Mets Stay Focused As Dodgers Lose It

The Dodgers infield fell asleep last night with one out in the top of fourth inning. With Daniel Murphy on first base, the Dodgers shifted their infield to the right with Lucas Duda coming to the plate. When Duda took ball four, Murphy went to second and sprinted to an uncovered third base. The Dodgers looked like a t-ball team at their first practice, not knowing where to be and nobody taking charge.

Who should have taken charge? Obviously, at the Major League level, players should know where to go and what to do.  I think the pitcher should have been the one responsible for covering third base.  I also think the catcher should be the one telling him where to go. The catcher is the field general, at least he should be. It wasn’t his responsibility to cover the bag, but he needs to make sure it is covered by someone. Murphy was the lead runner in a 1-run game. There is no excuse for leaving third base open.

There are so many more ways to score from third base as opposed to second base. Murphy’s heads-up play resulted in one when he then scored on a sacrifice fly. The funny thing is he probably shouldn’t have scored, at least not on that play. The fly ball to right field was caught by Andre Ethier in foul territory. Why catch the ball? If it drops, the ball is dead and no runner can advance. If I am the Dodgers, I have faith in my pitcher to get the out another way. However, Ethier caught the ball with no chance of throwing Murphy out.

MLB Core Circuit


  • Sit on ground with arms at sides and legs extended in front, about six inches off ground
  • Flex hips and knees to bring knees to chest; maintain stable upper-body position
  • Extend hips and knees to return to start position
  • Repeat for 25 reps

Ride the Bike

  • Sit on ground with arms at sides and legs extended in front, about six inches off ground
  • Pedal feet forward for 25 reps; maintain stable upper-body position
  • Pedal feet backward for 25 reps; maintain stable upper-body position

Sit-Up-to-V-Up Combo

  • Lie on ground with arms extended directly in front of chest
  • Sit up and touch toes
  • Simultaneously lower upper body to just above ground and raise legs about two feet above ground
  • Crunch to touch toes
  • Lower upper body and legs to ground and return to start position
  • Repeat for 10 reps

Oblique V-Ups

  • Lie on side with bottom arm on ground next to body, top hand on head and legs together with knees bent at 45-degree angle
  • Simultaneously raise legs in air and crunch upper body; use bottom arm for support
  • Lower to start position; repeat for 20 reps
  • Perform set on opposite site

Coaching Points

  • Perform circuit with minimal rest
  • Do not sacrifice form to reach rep goal

Throwing Drills And Practice Program


  • Players start in a throwing position with their lead shoulder, hip and foot pointed toward the target.
  • On coach’s command, players break their hands (separate them) and hold for one or two seconds for self-evaluation, ensuring they’re in the proper throwing position.
  • On coach’s command, players throw to a specific point on the target, making sure to fully finish their throw.
  • On the return throw, players step with their glove-side foot to meet the ball, jumping into the “ready” position. An alternative is to have a teammate hold his glove in different locations to concentrate on accuracy. Changing the location is a good way to stay sharp.


  • Same as ” Ready-Break-Throw,” except there is no pause.
  • Players must still emphasize meeting the ball and getting into a proper throwing position.
  • In a further stage, position players can simulate different aspects of their positions during the return throw; for example, middle infielders can work on their double play pivot, and corner infielders can work on their relay throw.

Quick Release

  • This is the next step in the progression. It is great for improving a fielder’s footwork and hands as well as accuracy.
  • Players make the transfer and return throw as quickly as possible while hitting the target.

Stretch It Out

  • This allows players to stretch out their arms while improving their arm strength.
  • Players start at a normal throwing distance with a teammate.
  • After every five throws, players back up a set distance, still keeping their throws on a line.

Sample Baseball Throwing Program for Practice

  • Ready-Break-Throw – 10 throws at 30 feet
  • Ready-Throw – 10 throws at 60 feet
  • Quick Release – 10 throws at 90 feet
  • Stretch it Out – 10-15 throws at 100 feet to max distance
  • Quick Release – 5 throws at 90 feet
  • Ready-Throw – 5 throws at 60 feet
  • Ready-Break-Throw – 5 throws at 30 feet

We Not Me

Greg Beals, the head baseball coach at Ohio State, speaks to our players each spring at Cobras Night at Bill Davis Stadium. Several years ago, he spoke about a concept the Buckeye baseball team practices called We Not Me

The success of our team will be measured by what we accomplish together. We play for the name on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back. Individual statistics and accolades are irrelevant. The only statistic that matters is the final score. 

The sooner everyone accepts this concept and begins to make sacrifices for the good of the team, the better we will be. 

Batting Tee

The batting tee is the most important tool that a hitter can utilize. Some travel ball players think they are too advanced to use a tee and think it’s only something for little kids. This could not be further from the truth. Major Leaguers use batting tees on a daily basis to constantly work in improving and/or maintaining their swing. 

Why is a batting tee such a valuable tool?

  • You are in complete control. You decide when to swing and where the ball is positioned (up/down, inside/outside). 
  • You can isolate parts of your swing and work on specific aspects of your swing. For example, if you have trouble hitting the ball the other way, set the tee on the outer third of the plate and move it farther back into the hitting zone. 
  • Using a tee is a great way to warm up for front toss or on-field batting practice. 

Baseball Is A Game Of Failure

In baseball, every player must understand and know the importance of two key concepts – failure and preparation.

Baseball is a game of failure.  Everyone will make errors.  Everyone will strike out.  In the Major Leagues, the best players make an out 70% of the time.  The sooner you accept this fact and learn to deal with adversity, the better chance you will have to find success on the field.  

Preparing for the next encounter (at-bat, ground ball, etc) with a positive mental approach and strong work ethic will allow you to take your game to the next level.