Off to college baseball!
So the young man in
our story (the player with a winning baseball field) is off to college
baseball. Just getting this far is a dream for many. And his mom and dad
certainly are jazzed about it.
The young man has
grown in stature, skill, and experience. The training and discipline of
high school baseball really was an investment in lifelong habits for success.
And he had a great coach
who thinks in terms of results.
the rest of the story about his first college baseball field.
This college was located
in the mountains of Scotts Valley. What a magnificent setting. However,
the ball field the team used was in Santa Cruz – about 7 miles away.
It was a local park and rec field. In fact it was the only grass infield
hard ball field in the city.
Now this was an old
park in a forest setting near the coast. The locals said the field was
at least 50 years old.
So, what you had there
was an infield with a huge hump in the middle. Fifty
years of adding dirt to the mound and 35 inches plus of rain a year had
washed mound dirt out towards the infield. There was now a 30 foot radius
hump in middle of the field. The mound was probably 15-20 inches higher
than home plate by now also.
What happened to the
any grounder when it hit this raised up area? Right. It bounced crooked.
Errors abounded. This was definitely not a field up to collegiate baseball
Oh, I forgot to tell
When he first saw
the baseball field from afar as he drove up, he wondered what this was?
The infield dirt of every field in this complex was gray. It looked like
a concrete infield. What was it? Turns out it was what they called gray
track fines – ground up gray rock. The infield skin was either dry
as flour dust or hard as a rock. No in between.
So, check this out.
the best baseball fields to renovate are the disasters like this.
The problems are just so bad that it is relatively easy to make significant
and immediate improvements.
Except maybe the park
and rec folks don't believe you when you talk about fixing up the field.
And on top if it the local officials might be real hesitant to let you
‘touch’ their ball park. You have to make
them an offer they can’t refuse. Really need to sell your project
to give their park a face-lift.
Here is the story
of the daring achievement of 20 young men who invested in the future of
their community, their college, and their baseball team.
of the college baseball field in the autumn of 2004 excited the
players and the park workers. The concept captured the imagination of
local officials as well as regional businesses.
Here's a 45 second
summarizing the baseball field renovation project.
(Sorry about the grainy look to this. I was still figuring out how
to do this.)
a quick snapshot of the work on the mound.
You can see
the entire case study of the major infield renovation here in the project
Well, this young man
had a great time his first two years in college.
In fact it was a bit
too much fun. Dorm life can be hard on a scholar and an athlete. And he
became one of the better ones at pranks – like the goat in the girl’s
dorm. But we won’t go there. He went to school to play baseball.
So, unfortunately at this point he applied minimum effort in his classes.
And you get out of it what you put into it.
About mid way through
his sophomore year he realized he needed to upgrade his baseball and his
academics. So, in his junior year he transferred to one of the best schools
in one of the toughest leagues in college baseball. This was a courageous
move, but well worth it. Sometimes you have to be willing to push yourself...
academically and competitively.
The young man’s
new baseball field was an artificial turf field. The only ‘real’
part of the field was the mound. As a pitcher he took pride in taking
care of it and could regularly be seen tamping and manicuring ‘his’
mound after games and practices.
The young man learned
a lot from his college coaches. One fellow in particular
had been a MLB catcher for 13 years. Believe it or not, this fellow was
an exceptional pitching coach. A man of much wisdom was Chris Bando.
A couple things
about artificial turf for those who might be yearning for just
such a thing: it is extremely slippery when wet. Players sliding into
bases on the wet field would end up 15 feet past the base. And it is extremely
hot in the summer. Studies show artificial turf fields can be well over
120 degrees when it is over 85 outside. That’s hot. Just so you
One of his highlights
as a senior was pitching in a exhibition game against the Boston
Red Sox minor league team in Lancaster CA. Just competing like
this fueled his dream for the MLB.
While growing up, this young man played with some very talented players.
In our next segment of the player with the winning field
he meets up with one of his fellow all stars from senior league. We’ll
find out just how important it is to apply what you learn.
man upgraded his baseball experience. His field, his level of
competition, and his academics. How about you and your baseball field?
Do you need to do this? Check
here to find out what you can do to create a winning baseball field.
you benefit from this article?
If you enjoyed reading
this article, then visit the baseball
field blog to see other blog posts that can help you improve your
baseball field experience and take it to the next level!
To your success,