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Sports Betting

Baseball History on a Scrap of Paper

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Funny when you are a young kid, how really historic moments may drop into your lap and you don’t realize it. I was only 10 years old and living in Bakersfield, CA, when my Dad came to the breakfast table one morning, smiling and holding a pair of tickets in his hand. “Son,” he said, “I’ve got two tickets to a baseball game at Sam Lynn Ballpark for today, would you like to go?” Well, I did play Little League Baseball and just a year before had become a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers, after watching them win their First World Series. So, I said, “Sure.” It wasn’t until I was an adult, many years later, and was sorting through an old box of my belongings from my youth, that I realized, “My God, I got Willie Mays’ autograph.”

Now, let me put a couple of things in perspective. Bakersfield only had about 50,000 residents at the time. A Major League Baseball player coming to town was about as rare as seeing an eclipse with the naked eye. A whole team of Major Leaguers coming to Bakersfield to play an exhibition game was like stumbling over a gold nugget only to find an entire mine just beneath your feet. And yet, the Hall of Fame outfielder of the then New York Giants did come to town with a barnstorming group of ballplayers billed as, “Willie Mays Major League Negro-American All-Stars Tour.”

The sad thing is I probably knew who Willie Mays was, and that might have been the hook that convinced me to go to the game. But, truthfully, I am too old to remember. I do recall that Dad bought me a souvenir program for the game, and in it was a page which about half way down had the word “Autographs” printed on it over a large area of empty white space. I cannot tell you much about the game – who won it, who made the great plays, or if Mays hit a dramatic homer. Like I said, I was 10 years old. I Checked with The Bakersfield Californian, the city’s only major daily. It does not have a record of the game. Only by finding a Willie Mays biography on the less than reliable Wikipedia did I discover that Mays did indeed go on a tour with black Major Leaguers that year.

I do know that I spent a considerable amount of time sticking that program and a blue ink pen in front of every ballplayer I could get close to that day. Before I get to the players, how about some history? Only nine years before Mays and company came to Bakersfield, there were no black players in Major League Baseball. The Color Line was not broken until the Brooklyn Dodgers signed Jackie Robinson to play for them in 1947. Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her bus seat in Birmingham predated Mays’ visit by only a year. Governor George Wallace would not block the entrance to black students trying to enter the University of Alabama for the first time until seven years later in 1963. Equal rights for African-Americans would not be achieved until President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

There was plenty of racial turbulence around the country and more to come after that game played in Bakersfield. Much has been said of Mays as a ballplayer, but to take an all-black team on a series of exhibition games in cities around the country, during that time in history, showed how much of a forward-thinker he was, too. The saddest thing is that he had to do it at all. One other detail about the game in Bakersfield – the opposing team was comprised of all-white players, mostly minor leaguers. Segregation was still alive outside Major League Baseball – matching race against race – not on the streets but inside a ballpark.

Here is how Wikipedia referred to the tour. “1956 Willie Mays Major League Negro-American All-Stars Tour. In 1956, Mays got many of Major League Baseball’s biggest black stars to go on a tour around the country after the season had ended to play exhibition games. While much of the tour has gone undocumented, one venue where the tour made a stop was at Andrews Field, located in Fort Smith, Arkansas, on October 16. Among the players to play in that game were Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron, Elston Howard, Monte Irvin, Gene Baker, Charlie Johnson, Sam Jones, Hank Thompson, and Joe Black.” And of course, one of the undocumented cities was Bakersfield. After all, I have the autographs to prove it.

More information and insight about the tour can be found online on the Baseball History Blog. The information is about the 1955 and 1956 exhibition tours, which apparently took place in November one year and October in the other. It gives good glimpses into what the tour was all about. Some of the more enlightening information reveals that one reason the players agreed to play the exhibition games was so they could earn between $2,000-$4,000 for the month, which amounted to about 50 percent of what a Major Leaguer would make playing an entire 154-game schedule.

Speaking of schedules, the blog prints out the 1956 location of the exhibition games. All four in California – Los Angeles, San Franciso, Oakland and Los Angeles again – were all canceled, it says. Bakersfield is not mentioned on the schedule, which means it must have been added as an after thought to recoup some of the revenue lost by not playing the other California games.

But to dwell on the disparities of the time is not my goal. Instead, I would like to single out some of the black players who made that trip to Bakersfield, and who were kind enough to sign their autographs, allowing me, years later, to discover what accomplishments they made to the game of Major League Baseball. Consider for a moment that many of these men were well beyond their prime playing days after spending years in the Negro Baseball League – in many cases lying about their ages just for the chance to play in the Major Leagues. Many had what would have been Hall of Fame years while playing in the Negro League but did not have enough good years left when they got their chance in the Majors. Still, many did succeed, and those who did not made it possible for those who would follow to do so.

The Autographs

Willie Mays – What can I say about him that has not already been written? Let’s enumerate some, anyway. They are worth repeating: 1951 National League Rookie of the Year, two-time National League MVP, 24 times a National League All-Star and twice the MVP of the game, 12-time Gold Glove winner and a man who amassed 660 homeruns in his career – fourth best of all-time, and Mays did it without performance enhancing drugs.

Jim Gilliam – He was the1953 National League Rookie of the Year, played 14 years as an infielder with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, was twice named to the National League All-Star team and was on four Dodgers World Series Championship teams. As a rookie with the Dodgers, he hit more triples, 17, than any Dodger since 1920, and in 1956, the same year he played the game in Bakersfield, Gilliam tied a Major League record that had stood since 1892, when he totaled an incredible 12 defensive assists in one game.

Joe Black – He was the 1952 National League Rooke of the Year and the first black pitcher to win a World Series game. His rookie year, Black won 15 games, saved 15 games, had an ERA of 2.15, and came within eight innings of being eligible to win the NL ERA title. He pitched six years in the Major Leagues. It might have been longer, but he was already 28 when he got his chance. He joined with Jackie Robinson to push for a pension plan for Negro League players and inclusion of those who played before 1947.

Gene Baker – If it were not for bad luck, Baker, a second baseman, would have gone down in history as the first African-American to play for the Chicago Cubs. He was the first to be put on the roster in 1953 but an injury prevented him from playing, and the honor went to Ernie Banks, who was called up later. Still, he and Banks (who played shortstop) became the first black double play combination in Major League Baseball. As a part-time player, he earned a World Series Championship ring with the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates. A year later, the Pirates made him the first black minor league manager, where he also played and batted.387 for the Class D Batavia Pirates.

Wes Covington – He played 10 years in the Majors as an outfielder, none bigger in terms of dramatics than the year 1957. Called up by the Milwaukee Braves with a little less than half the season already gone, Covington, playing in the same outfield with Henry Aaron, hit.284 with 21 homers and 65 runs batted in. When the Braves went to the World Series that year, Covington made an impossible catch robbing the Yankees’ Bobby Shantz of an extra basehit, and then drove in the winning run for the Braves. Covington crashed into the fence to steal a homerun from Gil McDougal and save Game Five for the Braves, who went on to win the World Series.

Al Smith – Although he played 12 years in the Majors, most of Smith’s memorable moments came with the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox. Two years before the Mays All-Stars came to Bakersfield, Smith played against Willie in the 1954 World Series in which he led off the first game with a homerun. Smith also played in the 1959 World Series for the White Sox against the Los Angeles Dodgers. In all, he had eight World Series hits. He was also twice named to the American League All-Star Team.

George Crowe – He was a 30 year old first baseman, when he got his Major League chance with the Boston Braves. Crowe was a college graduate from the University of Indianapolis (known as Indiana Central College back then) and a gifted athlete in two sports. He was Indiana’s first “Mr. Basketball.” His biggest year was with the Cincinnati Reds in 1957, when he filled in for the injured Ted Kluszewski and hit 31 home runs at the age of 36. Crowe was named to the 1958 National League All-Star Team. At one-time, he held the Major League record for most pinch hit homeruns -14.

Humberto Robinson – He was a door opening pitcher. The first native-born player from Panama to make it to the Major Leagues, he was called up by the Milwaukee Braves in 1955. As such, he paved the way for many other Panamanians who followed, including standouts Carlos Lee, Dave Roberts, Manny Sanguillen, Hall of Famer Rod Carew and future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera. He won 122 games in 10 minor league seasons. Robinson was a middle reliever for six years with four teams in the Majors. Robinson’s integrity makes him a footnote in baseball history. While pitching for the Phillies in 1959, he refused a $1,500 bribe to throw a game and made sure the man who made the bribe was arrested.

Harry “Suitcase” Simpson – As an outfielder, he came up to the Majors in 1951 with the Cleveland Indians and played eight seasons with five different teams. Sportswriters nicknamed him “Suitcase” after a Toonerville Trolley character called Suitcase Simpson. He played on the 1957 New York Yankees World Series team. Manager Casey Stengel called him “the best defensive right fielder in the American League.” The feat for which he is probably best remembered came on Aug. 26, 1952, when he broke up a no-hitter by Detroit Tigers’ pitcher Art Houtteman with a two-out, ninth inning single.

Bennie Daniels – If nothing else, it appears Daniels, a starting pitcher, had a flare for pitching in landmark ballgames. He was still a minor leaguer playing for the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League, when he played in the Bakersfield game. The next year, 1957, he would be called up by Pittsburgh and spend 10 seasons with the Pirates and Washington Senators. Consider these landmark games in which he pitched: 1957 – started the last game ever played at Brooklyn’s Ebbetts Field; 1960 – lost a one-hitter to the Dodgers and Sandy Koufax, but his hit broke up the no-hitter; 1962 – started the last game ever played at Griffith Field; 1962 – started the first game in history at D.C. Stadium (now called RFK Stadium) a five-hit, 4-1 win over Detroit.

Charlie White – His career as a Major League catcher was over by the time he played in the Bakersfield game. He played in only 62 games, backing up Milwaukee Braves’ catcher Del Crandall from 1954-55. In total, White spent 13 years in the minor leagues. Yet, he had some history while in the Majors. White hit his first Major League homerun in the same game teammate Henry Aaron hit his first on April 23, 1954. Unlike Aaron, who would hit another 754 in his career, White never hit another one. His other claim to fame? He was Aaron’s first Braves’ roommate.

So, while some may regard my scrap of paper as a meaningless souvenir, to me, the history it reveals makes it a priceless treasure.

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Source by Stephan Talbot

Sports Betting

What to Look for in a Baseball Pitch Back

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Baseball rebounders help players of all levels refine their hitting, throwing, and catching skills. Trainers can simulate various aspects of the game, from ground balls to short pop-ups, line drives, etc. and improve defensive skills as well as hand-eye coordination. Repeated practice with a good quality pitch back will help your players achieve agility, balance, and coordination. Another huge advantage is that your team can practice with minimal supervision. Baseball and softball coaches across the country rely on this effective piece of equipment to make the most of their training sessions.

Tips for selecting baseball rebounders

Given the wide range of choices, selecting the right pitching net can be a daunting task. Here are some of the most important features to look for:

  • Robust construction: A cheap baseball pitch back could lead to a torn net, bent frame, and broken legs with only a few months of use. The ideal choice is a heavy gauge, galvanized steel frame (and legs) with a heavy duty, 21″polyethylene all-weather net. Many coaches swear by the 4’W x 5’H Collegiate Pitch Back Screen. Made of 16-gauge Allied Flo-coat® galvanized steel, it stands up to years of rigorous use. The knotless 1 ¼” square mesh nets also provide consistent spring back.
  • Multiple angles: The right rebounder is one that allows you to easily simulate ground balls, line drives, short-hops, pop flies, etc. The 4’W x 5’H Collegiate Pitch Back Screen, for example, changes in 15° increments up to 45° in either direction and is used from either side. Specially designed wall ball pitch back trainers also allow different angles for all types of rebounding drills. A heavy galvanized steel base keeps the screen from shifting despite repeated ball impact.
  • Straight-forward assembly: These latest products install and dismantle in minutes. They also very easily switch between ball return settings, helping you make the most of your practice time. In a select few models, you can simply flip the frame over to the Pro-Catcher side to use as a pitching target. They are ideal for solo practices, personal coaching, or even for your backyard practice. They will store easily in your equipment room.

The pitch back provides benefits to players who are new to the game, and those who are looking to move to the next level. An outlined strike zone is nice to have as your players can practice throws at a target, but it is not an essential accessory. Many coaches invest in padding to protect the frame from errant throws and reduce ball ricochet which could injure players.

They are available in a range of sizes (5′ H x 4′ W, 6′ H x 6′ W, & 8′ H x 8′ W), catering to diverse player needs.

Develop coordination, improve agility, and enhance catching skills with a high-quality baseball pitch back.

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Source by C. Brian Richardson

Sports Betting

Understanding the Importance of the Whip Effect in the Baseball Swing

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I see whip effect in the baseball swing. When you crack a whip, there has got to be a deceleration to make the transfer of energy to the tip of the whip. The arm has to decelerate to crack a whip.

We need to understand how energy is transferred to the bat head in a swing in order to address the rotational obsession being taught in the baseball swing today. One way to illustrate proper transfer of energy could be to take a bucket of water and throw the water in the bucket at someone. If I should rotate my arms with the rest of my body and not stop its rotational movement (or decelerate the arms), the water would mostly miss my target and would mostly fly in a circular path to my target and all around my body even behind me. The water in the bucket would not have received the energy in such a way to directly and fully hit my intended target. The transfer of energy from the thrower to the water in the bucket never did occur with the rotational pattern of the throw.

In order to get the water out of the bucket and to hit my intended target with full force, I have got to brace my arms (decelerate my arms) in the direction of my target. There is a bracing effect that occurs, and then transfers from my body and then to the bucket, the bucket braces and the water is ejected toward my target.

What you see with what I teach, and what you see what biomechanists teach in golf and other sports but you don’t hear much about in baseball, you have got to understand this cracking of the whip idea. Our goal is not to rotate. Our goal is to deliver energy to the bat head to deliver to the ball. The goal is not rotation.

When you hit a baseball, your legs should create a forward momentum transferring energy to the front leg, with the energy working its way up from the larger base segments up, just like when throwing the water out of the bucket. When you make that transfer from back leg to front leg in your baseball swing, your body should brace to let the energy transfer to the hands and bat.

The hands and the bat are the equivalent of the water in the bucket. The body braces and the hands and the bat are ejected. We are not trying to hit the baseball by rotating our body through contact of the baseball. We should not be spinning through contact of the baseball. It doesn’t look good, but yet many coaches are talking about hips, hips, hips and spin your back foot and are giving that sort of baseball instruction.

Understanding whip effect, will help you understand the natural move, the natural swing, the way it happens in all other sports that require a throwing action. Think about it and name another sport where your goal is to spin your back foot. Many baseball coaches are teaching their students to spin their back foot to get rotation through the player’s hips. Name any other sport where you see this type of instruction or this type of throwing pattern.

In tennis, golf, shot put, throwing or hitting any ball, we are transferring our energy in a straight line shift toward our target. You do not see spinning on the back foot in any of these sports or any other. This rotational hysteria is taking over baseball, but does not exist in any other sport. With batting in the last decade or so, coaches are teaching and we are seeing an epidemic of spinners.

Rotation does happen in the swing. There is no question about that. However, it happens as part of a straight line move of the back leg. It is a lateral driving of energy in a straight line at your target. If I throw a baseball and I spin my back leg, what would that do to the force my leg creates and to the direction of the ball? Rotating the back leg in a throw would compromise your back leg drive and it would send the direction of the throw away from your intended target.

Instead, if you drive hard in a straight line toward your intended target when throwing a baseball, your hips will naturally rotate after the drive of your legs in a straight line direction toward your target. Your hips will rotate much faster when you throw without trying to rotate.

The water out of the bucket is a big concept. We are decelerating and transferring energy and working in straight lines. Rotation will occur naturally. The hips will rotate and pull the upper torso. The rotation will happen without trying to spin.

We should be working in straight lines when attacking a baseball to hit it. The front leg will block the transfer, then fire the hips open from the front. As our body parts begin to naturally and sequentially rotate after the straight line shift, and we learn to decelerate our body parts just before contact, the huge force of energy will flow to our hands and then to the bat and then to the ball.

This is why you hear pro hitters talk a lot about hands. They might not understand biomechanically why they talk about hands, but they talk about hands because the hands are all they feel moving through contact of the baseball.

For great hitters, at the moment of truth at contact of the baseball, all energy has been funneled to the hands.

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Source by Dr. Chris Yeager

Sports Betting

Famous Baseball Family of Barry Bonds Includes Willie Mays, Reggie Jackson, and Bobby Bonds

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Barry Bonds is a polarizing figure in the world of sports as he has received arguably more attention for his off the field scandals which include reported steroid abuse than the historic statistics that he has put up on the baseball diamond. The family life of Barry Bonds is particularly interesting to casual fans of the sport of baseball because from an early age the young man that seemingly was destined for fame was tied to famous names in the sport of baseball through family relationships.

Barry Bonds, born in 1964, is the son of three time all-star outfields Bobby Bonds. Bobby Bonds was an American celebrity in his own right as a noteworthy player for numerous Major League Baseball teams throughout his professional baseball career that spanned from 1968-1981. While playing for teams in large markets that included New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, and Southern California the most famous teammate that Bobby Bonds played alongside was the legendary Willie Mays.

As a right fielder in for the Giants, Bobby Bonds patrolled the outfield next to center fielder Willie Mays during the twilight of Mays’ career. When Bobby asked his good friend Willie Mays to be the godfather to his then young son Barry Willie gladly accepted, thus further cementing the notoriety of this baseball family. As an aside it is also topical to briefly mention that Barry Bonds is a distant cousin of Reggie Jackson, who is better known as Mr. October in certain circles due to his clutch performances in post season play.

Many people do not realize that Barry Bonds is not the only son of Bobby Bonds to put on a professional baseball uniform. Barry actually has a younger brother named Bobby Bonds Junior was spent a number of years in the minor leagues but was never able to get himself called up to the big leagues. Bobby Bonds Junior is nearly six years younger than his older brother Barry. During an 11 year minor league career Bobby Bonds Junior bounced around to numerous teams and had moments of glory but was never able to successfully parlay his minor league efforts into any sort of Major League Baseball career with even a fraction of the success enjoyed by his brother Barry or father Bobby Bonds Senior.

Despite the early promise that Barry Bonds showed as a naturally gifted young athlete baseball historians would have been hard pressed to guess that Barry had any conceivable chance of surpassing the accomplishes of his relatives Willie Mays and Reggie Jackson, or for that matter his own father Bobby Bonds. Regardless of diverging opinions on implications of alleged performance enhancing drug use by Barry Bonds there is no arguing that he was the most dominant baseball player of his era.

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Source by Sam Noffs

Sports Betting

Backyard Baseball Batting Cages: Tips for Buying the Right One

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Backyard baseball batting cages allow you the opportunity to practice at home whenever you want. Selecting the right type of cage is essential to improving playing skills and getting value for your money.

Here are some important points to consider before making a purchase.

  1. Size: Measure the available space in your backyard to determine the right size for you. Standard sizes range from 20′ in length up to 70′ or 80′ lengths. Players looking to simulate a professional pitching environment will want one that is 70 feet long. If standard dimensions do not work for you, consider a custom product.
  2. Frame: Materials and craftsmanship of the frame impact the quality, safety and durability of the product. With the frame being the support system of the cage, look for a study material that will not warp or bend when hit by a ball or because of weather exposure. Metal is the most popular choice with galvanized steel pipes offering the most durability and support. Also test the flexibility of the frame. A ball that hits a frame with little or no give can ricochet and potentially harm players.
  3. L-Screen: To protect the pitcher (or pitching machine) during batting practice, you need an L-screen. This allows the pitcher to throw a ball while the screen protects his/her body. Some kits may include this screen which is usually made of the same materials as the frame and net.
  4. Netting: Typically made from polyethylene (poly) or nylon, twine size indicates net thickness. A #21 poly net is fine for moderate use in a batting cage, though hard hitters and frequent users may want to look for a #36 poly net or higher. Most commercial batting cages use at least #36. Nylon is stronger and therefore, more expensive, but a wise investment nevertheless. Most manufacturers offer netting with UV protection which is ideal for cages that are left outside in the backyard for prolonged periods of time.
  5. Stake-Down Kit: Not always included in the package, this helps secure the cage against high winds. The stake down kit typically includes stakes, wires and carabiners, which are metal latching mechanisms.

The most trouble-free approach is buying a complete batting cage package which contains a frame and matching net. Many packages for backyard baseball batting cages also come with the L-screen protection. All you need to do is follow the step-by-step installation guide to set it up. What is the best place to buy them? Look for them at an established sports equipment distributor that provides quality products and consistent service. Improve batting skills and practice quality with high quality backyard baseball batting cages.

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Source by C. Brian Richardson

Sports Betting

Baseball Coaching Digest: How to Execute the "Wheel Play" Bunt Coverage

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The “Wheel Play” is a strategic defensive baseball play used to defend against the sacrifice bunt. This article outlines the basic details and explains how to run this defensive baseball play.

We all know the situation. The offensive team has a runner on second or runners on first and second base. There normally one or less outs. It is very important that the lead runner not be allowed to advance to third base because the offense can score a run without a hit if there is a man at third with less than two outs.

The purpose or design for the wheel play is to get an out at third base. The name “Wheel Play” comes from the “rotational” movement or the fielders around the diamond being “wheel like”.

What does each Fielder Do? Here are the responsibilities of each defensive player:

Third Baseman

As the pitch is throw, the third baseman charges home plate to quickly field the bunted ball.

Shortstop

The shortstop will make sure to be in a position at least a few feet ahead of the second base runner for the play to be successful. As the pitch is thrown, the shortstop will run to cover third base. The shortstop must beat the runner for the play to work

First Baseman

As the pitch is thrown, the first baseman will also charge home to field the bunt.

Second Baseman

As the pitch is thrown, the second baseman has the responsibility to cover first base since the first baseman is charging to field the bunt.

Pitcher

The pitcher normally backs up the fielder on the side his pitching momentum and finish carries him.

The defensive goal is to have a defender field the ball and make a good throw to the shortstop that is covering third base. The shortstop should have arrived at the bag in time to apply a tag or get a force out.

Coaching Tip:

It is extremely important that the fielders covering the bags get to the bag early enough to set up for the throw. Most of the errors and mistakes you see on this type play are caused by the ball and the fielder arriving at the bag at about the same time and the fielder does not catch the throw. It is also important that everyone know that the play is called or is “on”. If one of the infielders fails to get the call, a huge error or mistake may occur and the offense may have the start to a huge inning that may cost the defense multiple runs.

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Source by Nick Dixon

Sports Betting

The Physical Demands of Baseball

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As we spend time analyzing sports, every sport has its own set of physical, mental, and skill demands. For years and years now, football has been the gold standard when comparisons start taking place in regards to overall athleticism need to play, as well as the overall physical demand. For this very reason there are so many young athletes, as well as older athletes that are integrating football lifting techniques, as well as conditioning techniques into sports such as baseball.

In the past when I would hear and see this taking place, the excessive grunting, yelling, and weight handling I would cringe. But, after taking a deeper look at what is actually going on, it turns out that there is a lot of hard work and internal drive and personal limit pushing taking place. Putting exercise selection and form aside, this type of increased intensity training is achieving a quality that is often times overlooked, fitness.

Because baseball is a sport that has very low metabolic and physical demands, athletes learn to adapt to their sport. Some athletes even play baseball because it has such low physical demand. Over time, this will lead to athletes that become very proficient and sport-specific skills, such as hitting and throwing, but often health and fitness levels are severely lacking. When these fitness levels start to lack, injuries often result due to the high velocities and torques that are needed to execute the sport-specific skills. Throwing a baseball is one of the most explosive, total body actions in all of sports, yet many pitchers are overweight and inherently lazy.

If as coaches and athletes we really stop and analyze this situation, can you say that you and your team are honestly doing enough in regards to stay lean? Over the years I have heard about Coaches running their athletes with excessive distance running, and again I would get sick to my stomach. Although distance running isn’t a specific protocol to baseball, it will without a doubt work to increase caloric burn, which will lead to the shedding of excessive body mass. I still wouldn’t recommend excessive running everyday, but I would require some type of conditioning everyday. I would also recommend that these circuits are primarily cardiovascular based rather than being strictly weight lifting oriented. These circuits could include medicine balls, body weight training, form running, jump rope, plyometrics, band work, core work, etc.

The great advantage to a circuit is that they work great for teams. Circuit training allows you to create multiple stations, each station containing a different exercise, and accommodates multiple athletes, as well as providing a good amount of variety. Circuits can be done for reps, or for time. After that athlete achieves the specified reps, or the allotted time, he would then move to the next station. When choosing stations, just like when designing and overall program, you must have a goal. If your goal is strength, then your circuit would be primarily weight training oriented. If your goal is cardiovascular fitness/ endurance and strength, you would select a variety of exercises that contain either cardio fitness, strength, or both.

I have become a huge advocate of circuits in-season because they are time efficient, will work to maintain and hopefully increase work-capacity of the body, and are fun.

Although the physical demands of baseball are extremely low, athletes that spend time increasing their work capacity are at a tremendous advantage in regards to recovery time, as well as a decreased time on the disabled list. Increasing work capacity will allow pitchers to pitch deeper into games, while keeping position players strong throughout the rigors of playing everyday. The gold standard of workouts in the Major Leagues has been Roger Clemens and his legendary SEAL Program. This program is basically one giant circuit. This program is not extremely focused on weigh training in the circuit, but on increasing conditioning levels. This program is a combo of distance and sprint work, as well as lateral work with baseballs.

Take a lesson from the Rocket, don’t be a typical lazy baseball player that just gets by because of the low demand of the sport, but learn to out-work the demands of the sport and you will be rewarded by health, efficiency, and most importantly increased performance.

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Source by Dana Cavalea

Sports Betting

How To Run A Youth Baseball All Star Team

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You’ve just completed an exhausting 20-25 game schedule complete with a few rain make-up games at inopportune times. The season had everything including controversies among other teams, your own parents, league board members, and other headaches. Your reward for coping with all of this, and leading your team to the league championship, is to coach the 11-12 year old All Star team. Think your phone rang a lot during the season? You haven’t seen, or heard, anything yet. Your first duty as coach is to inform your spouse that your long awaited vacation will have to be postponed because your league needs you. You also discuss putting off the repair of your washer machine because, with All Stars, the laundry room is now on call 24 hours a day.

Picking your league All Star team can be an incredibly emotional time that may result in hurt feelings that extend beyond the season, and sometimes for years. Some leagues have incorporated having the players vote for part of the All Star team. Many leagues have the coaches decide in a meeting run by the league commissioner (or player agent). The first priority is to decide the number of players to draft on the team. If your league charter defines this number, then this is what you have to follow. Otherwise this decision has to be made at this meeting. Issues need to be discussed, such as: is it required by the league charter to have everyone play; and how much are they required to play? This issue can become a headache, as the substituting of players will sometimes be a distraction for the coach in charge during the game. Usually, prior to this meeting, the head coach has his assistant coaches assigned by the league. This can be a problem because sometimes coaches would rather take their regular season assistants than two other assigned head coaches that they have never worked with before. I would prefer the latter even though you are discussing strategies with two other people you might have learned to detest during the season. During All Stars, the coaches on the bench who were adversaries during the year always seem to get along as long as the team keeps playing.

Once the coaches and team are made, it is imperative that the head coach (or manager) hold a parents meeting. This meeting is even more important then your regular season team parents meeting. The meeting should be a requirement and not last more than 10 or 15 minutes. The key points for the coach to stress to the parents are that because your child is an All Star, he is expected to play any position on the field (except maybe pitcher & catcher). The point of this is that many of the players were their team’s shortstops during the season and they are asked to play the outfield. You need to assure parents (and even the players) that it is imperative that all nine positions are equally important. Other points that should be discussed should be about playing time. I always told parents that I won’t be popular as a coach at the conclusion of All Stars for every family but that the league entrusted me to use my judgment whether they think it is right or wrong. I always stress that I can only guarantee the minimum required playing time and that you should consider this if you are going to cancel vacation plans for these All Star games.

Practices should be run a couple of ways. You will probably have in your mind the batting order and fielding positions. I would urge all coaches to mix things up in the practices and try players at different positions. There will be some minor unexpected absentees and you should be ready for this as coach.

The All Star games themselves can be some of the highest pressured tension in youth sports. Neighboring leagues will be in attendance and players will have expected nervousness. You can cut your regular warm ups short and take the team in the outfield and play any silly type of game you can think of. I have always used a game where I divide the team in half, and with a hard ball for each team, the teammates must pass the ball to each other using only their neck. This meaningless sounding game helps to relax the players, and for 11 and 12 year olds, this might be the best warm up for them.

All Stars are the highlights for some players and leagues. Aside from all of the potential problems and arguing, if your All Star team ends up going on a nice winning streak, there is nothing like it. Getting far into any tournament will require some luck. If your team gets eliminated, this is where, as a coach, you have to give them the “ultimate” pep talk. Now some teams continue to play in other local tournaments, which is great way to end the season.

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Source by Marty Schupak

Sports Betting

Big Trades Within The Division Have Always Been Part Of Baseball

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As the trade deadline approaches, most broadcasters are naturally discussing completed as well as possible transactions in Major League Baseball. During a game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Minnesota Twins, the announcers had just received the news of a huge trade that had been completed.

The Orioles had traded Zack Britton to the New York Yankees, which prompted the TV analyst to criticize the deal. He complained that the Orioles, who are deeply buried in the East side of the American League, had violated some unwritten rule about never trading within your own division.

I was doubtful that such a rule existed, for any club planning to trade a player would make a deal yielding the best return. When you are wanting to do what is best for your organization, geography would not trump your own interests.

The very next day reinforced my doubts as to that so-called unwritten rule to which the announcer had alluded, for another huge inner division trade had been completed. The Tampa Bay Rays shipped starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi to the Boston Red Sox, who are currently on top in the A. L. East.

Giving the benefit of a doubt to the broadcaster, I wondered if the rule had once existed but had disappeared like complete games and sacrifice bunts from today’s state of the game. Recalling some notable transactions over the last fifty years, however, I realized that there had not been an unwritten rule that suggested teams not trade within their own divisions.

Here are eight cases since the Seventies in which well-known players were traded from one team to a rival in its own division.

San Francisco traded future Hall of Fame first baseman Willie McCovey to a team not only in the same row in the standings, but also in the same state. The San Diego Padres acquired Stretch from the Giants way back in 1973.

Early in the next decade the Houston Astros traded All-Star outfielder Cesar Cedeno to West rival Cincinnati, which in turn sent third baseman Ray Knight from the Reds.

The year immortalized by George Orwell’s futuristic novel, 1984, saw a notable inner division trade. The Philadelphia Phillies shipped popular outfielder Garry Matthews to the Cubs, and he helped Chicago to the playoffs soon after that.

Two years later future Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter was traded by the Montreal Expos to Eastern Division rival New York, where Carter helped the Mets win the 1986 World Series Championship against the Boston Red Sox. Apparently the Expos, like the Astros and Giants before them, had been oblivious to the rule not to trade to rival clubs.

All Star slugger Carlos Delgado, less than a year removed from winning a World Series Championship with the Marlins, was sent from Florida to the New York Mets back in 2005. Three years later on July 29, 2008 the Texas Rangers traded first baseman Mark Texiera to the Angels.

In 2010 the Milwaukee Brewers swapped All Star center fielder Jim Edmonds to N. L. Central rival Cincinnati, who felt Edmonds would help the Reds reach the postseason for the first time since the end of the twentieth century. Again, if such a rule existed, it continued to be ignored by most clubs.

In a more recent transaction the Minnesota Twins in 2011 agreed to send designated hitter Jim Thome to the Cleveland Indians, the club with which he started his illustrious baseball career. Thome was contemplating retirement, and he wanted to end his playing days as a member of the Tribe.

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Source by Doug Poe

Sports Betting

Benefits Of Baseball Batting Cages

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As a coach or team manager, you juggle many balls to keep things in order. From balancing the budget to enhancing team performance, ensuring player safety and field maintenance, your plate is full of challenges!

To optimize baseball practice time while improving players’ form, core strength and the mechanics of hitting-invest in batting cages from an established sports equipment supplier. Learn the multiple advantages of practicing with quality nets and the right accessories.

  • Practice in inclement weather: No need to call off practice when the rain comes; your players can practice indoors in inclement weather. Maximizing practice time before the league games begin will refine your batters’ skills and ensure they are ready with their ‘A’ game. Let every scheduled practice day deliver the best returns.
  • Correct hitting mechanics: Repetition is an integral part of baseball. Repetition is only good if the proper techniques are used though. Players can use this time to hone their skills.
  • Develop core strength: This is the perfect place to work on drills to increase the core strength of each player. The “core” is the centerpiece of any swing and when strengthened can produce increased velocity off the bat.

Types of Baseball Nets Available

The variety of products available in the market can leave you feeling overwhelmed. While your budget is an important factor to consider before making a purchase, knowing the difference between the top choices will help you make an informed decision. Here is a quick overview from experts in the field.

  • Nylon: This material lasts longer than other types but is also more expensive. If you want to get even more years from your investment, consider having it latex dipped. Although nylon netting is at the higher end of the price spectrum, the advantage is that they can be made in any shape or size. They are also best suited for high school, collegiate, semi-professional and professional teams.
  • Polyethylene: Smaller programs with limited budgets may want to consider polyethylene enclosures. These nets are the most popular type today. Bear in mind that they are only made in standard sizes. They are ideally suited for recreational, community, children’s teams or backyard players.
  • Latex-dipped Nets: Intense sunlight and extreme weather (especially cold and wet conditions) will result in the netting deteriorating more quickly. To extend the lifespan of your enclosure, have it dipped in latex. This might increase your upfront cost, but it will also add years to the lifespan of the netting. These barriers are especially good for teams that play in sunny areas or locations known for frequent active weather conditions.

A good batting cage is an integral part of any serious baseball program. Choose the right accessories for your budget and team by knowing the types of gear available for sale. For more information you should only trust a reputable sports equipment distributor.

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Source by C. Brian Richardson