Sunday, June 28, 2009

HGRA All Stars 2009 - Red Team pictures

From our team at noon we had Wylie, Ben, and Tim on the Red team (colors got switched!).

They all did well, but Wylie in particular pitched very well. His last inning was a quick 3 up and 3 down!

We have a few pictures, including a team picture. Click below for the album.

HGRA Share

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bees 8, the other team 9, All Start Game info, Practice next week, end-season party tentatively July 30.

We looked good at our last game. Good hitting, some nice catches, and very good pitching. I really appreciate Ben Taylor stepping up; he’d been reluctant to pitch until now. With Ben, John, Lucas, Wiley, Aidan and Tim all pitching we’ve got people to go to and we can manage away times.

We were playing a very strong team, and they really didn’t expect any problems. We surprised them! It really could have gone either way.

This Sunday is the All Star game at Highland Senior Softball field. I’ve published the roster.

Commissioner Dennis wrote:

HGRA Baseball's 9th annual All Star Event is scheduled for Sunday, June 28.  We play two games - one at 12:30 and one at 3:00…

If you are on the Red or the Blue team on the roster, you play at 12:30 and should plan to arrive at our regular Highland Senior Softball field no later than 12:00

If you are on the Purple or Gold team, you play at 3:00 and should plan to arrive no later than 2:30.

More detailed instructions on what to wear, etc. have been mailed to your home - basically, wear your regular uniform pants, socks and cap, and the all star jersey we will give you can either be worn over or instead of your regular shirt.

Please note that these rosters are final and cannot be altered.

As always, there will be contests and games between innings for siblings and family members, and prizes this year include tickets to the Saints game on July 11, so please try to make this a family event.  Unfortunately, we are unable to provide concessions this year.

Let us know ASAP if you have any questions, or if your plans have changed.  Otherwise, we will see you on Sunday for this always entertaining and exciting event!

I’m helping with the 12:30 pm Blue team including Wiley, Tim and Ben. Marty is helping with the Purple Team with Collin, Lucas and David.

Be sure to bring fluids and shade!

Coach John will be at practice this Tuesday (yay). Marty is going to be teaching a unit on player positions. Our players are ready now to start thinking about what they ought to do when the ball is hit – including what to do when it’s NOT hit to them.


We’re getting to the end of the season; we wrap up on July 25th! We’ve tentatively scheduled a team party on July 30th from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. John is still checking with Paul and Marty on availability July 21 from 7pm to 8:30 at Aldine field.

At the end of season party Coaches will bring treats. We’ll have a Parents vs. Bees scrimmage so you might want to start practicing now.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Commissioner chirping

Commissioner Dennis "tweeting" from

I've added the feed to the lower left of this page. You can follow from twitter or add a feed to any feed reader (ex. Google Reader, OS X, Outlook 2007, Safari, Firefox etc) using:

(I think you can add it to a Facebook page too, but I haven't done that myself.)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Grand Slam outing: what we learned, Parent-Player game

I was very pleased with how the Bees Grand Slam outing went. We had Tim, Oscar, Wiley, Aaron and David turn out, pretty good given vacations and the weekend day.

Everyone improved significantly after about 2-3 tokens ($5 for 3). Most were getting a bit sore or tired after 6-9 tokens, so $10 to $15 is a good amount to budget per batter. If possible bring a familiar bat, though they had a good range of bat weights and sizes.

It's a great way to learn foot position, bat size/weight, and especially standing distance from the plate. I also recommend it for all parents. I learned I had to stand much further from the plate than I'd imagined, and that it's easy at these speeds to swing too soon. I think some of our players are too close to the plate.

We focused on not pulling or falling backwards, on hip rotation, on a steady bat and hand position. I learned that for this kind of practice batting gloves are a big help and wooden bats are much easier on the hands. When I practiced I even used a heavy softball bat to give my hands a rest.

There are two speeds that are relevant to us, either 30 or 45 mph. (55 mph is too fast for most). In our league most pitchers are closer to 30, it's rare to have someone throwing above 40 mph. We used the slowest speed 30 mph to work on form, and the higher speed after a player is doing well at 30 mph. Unfortunately the height adjustment on the 45 mph ball was a bit high for shorter players.

For our next practice I want to work with selected players on soft toss drills that isolate the hips and help players who tend to fall back from the ball. Please note too that on the left of this page there's a link to the St. Paul city batting cages.

We also discussed the annual Parent - Player game. There' s a proposal to hold it on the first Thursday after the season end at 7 pm. We'd need to reserve a field. Please send thoughts to

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bees 10, Buckeyes 7

We and the Buckeyes have now each one a single game. They are our natural rivals; we are evenly matched and both teams have a competitive but friendly attitude.

It was an exhausting game to coach! We were even, then ahead, then we fell several runs behind, then we caught up and pulled ahead in the 5th inning. It was very tough on pitchers for both teams. John pitched marvelously and Lucas did a great job finishing the last inning. A very big thank you to Wiley and Tim for filling in at pitching.

In addition to taking on a big pitching challenge Wiley drove in the winning runs with a near Grand Slam in the 5th inning. What a hit. He also had a great catch early in the game, so it was a bit of a Wiley fest.

A number of our players did very well. Tim caught for 3 innings and Collin for two -- very tiring positions but neither complained. Tim pitched a strong 1st inning but had a sore arm in the 2nd. David Shanahan had a great hit, and Oscar and Lucas did well at bat and in the field. All our players did really well. I was particularly glad to see everyone taking good swings at the ball.

A special thanks to Luke Shanahan for recording our outs and score.

Max Celandar is heading away for the rest of the summer. He was to play tonight but fell ill at the last moment. We'll miss him, I wish he could have been there for our win. Ben is away at camp but will return next week. Will and Sophie were also absent.

A number of players arrived late today and two players were missing without notice. These are tough times for a lot of families -- people are either working two jobs or are looking for work. There's also a fair bit of illness going around. Even so we do need to find ways to work on the late arrivals and the unannounced absences. It's not fair to the players who show up, it's not fair to the other team, and it's kind of hard on the coaches too.

Saturday is our outing to Grand Slam. Coach Marty can't make it and I think Paul will be away, so Coach John will be solo. I'm not going to be watching or supervising anyone but my own son, so please do come along with your player. I will be at the batting cages working with the player at bat, but I can only watch one at a time. As noted previously everyone has to buy their own batting cage tokens, lunch, etc. It is a fun spot so I hope to see some Bees on Saturday am.

I will be away for next Tues practice (business travel) but Marty will be there and we expect Coach Paul to be back. We really appreciate parents who come and help out.

Grand Slam outing for HGRA Bees (not official)

Our optional and unofficial Grand Slam outing is Sat June 20th to Grand Slam Burnsville:

There’s no car pool and each player has to have their own money including lunch money. Each player needs a responsible adult – the coaches are there to have fun and give batting tips. Coaches will hang out by the batting cages.

Coach John and Marty will be there around 10:30 am on Saturday.

Here’s the calendar entry: Calendar entry: Grand Slam outing for HGRA Bees (not official).

Hope to see some Bees!

Bees All Stars

Here's the list of Bees All Stars ....
Collin Marrone
Ben Taylor
Wiley Roemer
Tim Faughnan
David Shanahan

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Practice called due to weather

It's too wet and unpredictable tonight, especially with storms moving in

Sunday, June 14, 2009

All Star game - please email me your status

We need to fill our our All Star Game roster this week. I've added a column to our usual player roster listing who's attending the Game and who can't make it and who's (according to the HGRA) isn't eligible.

Players are randomly assigned to teams and coaches and play at either 12:30 or 3:30. The games are a lot of fun!

Please check the player roster and, if you see a ? in the column please let me know. I'd like to get this to the Commissioner by Wed.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Seven players absent - but we still played (swine flu?)

We had seven players absent and we were up against one of the better teams -- but we still played and did our best.

Our pitchers did well, but we were missing some of better fielders and hitters. I won't bother repeating the score!

Oscar has an injured knee and Will had a conflict. Wylie, Ben, Jimmy, Aaron, Aidan are all out with fever. One player is now being treated for Swine Flu, so it's something to ask about if fever, sore muscles and cough persist. H1N1 (swine) flu is fairly common in Minnesota but it's not a severe flu (though it's not fun to have any influenza). The MN Dept of Health has a very good set of recommendations that everyone should at least review.

For our next practice we'll continue to develop our pitchers and hitting and we're going to target our outfielders for special drills. We're getting special pitching coaches to come in and work with our pitchers.

Saturday June 20th is our unofficial trip to Grand Slam. Please review the All Star Game  information and let us know if your player can attend.

Thank you to all the people who notified us of absences today. Of all the coaches I'm best able to check email during the day so please always copy Everyone did send a notice, though the volume was so high I missed Aidan's illness notice!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Thur Jun 11 game, All Star Game, unofficial outing to Grand Slam 6/20

The rotation is up for Thur game vs. the Bandits at Highland Senior High field. It’s likely to change. At this time we don’t know of any absences, but Oscar hurt his knee and could miss. If everyone shows we have 15 players, so there’s lots of bench time to distribute. Catchers spend less time on the bench; thanks Wylie for helping catch. All else being equal players who miss practice without advanced notice will also pick up some extra bench time but I do try to distribute it evenly.

Note our batting order is relatively fixed.

Today Lucas, Jimmy and William missed practice. If anyone will miss the game Thursday please email john at or phone 651-336-5548. Lucas is bringing treats on Thursday.

We’re doing well with hitting, so this practice we focused on fielding and pitching. We currently have two regular pitchers (John and Tim) and 3-5 others who are willing to step up when called. Max is keen to give it a go. Pitching is tough, we sure appreciate those who take the mound for the team. We hope to develop some more regular pitchers so that if someone’s having a bad day we can move things around. Pitching clinic is Monday and we appreciate those who have attended. We have asked Commissioner Dennis to send us one of his pitching coaches for next practice.

The All Star game is scheduled for Sunday June 28th, all payers born before [removed date, it's wrong] are eligible. There’s usually a 12:30 and a 3:00 game, players are assigned to teams at random and are notified of their team a week or so ahead. Dennis must receive confirmation by June 19th. We’ve handed information sheets to the players.

For the Bees we have Collin, Tim, Lucas, Jimmy, David, Ben, Wiley and Oscar as eligible.

On June 20th we’re going to do an unofficial pay-your-own-way team outing to Grand Slam in Burnsville. Players are invited to wear their team jerseys. This isn’t official HGRA, it’s just for fun. We will have coaches at the batting cages. We’ll see if Coach Marty can hit the high speed pitches!


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Bees v. Mustangs

The rotation for tomorrow's game is online. We expect to have 14 players. Max Celander is away but Aaron is off the disabled list.

We've done well our past two games, so we'll take it one inning at a time and enjoy ourselves.

We're at Riverside Park 1, see the official web site for directions. It's the park near 7th and Lexington.

Asher will bring the treats tomorrow -- thanks Asher!

Expo school is having their end-of-year "fun run" starting at 5:30 tomorrow -- later than past years. Coach John and Tim will aim to be at the game for 6:10 pm.