Collegiate Baseball Newspaper http://baseballnews.com Tue, 17 Apr 2018 16:02:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 Will Navy’s Song Go Pro Or Serve In Military? http://baseballnews.com/will-navys-song-go-pro-or-serve-in-military/ http://baseballnews.com/will-navys-song-go-pro-or-serve-in-military/#respond Fri, 30 Mar 2018 22:51:50 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=11739 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Noah Song is one of the remarkable stories of college baseball. The righthanded pitcher for the U.S. Naval Academy recently struck out 16 batters over 6 innings against Air Force as he was named one of Collegiate Baseball’s National Players of The Week. In fact, over […]

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By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Noah Song is one of the remarkable stories of college baseball.

The righthanded pitcher for the U.S. Naval Academy recently struck out 16 batters over 6 innings against Air Force as he was named one of Collegiate Baseball’s National Players of The Week.

In fact, over the first four innings, all 12 outs were via the strikeout.

His performance ranks fifth all-time in the Navy record book, and he is just one of three pitchers at Navy to reach the 16-strikeout milestone in a game since 1968.

On the season, he has fanned 30 batters with 6 walks over 18 innings in 3 appearances as he has registered a 2-1 record.

During the 2017 season, he struck out 89 batters with 26 walks in 13 outings.

As a freshman in 2016, he mowed down 57 batters as he posted a 9-3 record and 2.75 ERA as he was named a Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball.

Last summer, he had a brief personal leave before heading to military training and summer school as he pitched in the Cape Cod Baseball League.

He was the first Navy player since Mitch Harris in 2007 to play in the league as he suited up for the Harwich Mariners and finished with a line of 10 innings pitched and 3 runs allowed with 9 strikeouts.

The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder from Claremont, Calif. has enjoyed every second of his training with the U.S. Naval Academy along with his time with the baseball team.

The greatest experience was his 16-strikeout performance recently.

“When I stuck out 12 batters in four innings and 16 over the six innings, it was something I had never approached before,” said Song.

“I had incredible focus that game as I pitched in Florida against Air Force. It made me realize what it takes to pitch on that level. So it was a wonderful learning experience to get those types of outs.

“Frankly, I was just trying to collect outs and not strike anybody out. If outs are by a fly ball, ground-out or strikeout, they are all fine with me. The object is to get outs and give our team a chance to win.”

Because of the large strikeout total, he didn’t get as deep into the game as he would have preferred.

“My pitch count really snuck up on me in that game. I felt great and was nice and loose with it being warm for a night game.

“But before I knew it, I was at 98 pitches, and my outing was over. That was probably the best performance I have ever had.

“It was enjoyable as far as locking in and having a great mental performance. I have never, ever been that locked in.

“It may be a maturity thing as well. It was an entirely new level and caliber of baseball that I pitched at. I wasn’t playing to the score or to the opponent. I was playing to my own game and trying to collect outs and throw each pitch well.”

Song explained his pitching repertoire.

“I throw a 4-seam fastball, 2-seam fastball, changeup, slider and curve. Most of the time I throw 4-seam fastballs. But occasionally I throw 2-seam fastballs to lefthanded hitters because the pitch has a little bit of run.

“The highest velocity I have ever touched with my fastball was 98 mph this year. But that was flashed once or twice. On my best days, I work at 94-95 mph with a couple flashes of 96 or 97 mph. On colder days, my velocity will be down a little bit. But I always compete with what I have on a given outing.

“My slider is around the 82-83 mph range. I am trying to get a little bit more tilt with it. My curve is exceptionally slow at about 70-72 mph. My changeups works anywhere from 80-81 mph.”

To read more of this story, purchase the March 23, 2018 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.

The rest of the story explains how he works on the command of his pitches, how he became one of the rare Navy baseball players to pitch in the Cape Cod League last summer, his grueling daily schedule with the Naval Academy and a look at his status for the Major League Draft and whether he must serve his military commitment or not.

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Marijuana Use In Colleges Causes Big Issues http://baseballnews.com/marijuana-use-in-colleges-causes-big-issues/ http://baseballnews.com/marijuana-use-in-colleges-causes-big-issues/#respond Fri, 30 Mar 2018 21:43:42 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=11732 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball FORT WORTH, Tex. — One of the strangest situations in college baseball history took place when Texas Wesleyan Head Coach Mike Jeffcoat was fired for rejecting a recruit because that athlete simply came from the state of Colorado. The Houston Chronicle carried Jeffcoat’s e-mail which was sent out to […]

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By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

FORT WORTH, Tex. — One of the strangest situations in college baseball history took place when Texas Wesleyan Head Coach Mike Jeffcoat was fired for rejecting a recruit because that athlete simply came from the state of Colorado.

The Houston Chronicle carried Jeffcoat’s e-mail which was sent out to a young man named Gavin Bell which later was posted on Twitter as it went viral.

Jeffcoat had several unfortunate situations with players from Colorado in the past in regard to marijuana use.

Colorado, along with the state of Washington, became the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes in 2012.

He responded to Gavin with the following comments: “Thanks for the interest in our program. Unfortunately, we are not recruiting players from the state of Colorado. In the past, players have had trouble passing our drug test.

“We have made a decision to not take a chance on student-athletes from your state. You can thank your liberal politicians. Best of luck wherever you decide to play.”

When Jeffcoat’s e-mail became known to Texas Wesleyan administrators, all hell broke loose as he was ultimately let go nine days later.

Undoubtedly cooler heads should have prevailed. Jeffcoat is a long time coach at the school who should not have been terminated.

His comments are symbolic of a much greater problem.

Marijuana use in colleges, along with alcohol consumption, is what the vast majority of students use during their off time.

If you ask 100 college baseball coaches from NCAA Div. I to junior college, they will all tell you that marijuana and alcohol use are impossible to stop even with strict team rules in place that have severe consequences.

If you are an NCAA Division I or II athlete, the NCAA bans eight different classes of drugs, from stimulants to diuretics to street drugs.

There is a year-round testing program on these two levels.

The penalty for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug is one full year of lost eligibility for the first offense.

All remaining eligibility is lost with a second positive test.

For street drugs, such as marijuana and heroin, a student-athlete must sit out a half-season of competition if he is caught on a first offense. A second positive test results in the loss of a year of eligibility from the day of the test.

Currently nine states and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes.

Newsweek published a story in January that stated at least 12 more states are poised to consider marijuana legalization in 2018.

Several states like Texas, where Texas Wesleyan is located, have strict marijuana laws. For years, possession of even a tiny amount of marijuana could land you in jail. In fact, anything less than two ounces carried a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

In many states, the use of marijuana is illegal. If the police are called and find an underage student with alcohol or marijuana, that person can be arrested.

To read more of this article, purchase the March 23, 2018 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.

The rest of the story explains the progressive step that was taken at Cochise College in Arizona in regard to marijuana use. We also explain what the NCAA found as far as how many student-athletes use marijuana and what the consequences are if an athlete is caught. In addition, we examine what the affects of marijuana are as far as reaction time, motor and eye-hand coordination as well as time perception.

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Baseball Players Can Learn From Elite Snipers http://baseballnews.com/baseball-players-can-learn-from-the-sniper-mind/ http://baseballnews.com/baseball-players-can-learn-from-the-sniper-mind/#respond Fri, 30 Mar 2018 16:20:59 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=11725 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball (First Of A 2-Part Series) NEW YORK — Baseball is filled with failure and can mentally destroy athletes who aren’t ready for the challenge. How do you eliminate fear, deal with uncertainty and make better decisions as you become mentally focused as a baseball player? The Sniper Mind by […]

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By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball
(First Of A 2-Part Series)

NEW YORK — Baseball is filled with failure and can mentally destroy athletes who aren’t ready for the challenge.

How do you eliminate fear, deal with uncertainty and make better decisions as you become mentally focused as a baseball player?

The Sniper Mind by David Amerland reveals practical steps that allow a military sniper’s brain to work in a precise, calculated way as he meshes weapons knowledge, situational awareness, knowledge of ballistics and physics, emotional stability, empathy and acceptance of hardships. 

Three years in the making, this book explains advanced military training techniques of over 100 snipers he interviewed. He also delves into cutting-edge neuroscience which also references pertinent situations in the game of baseball.

The book explains how these exceptionally trained snipers deal with weather that is typically too hot or too cold and cope with always tense situations with lives at stake, changing variables of targets moving, wind changes and distant targets as self doubt is dismissed.

His account of British sniper Craig Harrison’s successful 1.5 mile shot was astounding because it was virtually impossible to hit a target at that distance when you factor in crosswinds or updrafts, glare, poor visibility, adrenaline pumping and people’s lives being at stake.

Harrison didn’t let self doubt enter his thought process as he computed in his mind all the complex variables and hit his target.

Amerland granted an interview with Collegiate Baseball and delves into many areas he covered in the book as he learned how snipers refine their mental skills typically over a 2-year period.

Much of the information about sniper’s minds can be directly correlated to baseball.

Collegiate Baseball firmly believes if baseball players learn the mental skills of snipers, a new generation of baseball player will be able to play the game at a higher level than ever.

“As I was doing the research on this book, I could see there were a lot of analogies in terms of how peak performers actually work,” said Amerland.

“The closest sport as far as how a sniper’s brain works is baseball where you have a single individual under tremendous pressure juggling all these variables in their own sense of vulnerabilities, fears and uncertainties.

“Baseball players must make it all go away and perform.”

“For years, the commonly held belief was that all you need are talented players, and you refine their skills. But we have found that the mental game makes all the difference. The physical side can be worked on fairly easily. But the mental side is where you have to carefully construct so someone is resilient, resourceful, focused and calm in the middle of a storm.

“I firmly believe that we are at the front edge of the wave when it comes teaching highly developed mental skills. We are now looking at the characteristics of sports behavior in an entirely new light.”

Amerland said the remarkable story of sniper Craig Harrison making his 1.5 mile kill shot is something baseball can learn from.

“The primary obstacle we face whether it be a sniper or baseball player is ourselves. We can define the emotional or psychological aspect along with training and focus…all those types of things in order to perform well.

“What is common between top performers in baseball in particular, but also in basketball and golf, is that snipers are somehow able to make themselves disappear for lack of a better explanation.

“It’s like they absorb into what they are actually doing. It’s a state of flow and like the zen mind which loses sight of who you are as you are completely focused on what you are doing.

“When we take this into baseball, if we can actually make the baseball player focus on what is important instead of the end result, suddenly their entire prospective is transformed. The magic of the brain is that the moment something changes mentally, it also changes physically because the brain ultimately runs the body.

“In order to hit a baseball coming at 100 mph when the pressure is extremely high, you internally must make all those neural pathways connect in the correct order.

“You must be there for the game and for the team instead of focusing on getting a hit or else my batting average will suffer. Suddenly your perspective changes and stakes begin to become immaterial and the pressure flows away.”

To read more of this story, purchase the March 23, 2018 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.

The rest of the story explains how snipers overcome fear and why the sniper’s brain doesn’t shut down in high pressure situations as many baseball player brains do. He also discusses stress and hormones, what relaxation is, the Holy Grain of brain analytics, the four branches of emotional intelligence and the value of meditation.

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Is Visual Psychology Answer To Performance? http://baseballnews.com/visual-psychology-answer-performance/ http://baseballnews.com/visual-psychology-answer-performance/#respond Fri, 16 Mar 2018 21:08:19 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=10608 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball CHESTER, N.Y. — When the performance levels of baseball players go south, coaches often look at mechanics, vision and the mental state of the player. Tony Abbatine, a consultant who has worked with the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies and New York Mets, […]

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By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

CHESTER, N.Y. — When the performance levels of baseball players go south, coaches often look at mechanics, vision and the mental state of the player.

Tony Abbatine, a consultant who has worked with the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies and New York Mets, feels that defining and integrating visual psychology in the sports performance world is important to explore.

“What comes first in an athlete’s slow decline into a slump?” asked Abbatine.

“Is it negative self talk, self induced pressure or perhaps a change in his visual habits and focus targets?

“Put another way, does your loss of confidence and loss of emotional control stem from a temporary change in your visual search strategies?”

Abbatine teaches sports psychology at St. Thomas Aquinas University and believes that we must first understand and acknowledge that the human eyes are the only external part of the brain.

The debate about whether the athlete’s problem is visual or mental is pointless.

“In 20-plus years of working with college and professional athletes that live and perform in the visual world, I believe the long term fix and underlying source of performance problems should first be addressed in the visual world.

“Let’s further example how the eyes are truly the windows to the soul and gatekeeper to the brain. Why do we feel so relaxed and calm sitting on a beach or walking through the woods?

“One of the teaching cues I use now is making references to sunsets, mountains and oceans. Every human being has the visually ‘feel good’ image.

“When I work with athletes, I will give them these three choices. All the players on the west coast typically think about oceans or gorgeous sunsets. Where I live in New York, we have stunning mountains which players feel relaxed walking through.

“So the athletes have this image in their mind that relaxes them.

“It is a reminder for the eyes to be in a sweeping and scanning mode or what is called Open Focus. That is a term that is now just getting into baseball. When I learned about Open Focus, it was a life changing moment for me even though those two words have been around for centuries.

“Open Focus is non-judgmental seeing. Here is the quote that came out of Manny Ramirez’ mouth in 2005 when he was talking to me about hitting, and I’m trying to explain to him what is happening in clinical terms.

“He turns to me and says, ‘Tony, when I look at nothing, I see everything.’ When he first said that, I thought Manny was being Manny.

“But when I reflected on what he said, it dawned on me that his comment coincides with all the research that is out there on Open Focus. When you are in Open Focus, you have much more awareness of space and time. You see all the little movements that typically aren’t observed.

“It basically shattered the old soft focus, fine focus methodology that the baseball industry has embraced for so many years.”

Abbatine then talked to a number of other Major League baseball players.

“They felt the sunset, mountains and oceans mind set makes sense. When they started to describe Open Focus, it wasn’t this hard, fixated fine to soft focus like many people have taught in baseball, including me.

“Major League hitters would talk about how they utilized vision with a sweeping and scanning posture because that is where the eyes are at their most natural state.

“Think about sitting on a beach with perfect weather. You aren’t fixated on the seagull. You aren’t staring at the breaking of a wave. Your eyes are in constant horizontal viewing of the landscape. After these elite hitters started talking about this, I’m thinking to myself, wait a minute. Open Focus might be the way to go for hitters.”

To read more of this article, purchase the March 9, 2018 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE. The rest of the article delves into much more of this topic, including studying marksmen, why relaxed hitters perform, the training of Open Focus, overusing eyes daily, information overload, thinking outside the box and observations Abbatine has heard from elite athletes related to visual habits.

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Augie Garrido Dies At Age 79 After Stroke http://baseballnews.com/augie-garrido-dies-age-79-stroke/ http://baseballnews.com/augie-garrido-dies-age-79-stroke/#respond Thu, 15 Mar 2018 17:17:29 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=10604 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball AUSTIN, Tex. — Augie Garrido, the winningest coach in college baseball history with 1,975 victories, passed away March 15 at the age of 79 following a stroke. Garrido’s storied 48-year baseball coaching career spanned six decades, including his final 20 seasons at Texas. Garrido finished his career in 2016 […]

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By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

AUSTIN, Tex. — Augie Garrido, the winningest coach in college baseball history with 1,975 victories, passed away March 15 at the age of 79 following a stroke.

Garrido’s storied 48-year baseball coaching career spanned six decades, including his final 20 seasons at Texas.

Garrido finished his career in 2016 as college baseball’s all-time wins leader.

He was one of only two NCAA Division I baseball coaches to lead two different schools to national titles (Cal. St. Fullerton and Texas) along with Andy Lopez (Pepperdine and Arizona).  

Garrido guided squads to National Championships in four different decades, and is one of only three coaches in history to win five or more NCAA titles (1979, 1984, 1995, 2002, 2005).

This dynamic man was a study in the word complex.

On one hand, he was brought up in a boot-tough ship yard town of Vallejo, Calif. shortly after World War II where plenty of street fighting was the norm with Navy sailors.

Both of his parents worked two jobs to support the family. They lived in a federal housing development.

He came out of this mostly blue-collar community with a burning desire to become the best coach he could possibly be against the worldly advice of his father Augie.

Garrido shared the same birthday as two other giants in history — Babe Ruth and President Ronald Reagan.

He led Cal. St. Fullerton to a duo of national championships in 1979 and 1984, brought numerous people into the coaching ranks, sent scores of players into the professional ranks and helped hundreds of players be success stories in life.

Another side of Garrido revealed a passion for art and finely tailored Italian suits. He was a connoisseur of gourmet food and the finer things in life which reflect success.

Without any doubt, his love of people was the catalyst behind his victories in life.

Many people are not aware that Garrido was deeply religious man who taught his players right vs. wrong in every phase of life.

The team concept was much more important than wins in the Garrido philosophy.

A perfect example was the 1992 Titan baseball team which finished second in the nation.

Fullerton had a disappointing Big West Conference season, finishing second to Long Beach St. Everyone was expecting the Titans to waltz through the competition and finish first with a superb pitching staff and equally talented every day lineup.

Constant temper tantrums during games were the norm. Players routinely threw bats and helmets at the slightest problem. Hitters stopped running out ground balls with 100 percent effort.

Garrido resorted to the unthinkable prior to the South I Regional in Baton Rouge, La. He refused to let the team practice until the players showed more respect for the game of baseball.

A group of seniors, led by catcher Jason Moler and pitcher Dan Naulty, held a team meeting and came up with strict new rules for the team. If a player threw a helmet or argued a call with an umpire, immediate suspension would prevail. If a player did not run out a grounder or fly ball, that individual had to run 2 ½ miles.

The attitude adjustment was just beginning as Garrido and associate head coach George Horton allowed the team to practice again.

“They lost the definition of the word respect,” said Garrido.

“I closed the field prior to the regionals and said we weren’t going to practice any more. I said it didn’t matter anyway because they didn’t get it or understand that this wasn’t about winning baseball games. It was all about teamwork and people. They didn’t show any respect for the game of baseball.

“They didn’t show any respect for the groundskeepers. They didn’t show any respect or appreciate they had a ball to play with and had a bat to use. They just didn’t have the right definition of respect. They didn’t know how to get it. To get it, you have to give, and the rewards will come back.”

The Titans shocked heavily favored Louisiana State in the South I Regional by going through undefeated with four consecutive wins.

At the College World Series, Fullerton ultimately met Pepperdine for the national title. The Waves defeated the Titans, 3-2 in the championship game.

Devastating Loss
“Our team was absolutely devastated after losing the championship game to Pepperdine,” said Garrido.

“Once they learned the meaning of the word respect, and once they found out what it could do for them, they were changed.

“Once they found out what being a teammate was and what giving to others brought and the value of doing the right things in the right way at the right time, they were a different group of young men. Watching them grow during those last few weeks of the season was the greatest gift any team has given me.”

Garrido had some sage advice for his team following the gut wrenching loss.

“I told the players: ‘Listen. I know it will be difficult. But you must listen to this. It will take a long time for all of us to put this in perspective. I know you trust me. So trust me now when I tell you. Because of who you have been throughout this whole situation in the last six weeks, who you have become as men, this will be the most valuable thing you will ever lose in your life.

“This is going to serve you very well for the rest of your life. Trust me when I tell you all you have lost was a title, a ring and trophy. It’s meaningless to what you have gained.’

“And I thanked them for everything they did for me.”

Amazing Job At Fullerton
People do not realize what an amazing job he did at Cal. St Fullerton.

Garrido was a defiant man.

This was almost a prerequisite when he became head coach for the Titans in September of 1972. The University of Southern California was king of the hill at that time. USC was in the midst of winning five national titles in a row (1970-1974).

At every turn, people mocked Fullerton. People called it Cal. St. Disneyland because the Fullerton-based school is next to Disneyland in Anaheim.

Before Augie moved to Cal. St., eight seasons of intercollegiate baseball failed to produce even one winning season at the school. The Titans compiled a 145-267-2 record in those lean years — winning just 35 percent of their games.

In his first full season with the Titans, Cal. St. finished with a 19-33-1 record. It would be his only losing record at Fullerton in 18 seasons. The following season, the Titans compiled a 37-17 record and won its first-ever conference championship in the California Collegiate Athletic Association. Garrido was named CCAA Coach of the Year.

In the summer of 1974, Fullerton switched to NCAA Division I and joined the Pacific Coast Athletic Association.

No Respect At First
During the 1975 season, another milestone was achieved. The Titans captured the PCAA title and earned a spot in the NCAA West Regional at Dedeaux Field, home of the USC Trojans.

The University of Arizona and Pepperdine also were in the regional. USC had won five consecutive national titles going into that regional and were heavy favorites to make it to Omaha.

Just prior to a first round contest against USC, a writer from Los Angeles phoned Garrido about the Titans’ first round contest against the Trojans.

“I’ll never forget when he asked me about those pairings in the first round,” Garrido said at the time.

“I just told him it was bad scheduling. I hate to see the host team (USC) eliminated so early.”

Garrido said the reporter’s typewriter clogged, and it stayed silent the rest of the interview.

Prior to the regional, Madeline Franks, organist at Dedeaux Field, asked Garrido what the Fullerton fight song was so that she could play it during Titan contests.

“I really don’t know,” Garrido said. “But our players like a certain rock and roll song that you could play.”

When game time arrived between USC and Fullerton, Franks’ delicate playing fingers started twitching — a sure sign the USC fight song was about to be played.

“I honestly expected to see Traveller II come galloping onto the field and see those SC cheerleaders,” Garrido said after he heard that song.

“When Fullerton took the playing field, the organist struck up It’s A Small World since the Titans are right next to Disneyland.

Amazingly, the Titans knocked off USC in that regional and represented District 8 at the College World Series. Fullerton lost two straight at the College World Series, but the groundwork had been laid for the future.

Four years later, Fullerton would win its first national title in baseball. Then in 1984, the Titans would win another one.

“We had no respect in 1975,” said Garrido.

“We were coming from NCAA Division II in 1974. We had a $4,500 budget. After we won our first conference championship in 1974, Athletic Director Neil Stoner said he had good news and bad news. The good news was that our budget would increase by $1,500 to $6,000. The bad news was that we were now going to be in Division I.

“In addition to baseball, I was teaching tennis and racquetball for 12 hours a week.”

Legendary Compassion
The compassion Garrido shows for his players is legendary.

Cal. St. Fullerton pitcher Ed Delzer had just pitched the game of his life in the championship game of the 1984 College World Series won by the Titans, 3-1.

The 5-foot-8, 150-pound pitcher had no-hit the Texas Longhorns for six straight innings in the national championship game after giving up two infield singles in the first inning. A leg cramp sidelined him during warm-up pitches before the start of the eighth inning.

After the final putout, he stood alone by the steps of the third base dugout choking back tears. They weren’t tears of joy, but tears of sorrow. Two years prior to this special moment, his father Edwin was shot and killed during a party that got way out of control during the Christmas holidays.

Garrido helped Delzer during this difficult ordeal. During this touching moment at the College World Series, Garrido attempted to console Delzer.

Definition Of Teamwork
Teamwork is a central cog in his teaching system.

“When I was at the University of Illinois (1988-1990), I marveled at the school’s band. Several times reporters asked me who the best team at Illinois was. I always responded that it was the band. They were unbelievably good.

“One day I asked our players if they thought they were a team when things weren’t going so well. I told them what precision is involved in being a team. I said if we were a band, the fans would boo us off the field at a football game.

“It requires playing an instrument, marching in precision and teamwork, timing and concentration. It’s the same as baseball. I asked them if they really thought they were athletes. I told them to go watch Baryshnikov (world famous ballet dancer). I’ll show you an athlete.”

Tough Childhood
The ability of Garrido to never give in to any challenge has served him well throughout his career, and it can be traced back to a tough environment during his childhood.

“Basically, I grew up in about as tough of an environment as there was,” said Garrido.

“Everone has had to fight their way out of difficult situations. But the early going was tough. We always had plenty to eat. My dad did a great job of providing for the family by working two jobs. My mom worked two jobs. We were never hungry. Our level was certainly at the level the world should be concerned about.

“It was a tough neighborhood (in Vallejo, Calif.). It was ship yard town — a Navy town just after World War II. There were plenty of sailors on the street. It was a rough and tumble, down and dirty area.

“There was lots of fighting and lots of brawling at the time. We lived in a building that had six families in it. Each one had their own place. It was a federal housing development built by the government during World War II.

“There were several of those communities in Vallejo. It was highly congested with lots of kids. The government put in these community buildings spread out in eight or 10 different districts. They were huge, almost temporary housing areas. They were called terraces.

“We lived in Federal Terrace. Larry Himes, general manager of the Cubs, lived in another one. Many fine athletes and others have come out of that environment and enjoyed tremendous success in the business and sports world.”

Rough Neighborhoods
It was mentioned to Garrido that several big name coaches were reared in tough neighborhoods and had difficult childhoods, such a Ron Fraser, former head coach at the University of Miami, Fla. and Andy Lopez, former coach at the University of Arizona.

“All of us have had exaggerated childhoods. That’s what has given us a sense of the importance in coaching. I know in Ron’s case and Andy’s case, what is important is the people. That doesn’t mean other coaches don’t feel the same who have many other backgrounds.

“We kind of came through the school of hard knocks. In that form of education, it’s the roughest educational form there is. It is a series of falls and recoveries. Almost everything you know is as a result of something you’ve done wrong. That’s tough.”

Garrido said he never strayed from the right side of the law during his childhood.

“I was deeply grounded to sports — all sports. I was with my dad every night at the community building. And I was always involved in sports. I fought Golden Gloves and did it because my friends did it on Wednesday nights. In basketball season, we played basketball. In football season, we played football. We also played baseball and other sports. It was a way of life.”

After a stint in the Army following college at Fresno State, he set his sights on coaching.

“I was trying to figure out what I was going to do,” said Garrido.

“I didn’t do a great job in school. I did what I had to do in high school.

“Basically, I went to school to play ball. I went to school because of baseball and basketball. I was very good at both of them. I didn’t know anything about the value of an education. My mom went as far as third grade. I don’t know if my dad ever finished high school. My brother didn’t.

“I didn’t know much about school. I knew about athletics. If I didn’t go to school, there was no place to play. And I didn’t want to give up something I loved so much. That is why I know about the value of athletics.”

Garrido said his fulfillment with coaching comes from other people and not from wins.

“When I was in the Army, I made a decision I wanted to be a coach. My dad said I couldn’t be a coach because there is no money in coaching.

“He was fearful that I wouldn’t get a job. He was a great guy. But he was a no risk guy. I am the opposite. Almost everything he was, I am the opposite. Our whole mind set is opposite. I was Augie, Jr., and I was fighting for an identity. I had to defy him because he was living his life through me like a Little League father.”

Turns To Ed Sullivan
As strange as this seems, Ed Sullivan played a role in defining how talented a coach he would eventually be.

“I realized by watching television that the best of everything was on the Ed Sullivan show. The best magician, the best yo-yo guy, the best of anything that was on that program. I brought with my coaching an entertainer’s mentality.

“But my dad wanted me to take a job in the ship yard in Vallejo, Calif. so I would be safe with a steady income. He wanted control. He wanted me to be secure. I told him I would never work in that ship yard, which was defiance. I felt if you are the best in your occupation, you will have work.

“My measurement for being the best is not about winning. At first it was as a coach. But I have always, probably because of my own personal needs, had a strong desire to give my players all that I have and let them pick and choose from that so they can be themselves. I don’t spend much time listening to what people think about my personal life. I genuinely and sincerely love people.”

Some coaches have openly snickered at the finely tailored suits Garrido routinely wears to coaching conventions and his affinity for gourmet food, art and the finer things in life which reflect success. It is rare to see a baseball coach wear a suit and tie except in formal settings.

“I don’t know why there is a negative perception when I choose to wear nice clothes,” said Garrido.

“The way I appear comes from a lot of things. People don’t realize my mother managed men’s clothing stores throughout her life. I was in there during the day folding t-shirts when I was 5-years-old after I did my paper route. I have worked at a lot of jobs. Everybody chipped in and tried to help.

“I went to Fresno State University and worked at one of the finest clothing stores. That’s how I worked my way through school.”

Supreme Innovator
Garrido has been an innovator in the game of baseball.

He was responsible for starting a new procedure at the University of Illinois when he started “weekenders.” In early February, the team would travel to warm climates on the weekends to play three-game series until the traditional spring break. After that series of games, then Illinois would return home to begin Big Ten Conference action as the weather became nice and warm. This is done routinely by several Big Ten teams today.

In addition, he is considered the guru of the short game in offensive baseball strategy with the bunting game. Hundreds of coaches in college baseball have attempted to copy his high pressure offensive style which includes bunting, push bunts, drag bunts and stealing bases — including home. Defenses never feel safe with a Garrido coached team.

When Garrido was asked about his futuristic ideas concerning baseball, he sidestepped the question and discussed another subject — winning. He does not accept accolades easily.

“In high school, I could never get things into perspective because everything to me was about winning. One day I drew a circle and put the name ‘players’ in it. Once I put that word player in the middle of the circle, everything fit. Coaching to me is a major part of my lifestyle. I keep people away from me with quips and short comments and for some the clothes I wear.

“But I am the luckiest guy alive. I have never had to work a day in my life, and that is the way I feel. Winning is important to the educational process. But people are more important. Success is best taught in and environment of success. Learning takes place in those conditions better than a negative environment. That is why winning is important. It’s learning the knowledge that is important.

“Another thing about me is that I have been into every art museum in every town I have been in because art captures the spirit and essence of the soul of civilizations that know more than we do about themselves.”

Verbal & Visual Man
Garrido is a verbal and visual person, and English was his major at Fresno State as he was forced to read a great deal during his college days.

Garrido played for one of the greatest teachers the game has ever seen in Pete Beiden, retired baseball coach at Fresno State.

“He was the best teacher/coach besides John Scolinos,” said Garrido.

“He was a fabulous, fabulous teacher. I have the highest respect for him. He was gruff and rough, and personality-wise, we were about as far apart as people may imagine.”

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Pitcher Nearly Brain Dead After Incident http://baseballnews.com/pitcher-nearly-brain-dead-incident/ http://baseballnews.com/pitcher-nearly-brain-dead-incident/#respond Thu, 15 Mar 2018 16:14:42 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=10600 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball GREENSBURG, Pa. — RHP Kenny Wells of Seton Hill University came perilously close to being brain dead after a serious accident last season. “On Feb. 7, 2017 during an intersquad game, I was hit in back of the head on the mound after our catcher threw a ball down […]

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By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

GREENSBURG, Pa. — RHP Kenny Wells of Seton Hill University came perilously close to being brain dead after a serious accident last season.

“On Feb. 7, 2017 during an intersquad game, I was hit in back of the head on the mound after our catcher threw a ball down to second base after warm up pitches prior to an inning,” said Wells.

“I was ducking as I typically do. When I was hit, I immediately fell to the ground.

“I had no idea what happened as I got up and tried to walk it off. Our athletic trainer (Megan Smith) came up to me and went through a concussion protocol as I was asked a number of questions.

“I was immediately shut down as she kept an eye on me. It may seem strange, but I felt fine and didn’t suffer any headache or nausea that typically happens when you suffer from a concussion.

“Then I went back to my dorm room and was told to let our trainer know immediately if any unusual symptoms happened. I was fine that evening.

“The next morning I woke up at 6 a.m. and took the concussion test, and I passed it. The following day, we had another intersquad game, and I did pretty well. On the third morning after I was hit, we had a 6 a.m. practice, and I decided to take an Ibuprofen pill prior to practice. 

“When I got to practice, I didn’t feel well and wasn’t acting like myself. So I went to the head trainer, and he sent me back to my room. Once I was there, I fell asleep.

“My roommate came back about an hour or so later and discovered I was having a seizure on the floor. He immediately called 911, and an ambulance rushed me to Westmoreland Hospital which is near the university. My trainer and coach were informed of what was happening by my roommate, and they immediately drove to the hospital.”

Jordan Blair, head athletic trainer at Seton Hill, said Wells appeared to be on his way to a full recovery when everything went south.

“I was actually with our wrestling team at the time Kenny was hit in the back of the head by our catcher,” said Blair.

“One of our other athletic trainers, Megan Smith, was able to get out to him and assess him. She said he was alert and cognitive and wasn’t experiencing a headache or nausea. Nothing abnormal was revealed at the time. Our concussion protocol is very strict, and we have one of the top doctors in the nation working with us in Dr. James Masterson.”

“After two days, Kenny wasn’t experiencing anything abnormal. Typically after 48 hours, an athlete is in the clear if he doesn’t have any headache or nausea or other unique symptoms.

“The morning of the third day after he was hit in the back of the head, he got up early in the morning for a 6 a.m. practice. And prior to going, he took Ibuprofen without our training staff knowing about it.”

Brain Begins To Bleed
Blair said there are different types of brain bleeds.

“Kenny had a spot in the brain that was bruised and had clotted. It wasn’t bleeding per se at the time. But the Ibuprofen he took before practice thinned the blood enough that it started to leak out of the clot.

“So the team, including Kenny, was at practice early in the morning this day. The team typically has an intense warm up. One of the pitchers, Don McWreath, brought Kenny over to me and said something was wrong with him. When I looked at Kenny, he looked lost.

“I thought that was highly unusual and had no idea Kenny had taken Ibuprofen prior to practice. He was warned about taking products such as Ibuprofen or aspirin that may thin the blood.

“So I am now worried that he is not acting normal at this point. Typically after 48 hours from such a head trauma, you aren’t concerned with a brain bleed anymore. Something would have developed already.

“Kenny is sitting in a room with me and is confused and not feeling all that great. He said he was tired, dizzy and nauseous. He is showing concussion symptoms which I hadn’t seen up to that point. So I call up our team physician Dr. Masterson and schedule Kenny to see him later that morning.

“Kenny went back to his room and took a nap before his appointment. I let him go back to his room thinking the concussion is there. Kenny’s roommate Brian Dabney opened his dorm door after practice and found Kenny having a seizure. Any time someone is having a seizure, it can be a life threatening emergency depending on the severity of it.”

To read more of this article, purchase the March 9, 2018 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE. The rest of the article delves into what happened to Kenny and how close he was to being brain dead.

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Miami’s Jim Morris Explains What He Learned http://baseballnews.com/miamis-jim-morris-explains-learned-coach/ http://baseballnews.com/miamis-jim-morris-explains-learned-coach/#respond Thu, 01 Mar 2018 22:15:43 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=10510 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball MIAMI, Fla. — Jim Morris, one of the greatest coaches in college baseball history, will retire following the 2018 baseball season. The head coach at the University of Miami (Fla.) for the past 24 seasons and skipper at Georgia Tech. 12 seasons prior to that, has forged a 1,566-690-4 […]

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By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

MIAMI, Fla. — Jim Morris, one of the greatest coaches in college baseball history, will retire following the 2018 baseball season.

The head coach at the University of Miami (Fla.) for the past 24 seasons and skipper at Georgia Tech. 12 seasons prior to that, has forged a 1,566-690-4 NCAA Division I record in 36 years.

Morris has led the Hurricanes to two national titles in 1999 and 2001. He set an NCAA record after guiding Miami to the CWS in each of his first six years with the Hurricanes. Over 150 players have gone into pro baseball after playing for Morris.

Collegiate Baseball presents this special question and answer session with Coach Morris.

COLLEGIATE BASEBALL: This will be your 41st year as a head coach in college baseball. Prior to Miami and Georgia Tech. you were a highly successful skipper at DeKalb (Ga.) Community College from 1976-79. What have you learned during your amazing journey.

JIM MORRIS: I have changed a lot as a coach. I was a head coach at the age of 24 at DeKalb Community College (Atlanta, Ga.). I had a player who was 22. At that particular time in my career, I had no assistant coaches. I was starting a program at DeKalb College. I felt like I had to separate myself from the players to make sure they could talk to me but not allow them to be my buddy since I was nearly the same age. I was starting a program that didn’t have a field or anything else for that matter. In my second year, we were national runner-up. I had 47 guys drafted in four years, including the No. 1 pick in the country. That’s what opened the door for my career. I had no idea how lucky I was. Now the school is called Perimeter College. But they have done away with athletics. When I left DeKalb, the baseball program was ranked No. 1 in the country

CB: How did you learn about recruiting at such a young age? It is extremely rare to see such a young coach reach such lofty heights so quickly.

MORRIS: I had just finished my playing career with the Red Sox, and I took the DeKalb job. And frankly, I just worked extremely hard in the quest to develop a great program. The pro scouts put me on their back and helped me. My next head coaching job was at Georgia Tech. in 1982. The program had never finished above last in the Atlantic Coast Conference. When I left in 1993, they were No. 1 in the country. That team had a team that featured Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Varitek, Jay Payton and Brad Rigby plus other fine players. We had won four ACC championships in a row. That qualified me to coach at the University of Miami.

CB: That’s quite a journey as a head baseball coach.

MORRIS: I had gone from DeKalb College where they had no baseball program before I took over to a place that had never won to a place you aren’t supposed to lose any games after what Ron Fraser had built there over many years.

CB: Taking over Miami’s program from legendary coach Ron Fraser must have been exciting but also intimidating as well. When you take over the reins of a program from a Hall of Fame coach who has raised the bar so high, it must be difficult.

MORRIS: If it wasn’t for the fact that Coach Fraser recruited me, then I wouldn’t have done that. Miami’s Athletic Director Paul Dee went to Coach Fraser and also Skip Bertman (former head coach at LSU) for advice on who should become the new coach. Both of them told him that I am the person they should hire. So I didn’t really apply for the job. Paul Dee called Georgia Tech. asking for permission to interview me. The AD at Georgia Tech. said they were more than welcome to talk to me, but added that I would never leave Georgia Tech. Paul Dee called me, and that started the process of me becoming the next coach at Miami. They made me a great offer. They told me I would get anything I needed to win. And I would get anything that football received. I asked him to repeat that again because I couldn’t believe what I just heard. Any time I needed something, I would remind Mr. Dee about the promise he had made. He was very good to me, and I was very lucky to be a part of his staff. But it is intimidating to follow such a great coach and man in Ron Fraser. If it didn’t work out at Miami, I could always fall back on selling real estate. But I responded by saying it is exactly like that. I have owned 41 houses in my life and really enjoy real estate. I told Coach Fraser that it was like following Bear Bryant at Alabama for football or John Wooden at UCLA in basketball. He told me it wasn’t.

To read more of this question and answer session, purchase the Feb. 23, 2018 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.

Coach Morris delves into what he learned during his coaching career, his approach to offense and developing players. He explains what he learned from Ted Williams who was his hitting coach when he played with the Red Sox. He also talks about pitching and how he has changed from a fiery coach like Billy Martin to a calm and collected skipper. Plus, he talks about how players can learn to focus after failing and his approach to winning the College World Series championship game.

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Game Plan For Staying Away From Flu http://baseballnews.com/game-plan-staying-away-flu/ http://baseballnews.com/game-plan-staying-away-flu/#respond Thu, 01 Mar 2018 21:21:28 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=10506 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball ATLANTA, Ga. — The 2018 flu season has been one of the worst in history, according to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC). In February, 49 states have had widespread outbreaks of the flu with 53 children dying. The CDC has projected that approximately 710,000 people across the USA […]

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By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

ATLANTA, Ga. — The 2018 flu season has been one of the worst in history, according to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC).

In February, 49 states have had widespread outbreaks of the flu with 53 children dying. The CDC has projected that approximately 710,000 people across the USA will be hospitalized.

The flu epidemic is tracking the same as the 2014-15 season as the CDC estimated that 34 million were infected during that time span.

Baseball players routinely come down with the flu each spring.

The standard practice for coaches has always been to isolate those players from the rest of the team so germs aren’t spread. More often than not, they are sent home.

All too often entire teams come down with the flu or some other ailment.

Here is what Collegiate Baseball has found that may be helpful in having a game plan to keep players and coaches healthy during the baseball season.

Influenza viruses are spread from person to person primarily when an infected person coughs or sneezes near a susceptible person.

According to the CDC, transmission via large-particle droplets requires close contact between the source and recipient.

Airborne transmission (via small particle residue of evaporated droplets) might remain suspended in the air for long periods of time and typically can travel up to 20 feet.

The typical incubation period for influenza is 1-4 days.

The CDC reports that most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick.

Because of the number of players who handle the same baseballs and bats during any given practice, these two products are prime spots for influenza germs.

Sterilizing Equipment
Weight training facilities are a breeding ground for bacteria. Athletes are encouraged to wipe down equipment with sanitizing wipes to prevent the spread of germs and especially MRSA.

This bacterium is tougher to treat than most strains or staph because it is resistant to some commonly used antibiotics.

If it is important to disinfect equipment such as this, why hasn’t baseball embraced sterilization treatments of bats and possibly balls that can be teeming with bacteria?

Dr. Herb McReynolds, Medical Director of Emergency Services at Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital in Tucson, Ariz., has been a physician for 40 years.

He played baseball for 40 years in his off time until he stopped a few years ago and said certain procedures can be utilized in baseball to stem the tide of influenza and other germs.

“At a hospital, doctors are expected to use sanitizing gel on their hands before going into a room and then once again when they come out,” said McReynolds.

“Why not do the same on baseball fields or hitting facilities? You could have a Purell Hand Sanitizer Dispenser near the dugout or by the door of each batting cage in a hitting facility. As players come in, they are asked to sanitize their hands. Once practice is over, they can sanitize their hands as they leave.

“It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have players own their own bat which aren’t touched by other players. Common bats used by multiple players can be wiped down in the handle areas with Chlorox-based wipes prior to practice and after practice and even between hitters during an epidemic.

“Players who are obviously sick should be sent home so they don’t spread germs.

McReynolds said players who are at practice and coughing and sneezing could have the flu or some other influenza like virus, which has also been at epidemic proportions this winter.

“What you don’t want a player to do is cough or wipe his nose in his hand. Instead, coaches should ask players to cough or sneeze into their shirt sleeve and NOT into their hands. Many times people will turn away and cough into their hand. This causes a problem in baseball since the hand will touch baseballs that are utilized by many different players.

“If a hitter coughs or wipes his nose in his hand and grabs a bat, guess what happens? There are now germs all over the place on the bat grip. If someone else uses that bat, they will probably be infected.

“It would be an excellent idea for schools to have hand sanitizers in restrooms. Knobs of doors should be disinfected regularly since many people touch them along with faucets.

“Many viruses can live up to 24 hours on a door handle.

“One more piece of advice I would give is to get a flu shot in the fall prior to the flu season. It takes two weeks for the antibodies to work properly. You can still get a flu shot now. But during that 2-week period, you will be susceptible to the flu.”

To read more of this article, purchase the Feb., 23, 2018 edition or subscribe by CLICKING HERE. It explains how you can sanitize baseballs with special light that hospitals utilize, why sharing water bottles by athletes is dangerous and how a baseball player died in 2005 because of bacterial meningitis. In addition, the article explains the dangers of sharing batting helmets and why proper rest is vital.

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Explaining Cheat Codes Of Launch Angles http://baseballnews.com/explaining-cheat-codes-launch-angles/ http://baseballnews.com/explaining-cheat-codes-launch-angles/#comments Thu, 01 Mar 2018 17:13:06 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=10497 By PERRY HUSBAND Special To Collegiate Baseball PALMDALE, Calif. — New ways to measure virtually every aspect of hitting is in full force, yet there is more confusion than ever. There are certain things that will never change.  We’ll cut through the confusion to get to the essence of what all the data is actually […]

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By PERRY HUSBAND
Special To Collegiate Baseball

PALMDALE, Calif. — New ways to measure virtually every aspect of hitting is in full force, yet there is more confusion than ever.

There are certain things that will never change. 

We’ll cut through the confusion to get to the essence of what all the data is actually telling us. 

Data, after all, is simply the measurements of what happened. Data doesn’t tell us how it happened, only that it happened. The rest is up to interpretation. 

Launch angle is a great place to start. Ball flight is crucial to truly getting the most out of your swing. 

Batting averages are typically well over .600 on line drives, around .240 on ground balls and just over .200 for fly balls. So the trajectory of a ball off a bat is a big deal. 

Analysts speak of launch angle as though it’s a verb — like we can turn it on and off or simply “just say no to ground balls.”

Yet this is a long way from the truth. Hitters can’t really control how the ball comes off the bat.

Hitting a round ball with a round bat only has three possible outcomes. 

  • Near Perfect Contact (20%) – the ball is hit exactly on the same line as the pitch.
  • Below Center Contact (40%) – the ball is hit below center resulting in some type of fly ball.
  • Above Center Contact (40%) – the ball is hit above center resulting in some type of ground ball.

Perfect contact is where the sweet spot of the bat hits the ball exactly in the center, propelling the ball forward in the exact line it came in on. This almost never happens. 

Most hitters hit the ball at their absolute maximum exit velocity less than five times in 500-plus at-bats. 

Several years ago Avisail Garcia hit the highest exit velocity that year at 126 mph. 

He hit only one other ball that year at 115 mph or more (only about 91 percent of his max) and averaged less than 80 percent of his 126 mph.

Top MLB hitters hover around 20-25 percent line drives, with the average about 20 percent, although only about 1-2 percent are actually hit perfectly. The rest are all miss hits.    

Below center contact is when the bat is underneath the center of the ball, causing anywhere from a high line drive to a pop up in the infield (when fair) and this miss hit happens roughly 40 percent of the time. 

Above center contact is when the bat is above the center of the ball, causing a low line drive to a topped dribbler or something in between. 

This also happens about 40 percent of the time, despite baseball trying to “just say no to ground balls.” 

MLB, with their efforts to hit the ball in the air, has only managed to change the average from 48 percent ground balls to 45 percent. 

A great improvement, but yet still a very long ways away from zero ground balls, which is virtually impossible.

The indisputable fact is that ball-bat collisions have a set of laws that will produce contact at about 40 percent fly balls, 40 percent ground balls and about 20 percent line drives. 

That 40/40/20 breakdown will always be the standard. 

The question is what does that mean? 

Hitters can’t control launch angle — only the things that cause it. 

In short, creating a bat path that matches the pitch path is the bottom line. 

When the bat is in line with the pitch, the hitter has the best chance to produce the most solid contact. 

When hitters just swing up, swing down on the ball, or any other swing path choice, they alter the natural ball flight laws.

Say No To Ground Balls
Warning, this idea gets a bit technical, but we will return to simple afterwards. 

Also, this is not in any way critical of Josh Donaldson. He is truly one of the elite. It is just a great example of how hard controlling launch angle is. 

In three years of fastballs in the center of the zone:

  • Josh was thrown 394 fastballs in the middle box of the strike zone.
  • He swung at 317 of them with the intent of hitting them all at 25 degrees .
  • 37 percent ground balls.
  • 6 percent barrels or balls hit in a launch angle range of 25 to 30 degrees at 100 mph.
  • His average exit velocity was 99 mph.
  • Batting average just north of .400.
  • 36 percent of those middle pitches were fouled off.
  • Swing and miss rate was just over 11 percent.

These stats are impressive.

But to really understand launch angle, you must get precise because perfect contact requires perfect timing in a perfect line, and it is quite rare. 

We must have a single point to measure all contact from if we are to be exact. 

Only one degree line is exact for this middle pitch (assuming they are on the same pitch line which they will not be but will be close), every other one is slightly miss hit. 

Within a range of 10 degree misses, above or below the exact center, the exit velocity will remain close to maximum. 

Data shows 20 degree miss hits start to lose exit velocity, a discovery made in the mid-1990’s with my early exit velocity testing off the tee. 

Above is the launch angle graphic for Josh Donaldson with these 394 middle zone fastballs. 

Statcast refers to barrels as the balls hit at 25-30 degrees at 100 mph, with some various other possible definition caveats. 

Light gray dots indicates base hits while black dots are outs and the outside ring is 120 mph. So the balls hit close to the ring are 100 mph or greater. 

Of course, almost every ball hit at 100 mph at that trajectory will have great results. 

When hitters focus on trying to create this higher trajectory, the quality of the fly balls and the quality of the ground balls goes down. 

Notice not very many base hits in the fly ball area are above 45 degrees. 

It’s the same thing on ground balls hit at – 45 degrees or below. 

The bulk of the hits are between -10 degrees and +30 degrees. 

Rather than only looking only at the 25 to 30 degree launch single area as good and writing off all groundballs as bad, take a look at the area around +10 degrees (above the 0 line). 

This area is dense with hits, both above and below the 10 degree line. 

Josh Donaldson actually has a swing line that is slightly more geared toward the 10 degree line than the 25 degree line.

The evidence is simply that the center of the most dense hard contact is closer to 10 degrees than 25 degrees. 

In other words, the balls hit at 25 to 30 degrees are actually slight miss hits, with the evidence that the exit velocity goes down slightly. 

Most homeruns tend to have less exit velocity because of that very reason. 

There are homeruns hit at higher exit velocities, but they are also hit lower, closer to line drives. 

Hitters who focus on a higher fly ball launch angle will hit more popups and weak, topped ground balls, as well as more swings and misses. It is always a package deal. 

Hitters who stay focused closer to that 10 degree line have harder fly ball misses and harder ground ball misses, also a package deal. 

Remember, every hitter misses far more than they hit it perfect. 

Hitting is a very imperfect science. But the more you realize the fact that hitters simply cannot control launch angle, the more you can focus on what really matters — bat path and timing. 

We will tackle timing in this series, but for today we’ll focus on the bat path. 

Bat Path
Hitters don’t really know what the pitch path will be, but pitchers have done a really nice service to hitters as of late, at least at the MLB level. 

Pitchers have focused on throwing their fastballs at the bottom of the zone predominately. 

This creates a pitch path or angle downward that is closer to their off speed, and ironically, almost exactly in the upward bat path of most guys trying to hit 25 degree fly balls. 

Pitchers at the highest level have been bending over backwards to help hitters create 25-30 degree damage causing contact.

If you also notice in the graphic above, there are two notes. 

One shows what happens when ground balls are hit at 100 mph, smoked ground balls or more accurately, between the 0 line and down to the -10 degree line. 

The top 10 hitters’ batting averages are between .679 and .847 on 100 mph ground balls and 224 total hitters hit .400 or higher. 

The other note shows batters hitting fly balls that are slightly miss hit at 90 mph or less. 

Zero hitters had a batting average of .400 on fly balls not well hit, and only the top 10 had batting averages over .200. 

This unfair comparison was to show that if you err on the side of trying to hit fly balls, any miss hit will not get the results you are after. 

Conversely, with a focus on lower line drives, the fly balls you miss hit end up in the ‘garden spot’ that is 25-30 degrees at higher exit velocities. 

The bonus is that the ground balls are also hit harder. 

When you miss hit a ball with a bat path conducive to a +10 degree launch angle, your ground balls will be harder, taking full advantage of both types of misses, above and below center. 

This is simple cause and effect. 

Control what you can control and let the rest happen and stop hating on all ground balls.  

This fly ball/ground ball comparison is a bit unfair.

But when you see most fly ball versus ground ball studies, they lean heavily in favor of the fly ball because line drives are included as fly balls. 

Of course fly balls and line drives are going to outperform ground balls. 

This study was simply to show that ground balls need some love, at least those hardest hit. 

The point of it all is simply that when you focus on the right launch angle (hint: not 25-30 degrees), you will produce higher exit velocities for both the fly balls and the ground balls.

To read more of this in-depth article, purchase the Feb. 23, 2018 edition or subscribe by CLICKING HERE. It explains launch angle practice and the value of targets, why backspin is overrated, the truth about spin rate and launch angle data, the grip, hands and launch angles, foot down early load, backside collapse, barrel roll/tilting and more.

More information can also be obtained by going on Perry Husband’s website at www.hittingisaguess.com

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Ejection Epidemic Can Be Solved With Action http://baseballnews.com/ejection-epidemic-can-solved-action/ http://baseballnews.com/ejection-epidemic-can-solved-action/#comments Thu, 01 Mar 2018 16:23:29 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=10494 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball TUCSON, Ariz. — For the past five years, ejections in NCAA baseball have risen each year. This epidemic is hard to swallow since the NCAA Rules Committee made major changes in 2012 to emphasize that vicious comments directed at umpires by players and coaches would not be tolerated. In […]

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By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

TUCSON, Ariz. — For the past five years, ejections in NCAA baseball have risen each year.

This epidemic is hard to swallow since the NCAA Rules Committee made major changes in 2012 to emphasize that vicious comments directed at umpires by players and coaches would not be tolerated.

In 2012, there a grand total of 600 ejections in NCAA Divisions I, II and III. In 2017, that number grew to 709.

Last season in an effort to stem the tide of this unfortunate trend, umpires were instructed to give official warnings to coaches or players who crossed the line with comments in an effort to avoid ejections or suspensions.

Still the ejections have risen.

“Well, it’s not getting any better,” said George Drouches, NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires in the 2018 NCAA Baseball Guide.

“As a matter of fact, ejections are up, suspensions are up, and the profanity is deplorable.”

There were a grand total of 709 ejections or suspensions last season across NCAA Division I, II and III games. Here is the breakdown:

NCAA Div. I: (Player – 114, Assistant Coach – 37, Head Coach – 152).

NCAA Div. II: (Player – 99, Assistant Coach – 23, Head Coach – 84).

NCAA Div. III: (Player – 83, Assistant Coach – 30, Head Coach – 87).

A brief categorization of ejections includes ball/strike, safe/out and fair/foul calls by umpires.

Drouches said that ball/strike calls result in the lion’s share of ejections at nearly 70 percent.

He reported that directed profanity was reported in over 90 percent of ejections or suspensions.

While coaches and players can trigger an ejection with language that would make a sailor blush, umpires must be accountable as well and have a thick skin. They must work to calm and defuse potential powder kegs from exploding.

If an umpire is unprofessional, baits a coach or uses inappropriate language, we feel he should be given a suspension as well.

Collegiate Baseball feels more respect is needed between umpires and coaches without question.

The late Bud Grainger from Tucson, Ariz., one of the best umpires in NCAA history, served with distinction for 39 years in college and high school baseball games.

He simply would tell the coach he screwed up and apologize. This defused the situation and gained the respect of the coach because Grainger admitted he was wrong.

He also explained to the coach he was human and always tried to be perfect, but at times he wasn’t.

Grainger only ejected a few coaches in his 39 years of umpiring because he only did this as a last resort and respected all coaches.

Another factor in this problem is umpires who refuse to call the rule book definition of a strike zone. Since nearly 70 percent of ejections are caused by ball/strike arguments by coaches, it stands to reason there is an issue.

Over and over through the years, the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee has emphasized calling the rule book definition of the zone. Perhaps it is time to prevent umpires from working NCAA games if they refuse to call the strike zone as shown and written in the NCAA Baseball Rule Book.

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