Friday, December 31, 2010

Immediate Moratorium on All Composite Bats

Little League Baseball, Inc. has placed an immediate moratorium on the use of all composite bats in its Major League and Minor League Baseball Divisions and below.

This decision extends its previously announced moratorium on such bats in the Little League Junior, Senior and Big League Divisions. The rules for these three older divisions do not apply to Myers Park Trinity, as we are affiliated with the Babe Ruth League at those levels. The moratorium also does not apply to MPTLL Softball, but it does affect our Major League, National League (minors) and American League (machine pitch).

The new ban refers to any bat constructed with a composite barrel, which means it is made with a woven composite of metal fibers. This construction provides such advantages as lighter barrels, less vibration and greater energy transfer. It is my understanding that composite handles are still allowed.

Little League's recent study conducted at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell found that new composite bats meet the required Bat Performance Factor (BPF) of 1.15 or below. But once broken in, the bats can exceed these mandatory safety standards.

At this time, all composites are banned. But as they did above the Major League level, Little League will allow bat manufacturers to apply for an exemption on certain models. If any models are approved for such an exemption, Little League will post them on its website.

But for now, this means we will be using aluminum bats this spring - which isn't all bad. There are several good aluminum alloy bats on the market to be had. And if they are considered to be safer for use on our small field, then we should welcome the change.

For more information on composite bats and this recent announcement, check out the article posted by Little League and read through my previous posts regarding bats.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Consider a Tax Deductible Contribution to MPTLL

Three days remain to make tax deductible contributions in 2010. If you or your company is looking for a qualified organization for tax write-offs, consider Myers Park Trinity Little League this year. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and therefore financial contributions are tax deductible.

There is a need at Myers Park Trinity. Each year, spring and fall, the league provides opportunities for many underprivileged children to play baseball or softball at little or no cost. That's uniforms, practice gear and all that goes with being on a team for several dozen kids that would not be able to play if not for the league's scholarship program. No one has been or ever will be turned away because of an inability to pay. For more information, go to the MPTLL website.

Also to consider - the league is expanding and there are significant costs associated, especially due to the necessary maintenance of our now 10 fields plus satellite practice locations. Two fields are currently under construction and need financial backing.

So consider making a contribution to Myers Park Trinity. I will be writing my own check to the league today for 10% of all lesson profits. I encourage you to spread the word about this to others - send this post to those who might be interested. The league address is: MPTLL, P.O. Box 11556, Charlotte, NC 28220.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Still No News from Little League on Composite Bats

Oh, how I hate to bump the awesome picture of Bob Feller down the page. But we must move on....

This is just a reminder, before any new Christmas morning bats are opened (although probably not used out in the winter wonderland that surely awaits us). Little League has not announced any results of their study on the safety of youth composite-barreled bats. They did put out this brief message after Thanksgiving, but it really says nothing.

I am surprised they didn't do all this a little sooner, like before the shopping season. The bat companies cannot be happy. But we'll look for the results from Little League next week, as they are supposed to make an announcement by January 1st. They will probably do the same thing they did with their Junior and Senior League (although this does not affect MPTLL's Junior and Senior Babe Ruth divisions), and post a list of those composite bats that will be approved for play in 2011 Majors and Minors. It could be that many of the bats we know and love are banned. We'll just have to keep waiting and find out.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

They Don't Make 'em Like Bob Feller Anymore

Baseball legend Bob Feller died yesterday at the age of 92. It's almost hard to believe the outspoken, dominant right handed pitcher and war hero was mortal, when you consider his amazing life.

He came from humble beginnings, but rose to stardom quickly. He was signed by the Cleveland Indians at age 16, and struck out 15 batters in his Major League debut at the age of 17. He returned to high school after the season for his senior year. His graduation ceremony was broadcast by NBC on national radio.

Feller would have won almost 400 games if he had not given four years of his career to the US Navy during World War II. He served on the battleship Alabama and saw action in the North Atlantic and the Pacific.

He pitched as recently as last year at age 90 in the Baseball Hall of Fame Classic in Cooperstown.

Feller was one of the hardest throwers ever. But more importantly, he was a great American. He was the "Ace of the Greatest Generation." It's hard to find heroes like him anymore.

Monday, December 13, 2010

How to Balance Sports and Family

We may not all be as perfect as the happy family on the left (even the dog is happy), but we can at least have a healthy balance between youth sports and family life. Moms Team offers nine ways to achieve that balance.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Book Review: Until It Hurts by Mark Hyman

There has been plenty of talk nationally about Mark Hyman's latest book, Until It Hurts, since its release about a year ago. And a couple of parents in our own league have mentioned it to me. So I decided to give it a read and report back.

Hyman's book is essentially about what he calls the "hostile takeover" of youth sports by adults. As he says in his introduction, "adults rule youth sports." It isn't a new trend. It has gone on for decades.

Hyman uses anecdotes and statistics to show the disturbing patterns of behavior among many misguided and ultra-competitive parents and coaches throughout various sports, both team and individual. One story is that of his own family and what led to his son's Tommy John Surgery.

Throughout the book, Hyman examines a number of things considered wrong with today's youth sports culture:

- The big business it has become, including national TV broadcasts;

- Parents who relentlessly pursue athletic success for their kids, over-scheduling them to the point of exhaustion, with hopes of rare college scholarships, even more rare million dollar contracts, or just the social status of having raised an elite athlete;

- Early sport specialization and adults who push athletes to be the best, no matter the toll it takes on their minds and bodies, sometimes working them to the point of injury; and

- The focus on winning over fun, fairness and health.

Hyman is an advocate for organizations designed with fun and the best interests of the kids in mind. He says we should be listening to doctors' advice, and to what the kids themselves have to say about what they want to pursue and how they want their athletic experiences to be.

He's done a good job of painting an honest picture of what youth sports in America has become, although some of the anecdotes could be considered extreme cases. This book is an important look into what is best for kids and what we, the parents and coaches of young athletes should keep in mind as we guide them.

Until It Hurts by Mark Hyman is currently available at Amazon for around $10.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How Much Exercise Does Your Practice Provide?

It is widely accepted that youth sports are beneficial for general health and obesity prevention. Experts recommend an hour of moderate to rigorous physical activity per day. But a new study conducted by San Diego State University and UC-San Diego suggests what we may have suspected about organized team sports practices.

Researchers placed accelerometers on 200 young soccer, baseball and softball players aged 7-14 to measure how much activity they were getting in practice. The findings show that overall, only 24% of participants met the one hour recommendation during their team's practice. Baseball, and especially softball players, got significantly less physical activity. Check out the study for all the details.

This tells us that (1) team sports aren't enough - school PE and neighborhood recreation are very important to the health of our nation's youth, and (2) our practices could probably include more exercise.

How can we get our players moving more in practice? Here are some ideas. If you have other suggestions, please leave a comment below.

- Have the team run a couple of warm-up laps before starting. This, followed by stretching, also helps prevent injuries.

- Practice baserunning often. Baserunning is a quarter of the game (pitching, hitting, fielding and baserunning) and often gets neglected.

- Utilize stations to keep the players engaged and minimize standing around waiting. Use the nets and batting cages for hitting stations like tees, soft toss and BP.

- After your instruction periods, reward the team with an intrasquad scrimmage or quick game of Pull-the-Trigger. This not only gets the players moving, but it's fun and sends them home wanting more.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Girls Can Play Baseball Too

Found a website for an organization called Baseball For All, which promotes the idea of girls playing baseball, not only in youth leagues, but beyond.

Baseball For All (BFA) is managed by Justine Siegal, who played competitive women's baseball and later served as a coach for a professional men's team, the Brockton (MA) Rox. The organization provides opportunities and instruction for girls wanting to continue with baseball beyond the young age that most are encouraged to make the switch to softball. The website includes some good information, including an informative education page.

Myers Park Trinity's history includes several standout female players. Katie Boyer was the first, playing for Al Browne in 1978. Some of her teammates actually thought she was a boy, until one of them asked the coach one day, "Why do you always call him Katie?"  Krissy Culler may have been the best, earning a spot on the league's Major League All-Star team. One of my own favorite players, Betsy Barnhardt, was an outstanding catcher and pitcher for AB.

So while the league does have a quality softball program, there are options for those girls wanting to stick with hardball. And they can excel at it. Don't believe me? Check out the story of Chelsea Baker on ESPN E:60.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Strength Training for Kids

A recent NY Times article takes a look at a study regarding the safety and potential benefits of youth strength training.

There has been a long-held belief that kids could not gain strength from any kind of weight training, and that it could even stunt their growth or cause growth plate damage. But the latest research indicates that kids actually benefit from such exercise, not by bulking up, but by creating more efficient interaction between the nervous system and muscles.

Doctors do not advocate putting kids in the weight room, but do encourage other types of fun strength training activities that get kids away from the computer screen or tv and will prepare their bodies for the sports they play. This makes a lot of sense, especially for baseball and softball, those activities that develop core and leg strength - something our more serious ballplayers might want to consider this offseason.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Cyber Monday

The holiday shopping season is kicking it into full gear. Here are some ideas for the baseball player or fan in your house.........


You might want to hold off on bats if you're considering the composite variety. Little League would be helpful to announce the results of their study before Christmas. But if not, you can either wait to see which composites will be allowed, or go ahead and look for a good aluminum alloy bat. usually has great deals on Eastons.

For other equipment, has low prices, but stock is often limited. Locally, you can go to In the Game Athletics, a good baseball store in Matthews behind Target. Dick's Sporting Goods has all the basics and is pretty good for gloves, like Nokona, Wilson and Rawlings. Omega at Park Road or the Arboretum also has a decent, although small baseball section.


Baseball Savings is great for pants. Dick's would be the place for Under Armour. Need a good hat - go to They have every type of MLB team hat you can imagine. There is also plenty of good fan gear at


If you're looking for a good family baseball flick, you can't go wrong with Field of Dreams, The Sandlot, or Little Big League.

Training Aids:

The best thing a player can have in the backyard is a tee and a net. He can work on his swing and use the net for throwing too. Baseball Savings is a good place to go for these and other training aids. There are loads of options.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Juggling Youth Sports

Here's a link to a Wall Street Journal article from a while back about juggling kids activities, particularly their sports teams, with family time. Sue Shellenbarger examines the choices families make and where some draw the line and say enough is enough.

One group in Minnesota, Balance4Success, draws the line on Sunday activities, and has started its own movement called Taking Back Sundays. They ask participants to pledge to boycott Sunday sports in the interest of not allowing their kids to be over scheduled. They stress the importance of obtaining the proper balance in kids' lives among sports, school, family time and unorganized free time.

Shellenbarger also ponders the motivation behind parents that push their kids to pursue athletics seriously at a young age.  Having grown kids of her own that were athletes, she speaks from experience about putting youth sports in the proper perspective. While agreeing that participation in youth sports has significant benefits, she points out that only 2% of high school athletes get college scholarships (and many of those include only a small percentage of tuition and expenses - less than academic scholarships). Looking back, she says it's the interaction with teammates and families that are most remembered by her family - not the on-field accomplishments.

This is a good look into the growing backlash against the "more is better" trend in youth sports these days. Whether we are tempted to have our kids specialize in one sport, or we are considering allowing them to participate in multiple activities at once, we all have choices to make and there are risks to consider - burnout, overuse injuries, over-scheduling, etc. - real issues that threaten to take the fun out of kids' games.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Arm Care and Velocity Development Clinic

Tickets for the 2nd annual Arm Care and Velocity Development Clinic are on sale at the South Charlotte Sports Report. This clinic is led by Alan Tyson of Architech Sports & Physical Therapy. Tyson is considered one of the leading arm care specialists in the region.

This clinic is highly recommended by many baseball people in the area. It is for serious pitchers, age 12-18. It is a non-throwing event, since many pitchers have shut down their arms for the winter. But the information provided by Tyson and the other speakers is said to be extremely beneficial.

The event is on Saturday, December 4th from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm at Ardrey Kell High School. The cost is $90 per player-parent combo. Visit the South Charlotte Sports Report website for more information.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Article on Overuse Injuries

Tommy John, then of the Los Angeles Dodgers, was the first to undergo ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) replacement surgery. Since that initial procedure performed by Dr. Frank Jobe in 1974, Tommy John Surgery has become a common fix for serious elbow injuries. And as previously mentioned in this blog, it has become far too common in young pitchers.

Here is a link to another article about overuse, or "repetitive stress" injuries in young athletes. Amanda Schoenberg writes in the Albuquerque Journal about author Mark Hyman's experience with his own son's injury, and his book on the subject, "Until It Hurts."

I am currently reading the book and will comment on it later. But for now, there is some useful information on overuse injuries in this article. The more informed we are, the better.

Friday, November 12, 2010

New T-Ball Field Under Construction

There's another new field taking shape at Randolph Park. This time it's a T-Ball field, making a total of three tucked in among the trees between the upper and lower Little League fields. The new field is located just below the Founders Field bullpen and directly across the walking path from T-Ball Fields #1 and #2.

Our grounds crew - mainly Boyd Correll, Tony McNay, Jim Straughn, Kip Kiser and Preston Cavenaugh - have been working hard since last spring clearing trees, moving earth and laying sod. The last new field they built received very high marks as host of both the 2010 12-year-old TOC and the District 3 Major League Tournament. It is without a doubt the finest Little League field in the city, if not beyond. So we know they will do an outstanding job.

This new T-Ball field satisfies a significant need for Myers Park Trinity. Last spring our T-Ball Division had 18 teams and only two fields, plus a temporary practice location down the hill at the Grier Heights Fields. In 2011 when the third T-Ball field is complete, our Marshall-Caudle Little League Complex will house an impressive 10 fields in all. This is good news for our families, but a heavy work load for our grounds crew. If you would like to offer your help in 2011, please contact the league.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Josiah's Time

If you missed the ESPN E:60 story, "Josiah's Time" by Tom Rinaldi, check it out below. It is the story of 6-year-old Josiah Viera of Hegins, PA. Josiah has an extremely rare disease called Progeria, which, although he is only 27 inches tall and weighs 15 pounds, causes his body to age ten times the normal human rate.

Josiah's dream is to play baseball. Watch as his dream comes true, and visit the E:60 page for an article by Ben Houser. This is a story about a courageous little boy, his love of baseball and much more.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Little League Rule Changes for 2011

Changes to the official rules and regulations have been handed down from Williamsport for the 2011 season. As usual, there are several amendments and additions to the rule book, which will be published and distributed prior to spring. Just about all divisions are affected in some way, including regular season and tournament rules. But keep in mind that our Softball program and our Junior & Senior League divisions are not part of Little League, Inc.

Here are some of the changes to the Little League Baseball rules:

A date of February 1st has been introduced to establish player residency. This mainly affects our tournament (all-star) teams.

The pitching regulation stating that a player serving as catcher in four or more innings of a game cannot pitch the rest of the day was officially added to the rulebook. This was a late change last spring.

Tournament teams of 12 or fewer players may once again have a manager and 2 additional coaches.

Such tournament teams of 12 or fewer players will have an increased mandatory playing time for each player in attendance of six consecutive defensive outs and one offensive plate appearance. Teams of 13-14 players will use a mandatory play rule of three consecutive defensive outs and one offensive plate appearance.

Here is the link to all the changes. For the first time in a while, Little League did not make any amendments to its pitch count limits or days of rest.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Alpine Ski Center's MPTLL Sale Night

This Tuesday, November 9th from 3:00-8:00 pm is MPTLL Sale Night at Alpine Ski Center on East Blvd. During this time the store will be offering some of their best pricing of the year and will be donating a portion of their proceeds to our league. And for every league person that attends, Alpine will contribute an additional $3.00 to Myers Park Trinity - NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.

So stop by on Tuesday, let them know that you are supporting MPTLL, and start shopping for winter. Visit their website for directions.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Titanium Necklaces: Do They Work?

If you've watched a baseball game on TV lately, you've no doubt seen titanium necklaces draped around the necks of many professional players. If you watched the World Series, you may have noticed the new braided Phiten Tornado being worn by several. Anyone can buy one in his favorite team's colors, and sales have skyrocketed. 

Since Phiten is an official MLB partner, they are very common in the game.  Some like them big and flashy.  Some not only wear them around their necks, but also on their body as discs.

Many players swear by them, but few know what they actually do. Some say they increase energy or balance. Some say they are a muscle relaxer (if that's the case, I need to wrap them around my bad back). The company claims they "regulate and balance the flow of energy throughout your body."  In turn, this "helps to alleviate discomfort, speed recovery, and counteract fatigue by restoring the body’s natural healing powers."

But doctors point out that no scientific evidence has shown that the liquid titanium, or "aqua-titanium," that the necklaces are infused with actually has any healing powers. They have not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, so that basically classifies them as a fashion accessory.

Fox Charlotte recently produced the story below on titanium and magnetic necklaces, and interviewed some area players, including one of my own former players, Colin Walls, about whether they actually "work," or if there is merely a placebo effect at hand. I think many young players might agree that they look cool, but I'm not sure they are worth the $25-$50 price tag unless one can actually fix my back.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Why We Coach

This article by Adam Parkhouse of the News Dispatch in Michigan City, Indiana is a few months old, but it's pretty relevant to Myers Park Trinity. Adam is a non-parent youth baseball coach explaining why he loves what he does each spring.

MPTLL is unique in that our Major League and Minor League divisions have so many coaches that continue to come back year after year, some for several decades, despite not having children children of their own on their teams. This aspect of our league truly sets us apart from most others.

Here is a link to the article.  I think there are many of us that can identify with what he has to say.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

MPTLL History Project: The Original Charter

This is pretty interesting to look at: our league's original charter application, approved by Little League, Inc. on March 12, 1952.

After the initial 1951 season with the American Business Club League at Independence Park, Don Bryant and his Harry & Bryant team joined fellow Myers Park Civitan Club members like Al Browne, Jack Starnes and others in forming a new league under the Civitan Club's sponsorship. As you can see in this Charlotte Observer article from early June 1952, a third league sponsored by the North Charlotte YMCA was also formed.

Some interesting things stand out on our league charter. Each of the four original teams - Harry & Bryant, Al Browne's Service, Blythe Motors and Farmers Dairy - had nicknames: Cardinals, Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers respectively. Our territory boundary was rather large, bounded only by Trade and Tryon Streets, but the estimated population was just 20,000. And the league's first field at Myers Park Elementary is described in pretty good detail: 180 down the lines, 200 to center, and rated as "average." The league would play there the first couple of seasons before moving over to Ranson Field (later known as EC Griffith) on Randolph Road.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fall Ball Coming to a Close

The Myers Park Trinity Fall Ball season comes to a close this weekend. Players will head into winter and other activities, and hopefully retain much of what they learned over the last two months.

Our fall program was started in the early '90's with the help of guys like Tom Marshall, Bo Thomas and Zan Copeland. The goal has always been to provide a fun, non-competitive instructional league to help our players develop. Each game is viewed as a learning experience and a chance to practice new skills and gain confidence. I believe we have accomplished that goal. Yes, Fall Ball games can often get sloppy and be frustrating to some, but that's what happens when kids are learning and practicing new things. Better to get that out of the way now than in the spring season when the scoreboards are on and standings are followed.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

MPTLL History Project: 1951

Charlotte Observer 7-10-51
1952 is pretty well known as the year our league began. But before there was a Myers Park Trinity Little League, or even a Myers Park Civitan League, there was the American Business Club League. And our own Harry & Bryant team was a part of it.

That's Don Bryant on the left getting the HB boys ready for Opening Day in 1951. His new squad was one of eight entries in the unofficial and unchartered city-wide league that began play in July of that year. At the time, Little League Baseball had over 2,000 teams around the nation, mostly in its home state of Pennsylvania. Men like Vic Westmoreland and Ken McCollough helped bring it to Charlotte. As you can see in these articles from the Charlotte Observer, the idea gained popularity and came together quickly - from the initial planning, to organizing the details, to scheduling opening day.

Play began on July 10, 1951, and Harry & Bryant won its first and second games.

The following year there would be three separate leagues in our community, one being our own Myers Park Civitan League. And the year after that there would be farm teams introduced. But those are stories for another day. For now, let's appreciate Harry & Bryant as it prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary.

Trinity Yard Sale & Halloween Festival

Longtime MPTLL Major League team sponsor Trinity Presbyterian Church is hosting its first annual "Trinity X-treme Community Yard Sale and Halloween Festival" this Saturday, October 30th from 8:00 am until 1:00 pm. For more information on renting yard sale space, attending the event or donating items, visit the Trinity website.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sandlot Day

Here's an idea we should bring down from New York:  Sandlot Day, which was promoted by the SUNY Youth Sports Institute in Spring 2010. No coaching, no uniforms, no umpires, no money, no spectators. Just the kids, a few balls, and maybe some wood bats. The parents can do their own thing, and most importantly, the kids can do theirs.

We might want to keep this in mind for next year. In the meantime, the fields are always there. Baseball is a fun game, whether it's organized or not.

Rhymer Fitness Seminar

Rhymer Fitness, an MPTLL sponsor, is hosting a free nutrition and mental toughness seminar on Monday, November 1 at 6:30pm at B&B Batting Center in Indian Trail. The seminar will cover topics such as supplements, protein, carbohydrates, fish oil, the dangers of performance enhancing drugs, proper hydration and more. For more info, visit B&B Batting Center.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Composite Bats Update

Minor update regarding Little League's position on composite bats (see my previous post about this issue).....

Little League has contracted with the University of Massachusetts at Lowell to immediately study the performance levels of various composite bats to see which ones are considered safe for play. They plan to announce their findings by the first of the year.

As of now, most composite bats are still allowed in the Major League division and below. But any models that are found to have a Bat Performance Factor (BPF) or Accelerated Break-In (ABI) measurement beyond Little League limits will most likely be banned for 2011. Stay tuned....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

MPTLL History Project

The history of Myers Park Trinity is a large part of what we are today. As the oldest existing Little League organization in Charlotte, we have a tradition and a respect for our history like none other.

But much of that history has been passed down by word of mouth and is at the risk of being lost or accidentally rewritten. So I have set out to document our history using pictures, first hand accounts, draft records, scorebooks and newspaper clippings. Much of the work was done by a few of us prior to the league's 50th anniversary in 2002. But many holes remained and inaccurate legends persisted.

The MPTLL History Project will attempt to document as many facts as possible that make up our real history. The main part of this endeavor is to track the history of our oldest and most prominent division of play - the Major League division. It all began is 1951 with Harry & Bryant, and we became a chartered league - the Myers Park Civitan League - in 1952 with HB, Al Browne's Service, Farmers Dairy and Blythe Motors. But what happened the next year?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Little League Expands 50-70 Pilot Program for 2011

Little League Baseball announced on September 27 that it will expand its pilot program involving use of the "50-70" field for the 2011 spring season. 

Last year this optional program was available as a 12-13-year-old division for leagues choosing to use Junior League rules - most notably allowing baserunners to take "leads" from bases before a pitch reaches home plate -  but on fields with 50-foot mounds and 70-foot basepaths.  It was viewed as a transition from the 46-60-foot Minor and Major League field to the 60-90-foot field normally used for Junior League and beyond.

Based on feedback from leagues around the world, Little League will continue the program in the coming year and has added the option of an 11-12-year-old 50-70 division. In this new "supplemental" pilot program, Junior League rules will be used, but the bats must be the 2 1/4" barrel variety approved for the 12-and-under divisions. 11-12-year-old Tournament Rules (All-Stars) would remain under 46-60 rules.

This style of baseball is still optional, but I would expect some area leagues to try it out next season. Several of them have an 11-12-year-old Majors Division anyway (MPTLL's is 10-12), so rules and field modifications would be the biggest changes.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What's Causing the Arm Injuries?

This guy on the left is not the only one having significant arm trouble these days. He's just the most prominent. Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals was the #1 overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft. His college and pro coaches were careful with him because he was widely considered to be the best pitching prospect in years, if not decades. But apparently it was too late. Perhaps the damage was done before he even got to college.

Strasburg is one of many elite pitchers having to undergo surgery and take months off these days due to UCL or shoulder injuries. But the trend is not limited to the best in the world. Youth pitchers are blowing out their arms at a high rate too. But why? Is it flawed mechanics? Curveballs? High pitch counts? According to the doctors and the studies, there are several factors.

Gregg Doyel of CBS Sports blames it on youth coaches and parents. His article from August 26, 2010 may be on to something. Doyel is no expert when it comes to arm care, but he can connect the dots based on what the experts say. Among the primary experts are Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Glenn Fleisig of the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI), among other credits.

ASMI conducted a study with some important conclusions - mainly that while arm injuries often do not rear their ugly heads until high school or college (or later), they can begin in youth leagues. How do they begin in youth leagues? Overuse at a young age. Not a new term - that's why we have pitch counts. The study says that arm fatigue is the primary factor involved: "When regularly pitching despite arm fatigue, the risk for injury requiring surgery increased 3600%." That's almost a guarantee.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Statement from Little League Regarding Composite Bats

Parents and coaches might want to hold off on buying their next composite baseball bat. In a September 1, 2010 statement from Little League headquarters in Williamsport, PA, the organization has announced an immediate moratorium on the use of composite bats at the Junior, Senior and Big League levels.

Composite bats are widely considered to be the most technologically advanced sticks on the market. Their barrels have an interior woven composite of metal fibers, which provides three distinct advantages over aluminum bats: lighter barrels, less vibration, and greater energy. That's why people say the ball seems to "jump" off a nicely broken-in composite bat.

The National Federation of High School Associations placed a temporary ban on composites in July, and now Little League has followed suit. But the Little League moratorium only applies to the Junior, Senior and Big League divisions. Myers Park Trinity is associated with Babe Ruth in those age groups and is therefore not affected by this ruling. It does not apply to the Little League 12-and-under divisions, at least yet.

But stay tuned. As you can see in the last paragraph of the Little League announcement, they are considering banning the bats at the younger levels prior to Spring 2011. Here is the LINK.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Myers Park Wins District 3

The Myers Park Trinity 11-12's won the District 3 Little League Championship with a 7-0 win over Dilworth on Friday night at Myers Park. This is the class of 2010's second district title, but the league's first 12-year-old crown in over two decades. Next up is the NC State Tournament at Catawba Meadows Park in Morganton.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Final 2010 Major League Standings

Al Browne  11-3

Carolina Pad  11-3

Christ Church  8-6

Cameron Harris  8-6

Regions Bank  6-8

Bryant Electric Supply  6-8

Trinity  4-10

Harry & Bryant  2-12

Monday, April 19, 2010

Swing Alalysis of the Great Pujols

Albert Pujols is the best hitter in all of baseball. The Great Pujols, as his manager, Tony La Russa, calls him, may go down as the greatest ever. So we should feel lucky to watch him play and take advantage of this time to learn from him.

Analyzing Pujols could be a practice unto itself. Here is a collection of some of the best the internet has to offer. We can study in great detail the mechanics of the Greatest - his wide base, his balance, how he cocks his hips, pulls his hands, keeps his head still and eyes down on the ball, how he braces his front leg, rotates his back heel and hips, how he matches the plane of the pitch and finishes high - the list goes on and on.
Pujols relentlessly studies video of himself and other hitters (often during games). Let's do the same........

Here's a YouTube video that breaks it all down in batting practice:

Here's a link to a USA Today swing analysis using four different angles and some explaination from Albert himself: CLICK HERE.

And finally, here's another swing analysis, using both pictures and video, that a blogger has put together himself: CLICK HERE.

Pujols is as good as it gets, so let's all enjoy watching him as much as possible while he is in the prime of his career.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

MPTLL Alum Signs With Maryland

Congratulations to former Al Browne player, Carter Bumgardner, on signing to play baseball at the University of Maryland. Carter was one of my first players and he played his high school ball at Country Day. You can visit his UMD Baseball profile here.