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by Bob Elliott+ on March 15, 2015

By Bob Elliott

LANGLEY, BC _ There were a million stories and almost as many sites during the internet era.

Richard Todd was one of those dreamers.

Battling word press.

Putting up pitching, hitting and practice drills.

Answering emails.

Clearing up questions.

Scouring all the resources he could find to help promote the game of baseball.

A funny thing happened while Todd was spending all those hours banging away at his machine.

His site — WebBall Baseball’s Resource Center — grew and grew.

It grew to the point where he was mentioned in USA Today Baseball Weekly.

He even hobnobbed with the rich folks at Forbes.com.

Yet, he never knew for sure.

That is until the annual BC Minor awards banquet at the Langley Events Centre.

Todd was one of three men presented with Roll of Honour awards.

“I’ve done things here and I didn’t even realize what I’d done or that anyone around here was paying attention,” Todd told the crowd when the applause finally quieted down.

Todd’s site, which covers all ages, helps coaches plan practice and athletes improve.

WebBall was founded in 1996 to help his own team and by 1999 it became a business,

WebBall reaches baseball people in at least a dozen countries, but most of its followers are south of the border.

Like so many, Todd’s passion was passed down from his father, also named Richard from watching the Montreal Expos early years at Jarry Park.

An active coach for 25 years he also served on the BC Baseball board.

Little did Todd know he was a leader, a baseball leader, touching lives … spreading lollipops, and touching people he wasn’t even aware of … as Drew Dudley speaks about in this clip.

Speakers: The clinicians and presenters at the coaches’ clinic and talking to high performance players were: Former Blue Jays Lloyd Moseby and Rance Mulliniks were teaching and instructing, along with former Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Reggie Smith, Baseball Canada’s director of national teams Greg Hamilton, Chicago’s Peter Caliendo of USA Baseball; Ron Davini of Tempe, Az., former Team USA Coach; Seattle’s Pete Wilkinson; Rick Johnston of The Baseball Zone in Mississauga; Randy Town, a college coach in California and born in Vancouver; Marty Lehn former team Canada coach, who runs Big League Experience camp in Canada; Vancouver’s Matt Holtzman and Dave Empey, who coached the likes of Ryan Dempster, James Paxton and Simon Pond were on the roster major domo Mike Kelly rounded up. Best speaker: Impossible to tell, but we did hear Hamilton speak to coaches and he was outstanding. Meanwhile Johnston was impressive working with Smith, the former Dodgers hitting coach invited him to Los Angeles for a few days this summer.

Best story: Smith told of playing for the 1974 St. Louis Cardinals. St. Louis and the Pittsburgh Pirates entered the next-to-last day of the season tied for first place with 86-74 records.

“We had Bob Gibson on the mound and Al Hrabosky warming in the bullpen and a 2-1 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth,” Smith told the crowd as MC (Hammer) Rob Fai asked the questions.

Willie Davis singled with two out and stole second to bring up Mike Jorgenson and he “homered into the pool beyond the right field fence.” Dale Murray recorded the save.

But the Cards were not eliminated yet. The next night in Montreal the Cards-Expos game was rained out. So, the Cards gathered in the lobby to the Queen Elizabeth Hotel and made phone calls to Pittsburgh and had phones placed beside radios.

They took turns standing in the bank of four phone booths listening to the Pirates game on KDKA from Three Rivers Stadium and relaying the messages to teammates like Ted Simmons, Joe Torre, Ted Sizemore, Mike Tyson, Ken Reitz, Lou Brock, Bake McBride, Tim McCarver, Lynn McGlothen, John Curtis, Alan Foster, Sonny Siebert, Bob Forsch and others.

This was a tad before the internet era kiddies.

Players put coins into the phones to keep the lines open.

The Cubs were leading 4-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth.

“Lead-off walk to Richie Zisk,” said one listener.

“Miguel Dilone, pinch running,”
said one listener.

“Miguel Dilone, pinch running,” said another.

“Manny Sanguillen walked — how can they walk Manny Sanguillen?” came the next report … with editorial content.

“They bunted ‘em over, one out second and third,” was next.

“Dave Parker pinch hits and grounded out … runs scores … it’s OK … two out.”

“Bob Robertson not hitting … strike three … he struck him out …”

“Hold on a second … dropped third strike. Steve Swisher didn’t catch the ball … Tie game.”

“Rennie Stennett ground outs … we’re going to extras.”

And in the 10th the Cubs went down in order and in the bottom half, Al Oliver hit a one-out triple off Ken Frailing. The Cubs walked the bases loaded intentionally and with two out Sanguillen singled home Oliver.

Game over … season over for the Cardinals.

Best line: Rance Mulliniks discussing a former opponent who wasn’t a very good player … “Aw he couldn’t play dead in a Western.”

Second best line: MC Ron Fai noticing Mike Kelly approaching wearing a checker board sweater “I think that the tarp from Nat Bailey is missing.”

Others Lloyd Moseby on former teammate George Bell: “George would give you the shirt off his back … mind you it would be an old shirt.”

Fai after BC president Mike Sarai made the welcome remarks: “The last banquet I was at after the opening remarks the speaker torched Rogers Communications.”

Moseby on his son Lydell Moseby, who played at Bluefield last season: “It’s nerve wracking, I feel like I am 112 years old. I’m pulling for him. It would be my dream come true, it’s all about the kids.”

Moseby on choosing baseball over hoops: “I liked basketball, after I was drafted I chose the money. I was drafted in 1978 and was sent to Medicine Hat. The next year I went to spring training — I thought I was going to make the team. I was 19. I stayed at Dunedin, the next year played 37 games at Syracuse and was in the majors.”

Moseby on the pressure of playing in the majors: “Pressure? Pressure was growing up in Oakland and staying away from the police.”

Mulliniks on the use of advanced sabermetrics in use in the majors today: “What the heck is sabermetrics? For me, playing the game was the thing.

Roll of honor awards Joining Richard Todd were …

Warren Karsgaard, Richmond City.
Involved in the game for 43 years with stops in Dunbar, Richmond and the LMDA. With 22 years in the LMBA he is a founder, player and manager to this day. He spent many years until 2011 as a board member with Richmond City.

Vince and Maurice Restoule, Burnaby Minor.
For almost 30 years after moving west from Scarborough the pair have been involved, playing two seasons, then beginning coaching as teenagers and they have been coaching ever since. Besides coaching they have been involved running concessions, fund raising, managing, tournament and provincial organizing, serving on boards from president to registrar. They’ve been involved with 12 teams that made provincials and one at the Westerns, winning one Provincial, finishing second twice and once at the Westerns.

Umpire
Greg Harrison, South Burnaby
After starting umping at age 13 and was a tad stressed … so stressed he almost left the field. He stuck with it, met Sean Weatherill and has worked Provincials and been umpire in chief for two years.

He attended the 2013 Super Clinic and attain Level 3 status and last year workeed the John Main tourney, the 15U Cloverdale/White Rock tourney, the 13U qualifier in Vancouver and the 15U AA and the 15U provincials.

Coach of the Year
11U Pete Davey, Ridge Meadows
He created “Friday Night Lights” and “Chalk Talk.” His players were interviewed at a skills competition told the crowd that their coach was the best part of baseball to them.

13U Scott Lunny, Richmond City.
He played his youth ball for West Richmond reaching the provincials, Westerns and earned a bronze with the BC team at the midget nationals.

He began coaching univeritsy in Kits and then Little Mountain, then coaching his three sons from Blastball to peewee, and now watches them play bantam and midget.

Recently he has coached peewee AA and AAA with year round games and training sessions, while continuing to play in the over 30 LMBA for the Richmond Raineers.

15U Garnett Pawliw, Cloverdale.
His bantam AA team won the Provincial and Gold at the BC Summer Games, as well as bronze at the Canadian nationals.
Since joining Cloverdale he has won four provincial titles, a Western and in 2012 his pee wee team went a perfect 44-0.

18U Sean Wandler, Kamloops.
He begins his 16th with the midget AAA RiverDogs going 310-194 including 14 appearances at the Provincials reaching the championship final four rimes and winning in 2007 and 2011.

Along with three Western Canada appearances he has been on staff for Team BC at the Midget nationals on five different years. The Dawgs have sent 29 players to college ball, 15 to the 18U Team BC select program, three players to the Canadian Junior National teams and five have been drafted.

Athletes
John Main Tournament
Luke Szmutko, Abbotsford.
With the Abbotsford Angels he won two Provincials and was with Team BC at the peewee Nationals. He came third in the home run derby and was Team BC’s MVP in the national championship final game.

Oustanding male athlete
Bradley Teasdale, Comox Valley.
A hard worker who never shows bad sportsmanship, he does not judge others by their abilities.
He always provides positive feedback and encouragement.

Oustanding female athlete
Stephanie Russo, Rutland.
A veteran of the Selects program she played for the 16U Selects and the 20U Selects at the Nationals.

Elizabeth Bampton Memorial Award
Sofi Jansch, Greater Victoria.

The unsung hero played for both the 16U and the 20U Selects.

Team of the Year, North Delta Rays, 11U.
The mosquito team opened the summer in the Surrey Canadians Mosquito AA All-star tourney and came within a strike of winning it all against older competition.
They finished in the top three in the Lower Mainland with a 5-3 mark, played in the AA Provincials going 3-1 in their pool, losing to Abbotsford and beating Burnaby to win bronze.

Association of the Year, North Delta.
In its 53rd year the association improved on its coaching clinics, umpire’s clinics winter training, as well as hosting the Coaches Caravan so NCCP credentials were made available to all coaches.
The association unveiled a new summer team and played under one name – The Ray. They founded the 8U summer tournament and the 11U Jeff Francis tourney. North Delta hosted the 13U Provincials.

Meritorious award
To Chicago’s Pete Caliendo. He posed with the three former winners Baseball Canada president Ray Carter, MC Rob Fai and some other guy for pictures. Caliendo is the president of Caliendo Sports International and also makes the nine-day winter tour through BC.

Article can be seen on the following link: http://www.canadianbaseballnetwork.com/articles/webball-founder-todd-honored/

The Future of B-4

Posted by BC Baseball Association at Mar 14, 2015 9:39AM PDT ( 0 Comments )
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*The Future of B.C.(Minor) Baseball

Our goal—College scholarships for our grads*
By Mike Sarai,

President, B.C. Baseball

B.C.(Minor)Baseball is making dynamic moves to upgrade our program at every level, from 13U to 18U. That includes three day camps and the 18U (Midget) Elite team.

Our mission is Player Development and the bottom line is finding college scholarships for our young men. The 18U Elites program will build over the next 2-3 years to compete in half a dozen or more high profile tournaments in the States, which means they’ll be seen by a long list of college recruiters.

There was a time when the Premier Baseball League was the best in Canada. In the 1990’s the PBL produced the likes of Justin Morneau, Ryan Dempster, Jeff Francis and Rich Harden, who have all had outstanding MLB careers.

But by 2002 that pipeline was long gone and the PBL isn’t what it used to be. In fact, the Major League Scouting Bureau no longer has a regional rep in B.C. because there isn’t enough talent in the PBL to justify the cost of having a full time scout.

That is not to say the PBL doesn’t have some good programs. But it is no longer the powerhouse it was 15 years ago.

On the other hand B.C.(Minor)Baseball is on the upgrade in every way possible. At the 16U camp last June, for example, there were three major league scouts on hand, including Don Cowan of the Toronto Blue Jays.

The word is spreading.

PBL teams have limited chances to travel to Washington State because their schedule is so tight. But our 18U Elites are free to compete in as many as 3 or 4 tournaments.

We have more than 60 18U (Midget) players working out with the Elite coaches and this gives us tremendous roster

flexibility. Some players may compete in three or four of those tournaments, others in one or two. Regardless, the 18U (Midget) Elite program provides our athletes with a golden opportunity to be seen by pro scouts and college coaches.

What’s more, the cost of playing in the PBL is exorbitant at best. Most teams charge $500 or more per month and, when you factor in fall ball, winter training and tournament fees, the financial burden can easily be as high as $6,000 and even more.

By contrast, our B.C.(Minor)Baseball fees are almost always less than $1,000 for a full year.

Some people have made negative comments about our 15U (Bantam) coaches but I think that’s very unfair. In fact, I think our 15U (Bantam) mentors are as good or better than the Junior PBL coaches. We also support, access and fully endorse the NCCP program for our coaches.

We at B.C.(Minor)Baseball stress Player Development. We intend to keep our 15U (Bantams) in our system. With that in mind, we encourage our 16U players to participate in the Elite program and stay with it for three years as they develop. We’re confident they will mature into outstanding prospects.

Our priority is the future of our athletes.

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June 25-27, 2015 at Aldergrove Athletic Park in Aldergrove, BC

All BC Baseball 18U (Midget) Division coaches are invited to apply to be a guest coach at the BC Baseball 16U Development camp, Thurs-Sat, June 25-27. This camp will be attended by 25-40 16U (1st year Midget) players selected from province wide tryouts. The focus of the camp will be skill development, and also from this camp a team of 14-15 players will be selected to attend a tournament July 1-4 in Alameda, CA. Guest coaches will have the opportunity to work with the BC Baseball High Performance coaching staff including Dave Empey and Bill Green, both former long time and accomplished Premier League coaches.

Interested coaches should submit a summary of their coaching experience, along with their highest NCCP Coaching Certification level attained, along with any questions, to Grant Rimer, BC Baseball 18U Division Chair at: rimerg@shaw.ca

Deadline for application is Sunday, May 31.
Grant Rimer
BCMBA Director
Email: rimerg@shaw.ca

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NorCal 4th of July Wood Bat Classic 16U, July 1-4 – Alameda, CA

Tryouts open to any 16U (1st Year Midget, birth year 1999) player currently registered for 2015 on a AA or AAA roster with any BC Baseball affiliated association will be held on the following times and dates:

*Saturday, April 4, Vernon: 1pm – 5 pm Marshall Field, Vernon http://www.vernonbaseball.com/marshall-fields-map.html

Sunday, April 19, Nanaimo: 1pm – 5 pm Serauxman Park, Nanaimo

Saturday, May 2, Richmond: 2pm – 5 pm Latrace Field, Richmond

Sunday, May 3, Aldergrove: 2pm – 5 pm Aldergrove Athletic Park, Aldergrove

*In the event of inclement weather, a notice for cancellation will be posted on the BC Baseball website (bcminorbaseball.org) no later than noon on April 3 with a reschedule date TBD.

Players attending a tryout must supply their own bats, gloves, batting helmets and catcher’s gear for catchers.

In order to be considered for the team players must register for and attend one of the tryouts listed above. Registration for one of the tryouts may be done on the BC Baseball website by clicking on the “Register” tab on the BC Baseball homepage at: bcminorbaseball.org

A payment of $20.00 cash per player, paid on the day of the tryout, is also required.

Following the tryouts, 25-40 players will be invited to a 3 day camp in the lower mainland, Thurs-Sat, June 25-27, 2015. This skills camp, also including scrimmages, will be used to identify 14-15 players who will be invited to compete in the wood bat, NorCal 4th of July Wood Bat Classic 16u, July 1-4 in Alameda, CA
Further information regarding final team selection, cost, and travel arrangements will be provided at the tryouts

All players selected to the team will be required to have a valid passport to travel to the US.

For further information you may contact:
Grant Rimer
BCBA Director and 18U Division Chair
Email: rimerg@shaw.ca

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By Bob Elliott

LANGLEY, BC _ Reggie Smith was with Team USA for the first two World Baseball Classics in 2006 and 2009.

He was the hitting coach at the Pan-Am Games in Winnipeg in 1999.

He saw Canada up close around the world.

He knew which hitters to fear.

“Yeah we used to think start a lefty against Canada … and we’d be OK,” said Smith, one of the guest instructors at the BC coaching convention. “Didn’t matter. Their left-handers could hit our left-handers. We could handle Cuba, but we had trouble with Canada.”

Smith played 17 years in the majors with the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers before becoming a hitting coach, first with LA and then with USA Baseball.

And Smith saw some tough left-handed hitters over the years wearing red and white from 1999 to 2009: like Ryan Radmanovich, Aaron Guiel, Pete LaForest, Joey Votto, Justin Morneau, Matt Stairs, Jason Bay, Michael Saunders, Nick Weglarz and Jimmy Van Ostrand.

“We had tremendous respect for all their big guys, but the toughest out for us?” Smith repeated. “Stubby Clapp.

“He was a real blue-collar player. We spent more time talking about how to get him out than anyone else in their lineup. We treated Clapp the way other teams treated Willie Mays with the San Francisco Giants or Ernie Banks with the Chicago Cubs.”

And it all started in Winnipeg.

Clapp (Windsor, Ont.), a St. Louis minor-leaguer with triple-A Memphis, a 36th-round draft pick, had the game-winning hit in the 11th inning as Canada upset Team USA 7-6.

Clapp stood 5-foot-8 when he stepped into the batter’s box, but “felt a little bit bigger,” after hit base hit. Canada lost 3-2 to Cuba but then beat Mexico 9-2 to win bronze.

Smith was speaking during a break in the action at the annual BC Coaches convention at the Langley Events Centre.

Former Blue Jays Lloyd Moseby and Rance Mulliniks were teaching and instructing, along with Smith Baseball Canada’s director of national teams Greg Hamilton, Chicago’s Peter Caliendo of USA Baseball; Ron Davini of Tempe, Az., former Team USA Coach; Seattle’s Pete Wilkinson; Rick Johnston of The Baseball Zone in Mississauga; Randy Town, a college coach in California and born in Vancouver; Marty Lehn former team Canada coach, who runs Big League Experience camp in Canada; Vancouver’s Matt Holtzman and Dave Empey, who coached the likes of Ryan Dempster, James Paxton and Simon Pond were on the roster major domo Mike Kelly rounded up.

Besides the game winner against USA in Winnipeg, Clapp hit .348 in Winnipeg

Canada lost 5-2 to Team USA at the 2005 Regional Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Phoenix, Az.

Clapp hit .267 with a triple, an RBI as Canada beat Team USA 8-6 in the first WBC in 2006. Team USA sent lefty Dontrelle Willis to the mound against Canada. Left-handed hitters Adam Stern, Aaron Guiel and Clapp all tripled off Willis.

The Canucks scored five runs on six hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings on the way to an 8-0 lead and an 8-6 upset victory over a USA lineup consisting of Michael Young, Derek Jeter, Chase Utley, Ken Griffey, Dereck Lee, Chipper Jones, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Vernon Wells, Jason Varitek and Matt Holliday,

“Willis was never the same after that,” said Smith.

At the 2006 Americas Olympic qualifying tournament Clapp hit .270 (going 10-for-37) with seven walks and two stolen bases as Team USA beat Canada 9-3.

And in Bejing, USA edged Canada 5-4. Clapp hit .286 and scored five times at the Olympic Games.

“Stubby was a working class ball player — he’d do what ever it took, sort of like Dustin Pedroia. It was always a battle when we faced Stubby Clapp. We never felt comfortable facing him.

“He was a hard-nosed player. Players loved him. He did not make it easy on us and I respect that.”

Clapp was a hitting coach at class-A Dunedin last year and this season will be at double-A New Hampshire.

“The thing about the baseball — the ball doesn’t know how big the hitter is, or how tall the pitcher is,” Smith said.