Friday, June 26, 2009

Getten Cranked Up!!

Cape Cod Baseball is really cranking up now!

The fans are beginning to fill all the ballparks, the scouts and agents are arriving with USA baseball try-outs over and the College World Series completed. The remainder of the best players in college baseball are now headed to the cape and the really great competition begins between the 10 franchises. The final rosters will be set on Wed. July 1st and players will begin the battle to see who makes the Cape League All-Star game in Fenway Park in late July broadcast live by NESN (The Red Sox Network). What a thrill for the college guys to play in such an historic ballpark. If you love the sound of wood bats, like to watch great pitching prospects, and see exciting close games you can watch it almost every night on all five fields. From the new “Field of Dreams” in Cotuit to the picturesque remodeled ballpark in Chatham, tremendous entertainment for “grass roots” baseball lovers. The Kettleers are still 2 points up in the western division and Chatham is leading the east. Check for all the standings or for the team I coach.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Presentation on Base Stealing to the ABCA Convention

Head coach Kelly Nicholson and an assistant coach from the Orleans Firebirds team in the Cape League and I had an enjoyable discussion before our game this past Friday night about the presentation on base stealing Brian and I gave at the ABCA convention in front of 3000 coaches in San Diego on Jan. 3, 2009.
The coaches stated how much they enjoyed and learned from the presentation through the details we gave.” I know their coaching staff took from the presentation the challenge of holding our runners closer and they did a good job.  We only stole 3 bases that evening which was below our game average of 5.  
The Cotuit Kettleers now have a total of 42 steals in 51 attempts in 8 games.   The ABCA presentation can be seen on

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cape Code Times Article about this season by Russ Charpentier

I am very excited about my team and this article by Russ Charpentier reciently published in the Cape Code Times….
Coach Roberts~
Looking for a reason to get excited about the first week of Cape League action? Take a peek at what’s going on in Cotuit. Kettleers infielder Chris Bisson has 11 stolen bases in five games through last night and been caught just once.
The league record is 48, set by Roy Marsh in 1993. Everyone knows Cotuit manager Mike Roberts loves a running game, but Bisson’s early efforts take that to the extreme.
“Coach Roberts is really aggressive,” said the Ottawa, Ontario, native, who had just 13 steals in 15 attempts at Kentucky. “At school, we had a lot of good hitters and we were a little more passive on the basepaths. We didn’t want to run ourselves out of an inning.”
Not the Kettleers under Roberts, who have 29 team steals and are threatening the record of 134, set by Wareham in 1988 and again in 2000. Bisson, who has stolen second and third on several occasions, had six steals before he had his first hit.
Bisson was headed for the Northwoods League going into the college season, but as he picked up his game (he hit .373), the plan changed.
“Coach told me he’d work hard to get me a shot here. It took forever. I had a temporary contract, and coach Roberts decided to give me a shot.”
Getting a shot is a big thing for a baseball player from Ottawa. “A lot of good players are starting to come out of Canada right now,” Bisson said. “I’m really excited about that. If I wasn’t at the University of Kentucky, I wouldn’t be here. I’d be home studying at Ottawa University.”
In 2005, Emmanuel Burriss, now of the Giants but then an Orleans Cardinal from Kent State, was ahead of Marsh’s pace deep in the season but finished with 37 thefts as pitchers started paying much more attention.
“We’re only a few games in,” Bisson said after stealing six bases in the first two games. “Pitchers will start holding on. First time through, nobody knows who anybody is. They’re going to figure out who can run and who can’t run. I imagine pitchers will start holding on pretty good.”
NAME GAME: Chatham manager John Schiffner rolled up his pants leg before Tuesday night’s game against Cotuit at Veterans Field and said, “Look at this.”
Schiffner was sporting a colorful tattoo of the old Chatham A’s logo on his right calf. Chatham changed its name from the Athletics (A’s) to the Anglers this season rather than pay Major League Baseball and buy from MLB’s suppliers.
“They can take my name, but not my leg,” Schiffner joked.
It was good to see the longtime Chatham coach laughing. Schiffner, in his 25th year in Chatham and 17th as head man, was hospitalized twice for a medical condition he wouldn’t specify between Memorial Day weekend and a few of days before the opener. He missed the first game of the season at Chatham last Saturday.
“They are narrowing down what the problem is. I’ve got some new medications and I’m fine.”
The tattoo was the result of a bet he made more than a decade ago.
“I told the ’98 team if they made the playoffs I’d get a tattoo. Some of them were still asking me if I’d gotten it yet. So I got it in March. “My wife (Martha) loves it,” he said.
AROUND THE DIAMOND: It’s not uncommon for a player to change teams if he plays a second summer on the Cape. Relief pitcher Russell Brewer set a Hyannis record last year with 12 saves and was named the league’s Outstanding Relief Pitcher, but this year is coming out of the Anglers’ bullpen. The Vanderbilt right-hander was draft eligible this year as a redshirt sophomore, but wasn’t selected. He went 1-2, 2.96 at Vandy with four saves and 39 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings … Cotuit general manager Bruce Murphy believes the Yankees’ unsigned No. 1 pick from 2008, Gerrit Cole, now at UCLA, will pitch for Team USA and not wear a Kettleers jersey.

Off to a great Start! Tied for 1st place after 6 Games! Stolen 31 out of 38 bases!

As my coaches and I watch Cape League players from both teams each game there is admiration for their athletic ability and strength. We discuss different aspects of the game and enjoy seeing which players improve the most during the season. My staff agrees most college offensive players need to improve their defense, base running/base stealing skills and overall baseball instincts.
Polishing all the skills is very important if a player wants to move beyond college and have a chance to be successful. Since we are coaching on Cape Cod and Red Sox Nation is all around us we talk a lot about Sox players. For example, Dustin Pedroia, had never stolen more than 7 bases in a season in professional baseball until 2008 when he stole 20 of 21. Dustin has gotten quicker with his first few steps through his winter work-out program at Athletes’ Performance in Phoenix, Az. and he has learned more about how to steal against certain pitchers and when is the best situation in the game for him to run. Almost all players can learn to steal more bases if they make this an emphasis in their game.
I am enjoying discussing my team in the Cape League, Cotuit Kettleers, with many fans. We are off to a good start (tied for 1st place after 6 games) and have stolen 31 of 38 stolen base attempts.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

We have Chris Bisson from U. of Ky, Rico Noel from Coastal Carolina Univ. and Jeff Rowland from Ga. Tech Univ. and all can really run and have excellent baseball instincts.

I was asked after our Cape Cod baseball league game last night vs. Harwich by a fan why my teams always like to steal bases since the team stole 6 bases in the game. I said “the running game is always available in every game if we can just get someone on base. We can apply pressure whether we are ahead or behind in the game.” We had a wonderful conversation about how Brian learned to steal bases as a youth and we talked about my new book “You Can’t Steal Second Base and Keep Your Foot on First.”
My team, Cotuit Kettleers, has stolen 29 bases in 36 attempts in the first 5 games of the season. The players really enjoy the opportunity to run since very few college teams run during the spring season due to the use of metal bats.
We have Chris Bisson from U. of Ky, Rico Noel from Coastal Carolina Univ. and Jeff Rowland from Ga. Tech Univ. and all can really run and have excellent baseball instincts. They have picked up the running game extremely well in the first week of the season.
Another game tonight vs. Orleans. I will keep you updated on how the team is playing and how the running game is progressing for the Cotuit Kettleers in the 2009 season.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Excited Fan comments on my book….

I just received this email from a player at the University of Notre Dame. He played against my team last summer in the Cape. He was nice enough to send this about how he put together what he watched my team do against his team and when reading the book it all then made sense. Obviously, a young man who loves the game, it very intuitive, and wants to learn...
I hope all is well and you are excited about another season in the Cape. I just wanted to let you know that my assistant coach at Notre Dame gave me your book “You Can’t Steal Second with Your Foot on First”. It was very enjoyable to read and I simply could not put it down. The whole summer I was very intrigued by the way your team stole bases and after reading your book it all made sense. I have never gotten much instruction on base stealing. However, this year I did get to work out a little with Chone Figgins where he gave me some pointers. I was going to email you about possibly stopping by the Cape before I have to report for the team that selects me and be a part of your famous first workout with the Cotuit players, but with pre draft workouts I don’t think I can make it.
Ironically, I just got done working out with the Diamondbacks where I got to hang out with Brett Jackson. He was interested in going to the Cape to hang out and possibly working out with you as well (he lives very far away and it may not be likely, but I am only 2 hours away and I plan on visiting the Cape anyways). I wanted to get your thoughts on the possibility of me stopping by Cotuit to get instruction on stealing bases and or speed work. Best of luck during your season!  Sincerely,  AJ Pollock