3 up 3 down- what is your favorite…

Our latest “3 up, 3 down” takes a look into the “favorites” of University of North Carolina Associate Head Coach Scott Forbes, ABCA Executive Director Dave Keilitz (subject of this issue’s Feature column) and Louisiana State University Head Coach Paul Mainieri (subject of this issue’s Coaches Corner).

Scott Forbes, Associate Head Coach/Pitching Coach, University of North Carolina

Favorite baseball movie- I like to laugh, so I gotta go with Bull Durham

Favorite player- Roy Halladay. I would love to just hang around him for a month, to watch his work ethic. And Nolan Ryan… I think it’s a lost art of going out there believing that you’re going to finish the game you start and understanding that you’re not always gonna feel great every time.

Favorite Quote- it’s a simple as it gets and we use it all the time, “stay with the process.” What that means for us is that every day is a new day of trying to be the best pitcher and the best person you can become. If you punched out 10 or if you gave up four runs yesterday, the next day is still the same day. We all know that if you have a bad outing, it’s a lot easier to work harder than it is if you had a great outing.

Paul Mainieri, Head Coach, Louisiana State University

Favorite baseball movie- When I was young it was Pride of the Yankees, the Lou Gehrig story. I cried all the time when I would watch that. What a guy and a role model he was! In the modern day, it has to be Field of Dreams. When Kevin Costner asks his dad to play catch at the end, I get all choked up.

Favorite player- When I was young, Roberto Clemente was awe-inspiring, the consummate five-tool player. He was born to be a baseball player. In high school and college, Bucky Dent was my man and I wanted to be like him. Today, all my former players playing in the big leagues are my favorite players.

Favorite quote- “The difference between the possible and the impossible lies in a man’s determination” -Tommy Lasorda

Dave Keilitz, Executive Director, ABCA

Favorite Movie- Field of Dreams

Favorite Quote- “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou

Favorite Player- All the guys I coached; I had eight major leaguers, and all of those are my favorites

The best drills in baseball

godwindrillCliff Godwin, Ole Miss

Played at East Carolina University; has prior coaching experience at UNC-Wilmington, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, LSU and Central Florida

“Here are a few drills our guys do every single day before they ever have a live pitch thrown to them:

1. Fungo swings- toss up the ball and hit 10-15 balls with a fungo to get loose. Try to hit line drives.

2. High tee drill series- set tee up away to start with and go “no-low half” where you’re eliminating the lower half where you’ve already taken your stride and both your feet are on the ground. You can either have your hands in a normal position or put them out on their front shoulder (front shoulder load).

The whole basis of the drill is to eliminate the lower half and produce three head-high line drives over the opposite-field infielder’s head. [Our players at Ole Miss] have to do three in a row and that’s what I really take pride in, getting our guys to do that, because anybody can produce one line drive and move on to the next step, but it’s not consistent. Once they do that, they take swings regularly off the high tee away and do three in a row there. Then we move the tee to the middle and finally to the inner half, repeating the same sequence: Continue reading

One-on-one with top-ranked UNC’s Scott Forbes

forbesCoaching journey…

“Honestly I didn’t think I was going to be a baseball coach. I grew up in a small town close to Chapel Hill, Sanford, N.C., really a country town and a country lifestyle. My dad owned his own construction business for 35 years and in the back of my mind, I thought I was going to play college baseball and come back and go to work outside using my hands.

I went to a junior college my first year at Middle Georgia and I didn’t do as well as I should have academically, so my options were limited. I ended up at North Carolina Wesleyan, played there for three years and when I got done I had one year left of school and [Mike Fox] asked if I wanted to be a student assistant. I said sure; I thought it would pass the time quicker and give me a chance to hang around all my former teammates that were still playing. I loved it. Continue reading

Understanding the new RPI

The Rating Percentage Index (RPI) was adopted by the NCAA many years ago with the intent to rank teams based on their strength of schedule. Recommended changes to the RPI formula have been approved by the Division I Baseball Committee and will take effect at the start of the 2013 season. It will still be calculated using three statistical parameters:

  • Division I winning percentage (25%)
  • Opponent’s Division I winning percentage (50%)
  • Opponents’ opponents’ Division I winning percentage (25%)

The new formula will value each home win as 0.7 and each road victory as 1.3, a change from the customary 1.0 of the past. Conversely, each home loss will be weighted as 1.3, and each road loss will count 0.7 against a team’s RPI.

Neutral site games will continue to be weighted the same value of 1.0.

The new method is not quite as extreme as basketball’s (1.4 for home losses and road wins, 0.6 for home wins and road losses), but the overriding factor with baseball is that the vast majority of games are played outside. Further, baseball schedules are also filled with three-game series as opposed to single games against opponents.

“To be honest the whole thing is a little confusing to me, we just try to go out and win every game we play,” said Clemson head coach Jack Leggett. “They showed us what it would be with the new RPI and what is was before and it wasnt that big of a difference.”

Leggett is right; in 2011, Clemson finished ranked No. 7 in the RPI, and would have stayed there if the new RPI had already been implemented. For the most part, “southern” schools from BCS conferences weren’t affected by the change. So who was?

The adjusted winning percentage was exemplified in a breakdown of 2011 RPI’s in college baseball. Inside Pitch researched the breakdown and found the following facts: Continue reading

Omaha through the years

photo by Lou Pavlovich, Collegiate Baseball

1980 national champion Arizona Wildcats
photo by Lou Pavlovich, Collegiate Baseball

Year- 1950
Total attendance- 17,805 (Rosenblatt Stadium)
Participating teams- Alabama, Bradley, Colorado State, Rutgers, Texas, Tufts, Washington State, Wisconsin
Most outstanding player- Ray VanCleef, Rutgers (Texas won title)

Year- 1980
Total attendance- 95,406 (Rosenblatt Stadium)
Participating teams- Arizona, California, Clemson, Florida State, Hawaii, Miami (Fl.), Michigan, St. Johns
Most outstanding player- Terry Francona, national champion Arizona

Year- 2011
Total attendance- 321,684 (TD Ameritrade)
Participating teams- California, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Virginia
Most outstanding player- Scott Wingo, national champion South Carolina