Little League Pledge

The “Little League Pledge” is a historical document, written in the mid 1950s by an official of Little League Baseball. The text of the “Little League Pledge” has remained unchanged since its inception and continues to be an excellent example of the character-building available through youth baseball:

I trust in God
I love my country
And will respect its laws
I will play fair
And strive to win
But win or lose
I will always do my best

Well Isn’t That Special: Manny Being Manny Redux

Manny Ramirez

Having been a member of Red Sox Nation before such a thing was ever a marketing gimmick, I can say that I’ve seen and heard just about enough of Manny Ramirez over the years. “Idiot savant” is what crosses my mind, even if that isn’t politically correct nowadays.

For those who haven’t heard the latest, Manny’s latest pronouncement regarding his current tenure with the LA Dodgers is as follows:

“I know I’m not going to be here next year.”

Nice. Guess who brought the predictable black cloud to Spring training with the rest of their baggage? Well, nothing like urinating on your birthday cake just for show, Manny. Too bad the folks in LA bought your whole dreadlocked, “what, me worry?” style, baggy uniform and goofy jazz from the beginning. Didn’t hurt that you actually managed to PLAY the game immediately after being shipped to the Left Coast from Boston, if only just to stick it in the eye of everyone from Boston who helped you to become the sensation that you apparently still think you are. Last year, you really weren’t all that. Now, you’re just being what everyone in Boston was trying to tell everyone in LA two seasons ago.

The short story is that Manny’s contract expires after this season, and he’s got it figured out this way: 1) If Manny sucks, LA won’t want him back, period. 2) If Manny is awesome, LA won’t be able to afford him. He has also thrown the possibility of “Retirement” out there like an empty beer cup in deep left field, just to see who’s paying attention.

Ned Colletti isn’t too impressed with this nonsense, and no one else in LA should be, either. Especially when Spring Training has only just started. Demand nothing less than that the Dreadlocked One move his ass around the bases like his hair’s on fire and make EVERY play and plate appearance like it’s his last. ALL SEASON. Then we’ll stand in judgment on Manny Ramirez as a true Dirt Dog player and see what he deserves, not the other way around.

Nuf Ced.

Pitchers and Catchers: The Signs of Spring!

The first offical sign of the oncoming hope of Spring is finally here, and it has nothing to do with a groundhog in Pennsylvania, but EVERYTHING to do with pitchers and catchers reporting to their respective Cactus League and Grapefruit League training camps starting this week! Let the games begin and give us hope that the warmth of Spring is surely coming…

Maybe Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima will appreciate this Dirt Dog Haiku:

Shadows stretch for First,

Balm fills air on scented breeze;

Leather pops with joy.

Developing Speed #4 by Roger White

Speed Reserve

There are many ways to get faster. If you look at the Olympic sprinters, all have differing training programs, although many are similar in philosophy and principles. In my training system, I base my speed work around a concept called Speed Reserve. This was introduced to me by one of my mentor coaches and has proved to be successful time and time again, no matter the sport.

Let’s look at a simple illustration: If you and I lifted weights, and you had a maximum weight lifted of 200 pounds and I had a maximum of 150 lbs, when we lifted 125 pounds, who would perform more reps? Who would have to work harder? I think it’s pretty obvious that you, lifting 200 pounds, would more than likely perform more reps. But why? With your higher overall strength level, performing 125 pounds is just about half of your overall maximum strength level, whereas for me, it’s close to the maximum.

Now, using the same concept let’s look at how Speed Reserve works: You can run 15 miles per hour, and I can run 12 miles per hour. If we were doing endurance work, who would have to work harder to run faster? I would of course! I can’t possibly run faster than 12 miles per hour, but you can run at 13 miles per hour, which isn’t your maximum and still beat me. You have the extra reserve of 2 miles per hour, while I do not.

By having a higher maximum speed, you can perform things easier in competition due to the lower effort. In games, it may be rare for an athlete to actually reach their maximum speed (usually around the 30-50 yard mark in a straight sprint). The ability to accelerate quickly, slow down quickly, change direction and re-accelerate is the name of the game. After buying Developing Youth Speed and going through it’s workouts, I increased my speed from 12 to 16 miles per hour. At 12 miles per hour speed, I was competitive and found ways to make plays. But now with an increase in speed, I can still play at my old speed, use my new speed when needed, and be less fatigued since I can work at a lower effort. This concept may be hard to grasp but it is true. I have seen in all sports. Later, I will discuss what can be done to increase your speed reserve.

Author Links
This series is reproduced with permission by Roger White M. Ed., C.S.C.S.  For more information on developing athletic speed please visit http://developingyouthspeed.com.

One Dirt Dog’s Reward #2

The 2009 All-Star Edition of The Best Players in Babe Ruth League is now published and available for distribution from Chancellor Publications. Just the thing to warm up the middle of winter!

Each season the Babe Ruth League selects its most outstanding baseball and softball players who represented their local leagues in District, State and Regional tournament competition leading up to the Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth World Series. These players are profiled with their statistics, teams and league affiliations which becomes a permanent part of the library collections at the Babe Ruth League and National Baseball Halls of Fame.

I’m very proud to say that my son Matt’s name is again among those honored this year. What a thrill to see him represented among the best Babe Ruth baseball players in the country.