“It’s always interesting to learn how mid-majors and small schools run their programs.”
STRIKEFORCE: Helping Children of Fallen Special Operations Heroes through Baseball. From June through mid-October, STRIKE FORCE has set out to elevate awareness of the service and sacrifice of America’s special operations community and raise funds for participation by children of fallen operators in programs offered by the nonprofit Gold Star Teen Adventures (GSTA), a member of Operation Hawkeye. For more information, visit http://www.gstadventures.org and http://www.ophawkeye.com, and follow Operation Hawkeye on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. http://wp.me/p2qsGw-lU
The head coach at the University of Virginia since 2004, Brian O’Connor is a five-time ACC Coach of the Year and three-time national coach of the year. In addition to bringing the 2015 NCAA title to Charlottesville, O’Connor boasts the third-highest winning percentage of all current head coaches in Division I baseball and the 14th-best mark all-time. O’Connor is the second fastest ACC coach to reach 500 career wins and has ushered a boatload of talent into professional baseball, including the likes of Ryan Zimmerman, Mark Reynolds, Sean Doolittle, and several others.
He came to Virginia after nine years at Notre Dame (1995-2003) under current LSU coach Paul Mainieri, where he was named the 2001 National Assistant Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association and Baseball America and was AFLAC National Assistant Coach of the Year in 2003.
Inside Pitch recently visited with the Cavaliers’ head coach to talk about how he manages his clubs, his staff, and the winning culture he has developed at UVA. Continue reading →
Most high school baseball teams’ seasons are in the record books; travel baseball teams have issued equipment for summer competition; and tournaments at the college level are either complete or currently wrapping up.
Congratulations are in order for every athlete and coach who competed on a field and to every parent who endured called third strikes, extra inning games, freezing early season temperatures, dirty uniforms, rainouts and too many fast food restaurants. Even with multiple challenges, baseball continues to be the greatest game.
Let’s face it, baseball is an American sub-culture. We have our own unique uniforms, a very interesting diamond-shaped playing field and even our own language. Recently, I was watching a college game on television; while listening to the color commentator, I laughed out loud thinking about what a “non-baseball person” must think about some of the terms used to describe the action during the game. Have you ever listened to a professional baseball scout describe a player’s abilities? It’s comical to think about how a “civilian” may react to the baseball “lingo.” It’s a great game.
The “small ball” approach to offense seems to have taken over the game at the high school and college levels, and while there are multiple styles, the basic goal is to score one run at a time. This can pay off if teams can score multiple runs in several innings and those teams possess strong pitching and defense, factors that can be overlooked during some in-game situations.
A web search will leave you with several different definitions for the term “small ball” in baseball, some of which include words like deliberate, situational, and even methodical. While base running certainly plays a large role with this philosophy, where, when, and whether or not to advance runners via the sacrifice bunt is not as clear.
There have been extensive studies at the MLB level of whether the sacrifice bunt is actually productive in scoring runs, and thanks to the popular college baseball site boydsworld.com, we have some data from the amateur game to draw upon, and what it tells us may surprise you. Continue reading →
Everybody takes a different path, and mine started right after playing at the University of Florida. I went back to my old high school in Gainesville and I coached there for two years. Then I went back to my old junior college, Valencia, and I coached there for a year. While I was doing that, I met Brian Reese, who had just gotten the job at Bethune-Cookman. He put me in touch with Randy Mazey, who was leaving Clemson after getting the head job at Charleston Southern. I was Randy Mazey’s first assistant at Charleston Southern for three years and we ended up winning a conference championship. Once we did that we both moved on and ironically enough, Brian Reese had left Bethune-Cookman for Arkansas-Little Rock. I went with him out there and we inherited a program that went 6-23, had seven pitchers on the staff and played at a city park. In seven years we kind of rewrote the record books at UALR, raised over a half-a-million dollars for a new field and one Thanksgiving, Brian and I actually put in a brand new AstroTurf infield ourselves. We were the jack of all trades.
Along the way, our basketball coach at UALR was Porter Moser, who played at Creighton around the same time Brian O’Connor played baseball there. I was going on a recruiting trip to Notre Dame and Porter told me to say hello to [O’Connor], and that’s how I met Brian O’Connor. We became great friends on the road, he helped me out with a couple players, and we actually played in the Notre Dame San Antonio tournament the year they went to the College World Series. He eventually got the head job at Virginia and called me up and I’ve been here ten years.
Ever since I got into coaching I’ve always used the READ THE REST