Before the ump yells ‘Play ball!’

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by Cathie Lawrence

Baseball was developed more than 150 years ago in the northeast and is now America’s No.2 favorite sport based on TV viewing records. But before the fans hear “Play ball!” from the head umpire, much has to be done whether you are playing in the major leagues or at Los Medanos College.
Both the field of play and the players taking the field must have it ready for game time. The field must be cared for and prepared. Grass needs to be watered and soil raked. Large canvas tarps protecting the field must be rolled and removed. The field needs to be striped and the pitcher’s mound strengthened with fresh turf material.
Players must also be prepped to be at their competitive best. Pitching skills must be developed and fine-tuned since games are often won “on the mound.”
The finer points of batting skills must be honed by each player. Basics such as catching fly balls and fielding grounders must be reinforced.
Injuries must be treated with sound physical therapy techniques but better yet prevented by warming up with stretching exercises during practice and before a game.
The players, through their confidence gained by hours of practice, must adopt a winning attitude before the first pitch is thrown.
So before the fans arrive to fill the stands, a lot of baseball has already been played out behind the scenes.

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  • LMC pitchers Spencer Vincent and Matt Davis remove a mat that was used during practice to protect the turf between the pitcher's mound and home plate, Apr.11, 2016. in Pittsburg, Calif.

  • Five LMC baseball players are warming up with stretches before they practice, Mar. 30, 2016, in Pittsburg, Calif.

  • LMC baseball player is adjusting the water sprayer to water the field after practice. Mar. 30, 2016. in Pittsburg, Calif.

  • LMC baseball team moves the batting cage called a "Bubble" back to the side lines before a game. Apr. 11, 2016. in Pittsburg, Calif.

  • LMC Assistant Coach Brett Ringer using what players fondly call "Iron Mike" to throw balls so they can improve catching skills. Apr. 8, 2016, in Pittsburg, Calif. .

  • LMC Assistant Coach Chris Bodishbaugh collecting balls after practice, Apr. 22, 2016, in Pittsburg, Calif.

  • LMC Assistant Coach Chris Bodishbaugh is pitching balls to players during batting practice. Apr. 4, 2016, in Pittsburg, Calif.

  • LMC baseball player Gabe Taylor practices his bunting style while other players look and learn, Apr. 1, 2016, in Pittsburg, Calif

  • LMC baseball pitchers Jake Brandt and Matt Davis adding a bag of turf to strengthen the pitching mound, Apr. 21, 2016, in Pittsburg, Calif.

  • LMC baseball players Matt Davis and Alec McCauley are putting in the lines for home plate, Apr. 11, 2016, in Pittsburg, Calif.

  • Play ball! The field, the players and equipment are ready for the first pitch of the game being thrown by LMC pitcher Jake Brandt to a Contra Costa Comet, Apr. 11, 2016 in Pittsburg, Calif.

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