Klouter Newsletter: July 2016

July 26, 2016
“Life can be summed up in three words:  It Goes On!!”

     Without risk we do not ever find true success. In life as in baseball, each of us must work hard to be the best that we can be as well as take chances to overcome our deficiencies and learn the game and life. The greatness of baseball is that it provides a no-lose platform for youngsters to see how good they can be. It is a team sport but is composed of individual skill sets. The challenge for each player is to learn to play the game while at the same time learning the life lessons that it provides. Risk is mandatory…without it one will never find out what one can really do!!

     EVERYONE has both gifts and pitfalls. If something does not fit or work in your life, YOU must adjust and fix it; you cannot stay the same…risk and you will be rewarded!! Remember that Einstein was four before he ever said a word, Isaac Newton did very poorly in school, Thomas Edison was told he was “stupid”, Michael Jordan was cut from his high school team, Walt Disney was told he “lacked imagination” and had no good ideas, and Babe Ruth struck out over 1300 times!! Also, Eddie Gaedel made it to MLB and he was only 37” tall and Jim Abbott made it with one hand(won a gold in the Olympics and pitched a no-hitter in the Majors). Problems and difficulties in life are opportunities for new learning and personal growth. Enjoy every moment and risk…you NEVER know!!! Do not Quit and Get Over the Wall!! KWTP!

                      Life can be summed up in three words: It Goes On!!

     Our first camp is over and it was a great experience! We had over 110 campers and they worked hard and played hard! The demeanor of the campers and their positive attitudes allowed us to work on some advanced skill sets and drills. Skills Camp was exceptionally good with all focusing on the fundamentals and proper conditioning! We hope to see YOU at the next camp, July 11-15 and the one following, July 18-22. PLEASE do sign up and also help us find new campers!! We need your help!! Thanks!! If you were in the first camp and wish to enroll in another, you can sign up with Everett Parks and Rec or with Coach Phil…there is a special “Re- Do” camp price for repeaters. GAGPTH!

Our next tourney is for all age divisions, 8U-9U-10U-11U-12U. Please let us know immediately if you will NOT be there; no need to contact us if you will be there. If you have a loaner jersey and/or cap, please bring it to the tourney. Also, 8U, you will have two workouts prior to the July 23-24th tourney at Phil Johnson…times TBA; most likely Tuesday the 19th and Wednesday the 20th, noon to 2 or so at Phil Johnson. FAW!!!

-Coach Phil

Important Reminders
  • July 11th – 15th: First Swing Camp
  • July 19th & 20th: **Tentative 8U Practice- TBA**
  • July 23nd – 24th:  Three Earls I Tournament
  • July 29th –  31st:  Three Earls II Tournament
  • August 13th – 14th:  Everett Invitational
  • Sep 2nd – 5th:  Last Licks Tournament

Talk Up Camps & Spread the Word
First Swing Summer Camps

  • July 11-15:*
    • M-F:  9am – 12pm Regular Camp
    • T-TH:  1pm – 4pm Skills Camp
  • July 18-22: *
    • M-F:  9am – 12pm Regular Camp
    • T-TH:  1pm – 4pm Skills Camp
  • August 15-19:  Clyde Hill in Bellevue

*Register with Everett Parks & Recreation
Bellevue Camp register directly with Coach Phil

If you have questions please do email Coach Phil at phrog38@hotmail.com
Registration For Bellevue Camp
FirstSwing Summer Camp Details

FirstSwing summer camps are in full swing. Regular Camp will run from 9am to noon, Monday thru Friday, and Skills 1-4 on Tues-Thursday. ALL 8-9-10U players must attend both sessions. All interns need to notify us as to your availability and must attend the first camp. There will be two other camps to follow in Everett and the last camp will be in Bellevue, August 15-19th at Clyde Hill School. We NEED your help finding new campers and promoting these at your schools, with your leagues and with your LL or other teams. THANKS!
Scholarships, team rates, and family rates are available!!!

Coach Phil’s Comments on ‘Why Wood’?
“Coulda, “Wooda”, Schoulda..use Wood!”

WOOD BAT FACTS

It is HIGHLY recommended that young hitters learn how to hit a baseball with a wood bat and…practice with wood bats. Wood empowers the hitter to develop proper swing/hitting mechanics and to maximize the most efficient and proficient swing. Wood tells the truth with instant feedback!! Wood is NOT forgiving!!!

  1. Wood bats BREAK!! A good hitter will prevent breakage once he understands the value of the placement of the trademark on the bat. The trademark is placed where the highest possibility of failure is on the bat. No two bats are alike so the trademark is different on each one. Hence, hit with wood with the LABEL UP OR DOWN. While holding the bat with both hands, extended over the plate, the label should face straight up or down.
  2. About 75% of all bats will break when the ball is hit off the end of the bat, NOT off the fists/hands. As a result, the contact must be on the “sweet spot” and will force the hitter to make solid contact. This will improve hitting with both wood and metal.
  3. Wood bats are generally heavier(and are usually -3). The hitter must start the swing earlier/sooner to get it through the contact zone in order to hit the ball out in front of the plate. This will also increase hand speed for a metal bat!!!
  4. The wood bat will “cure” swinging at pitches that are too far inside or too far outside. If the hitter persists in doing either of these, he will be going throw a “forest of wood”.
  5. Wood bats increase awareness of the true strike zone. They will magnify improper mechanics and a hitter will fail to make solid contact, and as a result, bad swings turn into outs…not lucky hits as with a metal bat.
  6. The sweet spot is smaller on a wood bat and the barrel diameters usually are as well. A hitter must start the hands earlier, select better pitches, and have a flat or level swing.
  7. You can not “cheat” with a wood bat. “Bad swing equals bad result!” With metal, many bad swings can become base hits.
  8. Hitting with wood will teach a hitter to hit with good, solid mechanics, and let him feel the drag through the strike zone when swinging incorrectly. It will also avoid “bees in the hands”!!

To GET GOOD, hit with WOOD!!! See the FirstSwing article “Why Wood?” GAGPTH!!!!! 

Read: The “End of the Rope”
Why we do not chew gum while IN THE GAME…
and other Dugout Demeanor
  1. NO seeds, soda, candy, or gum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  2. Find YOUR spot in the dugout and keep ALL your gear in that area. Put your bat in the rack and keep your helmet readily available.
  3. ON OFFENSE: Put your cap in your glove EVERY inning, every time, and be ready to hit..you do not know what is going to happen. Know when you hit and be ready 4(yes 4) batters ahead of you!!!
  4. Your glove and cap should ALWAYS be across from your bag. Tell your teammates, who play near you on defense, where they are so they can “glove” you if you are on base or make the last out. You do NOT need to return to the dugout..it is “bush” and creates havoc and looks like a “fire drill”!
  5. Keep the dugout CLEAN and organized…bats in the racks, helmets orderly, your “stuff” in your bag!!
  6. Have a warm up ball ready and if you are not in the field make sure someone is warming up the out fielder closest to our dugout.
  7. Do NOT talk to ANY fan or person that is not on our team during the game. If you must talk to someone please tell the coaches and we will send you out of the dugout to do so if absolutely necessary. FOCUS on the game!!!
  8. Help the catcher “gear up’!
  9. “Stay in the Game”!! You must concentrate on the ball and the game the entire game. If you are not a starter on defense, you must be ready at ALL times to go in. Support your teammates when not in and when they are at bat. We do not yell or say anything that is off color or negative!!
  10. WATCH THE BALL!!! Not just for a moment BUT the ENTIRE game!! Check our defense to make sure we are doing what we are supposed to be doing. Look at the other team to see what we can do to get an edge! Be a positive teammate and peer coach.
  11. SPRINT EVERYWHERE!!!
  12. BE READY TO PLAY ANY POSITION AT ANY TIME!!!!!
  13. KWTP and GAGPTH!

HEROES OF THE MONTH

Spankie Schmidt and Scott Spaulding(Coaches): 
For an outstanding camp experience!

Connor Sand, George Reidy, Drake Budinick, Kemper Michael, Brady Johnson, Quinn Iacolucci, Travis Johnson, Dylan Owen, Gabe Feliciano, andAndrew Stupey:
For great work at camp(All Alums).

Tyler Spaulding(9U):
For his leadership at camp and earning Camper of the Week.

To all the Klouters who made All Star in their various leagues… nice work!

Coach Phil’s Picks of the Month

FACTOID of the MONTH: On August 4, 1908, the Brooklyn team beat St. Louis 4-0 and they used only ONE ball for the entire game!!

BASEBALL TALK: Rembrandt-a pitcher who paints the corners of the plate!

DRILL of the MONTH: Core work-Using a medicine ball(circa 6-8 pounds), stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly out and hold the ball at chest level. In a simple and easy motion squat while flexing through the hips, knees and ankles, while keeping the back flat. When your thighs are parallel to the ground, explode up. As you rise, extend your arms straight up and push the ball as high as possible. Do 3 sets of six. This will also help you with your vertical leap.

TIP of the MONTH: Use a wood bat when practicing in order to develop and refine the proper mechanics in hitting(see attached). You may find very cheap ones at Goodwill, garage sales, etc.

RULE of the MONTH: A tipped foul ball into the catcher’s glove or even dropped is a very good opportunity to steal. It is a live ball and not a FOUL ball!

BOOK of the MONTH: Swing, Philip Beard. This is a novel that neatly ties baseball into the life of a young man coming of age.

MOVIE of the MONTH: 30 for 30(ESPN): “Doc and Darryl”…a documentary following the after-baseball lives of Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry. Fascinating with good life lessons!

PLAYER of the MONTH(Youth): Keaton Moffitt(age 7)-he made two(2) unassisted triple plays in the same game!

QUOTE of the MONTH: “Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it away from you” Mark Twain

PROFILE of the MONTH: Thomas Jefferson

Although Thomas Jefferson did not play baseball, he is our Profile of the Month in honor of the 4th of July, Independence Day. Jefferson(TJ-his baseball nickname) was a remarkable man who started learning about life and the world at a very young age, and NEVER stopped!!

At five, he began studying with his cousin as his tutor. At age nine he was studying Latin, Greek, and French, and by 14 he was fully read in classical literature and other languages. TJ entered William and Mary College at 16 and could write Greek with one hand while writing Latin with the other! At 19 he began his study of law and at 23 opened his own private law practice. At 25 he was elected to the Virginia legislature and he wrote his famous treatise on the Rights of British and retired from law.

TJ was a delegate to the 2nd Continental Congress at 32 and wrote the Declaration of Independence at age 33. The same year he revised the Virginia legal code, and wrote numerous books and the public education bill and statute of religious freedom. He was elected Governor of Virginia at 36, elected to Congress at 40, was the American Minister to France at 41, and became the first Secretary of State(Under Washington) at 46! At 53 he became Vice President and drafted the Kentucky Resolutions at 55, followed by becoming the 3rd President of the US at 57. As President he obtained the Louisiana Purchase(age 60) thus doubling the size of the nation; the following year he was re-elected President.

Finally, he retired to his estate, Monticello, at 65. He was not finished however, as he later helped President Monroe formulate the Monroe Doctrine, founded the University of Virginia(age 81) and was its first President….and invented a number of modern day items: the swivel chair, the pedometer, hideaway bed, and even mac ‘n cheese..and was an accomplished architect and gardener! At 83, he died on July 4th exactly 50 years to the day of the signing of the Declaration of Independence! Moreover, he is credited with writing numerous books, political treatises, inventing many useful commodities, and supporting the development of basic educational and medical procedures.

President John F. Kennedy paid TJ the highest compliment when he asserted at a dinner of intellectuals and Nobel Prize winners in the White House, “This is the greatest assembly of intelligence to gather in the White House at one time, with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone!”

Was he a Baller? Maybe not, BUT, he could have been if he had wanted to be, and probably an All Star!! He NEVER quit, and he risked each and every day of his life! GAGPTH!

Patience is a Virtue

By: Connor Sand
Klouter Alumni

Its not very often that one average fan and a traditional farm animal can rule a professional franchise, its also not very often a team can go 108 years without a championship and still have one of the strongest fanbases in baseball. The Chicago Cubs have one of the weirdest and most unique histories in baseball, but as we near the All Star break it looks like they are the favorites to win the World Series.

A World Series win for the Cubbies would be huge in many different aspects, but the biggest thing it would do would end the streak, the curse, and the hatred for one man named Steve Bartman.

But with so many things going against them how have they managed to build a team of this caliber?

The answer to that is by putting together one of the most genius and successful rebuilding processes in recent baseball memory.

We all know the last time the Cubs won a World Series was 1908, the last time they appeared in a World Series was 1945. Before last season they hadn’t made it since 2008 and in that time frame they had been known as one of the biggest laughing stocks in baseball.

But the Cubs have one thing on their side that no one besides the Red Sox and Yankees could compare to, and that is history.

Like I mentioned earlier the Cubs have a weird history, but its a history and a story that intrigues people, people like the stories of the Curse of the Billy Goat, the endless world series drought, and Bartman. They also play in arguably the most famous and historic sporting venue in America.

All of this adds up to fan interest no matter how bad the team is, it also means that they are getting thousands and thousands of baseball fans of all teams in their stadium every year because going to a ballgame at Wrigley is at the top of every fans bucket list.

In 2011 the Cubs needed a new president of baseball operations, and if there is one man who can reverse a curse its Theo Epstein. Epstein took over in 2011 and knew right away there was no rush at all to win. Obviously it would be nice to put some winning seasons together but deep down he knew that he didn’t need to push anything at all, he was going to sit and wait on what he had quietly developing.

From 2011 to 2015 the Cubs continued to struggle but they were collecting top draft picks and prospects through trades while saving their money to add a big free agent when the time made sense. Its almost as if Epstein just sat in his office, watched other teams mess up and just wrote it down to not do that.

He didn’t need to sign a big free agent or even trade for a big name player because he knew people are going to come to Wrigley no matter what, its historic site and even if Chicago natives aren’t coming, it didn’t matter because people from all over were going to come.

This brings us to the offseason before 2015. Epstein knew it was time to pull the trigger. He signed Jon Lester for 6 years and 155 million. All the sudden people looked at the Cubs and realized that they have a lot of young talent and they just added an ace, they could be dangerous. They had Rizzo, Soler, and Castro to start the year but then brought up prospects Addison Russell, Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, Kris Bryant, traded for Dexter Fowler and then Jake Arrieta emerged as the best pitcher in baseball. They made a good run but fell to the Mets in the NLCS but people were well aware that the Cubs were not to mess with.

This past offseason Epstein knew they had the best young position players in baseball but needed some more help so he signed Jason Heyward to a monster 8-year deal, and also brought in veterans Ben Zobrist and John Lackey who have had possibly the best seasons of their career. So far this year they have also brought up top prospects Wilson Contreras and Albert Almora Jr. and now they are possibly the most complete team in baseball.

Epstein knew what he had to work with and what he needed to do. He was in no rush to get their prospects up to Chicago so he let them develop and instead of wasting money on free agents when they would have no help he waited until he knew he could put together a mastermind of a team.

This could be the year the Cubs finally win a World Series but if its not, it could be very soon, They are in it for the long run.