February 18, 2018

Catching has to be one of the most difficult positions to play in sports. First the gear you have to wear, shin guards (from your feet to your thighs), chest protector (covering from your waist to your chin), helmet with mask (blocking your view), catcher's mitt (big and bulky), and a cup.

Now squat down between the umpire, and home plate, with a batter getting ready to swing next to you. Then catch a hard thrown baseball from 46 feet away, with a bat swinging in front of you (haaaaaaaaaaaaaaard ain't it). The above picture is of a catcher who makes it look easy Yadier Molina, and he is in the right position to catch. The 2 videos below are on the proper way to receive a pitch, and block a pitch; this explains the fundamentals we will teach to be an All-Sstar catcher.

But our catchers do more

1. He gets the signals from the pitching coach, (on what pitch to throw), and transfers them to the pitcher.

2. With a runner on, what to do on a steal, (make the catch, stay low, from your squat bring your arm back, and snap a line drive throw (no rainbows), with very little step). (IF THE BASEMAN IS NOT THERE IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT).

3. With a runner on what to do on a delayed steal (run at the runner, or throw to the base in front of him, to make him go back).

4. With a runner on third, and a wild pitch thrown, what to do to throw the runner out (keep your helmet on, run to the ball, flip without looking to the plate to awaiting pitcher for the tag out), if he's not there (IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT).

5. Catching a pop up, (remove your mask holding on to it, find the pop up, and get under it, then toss your mask away (so it's not under your feet), raise your glove in the air (no basket catches), and catch the ball.

6. With a base runner coming home from a hit to the outfield, (aligning the first baseman in a straight line between the outfielder, and home plate).

The biggest technique to learn far an All-Star catcher is to keep the pitched ball in front of you; base runners will not steal if you can do this.

Baseball facts and lore
Sliding; going to the next base if you slide, it must be feet first, head first sliding is illegal in our league, you can dive (head first) back to a base. When you feet first slide, it is to stop you momentum, by feet first sliding you loss the length of your body in speed. When you head first slide you gain in speed the length of your body.

Ducks on the pond—meaning and origin
One particular baseball lingo that is pretty well known is "ducks on the pond." For those who don't know what this means, ducks on the ponds basically is a replacement term for the bases loaded or in simpler terms when there is a runner on each base of the diamond. The origin of ducks on the pond can be traced back to Hall of Famer and pitcher Jay Hanna "Dizzy" Dean, who was well known for pitching a portion of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals. He was known for screaming "ducks on the pond" to his teammates when the bases loaded and a scoring situation was set up for the opposing team. Some say Dizzy coined the term but other baseball historians and writers say broadcaster Arch McDonald, who called games for the Washington Senators (now the Minnesota Twins) from 1934-1956, used the term on a regular basis during his broadcasts. The interesting fact about Dizzy and McDonald is that they're both from Arkansas. So in conclusion this slang term was a co-founded term.

February 11, 2018

While researching pitching techniques, I came across the following information, that in all the years of coaching, I feel is one of the most important quotes for the fundamentals of pitching.

"Often times baseball players get caught up in perfection. It makes it difficult to enjoy the game and perform at your best when you try to be perfect. I know at times I get into great depth about how to throw the baseball with proper pitching; for good reason. But sometimes we forget to simplify a process in our mechanics that can make a significant difference in our overall performance on the mound. Sometimes that change is as simple as what I am about to explain and it makes all of the difference in the world. If I were to pick one mechanical weakness, that can correct several other mechanical flaws and simplify pitching, it would be to keep your head over your center of gravity (belly button) while heading toward home plate. Most pitchers know that this is mechanically correct, yet many overlook the importance of it I think because of its simplicity. Most pitchers mess up their timing when they don't get this right. This is what I mean: Right after your leg lift you begin weight transfer toward your target. It is imperative to keep your head over your belly button all of the way to foot strike. Foot strike is simply when your landing leg hit (or strikes) the ground. After working with thousands of pitchers over the years, I have seen this one mechanical change help many pitchers throw harder and with more accuracy. Their timing becomes better and they learn to "feel" how to pitch because their entire body is moving toward the plate not to one side or the other. They are also able to maintain more control of each pitch because their momentum is going toward home plate instead of falling behind or leaning forward. When a pitcher keeps his weight back, toward second base, they are really losing a ton of power. When teaching the principal of "head over bellybutton" I often say to my pitchers "go with the pitch" in other words don't hold anything back. Keep your energy going toward home plate. In addition to this, pitchers should explode to foot strike so they can maximize their momentum and eventually throw faster. We also have other pitchers who have similar mechanical (balance) issues and lean forward when they pitch. I call these pitches "leaners." This is when a pitcher leads with his shoulder, not his hip, and he drops his shoulder keeping his head IN FRONT OF his center of gravity or belly button. When this happens it is very difficult to throw strikes, either the ball is too high or too low because it messes, not only with timing of release, it can throw off the pitchers natural arm slot."

Four common flaws with young pitchers

1. NOT SEEING THE TARGET -Many beginning pitchers have tendency to look down and pick up the target to late in the delivery. Their eyes wander and they often have trouble hitting their spots. Young pitchers should see the target or "mitt" from the start of the delivery until they finish their delivery. Young pitchers often do not concentrate on the specific pitch target during delivery. Coaching Point - Make sure that the young pitcher always looks at the catcher's mitt. It is equally important that the catcher give the pitcher a "low target". It is important to keep the ball done in the strike zone. The more the pitcher gets the ball up, the more chances the opponents will have of hitting the ball with power.

2. LANDING ON THE HEEL - The stride foot of the pitcher should land softly and with onto the "ball" of the foot. Many young pitchers tend to "over-stride" which requires them to land on the heel of the front foot. Landing on the heel of the stride foot will cause control problems and accelerate fatigue. The pitcher should land softly on the "ball" of the stride foot. Landing on the front half of the stride foot reduces the "landing impact" on body thus helping to improve body control and pitch control. Control the body; control the pitch! Landing on the front heel with a stiff front leg tends to "pole vault" the pitcher onto the front leg. This action can cause serious control problems. The pitchers front leg must bend to prevent this problem from occurring. Coaching Point - Consistency is the number one friend of the pitcher. It is important that the pitcher uses the same stride length, the same arm slot, the same lower body motion, and the same stride foot action. If a pitcher normally has great control, the first thing a coach should always check is the front foot landing action. If the front foot is landing properly, look for other problems that may be causing the lack of control.

3. THROWING ACROSS THE BODY - This is caused when the pitcher strides too "closed" to allow a smooth delivery and follow through. The pitcher must throw across the body causing a "front hip lock" that prevents proper and adequate front hip movement and rotation. The pitcher should stride into "center zone" toward the plate to prevent this flaw. Coaching Point - It is important that coaches closely observe where the pitchers stride foot is landing. The foot should land on or close to what would be a straight line directly from where the pitchers foot lifts from to target. The front foot's toe should be slightly closed.

4. POOR FOLLOW-THROUGH - The pitcher should finish low with a bent back and slightly bent front leg. The pitcher should strive to finish with the throwing arm outside of the knee and chest over thigh. The emphasis should be on achieving a smooth and proper follow through on every pitch.

Coaching Point - The proper finish is a low finish with the back foot lifting higher than the pitcher's head. The pitcher's throwing arm elbow should finish the pitch outside and below the knee on the pitcher's stride leg. The common saying that you hear coaches say is "bend your back" and "follow through". These two actions are simultaneous and they are both correct. A pitcher must bend his back to correctly reach the optimum follow through and finish position.

Baseball Facts and Lore
Dropped third strike: if first base is unoccupied, or there are 2 outs, on a dropped pitch that was the third strike the batter has to be thrown out or tagged.

There is a rule in baseball that before every game, an umpire should remove the shine from the new baseballs by rubbing them with mud from a creek in Burlington County, New Jersey.

February 4, 2018

The Bremen All-Stars use the bunt as an aggressive offensive tool.
1. Why do we bunt, to move a base runner to the next base (sacrifice bunt).
2. To confuse, and make the defense nervous (bunting for a base hit), they don't know what the batter is doing, is he bunting, or is he swinging away.

The following videos show the proper way to bunt, and show what happens in a game when a bunt is a surprise.

Baseball Facts and Lore
Sacrifice fly rule is a batted ball that satisfies four (Bremen All-stars 5) criteria:
1. There are fewer than two outs when the ball is hit.
2. The ball is hit in the air (fair or foul).
3. The batter is put out because a defensive player catches the ball on the fly.
4. A runner who is already on base tags up and scores on the play
5. (or for Bremen All-Stars a runner tags up and advances to the next base).

A Sacrifice Bunt is a batter's act of deliberately bunting the ball, before there are two outs, in a manner that allows a runner on base to advance to another base. A successful sacrifice bunt (and sacrifice fly) do not count as an at bat, it does not impact a player's batting average, it does count as a plate appearance.

Where does the saying — around the horn come from
In baseball a defensive team throws the ball so that all the infielders touch it before it goes to the pitcher for the next batter, (around the horn is only done when there is no one on base).

It comes from an old sailing term, before the Panama Canal was built. Sailors use to say on voyages from the east coast of America to the west coast or visa versa, they would have to go around the horn, or take the long way there (around the southern tip of South America), to get from one place to the other. It was transferred to baseball, first as a long double play (third to second to first) as going around the horn, then later the term was used after an out (with no one on base) going around the horn in the infield, doing this also kept all the infielders arms warm.

January 28, 2018

The above major league hitters are Chicago Cubs Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Kyle Schwarber.

Look at where their eyes are (ON THE BALL). Look at any major league hitter, and their stance, and swing might vary, but when they make contact, they are all virtually the same (eyes on the ball, chin down). This is what we will teach you, (the contact), and if you learn it you will have success. We will teach the basic fundamentals of swinging the bat, the proper stance, the proper arm and bat position, the proper stride, the pivot of the back foot, and the proper follow through. All of that learned, if you don't see the ball you will not hit the ball.

Baseball Facts and Lore:
How to calculate batting averages:
Batting average (BA) is the average number of hits per at-bat (BA=H/AB). A perfect batting average would be 1.000 (read: "one thousand"). Bases on balls, HBP (hit by pitch), sacrifice flys, and sacrifice bunts are not counted in calculating batting average. Fielder choices, and fielding errors are.

Two versions of the origin (home run):
1. Surprisingly this term doesn't originate in baseball, instead baseball adopted it from cricket where it means a ball hit out of bounds, scoring multiple runs. But the popularity of the term and its extended usages are due almost entirely to baseball.

2. It all started in 1836 with a group of rambunctious young men in New England, where a game using a ball and stick was growing and becoming known as baseball. In the residential part of town, the young men had to find the most open area to play. These rambunctious boys were out one day playing as usual, but there was a new player to the game, he was a big burly young man. In response to his powerful looking physique, the pitcher tossed him a swift throw. Legend has it that he was using a rusty pipe to hit, that cracked as he pounded the ball through a window of the mayor's house. Well they all were forced to run away, and run fast home. Most of the players spoke broken English, so they said "Home Run!" as they all scattered back to their houses. Nobody wanted to be responsible for that broken window.

January 21, 2018

Let’s talk pitching, (more precisely effective pitching). The above graph shows three of the more effective pitchers the All-stars have had. We have had many good All-star pitchers over the years, but what made these 3 more effective, it was not their velocity which was slightly above average, but they had memorized their pitching mechanics, and with each and every pitch, the delivery was the same. That shows up in the two columns in red, one is the direct result of the other, they threw 65% to 70% strikes (or 2/3rds of their pitches were strikes), and because of that they walked few batters. Teams they faced knew they had to swing the bat to get on base, and that allowed our defense to make outs. As I stated before, we will use the winter practices to develop fundamentals, and memorize effective pitching mechanics.

The following pitches will be shown, and practiced with the All-stars in the winter workouts. Coach Town & Coach Gonzalez will do the instructing, and these pitches are all thrown with fastball motion.

How to Grip and Throw a Four Seam Fastball

To grip the four seam fastball, place your index and middle fingertips directly on the perpendicular seam of the baseball. The "horseshoe seam" should face into your ring finger of your throwing hand (as shown in the picture on the left). I call it the horseshoe seam simply because the seam itself looks like the shape of a horseshoe. Next, place your thumb directly beneath the baseball, resting on the smooth leather (as shown in the picture on the right). Ideally, you should rest your thumb in the center of the horseshoe seam on the bottom part of the baseball. Grip this pitch softly, like an egg, in your fingertips. There should be a "gap" or space between the ball and your palm (as shown in the middle picture). This is the key to throwing a good, hard four-seam fastball with maximal backspin and velocity: A loose grip minimizes "friction" between your hand and the baseball. The less friction, of course, the quicker the baseball can leave your hand.

How to Grip and Throw a Two Seam Fastball

A two seam fastball, much like a sinker or cutter (cut fastball), is gripped slightly tighter and deeper in the throwing-hand than the four-seam fastball. This pitch generally is thought of as a "movement pitch" (as opposed to the four-seam fastball, which is primarily thought of as a "straight pitch").When throwing a two-seam fastball, your index and middle fingers are placed directly on top of the narrow seams of the baseball (as shown in the picture on the left). Next, place your thumb directly on the bottom side of the baseball and on the smooth leather in between the narrow seams (as shown in the picture on the right).

How to Grip and Throw A Circle Changeup

To throw a circle changeup make - quite literally - a circle or an "OK" gesture with your throwing hand (using your thumb and index fingers). You then center the baseball between your three other fingers (as shown in the middle picture above right). The baseball should be tucked comfortably against the circle. Throw this pitch with the same arm speed and body mechanics as a fastball, only slightly turn the ball over by throwing the circle to the target. This is called pronating your hand. (Think about this as giving someone standing directly in front of you a "thumbs down" sign with your throwing hand.) This reduces speed and gives you that nice, fading movement to your throwing-arm side of the plate.

How to Grip and Throw a Splitter

A split-finger fastball is an advanced pitch. Typically, it's only a good pitch if you've got bigger hands. That's because the pitch itself should be "choked" deep in the hand. This is how splitters get their downward movement. Your index and middle fingers should be placed on the outside of the horseshoe seam. The grip is firm. When throwing this pitch, throw the palm-side wrist of the throwing-hand directly at the target while keeping your index and middle fingers extended upward. Your wrist should remain stiff.

How to Grip and Throw a Splitter How to grip and throw a Cut fastball

Although many pitchers are interested in the cutter, it is the most difficult fastball grip to learn. Index and middle fingers across the seams, but grip the outer half of the ball. In order to achieve, the cutting movement, you will apply middle finger pressure to the ball. There is no wrist pronation (turning of the wrist) with the cut fastball. The movement from a cutter is the result of the grip alone.

Scorebook position numbers;
1 – Pitcher
2 – Catcher
3 – First baseman
4 – Second baseman
5 – Third baseman
6 –Short stop-per
7 – Left fielder
8- Center fielder
9 – Right fielder

How was the term shortstop derived, (think about it, all the other positions are by location –i.e. - first baseman or duties -i.e. - catcher?

When baseball first was played, the general rule was, there were 4 outfielders. For better coverage, 1 of the outfielders was brought in to the infield between second and third. At first they were called short fielder, then short stopper, then shortstop. That is why there position number is 6, (as in the sixth infielder, or the first outfielder).


(In the off season)

The 2018 season is upon us ggggggggggggggggreat.
Winter workouts will start February 4th ggggggggggggggggreat.
Lookin’ forward to baseball, this will be another ggggggggggreat season.

Introducing the 2018 All-Stars
Gunnar Hochstetler
Camden Hickman
A.J. Ton
Reece Greene
B.J. Forbes
Andrew Ginther
Cody Czarnecki
Jeffrey Schmucker
Kaden Martin
Brady Erickson
Silas Laidig
And last
But not least
The one
The only
Brady Weldy