Those who believe in the cultural and life values that youth sports teach know that youth baseball in particular embodies those timeless values first and foremost. Baseball’s contribution to society has stood the test of time since Alexander Cartright and a group of Team Knickerbocker contemporaries developed the first set of codified rules in 1845.a
The words of movie character Terence Mann in Field of Dreams probably say it best…
The one constant through all the year, Ray, has been baseball.
American has rolled by like an army of steamrollers.
It’s been erased, rebuilt and erased again.
But baseball has marked the time.
This field, this game is a part of our past.
It reminds us of all that once was good and could be again.
Universal Studios, 1989
No one understood these words or the concepts underlying them better than Louis ‘Coach’ Presutti, founder of Cooperstown Dreams Park (CDP). Beyond that,… Continue reading
Hey baseball fans!
Matt Nadel here of Baseball with Matt with some more on the history of America’s Pastime. As it has been announced, Charlie Manuel was just fired from his job as manager of the Phillies and was replaced with Ryne Sandberg. I know what some of you non-Cubs fans are thinking: “Who in the world is Ryne Sandberg?” Well, for your information, Sandberg is a Hall of Fame second baseman and if you want to learn more about him, read the next paragraph.
Ryne Sandberg joined the fairly short list of great second basemen because of his amazing defense and his rare power at the position. In his playing days from 1981-1997 (did not play in 1995) with the Phillies and Chicago Cubs, “Ryno” hit for a career .285 batting average, 282 homers, and 1,061 RBIs. His 272 home runs as a second baseman were once a record, but the record was broken in 2004 by Jeff Kent. The ten time All Star won the NL MVP Award in 1984 and led the Cubbies to their first postseason appearance since 1945. As I said before, besides being… Continue reading
Many of us who grew up watching the likes of Warren Spahn, Roberto Clemente, Harmon Killebrew, Stan Musial and Brooks Robinson, find it difficult to imagine another generation of ball players quite like ours. The big league players of the 1950s and 1960s loomed over all of us like gods, the equal of whom would never be seen between the lines ever again.
Surely this aura takes hold of each new generation that comes along. After all, the awestruck fans of today could never imagine any ball players past or future who can rival the talents of Mike Trout, Yadier Molina, Josh Hamilton, Cliff Lee, and Robinson Cano. The dreams of baseball fans, regardless of age, form around the exploits of the heroes we follow on the base paths, on the mound, in the batter’s box, and streaking into the gap to catch rockets off the bats of living gods. Except for the names and the uniforms they wear, nothing ever really changes from one era to the next.
An Original Blue Jay
But what if you knew a place away from major league stadiums where the essence of baseball, the integrity of the game, and… Continue reading
The first observation one makes about a Diamond Spikes youth baseball team centers on the interaction among the players, parents, and coaches. Do not take that the wrong way; after all, the first observation that we usually make about travel baseball teams involves the interactions among parents and coaches. Some of those conversations would hardly qualify for prime time replays; however, in the case of Mike Cardino’s baseball program, you get an entirely different impression.
In truth, the Diamond Spikes program belongs to the kids and their parents. Mike is the first to tell you that. Unique in this writer’s experience is the interview that Mike invited me to have with… Continue reading
Baseball is not all about those who make the spectacular plays on the field. Sometimes the game of baseball goes well beyond the diamond. I can think of no greater example than Mike Luper.
I’ve worked with Mr. Luper for over all year on various radio stations and have come to discover quite a few things about this New York native. First off, Mike is a former Marine who proudly and bravely served our great nation. He deserves our respect for that alone. Mike also has a passion for sports talk radio; a passion that started at age 13. He tapped into his passion for sports and turned it into a career.
Mike created his own station; called the Grandstand Radio Network. It was there Mike and a variety of other hosts (including myself) tackled a variety of sports topics. Mr. Luper has an opinion for everything, whether it’s arguing about the steroid era or discussing baseball’s all time greats.
In 2012, Mike’s radio show “The SportsguyMike show” was picked up by ESPN Radio 1580 in Colorado. He spent a few great months there before moving on to CBS Sports Radio… Continue reading
Don Larsen will forever be remembered for his perfection in the World Series. On October 8th 1956, Don Larsen shocked the baseball world and became the first man to throw a perfect game in the World Series. Because his career record at the time many say Larsen was the imperfect man who threw a perfect game.
The Perfect Game is Don Larsen’s greatest achievement in baseball. No one else in the history of the game can stand up and say he threw a perfect game in the World Series. Larsen will forever be remembered in history as the man who pitched baseball’s greatest postseason game. However this one game was not Don Larsen’s only contribution to Major League Baseball.
In November of 1961, Don Larsen was traded from the Chicago White Sox to the San Francisco Giants in a six player deal. It had been more than five years since he had thrown his historic perfect game. He was coming off a solid 8-2 season between the Athletics and White Sox. However at age 32, Larsen knew his career was would soon come to an end. He hoped joining the Giants would… Continue reading
Babe Ruth changed the history of baseball in 1920 when he slugged 54 home runs for the New York Yankees. That was nearly double the record Ruth set in 1919 when he hit 29 home runs. In 1921, Babe Ruth once again broke his own record by hitting 59 home runs. And of course no baseball fan can forget Babe Ruth’s 1927 season when he hit 60 home runs.
The legacy of Babe Ruth is associated with his swing and mammoth home runs. His 714 career home runs stood as baseball’s all time record until Hank Aaron broke it in 1974. Babe Ruth still holds the Major League records for career slugging percentage (.690) and OPS (1.190). His feats with a bat will never be forgotten.
However many fans forget Babe Ruth came up with the Red Sox as a pitcher. From 1914-1918, Babe Ruth was a full time pitcher for the Red Sox; and a great one at that. From 1914-1918, Babe Ruth went 80-41 with a 2.09 ERA. He started 128 games for the Red Sox and completed 93 of those games. Babe Ruth was considered one of baseball… Continue reading
It is often said Legends of the game will find their careers overlap. Heroes of the past make way for the Greats of the future. For instance Hall of Fame catchers Billy Dickey and Yogi Berra were teammates during the 1946 season. Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle were teammates in 1951. Even Don Mattingly and Derek Jeter were teammates in 1995. There is a torch past between the greats in baseball at least once in every generation.
There is one overlapping often not talked about in baseball history. On April 20th 1939, two of baseball’s greatest legends met on the same field for one game. Nobody knew it then, but this game symbolized the passing of torch between two generations of champions.
The Boston Red Sox traveled to Yankee Stadium to face the New York Yankees on April 20th 1939. It was opening day and excitement filled the air of New York City. Making the trip to Yankee Stadium for the first time as Major League Baseball Player was twenty year old Ted Williams. He was set to make his Major League debut. Williams had been… Continue reading
In the next edition of our Pro Tips series, I sat down with former NL CY Young award winner Tom Glavine to discuss all things pitching.
Tom Glavine was known for hitting his spots and getting batters out. He didn’t have the power fastball of Randy Johnson or the disappearing splitter of Roger Clemens. One thing Tom Glavine did have was a smart baseball mind.
“My out pitch was my change up, however I had to establish my fastball in order for that to work, even though I don’t throw hard” Glavine said. Tom’s career fastball velocity was 84.9 miles per hour. He relied on his wit and ability to outthink his opponents in order to win ballgames.
For a pitcher who made a living off control, Tom had to have an amazing work ethic. He told me some drills he to practice his control:
“I suggest practicing to portions of the plate, outer and inner halves, then 1/3’s then corners, establish 1/2’s first then move on to a new pitch. In terms of exercise; Throw and run, keep your… Continue reading
Hey baseball fans!
Matt Nadel here of Baseball with Matt with some more of the history of America’s Pastime. Did you know that the Angels won the World Series in seven games in 2002 against the Giants? Well, if you didn’t, you just learned something new. Here’s another fun fact about the 2002 Angels: that championship would have never happened without Tim Salmon.
From 1992-2006 with the California/ Los Angeles Angels (didn’t play in ’05 due to injury), Tim Salmon was a fan favorite, which would explain why he was nicknamed “Mr. Angel”. And I don’t blame those Angels for loving him because he was a great player. The 1993 Rookie of the Year winner batted .282 in his career with 299 homers and 1,016 RBIs. His best season was probably in 2002, when he batted .286, hit 22 homers and knocked in 88 runs en route to leading the Angels to their first World championship.
Although he didn’t make an All Star Game, Salmon was a very good player. Funny, Tim Salmon and Mike Trout are probably among the most famous Angels of all time and they both have fish-related last… Continue reading
The following is an article submitted to Long Island Baseball Magazine by Coach Paul DeGiovanni; chronicling the Cyclones 2013 season.
The Massapequa Cyclones 12u baseball team, a town team made up of local Massapequa players, continues to have great success playing out of town tournaments. Recently, they traveled to Florida to compete in an International tournament, the Disney Sun and Surf Baseball Bash.
After beating teams from Illinois, Florida and Massachusetts, they came from behind to beat an Elite team from Kentucky which was actually a Regional All-star team made up of top players from Colorado, Ohio, Kentucky and other Mid-Western states.
That set the stage for the Championship game against Puerto Rico who was heavily favored and ESPN’s highlighted team. The Cyclones won 3-0 behind a wonderful pitching performance by Nick Collins who tossed a 1 hit shutout. Many great defensive plays were made as well. Over the course of the tournament, the Cyclones collectively hit over .419 and had an on base percentage of over .700. In addition to over 30 base hits, they… Continue reading
In the installment of our “Pro Tips” series, we sat down with former Angels all star and Yankee great Mickey Rivers to discuss all things baseball!
Mickey Rivers was an excellent base runner. That’s why baseball fans called him “Mick the Quick.” In 1975, Mickey Rivers stole 70 bases to lead the American League and was selected as an all star in 1976. And though he may have lost some of his speed since 1976, Mickey still knows a thing or two about base running. I asked Mickey what his best advice would be for base runner trying to improve. He told me “The best thing a base runner can do is wind sprints. Also they should look at a pitcher’s footwork in order to get better timing.”
Many coaches stress that baseball players practice their craft. However many coaches are often confused to how much time kids should be practicing the game. Mickey gave me insight into how long he practiced as a child saying “When I was a kid, I played baseball twelve hours a day.” This shows how dedicated Mickey Rivers was to the game of baseball.
In today’s… Continue reading
A couple of weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to go to Citi Field for the second time in my life. My uncle got free tickets to the Braves-Mets Sunday Night Baseball game. He invented myself and my younger cousins to attend the game with him and his kids. I am not one to turn down free tickets to a baseball game so naturally I accepted the invitation.
The last time I was at Citi Field was October 2nd 2010. My brother and I got a David Wright HR baseball that our Uncle Alfredo caught. (We traded him two batting practice balls my brother caught. I think it was a fair trade; don’t you?) It was a beautiful day for baseball on October 2nd 2010 and I was hoping my visit to Citi Field in 2013 would be just as wonderful.
I rode with my Uncle… Continue reading
In the next installment of our Pro Tips series, I sat down with former Seattle Mariners (and all star) second baseman Bret Boone to discuss all things baseball.
Bret Boone was considered to be one of the best defensive second baseman of his era. Any advice from Boone in terms of defense is advice worth hearing. I asked Bret what advice he would offer young second baseman. He said:
“Not only 2nd base, but baseball in general is played with your feet,not hands. Its all about putting your body in correct position. I would get in my fielding position(athletic position as if u were covering Kobe Bryant)and stay there for 15 minutes. This is great training for your legs.”
There is a big debate going on in baseball in terms of whether players should be training in weight rooms. I asked Bret’s opinion on the matter and he gave me a unique look into the hard work and determination he had in his career. “The weight room is huge, especially nowadays. It’s not only great for your body, but more importantly, your mind. My goal was to… Continue reading
Bob ‘Hondo’ Malandro never intended to become a baseball coach, let alone one of the most successful at the scholastic level; but, that’s what he did. Since 1989 he has led his high school and travel teams to several championships and guided numerous young people to be everything they could be, both as baseball players and as people. Most of all, he has done it with a love for the game and his players that serves as a throw-back model for what coaching in the modern era should mean.
His 2012 team at Holy Trinity High School, probably his best “on paper,” reflects the best of his philosophy as a coach, as a lover of the game, and as a guiding influence for aspiring, young athletes. Although he likes to talk about the Catholic League Championship that the 2012 team garnered, he enjoys even more talking about his players from that season. “Five guys went on to Division 1 programs: LHP Alex Robinson to Maryland, RHP Anthony Rosati attended St.John’s, 2B Jack Parent to Stony Brook, SS Joey DeVito went to Fordham, and C Chris Hardardt to Hofstra.” A sixth player, RF Patrick Madigan, a… Continue reading
I recently attended a Rockland Boulders game in Pomona, New York. There is no better feeling than being back at a ballpark after a harsh winter season. I chose to go to the Rockland Boulders’ game because I knew there was no better team in the area who could give a fan a great “baseball filled” day.
The Rockland Boulders are a part of the Can-Am League. Upon arriving at Provident Bank Park, Rockland Boulders Owner and President Ken Lehner gave me the inside scoop on the team and happenings around the ballpark. The name Ken Lehner should ring a bell to all sports fans. He was an executive on the 1997 World Series Champion Florida Marlins and an executive on the 2004 Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning.
Ken explained to me how he wanted to become an owner. He thought the county of Rockland New York was the perfect place for a baseball team because of the location. There are a great number of baseball fans who live in the Rockland area who might find it difficult to go to Yankees or Mets games. The Boulders represent any fan’s… Continue reading
Hey baseball fans!
Matt Nadel here of Baseball with Matt with some more on the history of America’s National Pastime. How many times do you think Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson struck out? The answer is 2,597, a record for most times struck out. Now how many times do you think Hall of Famer Joe Sewell struck out? The answer is just 114, a record for least times struck out!!!!
Joe Sewell was one of the greatest contact hitters in his day, playing 14 seasons from 1920-1933 with the Yankees and Indians. In 1920, Cleveland brought Sewell up from the Minors to replace Ray Champan (the only person to ever die on a baseball field) at shortstop, and the rookie batted .329 down the stretch to lead the Indians to the pennant and eventually a World Series title. The excellent contact hitter struck out just one every 63 at-bats on average, which is the best for anybody who has ever played the game of baseball in the Bigs. Also, his three strikeouts in 1932 are the fewest ever for a full season. In his career, Joe batted .312 with 2,226 hits and got… Continue reading
With the 2013 baseball season in full swing, several equipment trends are emerging. Some vital information to help make purchasing the necessary gear easier to understand:
Selecting a bat may seem intimidating given the wide range of options, but a few simple tips can assist the process. Ideally, a player wants the heaviest bat possible that still allows the fastest bat speed, generating the most power at impact. With the new BBCOR bats, players have opted for a shorter length to promote quicker velocity.
To retain optimal force throughout the season, some players purchase two bats – one perfectly-weighted at full strength and another slightly lighter model for use in latter months or deep into a game when fatigue may set in. When purchasing a new bat, be aware of the barrel size sanctioned by the league.
Easton remains the top-seller, followed by Louisville Slugger. The new DeMarini Vexxum and Voodoo have become widely-popular additions to the line-up. From $49.97 MSRP.
Once it’s time to hit the field, finding proper and right-size cleats is essential. The majority of players lean toward low-top… Continue reading
In the next installment of our Pro Tips series, I sat down with Major League Baseball’s all time hit king Pete Rose to discuss all things hitting!
It’s such a rare opportunity to learn from one of baseball’s greatest hitters. The first question I asked Rose was what approach did he have at the plate and if that approach changed at all. Rose was direct in his answer by saying “My approach at the plate is to look for a fastball and hit the baseball hard.” Pete Rose was the Wee Willie Keller of his era; “he hit them where they ain’t!”
Not many baseball fans realize that Pete Rose was a switch hitter. He was a career .293 hitter batting right handed and a career .307 hitter batting left handed. In other words, Pete Rose could hit the baseball in every way possible. Pete explained how he practiced his switch hitting by saying “My tips for switch hitters are that lefty batters need to hit of off right handed pitchers. Right handed batters need to hit of off lefty pitchers. You can’t just practice on side of… Continue reading
Those who manage in the game of baseball must show the heart and work ethic of a leader. This is extremely true when describing a high school baseball coach. It is the job of a high school baseball coach to teach young men skills they will need on the field and in life beyond baseball. I can think of no greater teacher for these young men than Coach John Givargidze.
John Givargidze is a high school baseball coach for the LI Titans storm baseball team and the Next Level baseball team. He believes as a coach it is his job to prepare these young men for the trials they will face on the field and those that come after high school. He told me about his previous Summer season as a coach and how proud he is of his players. “The season went well. We got off to a slow start because for some of the kids it was their first time using a wood bat, but we came on and finished second in the Boys of Summer league and lost in the final game of a best of… Continue reading