Thursday, November 21, 2013

My new Book, Baserunning, with Mike Trout on the Cover is available on Amazon

Base Running and Base Stealing are my passion with-in the over-all teaching of baseball skills. Because of the detailed teaching I was blessed to hear and practice as a professional player in the KC Royals organization, I have embraced teaching athletes to become sprinters around the bases and athletes that anticipate and are always a slight movement ahead of the pitchers movements when between the bases attempting to steal! The Royals gave me the opportunity to participate at the Kansas City Royals Baseball Academy in Sarasota, Fl. For six weeks to learn what they were doing with research & development in many areas of the game. The way Syd Thrift (Director of the Academy), Joe Tanner, Steve Boras and the other futuristic minded coaches developed new techniques to try and dominate the game when stealing and faster ways of circling the bases really caught my attention. I have worked in my coaching career to continue to develop other techniques and to keep their efforts going. My new book, Baserunning with Mike Trout on the cover and foreword by Terry Francona, has my teaching principles for base running and has also taken some of the information in my 1st book titled "You Can't Steal Second Base and Keep Your Foot on First" (with Brian Roberts on the cover) on base stealing and expanded the details. I hope you will purchase my new book, and you can also download my 1st book and base stealing DVD's from

Friday, October 25, 2013

Once again Base Stealing Plays a Huge part in a World Series Game

From Coach Mike Roberts: The St. Louis Cardinals ran very little during the regular season with only 45 steals even though they have a few players who run well. Detroit was the only team with fewer steals and the Tigers never win in the play-offs because they can only score via the home run. They have very little team speed. In the 2nd game of the world series at Fenway Park, with the Cardinals down 2-1, they executed a very timely double steal of 2nd and 3rd with one out. This brought the infield in and changed the dynamics of the inning and eventually changed the score of the game. Even if teams have an overall baseball philosophy where base running is not front and center each game, they should still use base stealing as a weapon that catches teams off guard as the Cardinals did  to the Red Sox. Hozma and Jay stole 3rd and 2nd respectively with a left-handed hitter at the plate. This makes it tougher to execute. Most defensive teams feel a team won't run very often with a left-Handed Hitter in the box since gives the catcher a clear throwing lane to 3rd Base. Cards manager Mike Matheny, a former Cotuit Kettleers player, is an excellent manager and he managed aggressively and timely in the 7th inning of game two. As the current head coach of the Cotuit Kettleers in the Cape Cod College Summer League, our team loves to work on stealing bases and usually leads the leagues in steals most seasons. Matheny showed me we need to work harder to learn to steal 3rd with a Left-Handed Hitter in the box. This kind of managing by Matheny should encourage all baseball coaches to make sure their team is always prepared to run. Stealing bases successfully will bring your team a few extra wins each season. I hope base stealing enthusiasts will buy my current book from Point-5 productions titled "You Can't Steal 2nd Base and Keep Your Foot on First" and also look for my 2nd Base Stealing book on Amazon now that will be delivered in Dec. 2013 titled "Baserunning."

Friday, October 11, 2013

Red Sox Use Speed to Win Final Play-off Game vs. Rays

I love to watch aggressive Base Running and timely Base Stealing by any baseball team. As I was leaving professional baseball and entering college coaching in the mid-1970's and beginning to institute a running game at the Univ. Of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the KC Royals (late '7O's) and St. Louis Cardinals, under Whitey Herzog in '80's, had baseball players who were incredibly exciting to watch scamper around the bases and play havoc between the bases. In KC and St. Louis this was called "Whiteyball." Whitey usually had 2-3 hitters at the top of the line-up who were base stealing threats. As I watched the Boston Red Sox going from last place in the AL East in '12 to first in '13 and now deep into the play-offs, the "FarrellBall" running game has been such an important piece of this transformation back to a dominant team. Jacoby Ellsbury (52 steals), Shane Victorino (21 steals), and Dustin Pedroia (17 steals) are a dynamic combination at the top of the Red Sox order. Jacoby can fly, Victorino is incredibly aggressive, and Pedroia believes he can run. Timely base stealing was the catalyst to Victory in the Final Game of play-off series vs. Rays this week. In the 7th inning, after Jacoby Ellsbury singled, he stole 2nd base (with a runner on 3rd) and the pitch was in the dirt. While the runner on 3rd scored Jacoby advanced all the way to 3rd Base then scored on an infield single by Shane Victorino. No Moneyball there just FarrellBall and another win along the road to a possible World Series title for the RedSox. History is a great teacher and Red Sox fans should remember the most important play in the 2004 world series run was the stolen base by Dave Roberts in the 9th inning vs. Mariano Rivera & the NY Yankees.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Red Sox Stealing Bases & Hustle Game in 2013 Play-offs

Even though the Red Sox play Wall Ball often with the Green Monster in Fenway Park and Big Papi can still hit Home Runs to a deep right field area, the catalyst to their offense is the running and hustle game. Home Runs are certainly a positive but they do take days off. Stealing Bases and Hustle NEVER take a day off! The running game relies on the feet of Jacoby Ellsbury along with Victorino and Pedroia, However, with the hustle game ALL players can participate and gives the Red Sox additional tools that are ALWAYS available each game. Power comes and goes. But, the running and hustle game can go into action whenever a hitter makes contact or runners reach a base. In the play-offs, Ellsbury has a stolen base vs. Rays and taken 3rd on the overthrow. This exploded the inning in the 1st game after the error by Will Myers; Gomes hustled his way to a run from second base on an infield ground ball; Napoli hustled his way to a double off the wall; and ALL this running and hustle has the Rays on their heels and down 2-0 in the series. As a teacher and coach who strongly believes in teaching base stealing and encouraging hustle at all times, the Red Sox are proving this philosophy pays off even at the highest level. Heck with MoneyBall. I salute Manager John Farrell, his staff, and especially the athletes who love to run and hustle.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Cotuit Kettleers use Valle Baseball Mini-Gloves in ALL infield practice sessions in the summer of 2013

        I met John Valle, Valle Baseball (, from Rochester, NY. 2 years ago when he visited the Cotuit Kettleers practicing at Lowell Park on Cape Cod. John brought along a great variety of “Mini-Gloves” for our infielders and catchers to use in practice. My son, Brian Roberts, second baseman for the Baltimore Orioles, had used mini gloves as he grew up. He did so mainly because he was influenced by Walt Weiss, who played for me at the Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and went on to become American League Rookie of the Year in 1989, who used mini gloves at UNC while a student-athlete and Walt had beautiful hands when fielding ground balls. Walt had actually picked this up from the Doyle brother (Denny, Blake, and Brian) at the Doyle Baseball Academy in Florida which Walt attended several times.
        ALL of our infielders for the Kettleers in 2012, and we continued with the gloves everyday in 2013, used the “Eagle 975” which is such a well made (durable) glove for 2nd, 3rd, and SS’s to use in practice. Our first basemen, right and left-handed, also use a mini glove by Valle Baseball (Valle Eagle 11 White) as well. In 2012 the Kettleers had a terrific season with a record of 30-14 which was the first team to win 30 games in the regular season in the Cape Cod Collegiate summer league since 2007.  That number of wins in not accomplished very often. I am convinced one of the reasons the team was so fundamentally sound in their infield play was the use of Valle Baseball mini-gloves each day in practice by Tony Kemp (Vanderbilt), James Roberts (Southern Cal), Mike Ford (Princeton) Adam Nelbolwich (Washington State) and others. Each of the afore mentioned young men signed a professional contract in the summer of 2013 so the scouts must have seen something in their defensive play they really liked as well.
       In 2013, our infielders for the first half of the season certainly struggled with all varieties of ground balls. The Kettleers had an excellent pitching staff but early on a porous infield defense. The coaching staff made improving the defense a priority the last half of the season. We designated more time to spend working to improve the infielders feet, then their hands, working with the mini-gloves.
      To do this, the team cut the time they took for pre-game batting practice and used the final 20 minutes of this designated hitting time before each game to work on live defense with the mini-gloves. The infielders took live ground balls off the bats of the catchers and outfielders who were working on their hit and run swings. The team accomplished a very important goal that helped the Kettleers win the 2013 Cape Cod League Championship for the 2nd time in last 4 years. The only way the Kettleers will win it all is to “Win With Defense!” I expressed to our entire team the first day of the play-offs, in an extra morning gathering, that if the Kettleers played excellent defense the team had a good chance of becoming Cape League Champions.
      The infielders used the Valle Baseball mini-gloves to make all the plays in these live pre-game infield sessions. The players treated this time as if it was a game. The infielders were diving at times which was fun to watch. Their confidence certainly improved and the infielders felt they could make any play in the game. And, that is exactly what transpired. The team made so many excellent defensive plays in the play-offs, especially in the final series vs. Orleans, that had been a problem for the team during much of the regular season. The winning ingredients were working with the Valle Baseball mini-gloves, lots of hard work, a great deal of focus, polishing the foot work and playing offensive defense with the mini-gloves in practice and regular gloves in the game.
      Hats off to John Valle and staff in Rochester, NY for having the vision to make the best mini-glove on the market and bringing those gloves to Cotuit so the Kettleers could use them to help the team, and certainly individual athletes, improve and win another Arnold Mycock Trophy as Champions of the Cape Cod Baseball League in 2013.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Value of Assistant Coaches

I was blessed for the 10th consecutive season to be the head coach of the Cotuit Kettleers in the Cape Cod Collegiate Baseball Summer League. In the months prior to each season I spend a great deal of time trying to hire four of the best assistant coaches available. They are not required to have baseball coaching experience or even much baseball knowledge. But, each must be passionate about working with young people, college players and campers, and 100% committed to carrying out there responsibilities and our team philosophy on and off the field. I sometimes think how can this assistant coach tradition continue to be so strong each summer for the Kettleers? Then I mumble to myself how can this head coach be so fortunate to have been associated with so many outstanding gentlemen, who love baseball as much as I do, who come to teach/work with the Kettleers players & campers, and become an integral part of the Cotuit community. The four Assistant coaches who drive into Cotuit around June 1st each summer have usually talked on the phone but rarely have ever met in person. They always seem to make the adjustment quickly to living together in a house on Main St. And are excited to begin their work. Some days it is definitely work, instead of just fun, like the first day is usually replacing sod at Lowell Park, edging the entire infield, and just getting the field in immaculate shape before the players arrive. We all work most of the daylight hours every day each summer, and I ask the assistants to pretty much be on call at all hours the entire summer, and yet each coach comes to the park and camp venues with great attitudes and smiles. Every summer I am amazed how these men work, teach, and commit themselves to help college athletes and young campers get a little closer to their personal, academic, and athletic goals. I learned once again in 2013 that a head coach is only as good as his or her assistants. Because of the detailed teaching work done each day in practice, defensive positioning done in the game, experienced coaches on the bench to help the head coach think ahead, this incredible staff led the Kettleers to another Cape league championship in '13. However, I want to make sure to honor each of my assistant coaches in my 10 seasons in Cotuit by saying "Thank You" for being so terrific and building such a classy tradition that I know will be carried on for years beyond my stay as the head coach. Sincerely, Coach Mike Roberts

Sunday, August 25, 2013

2013 Cape Cod Baseball League Season: The New Challenges of Summer Baseball

Thru my almost 40 years of coaching, I have certainly learned thru working with student-athletes I have the wonderful opportunity to help others reach their Dreams & Goals. I try to stress "Self-Motivation; Hard Work on a Daily basis; TEAM always comes 1st; and begin each day asking What CAN I DO to help OTHERS today." As coaches, head or assistants, we must plan each day to reach out and help student-athletes, during the school year or summer baseball, and encourage the athletes to embrace these CORE principles or similar principles from other coaches. In the 2013 Cape Cod Baseball League Season, our coaching staff had to focus and then re-focus more than ever to try and ensure we accomplished these tasks. The turnover of players in summer baseball has increased dramatically. This is due to the lack of a following thru with a commitment made to an organization like the Cotuit Kettleers. Too many student-athletes, with consent from their parents, are allowing their children to opt out of that commitment at different stages during the summer. Many times the excuses to leave are based on nothing but the athlete wanting to go home and be lazy. This has made seeing consistent success both for the individual player and the team in summer baseball, on and off the field, a much larger and more difficult challenge now than 10-15 years ago. Coaches must build a TEAM that cares greatly about one another. But, if players are constantly leaving that becomes much more difficult to accomplish. Players should arrive immediately after completion of their spring season and stay til the final pitch of the summer season. But, due to this new youth travel ball mentality, that is show up and display my skills a few days for scouts then shut it down, coaches now have greater challenges. In the summer of 2013 our team had too much turnover. However, the young men who hung in there, finished the daily work to be done to polish their skills, stayed with their commitment, cared about one another, and came together as a TEAM, reaped the reward of a Cape Cod League Championship! The coaching staff is thankful for those young men and hope this was another step in reaching their dreams and goals.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Cotuit Kettleers, 2013 Cape Cod League Champions

Danny Diekroeger, infielder Stanford University, said it so well at the completion of the championship game of the Cape Cod League that "Work, Works!" Danny developed this phrase after our coaching staff spent the summer encouraging our players to improve their work habits, be more detailed when they are practicing, and don't be afraid to get dirty when practicing. It will lead to excellence! Athletes will improve areas of their game with hard-nosed detailed work. The Cotuit Kettleers players made plays (offensively, defensively, and with pitches off the mound) that were executed because those opportunities had been practiced over and over. Danny's statement made me realize the TEAM had bought in thru-out the summer that "Work, Works!" I was so blessed to teach and coach such a hard-nosed group of baseball players who loved to practice and then execute in tough game situations. I say "Thank You" to each Kettleer player in the summer of 2013. You are "Champions" on and off the field.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Stolen Bases in opening Game in Cape League

The Cotuit Kettleers had a wonderful crowd on opening day at beautiful Lowell Park and won vs. Orleans 4-2. The Orleans team are always so well coached by Kelly Nicholson so very enjoyable to play the Firebirds.

We were able to pull a “pre-set” double steal that helped us go ahead. With men on 1st and 3rd, left handed pitcher on the mound, the runner on 1st base took off on 1st movement by the pitcher, the runner on 3rd base casually takes steps down the line to see if the LH pitcher will pick behind the runner leaving 1st base. The pitcher did throw behind the runner at 1st base and the runner at 3rd read the ball (what I call “white out”) out of the 1st baseman’s hand throwing to the SS at 2B and began his run toward home.  The runner at 1st continued a straight steal into 2nd base, did not stop half way, which is the best way to draw a throw from the 1st baseman. As the runner slid into 2nd base safely the runner from third was 2/3 of the way home and did not even draw a throw from the SS as he crossed home plate.

It is always fun to work on base stealing each day in practice and figure out different ways to move runners up a base and possibly score a run. I encourage coaches to practice base stealing as often as they give their team batting practice.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Opening Dayin the Cape Cod Collegiate Summer League

It is June 12, 2013 and Opening Day in the Cape Cod Collegiate Summer League. The sun is shining bright on Cotuit Bay this morning and the grass smells of the Best Amateur Baseball in the world getting ready to start. Our coaching staff is busy getting beautiful Elizabeth Lowell Park ready. The greens mower is on the infield placing those crisscrossed stripes of green, like a putting surface in golf, that players and fans like to see. The college players, who have come from all over the country to the cape for the summer, will enjoy a "Norman Rockwellish" baseball atmosphere here in Cotuit. Fans kind of come out of the woods from every angle to this lovely setting to watch the Kettleers take on the Orleans Firebirds at 5pm. The games are streamed at and home games begin at 5pm until August 1st then 4:30pm in August. Offensive players will be at the park at 10am for an extra round of Batting Practice so gotta head to the park on my bike this morning. Most everyone can walk or ride, don't have to drive to the park in this quaint community. See you at a Ball game soon on the cape.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Coming in the fall of 2013, I will have a new book coming that will cover base running, base stealing, and strength and conditioning exercises that help baseball players improve in those areas. Saturday June 1st, my publisher Human Kinetics, sent a photographer to Cotuit, MA. And over 100 pictures were taken with six different athletes helping show different leads and techniques. I always learn more about teaching these areas in a more concise and hopefully improved way each time I step on the field. I hope this new book "Baserunning" will be beneficial to many coaches and athletes as my 1st book "You Can't Steal 2nd Base and Keep Your Foot on First" has been for the past three years. Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout will be on the cover and Cleveland Indians Manager Terry Francona will write the Foreword. I hope many of you who have purchased my teaching videos and book will have tremendous interest in this new and expanded version of my teaching techniques about the almost lost art of running and stealing bases.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Sports Banquet, Regents School, Austin TX

Memorial Day: Monday, May 27th, 2013
I had the wonderful pleasure of speaking at the “Regents School” in Austin, Tx. On May 11, 2013. There were 500 people present celebrating 14 sports team at the spring sports banquet.
Mr. Jim Ross, former professional baseball teammate of mine in Billings, Montana (1972), and we were playing for the Kansas City Royals minor league affiliate, ask if I would come to Austin to speak at the Regents School where his son and daughter attend. After I agreed to speak, I received news that one of my former UNC-Chapel Hill student/athletes, Chris Knepp, was a teacher at the school. Chris played on the USA college baseball team in 1975, went on to receive his law degree and practiced law, was a member of the United States Baseball Olympic Committee, but chose about 2005 to stop practicing law and become a high school teacher.
It was terrific to see Jim and Chris again after so many years. Jim hosted me in his home and was wonderful to get to know his beautiful family. Jim and his family will be visiting Cape Cod this summer July 6-13 and I look forward to hosting them and enjoying Cotuit Kettleers Baseball at the what ESPN's David Albright dubbed the Real Field of Dreams in Cotuit, Elizabeth Lowell Park.
My topics for the evening were “Caring about others first each day; Being an Unselfish Teammate; and Finishing Strong what we start!” I shared about Dr. Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture) and how Dr. Pausch had a terminal illness but gave his “Last Lecture” at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh just months before he died and encouraged everyone to do things “Right, Cherish each day, and finish strong!”
I talked about the movies “Radio and Rudy” and how each of us can be that “One” caring and positive friend that may be the key to helping improve another person’s life. In the movie “Radio” Coach Jones cared about a young man who was a slow learner but just needed help and encouragement. Coach Jones and his family loved “Radio” and helped him have a much improved life through their friendship, encouragement, and involvement with the local football team. In the movie “Rudy” there were two friends in Rudy’s life, on in high school and one at college, that made a tremendous difference in him trying to go to college and eventually graduating and playing football at Notre Dame.
Finally, I showed a short video of athletes who had overcome adversity/injury to go on and accomplish more than anyone imagined they could do. They “Finished Strong!”
I hope we will all awaken each day and ask “Who can we help today?” We will not only improve someone else’s life but we will improve our own lives and lay our heads down each evening and say “It has been a good day.”

Friday, March 8, 2013

2013 Spring Training

Professional Baseball and Base Stealing: Let’s go back to 2012 Play-offs with the Tigers playing the Giants in the World Series. Detroits bats went quiet in the series when Home Runs were not coming off there bats and they just could not score. The same was true in the play-offs for the Yankees in the play-offs. There bats went quiet and they did not have the over-all team speed to manufacture runs. The Tigers stole 59 bases (26th in MLB) during the 162 game regular season and the S F Giants, who won the 2012 World Series, stole 118 bases (9th) during the regular season. The Giants had twice as many stolen bases which gave them a big edge in speed and the ability to manufacture runs. This is exactly what happened during the World Series in 2012. The Giants used their speed well and swept the Giants 4 games in a row. Now, I am waiting and watching to see how many teams are emphasizing base stealing during 2013 spring training. Always exciting when a few teams each year decide to run more and swing for the fences less so the team can be more consistent from game to game. “Speed Never Rests!” Coach Mike Roberts