I was recently chosen to represent Wickford Little League in the press and media as the publicity agent. I have written about baseball for a very long time and look forward to writing and promoting our local boys and girls in their baseball endeavors. Writing and baseball have always been passions of mine and I am truly honored for this opportunity.
As you may have read from previous posts, I am a die hard Boston Red Sox fan. I am also a die hard baseball fan. I watched the baseball playoffs this fall along with my beloved Red Sox, who were not participating this off season. My hat goes off to the 2015 World Series Champions, the Kansas City Royals. Their effort and professionalism and performance made me think of 5 things our Wickford Little Leaguers and their families should keep in mind as they progress through the ranks of A, AA, AAA, Majors, and beyond.
- Play hard until the last out – The Royals played from behind in seemingly ever game. They never appeared to get too stressed about it. Whether it was the 6th, 8th, or even extra innings, the Royals kept their cool and kept playing hard. This “never quit” attitude is important for young players because even though you might be down a few runs late in the game, you should always play hard until the final out.
- Know your teammates – The Royals have amazing team chemistry. A lot of the current players played together in the minor leagues, which means they have played together as a team for years now. In this era of free agency, it is often rare to see 6 to 7 position players on a Major League roster who came up together through the team’s farm system. The Royals are that rare team and the way they work together on the field, cheer each other on, and support each other is a result of that team chemistry. Encourage your son or daughter to learn the names of the other players on his/her team. In a game situation, you never know when you might need to call on them for help, support, or just to cheer them on during a tough at-bat.
- Be aggressive at the plate – The Royals hitters were impressive. Each division series of the 2015 playoffs presented a different challenge from the opposing pitching staff. The greatest challenge was their World Series rival, The New York Mets. The Mets featured young arms that threw incredibly fast and accurate. Most experts picked the Mets pitching staff to beat the bats of the Royals. However, the Royals were aggressive at the plate and were not intimidated by the Mets’ power pitchers. They piled up hits and runs consistently in just about every game, including the clinching Game 5. When your son or daughter gets their chance to bat, have them swing away. Be selective, of course, but swing away and swing hard.
- Listen to your coaches – The coaching staff of the Kansas City Royals is excellent. They have former major league players on their coaching staff, which brings real game experience to their style of coaching. The players were managed efficiently in the games and the result was a World Series victory. Wickford Little League has tremendous coaches, volunteers, and administrators. Some, like myself, are former high school and collegiate players who bring a ton of knowledge and respect for the game to each and every practice, game, and tournament. Respect your coaches and work hard in practice. This will pay off tremendously as you progress to middle school, high school, and possibly even higher levels of baseball.
- Come out and support your team – The Kansas City area really came out this baseball season to support their Royals. The Royals had some of the highest attendance numbers of any Major League team. In the playoffs, the fans were coming out in record numbers, filling every seat and aisle to cheer on their home town team. By some accounts, close to 500,000 showed up for their World Series rally in downtown Kansas City this week. This past Wickford Little League season, my teams had tremendous fan support. Not only from players’ parents and siblings, but grandparents, classmates, and players of higher levels showed up. This team effort to support A, AA, AA, and Majors games and tournaments shows community pride, Wickford pride, and gives our boys and girls a huge boost when they are on the field. Home field advantage is an intangible element that can mean the difference between Wickford and an equally skilled rival. So, support Wickford Little Leaguers whenever possible.
The calendar says November. The fields at Wilson and Ryan Park are empty. The temperatures are dropping. But baseball remains strong in my heart. Congrats again to the 2015 Kansas City Royals. Don’t get too comfortable, my Red Sox will be coming at you strong in 2016. And for you Little Leaguers, have a great remainder of 2015. We will see you and your families next year at the ballpark. Check out the Wickford Little League’s Facebook page for news and updates throughout the fall and winter, and of course next spring for the 2016 Little League season.