Tag Archives: baseball

Top 5 Reasons Baseball is the Most Romantic Sport

The tension and the stillness in the air when you don’t know if the baserunner will hit the bag before the ball comes in. The amazement and disbelief that gives way to wild excitement when a fielder makes a “circus catch.” The suspense that runs throughout a rubber game. The thrills of the game of baseball are evident, but what about the romance? Here are the top 5 reasons why baseball is also the most romantic sport.

Brad Pitt’s Billy Beane defies baseball conventions in Moneyball.

#5 Billy Beane said so in Moneyball.
Brad Pitt’s Billy Beane sums it up in Moneyball when he asks, “How can you not get romantic about baseball?”

Moneyball is about manager Billy Beane who has to assemble a baseball team on a meager budget. He puts together a team of characters who his critics call “flawed” but who eventually clinch the games by just going out there and giving in their best.

Billy Beane defies all conventions and makes winners out of people who everyone else had given up on. In doing so, he embodies romantic love’s true ideal—love follows no rule, but only demands that you show up, always.

#4 It embodies equality, and we want to believe that everybody can find true love.

Analyze the game and the players, and you can’t fail to notice the egalitarianism. Anyone can play baseball; all you need to do to play well is practice a lot. You can build up strength and speed and improve hand-and-eye coordination with lots of practice.

Take a look at some of the stars of the game: Jonathan Broxton and Prince Fielder look like they survive on a diet of burger, fries, and coke while Willie Keeler looked like just another skinny guy but is still regarded as one of the best bunters in the game.

We all like to think that true love is waiting out there for each one of us regardless of how we look or how much we earn.

Read the full post here.

Technology in the Workplace – The Ups and Downs

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Take a second to imagine what it must be like without all the devices we use to communicate with every day. Imagine your day with only a fixed telephone at your disposal. We can’t. Imagine when you were “out of the office” that is exactly what you are. Left in the dark until your sandwich has been eaten and you return to the office.

Has the onset of a massive technological avalanche affected our communication positively or negatively? Let’s examine some points:

Some of the positives might include:
• The ability to connect with anyone at any time around the world.
• We can now cross the language barrier with the invention of language apps.
• Communication is faster and more convenient than ever before.
• We can ask a question and receive an answer at the touch of a button. This minimizes time spent waiting which increases productivity.
• Communication and marketing is cheaper than ever before. Marketing your business on Social Media platforms is free. Text messages, chat services and emails are free or next to nothing.
• Group instant messaging chats enables members of a team to be on the same page at all times. Important ideas are shared instantly.
• Meetings are no longer confined to the boardroom. The boss can be closing a deal on the other side of the world and still chair a meeting via a video conference.

However, with positives come negatives. They might include:
• Employees may become distracted by constantly being on their devices.
• Technology can harm our communication skills to the point that we forget how to speak in public!
• Emoticons and shortened words such as “lol” and “c u l8ter” may have a negative impact on our written, formal communication.
• People forget how to read each other. Cues such as utterances and body language are forgotten. We also don’t make eye contact anymore. This hinders face to face communication in a big way.
• We no longer know how to deal with conflict. We simply send an email. It’s easier.
• Overall there is a lack of communication skills between employers and employees across the globe.

It is difficult to predict the future, but one thing is for certain. Technology is going to make it easier and easier for us to communicate. A good thing, right? Time will tell.

How to make your line-up card

Written by Daniel Stevens

Sounds easy right? Speed at the top and the weak players at the bottom of the line-up right? By reading this you are on the first steps down the road to having a better line-up card. We dispel myths that have been widely used and accepted but are not evolving with the game, and back up long held principles that are used to get the best out of your players.

No.1

It’s a widely held assumption that the quickest set of wheels takes the lead. Not true! Not true at all. The leadoff spot is probably the toughest spot to put a hitter. Sure they don’t lead off every inning, probably just the first really. But they set the stage for the game. First, they have to see pitches. If you know the quickest runner on your team isn’t patient at the plate then you know they can’t work in the leadoff spot. We’ll discuss later where this player should go. Leadoff hitters have great eyes. They should give the bench and on deck batter the most opportunities to see the pitchers stuff. This means the most mature batter (who takes 2-0 and 3-1 pitches) should be your leadoff hitter.

No.2

This is where you can add the speed. The number 1 hitter may have gotten aboard but that’s not important. Your second batter should have a good OBP (on base percentage) and some wheels to make it over to second so the heart of your order can knock them in with a single. Put someone with speed at this position who can run out a dribbler and put you in a position to send them to second.

No.3

Power. Now we’re into our power hitters. Assuming you’re not John Gibbins than you probably only have 2 or 3 of these power hitters. The way you organize them in the 3,4, and 5 spot should be based on 2 things: how comfortable they are in their order or appearance, and how streaky they are. If a player is swinging a hot bat then set them up in the 3 or 4 spot. Some people like their familiarity in their order, but if it really isn’t working than break up the streaky players.

No.4

The “clean-up” spot should be reserved, again, for your power hitters. Again referring to No.3 this will be determined by who’s hot and who’s not. But make no mistake, this is the scary part of the order. If anything, put yourself in the mind of the opposing catcher, and make their life difficult: make them say “how am I going to get past these 3 hitters?” If you have a power hitter on your team that is unorthodox than put them in between 2 other power hitters. This way you may catch the other catcher napping and you can capitalize on their mistakes.

No.5

The tail end of the meat of the order. Obviously making a line-up card of your 1-4 is fairly easy, but the 5-7 slots are more difficult. This is the spot you put your worst power hitter. It’s a tough spot. You want someone to move base runners over in this spot because you just banked on your 3 and 4 spot getting aboard. Take a look at your numbers: slugging and RISP should be big for this spot. The worst thing in a line-up is a quick drop off in talent. Catchers pick it up quickly and conversely so do the pitchers. Get someone with good numbers with RISP here, your clutch player, put them in this spot to get your power hitters across the plate.

No.6,7

Here’s where we can work out the kinks. This is where you can rotate your lead off hitter in and out. Remember, pitchers and catchers know you’re putting strength at the top of the order and few players last all season long in that role. Put them back in the 6 or 7 slot for a few games and give them a rest from constant junk balls. If a player is suffering this is a great place to put them in the line-up. They get a chance to hit against so-so pitch calls and their confidence with raise.

No.8

This is the new no.9 slot. Odds are you already know who’s going in this spot, but if you are in the fortunate position of having a great hitting team then here are some position players to put here. Catchers: they have a hard time managing the pitchers, flow of the game, remembering the entire opposing batting order and much more. The last thing on a defensive minded player is offence. Not to mention the pads they have to put on and take off after every time they have to hit. Catchers are also known for having picky strike zones. They can take a lot of pitches which is a nice thing to have at the back end of the line-up. They frustrate pitchers with long at bats which can make them make mistakes entering the top of the order.

No.9

This used to be reserved for the right fielder but no more. The number 9 spot is great! Pitchers tend to ease up on this spot in the order so take advantage! Use someone with speed here. Since the pitcher and catcher are taking a nap maybe the third baseman is too. Tap a bunt down the line and see if you can get something cooking for the top of the line-up. Not to mention how disheartening it is for a defence to let the number 9 batter aboard. Don’t squander this opportunity to put someone with a good OBP and speed. If they get aboard then the pitcher also has to pay attention to a base runner from the stretch for the top of the line-up.

Hope this works out well for your team. We know it did for ours!

From our team at URstore.

What is OBP, SLG, RISP, and OPS?

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Written by Daniel Stevens

There are many different percentages and numbers in baseball that intimidate newcomers. Here we will explain, very simply, the context in which these numbers are used and how easy they become to understand, and how you can use them to your advantage.

OBP

On Base Percentage is fairly straight forward yet we have to understand what constitutes a hit in order for this stat to be relevant next to a hitters average. A hit is when a batter makes contact with the ball, it stays in fair play and no defender can get any batter out with the runners all safe at their base(s). So all the variables involved in getting a true hit are applicable to the batters average. However, hit-by-pitchs and walks are factored into OBP, giving you a number that represents how often the hitter reaches base without causing a detriment to the inning (fielders choice are not factored into OBP).

The equation looks like this:

(SF = sacrifice fly.)

SLG

Slugging percentage is a great stat to keep. It values extra base hits higher than just as a hit as the percentage is calculated in a hitters average. Where in an average a single and a home run are weighted the same, in SLG the home run is considered as 4 singles.

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As you can see here a double is times by 2, triple by 3 and homer by 4. This generally tells a manager who his/her power hitters are. Slugging percentage is a fantastic tool to use when you are writing your line-up card as well as you can put the hitters with a high SLG in the heart of the order (3,4, and 5 spot).

RISP

Runners in scoring position batting average is important in determining who is a clutch hitter on your squad. The calculation is the same as a regular batters hitting average except only factoring in all elements of the calculation when runners are on either second or third or both. A hitter with a high average with RISP is said to be clutch. A variation of this stat is RISP with 2 out. This number will be low as runners are usually off on a 2 strike count. Yet this is a good stat for determining pinch hitters.

OPS

On base plus slugging is an interesting statistic. It is quite simply OBP plus SLG. So now that we know what it means lets take a look:

Okay it looks complicated but it’s not really. It weighs on base percentage and slugging equally. This allows you to see the truly great sluggers, the ones with good eyes. Barry Bonds had an OPS of above 1.000 for 15 of 16 years since 1991 (and the only year he didn’t hit 1.000 he was .999). He also consistently was walked the most in the league for many of those years. Jose Bautista is in the same boat right now as teams pitch very carefully to sluggers but equally the sluggers have to have very good eyes to walk so often.

I hope this helped you feel less intimidated by these numbers next time you see them. Trying to help out our community with one helpful tip at a time. Best of luck from our team at URstore to yours!

Let’s play ball!

How to position yourself at the plate

Written by Daniel Stevens

A lot of people don’t think about where they’re going to stand once they approach the plate. Maybe you over think it. Here are some tips to help you figure out where you stand at the plate.

  1. Watch the pitcher

You see the greats do this. They watch the pitcher before they step up to the plate. Between innings a pitcher gets 3-5 warm up pitches with 2 extras (1 for the catcher to throw down to second). Take that opportunity to see what they have. Are they throwing a lot of junk or stinging the catchers hand? This all determins where you are going to put your feet when you get inside that chalk line.

  1. Choke up

Okay so the pitchers got heat. They’re throwing pretty fast and you need all the time you can get. The batters box should be exactly 6’ by 4’ with the plate lining up in the middle with 3’ north and south of the pitcher. Don’t be afraid to let the catcher know where you are going to stand. Dig in. Put your right foot just inside the line at the south end of the box. This gives you the most time to watch that fastball, but it also leaves you open to a nasty changeup. That thing will die on its way to the plate so be wary of that. If they do have a nasty change it probably means his junk is lacking (or they wouldn’t be playing in this league right?). So choke that bat up and look for a first pitch fastball.

  1. Get up there!

The batters infront of you have told you they only saw junk. Hook after hook and nothing is going to blow by you. So get up in the box. Line up with that front foot at the front of the box. This cuts down on the time that the hook can cross the strike zone. Umpires know this and they will give you the benefit of the doubt. When the catcher frames a late hooking breaking ball in the strikezone it doesn’t matter much when it was at your neck when the ball crossed you. This forces the pitcher to pitch to you and kills the deadly action of their breaking pitches.

  1. Go with the ball

Something that should be taught more at the little league level is going with the pitch. You shouldn’t have to have your front foot in the other batters box to catch an outside pitch. Don’t sacrifice your stance for an opposite field hit. Wait longer in your swing and hit an outside pitch farther back on the plate. You don’t have to look like Tony Batista up there to hit it to right field. Take an outside pitch the other way by hitting it farther back in your swing. Conversely, hit an inside pitch out in front of your swing to pull it down the line. Many people mistake this for where your feet are positioned but it shouldn’t. Don’t let the pitch dictate your swing, just adjust to it.

  1. Step out

Take your time. This is your opportunity to do like the pros do. After every pitch walk up the line. Get your signal from third base, adjust your batting gloves, put your hand up and ask for time as you step in again. Now that you know the cadence of the pitcher you know how much time you have to get ready. Stick to your game plan and look in. Yogi Berra said 90% of the game is mental, the other 50% is physical. He wasn’t the best at math but it’s always good to get out of your own head and stop over thinking. My coach told me to think about food, so I would think about toppings on pizza, or whatever I was in the mood for. Think about something else. Get up there, and swing. Hope this helps!

Hope these hints helped! We know it can be intimidating to step up to the plate and our team at URstore just wants to help out our community with helpful tips. Best of luck from our team at URstore to yours!