Lincoln Heat Baseball: Lincoln Heat News

Lincoln Heat Team Rules
Player Uniform Wear
Our parents and sponsors have invested a lot of money to outfit our teams in quality uniforms, cleats, and equipment bags for storage and transport. We have uniforms that other teams envy, and as such, we expect the following:

Jerseys should be tucked into the pants at all times. Look sharp – not sloppy.

Cleats should be stored in the equipment bag and put on at the diamond. This keeps the rubber or metal cleats from wearing down.

When on the diamond, hats should not be worn backwards. This means at practice and especially not at games. We take our baseball seriously. Players should give the appearance of a serious baseball player.

Player On the Field Behavior
The success and reputation of our team is dependent upon players following these rules. Failure to follow these rules may result in a coach benching or suspending a player at their discretion.

Players should never argue or discuss calls made by the umpires.

Players do not throw helmets, bats, or gloves (batting gloves included).

Players should not leave the dugout during a game unless to use the restroom.

We expect our teammates to cheer us on and offer encouragement, not to yell discouragement and comments directed at others after missed plays or errors. Put yourself in their shoes before you make comments – we're all on the same team!

When we are at bat, no player should be sitting on the bench. We should be standing at the dugout fence cheering on our teammates. Start a rally from the first batter on.

We practice good sportsmanship to our opponents. This means that when the other team makes a good play, we tell them so. Just because we are opponents doesn't mean we can't admire a good baseball play. This also means that we don't yell, "miss it" or yell loudly on fly balls, and that we don't yell anything when a new pitcher comes into the game and is completing his warm up throws.

When the game is over, we shake hands with our opponents and their coaches and tell them "good game".

At each practice, regardless of the weather, players will wear baseball pants and be ready to play baseball. No shorts, warm up pants, jeans, etc. You can't practice sliding in shorts!

Respect the equipment of each player, especially if you are using someone's bat. A good bat costs in the neighborhood of $150-200, a good leather glove around $100. These things should not be thrown around and treated wrong. Don't ever pound a bat on the ground or on the plate.

No player will be allowed to leave the dugout after a game until the dugout is cleaned up. We leave the dugout in better condition that we found it. Pick up all equipment, water bottles, and any trash that you find, regardless of whether it is yours.

Player Off the Field Behavior
As a representative of our team, we expect you to act accordingly off the field and on your best behavior. When you wear our uniform, you not only represent yourself but our organization as a whole. We expect our players to use appropriate language around adults and children, respect our parents and other player's parents, and respect our opponents in social situations.

Parent's Behavior
The Lincoln Heat organization expects parent's behavior to be appropriate towards the teams playing on the field and the umpires. Parents should be enthusiastic, but not obnoxious.

When the players are on the field, we need our parents to be a cohesive group, cheering on the team. Sit together and cheer as one! Put aside any differences that you may have and think of the young men in our dugout. Rallies are started from the crowd's enthusiasm as much as the team's enthusiasm.

At no time whatsoever should parents approach a coach during a game to discuss game strategy, concerns with their child's playing time, etc.  We want our coaches to be coaching the young men and tending to the game without distractions.

Team Managers
Each team will need a manager to be responsible for maintaining the scorebook during games and communicate the substitutions between our team and the team we are playing. Other functions may be assigned as needed at the coach's discretion.

Field Maintenance
Each team will have a sign-up sheet for parents to volunteer their time before games to drag the field, rake, and chalk the field lines. Two parents per game should be sufficient (one to drag the field and the other to rake and help chalk the lines). Parents should arrive at the field no less than one hour before game time.

Fund Raising/Sponsorship
Unlike other select teams, we would prefer not to have fund raisers and instead rely on sponsorships. With help from parents and family members, we can reach many more sponsorship opportunities. We are a non-profit organization and any sponsorship goes directly to the teams. At the end of the year, we will recognize each sponsor with a gift.

Lincoln Heat History
The Lincoln Heat baseball program was formed in 2002 to teach the fundamentals of baseball, commitment to individual and team development, sportsmanship, and most important to have fun playing competitive baseball. In the 2003 inaugural year, the Lincoln Heat fielded a single 11-year-old team. In 2004 and 2005, the Heat fielded two teams. In 2006, the Heat added two teams to field 11, 12, 13 and 14-year-old teams. In 2008, the Heat added a 9-year-old team to field a full six-team organization with teams from 9 to 14 years-old.

The Heat baseball program plays from the beginning of April through the middle of July, and does not play as many games as the 65-90 game schedule of other select teams. This gives the young men on the team the opportunity to play at a competitive level and still be young men. Out of town travel for the program is limited, with most games within a 60-mile radius of Lincoln. Unless the teams are playing in a tournament, the program also does not typically play on both weekend days, leaving important weekend time for family. Practices will run approximately twice weekly depending upon game schedules and weather conditions. A significant time and financial commitment is required by each player and his family to ensure the program's success. Practice begins in the fall and continues indoors through the winter months.

Although the program does not play as many games, this does not mean that the program is not fully committed to the development of the young men as baseball players. We have never been, and will never be a "win at all costs" organization. We want to have fun and we want to win, but the goal of our organization has always been this: to prepare our players and give them the skills and fundamentals to have a fighting chance to make their high school baseball teams. In 2007, the first year that our players had graduated from our program and on to high school baseball, every player that tried out for their high school team was selected to the freshman or reserve teams. Since then, several of our players have excelled in high school, not only on the baseball field but in the classroom and in other sports besides baseball. Some of our former players have gone on to play not only college baseball, but college football, college track and college tennis. This is something that as an organization our Board and coaches are extremely proud of, and is a testament to the hard work that our players have put in over the years to make themselves better. We are just as proud of our former Heat players that have a 4.0 average and are outstanding citizens as we are of our former Heat players that were All-City and All-State. There are many life lessons found in the sport of baseball. At some point - hopefully a long time in the future - we all "hang up the glove". We want to help prepare these young men for life outside of baseball, too.

Proper Glove Care
At one of our practices recently, my glove didn't feel quite right after catching the ball. I looked down to see that the leather laces on the web of my glove had broken and I was left with a large hole in the glove's web. When you boys get older you might understand these emotions, but at that moment looking down at my glove I actually felt like crying. This was my prized first base glove! I've had this glove since my freshman high school coach moved me to first base 24 years ago. I love this glove – it can't be broken! It fits my hand perfect, the pocket is just right. I didn't want to think about spending the money on a new one and breaking it in all over again. I did some research and I found the name of a gentleman in Lincoln that has his own business repairing and restoring baseball gloves. He calls himself "The Glove Doctor". We spent a long time talking about gloves and the sport of baseball. I watched him re-lace a glove as we talked, and it was fascinating watching him work. He gave me some great tips on proper glove care as we talked that I want to share with you.

First, agri-lime is great for soaking up water on a baseball field so that we can get some games in, but it's terrible for everything else involved with baseball. It tears up baseball pants, eats up rubber cleats, gives you strawberries when you slide on it, and it absolutely destroys baseball gloves. Virtually all of our games this year will be played on an agri-lime field, so after every game you should inspect your glove and brush off the agri-lime dust and dirt that accumulates on it. If you need to, use a damp cloth to wipe it clean.

When you catch a baseball and stop its rotation, the baseball laces slice into leather. As you boys get older and you start to get more arm strength and rotation on the ball (like curve balls), this will be more prevalent. You should be regularly checking your glove after practices and games for damage. If your glove leather is dry, the damage can be much greater.

When it comes to moisturizing the leather and keeping it soft and supple, the best product that the Glove Doctor recommends is called "Saddle Butter". He says this is the best thing that he has ever found for taking care of your glove leather. You can find it at "Ole's Shoe Repair" at 48th and Pioneers Boulevard. A small container of the stuff will cost around $10.00, and should last you a long time. The second best product that the Glove Doctor recommends is simple petroleum jelly (Vaseline). Most everyone has a jar of petroleum jelly around the house. If you use one of these two products, your glove leather will be properly cared for. You don't want to use any oil on the glove, especially any oils made of animal fat. This is a common misconception. For years and years, people have talked of "oiling" their gloves. It is true that oiling will work, but it makes your glove heavy and attracts dust and dirt. He doesn't recommend it. He also doesn't recommend gimmicky products like "Hot Glove". If you put your glove in the oven, you will deteriorate the leather or lack thereof. Most gloves, even ones that say they are all leather, have artificial leather laces and these will really deteriorate if you cook them.

At no time should you use any product on a glove that is dirty. If you put Saddle Butter or petroleum jelly on a glove that is dirty with agri-lime dust, you will work the dust into your glove and it will deteriorate and eventually destroy the leather. Make sure your glove is clean. If your Dad (or Mom) has an air compressor, blow all of the dust and dirt off of the glove, front and back, and inside the palm area and fingers. If you don't have access to an air compressor, use a soft bristle brush to get all of the dust and dirt off of the glove, and then wipe it clean with a damp sponge or cloth. Pay particular attention to the palm area. This is where hand sweat accumulates and creates what he calls "sweat rot". Sweat rot makes the leather stiff. Make sure that your glove is dry before applying any product.

When you put the Saddle Butter or petroleum jelly on, use it sparingly in small amounts and increase the amount as needed. You don't want to slather it on and get too much product on there. Rub it into the leather – you'll know by the feel of the leather whether you need more or not. When you are not using your glove, put a ball into the pocket of the glove and wrap it up like a mummy with an old ace bandage. This will maintain the proper shape and pocket of the glove at all times. It also protects the leather from getting dirty jostling around in your bag.

If your glove has been broken and can still be repaired, I highly recommend the Glove Doctor. He is very busy, especially when baseball season is upon us, but if you can get in you'll be glad you did. His telephone number is 402-488-3044.

If your glove has passed the point that it can be saved, or if you have simply outgrown it, it is time to get a new one. When it comes to buying a glove, buy as much glove as you (or your parents) can afford. The old saying, "you get what you pay for" is very true when it comes to baseball gloves. There are gloves that are very expensive, gloves that are mid-priced (which is what a typical 11 or 12 year-old baseball player should be using), and cheap gloves that are pure junk. Most gloves are not made of true cowhide leather anymore, like the old cowhide gloves that were used by the players long ago. These gloves will truly last forever. He showed me a glove that was a "Billy Martin" model and the cowhide leather was still in perfect condition. Some gloves are not made of leather at all, but an artificial leather. These gloves are much easier to break in and play with right away, but they also don't last as long as a true leather glove. Most of the artificial leather gloves are in the junk category. A mid-priced glove should include at least a real leather palm, pocket and fingers, and hopefully the back of the glove as well. An expensive glove is fine if your parents can afford it, but you will probably outgrow it or possibly lose it at this age. I know how 11 and 12 year-olds are.

In the end, remember that our gloves are vitally important – our "tools of the trade". Inspect your glove often and keep it maintained in game-ready shape. Don't just throw it into your bag at the end of practice or the game. Remember our Heat Rules – we don't throw our gloves at any time, whether it be on the field, at a fence, or in the dugout. If you have a good glove that you take proper care of, there's no reason that it shouldn't last as long as my 24 year-old glove has. I plan on making mine last another 24 years.

Go Heat!
Coach Dan