Great Gear #2: “Baseball Memories” Statistics Software

If you are an involved baseball parent or coach and have been looking for inexpensive, easy-to-use baseball statistics software, then check out my Great Gear Recommendation #2: “Baseball Memories” statistics software. This is a fantastic, fun and simple application that lets serious players, parents and coaches track individual player or team statistics and more without breaking the bank.

Some folks who know me think I’m obsessed, but from the time my son Matt played baseball in Rookie League I wanted to keep his statistics both as a way to measure his progress over the years and also to help him learn the game (its hilarious to see him knowledgably compare his stats at 12 years old to Big Leaguers either on baseball cards or on TV). After first building my own worksheets and formulas in Microsoft Excel, I discovered this product and have used it ever since (4 years and counting).

Unlike many other statistics tracking applications which can be costly and are primarily designed for coach or league use, Baseball Memories is software specifically designed for baseball and/or softball players to track personal statistics for a game, season and over their entire career. However, it can also be used by coaches to track statistics at the team or league level. The software allows multiple users to enter as many games, seasons and teams as desired, even allowing calibration of 6 or 9-inning games and whether ties are permitted. A comprehensive set of hitting and pitching statistics can be entered for each game and are automatically summarized for both Season and Career.

Additional features include a Photo Gallery which supports many image formats; a Journal which includes spellcheck with a full range of fonts & type sizes; and a Spray Chart which permits users to plot hit locations per game to build a whole season view. The software also provides for the printing of multiple pre-formatted reports and game schedules.

Baseball Memories requires an Operating System of Windows 95 or higher and is also Vista-compatible. Trust me when I say it is a lot of fun to use without any headaches. Also, no rocket science is involved. It is available from the folks at LazyDog Software for an economical $20 via Internet download or $30 if you get the CD. The cost also includes free lifetime upgrades. Should you need it, the User Support is both prompt, helpful AND responsive (and they’re American too).

Follow this link for more information including screen-shots, to access a trial version or to buy your own copy: http://www.lazydogsoftware.com/Baseball/Baseball.htm

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Thoughts on Fall Ball

Now that the Fall Ball Season is underway, here are some thoughts From the Clubhouse:

All Fall Ball players should embrace the opportunity to have an extension of their season. It’s a great time to establish goals that will carry over into the off-season and set the stage for better play in the Spring.

Have Fall Goals

Each player should focus by deciding on 2 aspects of their game to really improve on. One goal should be for hitting and another should be for defensive fielding or pitching. Players without goals are just sweating to no purpose.

For Fall Ball Hitters

Improve your bunting skills. Fall is a great time to learn how and when to bunt, so you’re ready to put lessons learned into action during the competitive Spring season. Also train yourself to look for signs and observe the third baseman’s position. Learn to target your bunts down the third base line when he is playing back.

For Fall Ball Pitchers

Here are three Rules of Pitching to work on now:

  • Work fast
  • Change speeds
  • Throw strikes

If you get ahead of the batter early in the count, you have already learned how to strike him out. Save your “out” pitch until two strikes and set up the batter in the meantime. Exception: If the hitter can’t touch your fast ball, keep throwing it until he catches up in the count.

For Fall Ball Coaches

Write down exactly how and what areas you would like your team to improve in during the Fall season. Then plan your practice time accordingly. Plan your work, then work your plan. Some ideas should include training power pitchers to close games using heat and challenging hitters. Improve speed of play including baserunning by using a stopwatch and ALWAYS giving your players positive feedback.

Have fun & Play Ball!

Great Gear #1: The Glove Radar

Game gear along with many different tips & techniques can help you be a better baseball coach and be more effective at player development. Disclaimer: Everything I recommend here I personally own and use. My endorsement as a baseball dad and youth baseball coach is strictly based on my own personal experience. I have NO relationship with the manufacturers and they don’t even know I’m giving them a free promotion. So here’s my Great Gear Recommendation #1: The Glove Radar.

The Glove Radar is a small and relatively inexpensive Doppler radar velocity sensor and microprocessor which easily attaches to any baseball or softball glove and measures the incoming speed of the ball just before it is caught. Constructed of high-impact plastic, this device is water-resistant under normal use and weather conditions, operates on a single lithium battery and features an LCD display which reads the ball’s speed in miles per hour.

Glove Radar can be used wherever it is helpful to measure ball speed. During bullpen sessions I use it both to determine the actual “working speed” of a pitcher’s arsenal of pitches, and to quantify the velocity of a pitcher’s off-speed pitches in relation to their fastball. It is also helpful to measure velocity improvements which result from proper throwing mechanics.

Glove Radar works with balls thrown from any distance, and is a tool also used by pitching coaches in Major League Baseball. Unlike more expensive radar guns, the Glove Radar does not need a long-range reading capability and can be used directly by the coach while in the act of catching the ball. No extra hands required. Also, the Glove Radar is an actual microwave Doppler radar, not an impact sensor nor a timer which requires a precise throwing distance for accuracy.

And speaking of accuracy, the Glove Radar actually measures ball speed within a variance of 1 MPH of readings obtained by radar guns which are measuring the same velocity over the same flight path. I’ve proved this to myself and can attest that it is absolutely true.

The Glove Radar is available through resellers or direct from Sports Sensors, Inc. of Cincinnati, OH. Cost is around $79.00, although you can find specials which knock the price down to around $65.00. If you want an inexpensive, accurate radar that is easy-to-use while you just keep playing catch, check it out and let me know what you think.

Game Wrap-up for Weekend 9/19-9/20

The Giants had a tough weekend of baseball, being defeated twice by the Red Sox and White Sox on beautiful weekend mornings. But any day on the ball field is better than a day anywhere else.

Giants Lose to Red Sox 13-10

The Giants lost to the Red Sox in Saturday’s game that featured a pitcher’s duel between Matt L. and Christian W. who have played together on Littleton’s Cal Ripken All-Star team. Both pitchers went three innings, with Matt holding the score to 2 runs while striking out 7 before leaving the mound with a hurt knee from a collision at the plate during a cover play. The Red Sox were able to run up the score in the 4th inning with 10 runs, followed by a final run in the 5th. The Giants came back with 2 runs in the 4th to avoid a shut-out, then rallied with 8 more runs in the 5th inning to close the gap. Jaz was the heavy-hitter of the game with 2 doubles and 2 runs scored. Matt and Madhav both hit 2 singles, and Avery and Ben also hit singles and scored runs. The big lesson learned by the boys in this game is “never give up, never give in.”

Giants Lose to White Sox 12-4

Sunday’s game vs. the White Sox was more one-sided against the Giants. Bobby started on the mound and despite a great pitching effort gave up 5 early runs due to strong White Sox hitting throughout the batting order. Bobby held them scoreless in the 2nd inning, but additional pitching changes geve the White Sox chances to book 2 more runs in the 3rd inning and 5 additional runs in the 4th. The Giants bats were stifled by strong White Sox pitching, but Matt L. and Ian P. both clubbed doubles while Ian W. hit 2 singles. Joe and Ben also made base hits, but with 2 runs scored in the 3rd and 2 more in the 4th it wasn’t enough.

One of the things I have observed so far this season is that in spite of the theory of the draft process which is intended to produce balanced teams, the Giants have not benefited from an even distribution of talent and experience with many of the players having moved up this year from the Minors level. They are facing faster pitching along with the adjustments necessary due to playing with wood bats: A double-disadvantage at this level. The challenge will be to keep inspiring the boys and prevent discouragement from taking hold.

Giants Fall to Cubs 10-4

The 12U Giants lost their Fall season opener 10-4 to the Cubs during a beautiful late Summer Sunday morning game. After a month’s hiatus since the end of Summer baseball, it was great to get back into the swing of things with wood bats and pine tar. The Giants were the away team, and struck first with a single by Matt who was batting 2nd in the order. Apart from that hit, the Giants bats were kept quiet by fast and reliable Cubs pitching for the first 3 innings. After a mid-game pitching change, the Giants bats came alive with Ian P., Madhav, Ian W., Bobby, Avery and Jaz all hitting singles. RBIs were Jaz, Bobby and both Ians. In the field the Cubs were held scoreless by Matt who started on the mound followed by Bobby in the 2nd inning. Also pitching was Madhav and Jaz. The Cubs opened an early 2-0 lead in the 3rd inning and then capitalized with 5 more runs in the 4th and 3 insurance runs in the 5th.

Fall Ball with wood bats proves that good pitching does indeed beat good hitting. It also shows that walks will kill you every time and control is everything. A good opening game to knock off the cobwebs. Stay tuned for next weekend’s action…