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The Renegades have athletes with a story and Inspiration!

The Renegades have athletes with a story and Inspiration!  Watching a beep baseball game you will be amazed at what you can see.  You will see a high level of competitive spirit.  You will see athletes running top speed and swinging for the fences.  You will also see defensive players throwing their bodies on the ground trying to make a key defensive stop.  You will see coaches creating strategy and helping players improve their game.  It is just an impressive sport to watch.  It is inspiring!

Then you look closer and see these athletes are all wearing blindfolds and many of them can’t see at all.  Now the game is even more impressive.  The level of trust they have in each other to fly around at top speed not knowing what is in front of them.  How amazing their hearing must be to track a ball rolling on a huge field or hear a base buzzing in tough windy conditions.  It is inspiring!

It’s impressive and it’s fun to watch.  But there is so much you don’t see that makes the Boston Renegades and so many of the other teams in this league even more impressive.  First, let’s start with coaching.  Most coaches teach by showing someone.  “Watch me and do what I do”. That is often how most sports are coached at the start.  How do you teach someone to hit a ball that has never seen a swing before?  Creativity, verbal communication, the sense of touch all become critical to the success of a coaching staff.  Often times what we see, is not what the players hear.  That perception alone can lead to some interesting coaching moments!

Go a tad further and you begin to realize, the Renegades have been at this since 2002.  It took years to learn how to coach this sport effectively and we are still learning every day.  The coaches of the Renegades have made a huge difference in these players skills.  However, this is not the most impressive thing about the sport either.

The most impressive thing that sets this sport apart from even the highest levels of sport is the stories.  Each and every player in this league has a story.  They do not represent the average blind person.  Not even close.  Many people who lose their sight would have no desire to have a ball hit at them or run full speed into a buzzing base.  Many of them actually lose a desire to even stay in shape.  A beep baseball player has normally overcome so much more than most other athletes.  They have overcome so many obstacles to even play the sport.  They are truly inspirational and many of them would make amazing mentors at how to overcome adversity.

Since 2002, roughly 50 players have tried to play in a game for the Renegades.  Each and everyone of them is unique and has a story to tell.  For brevity, let’s talk about a few of the current Renegades and what they have accomplished on and off the field and what makes them truly an inspirational athlete:

Joe Quintanilla

Joe Q crashes into a base in 2005

On the field – Joe has played in more games (181) than any other Renegade in team history.  He is the only Renegade in team history to play at least one game in every season the team has existed.  With age, he has moved from the lead-off hitter in 2003 to more of a role player in 2016.  However, he has never let a big moment scare him.  He delivered big time in the 2016 world series coming off the bench for his injured teammate and coming up with two giant hits at the end of the game to help us get into extra innings and eventually win.  This 2 run performance sent us to the championship game for the first time in team history.

In 2013, Joe Q sports his uniform from the 1996 Paraolympics

Inspiration– Joe lost his sight as a kid and he never let that stop him.  At that time, he would never play ball like his idol, Jim Rice.  Instead, he took to running.  He became a huge part of his high school running program.  He even ran competitively in college.  He was so good at distance running that he made the paraolympic team as a marathon runner in the Olympic games in Atlanta in 1996.  Joe is always ready to talk distance running.  He has helped his friends prepare for their first marathon and he has helped make blind runners in Boston feel special by being one of the minds behind the Blindfold challenge, a 5K race for people to run or try to run with a blindfold on.  On aril 29th, Joe will be inducted into the Cambridge Athletic Hall of fame for his feats at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School as a member of the Cross country, indoor and outdoor track teams.  For more about Q, see an article on him in the Rochester Post in 2010

Christian Thaxton

 

Thaxton races toward third base in 2015

On the field– Thaxton burst into the scene in 2015 when he joined the Renegades in Mid season.  Though he was injured the day before the world series, he still managed to hit a team record .719 in his rookie year at the world series.  He followed that up hitting .651 in the 2017 series.  Both seasons, he was named to the league all star game for offense.  Many would argue, he is the best pure hitter in the league today after only playing two seasons.  He has home run power and lights out speed.  His teammates sit on the bench quietly when he comes to the plate to watch the “show” and listen to him make the beep ball squeal like a little piggy when he sends it deep into left field.  What makes him even more valuable is his investment in his teammates and he works hard with the coaches and players to teach them how to swing with better mechanics.

Christian (middle) shows off his 2016 all star award with his pitcher, Ron Cochran and catcher, Rob Weissman

Off the field – Christian was born to play baseball.  It’s in his families blood.  He grew up a baseball stud in Oklahoma.  He even played  junior college baseball at Redwoods Community College in 2012.  That is when he found out he had a rare eye disease called Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy.  As you would imagine, hearing the news you would be legally blind would be painful.  Christian went through some very rough times.  In 2015, his healing was on the way and he decided to come to Boston.  His attitude is amazing.  He has not only learned how to live with this disease, but he has done it in a city he was not familiar with, far away from his family and support system who is still in Oklahoma.  Christian is now enrolled at Umass and is working to complete his college degree.  All of this within three years of being told he would go blind.  Truly someone who looks at the positives in life, has faith and does the right thing!

Joe McCormick

 

Joe McCormick showing his excitement after scoring a run

On the field – Joe McCormick busted on to the Renegades scene in 2012 and has become one of the best two way players in team history.  Mac was named to the league offensive all star squad in 2013 when he hit .600 at the World series.  At the time, he was only the second Renegade to ever make an offensive league all star.  In team history, Mac ranks third all-time with 158 runs scored (in just 5 years of play) and 5th in defensive stops (121).  In fact, he is just one of three players in team history to break the century mark in both categories.  He is also only one of three players with a career batting average over .500 as he ranks 2nd all-time with a .541 batting average.

Joe Mac proudly holds the Beast of the East trophy which he has helped win 4 times

Off the field – Joe began to lose his sight in his senior year of high school to Leber’s Hereditary Optical Neuropathy.  Like a hitter taking a called third strike, he quickly accepted it and never slowed down.  Instead, he just figured it out.  He was accepted to and attended Harvard University the following year and he graduated in 2014 with a degree in Computer Science.  Never letting anything slow him down he plans to wed his high school sweetheart in the spring of 2017.  For more info on Mac, check out this amazing article in the Boston Globe from 2014

 

 

Larry Haile

 

Larry Hailes tumbles over a base in Philly, 2017. He was safe!

On the field – Larry joined the team in 2006 and at that time had zero confidence in his ability to play the sport.  He had no idea how to swing a bat but he loved to run.   He did not let that bother him.  He worked and he learned.  We helped simplify his approach and the rest is history.   He is now the all time leader in Renegade history in runs scored with 233 (only player in history that has eclipsed 200) and he is 5th all-time with a career .431 Batting Average

Larry is one of 4 players who have been part of all 6 Beast of the East Championship runs!

Off the field – Larry lost his sight as a kid.  He competed in the Maryland area at track as part of the school for the blind.  But what makes Larry’s story amazing is his mobility.  Larry has a passion for public transportation.  In fact, when the team travels, he often times spends his nights taking a tour of the city in his own.  YES! On his own.  He does not let his lack of vision stop him.  He wears a gps around his neck and off he goes.  Larry has traveled the world by himself to far off places like Japan.  His knowledge of public transportation is so amazing that he helps our new players learn how to ride the train and the bus.  He even can pretty much help anyone quickly figure out how to get from point a to point b using the subway and busses with just his memory.  For more about Larry, check him out on Chronicle in 2012

 

 

Aqil Sajjad

Aqil takes a rip in 2010

On the field – Aqil had never played baseball before.  The closest he had come was playing cricket as a kid in Pakistan.  In a short time, he became a steady presence on the Renegade roster and during the first few years of his career, he led the team in games played and was one of the hardest players to strike out (he ranks as the 6th toughest player to strike out in team history at 19.7%).  Aqil is 100% self made as we have taught him everything he knows including how to run which was difficult since had never run before playing with the team.  While attending Harvard, he had a two bedroom apartment.  One of those rooms was dedicated to his beepball swing which after tens of thousands of practice swings he had crafted one of the most repeatable swings on the team.

Off the field – Aqil has no sight and has not had any since he was a teenager in Pakistan.  That has never stopped him.  In fact, in 2014, he The Renegades have a theoretical Physicist that could be on the big bang theory. Of course his "big bang" was the walk off hit he had against New Jersey last weekend! How can he do physics without his sight? He is WICKED SMAHT!graduated Harvard university with his PHD in theoretical particle physics.  That topic is hard enough for most people but Aqil had to learn how to do all of these equations without the use of sight.  He is currently working at Perkins school for the blind on a project to help blind people do math while he ponders his next scientific achievement.  for more about Aqil, check out a page we created for him with many of his articles

We need your help! Looking for volunteers to help with two events

We need your help!  We are looking for volunteers to help us with two events.  If you have a few hours to spare, we have two events where we need some help to make the event a success.

Rock Climbing fundraiser – Looking for Volunteers: Belayers needed!

Central Rock Gym is hosting this event to help us raise money to travel to Chicago and the World Series this year:

A rock climber being belayed. We are looking for volunteers to help us belay in April

When:  Saturday April 22 from 12:30-4:00

Where:  Central Rock Gym, Watertown located at 74 Acton Street, Watertown

What we are looking for: We need help to belay our climbers.  This involves holding the ropes and helping the climbers enjoy the event.  You do not need experience but must be physically able to do the job.  We have a belay class that will start at 12:30 where you will receive training.  This is free and will also help you if you ever want to climb on your own with friends.  The event begins at 1:00 for the climbers.

Sign up here:  http://tinyurl.com/volunteering-for-rock-climbing

 

Beep Baseball Tournament – Looking for Volunteers: Umpires needed

The Woburn Host Lions are hosting six teams in the regions biggest beep baseball tournament in history.  We will have 6 teams competing to be crowned the best team on the east coast.  We will be running three different games at the same time and need at least 15 volunteers to make this work for three different time slots.  Come be a part of history and watch some of the regions most inspiring athletes! (Please note we play in many weather conditions including drizzle, showers and sometimes rain.)

Photo of the 4 teams who competed in Woburn in 2015. We are looking for Volunteers to help with the event in 2017

Photo of the 4 teams who competed in Woburn in 2015. We are looking for Volunteers to help with the event in 2017

When:  Saturday July 8 All day:  time slots for games are roughly 8:40-11:30 am, 11:10 am-1:30 pm and 2:10-4:30 pm

Where:  Joyce Middle School located at 55 Locust street in Woburn

What we are looking for: We need the following roles:

Field umpires – these volunteers will stand in the field and help the home plate umpire make the right decision on when a defensive player has made the stop.  These people must be mobile, have good eye sight and be able to stand on their feet for about 2 hours. This person will be exposed to the sun and or rain

Base umpires – The volunteers will stand in foul territory and help the home plate umpire determine exactly when a base runner touches the base.  They will also make sure the base is set up before the next play so the hitter can hear the buzzer inside the base.   These volunteers need to have good eye sight and the willingness to stand in bad weather conditions.  They can easily be seated in a chair between innings if needed

Base Switch operators – These volunteers will sit behind home plate and be in charge of setting the bases off when the ball is pitched using a switch.  This role merely requires good hearing and the ability to flick a switch consistently at the same time.  This person will also be under a canopy to protect the base switch from the elements and will be seated for the duration of the game

Sign up here: http://tinyurl.com/volunteering-for-home-game

 

Renegades Announce 2017 Game and Practice Schedule!

It’s that time of year again!  The Boston Renegades start their 16th year of play in the National Beep Ball Association.  We enter the year ranked 2nd in the World after shocking the league finishing the season 13-2 with the only two losses coming to the Champion, Indy Thunder.  In fact, in the past two seasons, the Renegades are 26-4.  It should be an excting season as Boston expects to play its most games since the 2010 season.

June 3:  Lincroft, New Jersey at  Christian Brothers Academy High School located at 850 Newman Springs Road (route 520)

Boston travels to Lincroft for the second time in team history.  In 2015, Boston swept three games there defeating Long Island, the New Jersey Lightning and the PA Wofpack.  Games will begin around 9:00 am and last through roughly 4:30.  There will be six teams in attendance but we will only play three of those teams.  There will be a Random draw in May of who we will play.  Below is a look at how we have fared against the opponents who are in attendance

Team Boston Wins Boston Losses
Long Island 19 11
NJ Lightning 12 2
NJ Titans 1 0
Philly Fire 22 4
Rochester Pioneers 0 0

June 10-11:  Bolingbrok, Illinois at  Bolingbrook Recreation and Aquatic Center located at 200 Lindsey Lane Bolingbrook, IL

Boston Returns to Chicago for the first time since 2013.  Outside of the World Series, this is the biggest event in the league.  Eight teams will be competing over 2 days.  Each team is guaranteed to play four games each.  Three games on Saturday and one game on Sunday. This will be the Renegades 9th trip to Chicago.  The team has not fared well here in the past with a 10-22 record overall.  However, most of these games were played when the Renegades were a newer, inexperienced team.  Will things be different?  We will find out in May who our opponents are. You can be sure these teams will be looking to put a target on our back.  In 2016, Boston walked off twice on Colorado and beat Chicago for the first time in history.   The Indy Thunder also faced us twice in 2016 beating us to win the national championship  Below is a look at our 7 possible opponents and our lifetime record against them with their 2016 National Ranking

Team Boston Wins Boston Losses National Rank out of 20
Austin, Tx 2 4 6th
Chicago Comets 1 10 8th
Cleveland 6 5 Not Ranked
Colorado 5 8 3rd
Indy Edge 0 0 7th
Indy Thunder 4 11 1st
Minnesota 4 0 9th

July 8:  Woburn, Ma at Joyce Middle School located at 55 Locust Street, Woburn

This will be the biggest beep baseball tournament in the history of New England.  Never before has there been 6 teams converged in New England to battle it out for the Beast of the East trophy.  This event will be a continuation of the games played in Lincroft, in early June.  The format is to play the two games against opponents whom we did not play in New Jersey.  This will give every team 5 games.  From there the top seed will face off against the two seed.  Three will play four. Five will play six.  Last year, we had five teams competing but this season, we added the Rochester Pioneers to the mix.  Below shows how these teams fared in Beast of the East competition and the World Series last year.

Team  Wins  Losses National Rank out of 20
Boston 13 2 2nd
Long Island 3 3 Not Ranked
Philly Fire 2 3 Not Ranked
NJ Titans 6 6 13th
NJ Lightning 0 5 Not Ranked
Rochester Pioneers 2 5 19th

The Renegades have been practicing since March and will be back in Watertown, their home since the 2006 season.  For more information on the practice schedule, please see our schedule page.  Also, we will be announcing some local charity games where the Renegades will take on sighted opponents.  Make sure to come out to Woburn this year and see some Beep Ball action!

Touch the top: Rock Climbing with the Renegades at Central Rock Gym Saturday, April 22

Flyer with details about the Renegade rock Climbing event

Have you ever wanted to try Rock Climbing?

Have you ever wanted to support your favorite blind baseball team, the Boston Renegades?  Here is a chance to do both!  Join the Boston Renegades for an afternoon of Rock Climbing at Central Rock Gym in Watertown, Mass on Saturday April 22nd from 1:00-4:00 in the afternoon.  Central Rock Gym is partnering with the Renegades for the third year and is offering you a special price that  is lower than if you walked off the street to climb!  100% of the funds go to the Renegades and 100% of the fun goes to you!

 

Ben Coiner and Jamie Dickerson prepare Aqil Sajjad to climb the wall at Central Rock Gym in 2016

All proceeds from the event go to help fund the Renegades as they travel to the World Series in West Palm Beach Florida to compete against the top teams of beep baseball around the country and chase a dream for a World Championship

Included in your $35 experience are:

  • Free Belaying class at noon before the rock climbing event
  • Climbing Equipment
  • Food & Drink
  • Free belay for visual impaired climbers

Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette scales the wall at Central Rock Gym in 2016

Whether you are a first time rock climber, or have been climbing for years, support the Renegades and climb with them.

• Challenge yourself and climb with a blindfold
• Create team building experience for your family and friends
• Exercise and have fun and support a great charity!
• A chance to win fun prizes in our raffle
 
 
 
 
 

When

Saturday April 22nd from 1:00-4:00 in the afternoon

Where

Central Rock Gym is located at 74 Acton Street in Watertown, Massachusetts

Pre-registration is required.  Please make sure to sign your waiver form and make your payment here:  Please use this link to sign up.

Would you like to volunteer to help that day?

If you are interested in Volunteering to help us belay:  Please sign up here

Thank You!

A big THANK YOU to our sponsors for this event!

 

Questions

If you have any questions, Please contact us at bostonrenegades@gmail.com

We hope to see you at the top!!!
 

Bowl-a-thon fundraiser for the Renegades on January 28th

Cartoon of a logo for Bowl-a-thon

Come support the Boston Renegades by bringing your friends and family for an afternoon of bowling at our Bowl-a-thon fundraiser.  Thanks to the Woburn Host Lions, we have partnered with the Woburn Bowladrome to host the event.  Proceeds from this event will go to help support the Renegades’ expenses for the 2017 season,  during which we plan to travel to Lincroft, NJ, Bolingbrook, IL and West Palm Beach Florida.  The cost of the event is $35 per person.

Details of the Bowl-a-thon

Where:

Woburn Bowladrome located at 32 Montvale Ave, Woburn, MA  01801

When:

Saturday, January 28th from 12-2 PM.  Registration opens at 11:30am

Your $35 donation includes two frames of Candlepin Bowling, 2 slices of Pizza and a soft drink.  It is also a donation to the team to help us with our travel expenses.  We encourage people to pre-register.  Pre-registration does not cost anything, but it will help us plan for the food and help expedite your process of getting onto a lane on the day of the event.  Please bring cash or a check made out to Association of Blind Citizens.  We are unable to accept credit card payments at this time.

Pre-register for the Bowl-a-thon

You can register for the Bowl-a-thon using either of the methods listed below.   Pre-registration will really help us plan the number of lanes we need and amount of food to purchase.   Teams will be comprised of five individuals.  Team Captains, please list put your team name on the eventbrite pre-registration form.

Do you use Facebook?

We have set up a Facebook event so that you can see who is coming and you can invite people to join us. If you plan to go to the event and are on Facebook, please purchase a ticket by pre-registering on that page.  The Facebook pre-registration will take you to an event we have created on Eventbrite where you can enter your information, what team you may be bowling on, which Renegade you are supporting and truly help us plan better.  The Facebook link is here.

If you don’t use facebook, join us on Eventbrite

If you are not on Facebook, you can go straight to the Eventbrite event to register, here.

Questions?

Please contact  Joe Quintanilla (joeqman@verizon.net), Larry Haile (hailelarry1@icloud.com), or any Boston Renegades team member.

Top 10 Renegade moments of 2016

As we close the book on 2016 and welcome in a New Year, let’s pause and reflect on the Top 10 Renegades moments of 2016.  Each year this team takes steps at improving and 2016 was no exception.  On and off the field we had a lot of fun and a lot of success.  As we have done in previous years, Let’s review the top 10 moments of the season through the eyes of Coach, Rob Weissman.  We will post one post a day for the next 10-12 days…so please check back to remember some of the top moments of the year.

#10 Soto finds his Rhythm

Boston Renegades -Ben Coiner Lifts Luis Soto in the air in celebration

Ben Coiner Lifts Luis Soto into the air after he scored a pair of runs vs the NJ Titans in Long Island

Often times, the things that are memorable happen off the field.  What is great as a coach of the Boston Renegades is seeing hard work off the field pay dividends on the field. Luis Soto entered the year as a third year player.  With his blindness comes problems with his memory which is all due to how he lost his sight as a kid.  When the season started, we took a team stance of the importance on learning the mechanics of hitting.  We asked all the players to explain to the coaches the key mechanics we were focusing on.  From day one, Soto was frustrated and went into a shell.  He was frustrated he could not recall things and was concerned he would not be able to contribute.  I spent many hours on the phone with him in the spring trying to coach him up and show him that athletically he is quick and has raw power.  We talked about the fact, he was in better shape than many guys on the team.  We talked about the main thing holding him back was his confidence.  Coming into the season, soto was a career .056 hitter with just one run in 18 at-bats.  In our first tournament of the year in long island Soto had a great game against the New Jersey Titans.  In his 2nd trip to the plate he hit a ball into the ground which did not go very far but his speed beat the defense and he scored.  The team erupted.  Later, in the same game, he hit a laser into the deep outfield and cruised into the base for his first career multi run game.  He scored more runs in this game than he did in his whole career!  What was so memorable for me here as a coach was two things.  First, it was amazing to see his confidence turn so quickly in that game and to see a smile return to his face where it had not been all year.  Secondly, Lisa Andrews captured a moment on camera that I loved (see the above picture).  First year coach, Ben Coiner was so pumped for Soto that he lifted him into the air.  I was a proud coach at that moment.  Proud of Soto and super proud of the culture on this team to see a first year coach so excited at that moment.  It was priceless and a top 10 moment of my 2016 season.

 

#9 The Knock out Punch

Mac and Than at the Banquet

Thanh and Mac two days after the collision. Mac has a black eye to show for it

Not every moment we have is memorable for a good reason.  Some of the most painful things tend to stay with us, especially in sports.  That happened in our bracket game against the Indy Thunder.  In this game, we had one of the worst injuries in team history.  We entered this game undefeated on the year.  We were facing off against the only other undefeated team at the World Series.  The winner of this game went to the title game while the loser went to the semi finals.  The score was 6-4 and the Indy Thunder was leading going into the top of the 5th inning.  Gerald Dycus hit a laser into left center field that was most likely going to be a run with his blazing speed.  As the ball sailed past Third Baseman, Than Huynh, he turned his back and chased after it.  Joe McCormick was taking an angle to the ball from his left field spot and before anyone could react, the two collided in a loud bang.  Both players went down.  At first, it looked like these two tough guys would shake it off as it looked like Thanh may have gotten the worst of it since he is literally half the size of Joe McCormick.  There was no blood which was a good sign.  When we got to them, Thanh was a little shell shocked but Joe was dizzy.  As Mike Marciello assessed the situation, we saw Joe’s face begin to swell and swell quickly.  His game was over as Mike pulled him.  Thanh on the other hand remained in the game as he was playing on pure adrenaline.   A short time later, we called for an ambulance and Joe was taken to the hospital.  Thanh was later pulled from the game and was limping very badly the rest of the tournament. Thankfully, these two players would eventually heal and be ok.  In the 15 years of playing ball, this went down as the worst in-game injury, and one of the worst injuries we have seen in team history.  In the end, Joe had fractures in his face and sinus cavities.  Thanh had bone bruises to his leg and foot.  This collision changed the outlook of the World Series and helped the Thunder win this game.  Boston showed its resolve by digging deep and winning the semi final game against Colorado without these two players.  The team truly supported each other.  You can be sure that moment will be discussed and a lesson taken from it as the Renegades look to improve in 2017.

#8 Feeling after the San Antonio Game

Thaxton scored 5 times, Haile 4 times while Rob Dias had 3 runs and 3 stops and Justen Proctor made three stops to lead the Renegades over the Jets

Before the season started, we spoke about the fact it could be a very special year.  The excitement was there from pre season through the entire year. As the World Series brackets were getting created, it became apparent that we could be the recipient of some poor seeding.  Because the league had a lot of turnover, two new teams were formed with many talented veteran players.  These teams were seeded at the bottom of the brackets.  We were supposed to be playing the 19th seed as our first game at the World Series.  A game in which the strategy would have been to rest some of the starters and get some valuable playing time for the rest of the team.  Instead, we got the upstart San Antonio Jets and one of the top pitchers in the history of the sport.  We had two ways to look at this.  We could have complained at how unfair the system was or  shut up and prove to the world what we can do.  We chose the later.  As the league discussed on social media which teams were going to get beat, The consensus claimed the Jets would beat the Renegades.  What happened?  We decided this was a great opportunity.  If we lost, who cares, it had no effect on the rest of the World Series.  If we won, the confidence would help us all week.  What happened, We came out and played well.  We put up huge numbers and won 20-9.  When the game was over, I overheard a few of the Jets players and coaches saying wow, Boston is for real.  Looking around the Renegade team you could see the confidence in the squad.  It was a special feeling and we knew right there, it looked good to set the team up for an amazing run.  Playing a team who we predicted would finish top 5 in the league and beating them set this season up to be the most special in our 15 year team history.  By the way, the Jets did finish in 5th place!

#7 Eight inning win vs Philly Earns 6th Beast of East Title

Team photo of the Renegades in Philly

Team photo of the team we took to Philly which clinched the Beast of the East title

With 5 teams in the Beast of the East for the first time, the format had changed a little bit. We adjusted things so we would only play each team once and the top three teams would play each other a second time.  We entered the day 3-0 and needed to get a win against Philly.  A win here would surely secure another Beast of the East run as it would help us with many tie breakers.  One major hurdle was they recruited one of the game’s best pitchers, Johnny Walker from Colorado.  Walker has owned the Renegades through history including a walk off win in the 2015 World Series with the Colorado Storm.  To make things worse, the fields were lightning fast.  Almost like a putting green, we knew that putting a ball into play would result in a run the majority of the time.  On the bump for the Renegades was Jamie Dickerson in only his 2nd year as a pitcher.  The game started slow as both teams went scoreless.  The runs would soon come  After three innings, Boston held a 5-3 lead but in the 4th, Philly tied it at six.  Boston pulled ahead in the 5th 9-7 but could not hold the lead as Philly scored in the bottom of the 6th to tie the game and force extra innings.  Both teams scored a pair in the 7th but in the 8th inning Dickerson connected with Christian Thaxton, Rob Dias and Shawn Devenish and the defense held in the bottom of the inning as Boston held on to win 17-15.  It would be 1st of 3 times the Renegades would come back and beat a Johnny Walker team in the 2016 season.  The team was fired up.  This team did all of this while Joe McCormick went through an epc struggle with 6 strike outs in 7 trips to the plate.  He was left in the game because of his power potential and the fact he led both teams in defensive stops with 5.  This win gave the Renegade squad confidence it could play in a tight game, it could win with conributions from players up and down the line-up and it was a huge step for Jamie Dickerson as a pitcher.  We were on his back this weekend as he grows in this league.  For the first time since 2006, we went on a trip relying soley on a 2nd year pitcher.  He delivered big time.

#6 Lucas Lectures the team About Hard Work

Lucas joined the squad in 2015 and in 2016 his voice was a part of our success

Before every practice, the team huddles to discuss a few things.  Before one of our practices we had a discussion about walking the talk.  The team had been talking a lot about winning  world title.  There was a buzz from the start of the season.  I had challenged the players early in the season to see if they were truly working toward that goal.  At this point, the message was i felt they could do way more.  We went around taking turns talking about what players were doing off the field.  There was not enough work going on.  At some point during the talk, 2nd year coach Lucas Schwallie had something to say.  This 17 year old had earned the respect of many of the players with his work in the cages with them.  After being mostly quiet in his rookie campaign, Lucas felt more comfortable this year.  He had the floor and firmly said “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work”.  He then told us this was from Kevin Durant.  As a coach, I was totally fired up hearing this.  Here was a High school junior telling these guys to work harder and most importantly, they listened.  I was just loving the culture of this team.  Though Lucas did not travel with the team, he was one of the unsung heroes of the season.  He was a steady presence at practice and was our primary hitting instructor for most of the year because of his ability to be at Wednesday practices.  He watched videos, he analyzed swings and gave feedback.  But this moment stood out to me.  Not only did I love the moment, I recognized how special Lucas is and that he will go anywhere he wants to in this world as he gets ready to go to College in the fall of 2017.  We are lucky he found us one day in the streets of Boston when he asked one of our players how a blind guy with a cane was holding a bat.  Just a tremendous, accountable outgoing young man!

#5 – Put it Behind You Rook, We Need You

Shawn Devenish scoring a run in Philly by hand tagging a base. this burned him in our game against Colorado..and he learned from it

It’s the 12th game of the season.  Boston has 11 wins vs zero losses and facing the Colorado Storm.  The same team that knocked the Renegades into the losers bracket in 2015.  The team that wins this game is guaranteed a top 3 finish in the World Series and will be one of just 2 teams still alive without a loss in the winners bracket.  Colorado had just scored 2 runs to take a 6-5 lead heading into the bottom of the 4th inning to retake the lead in a dog fight.   Joe McCormick led off the bottom of the 4th to tie the game.  With one out, Shawn Devenish came to the plate representing the go-ahead run.  On the 3rd pitch, he grounded a ball up the middle deep into left center field and raced to third base.  It looked like a sure run.  But in beepball, nothing is certain.  Devenish raced to the base and threw his right arm out to tag it…and he missed.  As panic struck, he put the brakes on, stumbled and tried to reverse direction.  Colorado’s Rocky Zamora had the ball in the air and Shawn Devenish was out.  He was now 0-3 in this game.   Things felt worse when Guy Zuccarello struck out to end the inning and the game was now 6-6 and we failed to turn over the line up to our top hitter, Christian Thaxton.  Shawn was visibly very upset at his misfortune.  As the team took the field, I took the opportunity to make sure he was looking at things differently.  I calmly approached him (historically, not my strength), put my arm around him and we talked.  We talked about the play.  We talked about how he needed to be more aggressive at hitting the base dead on when it was harder to hear.  We talked about the wrist injury he  suffered earlier in the year which he hurt going over third base in Long Island.  We talked about mental toughness and focusing on the moment.  We then talked about how important he was to the team.  We talked about the fact his presence in the lineup was a big reason we were 11-0.  We talked about the most important play in the game being the next one.  Shawn’s body language changed.  It was a good talk, possibly one of my best ever.  With anticipation, he came to the plate in the 5th inning  and struck out on 4 pitches.  It did not phase him.  I was excited to see that.  We entered the bottom of the 6th inning down 13-9 and staring at the losers bracket.  but the Renegades don’t ever quit.  With one out, Rob Dias, Joe McCormick and Larry Haile plated runs to make it 13-12.  Shawn Devenish came to the plate representing the tying run.  With three strikes, he hit a laser into right center.  As he ran to the base, I watched closely.  He ran with confidence.  This time there would be no hand tag.  He tackled the base.  Game Tied!  He went from feeling like crap to pure joy.  His smile was as big as they get.  The team was fired up and screaming for joy.  Colorado was slumped over in the field and their body language showed that momentum had shifted.  This game was not over.  More importantly, Shawn showed everyone just how coachable he was and that he is a ball player who is able to learn from his mistakes and make his game better.

#4 The student finally beat the Teacher

JT Herzon of the Chicago Comets has been a mentor to Rob Weissman and The Renegades for years

The biggest influence on our Renegade coaching style from outside our organization has been JT Herzog of the Chicago Comets.  When I first started coaching in 2003, JT told me he would be willing to share some ideas with me.  He spent a few hours on the phone with me that off season and in-season after this.  He was always willing to share his ideas on drills, coaching, game management and ways to make the league better.  I soaked up everything he said.  Not only did I know he was a great coach, but he had won a World title in 2003 and he had built the largest program in the country.  Chicago was a model to try and achieve.  Every year, JT would always have kind words for the improvement we had made and encouragement for the players that things were moving in the right direction.  Though the team was having success, it had never beaten Chicago.  Most everyone who follows the Renegades is aware the Long Island Bombers used to own us.  They had a 7 game winning streak before we ever beat them.  What most don’t know is two teams have done more damage to us.  The Kansas All-stars and the Chicago Comets.  The Comets had beaten us 10 straight times including three times in 2013.

As we entered our game against them on Thursday morning, I felt good this game could be different.  We were clicking and confident.  This was our 11th game of the year and we were 10-0 on the season.  For the first time, I looked at their bench and they looked thin.  The days of them having 20 players were over.  The Comets won the coin toss which made me a little nervous and reminded me of a 2009 game which we lost to them in extra innings.  The game started as a dog fight.  The first two innings saw one of their best players go down with a hand injury, another one of their players almost run into our bench and a long friendly debate on how that play should have been called.  After two innings despite this drama, Chicago clung to a 5-4 lead.  Our bats woke up. Boston scored 7 runs in the 3rd and 4th and after 4 innings Boston was ahead 11-6 and the general feeling was this was going to be our game.   Then we struggled in the 5th as Thaxton struck out for the first time all game. Cochran struggled over the final two innings and we scored just once against 4 strike outs. To make things worse, Chicago is well coached and showed no quit.  They battled back.  With just one out in the 6th inning they had pulled the game to a one run deficit.   Mike “Hoodlum” McGlashon would have the first chance to tie it.  I was calmly pacing the sidelines and talking to the defense.  I spoke to them calmly and tried to keep them focused.  He grounded out to Justen Proctor.  That brought up Juan Gonzalez who had scored three times in this contest and was killing us.  I’m not going to lie.  I had a hard time watching him hit….but when contact was made..I knew it was not solid.  Rob Dias raced to make the stop and we held on to win.  The celebration on the field was like we won the Series.  It would be a huge victory this week..and this confidence would carry over in our other games.  I will never forget Guy Zuccarello telling me after this game…that he was shocked that I actually helped keep the team calm during the Comet’s comeback.  Though JT is no longer the head coach on the squad, his influence is still heavily soaked in on that team.  He approached me with a smile and a big congratulations.  We had finally beaten them.  I had finally beaten my mentor.  It only took us 14 years to make it happen!

 

Rob Dias at the plate

Rob Dias takes a hack during the early rounds of the Series. His biggest hit would come against Colorado and in just three seasons he is tied for the all-time lead in walk-off hits with 2

#3  Dias Gets His 2nd Career Walk-Off

Our first match against Colorado is going to make the top 10 list again.  This time, I need to focus on another moment.  In the 5th top moment of the 2016 season, I spoke of the talk with Shawn Devenish.  We spoke about how big it was to see him tie the game.  As the game went extra innings, we took the field for the 7th inning.  The beepball gods must have smiled on us at that moment.  Chad Sumner led off the inning with a strike out.  Then Richie Krussel who had scored 4 times in the contest also struck out.  This marked their 8th whiff of the game.  More amazingly, five of those 8 whiffs came in the last two innings.  Colorado was struggling.  Demtrious Morrow would end the inning with a ball hit up the gut of the defense.  As he lugged his pulled hamstring to the base, Guy Zuccarello made the stop.  The Renegades floated back to the bench they were so high.

Christian Thaxton had an up and down game. He had scored three huge runs but came up empty in the 5th and 6th as he was trying too hard.  Rob Dias started the game 0-4 but had scored to start the 6th inning rally.  He was so pumped to lead off this inning that he told me he was going to end this game.  One pitch and he launched it by everyone into left field.  If he could have seen that hit, he may have done some sort of bat flip and walked to the base.  This is beepball..and as we saw with Shawn, running the base can be hard at times.  Dias sped to first and hit it with ease.  Walk off!  We were off to play Indy.  We were just one of two teams still alive and undefeated.  The sense of accomplishment was amazing.  Sadly we did not have a ton of time to revel in the victory as Indy awaited us.  Seeing Rob’s confidence and watching him hit that blast was awesome.  The team mobbed him at first base.  It was just a magical day.  First holding off the Comets (that moment was #4 on my list…and Rob made the final clinching defensive stop in that match) and now he comes back with the big hit.  In just 3 years of play Rob has 2 walk-off hits (no-one in team history has more).  Dias will go down as one of the biggest clutch hitters in Renegade history.   It’s just too bad it took an encounter with Bryan Grillo in a department store before he came down.  So many lost years he could have been racking up stats and helping this ball club grow.

#2 We Made the Show and We Did It Our Way

Renegades pre-game for the National Anthem

The Renegades lined up on the 1st Base line before the title game

The night before the Championship game I took some time to reflect.  I did a lot of thinking about how we could win the title game.  But I also got caught up in thoughts about how happy I was to have made the final game.  I thought about all the hard work every past Renegade coach and player had put in.  I thought about how happy they would be for us and themselves to be involved in what we have built.  I truly felt torn about calling everyone to let them know we made it and doing what it takes to prepare to make sure the guys were ready for the big game.  Clearly, I picked the later, but I was equally as excited to make sure every person who had ever supported us or played for us knew we had achieved a goal.  For many of us, this was a goal we had never truly thought about.  Every season, I was quoted as saying, we are not going to the world series with the goal of winning a title.  Most of the league knew this when we booked flights to leave during the title game.  A few times, I even said, I would personally pay for the flights if we ever had to actually play in that title game.  It was not meant as disrespect to the league, it was a way to save the team thousands of dollars.  The first few years of this message, it was often greeted with anger from a few players whose heads were in the clouds about the true reality of how stacked things are against a home grown team.  2016 was the first year in 14 seasons, I told the team, we would take a true shot at the title if people worked hard.

Our team is unique in this league.  We do a lot of stuff differently.  We do a lot of stuff our own way.  Part of it is the culture we have built, part of it is the style we bring to our team as coaches.  At times in recent years, I had always wondered, would we ever get a shot at the big game and what would that feel like.  For me personally, getting there was confirmation that what we have built….though different is very effective.  A we stood in front of the crowd for this game, when they announced our team…I took great pride in what we had built.  My only regret at the time was we just didn’t have enough time to celebrate the success.  Since there is no history book on beep baseball, the game’s stats can be hard to come by.  I know for a fact since 2003 the Renegades were the first team to play in a title game where EVERY player and coach on the roster played 100% of their career in our uniform.  That should be a goal of more teams.  That is the definition of a team.  Though we lost the game, we got there as a team and I believe we did something that may not have happened since the 1970’s.  A rare feat…for a rare team that I was so proud of that week.  This day was validation that the hard work of every coach and player to ever wear the Renegade colors helped us grow to the team we have become today.  It was a very proud moment to be a Renegade.

#1 The Amazing Comeback

The team erupts after Christian Thaxton’s walk-off hit sends us to the title game. Coach, Jamie Dickerson is fired up!

We are playing on the championship field in the semi-finals against Colorado.  Joe McCormick is in the hospital with coach Mike Marciello and Thanh has been relegated to the bench by Mike and Yuki.  We are in the top of the 6th inning and I’m sitting on the bench with Ron looking at the situation. we are down 8-6 and they have their 6-1-2 hitters up.  If we can hold them, we still have a lot of work to do.  We have our 4-5-6 hitters coming up in the last inning and they are a combined  1-9 with 5 strike outs (though one of them was on me due to a gigantic mistake in the first inning).  Somehow we needed to shut them down…and then score just one run from the bottom of our line up to turn the line up over for Christian Thaxton.  Justen made the first defensive out, Guy made the next defensive out and then one of the best two way players, Ethan Johnston who had scored 4 straight times in this game miraculously struck out.  We were still breathing.  Larry Haile represented our best chance for a run and he went down swinging.  We had decided that we were going to hit for Joe Yee who had gone 0-3 with three strike outs.  Joe Quintanilla was the choice.  We just felt he was not going to let the moment get to him and had hopes he could get a knock to right field.  With three strikes on him he tagged a line drive up the middle and scored.  It was the only run he had scored all week.  We were pumped.  And we achieved our goal of making sure the line-up turned over, After Guy was put out on a close play, our lead-off hitter, Christian Thaxton then gave everyone more drama.  On the 6th pitch he saw, he hit a line drive and tied the game.  Our season was still alive.

In the 7th as Ron and I sat on the bench celebrating Quintanilla’s hit we again assessed the situation.  Due up for us was our 3-4-5 hitters.  We knew it would get hard if Colorado scored.  While they batted, I was looking at video and I saw why we had been struggling with Larry.  I showed Ron and we decided to try something different when we pitched to him.  Colorado plated 2 runs.  We now needed 3 runs to win in a game where we had only scored 8 runs in 6 innings.  With one out, Larry came to the plate.  The adjustment was on.  On the first pitch, he hit a pop fly to left and scored.  I was pumped that the analysis we did worked.  It gave us life!  That brought one of the heroes of the 6th inning up.  If either he or Guy could score we could get it back to Thaxton.  Again with three strikes, Quintanilla then hit a grounder up the first base line.  I watched him get out of the box with a horrific line.  He was running in fair territory.  I was just waiting for the umpire to yell “stop”….but then something amazing happened.  The first baseman ran into foul ground looking for the ball.  Q ran by him in fair territory.  The umps said nothing, there was no collision other than Q hitting the base and tying the game.  Holy crap, he tied the game on what sure looked like a play that would be called dead!  Q had scored twice in two at bats.  He had only scored three runs in the entire season before this game!  Thaxton would get his chance to be the hero with two outs and on the 5th pitch he hit a weak pop fly to the right side and jetted down the 3rd baseline and was SAFE!  We came back…again!  We made the title game!  We did it with Joe McCormick in the hospital and Thanh sidelined.  Mac was in our hearts and for the last few innings of that game we changed every player’s calling card to “Joe Mac” …”Way back”. As a way to honor our fallen teammate…and in hopes he was listening to the game on facebook. The fun thing was that no matter how little sight a player had…they all found their way to Thaxton at thirdbase and celebrated.  It was the biggest win in team history.  It was a thrill, it was a surprise, it was a total team effort and  it was an honor.  To see the moment right after Thaxton scored, Sara Cochran caught it on a facebook video here:

Thank you for taking time to read these posts and relive some of these moments with us.  These are the things that drive the passion.  These are the moments we work for.  These are the things that keep our volunteers and players coming back for more each year.  These are things that make us an Exciting team to be a part of!  To relive some of the top 10 moments of the past you can see them here dating back to the 2013 season when we started this tradition:

Smartest Player in the NBBA has to be Aqil Sajjad

Picture of Aqil Sajjad in the field with text from the show Big Bang Theory

Who is the Smartest player in the NBBA?  Well, there is no official way to measure this but Aqil Sajjad would likely be at the top of any list.  Afterall, how many NBBA players (let alone how many people) have a PHD from Harvard in Theoretical Particle Physics.  Aqil graduated from Harvard in 2014 and what he has accomplished without his sight is amazing and inspirational for many.  He has been the subject of many articles and recently was part of a podcast.  Keep in mind that Aqil has no usable sight and relies on technology and his big brain to help him with all of the equations.

Aqil On The Field

Aqil Sajjad played with the Renegades from 2009-2015.  He took the 2016 season off to get married and prepare for the next chapter in his life, but has hopes of being able to return to the team in 2017.  In his time on the field, he has been one of the most dedicated players. Through the 2016 season, he ranks 10th all-time in games played with 87.  He also owns a lifetime .282 batting average and has made 39 stops on defense.  He ranks 5th in team history in putting the ball into play at 81.3%.  Beyond the stats, we will always remember him falling asleep on a short van ride back to a hotel and then falling out of the van when the door opened.  Aqil – he is for Real!

Here are some links to get to know the Aqil Sajjad, the smartest guy in the league

2016 NBBA World Series Statistical breakdown – Strength of Schedule

SABR Cartoon

For the past two years, we have written about the NBBA World Series statistical breakdown of Strength of Schedule.  The Renegades have an analytical side.  We break down much of the game into stats.  It helps us baseline, set goals and improve.  In 2014, we brought the concept of Strength of Schedule to the forefront.  At first, a few teams thought it was non sense.  Reality is its food for thought.  As the league continues to grow, we need to help it improve.  This past season may have been one of the most exciting beepball seasons ever.  As in March madness, people fill out their brackets to see who they think will win.  How many people would have picked the Indy Thunder over the Renegades in the championship game?  Bet you didn’t have that filled out!  The more discussion and thought we put into theses things, the better our league will become.  With teamwork, communication, marketing and public relations will come great opportunity.  Let’s move this league into the next level of competitive sports and get organized.

 

2016 Roster Changes

As we did the past two years, we have tried to come up with a method to measure the strength of each team’s schedule.  This can be a telling story on how hard a World Series schedule each team has.  Currently, the way the league seeds teams is to look at their finish in the prior year’s World Series.  Keep in mind, this is all that is done to seed.   If a roster is completely overhauled – the team does not move up or down the rankings.  Here is where it gets ugly.  If a team did not attend the previous year’s series, they are seeded in the order they got their registration fee into the league.  All of these teams are placed at the bottom of the brackets with no insight into who is on those teams.  This can produce a ton of problems for teams trying to play for a seed.  We discussed that in 2015 there was 24 teams BUT only 16 teams returned from the 2014 World Series.  This meant we had 8 teams playing in the World Series who were not seeded.  This was less of an issue in 2016 because the World Series contracted a bit to 20 teams.  Though before the World Series started there was already drama in the seeding. Have a seat and grab your popcorn as we look at some of the drama…

  • #17 Indy Edge – There was a lot of drama in Indy in the off season.  The RHI E-xtreme lost their sponsor and had to rename their team.  There was some shuffling around but 6 players on the roster from 2015 returned.  With the Indy shuffle, they also picked up some players from the Indy Thunder and the Indy Knights. The Edge also picked up two players from the New Jersey Lightning  So, the NBBA seeding policy looks at this as a new team name though they had just one new player in the league.  By the time they got to the World Series, they did have a rookie pitcher (who did great)..but to start the year, they were planning to go with the Indy Knights pitcher who took the Knights to a .375 batting average in 2015.  This was no #17 seed?
  • #18 San Antonio Jets – What do you get when you take the starting pitcher off the recent two time World Champs (Kevin Sibson), surround him with two of their young starting players (Zac Arambula and Axel Cox), add in a player who had won a title for them (Richie Flores), sprinkle in two long time players with a lot of success in the league (Dave Benney and Jason Ackiss).  Then add in some of the most exicting rookies in the league with Ricky Ruzika and the Almanza cousins.  You get a powerhouse offense.  Some people were saying they would be contending for a championship…but they were seeded 18th!
  • #19 Iowa Reapers – Ok…Iowa probably deserved this seed or something close to it.  They had won two games in the 2014 World Series against the Athens Timberwolves.  They did not play in 2015’s World Series.  With the mindset of seeding new teams at the bottom of the league…this felt ok.
  • #20 Seattle South King Sluggers – This truly felt right for them.  Seattle had never played in a World Series before and this was a big step for them.  Not one of their players on the roster had ever played in a World Series.  This was the true meaning of a new team.

Every year, teams seem to shuffle their rosters and 2016 was no exception.  Here are the rosters with the most turnover

  • #1 Austin Blackhawks – Austin remained the number one seed despite losing their pitcher and two starters.  Arumbala and Cox represented 31% of the runs scored in 2015.  All of these three left for the start of the Jets.  Austin replaced Kevin with Tim Hibner at pitcher (Tim won a few World Series with the Dawgs) and many consider him one of the top pitchers in the game.  Austin also recruited Chance Cranford, a former world Champion with the Dawgs).  But to give the Blackhawks a one seed with this team may have been a stretch because they simply lacked the depth and speed they had in the past.
  • #3 Bayou City Heat – They lost a .500 hitter in John Kibodeaux and their leader in defensive stops, Greg Gontaryk.  In their place, they picked up three players from the Colorado Storm and two players from the Long Island Bombers.  This is a lot of turnover for a top team
  • #4 Colorado Storm – Colorado Entered this tournament without two starters from the previous year in Doug Biggins and Mike Malloy as well as the loss of John Parker.  This trio represented 28% of the Storm’s 2015 offense and 39% of it’s defensive stops not made by the human Vacuum, Ethan Johnston.  Colorado returned Chad Sumner which helped the cause but he could not replace the results of three players by himself.
  • #6 Indy Thunder – With the demise of the Extreme, they picked up a few of their players.  This included Clint Woodard (who was 2nd on the RHI E-xtreme in defensive stops in 2015), Kyle Lewis (who hit .,533 in limited time with the Extreme) and Ed Brown(who hit .649 and led the Knights in runs).  But they also had picked up a few very exciting rookies that had been lighting up local tournaments in Gerald Dycus and Zach Buhler.  It should also be noted that Darnell Booker took a different role which allowed one of the top pitchers in the game to pitch.  this pitcher had won a title with the Kansas All-stars and his name is Jarred Woodard.  This team looked stacked going into the Series but remained a 6 seed.  If Vegas had odds on a champion, it was a sure money bet the Thunder had the best odds.
  • #9 Lone Star Road Runners – They lost their team leader in defensive stops (Richie Flores).  Flores also gave them 12 runs of offense in 2015.  Lone star also lost PJ Navarro and Marlon Stover.  This is a whopping 57% of their offensive production from the 2015 team.  With this loss and lack of proven replacements, they should have been knocked down a few seeds.

Which teams were impacted by the improper seeding?

With the break up of the RHI E-xtreme, Taiwan not returning and Austin losing players, it felt like for the first time in years there was a lot of parity in the league.  In past years, the blatant mis-seeding had wrecked havoc on a few teams.  The Indy Thunder and Long Island Bombers were last years victim of the mis-seeding    This year in the end, the teams most impacted by the seeding were the Austin Blackhawks, the Minnesota Millers and the Southwest Slammers.

Why?  Austin had to face San Antonio as their 2nd round opponent.   If you believed they deserved the #1 seed, they should not have been playing the Jets this early in the dance.  For the first time in years, Austin found its way to the loser’s bracket on Thursday morning.  Minnesota and Southwest were two teams impacted in a different way.  Both these teams earned a two seed in their bracket based on last year’s play.  However, they both got bumped to the three seed after pool play was over because the Edge and Jets earned the two seed over them.  At face value, this seems fare…BUT.  One could argue that Minnesota and the Slammers earned their two seed more than the Lonestar Roadrunners and Atlanta Eclipse.  The end result of this mis-seeding forced both the Slammers and Millers to have to play 10 games (no other team played more than 9 games).  Their 1-2 records on day one forced them to play at 9:00am on Tuesday.  With proper seeding, this would not have happened to them.  In the end it may not have made a huge difference but it did force both these teams to play three games on three consecutive days  in a row.  This is a grueling sport to be forced to do this.  It would take its toll on most teams in this league.

Let’s get to the Strength of Schedule stats

With all of this in mind, let’s look at the Strength of Schedule of the teams that played in the 2016 World Series.  The math is simple.  What we do is look at the final ranking of each team and add those rankings up.  Then we divide that sum by the total amount of games played.  This comes up with a figure that represents the average seed of the team they faced.  So for example, The Boston Renegades played 9 games against the following teams San Antonio Jets (5) + BCS Outlaws (16) + Minnesota Millers (9) + Southwest (11) + Chicago (8)+ Colorado (3) + Indy Thunder (1) +  Colorado (3) + Indy Thunder (1).  This equates to a score of 57 and we divide that by 9 games to get 6.3.  This means the average seed of a Renegade Opponent would be ranked 6th in the league.

Please note this Strength of Schedule score does not take into account the amount of games played.  A team playing 9-10 games is forced to play 3 games on multiple days of the World Series- and this can take a huge toll on a team.  Last year, the Taiwan Home Run were so mis-seeded they had to play what was possibly a World Series record of 12 games.  This year six teams played 7 games. six teams played 8 games, six teams played 9 games and The Southwest Slammers and Minnesota Millers were forced to play 10 games each.

SOS Rank WS finish Team Games Record SOS
1 2 Boston 9 7-2 6.33
2 3 Colorado 9 6-3 6.78
3 5 San Antonio 9 5-3 7.00
4 7 Indy Edge 8 6-2 8.00
T-5th 8 Chicago 8 4-4 9.50
T-5th 1 Indy Thunder 8 8-0 9.50
7 6 Austin 9 6-3 9.67
8 12 Lone Star 8 3-5 9.75
9 4 Bayou City 9 7-2 9.89
10 13 NJ Titans 7 3-4 10.29
11 10 Atlanta 8 4-4 10.38
12 11 Southwest 10 5-5 10.50
13 9 Minnesota 10 6-4 10.80
14 16 BCS 9 2-7 10.89
15 14 Tyler 7 2-5 11.71
16 15 Arizona 9 3-6 11.89
17 17 Iowa 7 2-5 12.29
18 18 Seattle 7 1-6 12.43
19 20 Athens 7 0-7 13.71
20 19 Rochester 7 2-5 13.86

As the Renegades climb the NBBA ladder, Boston has now played the toughest schedule in two of the past three years at the World Series (8th hardest in 2015).  That says a lot for how far this team has come in its ability to manage a tournament and improve its play on the field.

Unlike last year where the quantity of games played was so varied (mostly due to the mis-seeding). Beyond the Millers and Slammers all teams played between 7-9 games.    Some key findings from looking at SOS (Strength of Schedule) include:

  • The Renegades made the title game and their only losses on the year came against the Indy Thunder.  They had quality wins over San Antonio, Chicago and Colorado, twice.
  • Colorado had a very tough road as well.  Even tougher when you recall they lost three players from their 2015 roster.  Two of their three losses came at the hands of the Renegades.  The other was on day one, to the Indy Edge.
  • Once again, the Bayou City Heat had an easy schedule. Four of their 9 games were against teams who finished 12th or higher.  They entered the dance seeded 2nd and finished in the 4 spot.  The best seed they played was Colorado and they lost to them twice.  They had “easy” wins over Iowa (17th), NJ Titans (13th) and Lone star, twice- (12th).
  • Minnesota which had a very tough year in 2015 had an easier time this year if you look strictly at strength of schedule.  Though they played 10 games, 7 of them were against opponents who finished 10th or higher.
  • The Indy Edge, which entered as a 17 seed, finished 7th but had the 4th hardest road to get there.  It would be expected their road would be hard based on the fact they were mis-seeded.  They actually beat the three seed (Colorado) in the round robin.  However, they lost to the Thunder (1) and Austin (6) – the former champs to knock them out of contention.  They were a scary team to have to face for sure.
  • The Indy Thunder had an easy first two days as their first four opponents finished 20th, 19th, 8th and 13th

In Conclusion

What makes the NBBA unique is that many games are played throughout the year.  Sadly, there is not an easy way (and cost effective way) for the league to track the progress of the teams…YET.  Maybe with experience and finances this could change in the future.  For now, we have to play with the World Series stats.  Its the only thing we have for the Beep baseball seam heads who like stats.  We come together for one glorious week to play ball.   In 2016, we saw a lot of parity in the league. To start the year, we saw two top teams break apart as Austin and RHI had some significant changes.  We also witnessed for the first time since 198o, two teams who had never been in a title game face off against each other with the Thunder beating the Renegades.  As we look toward 2017, we hope we can make some changes to the way we seed.  Heck, we can expect the Taiwan Home Run to be back..are we really going to seed them 21st again?  I hope we have learned from this and the fact it hurts other teams just as much as it hurts them.  Lets work toward seeding things correctly.  And yes, this writer has a proposal for that.  However, thats a story for another time

Jet Blue donates $1,000 to the Boston Renegades

Aaron Proctor pictured here umpiring a game against the Woburn Lions in 2011Aaron Proctor, joined the Renegades in the 2009 season and was a full time coach during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons.  During that time, Aaron donated countless hours as a volunteer on and off the field.  While on the field, Aaron was generally helping us to run base running and defensive drills.  Though he did not have a baseball background he was eager to pitch in and help and was able to work the guys hard.  Off the field, Aaron was always eager to help.  He helped the team edit some coaching videos as well as put together a program that we gave out to people attending our first home tournament in 2010.  He was also a big presence in helping a few of the guys on the teams with rides to and from practice.  During this part of his life, he also started to work with Jet Blue as he had needed a break from his career in being a Pharmacist.

This season, Aaron could not participate as he wanted to because of conflicts with his work schedule.  Though he was unable to be part of the official practices, he made sure that Justen Proctor was there.  He also helped us during some side session work outs leading up to the world Series.  Sometimes, shooting video, sometimes shagging balls, or even calling in defensive drills.  Aaron was also with us for a few days of the World Series to lend a hand on the bench during games.  Aaron has hopes of being more involved with the team in the 2017 season.

For Aaron’s work with the Renegades, Jet Blue awarded him and the team a $1,000 grant through a program called JetBlue For Good.  Jet Blue for good Celebrated Philanthropy Month in November. This commemorative month recognizes philanthropy and those who actively volunteer in their various communities.  We are thankful for their contribution to our program.  For more information on their program and the programs they chose to support please go to Jet Blue for Good 

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Weissman interviewed by IBM about volunteerism

IBM logoIBM recently interviewed Rob Weissman, a 13 year employee of IBM about his work with the Boston Renegades.  IBM has supported the Renegades through Weissman’s involvement over the year to the tune of $18,000 in community grants.  The article was posted internal but they have cerated a PDF for us to share with our fans and can be read here:  IBM PDF

Rob Weissman catching during the title game of the 2016 World Series. Photo by John Lykowski

Rob Weissman catching during the title game of the 2016 World Series. Photo by John Lykowski