroscopic Shoulder, Knee, Ankle and Elbow Surgery Gary Gonya, MD Specializing in Spinal Disorders and Treatment
40 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE . DEVOTED TO AMATEUR BASEBALL PLAYERS AND THEIR TEAMS
Total Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, LLP Specializing in Sport Specific Evaluation & Treatment of Orthopaedic Sports Injuries including Sport Specific Rehabilitation Programs for the Shoulder and Elbow. Charles Ruotolo, MD, FAAOS Specializing in Sports Medicine, Arthroscopic Shoulder, Knee, Ankle and Elbow Surgery Gary Gonya, MD Specializing in Spinal Disorders and Treatment For appointments call 516-795-3033
http://orthodoc.aaos.org/totalorthopaedics 5500 Merrick Rd, Massapequa, NY 11758
CRITICAL INFORMATION FOR COLLEGE BOUND ATHLETES
COLLEGE BOUND HELPING COACHES HELP ATHLETES SportsWorx is changing the face of how high school athletes are recruited by colleges. Our comprehensive approach goes far beyond the exposure offered by other recruiting services. We educate and prepare athletes for the recruiting process, thus putting them in the position to help themselves. But it cannot be done without the involvement of high school and club coaches. So SportsWorx has designed services to help you help your athletes – at no cost to you or your school! Why Use SportsWorx? • We understand the demands made on your time • We understand the expectations of your athletes and their families • We understand the importance of education, hard work, and technology • We alleviate the demands while increasing your success SportsWorx can help YOU • By providing a comprehensive and informative educational presentation • By emphasizing the importance of academics to your athletes • By increasing your network of college coach contacts • By facilitating communication with college coaches • By utilizing technology to communicate with your team SportsWorx can help YOUR ATHLETES • By enabling direct, confidential communica tion with interested college coaches • By facilitating the scouting of your athletes by college coaches across the nation
• By helping you educate your athletes as to how the recruiting process works • By providing your athletes with a collegiate research database • By providing discipline and organization Services for YOUR SCHOOL • SportsWorx College Night educational presentation • Your online high school home page • Secure coach communication portal COMING SOON – Student-Athlete Social Networking A nationwide network of motivated studentathletes in all sports discussing recruiting and what works for them SERVICES TO HELP COACHES HELP THEIR ATHLETES SportsWorx provides you, the coach, with valuable tools to make the recruiting process work better for you and your athletes… SportsWorx Research Database Identify every athletic program at every college in the country; instant links to schools and athletic websites; multiple search criteria; email access to every head coach in every sport in the country. SportsWorx High School Web Pages 1) Home page with drop down list of coaches 2) Separate follow up pages for all coaches in all sports 3) Roster listing for viewing by all coaches 4) Password protected message board enabling coaches to communicate with athletes and parents about matters affecting your teams
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5) 24/7 access for updates and additions SportsWorx Coach Communication Portal Direct, secure, two way communication with thousands of college coaches for athletes using the SportsWorx services allows you to expand your network of contacts SportsWorx College Night Presentation We will offer a complimentary College Night Presentation for athletes, staff, and families educating them as to the ins and outs of the recruiting process, financial aid, and academic obligations. Contact us at: 516-369-0645 or firstname.lastname@example.org FACT SHEET SportsWorx, an athletic scholarship consulting firm based out of Covington, LA, enables high school athletes and their parents to take an affirmative step toward scholarship consideration by colleges and universities nationwide. SportsWorx provides each athlete with their own personal web pages and/or e-mail capable resumes for broadcasting to premiere athletic programs throughout the country. Each athlete’s web page features current statistics, measurements, video highlights, media coverage, personal references, extra-curricular activities, biographies, school transcripts, and more. This online service offers athletes exposure to college coaches across the country looking for scholarship athletes in all sports. SportsWorx works with the athletes and parents in educating and guiding them step by step through the recruiting process, including school evaluations, NCAA Clearinghouse registration, financial evaluation, scholastic assistance, and conditioning enhancement. We network on the behalf of the athletes with coaches and
regional SportsWorx offices across the country. These services, together with the exposure from the SportsWorx web site, put athletes in the best possible position to be recruited by college coaches. Because SportsWorx has offices nationally and works with coaches, colleges, and universities all over the world, our “e-scouts” can search for athletes anywhere, greatly increasing your chance of being found by the right school for you. Over 1000 colleges and universities now have a source that will save them time, money and tedious traveling in search of the right athletes for their programs. SportsWorx at a Glance • Experience in athletic recruiting • Offices nationwide • Over 1000 colleges from all over the country recruit with SportsWorx • Hundreds of top notch scouts are scouring the country for college bound athletes involved in every collegiate sport, from football to fencing, from soccer to swimming, for both males and females • SportsWorx has the industry’s most comprehensive athlete matching database, yet athlete security is unmatched • Stats, game footage, school transcripts, test scores, recommendation letters, press coverage, photos and more give you the advantage • Unparalleled exposure and an aggressive marketing approach to recruiting give you the best possible chance to be recruited and receive financial aid COLLEGE NIGHT SportsWorx offers a complimentary educational College Night program designed to inform parents and student/athletes about the NCAA recruiting process, federal financial aid, academic responsibilities of the student/ athlete, and the college selection process.
44 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE . DEVOTED TO AMATEUR BASEBALL PLAYERS AND THEIR TEAMS
Topics include: The Athlete Resume Effective Video Presentations NCAA Core Course Requirements NCAA Clearinghouse Registration Recruiting Rules and Regulations NCAA and NAIA Definitions Scholarship Availability FAFSA Forms and Federal Financial Aid Alternatives to Athletic Scholarships Choosing the Right School for You How to get Evaluated by Coaches Let SportsWorx help you educate your athletes and families as to how to effectively navigate the complicated course of college recruiting with our complimentary College Night program. To schedule your college night, contact Toby Elmore at SportsWorx P.O. Box 792 Melville, NY 11747. 516-369-0645 or e-mail at email@example.com
THE ONLINE ATHLETE PROFILE This comprehensive 10 page personal academic and athletic resume features: Home Page – Make a lasting first impression with pictures, featured accomplishments, and your personal message to college coaches Statistics - Provide coaches with up to the minute statistics as well as stats from past years References – Letters of recommendation from coaches, employers, teachers, etc.
Personal Message – Let coaches know about you in your own words Awards – List your academic and athletic accomplishments Transcripts, Grades and Test Scores – Give coaches the instant ability to determine your academic standing Press Clippings – Scan press clips about your performance Video Highlights – Up to six minutes of your game footage Extra-Curricular Activities – List your school activities and community involvement See Me Play – A current schedule of your upcoming games with a mapping feature for coaches to find you THE SPORTSWORX PLAY BOOK In an effort to help guide athletes through the complicated and competitive recruiting process, SportsWorx has developed a comprehensive recruiting guide, which offers guidance for academic, athletic, and extra-curricular activities to maximize your attractiveness to college coaches. Your SportsWorx Play Book, available in CD or hard copy, includes: • College Coach Contact Information: Providing up to date information on college coaches, direct e-mail links, tuition costs, academic ratings, enrollment, and direct web links to their school and team web sites
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• Timeline: A comprehensive guide to academic, athletic, and extra-curricular activities to maximize recruitability and academic eligibility • Checklist: A guide to get athletes to be accountable for the steps to be taken to enhance their recruiting chances • NCAA Information: Educational information to help the athlete better understand the definitions and recruiting rules of the NCAA • FAQ’s: Provides the athlete with questions to ask to best determine if a school is a good fit for them and to better understand the role of the recruiting service • Financial Aid: A checklist to better enable athletes and their families to prepare the FAFSA financial aid forms • College Evaluation Forms: Helps athletes consider factors that are important to them in evaluating a school • Contact Reports: Provides a tracking mechanism to be sure that current athlete information stays in front of coaches • Statistics: Offers a range of statistical information that athletes can use in order to be able to provide coaches with the most comprehensive statistical information available This SportsWorx Recruiting Guide is an invaluable tool to help athletes and their families take an organized approach to the recruiting process.
UNDERSTANDING RECRUITING & FINANCIAL AID Destroying the Myth • The common belief is that the best way to get a sports scholarship is to train and work hard at sports and wait to be discovered • NOT ALWAYS! • Other student-athletes are taking a more aggressive and proactive approach. • They are committed to a four year process of preparation, research, and marketing on top of the hard work The Keys to Success • ACADEMICS – your ability to get accepted to a school • ATHLETICS – your ability to contribute to the team • FINANCES – your ability to pay for college • MARKETING – making coaches aware of your abilities Your odds of placement will increase dramatically when you prepare in each of these areas Academics • Focus on your grades • Better grades open more doors • Coaches search for good students as often as for good athletes • Take Board prep courses • Take the ACT/SAT early and often • Register for the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clear inghouse – https://web1.ncaa.org/eligibilitycenter/common/ • Know the NCAA and NAIA academic eligibility requirement • Core course requirements • Minimum GPA requirements • College test score requirements • NCAA eligibility sliding scale
46 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE . DEVOTED TO AMATEUR BASEBALL PLAYERS AND THEIR TEAMS
Athletics • Be realistic in your assessment • Constantly strive to improve • Work with a speed/strength trainer • Seek opportunities to play against the best competition • Put your team first • Maintain a positive attitude on and off the field
• Learn about academic programs - Athlete academic support - Available majors • Study the athletic program - Stability - Chances of playing time • Ascertain financial options - Know tuition - Grants, etc.
Finances • Be aware of scholarship opportunities • Know the different types of athletic scholar ships (full, partial, head count, blended) • Improve yourself academically • Know the Federal Financial Aid programs • Determine if you can afford each school • File your FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid - Helps coaches put together scholarship offers - Application found online – www.fafsa.gov.ed - Terms: - EFC – expected family contribution - COA – cost of attendance - Apply regardless of income - File Jan. 1 of Senior Year
Know the Rules • NCAA coaches have certain times of the year that they can actively recruit players - generally no contact when you are playing for your High School team. • Understand that until you speak directly with the coach or recruiting coordinator at the college and have a signed letter of intent you need to keep your options open! • Register with the NCAA Clearinghouse. This makes you an eligible prospect. • NCAA recruiting rules can be complicated - 13.02.4.1 Contact Period. A contact Period is that period of time when it is permissible for authorized athletics department staff members to make in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts and evaluations. - 13.02.4.2 Evaluation Period. An evaluation period is that period of time when it is permissible for authorized athletics department staff members to be involved in off-campus activities designed to assess the academic qualifications and playing ability of prospects. No in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts shall be made with the prospect during an evaluation period. - 13.02.4.3 Quiet Period. A quiet period is that period of time when it is permissible to make in-person recruiting contacts only on the member institutions campus. No in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts or evaluations may be made during the quiet period. - 13.02.4.4 Dead Period. A dead period is that
Marketing • Comes into play after you have researched schools for a good fit athletically, academically, and financially • Prepare an effective resume • Compose a highlight video • Copy game films • PLAY CLUB SPORTS • Research different schools • Attend meaningful camps, showcases, or combines • Schedule unofficial visits • BE AGGRESSIVE AND PROACTIVE
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period of time when it is not permissible to make in-person recruiting contacts or evaluations on or off the member institution’s campus or to permit official or unofficial visits by prospects to the institution’s campus. • Official Visits - You are allowed 5 at the D1 and D2 level in total - Cannot take 5 for each sport that you play. - School will pay your travel expenses and visit cannot exceed 48 hours. - You cannot take a visit until the school has a copy of your transcripts. - No limit at the D3 level, just limited to one per school. • Unofficial visits - Taken at your expense - Unlimited number of visits SCHOOL CONTACT REPORT
- Good opportunity to meet coaches & view facilities - Coaches are receptive - Gets you on their radar - Important to visit before committing • NAIA rules are simpler - Few restrictions - You can even practice with the team • SportsWorx’ Advisors can help you to know all of the rules. SportsWorx Can Help • Online athlete profile • Collegiate research database • College coach matching database • Personal guidance • Over 87% athlete placement rate
Organization is key: Keep your school contacts in order to follow up with college coaches.
Name of School Coach’s Name Address E-Mail Address Pos. Coach/Recruiting Cord. E-Mail Address SportsWorx Match Accepted E-Mails Sent Letters Sent Phone Calls to Coaches Responses from Coaches Game/Technique Film Sent School Application Filed Unofficial Visits Interviews With Coaches Evaluations Camps Official Visit Scholarship Offer Comments
48 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE . DEVOTED TO AMATEUR BASEBALL PLAYERS AND THEIR TEAMS
...NASSAU & SUFFOLK ALL STARS PARTICIPATE IN THE...
GRAND SLAM CHALLENGE The Grand Slam Challenge was held on June 12 at Farmingdale College between the Nassau and Suffolk High School All Stars to benefit the
Ryan T. Caufield Foundation. Nassau would go on to win the game by a score of 10-3. The following were the award recipients for the game.
RTC ALL STAR CATCHERS AWARD PRESENTED TO CAM MARON
MARUCCI OFFENSE PLAYER OF GAME PRESENTED TO C.J. FERRIGGI
50 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE . DEVOTED TO AMATEUR BASEBALL PLAYERS AND THEIR TEAMS
RAWLINGS OUTSTANDING PITCHING PERFORMANCE AND SUFFOLK MVP PRESENTED TO MARCUS STROMAN
NASSAU COUNTY MVP PRESENTED TO ALEX HUDAKI OF OYSTER BAY
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O U R W O R L D
Tom Servais / Born in Miami in 1953, Servais moved to California at the age of 20 to find himself and pursue surfing. After taking several photography classes, he began his career as a photographer with Surfer magazine. Fueled by the joy of turning his passion into a career, he travels the world in pursuit of an endless summer. Photo data: SIGMA 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM, 1/1,000-second exposure at f/6.3.
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BIGGEST MONEYMAKERS AND TIMEWASTERS FOR...
BASEBALL FUNDRAISING By Deb Yeagle
If you are part of a travel baseball organization, then you are no doubt familiar with the costs of fielding a team. Tournament entry fees and umpire expenses are the primary costs associated with a travel team. While most teams charge each player monthly dues, fundraisers are used to offset the monthly charges or to raise money for special events such as trips to Cooperstown, Disney’s Wide World of Sports, or the Ripken Baseball Complexes to play in the ultimate tournament experience. We have participated in many different types of fundraising events for our teams over the years. The key to a successful fundraiser is finding an activity that is high on profit margin and low on time investment. Following are some of the biggest moneymakers you should get involved in and the biggest timewasters you should avoid when planning fundraising events for your team. One of the biggest moneymakers are team sponsors. Players, with the help of coaches and parents, can canvas local businesses to ask for donations. If the team establishes levels of giving prior to requesting donations, which provides benefits to the sponsor commensurate with the donation, then these businesses will be more likely to support the team, knowing that they receive something in return. Requesting flat donations is not as an effective fundraising tactic. Following are sample levels of giving and associated sponsor benefits: • $100 – Plaque • $250 – Banner + Plaque • $500 - Advertisement on Team Website + Banner + Plaque This fundraising activity is also a learning experience for the players. If they participate in the letter writing campaign and follow up with prospective sponsors, then they can learn / practice basic writing and communication skills. This also helps instill team pride in each player who participates. Another big moneymaker is doughnut sales. It is possible to clear $500.00 in 3 hours of sales, provided you select a high traffic location (e.g., WalMart, Lowe’s, grocery stores). Keep in mind you must obtain
permission from the owner of the location at which you intend to sell doughnuts to their customers. Very little time is required in advertising the event, and time required to pick up the doughnuts varies depending on the arrangement with your doughnut supplier. We have used Krispy Kreme Fundraising www.krispykreme.com/fund for all of our successful doughnut sales. Another good fundraiser, if you don’t have more than 2 sales a year, is Joe Corbi’s pizza and cookie dough products www.joecorbi.com. A team can easily make $1000.00 on a sale, but having more than 2 sales a year will result in oversupply and decreased fundraising. Gift card sales are also potential moneymakerswww.escrip.com is a good source of retailers that support fundraising through gift card sales. The percentage donated to your team varies by retailer. For example, Food Lion gives back 5% of all gift card sales. Based on our experience with gift card sales, grocery store cards are the best seller (since everyone needs groceries). Hit-a-thons and car washes are time intensive events that result in very little profit. Hosting tournaments is a time intensive effort, but it is possible to turn a healthy profit. Selling concessions is a worthwhile fundraiser for tournaments, but is hardly worth the time and effort for single day events such as doubleheaders. Rental or purchase of vending machines requires little or no time, but involves a significant investment of funds up front. The most successful fundraisers for our baseball team have been team sponsors, doughnut sales, pizza sales, and gift card sales. Very little time is required for these fundraising activities, but the profit potential is high. Setting expectations for participation in fundraising events by both players and parents is a must. This should be done by either the coaches or a parent volunteer fundraising coordinator at the beginning of the season. When the team sets a goal of making a trip to play in a tournament at Cooperstown, Disney World, or the Ripken Experience, it’s a good idea to establish the fundraising goal at the same time to help defray travel costs for the team and ensure a successful tournament experience. Article Source: http://www.youthbaseballinfo.com
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THE MAN WITH THE GREAT NAME – NEW YORK METS THIRD BASE COACH:
RAZOR SHINES By Eric Citron Anthony Razor Shines (born July 18, 1956 in Durham, North Carolina) is currently the third-base coach for the New York Mets. Shines is also a retired baseball player who played first base for the Montreal Expos for four seasons, from 1983-1985 and 1987. He had a significant career in the minor leagues, where he spent parts of sixteen seasons. He spent the majority of nine seasons with the Indianapolis Indians, and he became a local legend and fan favorite within the city of Indianapolis. His minor league career also included stops in Memphis with the Memphis Chicks, in the Mexican League and in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization with the Buffalo Bisons. He later became a minor league manager, where he managed the Birmingham Barons of the Southern League and the Clearwater Threshers of the Florida State League. On May 16, 2006, the Indians honored Shines, who was managing the visiting Charlotte Knights, with a "Razor Shines Night". This kind of honor, for a player of an opposing team, is quite rare in minor league baseball. Shines kept his residence in Indianapolis during his playing years and for a few years afterwards. After retirement, he began his coaching career there at a local baseball academy and at Bishop Chatard High School. In four Major League seasons he played in 68 games and had 81 at bats, 15 hits, one double, five RBI, one stolen base, five walks, a .185 batting average, .239 on-base percentage, .198 slugging percentage, 16 total bases and one sacrifice fly. He also pitched an inning in a blowout loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1985. Shines has over 500 wins as a minor league manager.
In 2007, he was back in the Major Leagues coaching at third base for the Chicago White Sox. On December 12, 2007, Shines was named manager of the Phillies single-A Clearwater Threshers team. He managed the Threshers to a 64-76 record in 2008. On October 23, 2008, it was announced that Shines would replace Luis Aguayo as the third base coach for the New York Mets. In my mind Razor Shines is what baseball is all about. He is upbeat, talkative and fun to be around. I was covering the Mets vs. Tampa game and had the chance to spend about 15 minutes talking to him on the field before the game and this is a guy who loves baseball and loves to talk about it! I can honestly say he is one of the nicest people you want to meet and his pure love of this game comes through with every word. I might have missed his love affair with the fans had I not been sitting in the photo box – each and every time Razor walks out to the third base coaching box he carries with him a ball, Then the ritual begins: he walks over to the photo box, looks into the stands and studies all of the young fans shouting to him, he carefully picks one fan out, points to him/her and then tosses the ball to their waiting hand and makes their day. He does this every inning, and it’s quite a ritual he has developed. The man with the great name – welcome to New York – we are glad to have you on our team!
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10 THINGS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN RUNNING THE BASES
HAVE CONFIDENCE 1. Do I practice getting out of the batterâ€™s box as fast as possible. 2. Do I round First base properly on a hit and do I take a good turn. 3. Do I know my footwork assignments on leading off first, second, and third bases. 4. Do I study pitches for base stealing tips such as: How many times he turns his head, does he vary the time taken in his delivery, does he bring his leg or body too far back from the stretch position and what part of his body moves first when he throws to the batter. Can I induce him to commit a balk, or throw a ball or destroy his concentration on the hitter. 5. Do I understand the base coaches signals. 6. Do I know when to gamble and when to play it safe. 7. Do I know what to do when one or more players are caught in a rundown.
8. Do I understand the difference in running on a: Sacrifice, a squeeze play, a double squeeze play. 9. Do I know when to attempt to score from third on: Ground Balls & Fly Balls.
10. Am I always alert for the opportunity to take an extra baseball player magazine. AL DESIDERIO: Former coach at Port Jefferson High School for 39 years. Catching, pitching and hitting instructor. Consultant, NY University and Brooklyn Dodgers. Former Asst. Coach, Adelphi University. Ask Desi E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
58 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE . DEVOTED TO AMATEUR BASEBALL PLAYERS AND THEIR TEAMS
QUALITY, STYLE AND FEEL HAVE BEEN THE KEYS TO THE VALLE SUCCESS
VALLE BASEBALL: HOMEGROWN BY John Valle Associate Scout - NY Mets Bayside, Queens New York... Home to Bayside Little Leaguers, schoolyard stickball games., the sandlot fields of Crocheron Park, streets with wiffle ball games being played, (interrupted often by buses or cars passing through), backyard ballgames and of course summers filled with stoopball. Bayside was also hometown to both John and Dave Valle, who went on to play baseball at the professional level. Their greatest teacher was their dad, John Valle Sr. who himself was a catcher at Fordham University, and did much of his teaching of the game of baseball to all 5 of the Valle boys, right in their backyard where he strategically constructed a batting cage that had an Iron Mike pithing machine and name the batting cage, Chicken Coop Stadium . John Valle, after a 13yr professional career, took up residence his Rochester, NY where he stills lives today. He now owns John Valle Baseball, Inc, which was formed in 2003 and has grown substantially to a business that is providing instruction to the youth for baseball and softball , locally in Rochester, and a fast growing retail business that has it's own website and sells products to ballplayers, both baseball and softball across the country. The year 2005, was an important year for Valle Baseball, because it was the beginning of it's new venture in designing a Valle Pro
Glove line, for the serious ballplayers from youth to professional. The glove line was established in honor of his parents, John and Marilyn and the gloves themselves bear the insignia "J & M". The Valle Pro glove line has grown extremely fast and has thousands of players across the country using them, and at the professional level, the growth is even more substantial. Quality, style, and feel have been the key reasons for so many players who have come to purchase a Valle Pro glove. The innovative Valle Eagle Training glove series, the only one of it's kind on the market, is being used by hundreds of professional ballplayers, in organizations such as the NY Mets, Dodgers, Artois, Phillies, Red Sox and others as the pro player recognizes the importance of this training glove series to help improve their defensive excellence. Some of the very best baseball training schools, such as The Bucky Dent School of Baseball, are using the Eagle 975 trainer. The Valle Eagle series has 3 models of infield gloves, a first base training glove and a catcher's training mitt.
Visit the Valle Baseball website at wraw. Valliscaulian. coma to see the hundreds of products that are offered, and when your in need of your next glove, check out the Valle Pro glove line purchase an a training glove, a stock game glove, or design your own custom Valle Pro glove with the colors and design you like, and have your name embroidered on it.
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IN-SEASON SHOULDER TRAINING
Russell Taveras is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and co-owner of Infiniti Performance Strength & Speed. In addition, Russell played collegiately as a Division I scholarship baseball player from 1997-2000. Russell Taveras, DPT, CSCS, Director of Training Infiniti Performance.
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HEAT SEEKER Power development is of primary importance for athletes of virtually every sport. Power can be defined as the ability to generate force in a short amount of time in order to accelerate the body and/or an implement. Power, simply put, is speed-strength. In-season power development can be a daunting task for the serious high school ballplayer and coach. Implementing a productive training regimen becomes difficult secondary to hectic practice schedules, playing on multiple teams, homework, social activities, etc. The purpose of this article is to provide the ballplayer and/or coach with reliable and effective exercises to assist with power development during the season. In the sport of baseball, maximizing power output is essential for improving bat speed, arm velocity, and acceleration. Force production begins from the ground up, translates through the core, and expresses itself by powering through the body or implement. This summation of force and relay translates into “how high, how fast, & how far” in reference to sport application. Throwing a baseball is the most unique and dynamic movement of any sport. The kinematics of the baseball pitch requires a tremendous amount of force, repetition, and precision in order to create an explosive event. As a result of these factors, the susceptibility of shoulder dysfunction
increases, and a variety of injuries may occur during the length of the season. “Though the shoulder is well suited to accommodate great range of motion, the sacrifice of strength and stability that is inherent in shoulder design produces a tenuous balance between elite performance and debilitating shoulder injury.” The rotator cuff is comprised of four muscles attached to the scapula that control gleno-humeral function. These muscles contract at a specific rate & timing in order to stabilize the humeral head in the socket during the throwing motion. The rapid transition between eccentric and concentric muscle actions during the baseball pitch produces tremendous forces on the glenohumeral joint, contributing greatly to soft-tissue microtrauma of the shoulder complex. When it comes to the throwing shoulder, looser is better right up to the point of instability. With repetitive throwing, ligaments will progressively loosen allowing for increased ligament laxity. This laxity provides a paradox: performance may be enhanced, however, problems with stability may arise. The harmonious relationship of the rotator cuff along with the scapular muscles prove to be instrumental in properly accelerating & decelerating the throwing shoulder. By utilizing effective plyometric principles with training, the athlete can enhance throwing performance and reduce the risk of injury.
The following exercise was specifically chosen to compliment the dynamics of the baseball athlete. 90/90 PLYOTOSS (5 sets X 15 reps) • Assume pitching stride position, hips & chest squared, throwing shoulder elevated • Rapidly toss weighted ball (1-3lbs) into trampoline, maintaining position • Catch ball cleanly and repeat at a controlled speed • Coaching Points: Perform movement rapidly & under control!!! 62 BASEBALL PLAYER MAGAZINE . DEVOTED TO AMATEUR BASEBALL PLAYERS AND THEIR TEAMS
Talent Evaluation Systems Int. July 30 and August 19 Inaugural Baseball Combine Ages 12-18 Phone: 631-486-8468