Meet the 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees!

Last weekend, the largest class since 1955 was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame since 1955. This year’s Class includes three Cy Young Award-winning pitchers – Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz – and a member of 3,000 Hit Club, Craig Biggio. All four were clear winners of this year’s ballot.

Baseball Hall Of Fame Class of 2015

Baseball Hall Of Fame Class of 2015

The three Cy Young award-winning pitchers were on the ballot for the first time, while Biggio, who came up two votes short last year, made his third appearance on the ballot. The four former MLB stars were inducted on July 26.

This year’s Hall of Fame ballot by Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) featured 34 retired players, including 17 newcomers to the ballot and 17 holdovers from previous elections. The four-member class that will be inducted on Sunday is the largest since 1955 when Joe DiMaggio, Gabby Hartnett, Ted Lyons and Dazzy Vance were elected. This is also the first time that three pitchers were elected in the same class.

Players need to appear on 78 percent of BBWAA ballots in a single year to gain admittance into the Hall. Randy Johnson appeared on 97.3, Pedro Martinez on 91.1, John Smoltz on 82.9, and Craig Biggio on 82.7 percent of the ballots.

Let’s meet the members of the 2015 Class.

Randy Johnson

Randy Johnson (51) was born in Walnut Creek (CA). The left-handed pitcher debuted on September 15, 1988 for the Seattle Mariners, just five days after his 25th birthday.

With the height of 6 feet and 10 inches “The Big Unit”, as people used to call him, is one of the tallest players in MLB history. During his career Johnson played for the Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants and Montreal Expos and retired in 2009.

Randy Johnson

Randy Johnson

During his amazing career Johnson collected 303 wins, while pitching to a 3.29 ERA. Big Unit also recorded 4,875 strikeouts, which is the second highest total in MLB history, trailing only Nolan Ryan’s total of 5,714. He won the Cy Young award five times, and is one of only two pitchers who won it in four consecutive years (1999-2002). The 10-times All-Star became the oldest pitcher in MLB history to throw a perfect game in 2004, breaking a hundred-years-old record.

Johnson also made baseball history because of an unusual event. In an accident on March 24, 2001, during a spring training game against San Francisco Giants, Johnson’s fastball to Calvin Murray struck and killed a dove that flew across the infield just as he threw the ball.

Randy and the dove.

Randy and the dove.

Pedro Martinez

National Baseball Hall of Fame begins the portrait on Pedro Martinez with the following words:

“At every stop in his baseball journey, Pedro Martinez was told he lacked the size to be a dominant starting pitcher.  And at every stop, the modest-looking right-hander – with huge hands and a heart to match – dominated opposing hitters like few ever have.”

Pedro Martinez

Pedro Martinez

This is the first year he made the MLB HOF ballots and already he appeared on 91.1 percent of the ballots. The 43-year-old former pitcher from the Dominican Republic signed with Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988, following his brother Ramon, who had signed with the team four years earlier. By 2009, Martinez played for five MLB teams, namely Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies.

Martinez’s 97-mph fastball, his devastating change-up and pinpoint control made him an eight-time All-Star, a winner of three Cy Young awards and a two-time runner-up. During his peak years from 1997 to 2003 Martinez established himself as one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball history.

This is confirmed by  modern sabermetric analysis. Martinez’  WHIP is the lowest of any live-ball era starting pitcher, his adjusted ERA+ is the best of any starting pitcher in major league history, and he has the third highest strikeout-to-walk ratio in modern history.

In 1999 he won the pitching Triple Crown and was a runner-up for the American League Most Valuable Player Award. In 2004 he won the World Series with the Red Sox, breaking the 86-years-old “Curse of the Bambino”

John Smoltz

A 48-year-old Detroit native was born into a baseball family. All men of the family – his him, his father and his grandfather – were huge Detroit Tigers fans. During his MLB career of 21 years he played for three teams – the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals.

A Cy Young award winner and an 8-times All-Star was invaluable for his teams because of his three significant pitches – an impressive fastball, a slider that veered away from right-handed batters, and a splitter that darted under the swings of left-handed batters. He was also the winner of the 1997 NL Silver Slugger Award.

John Smoltz

John Smoltz

Struggling with elbow problems since 1994, Smoltz missed the entire 2000 season, and was converted into a relief pitcher, where he also dominated. During his career Smoltz was honored with the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award (2005), the Roberto Clemente Award (2005) and the Branch Rickey Award (2007).

Smoltz ended his career in 2009, and the Braves retired his number 29 in 2012. Today he is still closely connected to the sport as an active sports commentator.

Craig Biggio

A 49-year-old former second baseman and catcher from New York played for the Houston Astros his entire career from 1988 to 2007. A seven-time All-Star is the only player ever to be named an All-Star at both catcher and second base.

Biggio, who batted .300 four times and scored 100 runs eight times, holds Astros franchise records for most career games, at bats, hits, runs scored, doubles, total bases (4,711) and extra base hits (1,014), and ranks second in runs batted in (1,175), walks (1,160) and stolen bases (414). He also holds the NL record for most times leading off a game with a home run (53), and is one of only five players with 250 home runs and 400 steals. He is the only player in baseball history with at least 3,000 hits, 600 doubles, 400 stolen bases and 250 home runs.

He is a four-time Golden Glove Award-winner and was the ninth player in the 3,000 hit club to collect all his hits with one team. He also won five Silver Slugger Awards. One of the most admired players of his generation, Biggio received the 2005 Hutch Award for perseverence through adversity and the 2007 Roberto Clemente Award for sportsmanship and community service.

Biggio retired in 2007 and the Astros retired his number 7 in his honor in 2008.

Craig Biggio

Craig Biggio

Whether you remember these four players by their top game, by their dedication or by their positive energy and charisma, one thing is certain – they have forever written the baseball history and they will join baseball’s greatest legends this weekend. You might as well start calling them The Immortals.



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HAPPY 82nd BIRTHDAY, ALL-STAR GAME!

It’s just a little over a week to the All-Star Game that is going to take place at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on July 14 and die-hard baseball fans are already finding out whether their favorite players made it to the team this year.

Are you ready for this year's All-Star Game?

Are you ready for this year’s All-Star Game?

But did you know that the All-Star game is celebrating 82nd Birthday today? Yes, it was exactly 82 years ago today that the first All Star game was played in Chicago’s Comiskey park, the home of the Chicago White Sox of the American League.

The All-Star Game was a brainchild of Arch Ward, a sports editor at the Chicago Tribune, and it coincided with the celebration of Chicago’s Century of progress exhibition. The event was also designed to bolster the sport and improve its reputation during the darkest years of the Great Depression.

Arch Ward, the father of The All-Star Game

Arch Ward, the father of the All-Star Game

The idea was to organize a one-time event, a “Game of the Century” where the best players of the American and National leagues would face each other. But the plan had two interesting twists – the fans would be able to vote on the lineup and all the proceeds from the game would be donated to a charity for retired players.

Before the game, the ballots were printed in 55 newspapers across the country and the fans cast several hundreds thousands of votes. Babe Ruth himself drew 100,000 votes. Players like Jimmy Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Al Simmons, Joe Cronin and Lefty Grove also made it to the team. Here are the American League and National League All-Star rosters from 1933:

American League Roster
Earl Averill
Ben Chapman
Joe Cronin
General Crowder
Bill Dickey
Jimmy Dykes
Rick Ferrell
Wes Ferrell
Jimmie Foxx
Lou Gehrig
Lefty Gomez
Lefty Grove
Oral Hildebrand
Tony Lazzeri
Babe Ruth
Al Simmons
Sam West
Manager – Connie Mac

1933 American League All-Star game roster .

1933 American League All-Star game roster

National League Roster
Dick Bartell
Wally Berger
Tony Cuccinello
Woody English
Frankie Frisch
Chick Hafey
Bill Hallahan
Gabby Hartnett
Carl Hubbell
Chuck Klein
Pepper Martin
Lefty O’Doul
Hal Schumacher
Bill Terry
Pie Traynor
Paul Waner
Lon Warneke
Jimmie Wilson
Manager– John McGraw

1933 National League All-Star Game roster.

Babe Ruth entered history by hitting the first All-Star Game homerun.

In the old days, the fans selected the starting lineups, and the managers picked the pitchers and reserves. Today rosters are bigger, a player vote decides a large chunk of who is selected and the managers fill out the rest, including the starting pitcher slot.

Today there are 34 players on each roster, that number has been in effect since 2010. 17 players – eight NL and nine AL players – are selected through the fan vote. As America’s Pastime is evolving, this was the first year  all-digital voting was introduced, but not everything went as planned and as many as 60 million votes had to be revoked.

Fans pick the starting lineups, including the DH, but not including the pitcher for the AL team. Both teams use DH regardless of what ballpark they’re playing in, so the NL manager selects a DH for the lineup from someone on his roster.

In addition to this, the players elect nine AL backup position players and eight NL backup position players. The rest of the players are selected by the managers and by the Essurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote.

Back in 1933 over 47,000 fans packed into Comiskey Park to experience the “Game of the Century”. The game was actually such a success that instead of being a one-time event, “the midsummer classic” was held every year since except in 1945 when it was cancelled due to wartime travel restrictions. There were two All-Star Games played each season from 1959 through 1962. The second game was added to raise money for the MLB players’ pension funds, as well as other causes. The experiment was later abandoned on the grounds that having two games watered down the appeal of the event.

By this day the game has evolved into a five-days-long All-Star FanFest, with countless opportunities for fans to experience baseball and meet their idols.


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7 Reasons Why Baseball Moms Are The Best

Your mom is the best. She wiped your nose and brought you hot tea when you were sick, right? She picked up your toys when you were little and tried to talk some sense into you when you were a teenager.

But baseball moms do also so many things that make their sons the best baseball players, teammates and coaches, they can possibly be.

Here are 7 things you have to be grateful for to your baseball mom.

  1. She was your most important coach, making sure you went to bed early enough and got up in the mornings. She made sure you ate your veggies.

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  1. She always made sure you had all your baseball equipment ready. And she never stopped trying to clean all those stains from your white baseball uniform.
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Don’t worry, it’s just a bit of mud. 

  1. She almost developed a career in carpooling.
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My car, my rules.

  1. To other moms, weekend meant relaxing, traveling, hanging out with friends, or just cooking and cleaning. To your mom, weekend meant baseball.
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Some quality family time.

  1. She did develop a career in taking professional little league photos.

Anything for a great photo. 

  1. She was your loudest and most faithful cheerleader.
mom cheering

Your biggest supporter.

  1. She was the only person who knew how to tell you that you did great, even though your team lost.
Moms know best.

Moms know best.

So go hug your mom, and get her something nice for Mothers’ day. Afterall, she is a baseball mom, and they keep the baseball world turning!


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4 Ways Technology Is Changing Baseball

In this day and age it is impossible to imagine a life without smartphones. They follow us everywhere and enable us to track and measure just about any activity we can imagine.

Around 50 million people used mobile apps to track their fitness activity, some as stand-alone apps, but others connect to wearables that saw a 32 percent increase in sales in the last year. More than 77 percent of these wearables were health and fitness trackers and this can only mean that technology is changing the way we look and participate in sports. We are obviously very much interested in tracking ourselves during sports and in our everyday life. We are becoming a society obsessed with quantification.

quantified-self

The same technology that is affecting your everyday life is also persistently entering the field of professional sport. Pro sport is all about success and when you introduce technology to the equation, the story doesn’t change. You’re simply seeking a better way to win. Here are the 4 ways technology has influenced America’s favorite pastime – baseball.

Technology is changing how ball players practice.

The quickest way for players in any sport to improve is by watching themselves perform, and building on what’s right or wrong. Ubersense, Coach’s Eye, SKLZ Cam, Sports Camera Analysis or iAnalyze are all apps that enable the coaches and players do just that. With Hudl, coaches can also give their team full access to video analysis tools from any computer or mobile device.

Major League Baseball recently came up with the MLB.com Digital Academy, which is an interactive instructional platform that brings professional-level pitch and swing analysis, tips and resources to youth players, coaches, parents and leagues. Through this service one can compare his delivery or his swing to the best MLB players.

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Not only that, brain science researchers are also trying to enhance player performance by getting into the head of athletes. This was enabled by the advancement of technologies such as eye tracking technologyelectroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). It should be noted that vision training, while promising and still developing, is not new to the MLB. Many baseball players, such as Carlos Beltran and Hunter Pence, have been using vision training for years to help them improve their abilities to pick up pitches easier and make better contact with the ball.

DeCervo, a tech startup, is using a combination of neural mapping and pitch simulations to understand the quick decisions of major league batters. There are two possible applications for teams to use their technology, first as a form of scouting.  A team will be able to see which players are capable of quickly and accurately choosing the pitch type and pick the players who show the best ability to do this. Another application would be as a supplemental training tool.  If a team finds a player that displays the best ability to see a pitch, the teams can try to identify what that player is seeing and then try to replicate it with other players. The researchers at the Columbia University have even started a Kickstarter campaign, through which they want to provide public with the app for measuring ordinary people’s reaction time and decision making.

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Whether you’re a parent, Little Leaguer, or advanced player – you can learn tips and drills in a new fast-paced, easy to follow format of the app called Baseball Gameplan. Through this app you can identify your needs, follow the drills and watch your hitting, pitching, fielding, catching and overall game performance improve. In a similar manner, GOsports is the first mobile youth sports coaching curriculum & team communications tool.

If you are looking for an immediate feedback, you might want to use a solution like HitTrax – a baseball simulator that brings innovation to the baseball industry by measuring real-time data and displaying live results for immediate feedback. In a similar manner, SmartKage is an invisible technology that defines athletic performance by capturing up to 75 metrics for baseball and softball players. SmartKage measure player’s skills in pitching, hitting, throwing, catching, strength, running and agility. By determining player’s exact strengths and weaknesses, he can understand his potential, play smarter and compare his skills to other players on his team, facility, or across the nation.

When it comes to perfecting your baseball swing, Zepp Baseball technology or Diamond Kinetics might be the right startups for you since they are both developing hardware and software solutions to analyze the swings of baseball and softball players. You might also want to try the Axe Bat with an asymmetrically designed handle to give the player added benefits such as performance grip, more efficient power transfer and reduced risk of injury.

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People are also innovating the ways you meet the coach to help you improve your game. An online platform CoachUp is a service that connects connects more than 100,000 athletes with more than 13,000 private coaches for one-on-one and small group training to help those looking to develop skills and reach their goals.

And not only players, also coaches can benefit from technology. To give you an example – TeamSnap is the No. 1 online sports team management application for coaches, managers and organizers to save time organizing their teams and groups. GameChanger mobile app and website also provide scorekeeping, stats and team management for the coaching staff. So coaches can finally put their pencils down.

Sport Ngin is a powerful platform intended for managing the entire sports organization. Through the platform, one can access millions of photos, videos, comments, stats and live scores from one’s smartphone.

Umpires are also not excluded from the technology benefits. Umpire Live goes beyond the common umpire’s clicker by allowing the umpire to broadcast the data being entered. Baseball, softball and kickball umpires can use the app to enter balls, strikes, outs, base runners, keep score and manage a game clock. Players and spectators can use Umpire Live to see real time game information for as many as five games simultaneously. Umpire Live is great for fields where no scoreboard is available, or for budget constrained leagues wanting to reduce expenses. It is great for tournaments and is an excellent way for leagues to report game scores.

Technology is changing how ball games are being played

The most obvious way in which the technology is affecting how ball games are being played is the newcomer to the diamond arena – the somewhat controversial pitch clock or the pace-of-play rules, as MLB calls it. Pitchers in the upper levels of minor league baseball are subject to new rules in 2015 in an effort to speed up the pace of play. According to the “pitch clock rule” the pitchers must begin windup or begin motion within 20 seconds or an automatic ball will be called, per new minor-league rules at AAA-AA. MLB instead introduced a series of less radical changes in an effort to stymie the escalating length of games.

USA_Pitch-Clock-2

On a strategic level, reports have been made that an unnamed MLB team recently purchased a Cray supercomputer with the intention of being able to analyze large volumes of information in a very short amount of time. Specifically, the supercomputer will allow the team to process information during a game quickly enough that they will be able to use the information to influence strategy during the same game.

New safety measures are also entering the game due to some serious head injuries. For the past few years, Major League Baseball has been studying whether pitchers should wear an elastomer-Kevlar Unequal Technologies liner in their caps as protection from batted balls or wooden shards from a shattered bat. Kevlar is a woven synthetic fiber that is renowned for its light weight and tensile strength. The material is commonly used in bullet-proof vests. New York Yankees’ Hector Noesi and Esmil Rogers along with four other pitchers in the MLB had used its Kevlar padding insert in their caps during this season. While pitchers are free to wear protective headgear of their choice, as long as it doesn’t give them a competitive advantage and it doesn’t interfere with the MLB licensing agreements, the Kevlar padding hasn’t been officially approved by the MLB yet.

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The days of paper scoresheets are over. Apps like iScore, Scorefinger, or PenScore help coaches, parents and fans keep track of the games. SingleScore is a fun and unique way to keep score at the ballpark. The SingleScore box and App replace the bulky gray scoreboxes with an easy to use App and gives you the ability to move around as you score. Not only that, game data can be shared with Event-Cast webcasts to give remote viewers updated game status as it happens.

Not only that – apps like Score More Baseball allow amateur, recreational, or youth baseball teams to apply the same “Moneyball” optimizations as the professionals. After just three games, there’s enough data for the app to start optimizing their lineup. With the same players and same number of hits, Score More Baseball creates the batting order that helps their team enjoy longer rallies, strand fewer runners, and ultimately, score more runs.

Technology is changing how ball players are being recruited.

Technology is also changing the way athletes are being recruited. Social networks for baseball recruiting and scouting BeRecruitedFieldLevel, RecruitU, ViewRecruit or ReelRecruits are such examples. A player can get discovered by coaches by simply creating an online athletic profile, where he can showcase his ability by adding stats, videos, and more.

online-recruiting-tech

On the other hand, coaches and scouts can use revolutionary mobile, cloud-based player assessment solutions such as SportsBoard, iProScout Baseball or iRecruit. Not only that, now general managers of professional sports organizations have the option and the ability to preselect the candidates for their roster based on brain science experimental research – this new scouting method even got a name, namely “neuroscouting”.

Technology is changing the fan experience.

To its credit, baseball has invested heavily in new technology to make the game available on a variety of platforms. MLB AtBat is the leading mobile sports app on both iPhone and Android, and MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), baseball’s digital arm, is a world leader in the streaming of sports programming — not just its own programming but also programming for third-party clients like ESPN and the NCAA. The latest MLB.com Ballpark application sldo allows users to personalize their game experience.

One thing that has changed the fan experience in the last decades the most was probably the development of social media. This gives the fans the opportunity to look into the locker rooms of their favorite teams and see the human side of their idols. Some baseball teams have gotten very good at communicating with their fans through social media. Also advertising became very much digital – at the new Marlins stadium, for instance, every sign is digital, giving sponsors the opportunity to buy every ad in the place for a brief period and allowing concession stand specials to be promoted all over the park.

The teams have already made a big leap forward with the implementation of beacons in their stadiums to give fans personalized experience such as getting upgrades of their seats, special discounts or just knowing where they can buy a great burger. And if you want to imagine how the stadiums of the future will look like, read the article on how smart, digital stadiums are changing the way we watch sport or an article on the 14 possible stadium innovations for the future.

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Ever since the first televised MLB game in 1939 we’ve been used to watching our favorite team from the comfort of our own home and seeing every single detail and every statistic. Sportvision’s Baseball product suite provides the most influential and talked about data in the market. With technology like the ever popular PITCHf/x® system that illustrates the flight of the ball, and the Emmy-Award winning K-Zone™ system that makes the strike zone seem tangible, Sportvision continues to influence the way people view and analyze the game.

But this year MLB has started using Statcast to track new metrics, such as the speed of a player stealing a base, how hard a ball is hit, spin rate of a pitch and more. Though the novelty has not been well accepted by all fans, the analysts say it has the potential to change they view certain players.

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There are also apps like Trade Rumors that provide fans with the latest rumors in baseball among other sports and with GameChanger live stats and play-by-play streaming parents and fans will never miss another game.

A novelty you might find surprising is that just recently, Twitter started selling sports tickets in tweets, starting with NBA but probably also expanding to MLB later on. Two live-streaming apps, Meerkat and Periscope, could also change the way we watch sports, although the NBA, NFL, and MLB currently have policies that restrict both reporters and fans from live-streaming game action.

2015_03_27_meerkat_vs_periscope

Scoutee merges technology with tradition

We’re all excited about the future integrations of sports and technology. Scoutee will add to these developments by introducing a solution that will transform the way ball players train and get noticed.

Technology can be of great help to the athletes. However, one thing is sure – the athletes will still have to do their magic no matter how good technology might get. That is until we stay out of the cyborg age.


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We are all 42

Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal. 

George Will

Jackie Robinson was only a ball player. True. But he was also so much more to so many people.

A rebel. A hero. A messiah. You can call him whatever you want, but one thing is certain – he was one of the leading figures in changing the course of (American) history. Had it not been for him and club president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Wesley Branch Rickey a.k.a. Mahatma, we might not be able to fully enjoy the genius talents of Frank Thomas,  Derek Jeter, Ernie Banks, Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., Hank Aaron, Josh Gibson, Bob Gibson, Lee Smith and many more. We would probably not even see players of other-than-white skin colour enter the Major League, which would certainly be a pity.

Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born on January 31, 1919. He was the youngest of five children. His grandfather had been a slave. Jacke’s dad was a farmer in Georgia. He left the family when Jackie was young. Later the family moved to California. Jackie’s mother, Mallie Robinson, cleaned houses. Jackie was a star athlete throughout his school days. In high school, he played baseball, football, basketball, and track. He was usually the best on every team. Jackie won a scholarship to the University of California at Los Angeles. He became the first student ever at UCLA to win varsity letters in four sports.

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Baseball was one of the first institutions in postwar America to become desegregated. Baseball was America’s national game, and like America itself, it preached that it was a melting pot where everyone, regardless of identity or origin, could succeed, provided they had the talent or determination. The nation’s mainstream sportswriters perpetuated this myth, and baseball fans accepted it, not knowing or not caring that talented black ballplayers played in the shadows of white baseball, barred from the game because of an insidious “gentlemen’s agreement” that had excluded blacks since the 1880s.

Baseball in postwar America needed someone like Branch Rickey, the president of the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team. Rickey recalled the humiliation of one of his own black players from 35 years ago and decided he would tear down the color line in baseball. Rickey was determined to hire a black player for the Dodgers. He knew he had to find an excellent ballplayer with unimpeachable morals and a respectable background who could be tough enough to bear all kinds of abuse and strong enough to resist the urge to react to it. Rickey’s plan was called “the Noble Experiment.” Many in Major League Baseball believed it would not work. But Rickey thought it was the right thing to do. He knew that black players would help win games. Rickey’s scouts began watching Negro League games looking  for that perfect black baseball player to break into the all-white major leagues. At that time Jackie Robinson played with the Kansas City Monarchs and Rickey’s scouts spotted him and were impressed with his performance. When they contacted him, Jackie believed he was being considered for the Brooklyn Brown Dodgers, a Negro team. This was not the case.

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No moment in baseball history is more important than the April day in 1947 when Jackie Robinson stepped onto Ebbets Field, making a historic entrance into Major League Baseball as the first African-American player in the history of the game. His outstanding debut season netted him the inaugural Rookie of the Year award, which now bares his name, and spring-boarded him to a stellar 10-season career in which he was part of six Brooklyn Dodger pennant-winners, among them the World Championship club of 1955. In 1949, the six-time all-star won the National League batting title (.342) en route to earning MVP honors. Robinson, a first baseman as a rookie, starred as a second baseman for the next five seasons, before moving on to play third base and the outfield. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

Impressive as his athletic achievements were, what Jackie Robinson accomplished as a man was far more important. The road to Robinson’s appearance at Ebebets Field on April 15, 1947, was a long, often crooked, and dark one. At a time when black players were banned from Major League Baseball, he had the courage and dignity to be the first to endure the withering barrage of racism and rejection without responding in kind. Throughout his entire career, Robinson coped with the racial insults and abuse with tact and good humor. But keeping all his frustration inside was hard. He often couldn’t sleep or eat. The fans marveled at Robinson’s self control. Jackie credited his wife Rachel for keeping him focused and calm during the most difficult first season. When many young athletes allow fame to go to their heads, Robinson kept his principles. He refused alcohol and tobacco. When attractive girls approached him, he told them he had vowed to be faithful all his life to his wife. Robinson had become a much-admired role model for young Americans, especially blacks. In a 1947 contest, Jackie Robinson was named the second most admired man in America, only surpassed in popularity by the singer Bing Crosby.

Jackie Robsinson

Later in his life Jackie Robinson became more active in civil rights work. He became a close friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

If you have not yet seen the movie on Jackie Robinson’s story, now is the perfect time to do so.

Today MLB is pervaded with different nationalities. However, we are unfortunately witnessing a decline in interest of African-Americans in playing baseball during the last few decades. This can be linked directly to partial baseball college scholarships comparing to full ones for basketball or football.

We at Scoutee believe in the power of talent and that no talent should go to waste. Today you have millions of players from poor countries where they have little opportunity to showcase their talent. We want to change that by empowering aspiring baseball players from anywhere in the world to achieve their full potential.

42 is not just a number. It represents humbleness, human dignity, perseverance, faith and courage. It represents the guts not to fight back even when the world turns against you. The number 42 is the only number retired by all of baseball. The next time you see a number 42, you should really bow to everything it stands for. Had we all been at least a little bit of 42, the world would have been a better place.

Thank you, Jackie, for showing us the way!

Long live the 42!

References:


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11 tips to make the most of Opening Day

A long wait is finally over! Baseball fans rejoice as the Opening day is here! We know that the whole experience of watching your favorite team play again will be enough to make your day, if not your week. But still, we want you to make the most of this first day of the season. This is why we have prepared some tips how to enjoy the games in best way possible. Please note that they also apply to any other day of the season.

1. Do you need a day off from work? Brewers made sure you won’t have any problems with your boss. Gentlemen, here’s a note to your boss:

Ladies, this one’s for you:

2. If you’re staying home, you have to make sure you know when your favorite team is playing.Here is a link to the OFFICIAL SCHEDULE of all the games.

3. Make sure your better half knows today is Opening day and that this is Opening week and that it is better not to plan anything in these days, because you won’t be able to attend.

Did you just forget about that 10th anniversary?

Did you just forget about that 10th anniversary?

4. Make sure you have enough of your favorite snacks and there’s enough beer in your fridge. It would be a bummer if your supplies ran out in the middle of the game, wouldn’t it?

Forgot about your snacks?!

Forgot about your snacks?!

5. If you plan to watch the games with friends, make sure you go to the one friend that has the biggest and most comfortable couch and the biggest fridge.

Snacks, anyone?

Snacks, anyone?

6. Even more important than 5. is that your friend has a big TV.

Can you see?

Can you see the game?

7. Get that favorite baseball jersey of yours out of the back of your closet and wear it for the game to get you in the right mood.

Get into the mood!

Get into the mood!

8. We already know you’ll be wearing your team’s hat, so we won’t tell you to do that.

A true fan!

9. Have a glove on you. You just can never know where the ball is coming from.

10. Make sure you still know the lyrics to the Seventh-inning stretch song… You know that one: “Take me out…”. If you forgot the lyrics, repeat before the game, as you don’t want to end up like this guy:

11. Last, but not least, here are Team-by-team previews and odds by CBS, to know what you can expect.

There you go, you’re all set now!

Play Ball!


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8 simple tricks to improve pitchers’ mental strength

Parents, grandparents, friends, girlfriend, crowd, reporters, scouts … the World is watching you and observing your every move … the sun is warming you up, your heart is pounding wildly, and the sweat is pouring down your face … you have 60,5 feet to beat and you must not miss your target – an imaginary box with the size of about 2 times 2 feet … Not to mention that there is a raging bull standing next to the home plate with a bat and with a killer look …

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS VS LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Given the above description of a typical situation in baseball, one can easily imagine why Yogi Berra once said:

Baseball is 90 percent mental; the other half is physical.

Yogi Berra

Although the majority of sports involve some psychology, it is particularly apparent and important in baseball. The difference between baseball and other sports is that in baseball players actually have plenty of time to think about each action in advance – it is in that regard somewhat similar to chess. Because of all this spare time to think, it’s important for ball players to keep not only body, but also your brains fit for the job at hand. Below is a list of eight simple mind tricks that can help you become a stronger player mentally and thus get ready for the new baseball season ahead.

  1. Train hard and be aware of it

Make sure you train hard. Not only that – also make sure you convince yourself that you have done everything you could from the physical perspective. If you have not done everything you could, then start doing everything you can from the next time you will be doing it onwards. Once you can be sure of yourself and of all the effort you have put into your practice, your self-confidence will increase dramatically. It’s that simple.

  1. Know your stuff (variety of pitches, etc. – communicate clearly with your catcher)

Be sure you know your “repertoire” and that you are confident in all of your different pitches. It’s usually not about the quantity but rather about the quality. Make sure you train all those pitches extensively in advance and do not under no circumstances experiment with different grips or techniques in the game situation. Spare practice for the practice. That’s why it is called so in the first place. Additionally, communicate your “stuff” with your catcher clearly, so that he knows your repertoire exactly. This is necessary due to the fact that in certain game situations, especially with a runner on third, the catcher knowing exactly what you will throw can make a difference between winning or losing.

  1. Know your opponent

People often say pitchers are the most intelligent players on the baseball field (same often goes for catchers). It is not strange to hear this once you realise how much statistics pitcher and catcher (the battery) should be able to store and process in their heads before, during and after the game. As a pitcher, know every single player on the opponent’s lineup, study their swinging patterns beforehand, look at their batting videos, remember what they’re going after and which pitches you’ve been successful with against them. Go pitch by pitch, case by case, until you create a profile for every single player from the opposing team in your head.

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  1. Visualise your success

There is a whole line of literature that deals with sports psychology and the mental preparation of the athletes. Elite athletes such as Tom Brady, Serena Williams, and Kobe Bryant use visualisation or imagery. Imagery is a skill you can develop just like any other and means using all your senses to create or re-create an experience in your mind. You can think of it as “focused daydreaming”. Research shows that imagery increases motivation, improves focus, reduces anxiety, and increases self-confidence. You may not have realized it, but you’ve probably already used imagery – both in your athletic training and in your everyday life. Do you ever think about a game or competition the night before and picture how you’ll perform? Do you see yourself making that final out to end an inning or even the game? Can you hear and feel the ball hitting the glove as the batter swings and misses it? If so, you’re using imagery.

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  1. Get in the “zone”

Sports are like battles and baseball is no different. You can’t simply walk on the field and play a game, which is especially true for pitchers. You have to get in that special state, where you leave all your personal problems on the bench and walk on the field with a focused mind and in aggressive mood. Some people also call this state a “rhytm”. Many ball players like to follow certain personal rituals to get in their “zone”. Listen to a powerful song (rock usually does the trick) that charges you with energy, yell, pray or do your “haka”. Whatever gets you to that special place of yours where you are unbeatable.

  1. Imagine a tunnel

Roger Clemens, a former MLB pitcher, once commented that when he was focused, all he saw was the catcher, but when he lost his focus, he was “seeing the crowd, not just the catcher.” If you imagine a tunnel starting from the mound and narrowing down all the way to the strike zone and if you try to keep the ball inside that cone, then there’s no way your pitch will miss the strike zone. You can even get one of those tunnels or simply imagine one.

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  1. Don’t forget about the looks

Psychology also involves how other people perceive you and what your appearance does to their mental processes. So, you might as well want to look sharp when you take command of that mound and try to intimidate your opponent as much as possible.

  1. Never ever ever give up

One game is only one game. The road is long, however. It is not so much about one single step as it is about the road and you keep moving on this road. Failure will come sooner or later, one way or the other. Just make sure you never give up and keep moving those feet of yours.