March 18, 2018

Let’s talk defensive fielding stances, and responsibilities

The above two baseball players are in their correct defensive stances, the top is Javier Baez starting, then fielding, and Anthony Rizzo starting, then stretching at first, pretty good ball player’s right. The correct stance for all 7 defensive players is;

Low to the ground, why (it is easier to raise your body, than to lower it).

Feet spread, knees bent, back slightly arched, head up, on the balls of your feet (NOT FLAT FOOTED) hands in front (NOT ON YOUR KNEES).

When your pitcher goes into his windup on the mound this is the stance you should be in. Your eyes then should be on the batter, specifically his bat, why (watching the bat come through the strike zone, and seeing the ball come off the bat, your body will move automatically to the angle of the hit).

Do this each and every time.


Outfielders; when the ball is hit, angle to the flight of the ball so it does not get behind you. If there is no one on base it is all right to stop a ground ball by going down on one knee. When doing this drop to the knee opposite of your throwing hand (i.e. right handed – left knee, left handed - right knee) this allows you to come up throwing in a natural motion. If the ball is not hit to you move to your backup position.

Third baseman; field all grounders hit between you and the pitcher, don’t let the pitcher field it, why (he has to turn 360 degrees to throw to first, you are in a straight line). The same with grounders hit to the shortstop, if you can cut in front and field the ball, again you are in a straight line to first. If the ball is not hit to you move to your backup position.

Shortstop; your are playing deeper than the third baseman, why ( so you have more time to react, and keep the ground ball in the infield). Ground balls hit towards second, again if you can cut in front of the second baseman and field the ball you are in a straight line to first. If the ball is not hit to you move to your backup position.

Second baseman; you are playing deeper than the first baseman, and shortstop, why (this allows even more reaction time, and a better chance to keep the ground ball in the infield, plus your throw to first is the shortest). If the first baseman fields the ball run towards first so the first baseman can throw to you, for the out. If the ball is not hit to you move to your backup position.

First baseman; Because of the shortness of our base paths (60 feet) only go far enough to field a grounder, that you can field and beat the runner to the base. If there is a runner on first then you can go farther on grounders because now your throw is to second base. On ground balls hit to the other infielders, go to first base, and set up (setting up means find first base with the back of your foot, the same foot as your throwing hand i.e. right handers - right foot, left handers - left foot). Why (when the fielder catches the grounder, and releases the throw toward first then and only then you stretch with your glove hand, and its corresponding leg (i.e. glove on right hand stretch with your right foot, glove on left hand stretch with your left foot). Stretching toooooooooooooooooo early, you cannot react to a miss throw. If the ball is hit to the outfield move to your backup position.

Pitcher; on the follow through of your pitch, bring your trailing leg forward, and you are now in the same defensive position as the other 7 defensive players. Field any grounders hit in front of you, when you do this, take your time, and set up your body in the right position to make a good throw to first, why (you now have the shortest throw to first, and added time to make that throw). If the ball is not hit to you move to your backup position.

Catchers; ahhhhhh yours is a whole article, that I will talk about in upcoming TWIBs.


Baseball facts and lore
Ground rule double In baseball, a ground rule double is an award of two bases from the time of pitch to all baserunners including the batter-runner as a result of the ball leaving play after being hit fairly and leaving the field under a condition of the ground rules in effect at the field where the game is being played. An automatic double is the term used to refer to a fairly hit ball leaving the field in circumstances that do not merit a home run as described in Major League Baseball (MLB) rules 6.09(e) through 6.09(h). The automatic double is quite often mistakenly called a ground rule double.

Most commonly, an automatic double results from a batted ball hitting the ground in fair territory and landing out of play due to some non-unique aspect of the grounds, typically by bouncing over a fence or wall in the outfield. MLB rules also award a double when a batted ball goes through or under a fence or through or sticking in shrubbery or vines on the fence. These are known as "ground rule doubles" as the unique aspect of the grounds -- such as ivy at Wrigley Field or the walkways at Tropicana Park -- played a part in the hit.

Specific rules also govern when fair fly balls are deflected into the stands by a fielder: for example, a fair fly ball deflected out of play by a fielder from a point within 250 feet of home plate is considered a double. This applied in an unusual play August 3, 2007 when Melky Cabrera of the New York Yankees hit a ball that ricocheted off Kansas City Royals pitcher Ryan Braun's foot and bounced into the stands in foul territory.[1]

When two bases are awarded by either ground rule or league-wide rule, any baserunners ahead of the batter are entitled to advance two bases from their positions at the time of pitch but may advance further if the umpire feels the batter/runner would have made it to the third base completely uncontested. (7.0 MLB Umpire Handbook)

Gopher Ball is a term used for a home run. Batters love them, but pitchers do not want to lead the league in giving up gopher balls. We also have another version of this term, the gofer ball. Famous pitcher Lefty Gomez is said to have coined this term. When the pitch gets hit a long way, it "goes fer" a home run. Vernon Louis "Lefty" Gomez (November 26, 1908 – February 17, 1989) was an American professional baseball player. A left-handed pitcher, Gomez played in Major League Baseball between 1930 and 1943 for the New York Yankees and the Washington Senators. Gomez was a five-time World Series champion with the Yankees. He was also known for his colorful personality and humor throughout his career and life.

March 11, 2018

Let’s talk pop-up and fly ball responsibilities
The general rule is the deeper your position is the more take charge responsibilities you have. Examples: Outfielders take charge of short outfield popups over infielders, but infielders go to the popup until they here the outfielder call for it. Shortstop, and second baseman take charge of infield popups over first baseman, and third baseman, but first baseman, and third baseman go to the popup, until they here the shortstop, or second baseman call for it. First baseman, and third baseman take charge over the pitcher, but the pitcher goes to the popup, until they here the third baseman or first baseman call for it. First baseman, third baseman, and pitcher take charge over the catcher, but the catcher goes to the popup until he hears that another infielder has called for it (this one is extremely important, why; the catcher has gear on, and a different style mitt, all making it difficult to catch popups).

We want the player who runs in on the ball to make the catch. It is easier to run in, than to run backwards. The player running in also has the play in front of him, his back is not turned away from the play. As in any defensive play communication is the key you need to let the player in front of you know you have the catch.

Baseball facts and lore
The infield fly rule; Is a rule in baseball intended to prevent infielders from intentionally dropping a pop-up or allowing it to fall to turn a double play (or triple play). Without this rule, a defense could easily turn a pop fly into a double or triple play, when there are fewer than two outs with runners at first and second base or when the bases are loaded. If the runners stay near their bases to tag up, the defense could let the ball drop, throw to third base and then to second (or home to third or home to third to second), for a force-out at each base. If any of the runners stray too far from their bases, the defense could catch the pop-up and double-off any runner that failed to tag up.

When the ball is in the air and the umpire signals that he is invoking the rule, the batter is out (and all force plays removed) regardless of whether the ball is caught.

The rule applies only when there are fewer than two outs, and there is a force play at third base (i.e., when there are runners at first and second base, or the bases are loaded). In these situations, if a fair fly ball is in play, and in the umpire's judgment it is catchable by an infielder with ordinary effort, the umpire shall call "infield fly" (or more often, "infield fly, batter's out"); the batter will be out regardless of whether the ball is actually caught in flight. Umpires typically raise the right arm straight up, index finger pointing up, to signal the rule is in effect.

If "infield fly" is called and the fly ball is caught, it is treated exactly as an ordinary fly ball; the batter is out, there is no force, and the runners must tag up. On the other hand, if "infield fly" is called and the ball lands fair without being caught, the batter is still out, and there is still no force, but the runners are not required to tag up. In either case, the ball is live, and the runners may advance on the play, at their own peril.

An infield fly may be declared by any umpire on the field.

Can of Corn; Baseball fans know that a ‘pop fly’ or lazy fly ball, that is an easy catch, is called a “can of corn.” So what does a lazy fly at the ballpark have to do with a can of corn? The phrase is said to have originated in the nineteenth-century and relates to an old-time grocer’s method of getting canned goods down from a high shelf. Using a stick with a hook on the end, a grocer could tip a can so that it would fall for an easy catch in his apron. That explains the ‘easy catch’ but where does corn come into the equation? In the very early days of baseball, the outfield was called the “corn field.” Especially in early amateur baseball the outfield may have been a farm field.

March 4, 2018

Baseball Hitting Vision ~ How Well Are You Seeing The Baseball
Old time umpire Bill Klem (1905-1941) once stated, "fix your eye on the ball from the moment the pitcher holds it in his glove. Follow it as he throws to the plate and stay with it until the play is completed. Action takes place only where the ball goes."Mr. Klem's advice is as true today as it was in his era. A players success within the game of baseball will ultimately be determined by how effective they are in seeing the baseball, in all circumstances.

Within our topic here, baseball hitting vision, it is "simply essential". You won't hit what you don't see; no matter how perfect your swing is!

The following tips are from the late and great sports psychologist H.A Dorfman, from his book The Mental Keys to Hitting. Are you seeing the baseball? When things go wrong in the batter's box, before looking for answers to a hitting problem elsewhere, the player should first ask himself this question: Am I seeing the ball well?

If the answer is that he is not, then he must ask, "Why not"? Too often, a hitter who is struggling makes immediate changes to his mechanics ~ to his physical approach. This compounds the difficulty. Kinetic memory - muscle memory - allows a player to have a consistent mechanical approach - unless the player inhibits his muscles by thinking too much. He gets in the way of his natural, physical function. He begins to be what I call a self-conscious hitter, thinking about all manner of things which distract him while in the box. He's got everything on his mind. Everything except the ball!

It's hard to remember that this elemental skill is not only prerequisite to being a good hitter, but without it all other skills are negated. The ability to simplify is the ability to eliminate the unnecessary, so that the necessary may express itself.

Focusing on the ball is simply necessary.
Hitters take for granted that they see the ball, but they don't make the distinction between casual, fuzzy focus and one that is intense and sharp. Just as we can hear without concentrated listening, we can see without having a concentrated clarity. They forget what Ralph Waldo Emerson knew - and he wasn't even a hitter. "The eye," he wrote, "obeys exactly the action of the mind". Want to see the ball better? Think ball!

Players often complain that the game is complicated, (it's not that), the game is simple, people are complicated. "Have a plan, relax, see the ball and trust your muscles." Keep it simple... That's the challenge. And that is what every exceptional athlete learns to do. Not always, but usually. Using mental discipline, he applies that "simplistic" information to his game. His consistent behavior leads to consistent performance.

Looking Out From The Batter's Box ~ What Do You See?

The pitcher starts into his delivery, as a hitter your focus tunes in on the pitcher himself, the background becomes a fuzzy blur.

The pitcher will go from that balance point to this power position, where the baseball is extended behind him. As he starts forward with the baseball, the hitter shifts focus to the pitcher's release point, the spot where he will release the baseball. Hitters will have determined where that point is by watching him pitch to previous hitters, warming up in the bullpen, or taking his warmup pitches on the field. The job at hand is to shift focus to that spot, pick up the baseball clearly as it comes out of his hand, maintaining that focus while tracking the ball all the way to the hitting zone, all with that same clear focus on the ball.

Both pitchers above are at their release points, both similar spots; but somewhat different angle. As a hitter, at this point, you should see only the baseball; the pitcher should become a blur.

Picture on the left is a train wreck headed straight at you. Picture on the right is what you should be seeing out of the pitcher's hand (the ball only). With this vision, you are standing on level ground with the pitcher. For your focus to be intense and sharp, at the point of release of the baseball, the only object in the picture that is clear would be the baseball. Each individual in the photo below has exactly the same need and goal, on every pitch; Focus clearly on the baseball and track it all the way to the hitting zone. The batter wants to hit it, the catcher needs to catch it and the umpire has to determine if it is a ball or strike, if it isn't put in play. All can be successful if they simply see the ball.

Seeing the baseball is a major hitting skill, taking time and training to achieve. Be conscious of seeing the ball, on deck, in the box, at practice. Everything mechanical that you need has been drilled to mindless reaction in practice, leaving your mind free at game time to focus on seeing the ball.

Baseball facts and lore
Running to first; we already talked about how to run to first (hard and with our ears opened). But did you know that you also have to be in foul territory. What I mean is the white foul line that runs toward first base, you have to have your feet just on the outside of that line (foul territory). Why; if the throw from the defensive player hits you while you are running (i.e. – on a bunt), and you are in fair territory you can be called out for interference. Running to home plate; while running home from third base, again stay just in foul territory. Why; if a hit ball hits you in fair territory, you can be called out for interference.

Where did the baseball term battery come from, and what does it mean; The use of the word 'battery' in baseball was first coined by Henry Chadwick in the 1860s in reference to the firepower of a team's pitching staff, and inspired by the artillery batteries then in use in the American Civil War. Later, the term evolved to indicate the combined effectiveness of pitcher and catcher. Henry Chadwick who is often called the "father of baseball", was a sportswriter, baseball statistician and historian. He edited the first baseball guide that was sold to the public. He is credited with creating box scores, as well as creating the abbreviation "K" that designates a strikeout. He is said to have created the statistics of batting average and earned run average (ERA). He was posthumously inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame

February 25, 2018

When you get in the batter's box, take your front foot out of the box, and take a look at the third base coach (between every pitch). The All-Stars third base coach is Coach Steve Zellmer, he will give you signs on what he wants you to do, (he's aggressive, an old timer, he will teach you the religion of base running, so do what he wants).

Some of the signs he gives
1. Bunt - don't bunt the ball back to the pitcher, bunt it down one of the lines, it's harder to field.
2. Take - that means don't swing.
3. Fake bunt - ohhhhh that confuses the defense.
4. Make contact on the next pitch - (wherever it's thrown), (that's a steal and hit play) (hit and run in the majors).
5. Steal - that's for a runner on base. Our rules are a base runner can't leave the base until the ball crosses the plate.
6. Delayed steal — a delayed steal is where the base runner after the ball crosses the plate will edge out a few steps, toward the next base, and see what the catcher, and defense does. If the catcher lobs the throw back to the pitcher, or throws behind the runner, steal the base. If the catcher runs towards the runner, or throws in front of the runner then go back to the base.

Now when you hit the ball, and you will hit the ball, on your follow through take a quick look at where the ball is headed then run hard. Keeping your eyes on, (and ears opened) the first base coach who is usually Coach JZ (Jeff Zellmer).He will tell you to run through first, or round first, and then he will tell you to come back to first or go on to second. If it's run through first, don't slow down till you are past the base, if it is round first do a banana cut (below) see how the banana angles outward, that's the angle you take around first. Why; so you can head for second in a straight line instead of your momentum angling you out towards the outfield.

If you are told to go to second then it's, run hard (ears open for Coach Steve at third) to give you directions on whether to round the base, or on the bag (stop at second).

When you are on base, and the next All-star is in the batter's box, when he looks at the third base Coach for signs, you do the same, the Coach might give you #4, or #5, or #6.

By paying attention to the base coaches, it will help you get extra bases, and it will help you score runs. We the coaches have been doing this a very long time, and we know when, and how to take advantage of the other teams defense. By doing this it confuses the defense, makes them nervous, makes us aggressive, and we score a whole lotta runs, which is fun.

If you follow the base coaches advice, and run hard, but still you get thrown out, whose fault is it?

It's the Coaches FAULT

Baseball fact and lore
How does an offensive team score a run while making the third out?

If the third out is a force out (i.e. a force out at a base, or a caught fly ball), then a run does not count.

If the third out is a tag out (i.e. tagging a runner trying to get to a base), and the offensive run crosses the plate before the tag out is made the run counts.

Southpaw: Where did it come from, and what does it mean. The term southpaw (left handed) derives from the construction of early baseball grounds. Home plate was set to the west so the afternoon sun stayed out of the hitter's eyes. Orientation to the sun was a safety issue back when hitters didn't wear helmets. The bright light and heat was also kept away from people sitting in the expensive seats behind the backstop. And when a left-handed pitcher toed the rubber out of the windup, his pitching arm faced south.

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