All-Stars

What do Josh Hamilton, Mariano Rivera, Albert Pujols, Brian Roberts, Andy Pettitte and Lance Berkman all have in common? The obvious answer is that they’ve all represented a Major League team during an All-Star Game.  Another thing these men have in common is that they all profess faith in Jesus Christ.  None of them are perfect; nor do they profess to be perfect.  Each one of these men has their own, unique struggles.  Fame and money doesn’t solve all of their problems and wearing a Major League uniform doesn’t cover up their frailties.  They are gifted; no doubt, but just like each one of us, they have challenges, temptations and weaknesses.

Several years ago, I attended the MLB All-Star game and had the privelige of attending the Baseball Chapel for the players in both leagues.  There were at least 20 players in attendance.  It was almost as if egos and agendas were “checked” at the door.  These were some of the greatest athletes in the world…certainly the very best baseball players on the planet.  There was tremendous energy in the room and the usual competitive banter that occurs between athletes.  As you can imagine, there was also enormous confidence and swag.  But, during Chapel, these were God’s children seeking answers, receiving encouragement and soaking in peace away from the cameras and microphones.

Their faith in Christ doesn’t guarantee a life without problems, but it does give them a Friend to help them in their times of frustration, failure and fatigue.  Some would call this a “crutch,” but if you ask any one of them, I’m certain that they would call it a blessing.  During times of frustration, God offers peace (John 14:27).  When they struggle and fail, God gives strength (Philippians 4:13).  When they are exhausted, God encourages them to rest in Him (Matthew 11:28).

These gifts are available to MLB All-Stars as well as to each one of us; they are offered by a loving God who would rather give freedom than to judge, give understanding instead of confusion and will provide faith when we doubt.  We only need to “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or, if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you…know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:7, 9-11)

In God’s eyes, each one of us is an all-star. That’s why He sent Jesus to be “Immanuel, God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)

SCORE one for the good guys

by Tyler Madison

What’s a typical day like on the November Baseball Outreach?

In a few days, we accomplish much: after breakfast, we have a short chapel. Then we load the buses and travel to six different baseball fields within the Santo Domingo/San Pedro area to conduct free two-to-three hour baseball clinics. After the clinic, we gather and share our faith. Before we leave, we give away equipment to the kids. Most of them are very poor and some show up to the clinics without shoes, let alone a glove or a bat. Continue reading

Andy Pettitte: “Like I never left”

IP: Tell us about your background, where’d you go to school?

AP: I went to Deer Park High School, in Deer Park, Texas and then I attended one year of Junior College at San Jacinto in Houston. I actually signed with the University of Texas but I wasn’t crazy about the idea of going to college.

IP: Was there a definable moment when you were playing baseball in Little League or maybe High School that you thought, “Hey, I’m pretty good?”

AP: I was always one of the best pitchers on our team. We had some really good athletes at Deer Park, but during my junior and senior year I started separating myself a little bit from the other players. At that time, I started thinking that I was pretty good and when colleges like the University of Texas and LSU offered me scholarships,it sort of reaffirmed those thoughts.

IP: How many seasons did you play in the minors?

AP: I ended up playing three full seasons and then another half of a season. From San Jacinto I went to the Gulf Coast League, spent a year in Low A, a year in High A and then I split my last year between Double A and Triple A. I guess I was pretty consistent; I was fortunate. I never had a losing season in the minor leagues so I did really well all the way up.

IP: Were there any coaches or managers that come to mind that really helped you along the way?

AP: Wayne Graham was really influential in my career; he’s coaching at Rice University now but he was my coach at San Jacinto when I was there. He’s a real ‘go-getter’ and had a huge impact on me in terms of baseball and the fundamentals and the mentality of the game. He kind of kick-started me, and then I had several coaches along the way including Nardi Contreras who taught me an awful lot about pitching and how to set up hitters. And there were quite a few minor league pitching coaches who worked with me that were superb; I learned a lot from those guys as I was coming up.  Joe Torre was really like a father figure to me in my career and he was a great manager, I really can’t say enough about Joe. Continue reading

From the Bleachers, Spring 2012

“INSIDE PITCH is an outstanding new magazine developed by Keith Madison, the former baseball coach at Kentucky, who had an ABCA Hall of Fame coaching career and who is an even better person. This unique publication covers a number of different angles in every edition with a variety of interviews, video and mechanical breakdown instructions, rules discussions and other cutting edge ideas and articles from high caliber people.

The high expectations for a Keith Madison publication or production may have been exceeded already and my only disappointment is that he has a quarterly magazine that has not yet progressed on to monthly or bi-monthly. It is a GREAT resource for all levels of baseball players, coaches or families.”

– Joe Roberts, Armstrong Atlantic State University; 2010 ABCA President

“Received my first Inside Pitch. Loved it! The ‘Larry Doby story’ was great.”

– John Borie, Louisville, Ky.

“I’ve followed the game for over 65 years and I’m sure Inside Pitch will make you a better coach, teacher of the game, player and fan; and, unlike most other sports publications – a better person.  A great magazine.”

– Rex L. Bailey, Retired (Weak arm, bat and glove, but love the game), Lexington, Ky.

“As a former player for Coach Madison, I am grateful to have played for someone who taught and led by example on how to play baseball the right way and used the game of baseball to teach valuable life lessons. I’m so excited that Coach and his staff are now sharing this type of knowledge and perspective with others. Inside Pitch is a resource for anyone that loves the game of baseball and wants to continue to learn to play ball at the highest level, as well as be encouraged by the many positive examples of baseball coaches and players that teach and play this great game.”

– Manny Cervantes, Assistant Coach, Oklahoma Christian University

“What has been missing has now been provided in this great new magazine for the baseball fan and advocate. Articles undertaking intricate aspects of baseball and affiliated issues of the game authored by authentic experts; witnesses of living the faith filled quality whole lives; perspectives by worthy leaders and entertaining captivating stories are all present. No sports fan should ever miss an issue. Thank you for providing such a fresh new approach through “Inside Pitch.”

– Carroll Land, Former Head Coach, Point Loma Nazarene University, Former President of the ABCA, NAIA Hall of Fame, ABCA Hall of Fame

“What a great concept Keith Madison has put together with Inside Pitch…I have been coaching for 26 years- 21 at the Division I level- and I feel that this magazine is exactly what college baseball has needed over the years.  It gives a fresh perspective of what goes on behind the scenes in college baseball, but at the same time covers our national pastime from different angles.  For me personally, I really enjoy the interviews given by my colleagues, and getting a chance to learn from them…”

– Tim Montez, Associate Head Coach, Jacksonville University

“I finally found a place where real baseball people are breaking down the game…great interviews, very informative analysis, interesting stories…a must read for any baseball junkie.

-Tim O’Neil, Scout, Minnesota Twins

“Inside Pitch is exactly what the baseball world has been waiting for. The information contained in Inside Pitch is informative and thorough. There is something for everyone who is a player, coach, or fan of the greatest game ever invented. Beyond baseball, Inside Pitch includes features that emphasize character and volunteerism, which I find to be particularly encouraging.”

– Rusty Stroupe, Head Coach, Gardner-Webb University

“Inside Pitch is a welcome addition to the baseball community!  I look forward to reading it each month.  The combination of personal interest stories, performance enhancing tips, and focus on all levels of baseball make it a must read.  Two copies of every issue go in our locker room and our players love it.  Keep up the great work.”

– Jan Weisberg, Head Baseball Coach, Birmingham-Southern College

“Inside Pitch is a great baseball magazine. The detailed information included is a must for any coach at any level. This magazine is first class, and I’m already looking forward to the next issue!”

– Justin Cunningham, Central Christian College Head Coach

“Inside Pitch gives a unique perspective inside the careers of players and coaches at all levels. The magazine is an encouraging and uplifting look inside the game! It’s a true blessing to the game of baseball.”

– Andy Phillips, University of Alabama Assistant Coach, former MLB player

“The quality and content of this magazine is impressive. Good, crisp, well-written articles that relate to those who care about more than just the x’s and o’s of the sports. Looking forward to the next edition!”

– Tom Roy, former professional player and college coach, President of UPI

“Inside Pitch is one of the best magazines for covering college baseball that I’ve read. I get excited every time my new copy comes in the mail. It’s a must-read for everyone that follows college baseball.”

– Greg Goff, Campbell University head coach

“I’m always trying to expand my knowledge base, and was delighted to be introduced to Inside Pitch magazine. I was instantly impressed and captivated with the depth of the articles.  Each article/interview had information that I will be able to use within my own program.  Simply put, Inside Pitch is a great resource for baseball coaches at any level.  I look forward to future editions and learning more about the game I am passionate about, baseball!”

– Gary Adcock, California Baptist University head coach, NCCAA champions

Inside Pitch is absolutely the best “baseball guys (and gals)” magazine I have ever looked at. It will help people of all ages increase their knowledge of the game and is extremely worthwhile to look into.”

-Larry Redwine

“With all of its recent technological advances, I was really looking for a way to ‘stay ahead of the curve’- no pun intended- with what is going on in baseball today. Inside Pitch does a great job of informing its readers of the innovations that our game is undergoing. I love it!”

-Drew Robinson

“The only thin i reed most of the time is my stats. But i reed the furst ishue and i can no put it down. Es the smartest thing i ever reed. Definitlee no semi pro!”

-Domingo Ayala (domingobeisbol.com)

 “I just downloaded the app in the iTunes store and it is UNBELIEVABLE! I spent all day going through the content, links, and other features of the first issue of Inside Pitch. I can’t wait until the next issue comes out!

-Matt Reynolds

I just finished reading my first copy of Inside Pitch.  What a great magazine.  It reminded me that everything Keith Madison touches turns to gold.  I had the pleasure of coaching with Keith for only one season at Kentucky but I learned a great deal and that time helped turn me into the coach that I am now.  He is a great leader and has so much influence in the coaching profession.  I have no doubt the magazine will be a huge success.

-Scott Malone, Head Coach at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi

I want to let you know how impressed I am with the magazine! It was a pleasure to read and also conveyed just the right message. Thank you for helping us not only become better coaches but more importantly, better people. It is an honor to serve the ABCA alongside such men of quality.

-John Casey, Heads Coach at Tufts University

“I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Coach Madison over the past two years on baseball/mission trips with SCORE international. When I heard that he was starting a magazine, I was pumped. From the people he knows in baseball and the things he stands for, there’s no question that Inside Pitch will be a huge success. I think that it’s going to instantly become one of the best resources for all levels of baseball players, coaches, and families everywhere. I can’t wait to read it!”

-Andy Pettitte, New York Yankees

“I could not be more excited about Inside Pitch. As a former swimmer and tennis player, I had no idea about how much went into being a baseball parent until my son starting playing. Different kinds of gloves, rules about bats, recruiting regulations, what terms like ‘showcase’ and ‘travel ball’ meant- it’s been a challenge to learn just what I need to know to give my son the best opportunities.

With Inside Pitch, parents now have a place to go for all of this information. I’m looking forward to this magazine being a fantastic source for up-and-coming players and parents!”

-Anonymous

“I’m excited and thrilled that Keith Madison and his staff are publishing a new, fresh and relevant magazine for college, high school and travel coaches. Inside Pitch will not only be an asset for coaches at all levels, it will be a great resource for baseball players and their parents. This informative magazine will provide coaches, players and parents with “cutting edge” articles and coaching tips.  There is no other publication in the marketplace that shares the knowledge and insight that Inside Pitch provides. I only wish that this magazine could be weekly instead of quarterly!”  

-Ron Polk, ABCA Hall of Famer

“Keith Madison and I have been friends for over 30 years.  His is an outstanding coach and even a better person.  He is a college baseball Hall of Famer who left a very successful coaching career to join SCORE International, and now devotes his time and life to spreading the Word to thousands of young people.  With the new publication, Inside Pitch, thousands more will now be reached. We are excited about Coach Madison’s work, the new magazine and the great things that will continue to happen though SCORE International.”

– Dave Keilitz, Executive Director, ABCA