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.