Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Important Things That You Need To Know About Winter Baseball

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

By: R. Naz 

Baseball has no precise time to be played as it is more all-rounded. Whether its winter or summer, at night or during the day; it is always enjoyable playing this game. This article will, however, narrow down on baseball played specifically during winter for you to understand what it is all about and what it entails. In Latin America where the game is very common and popular, leagues played in winter are divided into four main categories and they all have their own differences. For example, the number of players fielded by a single team varies while teams taking part across all the leagues change from one level to another. The only thing that remains constant is the format as there is only one.

All the leagues go into playoffs in the month of January every season and the number of qualified teams varies from league to league. The numbers notwithstanding, the teams must be the ones at the top that make it to the playoffs which are hotly contested. The format of play is always a round-robin where every team plays against each other to determine the ones that faceoff in the final. Once more, the final can be played for a best of seven of nine but it's all dependent on the league. Past records for the entire season are hugely used to determine the team that seeds top in the final of a winter baseball league.

Another important thing that you need to know about winter baseball is the format and style of making substitutions. These are mainly players in the reserves bench and are usually drawn from the teams that did not qualify for the playoffs. Every team must have four substitutes as per the rule of the game but it has to be approved by any team before their player is drafted into the reserves bench of another one that is taking part in the playoffs. For teams that reach the playoffs final, they are entitled to draft only two substitutes prior to the match.

The winning side enjoys the rights to represent their specific country in the continental series that come immediately after the final has been staged. There is, however, some time allowance for the players to rest. With that, you have understood well how the winter baseball is run but you can make more research to know more about this game when played under freezing conditions.

Article Source: Important Things That You Need To Know About Winter Baseball

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Baseball, A Personal and Biased Perspective

Field of Dreams

"A hotdog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz" -- Humphrey Bogart

I'm not sure just when I became a fan. In truth, I don't think anyone ever chooses to do it. I don't think anyone ever woke up on a Saturday morning and said to themselves, "Today is the day I learn something about baseball." Baseball isn't like that. Baseball, it seems to me, chooses you.

I know this: most of what I learned about baseball is thanks to my dad. And I suspect that most baseball-loving people over the past 100 years would say the same thing. Baseball is like your great-grandfather's pocket watch handed down to you with care. A kind of inheritance, if you will, from your father, grandfather, uncle; often - but not always - a male authority figure.

Baseball fans are a unique breed. While your average baseball fan can discuss the finer points of the game in great detail, the real love the sport engenders in the avid fan is not easy to define. If you spend any time around baseball, it seeps into you in a hard-to-explain way. It's a connecting thread in the linens of one's life. Somehow, game by game, inning by inning, it gets in your blood, and once you've got it there's no cure. Once really exposed to baseball, it will be, for now and always, a wonderful infection, deeply ingrained in your psyche. If all of this metaphor talk about baseball sounds maudlin or overly-sentimental, you are not a baseball fan. But don't worry, there's still hope for you.

My first exposure to baseball, as I mentioned, was thanks to my dad. Specifically, via the games we would go see played by Portland's minor league team, the Beavers. I suppose I was about eight or nine when I saw my first game. I don't recall the score or who the opposing team was. Maybe surprisingly, I don't even remember whether our beloved Beavers won or lost. Being so new to the game, I didn't understand strikes, balls, outs, steals, or anything else that seemed to be happening in some odd mixture of quiet, deliberate order counterbalanced by sudden, riotous chaos. There were cheers, boos, some running, some dust kicked up, some ball throwing, even some stealing (when my father said that a runner stole 2nd base, I recall pointing out the obvious: "No he didn't. It's still there.")

I didn't know any of the players, and couldn't tell the catcher from the mascot. I really had no idea what was going on down there on that huge green and brown expanse. I was a baseball newborn, seeing, hearing, smelling the myriad of sensory experiences unique to this bizarre game for the very first time.

I can only recall aspects of the game that really don't have anything to do with sports or statistics.

I will never forget my first sight of the baseball outfield as we entered the stadium, almost blindingly green. I remember the foreign bittersweet smell of beer. I remember the loose crackle of peanut shells under foot. I remember the musky smell of sod and moistened dirt, and of course, the tantalizing scent of hotdogs, and salty popcorn. There is a perfume to a baseball stadium, and it can be found nowhere else. I remember the crack of a 33 ounce bat against a five ounce leathery sphere that sounded like a gunshot echoing in the stadium while the players took batting practice before the game. Most of all, I remember the ever-present noise of the fans, like an ocean, sometimes a quiet drone, sometimes a raucous tidal wave of cheers or boos interspersed with yells of "Get your glasses on, ump!" or, "He's gonna bunt!" or, "Pull that pitcher, he's done!" None of this made any sense to me whatsoever.

Although I was a small boy, experiencing a hundred utterly alien and weird things on that day over 30 years ago, I was overcome with an unexpected feeling - not of being in an uncomfortable and unfamiliar place, but of being at home.

I know that this experience of mine isn't unique. In fact it's almost a cliche. Talk to anyone who loves the game and they will likely have a similar story to tell. But while baseball has not been my life's passion, my appreciation of the Grand Old Game has reached a point with me where I have no choice but to look a little deeper at this odd phenomenon and explore the game in my own way.

"I see great things in baseball. It's our game - the American game. It will take our people out-of-doors, fill them with oxygen, give them a larger physical stoicism. Tend to relieve us from being a nervous, dyspeptic set. Repair these losses, and be a blessing to us." ~Walt Whitman

In 1979, the Pittsburgh Pirates, led by Dave Parker and Willie Stargell, won the National League pennant. Anytime I hear their theme song, "We Are Family," by Sister Sledge, I can't help but envision Stargell rounding the bases in his black and yellow Pirate uniform, like some exuberant bumblebee, after one of his famous mammoth home runs.

As it happened, our local minor league team, the Portland Beavers, were the farm team for the Pirates at that time. This resulted in dad and me meeting both Stargell and Parker when they visited Portland during a Beavers exhibition game. Whatever they were like in their personal lives, I remember that Stargell and Parker exhibited all the hallmarks of the gentlemanly demeanor the institution of baseball somehow seems to instill in so many of its stars. And I recall that both of them, while graciously smiling and autographing a nonstop supply of baseballs, seemed to have hands and arms of superheroes, which, in a sense, they really were.

"When they start the game, they don't yell, "Work ball." They say, "Play ball."' ~Willie Stargell

It was then - having met some of its legends - that I began to pay attention to baseball. Although I was already a fan of basketball and football, I found myself constantly mesmerized - if not downright confused - by baseball and its intricacies. That seeming contradiction between simplicity and complexity is but one of the enigmas of the game. Baseball is, after all, unique. Let's remember a few things about baseball that, in my mind anyway, set it apart from other sports.

First, the game is set upon a field arranged in a rather unusual geometric shape. Rather than having a goal of some sort on each end of an elongated field (as most other sports) there is no such goal. No basket, no goal, no net. There is no linear movement from one endzone to the other.

While the specific dimensions and configuration of the lines and bases on the field are constant in major and minor league baseball, the fields themselves can vary in size and shape. The distance from home plate to the center field fence, for example, can vary as much as 35 feet from park to park.

Second, baseball is not a game depending so much on constant action as it is on moments that can unfold in a split second fastball strike, or a single swing that sends a ball over the fence and brings a home crowd to its feet (or leaves them cursing in despair). Once the pitcher fires the ball toward home plate - a journey that takes the ball about half a second - virtually anything can happen. Anything.

Critics of baseball say the game lacks athleticism and hard play. This is a little like complaining that tennis lacks enough slam dunks, or that golf doesn't involve enough tackling. But as anyone who has played or paid close attention to the game can attest, there's plenty of physicality in baseball. The power it takes to smack a ball over a fence 410 feet away may only be eclipsed by the sheer superhuman effort it takes to launch a fist-sized hardball into a space the size of a hubcap sixty feet away...at nearly 100 miles an hour...100 times a night...accurately.

Still, say critics, the game is slow, not enough action to satisfy the short attention spans of the modern sports fan. While the criticism seems misplaced to us baseball fans, do the critics have a point? During an average game, how much time elapses during which "something's happening?"

To get to the bottom of this question, Wall Street Journal reporter David Biderman recently analyzed the amount of time spent in action during an average major league baseball game. "Action," includes the time it takes for a pitcher to throw the ball, as well as the more obvious time a ball is in the air after a hit, or a player is stealing base, etc. Biderman determined that the average game had about 14 minutes of action in it.

However, as noted by Biderman, the time not spent in action during a game isn't exactly time wasted. Between pitches, a myriad of decisions and strategic options may be weighed out. Managers may be busy consulting the hitting chart on an opposing batter before he even steps up to the plate. Catchers and pitchers are having a constant silent dialogue regarding what kind of pitch to throw and where to place that pitch, depending on a range of factors. And fielders may shift positions depending on the batter, or the game situation to increase their chances of saving runs. While the casual observer may grow frustrated by "all the standing around," in baseball, the more involved fan knows that this time spent between pitches is where the real game of baseball is played. In short, there is always "something happening" during a baseball game.

But the critics who persist in impatiently drumming their fingers on their knees and yawning over the "slow pace" of baseball may find it interesting to learn that Biderman also determined the amount of play action during an average professional football game. Just 11 minutes.

While it's interesting to consider these aspects of time where baseball is concerned, most aficionados know that baseball has far more to do with timing. To the novice fan, baseball looks like a sport centered on the pitcher trying to strike out the batter, and the batter trying to avoid such a fate. But to the trained eye, the battle between pitcher and hitter is one of keen decision-making and split-second timing, and it's not a simple thing to analyze. Take pitching, for example.

It would take a supercomputer to properly determine the variables in physics involved in throwing a pitch. From the way a pitcher regulates his breath before the pitch, places his feet on the mound, and adjusts his balance, to the grip on the ball, to the wind-up (often looking like a pained contortionist, but carefully developed by each pitcher to maximize velocity and balance), to the release point (the precise moment the ball leaves the pitcher's hand), and the amount of spin or torque applied to the ball as it is released (the arm swing measured as fast as 5,000 degrees per second!), muscles from neck to toes flexing and releasing, pitching is a perfect symphony of physiological exertion unlike anything seen in other sports.

The speed, movement, and break of a pitch largely determines its success, so the slightest deviant motion or off-balance release can make the difference between a perfectly placed strike or a wild pitch. To master all this, a good baseball pitcher is certainly more than an athlete. He's part physicist, part sleight-of-hand magician, and part gambler.

Batting is no different. A skilled hitter is a combination of laser-like focus, spring-loaded power, and gymnastic balance at the plate. The position and angle of the bat before the pitch is released, as well as the stance, head angle, and knee bend, can be different from hitter to hitter. And then there is the swing itself. There is, as it turns out, a specific way one is supposed to swing at a pitch. Turning the upper body toward the pitcher as the ball is released, rotating the shoulders, and extending the arms only through the strike zone - not before - while following the ball with your eyes, and throwing the entire weight of your hips, arms, and shoulders into the (hopeful) contact. Got it? Good.

Of course not everyone hits this way and keen observers can recognize some ball players merely by their unique stance at the plate. For an object lesson in contrasts of batting styles among players, observe the differences between Ichiro Suzuki, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Kevin Youkilis, and Alex Pujols at the plate; all outstanding hitters, and yet all possessing radically different batting stances and swings.

Obviously, not everyone cares about such things as whether a hitter is "pulling the ball to left field," or how a pitcher manages to throw a ball in such a way that the trajectory actually changes in mid-flight. As fascinating as these things are to me, I know that the average sports fan probably doesn't spend much time thinking about them. Of course many baseball fans are not "average" sports fans. They may never have held a bat in their hands, but they are students of the game and they devour minuscule pieces of baseball data the way mice gobble crumbs.

"Baseball statistics are like a girl in a bikini. They show a lot, but not everything." ~Toby Harrah

Truthfully, the one element of baseball that was, for a time, off-putting to me is the absolute pervasive worship of The Statistic. Baseball, more than any other sport outside of world economics, maybe, takes statistics very, very seriously. Some have compared the lust for baseball statistics to a drug addiction. It seems that almost nothing can happen during a game - no matter how trivial - that isn't being meticulously documented by somebody somewhere. We've all seen box scores, displaying the runs, hits, and errors, by innings for a given game. Some of us have even looked up things like "lifetime batting average," for a given player, or "best ERA for a closer since 1955." But this does not scratch the surface of statistical obsession with which baseball fans preoccupy themselves.

For example, were you aware that on September 5th, 2006, seven teams shut out their opponents? Or that on July 24th, 2006, the Detroit Tigers became the first team in 115 years to score 5 or more runs in the first inning of three consecutive games? Or that only two brothers ended up with the exact same batting average in the same season (Mike and Bob Garbank, in 1944, a.261 average for both). Still awake?

Well, let me let you in on a little secret: you do not need to concern yourself with such trivia in order to thoroughly and genuinely appreciate the game of baseball. But here's an even deeper secret: the more you watch baseball, the more you will become genuinely fascinated by such seemingly meaningless facts. And you might just learn something in the process. Thanks to baseball, I learned how to calculate a pitchers ERA, a hitter's batting average, and other (gasp!) mathematical feats.

One of the most compelling aspects of baseball to me is that it's really a game within a game, within a game. It's like some sort of fractal image: the closer you look, the more you see. The greater your attention, the more details are revealed. To commit to becoming a student of the game means becoming a kind of archeologist who digs deeper and is rewarded with ever more intriguing information. After more than 30 years of personal appreciation and observation, I am still learning the game. From pitch selection, to situational fielding positions, to the strategy of the batting lineup based on the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing starting pitcher, baseball is a bottomless well of fascination for anyone intrigued by variables, odds, statistics, and just plain luck.

I've rambled on about the ins and outs of baseball for some time now. But what is it about this game that really so grabs me as a fan?

I guess the answer to that runs deeper than hits, home runs, and hotdogs. I think the real answer is that baseball delivers something to my life I've found nowhere else: A sense of belonging. Belonging to a history, a tradition, a heritage that not only stands the test of time, but also makes time somehow irrelevant. Think about it. This game has been played, essentially the same way, since the Industrial Revolution. Through world wars. Through political upheavals. Through social unrest, and times of economic boom and dark depression. It has served as both a focal point and a distraction for numerous generations. It's been a touchstone of American history, both reflecting and deflecting the stresses and influences at work outside the ballpark.

And it's not just an American phenomenon. It's nearly impossible to find a town of more than a few hundred people anywhere on the planet that doesn't include a group of kids swinging a stick at a ball, many with dreams of one day knocking a walk-off homerun out of the park in the bottom of the 9th inning of a World Series game 7. (Hey, I still have that dream too!)

"The other sports are just sports. Baseball is a love." ~Bryant Gumbel

Baseball has it's losers and champions, heroes and goats, its integrity and, yes, its scandals. Like the men who play the game, baseball itself isn't perfect. But somehow, in some mysterious way, baseball inspires, enthralls, and entertains like no other sport.

As for me, I'm grateful dad took me to that first game. I'm happy to have baseball as a part of my life and education. And I've learned more than a few things from baseball over the years. From Babe Ruth, I've learned that the mystique of history can endure into the postmodern age. From Jackie Robinson I've learned that the power of a man's spirit and skill can overwhelm the bitterness of prejudice. From Lou Gehrig I learned that we are all ultimately mortal, and yet all capable of performing superhuman feats. From Derek Jeter I learned that you don't have to be a jerk to win: it's possible to succeed with both style and grace. From Cal Ripkin Jr. who played a staggering record 2,131 consecutive games, I learned the value of resilience, determination, and guts. From Bill Buckner I learned that major league mistakes don't change the fact that life goes on. From Yogi Berra I learned that "Baseball is ninety percent mental, the other half is physical." The list goes on.

A few years ago, my dad and I took my son to his first Portland Beavers baseball game. I don't remember much about the game. I don't recall the opposing team. I don't even recall whether our beloved Beavers won or lost. What I do recall is a great feeling of satisfaction, that I was now able to do what dad had done for me by introducing him to this strange and wonderful world of strikes, steals, and sliders.

Little had changed since my first game. The smell of beer and hotdogs still permeated the air. The field was just as green, the fans just as boisterous, the crack of the bat just as sharp. And, sometime around the 6th inning, sitting there in the stands with my father and son, I recall the distinct and irreplaceable feeling of being at home.

"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again." --- James Earl Jones (as Terrence Mann) in Field of Dreams

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Importance of Baseball Drills

All American Girls Professional Baseball League player Marg Callaghan sliding into home plate as umpire Norris Ward watches: Opa-locka, Florida
By Adam C Moore

Baseball drills are very essential when you are training for baseball. It is of utmost importance that you work on your drills regularly. This is to guarantee that your playing style improves over time and any issues that you may have with your baseball training can be addressed right away. In addition to this, these exercises can not only improve the playing skills of the players, but can likewise teach them self-discipline and concentration.

In training for baseball, determining the areas where you may be needing some improvements won't always be a breeze. This can only be done accurately through breaking down your games into several sections and incorporate drills on each of them. Baseball drills can really help show you what your strengths and weaknesses are, and will help you improve on these areas. No matter what your age is, or whether you are an expert or a beginner in baseball, baseball drills exercises will truly make a big difference on your playing skills.

Moreover, most professional baseball coaches have a variety of drills prepared for their teams. A good baseball coach focuses not merely on winning every game, but also knowing where his players are good and where they are not. This way, he can make a better game plan because he knows exactly what each members of his team can do.

It is very crucial for the team's coach to have a well-planned and organized set of drills. This can save the whole team a lot of time in trying to determine the exercises that can either improve, or pinpoint a player's weak point. Most coaches do have a book for baseball drills, while some have already mastered these exercises by heart through several years of experiences. Because they know the importance of baseball drills, they usually are on the look out for new drills from other coaches for them to use on their own teams.

If you happen to be a coach or a player who wishes to learn more baseball drills, the internet is a great place to start looking for some. There are actually hundreds of websites out there that can give you some ideas about drills, as well as teach you some very effective playing techniques. Most of these websites use illustrations so you could easily follow the drills, or better yet, you can look for those that have video illustrations of the drills. You may also get some nice drills from other players or coaches as you can get several different styles from a number of people.

While you may often see the same old baseball drills in these websites, you might want to check them every now and then for new updates. It should be a constant learning process because as we all know, one can never learn everything all at once. And lastly, performing these skills correctly is just as important as learning new techniques. Thus, make sure that you perform the baseball drills properly to ensure optimum results.

As a former baseball player, I have had an opportunity to try out many different products. As a former catcher, I have wrote articles on Catchers Mitts, and gear such as Easton Catchers Gear.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Adam_C_Moore

Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Independent Professional Baseball Teams

Author: Independent Baseball

You may have recently heard about an independent baseball team near where you live, or near where you were traveling.  If so, you may have wondered what makes a team "independent" and if it is worth your money to go watch that team.

An independent professional baseball team is a team which plays in a professional baseball league that is not affiliated with any Major League organization or the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, which is now named (officially) Minor League Baseball.  These teams have complete control over the players they sign, the personnel they hire, and their players can be signed by any "affiliated" team in Minor League Baseball.  

Occasionally, an independent baseball player may make it to a Major League Baseball roster after having started his career in the independent baseball leagues.  Many players who make it to a Major League roster after having spent time with an independent baseball team usually had previous Major League, or high-level Minor League experience prior to joining a Major League Baseball roster.  

For the 2009 season, nearly 60 independent teams fielded a team in 8 independent leagues.  The teams play in the U.S. and Canada.  There are independent baseball teams in the Northeast, Quebec, Calgary, California, the Mid-Atlantic, Texas, Arizona, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota and the Dakotas, just to name a few regions.  The players can range from just out of college, former "affiliated" minor league players who were released, players who could be in the minors but opted to play closer to home for family reasons, former Major League players, and occasionally international players.  Many teams have managers and coaches whom have previous Major League Baseball experience.

The question you may still have, however, is if an independent baseball team is worth your time and money.  In most markets this is a "yes."

Here are just some of the reasons why:

  • Prices are usually equal to or less than comparable entertainment, such as the movies
  • Concession prices are usually less than at higher-level professional sports
  • Kids and fans get participate in on-field and off-field promotions
  • Many teams offer incentives for you to bring groups
  • Many of the general managers and team executives have years of professional sports experience, so they understand what it takes to give you good entertainment for your money
  • Many of the players are accessible for autographs
  • The quality of play is considerably high, especially compared to other alternatives you may have in your area

Hopefully this article gives you a better understanding of independent baseball and helps you make a better decision for your entertainment dollar.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/baseball-articles/independent-professional-baseball-teams-what-they-are-998077.html

About the Author


If you are interested in learning more about historical then click this link to join the free alumni membership list:

Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Baseball Scouting As Well As The Significance of Top Quality Baseball Scouts

Baseball Scouts are trained talent evaluators that are constantly on the road evaluating upcoming baseball prospects. They're trying to discover the elite group of players that each and every key league club will consider drafting. This might need traveling across the nation to be able to analyze and draft prospective players. They are ordinarily geared with laptops, note cards, stopwatches, and radar guns. These are the typical tools of baseball scouting. This permits scouts to record correct information and facts and document everything they see in the course of their time evaluating a young baseball prospect. Each Significant League Baseball team is utilizing computers to collect and organize data. This permits them to share it with other scouts within the organization and maintain extra in-depth baseball scouting reports.
Many scouts are former players, coaches, or knowledgeable baseball enthusiast that have years of encounter following the baseball business. An individual have to have information of the five tools of baseball in order to turn out to be a baseball scout. These tools incorporate; arm strength, running speed, fielding capacity, hitting capacity, and hitting for power. Out of all the players within Significant League Baseball, there are only a handful of players could be thought to be to be a five tool player. That's why there is a premium for versatile players that possess all of these tools. To place it into perspective, that suggests that an individual player can beat you in five different ways.
A scout will need to do extensive study on a baseball prospect just before recommending him to their team. This generally involves interviewing coaches, strength & conditioning trainers, family or anyone else affiliated with the prospect so as to verify what type of work ethic they have, if they know of any reoccurring injuries the player may have, and if the player has been in any kind of trouble before. This fact finding process can be extremely time consuming, but it's vital to do so as to minimize risks down the road. Overtime talent evaluators will develop relationships with numerous baseball coaches and this will help them get a whole lot of leads on upcoming prospects. A professional sports organization can never gather too much information and facts.
Skilled baseball scouts will help determine which players could be the best fit for their organization and which players are drafted. The Main League Baseball Draft can be the difference between a team experiencing success or failure. With hundreds of millions of dollars on the line baseball scouting is an important factor of a team being a profitable sports organization.
You'll find also professional baseball scouts, which focus on scouting opposing minor league baseball players. They're looking for prospects that may fill a void in their lineup or that may well be upcoming free agents that they feel will one day develop into a legitimate Main League Baseball player.
As you may see there are a great deal of factors involved in the baseball scouting industry. If you are passionate about sports baseball scouting is something you could possibly want to think about getting into.

For much more details on Baseball Scouting or Baseball Scouts click here.

Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Geeks and Baseball

By Rob Lefkowitz

With the baseball season in full swing, it's time to remember how geeks and technology have transformed the game of baseball. Over the past three decades, the internet, medical advances, and the globalization media have fundamentally transformed how fans consume baseball and how ballplayers play America's pastime. Below is a survey of some of the ways technology has effected baseball, and some ideas on how some new technologies will continue to affect baseball.

Baseball, Technology, and Fans

1. Video Games

From the beginning, video games have attempted to replicate baseball. In 1971, Don Daglow at Pomona College wrote ''Baseball.'' During the early 1980s, Atari and Mattel also released baseball video games. In 1983, Mattel released Intellivision ''World Series Baseball.'' For the first time, players of ''World Series Baseball'' could use multiple camera angles to show the action. A gamer could see the batter from a modified "center field" camera, see baserunners in corner insets, and view defensive plays from a camera behind home plate. ''World Series Baseball'' also integrated fly balls into their interface.

In 1988, baseball video games made another jump, when Electronic Arts (EA) released ''Earl Weaver Baseball'', which added an actual baseball manager provided run by artificial intelligence. The important of ''Earl Weaver Baseball'' was acknowledged by Computer Gaming World in 1996 when it named ''Earl Weaver Baseball'' 25th on its list of the Best 150 Games of All Time. This was the second highest ranking for any sports game in that 1981-1996 period behind FPS Sports Football.

Nintendo also hit a homerun, in 1988 when it released ''RBI Baseball.'' RBI was the first video game to be licensed through the Major League Baseball Players Association. The game contained authentic major league players and rosters, and not surprisingly was a huge hit with players.

Twenty years after the first baseball video game, ''Tony La Russa Baseball'' appeared on shelves across the country. The game made significant advancements in baseball game play. First, ''La Russa'' included a circular Fly Ball Cursor that appeared where the ball was going to land, and grew or diminished in size based on the height of the ball. If the wind was blowing the cursor would move its location to reflect the changing course of the ball. The Fly Ball Cursor introduced real fly balls and pop-ups to computer baseball games, eliminating the last segment of the sport that had never been simulated accurately. Second, ''La Russa'' allowed users to conduct drafts and set up their own leagues, all with access to the game's comprehensive player statistics. Third, ''La Russa'' was the first baseball game to offer accurate stats for each individual pitcher against each individual hitter, data that actual managers use extensively in the dugout. In contrast to many sports celebrities who merely lent their names to games, Tony La Russa spent extensive sessions over a period of years working to make the game's artificial intelligence as accurate as possible.

The quality of baseball games has continued to develop since ''La Russa.'' The development of EA's ''MVP Baseball'', Sony's ''MLB The Show'', Out of the Park Developments' text-based simulation ''Out of the Park Baseball'', and the and growth of gaming systems (from Genesis to XBox360) has transformed the depth and reality of baseball games. Even players themselves admit to using them prepare for games. According to an FHM article written by 2004 AL Cy Young Winner Johan Santana (April 2006 pg. 113), "I can see the hitting zones of each player and statistically where he doesn't like the ball. I can also get a feel for when he will swing at fastballs and when he may not expect a change-up. I wouldn't say that I would pitch to a guy in a real-life game the same way, but it gives you ideas of how to approach certain hitters."

2. Internet Fantasy Baseball

Hate it (girlfriends, wives) or love it (practically every baseball fan), fantasy baseball has become as popular as the sport itself. Once regulated to stat junkies who painfully calculated and managed everything on their own, the expansion of the internet has allowed millions of fans to participate in leagues with friends and other fans throughout the country. This couldn't possibly affect the actual sport itself right? Wrong. Fantasy Baseball has a huge impact on fan interest. Did your team throw in the towel mid-season, or currently in an unwatchable rebuilding year? That's OK. You can still follow your fantasy team and can continue to watch games involving your players via the MLB Baseball Cable Package. Major League Baseball is a product, and anything that allows your customers to constantly read, write, and talk (thus promoting) about your product in a passionate way becomes important.

Fantasy baseball would not have becomes popular without technology. Computers and the internet ushered in this sports revolution. The advent of powerful computers and the Internet revolutionized fantasy baseball, allowing scoring to be done entirely by computer, and allowing leagues to develop their own scoring system, often based on less popular statistics. In this way, fantasy baseball has become a sort of in-time simulation of baseball, and allowed many fans to develop a more sophisticated understanding of how the real-world game works.

According to a recent Fortune article, the "American male's obsession with sports is nothing new, but try this on for size: More than half of fantasy sports fanatics spend over an hour a day just thinking about their teams." Fantasy baseball is a ''billion dollar industry.'' However, Much like the RIAA and MPAA, Major League Baseball is putting clamps on the fantasy technology that fueled professional baseball's rebirth after the 1996 strike. MLB has decided to dramatically restructure how it licenses companies that run fantasy games on the Web. Official licensees will now likely be restricted to a Big Three of ESPN, CBS Sportsline, and Yahoo! (some reports add AOL and The Sporting News as well). "Mom and pop" shops that helped usher the fantasy baseball phenomenon into existence will be severely limited by the licensing deal. They will only be allowed information to service 5,000 customers apiece. Everyone else using baseball statistics to run small fantasy leagues will have to choose between scaling back their operations, closing up shop, or receiving a visit from MLB's lawyers.

3. User Created Media

Before the internet, media creation was limited to professionals. Newspapers, radio, television, and niche sports magazines like Sports Illustrated possessed a virtual stranglehold over the dissemination of sports news and information.

The first user created sports media occurred with the advent of Sports Talk radio. An extension of talk radio, which has existed since the 1940s, sports talk radio took off in the early 1980s. Today, over 30 major sports talk radio stations exist throughout the country. Sports talk radio provided fans a soapbox to voice their complaints, thoughts, and analysis of sports. However, instead of ranting only to their friends and family, sports talk radio gave fans the ability to transmit their ideas to a potentially large audience.

Wanting a voice, sports fans used technology to disseminate their ideas over the internet. The first of these technologies was sports messageboard communities. While sports messageboards have never reached mainstream popularity, they have a solid presence on the net. A quick search for "baseball messageboards" in Google will return over 8.5 million hits.

Internet messageboards also represented the first Petri dish for user-created media. This sentiment is best exemplified by a scandal that occurred at the beginning of the 2000 season. Bobby Valentine, then the New York Mets manager, gave a lecture at the Wharton School of Business -- an "off-the-record" talk. But "off-the-record" is only a term relevant to journalists. While the ''Daily Pennsylvanian'' (Penn's school newspaper), gave a perfunctory mention to the speech, one student-attendee went much further. Brad Rosenberg, using the username brad34, logged onto a Mets message board and claimed that Bobby V blasted some players and management. The mainstream media ran with it; then-general manager Steve Phillips hopped on a plane to Pittsburgh to pow-wow with Valentine; and minor scandal was in the works.

Today, the phenomenon that started on message boards has extended to blogs. Over the past two years, blogs have exploded. Everyone (from grandmas to infants) are starting their own blogs, and not surprisingly a number of these blogs talk about sports. Blogs provide individuals with the community of a sports talk radio and potentially infinite world-wide reach. A powerful combination. Today, there are approximately, http://sportsblogs.org/sports.php?subject=Blogs, 1158 baseball blogs floating around the internet.

4. Satellite Television

Satellites beam baseball games around the world, fueling global baseball. While the first satellite television signals were relayed in the early 1960s, widespread consumer television reception took off in the 1980s. For the first time, geography did not limit the dissemination of moving pictures. Television's power with no geographic limits translated into new opportunities for major league baseball.

By the late 1990s, baseball games could be seamlessly and relatively inexpensively transmitted throughout the globe. This allowed Major League Baseball to reach into foreign labor and commercial markets, most notably Japan. Without satellite television, the Seattle Mariners probably would have passed on MVP outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, the New York Yankees would have passed on All-Star Hideki Matsui. Satellite television helped transform regional icons like Ichiro and Matsui into worldwide phenomenon.

Today, if you take a trip to Japan, you might see Hideki Matsui's at-bat broadcasted in a a Tokyo bar, subway station, or even on the side of a building. Satellite Television helps baseball remain on the march.

Baseball, Technology, and Players

5. Improved Surgeries

Before 1974, if you were a pitcher and happen to tear your unlar collaterl ligament in the 'ol elbow, you would be trading in your hat and spikes for a suit and tie. Dr. Frank Jobe changed the fortunes of hundreds of future professional pitchers when LA Dodgers pitcher Tommy John asked him to "make up something" after he was diagnosed with the career-threatening injury. The procedure, now famously called "Tommy John Surgery" , consists of having the ligament in the elbow replaced with a tendon from elsewhere in the body (often from the forearm, hamstring, or foot). Today, retirement is not the only ending, as success rate for this type of surgery is estimated at 85% - 90%. Recovery time is down to about a year for pitchers, and a half a year for hitters. In fact, pitchers often come back throwing a few

extra MPH on the fastball. Just think, without this procedure, Mariano Rivera, star closer for the New York Yankees, would not have been able to nail down all of those post-season victories and 4 recent World Series titles! Yankee fans

everywhere owe you a big thank you Dr. Frank Jobe.

6. Eye Enhancemants

Many professional athletes have gone through a well known laser eye surgery called LASIK. LASIK, an acronym for Laser-assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, is a form of refractive laser eye surgery procedure performed by ophthalmologists intended for correcting vision. Since baseball players rely heavily on their sight to pick up a 95 MPH fastball whizzing past their noggin, it makes sense that LASIK has been so important. Jeff Bagwell, Jeff Cirillo, Jeff Conine, Jose Cruz Jr., Wally Joyner, Greg Maddux, Mark Redman, and Larry Walker have all reportedly upgraded their vision to 20/15 or better. The popularly of LASIK surgery has led the Minnesota Twins' medical staff to diligently educate its players about the benefits and risks of LASIK surgery.

Similarily, a contact lens designed by Bausch and Lomb and marketed by Nike has been made to aid hitters. The lenses are red and filter out certain shades to allow you to see the seams on a fastball. The quicker the batter can follow the ball leaving the pitcher's hand, the quicker they can react to it. Is this any different than steroids?


QuesTec is a digital media company known mostly for its controversial Umpire Information System (UIS) which is used by Major League Baseball for the purpose of providing feedback and evaluation of big league umpires. The company, based out of Deer Park, New York, has been mostly involved in television replay and graphics throughout its history. In 2001, however, the company signed a 5-year contract with Major League Baseball to use its "pitch tracking" technology as a means to review the performance of home plate umpires during baseball games.

The UIS system consists of 4 cameras placed at strategic locations around a ballpark that feed into a computer network and records the locations of pitches throughout the course of a game. Computer software then generates CDs that umpires and their higher-ups can review and learn from. These CDs include video of the pitches as well as graphic representations of their locations plus feedback on the umpires' accuracy.

Controversy over the Umpire Information System surfaced over the next several years as umpires and players alike voiced concern over the system's accuracy on one side, and the partial and potentially biased coverage of major league games on the other. The company installed its cameras and computers in only 10 of the 30 stadiums around the league. Umpires filed a grievance with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to get rid of the technology; meanwhile a more hands-on approach was taken by Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Curt Schilling. Schilling used a bat to smash one of QuesTec's field cameras, an act that led to a fine for the former World Series MVP.

8. Stat Analysis

Over the past few years, several teams throughout Major League Baseball have changed their approach to running their organization. Traditionally, players are evaluated by scouts using stats that have been around for centuries, such as Runs Batted In, Batting Average, and just how fast a pitcher can throw. The "Moneyball" school of thought (named after a book by Michael M. Lewis released in 2003 about the general manager of the Major League Baseball team Oakland Athletics, Billy Beane) believe this method to be subjective and flawed. Now, General Managers will evaluate their players directly from their laptops, that crunch all sorts of numbers that are centered around the ability to not record an out (hey, that is the general basis of the game, innit?). So who can draft a better ballteam, a Windows XP machine (with service pack 2 of course - without it will draft all Minnie Mendoza's) or a scout that has seen millions of innings of baseball over the last 30+ years?

9. Steroids

We can't have a baseball article without mentioning the S-Word now can we? Steroids are an invention of modern medicine. German scientists first developed anabolic steroids in the 1940s, learning to produce testosterone in a laboratory setting.

Now, two San Francisco Chronicle reporters have written a book detailing Barry Bonds' steroid use, called ''Game of Shadows'', which goes into alot of detail behind everything Bonds did to chemically enhance his body. Bonds allegedly used every conceivable method of steroid use, including pills, liquid, creams, and injections (by himself and trainer). His methods obviously worked (though there was no testing to get around), because Bonds (now 41 years old) bulked up tremendously over the past 8 years and starting hitting homers at record paces.

The more that comes out about these players, the more 1995-2004 will be forever known as the "steroid era." We might never know exactly who took steroids during this time, but everyone will definitely treat the stats over the last decade with skepticism. Now that MLB has finally started testing the players, will certain players desperate for that extra edge try new technologies that can't be detected? Its ironic though. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa practically saved the sport after the 1994 strike by captivating the fans with their 1998 chase for Roger Maris' home run record of 61. Now, after numerous congress hearings and alot of "no comments," their reputations are completely tarnished due to alleged steroid use. Yet they may have saved baseball.

Future of Baseball and Technology

10. User Controlled Broadcast

Just this week, Rupert Murdoch, speaking to the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers, said: "A new generation of media consumers has risen demanding content delivered when they want it, how they want it and very much as they want it." What does this mean for baseball?

Baseball on demand will continue to develop. Wait, one minute! Can't I already get baseball on demand? I can buy the MLB Package on cable tv or can stream every game with MLB.TV. True, but we're talking about the future here, and the scope of on-demand sports will only broaden over the next couple of decades.

Don't be surprised if Major League Baseball takes a cue from video games and starts to give consumers control over how they watch a baseball game. Imagine the following: you turn on a ballgame and with your remote control you are given the option of choosing the camera angle you want to view the game. You want to watch the game from the catchers perspective, click your remote and you can what a big league slider looks look. Want to watch a play from an outfielder's perspective? Its your choice, you control how you want to view the game.

Fans will also be given the opportunity to choose an announcer. Think Joe Morgan should be fired? Why be forced to listen to his broadcast? Instead, fans will be given a choice between a wide range of announcers. Want funny announcers? Click. Want home-town announcers? Want to hear the game in Russian? Click. Its your call.

Don't be surprised if many of these announcers aren't hired by a professional sports teams. Instead, these announcers might be your neighbor, your friend, or even your grandma. The continued growth of podcasting and the inevitable maturation of podcasting distribution channels will make it easy for anyone to try their luck out as a professional broadcaster.

11. Information Markets to Predict Gameplay

Information markets aggregate information in an attempt and appear to be the best tool human's have to predict future events. Building on the ideas of Friedrich Hayek, various different professions and organizations have begun using information markets to help them make better decisions. For example, the Iowa Electronic Markets, TradeSports, and WahlStreet have predict election outcomes better than opinion polls. Google also uses information markets forecast product launch dates, new office openings, and many other things of strategic importance to Google.

How does an information market work? Information markets aggregate the decisions of individuals and translate those decisions into a consensus probability that a given future event will occur. For example, at Google, the company issues stocks for 146 events in 43 different subject areas (no payment is required to play). Much like a stock market, Google employees buy and sell these shares reaching a market price--the consensus decision. Google looks at these market prices when deciding whether to make an important decision.

The same tool that has helped transform Google to one of the most powerful companies in the world will eventually be employed by professional baseball teams to make important baseball decisions. Baseball teams will use these markets to decide when to promote their a prospect from AAA to the majors, whether or not they should trade their aging star for a young prospect.

Just as baseball statistics transformed the operation of baseball teams in the 1990s and 2000s, information markets will transform the way baseball organizations operate in the future.

Robert Lefkowitz works in a law firm as his profession, but in his spare time he is a sports blogger at http://www.armchairgm.com. ArmchairGM is a sports blog, wiki, resource that anyone can edit. Anyone can write news, blogs, encyclopedic entries, player profiles, etc. on any sports related topic and it will be published for innumerable readership.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Rob_Lefkowitz

Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Baseball Parent - Make Your Kid a Major League MVP

By Nick Dixon

I know that the title got your attention. Everyone knows and respects the Major League Baseball players like Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez. Many parents dream of having their little league player growing up to play college baseball, becoming a college all-American, going to Omaha and play in the College World Series, being drafted in the 1st round of the MLB draft, signing for a 2.5 million dollar signing bonus, being voted to the MLB All-star team, going 3 for 4 in the All-Star Game, having their team win the pennant, wining the league championship, playing in the MLB World Series, leading MLB in RBI, Homeruns, Stolen Bases, Pitching Wins and also being selected as the Cy Young award winner, being named MVP of the MLB World Series, signing a deal with Nike Shoe for 2 million a year to endorse their new line of baseball shoes, and finally getting voted into Cooperstown Hall of Fame on his first vote.  That is the ultimate dream of a baseball parent. But, do you know and realize how small the actual percentage is of little league baseball parents that ever see that dream come true? Now, I need to get to the point. Just helping your kid become a solid little league player that loves and enjoys the game of baseball should be the goal of every baseball parent. Here I discuss what I feel are the major requirements for big time baseball success at every level.

Odds are stacked against the little league baseball player and the youth baseball player when it comes to playing college and major league baseball. Less than 1 out every 15 kids playing little league and youth baseball ever make their high school baseball's varsity team. It is a known fact that less than 10.1 percent of all high school varsity baseball players go on to play college baseball. That figure includes both scholarship and walk-on players. Just 1 out of every 936 high school players is drafted to Pro Baseball each year. What all of this adds up to is this statement that says it all. Less than 1 out of every 15,000 little league or youth baseball players ever make a MLB baseball team. In, fact the percentage may be much lower when you consider the fact that less than 20,000 players have played MLB baseball in its 130+ year history. Chances are good, if your child is playing Little League, Dixie Youth, Babe Ruth or Cal Ripkin baseball, you are expecting your child to try out for the high school baseball team one day. What does it take to make the high school team? The main three things are body build, playing skill, and pure luck.  


I know that many of you are saying "Body Build" is not very important in baseball. I know and realize that size and height are less important in baseball than basketball and football. You do not have to block or tackle to play baseball. Baseball is not a game played in the rafters of a gym. But, "Body Build" is not all about body size to me. When I talk about "Body build", I mean more than height and size. Body build to me includes all of the results of a player's work and training to build strength, stamina, endurance, power and speed. The players that dominate at each level are the ones that have the dominate bat speed, dominate pitch velocity, and the faster feet.   


The next important key to becoming a great high school, college or major league baseball player is playing skill development. If you are going to get to the next level, you have got to learn to play the game! Personal instruction by a baseball hitting coach, baseball pitching coach, and great baseball instruction and teaching of baseball fundamentals, early in youth baseball, are so important to baseball skill building. Many advanced players today rely on baseball indoor hitting facilities, year round baseball training and travel baseball that's played all year. These things help, but the main thing is for a player and his parent to take an interest in the game and become students of the game. You have got to do your baseball homework if you are going to maximize baseball skill development. Baseball homework is that extra work you do in the off-season and at home year round. Your baseball homework many include a backyard pitching mound, a backyard batting cage, baseball training equipment, or one-on-one training with a baseball instructor.  


Many people do not believe in luck. They say luck has nothing to do with winning or success. They say luck is made in practice time. Many others have a different opinion, they say that it is better to be lucky than to be good. I have a different attitude toward luck. I know that we are all lucky to get a chance to grow up in such a great country and to play such a great game as baseball, but I am talking about a different kind of luck a player must have to succeed in baseball. A player must be lucky and get top quality coaching early in life! Fate is a better word for what I am talking about. It is good luck that a player gets chosen on a little league team with a coach that takes special interest in a player and dedicates a great amount of time and energy in making that player better. It is good luck for a youth player to have a parent or coach that knows how to motivate and inspire that kid to keep working and practicing to get better.  Players are extremely lucky to have the right inspiration and instruction during their childhood playing days. The coach they have may be a streak of good or bad luck depending on the attitude and competence level of the coach.  Getting the right coach is a great stroke of luck!   Yes, I believe body build, playing skill and luck are the 3 keys to high school baseball success. Good luck to your child and his or her team. Happy Hitting, Coach Nick.

Visit the Baseball Coaching Digest Blog for daily post and articles on every aspect of coaching baseball. The Baseball Coaching Digest Blog. Check out the Bat Action Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nick_Dixon

Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site