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Exclusive Interview: Boyertown Manager Rick Moatz - Pt 2

This is part two of our exclusive interview with Boyertown manager Rick Moatz.



PA ALB


In years past, Boyertown has hosted teams from all over the eastern United States.  How does your team approach scheduling your non-league schedule, and do you generally have an overwhelming response to play games at Bear Stadium? 


Coach Moatz


We usually have a pretty good number of requests from teams who are either travelling and playing in the Mid-Atlantic region or teams who come and play year in and year out.  Because of our PA post-season tournament schedule and short league season it's almost impossible for us to travel and play away from home anymore.  It's good to have a facility as nice as ours and have goodt eams from out of state wanting to play here.


PA ALB

Has your strategy as a coach changed over the years?  Years ago teams seemed to be in disbelief that your clean-up hitter was willing and able to sacrifice runners over for the good of the team.  Now, it seems like many teams in Boyertown’s area have taken to this small ball approach.  Have you personally noticed a transition of this kind at all? 


Coach Moatz


My philosophies of coaching baseball have not changed very much over the years but the strategies I use year to year and with each team are probably not always the same.  I believe you have to have a base plan that everyone is keyed into.  Most times the players are already thinking what they are going to be doing when they come upon a situation in a game because it is the basis of what we are trying to do.   However, there is always the coaches discretion to alter that thinking.  When we do that we have usually worked on it and practiced with it for a particular situation or time of the game.  Many teams have tried to copy or emulate our play.  Many have used some concepts and adapted others.  Look at the college game today. Every team employs some type of small ball play even at the Division 1 level. So you ask about the four hitter bunting someone over to put them in scoring position?  Will your four hitter be a four hitter at the collegiate level or will he be 7, 8, or 9?   We teach the game and we teach our kids to put pressure on the other team.  As I watch the MLB playoffs it seems pressure even affects those guys. 

 

PA ALB


One question inevitably comes up when discussing Boyertown baseball and we’d like to get your take on it.  Over the years, Boyertown’s high school varsity team has enjoyed a good amount of success, but that success has hailed in comparison to that of the legion team.  Why do you think that is?  Is it simply the format of the game in which a few aces can win you a ton of high school games, while an entire pitching staff is needed for a legion title run? 


Coach Moatz


I do agree that the High School game is set up to be dominated by a team with one or two good pitchers.  It is also a 7 inning game rather than a 9 inning game which also plays into the one or two pitcher staff. Our legion team also has players from the college ranks and players that are in our school district but play elsewhere that are able to play.  Our High School program has given us a great amout of support and collaboration. They have been very successful with the players they have and we then get to add additional eligible players to enhance that roster.  Our staffs have some of the same people and work with the same philosophies.  So our kids are hearing and practicing the same way thoughout the season.  The success of either program is inherent upon the other.


PA ALB

The mindset surrounding the game as a whole has certainly changed in recent years.  As Coach Manero alluded to in his ‘Pay to Play’ article, many parents feel obligated to sign their sons up for AAU ball in hopes of getting them discovered by scouts and college coaches.  Do you think this trend is hurting legion baseball?  And as a coach that has seen many fine players move on to college ball after high school, do you think your players are at a disadvantage for getting noticed without attending showcases and the like?  


Coach Manero


I have read Coach Manero's article and feel it is right on target.  It's unfortunate that some players feel this need to be seen or they aren't going to be able to play in college.  If you're a Division 1  player they will find you!  If you're not, you need to find all the ways possible to contact and search for a Division II or III program that you're comfortable with.  We have graduated 69% of our players onto playing at the collegiate level in the past 12 years. Showcases are only one way of gettting your name and player ID out there. There are other ways that may be through a college assistance business or by developing a plan with your coaches and guidance counselors.  Most Division II or III college coaches won't come seeking you out.  You have to take the reigns and look for what you want.


PA ALB

Have any great stories to tell from your time as a manager and legion coach?  Any substance to the rumors you’re on the short list to replace Charlie Manuel when he retires? 


Coach Moatz


MOST of the stories I remembered shouldn't be told for one reason or another.  But I remember the 2007 World Series game in Bartlesville, OK when we were rain delayed for several hours.  As we started the game at 10:58pm we were not really on top of our game and went down to Eden Prairie, MN  by 7 or 8 runs in the third.  Our pitcher didn't have it and we reluctantly threw a rookie into the fire by the name of Aaron Wilkins who shutdown the Minnesotans and we made a dramatic come from behind victory in extra innings to win our second game of the series.  We pulled an all-nighter in the hospitality room!  I'm sure I'm on a lot of lists, but to replace Charlie wouldn't be one of them!

 


 

We hope you've enjoyed reading the interview and want to thank Coach Moatz again for taking the time to do this!



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