Baseball Practice in Gintaras Stadijona

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May 30th 2007
Published: May 30th 2007
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It is clear that we are a battered team at this moment, only two days into the Lithuanian Championship.

I strained a muscle in my right shoulder sliding back into first on Saturday; right now I am wearing a brace and the doctor has told me to not play for at least one week. I was at practice, though throwing and running a bit.

Marijus Dargus was back at practice even though he is recovering from knee surgery and cannot do anything more than walk. He apparently called Sigitas immediately after he heard about our devastating 22-5 loss saying that he would be ready to pitch the following week. He was out at practice on monday (it was the 13-15 year old practice, not even our team) throwing to hitters.

We learned that over the weekend someone had uprooted half of the poles in the ground in center field where we had been rebuilding the batting cage since it had been destroyed during the offseason (because of, again, people stealing the poles). This time the poles were not stolen (not all, atleast), instead they were carefully placed at either end of the field to serve as goal-posts for a pick-up soccer game that took place over the weekend. I should mention that the poles being used to rebuild the batting cage are from the rusted railing that encircles the whole field. Shakilas and Mantas have been coming early to practices, breaking down the pole segments, and resituating them in the batting cage. Needless to say it was demoralizing for them to come to practice to find that, once again, someone had come and erased all their hard work.

So practice and baseball in Kaunas rolls on. We began practice with a jog around the field, and an easy stretch. Then we did some throwing to warm up our arms.

It was a big day today; Sigitas decided that because of our desperate situation with baseballs (about 10 left with the cover on, and another ten that are either rubber or with no cover) he would bring out a new box of a dozen balls today. This more than doubled the number of baseballs in circulation at practice.

After throwing, we pulled out the fishing net from the storage space under the bleechers and flung it over the goalposts at one end of the field to serve as a backstop. We pulled out the L-screen and placed it at that end of the field, then took the second screen and positioned it in front of the pitcher’s mound at the other end of the field. Then we brought out the Jugs pitching machine, Lituanica’s big investment for this year. In fact the Jugs machine is very expensive, in fact on the Jugs website it sells for $2,195. That is a lot of money, and a large portion of the Kaunas Lituanica budget.

And as much as I believe that live batting practice is the most effective and that pitching machines are not worth their price, it is possible that this is a wise investment for the team. There is always problems with who will throw batting practice, will they pitch well, can they throw hard enough for it to be good practice…..this takes out all of those variables.

So at one end of the field pitchers were throwing their bullpens to hitters, working on game situations, full atbats, different counts, etc. And at the other end hitters hit off the pitching machine. This is in fact the most efficient way to get as many swings in as possible, given the fact that we have no pitching machine. But it creates sort of a circus environment with balls coming from both directions, flying everywhere, and only a handful of guys in the field to shag the balls. What is more, there are no fences or backstops and the shrubs around the field are totally out of control, which means that usually half of the guys are busy looking for balls in the bushes. It is hard to appreciate the absurdity (I use this word with love) of the situation at Gintaras Stadijona without being there.

You will have to come and visit and see for yourself. 😊


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