MLB Home Run Baseballs Authenticated

This could be a terrific ongoing promotion for Major League Baseball Teams! This idea is a win for players, team, sponsors and most of all the baseball fans.

Imagine you are at Busch Stadium watching the Cardinals play and you are sitting in the bleachers. The Cards are down by two runs and there are runners on first and second. The Reds have the home team down to their last out. Matt Holiday is up at the plate with the count 2-2 and the fans are going crazy! The Red pitcher is Aroldis Chapman the flame throwing lanky closer. Holiday has fouled off four pitches and then all of a sudden Chapman throws a pitch down and in the middle of the plate. Holiday takes a mighty swing and the ball is hit deep to left field and it is coming in your direction. You calmly set your adult beverage in the cup holder so   not to spill it, and then you put your baseball glove on and get prepared to catch this walk off home run! The ball is coming directly to you and you confidently reach up to catch the ball “using two hands” and the ball glances off your glove and goes directly to a Reds fan three rows back!  The fans are going insane and you are happy but disappointed at not catching the baseball.

An attendant comes down to the Reds fan and asks her if she wants to have the baseball authenticated and of course she says yes even though she is not happy!

As you are leaving the stadium your buddies are giving you some verbal abuse for missing the ball hit right to your glove! They are laughing and poking fun and you half halfheartedly go along with the torment.

The game winning hit is broadcast on the local and nationwide sport stations for all viewers to see you missing the ball and your long face. The TV screen will show you over and over with the look on you face and your friends laughing hysterically at your failure!

Now we are going to get serious and discuss what can happen next with the home run baseball. The attendant will lead the fan to the authentication area on this level of the stadium. This is where the fan will meet the team employee that is trained to authenticate the baseball. The procedure will normally be done very fast because the game is usually still in progress.

The authentication will have a circular label that will go on the baseball. The label will have a serial number, Cardinals logo, date and the hitter’s name. The fan will also receive a certificate with the date, hitter, pitcher, count, inning, and the score at the time of the homer. There will also be a photo taken with the fan holding the ball and certificate. The fan will also inform the authenticator where he is from.

The team could also invite the fan and his party down to a designated area after the game to have the player autograph the ball in person. There could also be pictures taken. This would be some terrific publicity for the home team.

A sponsor can be involved and give the baseball recipient a gift certificate for their restaurant or another business. The restaurant could find a place to put the picture of the fan in their place of business, maybe close to the register.

When a home run is hit during the game it can be announced in between innings who the lucky fan was and where they are from. The field announcer can lead off with the sponsor’s name and then come in with the fan information. This will also be done on the TV and radio broadcast.

The team can charge the sponsor for advertising per home run. I would put on the big screen once a week all the winners and where they are from. The announcers would also do the same on the air.

There can be a drawing once a month for a fan to win two free baseball tickets to a future game! The drawing will be coming from the fans that are in the home run baseball promotion.

There can be a contest in November to see who will win a trip to spring training. This will take all of your home run winners to be involved. They will do a two minute or less video about why they should win the trip to spring training. The fans of the team can go online and vote for their favorite video. This is a good project to have a travel agency involved to handle the details.

This is a terrific promotion that could be put in place for a long time!  

Bob Brown

Big Dog Baseball USA is an organization dedicated to teaching, discussing, and interacting with baseball fans all across America. Our goal is to teach, explain and promote the game to the masses!

Big Dog Baseball USA will have former Major and Minor League Baseball Players as contributing writers. We are looking for players that are in business for themselves, contractors, or to write for a cause.

One person can make a difference but when you get many pulling in the same direction it can create a tidal wave of success!

 

 

Keep the DH as it is!

There have been some rumors that MLB is going to try to force the Designated Hitter on to the National League. I think this would be very bad for the game, it will take a lot of strategy out of the hands of the manager and the fans who like to do the same.

The DH when it was first started was to increase the attendance in the American League. I think it worked because of more runs being scored and to be able to bring old NL players over to the AL to finish their career. Ron Blomberg was the first DH on April 6, 1973 playing for the Yankees at Fenway Park. Ron was all hit and no field, the DH prolongs careers and keeps players in the game who can only hit.

I hear people say all the time; I don’t want to watch the pitcher flailing away, when there can be another hitter in the lineup. These people don’t understand the true strategy of the game of baseball. Should we pitch to the 8th place hitter or do we walk him and face the pitcher. This all matters in the real game, is there one or two outs, who is the leadoff man? Where are the runners, what is the score. Do you pinch hit for the pitcher, what inning, how many pitches has he thrown. I love the strategy of the two managers, and the chess game that it creates. The managers in the American League do not have to use as much strategy as the skippers in the National League.

There is a need for the manager to make double switches; I think Whitey Herzog started double switches. Whitey was a very good manager and was a pioneer in the game. These kinds of switches can bite a manager in the rear. But this is what is fun about the game and the strategy, not another hitter in the lineup!

I like the way the game is today with the difference. I like to watch the American League games and compare the game to the National. I like the American League because it can keep some good players around a little longer for us to enjoy. The National League is where the real game is played and I hope the game stays the way it is for my grand kids to enjoy!

Bob Brown

Home Team and All Star Ballots

I will start this column off with; I am not in favor of fans voting in the all star game. I have been at the stadium during the time of voting and just pass the ballots down the line. The comments that are made by fans filling in the ballots make the selection process a farce. We need to vote for all Cardinals, or I will vote for him because he is cute. I think you get my idea.

I was watching the Cardinals play the Brewers in Milwaukee and right behind the catcher at the backstop was a sign that said vote for your Brewer players to be at the all star game. I think this is terrible and I am guessing it is happening all over the major leagues. I have heard the on field announcer tell fans to vote for their favorite Cardinal.

Baseball says this is all for the fans, and they are correct. But there are some circumstances that a player will be voted in or receive a lot of votes and he is having a terrible year or has been injured. This seems to happen every year and a deserved player ends up missing a chance to be on the roster.

The Cincinnati Reds had a ballot stuffing plan in the 50s that caused some problems for major league baseball. Here is a link that explains what happened – http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=60255

I imagine you think I am a grouchy old man that wants to take the vote away from the fans. Stay with me, I think we can have a compromise and keep everybody happy! I just want to see the players that deserve to be at the game get the honor.

Here is the deal, there will be four groups participating and this should keep everybody happy. The groups will be fans, players, coaches, and selective sports writers. MLB will announce in a grand fashion who the all stars are in each voting group! This could create a lot of enthusiasm and discussion. I would have the votes from each group on record. I love when people are talking about baseball and this could add to the discussion. This could build a little rivalry among the groups on who could pick the best team. MLB could every Monday morning make an announcement on who are the leading vote getters from each group. This could make the voters more aware and vote for the more deserving player.

Now we need to narrow this down to one team and keep the discussion active. This will be real simple; each group will have equal shares on the final vote. This will be good for baseball and the interest and competition to pick the best team will be fun for all! This could keep the teams from ballot stuffing and giving the honor to a player that doesn’t deserve to be at the game. If there happens to be any ties, the manager can make the decision on who gets chosen.

The manager will still have the ability to pick the rest of his pitching staff, and add players because of injuries.

Bob Brown

 

 

 

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First Baseman Wandering

I had the privilege of watching Albert Pujols hit and compete for the St. Louis Cardinals. Pujols was an awesome hitter and he competed to the maximum.

I am just guessing but I think a lot of organizations are teaching the first basemen to range as far as possible to field a ground ball. Pujols was a master at wandering way over to the second base position to field a ground ball. I read that Chris Duncan said Pujols wants to win a gold glove as a second baseman. Chris is right, it was that bad! I am glad Chris had the guts to say the truth, when others were afraid to speak the truth.

Who can forget the play in the world series of 2011 when Chris Carpenter had to cover first on a play and had to dive to touch the bag? He was tumbling and touched the bag with his glove, while he was laying on the ground. All the commentators were talking about how great of a play Carpenter made. I was beside myself and was waiting for someone to talk about Pujols roaming. If you watch the play he fielded the grounder in front of the second baseman and almost threw the ball from second base! The commentators would have said something if Carpenter would have been injured. But they didn’t have the guts to say anything at the time.

Pujols would do this all the time and did create some problems. One of the problems is the pitcher has to take his lumbering self over to first base and try to coordinate this play. This play is worked a lot in spring training and then ignored the rest of the year. It is so easy for a pitcher to twist an ankle or to have a collision. Why is the first baseman going way to his right, when it would be an easy play for the second baseman? This is real hard to understand how this is the proper way to play the game!

After Pujols left the Cardinals, I did hear a couple of commentators talk about how Pujols would wander too far.  Why didn’t they comment when he was here?

I grew up watching Keith Hernandez who was a great fielding first baseman. He had a lot of range but he knew how far he had to go and where the second baseman was playing. I saw him dive and field hard hit ground balls to his right, but he never fielded a ground ball when it would have been an easy play for the second baseman.

This is the way the play needs to be taught. The first baseman has to always know where the second baseman is playing at all times. It can be different on each pitch, so he has to pay attention. He needs to know the range of the second baseman to his left. If the second baseman is shaded towards the right field foul line the first baseman knows he does not have to go as far to his right.

There is no excuse for the first baseman to wander into the second basemen’s territory! This was happening all the time with the Cardinals and Pujols. It is common sense; it is a much easier play for the second baseman.  Pujols did this all the time, and it drove me nuts.

One more point is if there is a runner on first base and less than two outs. The first baseman can go far to his right to turn the double play or at least get the lead runner. This is an easier play for the first baseman than the second baseman. The first baseman is going towards second and the second baseman is going away from the bag.

Bob Brown

MLB Pregame Batting Practice

I have always had a problem with how the professional baseball players take batting practice before games. There seems to be so little work being done to assist the hitter for game conditions. The batting practice pitcher throws from a shorter distance behind the L screen.  He then proceeds to throw the ball with minimum velocity and the hitter steps up to the plate and swings from the heels.

I am going to discuss what needs to be done to help the hitter to be more prepared for the game. Here is an example, when Albert Pujols was with the Cardinals in 2011, he was slumping badly. He decided to go with the pitches in batting practice, and concentrate on hitting the ball to the right side. Shouldn’t he have been doing this all along? Big Mac teaches to hit the ball up the middle or to right field.  Why was Pujols going up to the plate and putting on a show for the fans, to try to hit one out on all of his pitches? Guess what, he started to hit!  These hitters should all be better with a little common sense.

The starters should be in the batting cage getting a minimum of 1 bucket and getting some serious work in, and not just ripping away. This is where you go to our website to see the Best Hitting Program in America. After the cage work then you can go to the field and hit.

The Batting Practice pitcher moves closer to home plate and behind the screen. Each hitter has his own program to work on. This is where the hitting coach and player have discussed what needs to be done. Each hitter will take 10 swings that have a purpose. The pitcher is challenging the hitter and he knows what the hitter has to work on, they are a team. Each hitter will take 2 rounds of quality swings.

They need to work in a group of three. The hitter that is going to be in the cage next is going to be over to the side hitting small beans with a thin bat, with a purpose!  He will be soft tossed from the side, and the people wallowing on the field will get out of the way. If the groundskeeper says no to the beans, you can substitute small wiffle golf balls. We are here to work and not to be standing around.

The next day I would do the cage work and then get out to the field. You still need to hit the beans or wiffle balls on the field. Then I would have some pitchers that are hired to be batting practice pitchers. These are pitchers who made it up to AA or AAA ball. They will be on the mound and they know what needs to be done with each hitter. The team may need to hire 5-6 pitchers, and the coaches can decide what is needed. There is a need to have a lefty or two. The Pitchers need to have a curveball  cutters, and sliders in their repertoire.  The hitters should be able to get about ten swings.

I will give you an example, David Freese with the Cardinals. The strength of Freese is driving the ball to the opposite field. He always seems to go into a slump when he is pulling everything, and then he looks just awful!  He needs to work on hitting the ball to right field in the cage and on the field. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat! A good coach should be all over him to stay within himself.

Here is another player Drew Stubbs with the Indians, he strikes out way too much. When he is not striking out he is rolling his wrist over and hitting a ground ball to the shortstop. I would just love to work with him. I would go through my hitting program, and really have him concentrate on hitting to the right side.

 

 

MLB Needs to Start Taking Infield Practice

I have a major problem with MLB on infield practice. The great majority of teams do not take infield or outfield practice, before a game.

When I first heard this I was totally shocked. By watching the games, the players need as much practice as possible. In order to get better at anything you have to practice. There is very little practice and drills done during the season as it is all done in the spring. They cannot hit a relay man; outfield throwing is terrible and just plain bad defense.

I heard an interview with Hall Of Famer Al Kaline, and he was asked about how bad the outfield throwing is in the game today. He said the throwing was not as good as it should be. Then he said, they don’t have infield or outfield practice to improve their game. Back in his day they did a lot more work on defense.

In an interview Ex Cardinals manager Tony Larussa was asked why they do not take infield practice, his reply was it is all just a show for the fans. This really bothered me as I imagine the other managers feel the same way. The Cardinals have been taking infield practice the last couple of years and I hope that more teams will follow suit.

My goal with discussing this subject; maybe the brain trust in MLB will wake up and start to do what needs to be done. I do believe we can make a difference in the caliber of play in baseball with Big Dog Baseball USA.