A baseball game with a twist, Diamond Series, and decades of Marcelinos

04
Aug

Liam Carroll

A few weeks ago I played in an important baseball game.  First one since last year and a very similar event.  In 2010 I joined a baseball team for a game against a team of softball players.  They won.  I wasn't happy.  This year both teams were better, especially on the baseball side.  I pitched, we won, I felt redeemed.  It was a great night.  We played six innings on a Friday night in Finsbury Park with a bunch of people out to watch and enjoying a drink or two.  The baseball players were happy to get another chance to play and the softballers enjoyed giving it a go having perhaps not done so since their school or uni days. I hope we're able to do another one this year.  There's actually enough people on the softball side keen to either try baseball for the first time or re-live the glory days that we'll probably be able to arrange a game just between them.  It was great to see the baseball and softball communities interacting. 

It was also great to pitch.  Other than three innings in the game last year, this summer has been the first time I've done it.  Well, but for when I was 15 when Vince Garcia rolled me out for an inning from hell in a pre-season game for the Bracknell Blazers.  To paraphrase Crash from Bull Durham, I couldn't hit water if I fell out of a boat.  Let's just say my arm played out a bit better in the middle infield.  From a playing standpoint I really enjoyed pitching.  It's a mental grind and if you can't let go of the previous pitch you're doomed.  From a coaching standpoint (which is perhaps more important given that yet again I didn't get popped in the MLB Amateur Draft) I'm even more glad that I've spent some time on the bump this summer.  It's much easier and more effective to coach something that you've done.  It's not essential in order to be a good coach but for me and my style I think I'm a better coach if I've done something I'm teaching, even if I'm not especially good at it.  I recommend to anyone that coaches to at least try doing what it is you're trying to coach.  Generally coaches are strongest at teaching the position they played.  Make yourself a better coach and provide a better experience for your players by turning your biggest weakness into your biggest strength.  Pitching, both doing it and coaching it, has become a lot of fun for me.

I suppose that next year I'm going to have to put the catcher's gear on and get behind the plate, the one position on the field I've never spent time playing.  That said, we've got Will Lintern to coach catchers which is fine by me.  I've been around some great catchers and catching coaches, here and in the states, including guys that are playing for money or coaching collegiate and professional ball.  Will is as good as those guys and like the best coaches do, copies and steals everything and is a sponge for new information.  We should be excited about some of the people coaching in our country; there is a lot of knowledge and teaching ability involved in the BSUK Academy, the national teams programme and at clubs around the country. 

I played in the Diamond Series third and final softball tournament last weekend.  A fun experience, very different from the baseball that I'm more used to, playing with some good friends.  150 entrants over three weekends, so those guys are obviously doing something right.  I'll be interested to see how competition structures for softball tournaments in general change over the next couple of years.  There's lots of chat about the different grades, potential for promotion and relegation, more opportunities at D-Grade and so on.  I've thought about it only a little bit because I just play softball to hang out with my mates.  Winning is cool and competing is a lot of fun but I just want to have as much fun as possible playing at a level suitable for my team and get good value for money.  For others it's definitely more competitive than that, so it's important that structures are available to the super-serious softball player and the recreational player.  It's obviously going to be difficult because there are very serious novice players and very accomplished recreational players and it never works out that everyone is happy.  At the least it should be democratic if there are major shifts in structure.  For me, win or lose I just want to play and hope the last game scheduled for my team isn't forfeited like it has been during the last two tournaments I've played in; that's not been a fun way to end a weekend. 

The most exciting thing for me this week will be seeing Oscar and Bradley Marcelino.  Between the two of them they've represented Great Britain in four decades...a true British baseball legacy.  Perhaps Joe Gray can tell us how many European Championships the Marcelinos have played in?Brad has just returned from Israel with the national team having won their way back into the European Championship.  Oscar is about the best hitting coach I've been around and I've not seen him since the 2003 European Championship. 

We're going to hit and talk some story, and it doesn't get much better than that.

tagged under: baseball, softball, team

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Comments

05
Aug

Chuck Hazzard 17:38

I had you on the gun at 72-4.  Breaking ball had good 12-6 action but that was more gravity than your arm speed!

Hope your doing good amigo!

-Hazz





About Liam Carroll

Liam Carroll

Liam was a Regional Coach and then Development Coordinator for BaseballSoftballUK until May 2014. He returned to his hometown of London to work for BSUK in 2010 after stops in Somerset, Bristol, Cornwall, California and Nevada. Growing up playing in Britain, Liam made the move to America to study and play university baseball. After figuring out that his future would be brighter as a coach rather than player, he moved to the University of Nevada Las Vegas to finish his degree and coach college baseball. Since then he’s coached youth and adult teams on both sides of the atlantic and with the Great Britain Baseball National Teams.

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