Thursday, April 3, 2014

ULM Hires Who?! Todd Walker Joins us in the Studio!

Player of the Day: Texas Ranger rookie, Seth Rosin.

Baseball-ers from East Texas:
Drew Stubbs 0-1 last night, Will Middlebrooks 0-4, Chris Davis 0-3. They've yet to have a hit this season. Yeeeeeesh.

Dr. TV: I've been reading some articles from some Western Pennsylvania newspapers and apparently the guy who is going to ULM suspended some players at his previous University and the players and parents complained, yada yada yada. Anyways, as a ULM grad, I'm pleased.
Fletch: Uhhhhhhh. TV. You're pleased?
Dr. TV: Shouldn't I be?
Fletch: Don't you think there is someone out there a little better? A little younger?
Dr. TV: I like old guys!
Fletch: Me too. If they didn't hire old guys, then you and I would be in a sticky situation.

Marquette's Women's Basketball:
Dr. TV: How long was the young Summitt boy coaching there?
Fletch: For two years I believe.
Dr. TV: How many NCAA appearances did they have in those two years?
Fletch: .....I don't believe they were in any. This past year, Marquette finished 22-11.
Dr. TV: Well that's not bad.

Rumor going around at LA Tech:
Karl Malone was so upset that LA Tech fired Teresa Weatherspoon, the rumor was he called ULM and said "if you hire Weatherspoon, I'll pay her salary."
-No basis in fact, but it was too good of a juicy rumor not to share.

ABC: College baseball, some of the teams are starting to struggle because the players aren't always making it back to campus because they're getting drafted and what not. They are learning the fundamentals until later in the game.
Fletch: Thats the thing, football, you are taught the fundamentals starting around age 8. Basketball you learn the fundamentals early on, dribbling, passing, etc. To practice the fundamentals of baseball, we used to have a thing called pitch back where you would throw it and it would give you a ground ball, or maybe a pop fly. It wasn't always very trustworthy, sometimes that ground ball would be a pop fly over towards the neighbors house and sometimes that pop fly would break their window. And sometimes you have to give away the pitch-back because it breaks windows.
ABC: I think recently why coaches have been getting fired in college baseball is because on the coast baseball is the focus but here in the south, the focus is football.

Todd Walker joins us in the studio!

Fletch: How's everything going man?
Todd Walker: It's good!
Fletch: How's baseball season going?
TW: Not so good, man! Not so good! It takes a lot of extra on-your-own work and if you don't do that then you're just playing a regular baseball game and the kids will only have memories of playing in a regular high school baseball game. You just keep working. I allow them to make a lot of decisions on their own and leave them alone for a long time. They don't understand that I'm watching. If I leave, I see the players who leave after me which is fine, but then I see the ones who stay and who are really working for it.

TW: That's the key, is to get after it. We have about 2 hours on the field every day. It takes a lot more than 10 hours a week to get good at baseball. You have to have all of your weight and power at the right part of the baseball. It takes years and years for your body to learn that and then it just becomes memory.

Fletch: Do you think the fundamentals are being taught well in baseball right now?
TW: We try to. Where to throw the ball, how to hit. They don't listen. I say "they" but I have some that listen, I just mean in general. It's tough to be a high school kid these days. I understand that it's very difficult, they have 1,000 different things going on in their lives, it's okay, I've just had to adapt. There are certain fundamentals about life, you don't quit at life when it gets tough. We're making commitments now to teach Level 1 or Level 2 baseball. Last year we were teaching Level 4 and Level 5.

G$: Todd I have two questions for you. I love the fact that you bring us personal information from your baseball team, but have you had anyone from your team say anything to you about talking about your team like that?
TW: Good question and yes. "Why are you saying my kid isn't going to be a D1 player?" Because he's not good enough? If I don't tell parents the truth then I'm just getting their hopes up. Last year I called a few colleges for kids and I truly believed that with their work ethic, talent, and attitude, they had a real shot. This year's team we have a bunch of great kids, but if you have to sit a kid down and tell them you're sitting them out the rest of the season to play another guy, they think you hate them. I don't hate you I truly like you! But if we don't have a good season, they're going to find someone else for my job and I have to play whoever is going to give us our best shot at winning.

G$: Second question. I grew up here in Bossier City with a young lady and son who went through TeeBall. I played against a lot of guys who were coaching that were starting from the very beginning were coaching wrong because they wanted to see their kids hit the ball in the air.
TW: We get a lot of kids that haven't been taught in the right way. They just don't know. I call it "cramming for the test." You can't cram for a test when it comes to baseball. I joke with another coach who is a hitting coach and his team is only hitting 220. I said "Come on Ron! You're a hitting coach!" He always has a good response and says "I'm a hitting coach, but I'm not Harry Potter!"

Graph: I sense Todd's frustration as a former player myself and coaching. Kids today, they don't understand the level of commitment that is required for the next level. They don't understand you can't just go to practice and go home. You have to take extra swings and extra laps.
TW: You nailed it. I've got a couple that actually bring their kid up to the cage and practice religiously and that is what is takes.