Singles, Doubles : Flys and Grounders

As the 2013 HDL season cruises along, I am thinking I need to review where we are at this point in the season.  

To some of the first year players it is worth mentioning so all players who haven’t been in on conversations or discussion, will at least be aware of some of what is happening. So read on and ask questions if any news items interest you.

Heartfelt Losses:

Over the past few months, the HDL alumnus have dwindled with the passing of:  Jack Lampley, Scott Spencer, Ray Farr, Jerry Finn and Merrill Dan.  All of these friends and former HDL Baseball players had the same thing in common – they loved the Hernando DeSoto Baseball League.  Their lives were enriched by the many games they played, friends they made and good times they had.  All of these great contributors gave to the HDL as much as they received from the HDL. God Bless them all – They will forever be missed by those who knew them.

Photo from 1954

Photo from 1954

Recently Departed:

I just learned today that our friend and fellow HDL Officer, John DiGiacomo and his family, will be having funeral services for their Mother this week.  Mrs DiGiacomo passed away this past weekend after several months of battling health issues.  I personally know how close John was with his Mother  and how difficult this event will be.  I talked to Jocko this afternoon and he seems to be handling the circumstances OK, so far.  I gave him our condolences and assured him we are all here to support him and his family.  Funeral arrangements will be announced in the newspaper in the next day or so.  I do know that the Funeral is planned for Friday morning.  Please keep the DiGiacomo’s in your prayers.

New Players:

With injuries and players vacation schedules, the HDL was open to adding a few new players.  In the last 2 weeks we have added John Robertson and another player named “Katson” (Spelling?).  These new players are enthusiastic at having the chance to play baseball in the HDL.  Please make them feel welcome and encourage them when they are struck with “baseball frustrations”.  This is not an easy game but these players have skills and will adapt the more they play in the HDL.  I might also mention Fred (Jose) Cazares who joined the HDL in late April and has really shown he is a solid player who has fit-in nicely in the HDL.  Fred also was very helpful when we were asking for help to unload the new dirt we added to the Infield.  Fred is a great person.

To Clarify:

At the start of the season there was confusion about the 3rd to 1st Pick-Off fake.  Unlike the adoption in the Major League this year to award a “Balk” when a pitcher fakes a pick-off to 3rd base then does a 360 to try to pick-off a base-runner on 1st base, in the HDL, we declared this move would “NOT” be a “Balk”.  Hopefully we will continue to remind new umpires of our difference so there will be no confusion.

Team Records:

Really, team records at this point are not important.  I have not heard much discussion over this “statistic”.  What counts is the quality of games played.  Peterbilt Red team has the most “wins” with 8 and C.D.S. Green has the least with 3.  In the middle, Metlife Blue and Lomax Orange are right around .500. When CDS Green has all their players, they compete and have had some tight scores.  Some of their “loss” scores: (3-6); (11-14); (9-12); (8-10); (10-11).  So,  here are five games where they were with-in 3-4 runs of  getting a “W”.  The teams they played could have easily had an extra “L” and all teams would be playing .500 baseball. 

Each week team managers are scouting their rosters to find out “who” will be participating and “who” is not going to be able to make it.  Much of this problem is typical summer time vacation and family priorities that take precedence over HDL Baseball.  With four teams in the league, we have plenty of players to “fill-in”.  This procedure was covered in my Blog post titled, “Three games – No Rain! (6/13/13)

As summer moves into the “dog days” of August and families get back into the school year, I believe HDL baseball games will become even more competitive and fun.  In the past 7 games, the total number of errors in a game is 2.5.  Errors don’t always determine a win or a loss, but they often  affect the confidence of a team to shake it off and continue to give their best to sustain or jump-start a rally. 

Wood Bat Games:

This year the HDL planned additional games in the schedule to re-introduce wood bats to a league that began when wood bats was all baseball (or softball) ever used, up until the late 70’s.  So far the element of wood bats has not had any significant effect on the quality of baseball we are able to play.  Some players who struggle with metal bats are getting positive results when they swing the “lumber.”  And other players who are powerful with metal bats are not seeing that same ease of power with the wood sticks.

After the MSBL Wood Bat Tournament at the end of July, we will allow batters to select their choice of bat without any restrictions.

Field Improvements:

We delivered on our promise to upgrade the dirt areas of Tobey Baseball Field.  Especially in areas where some unusual bounces and Fielders have struggled sometimes with routine plays.  The base lines are now fairly level with infield and foul line grass elevations.  The dirt-to-infield grass transitions have been smoothed out.  We also raised the dirt level in front-of and behind the 1st & 3rd grass cut-out areas.

3rd Base Defensive Position.  Much Better.

3rd Base Defensive Position. Much Better.

Second Half Outlook:

After the Wood Bat Tournament, the HDL has 10 regular season games to be played before the Play-off’s” begin on September, 15th.  (Two Months from now.)  Four Friday night games and 5 Sunday games.  All players are expected to ‘step-up’ their game since everyone has seen the other teams and think they know everyone’s tendencies, weaknesses and/or strengths.  This is the time of year when players start bringing their “A” game, especially those who have not really demonstrated what they can really do.  I hope “you” are the one I am referring to.

HDL can relate!

HDL can relate!

Good Luck and Play Hard, but most of all, Play Safe!

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