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Archive for June, 2013


Excerpt from Sports Illustrated’s cover story on Chardon’s Frank HallJune

Excerpt from Sports Illustrated’s cover story on Chardon’s Frank Hall

June 20, 2013 by  4 Comments


Frank Hall, the football coach turned hero on the morning of the tragic shootings at Chardon High School, is the cover story for the June 24 issue of Sports Illustrated. The electronic version (as with most SI stories) will not be released for at least a few days, but the print version is more than worth the money of every Clevelander—not just sports fans. National Magazine Award-winner Gary Smith depicts the chilling, detailed horros of this February morning while providing background context and the “I should have done more” emotions that paralyzed Hall for an extended amount of time.

Below is an excerpt from the story. We encourage you all to read the other 10,000 words sooner than later. It’s a story that should have never happened, but one that should never be forgotten.

His eyes swept the room, his pen checking off the study-hall attendance list as the morning announcements ended. The three football players always at his elbow at 7:37—fullback John Connic, who used Frank’s file drawers as his personal locker, and the Izar twins, defensive end Tom and linebacker Quinn—were all missing that day, John off taking a test and the Izards, thank God, late for school. Besides the cafeteria staff, Frank was now the only adult in the room.

Two loud pops jerked his head to the right. His hearing had alwaysy been bad. Firecrackers, he thoguht. Then came another pop and another as he rose andd took in the whirl of one boy slumped over a table, two others crumpled to the floor, two staggering away with bullet wounds, and a mad scramble of screaming children everywhere in the room.

Here it was, the question lodged in the recesses of all the educators’ brains in America, the one that their minds race to and away from without ever resolving,the one to which the rest of us seem to have unconsciously agreed to condemn them all: What will I do if a kid in my school pulls out a gun and starts shooting?

Here’s what Frank never could’ve guessed, all the years, his mind had darted to and from that question: His anger trumped everything; it trampled thought and even fear. It sent his legs barging right through his brown table and straight at the gunman, sent his hand flying up, sent his voice booming, “Stop! Stop!”

You can subscribe to Sports Illustrated here and purchase the tablet edition here. Smith’s discussion, via podcast, of the reporting involved in this story can be heard here.

Hit The First Pitch, Sean Rodriguez & Hit Every Pitch Hard

June 25, 2013
My favorite baseball player of all time was Joe DiMaggio. When I was seven, I listened to Red Barber and then Mel Allen describe the wonderful hitting and fielding of  the “splendid splinter,” and on and on. I grew up wanting to be like Joe DiMaggio, but fell far short. If I had one pice of baseball hitting advice it would be to hit the ball hard and hit the first pitch. Listen to Bobby Doere (Red Sox secondbaseman). It’s priceless:

Joe DiMaggio, Center Fielder

“He (Joe DiMaggio)
had great wrists and hit balls like rockets, with top-spin, that exploded past third basemen. It always seemed as if he hit the ball hard. Every at bat.” – 
Bobby Doerr

Tampa Raes’ Sean Rodriquez is likely upset at the presence of the new kid on the block, Will Myers, an outfielder who has taken Sean’s place in the outfield because Sean isn’t hitting well these days. Of course, we could say that about some other Rays players as well. If they were all hitting well, the Rays would not be in fourth place in the ALE, but might be leading the division, it’s that close.

The first thing Rodriguez needs to get out of his head is other players competing for game time, such as Sam Fuld and Myers. Be your own man and it wouldn’t hurt if you, Sean, were a little more like our new shortstop. A little cockiness goes a long way toward helping your self esteem and confidence up at the plate.

Sean Rodriguez, Left Fielder

I am watching this from my Orlando office on TV, so I’m sure to be a little off. I do have the advantage over being in the Trop–I can rewind, start and stop the pictue whenever I want, and watch you as long as I want over and over again. But that stance you take is the worst I have seen lately. You have the Evan Longoria foot in the gutter, which is supposed to come out, straight ahead, just a few inches, as soon as you intend to hit a pitch. On Monday night you pinch-hit for Matt Joyce and struck out because of your indecision at the plate and that cockeyed stance. It got you in trouble and it’s going to be a problem in the future unless you do something about it.

If I were the batting coach, I would introduce a brand new stance to you. It wouldn’t be Longoria’s, it would be like old reliable Ben Zobrist. He stands up, feet lined up along the batter’s box. Zobrist has a slight hunched-over look.His knees bend slightly.  I know that you, Sean, understand as well as anyone why batting coaches teach the batter to crouch a little. It tends to put pressure on the legs, particularly the leading leg. You must hit off a stiff front leg or you will disapate power and won’t hit the long ball or even the short ball with authority.  A “floating” front leg is not what you want.

But last night, Monday night, your interesting stance did you harm. You were supposed to bring your left leg and foot out of the gutter with the ball four or five feet from the plate. You did that, and you were on your way to striding into the ball. But then something happened. I can’t tell you what you were thinking. Maybe at the last minute you decided to take the pitch–which you did. But that small element of indecision cost you a strikeout because you were inot in position to do anything except take. The ball moved back over the plate and you realized it too late. There you were, your feet in the wrong place, your weight not back, and your mind playing tricks on you.

Here’s my advice after sixty years of hitting and watching hitters and determining what makes them great hitters and what makes them .240 hitters. It’s the mental preparation. They tell themselves four feet out that they are either going to take a pitch or hit the ball, not both–which you seemed to do. Your body just wasn’t positioned to hit the ball had Toronto pitcher Rogers thrown it ten miles an hour and underhanded.

The above may seem over-the-top, ridiculous and embarrassing, but that’s baseball. I’ve been there–embarrassed and looking foolish. But you’re supposed to forget it and go on and do good the next at bat. But if you completely forget it, you will never become any better than you already are. You, Sean, are a heck of a defensive outfielder. Probably the best outfielder the Rays have. But unless yuo concentrate enough–and work on your hitting enough–you will always be sitting on the bench because Joe Maddon wants runs to win ballgames and you haven’t been producing big and consistently for some time now.

Take a rest from it. I’m not going to tell you to change your batting stance or anything. Just go lay on your sofa or bed and meditate about it. Can you recall a time when you wee really hitting the ball? If so, revert to that stance and approach to hitting that you then had. It’s that simple. If you keep doing what you’ve been doing–the thing that has got you to this difficult point–you will never improve.

Albert Einstein said it best: The significant problems we solve won’t be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”

Posted by at 2:40 PM

Sport Tips, Yankee Wizard, And Games Baseball Suggest Affirmations & Meditation To Sharpen Hellickson’s Game

Hellickson Falters In The Sixth, Rays Lose 10-1  tags: Tampa, Rays, Hellickson, meditation, affirmations, Joe Maddon

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June 14, 2013
By Don White

I could see it on his face as I watched the Rays game last night on television from my office in Orlando.

Manager Joe Maddon is worried about his pitcher who was “Rookie of The Year” three years ago. Has he lost it? How can we “rehabilitate” or help him?

My first piece of advice for you, Joe, is don’t let the front office send him down for rehab or reassignment. That would be stupid. He belongs on the Rays. He’s got so much upside that, unless it was to rehab an injury, you would be doing him insult and yourself a disservice to send him to the  triple A farm team Durham Bulls. 

Visualize Success, Jeremy

The only piece of advice Yankee Wizard has for young Jeremy Helecksen is to start visualizing. 

Visualize the fun and excitement you had that first rookie season. Then actualize it on the mound each time you pitch. Remember, I said fun and excitement, I didn’t say wins and losses. Keep your mind off anything negative. You are a great pitcher. Say that over and over to yourself and actualize it. 

And I don’t mean go through this sometimes silent routine once. Do it all the time. In the shower, while shaving, dressing, eating, driving to the ball park. In the pen, on the mound. But don’t let it destroy your concentration while pitching. After a while, you can put the visualizations and affirmations on auto pilot. That’s the way it should be. 

At home before going to bed repeat some positive affirmations and visualize the great moments of when you pitched…

Visualize your success, and when in the top of the fifth or sixth in the next game it will sustain your momentum and help you get through the entire game relatively unscathed.

Visualize the intensity with which you threw that first year that netted you  victories and a lot of strikeouts.

If you, jeremy, can replicate that feeling you had in your best season and tell yourself, that’s me, that’s the new “2013 me,” you will be halfway home to creating another winning season. 

Stop taking those stupid pills that are meant to calm you down before a game. (I have no idea whatsoever whether you take calming pills, but I hope not.) I want you to get excited. You’ll pitch with passion, and with greater command. You’ll lose yourself on the mound. 

Don’t press or think, “I’ve got to place this ball on the inside corner.” While in a game, just let your subconscious mind take over. That way you’ll avoid aiming the ball and your command will be far better.  

In your rookie year, you didn’t have any worries except to excel. You don’t have any now, either, except to do your best. 


Hellickson is a calm-manered man, self assured with plenty of reason to be so. He doesn’t want to lose that feeling, but to add some excitement and anticipation of going 9 full innings and pitching flawless, winning baseball the entire game every outing.

Do you think Justin Verlander can just throw his glove on the mound and claim victory each time. No, he has to win each victory, one at a time. One inning at a time. One pitch at a time. And sometimes, even in the life of this great no-hitter pitcher, the road is rocky. Always will be.

Helicksen is not known to have the greatest stuff or to be even as fast as a few of those on the team who throw 97-mph fastballs.

Former Tampa pitcher James Shields who played for Tampa last year and
was given a warm recognition by Rays fans during last nights game.

 It’s now time for Jeremy to go to work and to put in extra hours of hard work developing a better, low-down, slider and/or curveball that virtually bounces off the ground each time. He needs to work on it. How do you think James Shields got to be so good? It’s his low stuff, especially those pitches that literally fall off almost into the ground four feet in front of the plate. Hitters go for it, but can’t control their bats at the end when the ball dropps two feet almost to  ground level.

That’s the only advice I have for the Rays this morning. Good luck to Tampa in winning the next Kansas City game.

Here is what Wikipedia had on Hellickson which is quite complimentary. He’s a great young man.
Jeremy HellicksonFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jeremy Hellickson
Jeremy Hellickson on June 10, 2011.jpg
Tampa Bay Rays – No. 58
Starting pitcher
Born: April 8, 1987 (age 26)
Des Moines, Iowa
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
August 2, 2010 for the Tampa Bay Rays
Career statistics
(through June 13, 2013)
Win-loss record   31–24
Earned run average   3.52
Strikeouts   340
Career highlights and awards

 Jeremy Robert Hellickson (born April 8, 1987) is an American professional baseball pitcher with the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball. He was born in Des Moines, Iowa and attended Hoover High School.[1] Following the 2011 season, Hellickson was named American League Rookie of the Year.



Professional career
Hellickson was drafted by Tampa Bay in the fourth round of the 2005 Major League Baseball DraftBaseball America rated him as the 18th best prospect in all of baseball going into the 2010 season.[2] He was selected to play in the 2010 All-Star Futures Game and was the starting pitcher for U.S. team.[3]

On August 2, 2010, Hellickson made his major league debut against Minnesota Twins.[4] During his debut, he held the Twins to two runs over seven innings. He struck out six while walking two. He was optioned back to Triple-A Durham after the start.[5]

He was once again recalled to the majors on August 10 to take the spot of Wade Davis in the rotation. He made his second career start that day against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park, earning his second career victory after pitching seven shutout innings with three hits, seven strikeouts and no walks as the Rays won 8–0.[6]

On August 21, 2010, Hellickson was optioned to High-A Charlotte Stone Crabs to work on moving to the bullpen. He was recalled to Tampa Bay on September 1 and made his first appearance out of the bullpen on September 4, pitching 1 and 2/3 innings giving up 2 runs.

Hellickson began the 2011 season as the Rays fifth starter. On May 13, he threw his first complete game, earning a 3–0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.[7] Following the season, Hellickson earned the 2011 American League MLB Rookie of the Year Award.[8] He was named the Rays third starter for the 2012 season and pitched 8 2/3 shutout innings against the New York Yankees on April 8, 2012.

Hellickson was the losing pitcher in Félix Hernández’s perfect game on August 15, 2012. He still had a quality start in the game, allowing one run and five hits over seven innings to the Seattle Mariners.[9]


See also[edit]

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  1. ^ “Jeremy Hellickson wins major-league debut, heads back to minors”. Retrieved August 22, 2010.[dead link]
  1. ^ “Baseball America Top 100 Prospects”. February 23, 2010. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  1. ^ Bollinger, Rhett (July 11, 2010). “Hellickson shines as Futures Game’s winner”. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  1. ^ Berry, Adam (July 31, 2010). “Hellickson to make debut on Monday”. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  1. ^ Chastain, Bill (August 2, 2010). “Rays call up Johnson, option Hellickson”. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  1. ^ Chastain, Bill (August 10, 2010). “Hellickson’s seven scoreless tame Tigers”. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  1. ^ Klemish, Dawn. “Hellickson wins battle of Jeremys”
  1. a b Nowak, Joey. Kimbrel, Hellickson take top rookie Published November 14, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
  1. ^ “Tampa Bay Rays vs. Seattle Mariners – Box Score – August 15, 2012” Retrieved August 15, 2012.
  1. a b

External links

Manager Maddon: “The Epidemic About Rays’ Pitchers” and Solution

The following can also be found at Yankee Wizard and on my Sport Tips on Google. It particularly applies to the Tampa Rays, one of the best franchises in baseball, though their record so far this year doesn’t necessarily reflect how really great this team is or could be.


Joe Maddon: Post Traumatic Stress Therapy Could Help Rays Pitching Staff

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June 15, 2013

CoachMaddonandplayerspre-gameceremoniesOpen Letter To The Tampa Rays Baseball Club:

Don White
I’m writing, particularly to Field Manager Joe Maddon about what he called in the post game interview last night the “epidemic” surrounding Rays’ pitchers.
As you will recall, the Rays dropped two games this week to only a “fair” American League ballclub, Kansas City Royals, whose record coming in to Tampa was almost the opposite of the Rays, 31-35. Now that we’ve lost two games we are about even with the Royals, but declining fast unless our pitchers can do something to elevate their game. Actually, maybe the whole team needs this advice, because in those two games Kansas City scored 17 runs to Tampa’s 3.
The following article was meant to help those warriors who have gone into battle and returned with a Post Traumatic Stress Disease. I ask: Is there so much pressure on the Rays pitcher to have them in a state of tension all the time, so that their performance would suffer?
tampa_bay_rays_1024x768You decide. But if I were the GM or field manager of any major league team I would take this stuff seriously.
Meditation is known to reduce stress. Two days ago I suggested that Jeremy Hellickson could elevate his game if he started meditating, dreaming of winning ballgames and doing positive affirmations all week before a game. I believe the Rays have excellent pitchers, maybe the best in MLB. Please do not misinterpret my desire to help the Rays. I want them to not only win the tough ALE division, but to go on and bring back a World Series championship. So consider this as serious advice. It’s common sense, really, so why not try it?

Research: For Post-Traumatic Stress Relief, Stretching And Meditation Work

June 10, 2013 by 
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that is increasingly being diagnosed by physicians throughout the Nation. With more cases of PTSD cropping up, more research of the condition is being conducted—and a recently published study indicates PTSD sufferers can benefit from alternative therapies.
More than 7 million adults are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a typical year in the U.S. The mental health condition, triggered by a traumatic event, can cause flashbacks, anxiety and other symptoms.

A recent study accepted for publication in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism(JCEM), suggests that those who are afflicted by PTSD can benefit from stretching and meditation.
“Mind-body exercise offers a low-cost approach that could be used as a complement to traditional psychotherapy or drug treatments,” said the study’s lead author, Sang H. Kim, PhD, of the National Institutes of Health. “These self-directed practices give PTSD patients control over their own treatment and have few side effects.”
The study found  that PTSD patients’ high levels of corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) and unusually low levels of cortisol – two hormones used to regulate the body’s response to stress— responded favorably in subjects who participated in mind-body exercises for an eight week-period.
After mind-body exercises, patient cortisol levels in the blood rose 67 percent and PTSD checklist scores decreased by 41 percent, indicating the individuals were displaying fewer PTSD symptoms. In comparison, patients who did not do mind-body exercises had a nearly 4 percent decline in checklist scores and a 17 percent increase in blood cortisol levels during the same period.
“Participants in the mind-body intervention reported that not only did the mind-body exercises reduce the impact of stress on their daily lives, but they also slept better, felt calmer and were motivated to resume hobbies and other enjoyable activities they had dropped,” Kim said. “This is a promising PTSD intervention worthy of further study to determine its long-term effects.”

Two other Don White articles, one each about mental rehab for pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, and one about making some mechanical adjustments for slumping Luke

Hellickson article:

Luke Scott article:

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