Following Mendez: Perfect Game National Showcase Day 3

We were up at 6:30AM preparing to get to the stadium for Day 3 of the Perfect Game National Showcase.  Mendez’s game was at 1PM.  The excitement remained in the air for all of the young high school players that are getting the opportunity to showcase their talent in front of hundreds of scouts.
Once again, the sun is beaming early in the morning.  I sat back in my new favorite shaded spot along the first base side of the field in order to get a good camera angle.
Mendez was back in action again catching some of the best high school flame throwers.  He was doing well until after 10 pitches when he began to collapse.  Dehydration began to kick in and caused him to leave the game defensively.  He did get two at bats today though.  He didn’t get any hits today but he hit every ball hard between shortstop and 2nd base which is an indication of how short his gotten.  So far, he is 1 for 3 with no strikeouts.
We are getting some much needed rest tonight and looking forward to tomorrow.  Today was special for me as well since I had the opportunity to discuss hitting with Hall of Famer Cal Ripken.

Following Mendez: Perfect Game National Showcase Day 2

The day began with check in at 9AM and it is now 11PM and we just got back to the hotel.  Mendez is still amped up from a great day.
He threw 92 MPH from the outfield in the showcase format.  His pop time was 1.8 from the catching position which is a solid major league average grade.  He was a little tight in the beginning of batting practice but quickly settled in and began to hit line drives.
When the lights came on, Mendez stepped in the box against an easy throwing right hander that topped out with a 93 MPH fastball.  The first pitch that Mendez saw was a 92 MPH fastball on the outside corner that he drove up the middle for a base hit single.  The ball was hit so hard that the middle infielders didn’t even attempt to field it.  Getting the single wasn’t enough so he immediately stole second base.  Three pitches later, he stole 3rd base.
All and all, it was a great day to perform in front of hundreds of college and MLB scouts.  I am glad to be on the ride.

Following Mendez: Perfect Game National Showcase Day 1

Today’s flight to Ft. Myers from Atlanta was a quick 70 minute trip.  As we took off in the plane, I reminded myself that this is a part of the plan for L.E.A.D.  Our job is to get Atlanta inner city high school players to college.  Many critics feel that inner city Atlanta teens aren’t good enough to compete on the national stage.  Mendez is proving the critics wrong with every step that he takes to City of Palms Park in Ft. Myers for the Perfect Game National Showcase which is the spring training home of the Minnesota Twins.
I sat next to Felicia (Mendez mother) on the way down and we talked about how Atlanta was back in the day.  She was born and raised in Atlanta just like me and elated to be here to watch her son represent the Atlanta Public School System that she graduated from.
Crystal Giles hooked us up with an amazing hotel room so we will be able to sleep well and be rested for a full day tomorrow.  We are so fortunate to have a Publix next door.  I love those sandwiches.
There is so much work scouting work to be done out here for me that I had to bring in my trusty assistant Ben Wolosick with us.  There will be over 500 scouts in attendance tomorrow watching the top 150 players in America.
We are winding down for the night and Mendez is starting to relax.  He is so excited for obvious reason.  He will do well.  Tomorrow is scheduled to start at 9AM with orientation, BP and a 1PM game to follow.  Stay tuned for photos and my blog post tomorrow.  Good night from Ft. Myers, FL.

Overcoming the storms

Guest blog post by: Marvin R. Goodman II
How did this happen? How did we go from having our own home, a new truck, and easy living to joblessness, financial uncertainty, carless, and no place of our own? Mom says “It’s just a test and a temporary situation. Just do what you need to do to get where you want to be; we have your back,” but I can’t help but to wonder how they keep it all together when it seems like we just can’t catch a break.
My high school days have been reeked with challenges: the loss of my grandma in 2009, watching the debilitating effects of Dementia on my granddad, losing our home and our car in 2010, and yet, through it all, Mom finds a way to keep the family balanced. Her ‘keep it moving’ attitude is what has helped me make it through. After all, despite our downfalls, this spring I have the opportunity to join the ranks of degree-seeking, career-minded student athletes across the nation, and that is exciting.
My goals are to someday play major league baseball and to become an FBI agent. I realize now that I dropped the ball in high school, but I hope to make a stunning recovery in college. Mom pushed her way through and graduated Summa Cum Laude last May with two bachelors’ degrees and I aspire to graduate with honors as well. For me, going to college equates to a soldier being awarded the Medal of Honor. Part of my plan to get there is to use my athletic talents as a means to my desired end – scholarship offers.
I have a new appreciation for life’s storms because they help build character and help make us stronger. I know I have what it takes to succeed in college and I look forward to every potential opportunity before me. In the words of my late great-grandmother, “I can show you better than I can tell you.”

Getting our lead and headed to 2nd base

The L.E.A.D. vision became reality the summer of 2007. We had amazing athletes on the field that were giving their all but we fell short in the win column often. The losses on the field continued to increase but the scholarships increased.  To date, 87% of our Ambassadors have gone on to compete at the collegiate level with a baseball scholarship.  Prior to the 2011 season, our Ambassadors record was 10-150.

We began the Ambassadors summer baseball program with a strategic plan in mind. We used 2007 to 2010 as our time to get from home plate to 1st base.  Head coach Duane Wilson continues to push our boys and get the most out of them. We are so blessed to have an amazing head coach and even better person.

So far in 2011, our record is 6-5 and every game has been competitive against nationally ranked opponents.  Today, we hosted the East Cobb Patriots at our home field Perkerson Park. Very seldom does nationally recognized teams travel to the inner city of Atlanta to play games but L.E.A.D. is earning respect.  As an organization, we are getting our lead and headed to 2nd base with your continued support.

We have several games coming up. Join our L.E.A.D. Tailgate Club at and support an organization that is “Winning At The Game of Life!”