For 15 years, baseball coaches of all levels returned home to Connecticut for the 2018 World Baseball Coaches’ Convention at Mohegan Sun.
The Convention brings in coaches and players with experience ranging from Little League to high school, to professional, and collegiate.
The Convention also draws former professional players whose roots are in Connecticut to offer advice.
For former Major Leaguer, and now the Defensive Coordinator for the Cleveland Indians, John McDonald told Eyewitness Sports reporter Caroline Powers that there is no feeling like being home where the passion for the great American pastime began.
“Just growing up here, going to East Lyme High School, playing at every point, the coaches that came through here that impacted my career, and being able to come in here and talk to other coaches is a lot of fun,” said McDonald, who went on to describe the amount of talent in the players hailing from Connecticut.
McDonald said after playing professionally for 19 years, he is looking to pave the way for other players and coaches.
Echoing that sentiment, Toronto Blue Jays pitching coach, Peter Walker said learning from other coaches and taking their advice was invaluable.
An East Lyme grad himself, Walker said coaching is an entirely new dynamic.
“Obviously when playing your focused on really taking care of yourself. You're concerned with your teammates but your primary goal is to stay healthy and perform on the field, and as a coach you're worried about everybody,” said Walker.
“They're all your players, all your pitchers. You take a lot of pride in their performance and it's definitely a different approach.”
For younger coaches, being able to hear from these former players’ successes, helps keep them to motivate their own players.
“I think for most of them, they're looking to play afterwards,” described Mitchell College baseball coach, Travis Beausoleil.
“And we've gotten the program to a point where they can play afterwards. Our second baseman is an All American. Our shortstop hit .496. He's one of the best shortstops in the country.”
And despite the absence of a major league team in Connecticut, the small state still produces many successful baseball stars.
“Baseball in Connecticut and New England is really strong and people overlook that because of the warm weather states. But we send a lot of pros out from our little area,” said Beausoleil.
“I think it's because of events like this and training facilities that can help the player develop in a way he might not get out in California. We can focus on some smaller focus points rather than just the bigger aspects of it.”
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