NAIA World Series coming soon

04/28/2011 4:33 AM - Devo
NAIA 2011 Word Series.jpgMay 27 marks the 55th Annual Avista-NAIA World Series. 

Many are more enthralled with the Road to Omaha and the enduring history that surrounds it, but there is tremendous history and excitement in the NAIA brand of baseball. 

How rich is their history?  

The World Series has been held every year since 1955 and this year’s host Lewiston has the honour of hosting for the 20th time.  Crowds of over 700,000 have witnessed games in Lewiston. 

With the latest ratings just released, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Fla.) tops the list with 43 wins and 17 first place votes. Oklahoma City University, California Baptist University, Lee University (Tenn.), and Cumberland University (Tenn.) round out the top five. 

Those names should sound very familiar as all but California Baptist have been mainstays in the World Series finals since 2002. 

Will that streak continue this year?  More than likely as history usually repeats itself. 

Cumberland University might possibly hold the key to this championship.  Aaron Wilkerson is having one of the most dominant college seasons I have ever seen. 

A little background first. In 2010 Wilkerson went 14-1 in over 100 innings. He struck out 125 batters and held the opposition to a .210 average, good enough for second team All-American. (his counterpart on the staff Aaron Schaefer, received first team after going 14-0). Wilkerson also pitched a complete game in the championship, giving Cumberland its first title since 2004. 

If that wasn’t good enough, how’s this for an encore. 

This season Wilkerson has gone 10-0, has an ERA of 0.73 and has limited the opposition to six earned runs and a .148 batting average. WOW. 

With a 39-12 record heading in to the final weeks of the regular season Cumberland is a little behind last years 58-9 record. Embry-Riddle, Now sitting atop of the mountain, has really improved and has nearly surpassed their 47 win total from last year. 

May 27 will mark the date of some great baseball that, if those are unfamiliar with, should definitely take in if you have the opportunity.

Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective

Devon is an author for the Business of Sports Network, which includes the Biz of Baseball, the Biz of Football, the Biz of Basketball and the Biz of Hockey.  He is also a contributor to the Canadian Baseball Network.  Devon is a Demand Media Studios writer, featured writer on Examiner.com , member of the Yarbarker Network, contributor to FullCountPitch Magazine and is an Associate member of The Professional Writers Association of Canada.

Devon is a former professional baseball player with the
River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies, and is now an independent scout.

He has continued to further his knowledge by completing Sports Management Worldwide's Baseball General Manager Class and interning with The Football Outsiders.

Currently, Devon is a Branch Manager at a financial institution in Southern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com

You can follow The GM's Perspective on Twitter and facebook

 

Devon’s Development Insider #3 – The how-to of choosing the right school

04/25/2011 4:46 AM - Devo

TeepleDelivers.jpg.w300h328.jpgAs with most aspiring college bound athletes, the Florida State’s, Miami’s and Florida’s of the world are really out of the realm of the normal everyday Joe. 

My last “Insider” was sort of a step by step process on how go about “marketing yourself” so that the schools find you. 

But how does one know which school is the right choice? 

Let’s assume you were in the same position I was; some talent, but small in stature with a mediocre fastball, a decent change-up and a curveball that some said was good?! 

The dream of big-time college baseball was great except you have to be realistic about your abilities, your goals and what type of school you will be attending. 

Your options are as follows; 

Your talent doesn’t necessarily determine what Division or Association you play for as there are top tier teams in each. 

For example, I played at York College in the Midland Collegiate Athletic Conference.  We were an NAIA school in the same division as Bellevue University and Kansas Newman University, two perennial top 25 teams in the nation. 

The competition is out there is elite and four years at a school that is not televised on NBC or ESPN is not the worst thing in the world as evidenced by the numerous professionals produced by the Bruins. 

For what its worth, here are some notable NAIA alumni that might raise some eyebrows; 

·         Tommi Agee

·         Luke Appling

·         Paul Assenmacher

·         Tim Belcher

·         Marvin Bernard

·         Vida Blue

·         Lou Brock

·         Kiki Calero

·         Jeff Francis

·         Keith Foulke

·         Tommy John

·         Ray King

·         Jerry Koosman

·         Gene Lamont

·         Jason LaRue

·         Dave Lopes

·         Hal McRae

·         Joe Niekro

·         Phil Niekro

·         Gaylord Perry

·         Lou Pinella

·         Mark Portugal

·         Dan Quisenberry·      

·         Rick Reuschel

·         J.C. Romero

·         Mike Timlin

·         Randy Velarde

·         Pete Vukovich

·         Lloyd Waner

·         Bob Wickman

·         Tony Womack

 

If you have talent, the scouts can and will find you, and there is nothing wrong with attending a smaller school where you can start for four years without red shirting. Instead of riding the pine and trying to impress in only two years on the field as a junior, take your lumps and become a stronger person. 

My first two years I literally took a beating on the mound. 

York College was a rebuilding program that allowed me the opportunity to start as an 18 year-old. With that comes a process where losing becomes the norm. 

Year three is where progress is made and the team begins to function as one, winning follows, statistics improve and accolades are rewarded in return. Before you know it, that dream of playing professionally doesn’t seem so far off. 

Click on the picture to view my personal progression while attending York College between 1998 and 2001.

DEVO STATS CLEAN.png

Remember, the game is played the same wherever you go. And, if using myself as an example, I didn’t have all the ability but had the heart and hustle to try and outwork those better than me. 

Feel free to send me your comments @ devon@thegmsperspective.com.  I would love to hear the stories of others who have been through this journey or those about to start their own.

Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective

Devon is an author for the Business of Sports Network, which includes the Biz of Baseball, the Biz of Football, the Biz of Basketball and the Biz of Hockey.  He is also a contributor to the Canadian Baseball Network.  Devon is a Demand Media Studios writer, featured writer on Examiner.com , member of the Yarbarker Network, contributor to FullCountPitch Magazine and is an Associate member of The Professional Writers Association of Canada.

Devon is a former professional baseball player with the
River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies

He has continued to further his knowledge by completing Sports Management Worldwide's Baseball General Manager Class and interning with The Football Outsiders.

Currently, Devon is a Branch Manager at a financial institution in Southern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com

You can follow The GM's Perspective on Twitter and facebook

 

 

Early thoughts on the 2011 Toronto Blue Jays

04/21/2011 8:21 PM - Devo

Toronto Blue Jays 2011.jpgAfter the first week with the Rays and Sox virtually going winless, it was an ideal time for the Toronto Blue Jays to take advantage of the oppositions hiccups and ride this wave for as long as possible. 

But as we have seen for the past couple seasons, there is something lacking with this crew, at least for now. 

I have proudly put on my foam finger and stated the Jays are in an ideal position to take advantage of the AL Wild Card. Instead of sitting atop the division, Toronto is now trailing New York and unbelievably the Tampa Bay Rays who started 1-8. 

Minus Jose Bautista, who has been playing as advertised and Yunel Escobar who seems very comfortable in his new skin, the rest of the line-up is slowly showing its holes. 

The three big bats hoping to have breakout years; Adam Lind, Aaron Hill, Travis Snider are hitting a combined .216. Any thoughts of contention are in their hands. If they, especially Lind and Hill, have anywhere near the disastrous season that was 2010, it will be a pretty rough year for the boys in TO. 

Pitching on the other hand has and is the Jays strong point, except there have been a few minor road blocks after 18 games. 

Brett Cecil, who led the team in wins with 15 last season, has been demoted to AAA to try to regain his fastball and ability to throw strikes. Jesse Litsch coming off of Tommy John Surgery was sent down to Vegas. Despite having relatively better numbers than Jo-Jo Reyes, Litsch still had options remaining allowing Francisco to be activated from the DL. 

Ricky Romero and his crew have been able to keep the team in the majority of games while the hitters are spinning their wheels for the time being. 

Kudos goes out to Kyle Drabek and Casey Janssen. 

Drabek has really taken to his role. Struggles are certain as a rookie, but if he can continue to work through his control issues and let the hitters get themselves out (he really has dominant stuff), Romero could be looking at the next No.1 

Janssen has been his reliable self. This guy continues to get outs whenever he is called upon and in whatever situation presents itself.  A 0.00 ERA proves that.  He deserves to be up for the rest of the year.   

If I were to grade; Low C only because 8-10 is not acceptable with so much on the line. Here’s to writing off April, and for the month of May to reveal their true grit. 

Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective

Devon is an author for the Business of Sports Network, which includes the Biz of Baseball, the Biz of Football, the Biz of Basketball and the Biz of Hockey.  He is also a contributor to the Canadian Baseball Network.  Devon is a Demand Media Studios writer, featured writer on Examiner.com , member of the Yarbarker Network, contributor to FullCountPitch Magazine and is an Associate member of The Professional Writers Association of Canada.

Devon is a former professional baseball player with the
River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies

He has continued to further his knowledge by completing Sports Management Worldwide's Baseball General Manager Class and interning with The Football Outsiders.

Currently, Devon is a Branch Manager at a financial institution in Southern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com

You can follow The GM's Perspective on Twitter and facebook

Who is the greatest pitcher to ever take the mound for the Toronto Blue Jays?

04/18/2011 4:38 AM - Devo

Dave Stieb2.jpgWhen it comes to determining the greatest starting pitcher in a franchise’s history, where do you even start? 

Considering the Toronto Blue Jays have been in existence since 1977, 277 pitchers have taken the mound with 147 of them being starters. 

Everyone has their opinions as to who was better; who had the most wins, who started the most games, who contributed the most to a franchise’s success. 

In this instance instead of throwing out names like Roy Halladay, Dave Stieb, Roger Clemens and Pat Hentgen, one would have to breakdown the list by games started, at least 60 plus games. 

For the sake of argument that number can be broken down even further to the top ten leaders in victory. 

Of course when it comes to determining the best ever, the same names surface each and every conversation; 

Dave Stieb, Roy Halladay, Jim Clancy, Jimmy Key, Pat Hentgen, David Wells, and Juan Guzman 

Clancy, Hentgen, Wells and Guzman were good in their own right, but upper echelon of Jays’ greats, I don’t think so.  A career ERA relative to this discussion ranges from 4.07 to 4.28, highly uncharacteristic to be named best of all-time. 

Clemens on the other hand had a superb stint while in Toronto, culminating in two Cy Young awards and 41 wins in 67 starts.  Perhaps the two best seasons ever, I’ll give him that. 

That leaves Stieb, Halladay and Key to battle it out for Canadian supremacy. 

Jimmy Key ranks fourth in victories with 116 leaving him trailing Doc by 32, but Key never received the spotlight he should’ve in my eyes. Rarely breaking 90, Key was a magician at hitting his spots and a model of consistency for the Jays through their peak years in the late 80’s and early 90’s. 

What can you say about Mr. Halladay, this beast of a pitcher.  If Doc didn’t struggle through those early years, he could quite possibly hold the team lead in victories.  With that being said, Halladay was the go-to-guy in Toronto between 2002 and 2009. Six All-Star appearances and a Cy Young in 2003 have solidified this gunslinger’s spot in history. The scary thing, he may be even better now. Unbelievable considering what fans have witnessed in Toronto. 

Stieb will always be remembered for the guy who battled every single time he took the mound.  Every appearance was filled with glaring stares to teammates who committed and error.  Strikeouts were most certainly graced by the presence of one of the nastiest sliders, that when thrown, danced threw the zone at nearly unhittable angles. Combine that with five one-hitters (three lost on the last out) and one no-hitter, the most wins in club history (175) and tied for second with a 3.42 ERA, leaves him as the most prolific pitcher Toronto has ever had. 

When considering all the attributes that go into putting something like this together, you cannot base your arguments strictly on face value.  You undoubtedly need to dig deeper and break things down to support your argument. 

In the end, Dave Stieb will go down as the greatest Jay to toe the rubber.  I tip my cap to the man who made watching those games on CTV something I will never forget. 

Find below several interesting numbers, some that will make you think twice. Click on the image to enlarge it.

ALLTIME BLUE JAYS PITCHERS.jpg

Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective

Devon is an author for the Business of Sports Network, which includes the Biz of Baseball, the Biz of Football, the Biz of Basketball and the Biz of Hockey.  He is also a contributor to the Canadian Baseball Network.  Devon is a Demand Media Studios writer, featured writer on Examiner.com , member of the Yarbarker Network, contributor to FullCountPitch Magazine and is an Associate member of The Professional Writers Association of Canada.

Devon is a former professional baseball player with the
River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies

He has continued to further his knowledge by completing Sports Management Worldwide's Baseball General Manager Class and interning with The Football Outsiders.

Currently, Devon is a Branch Manager at a financial institution in Southern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com

You can follow The GM's Perspective on Twitter and facebook


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