WebBall founder Todd honored

 * Richard Todd, founder of WebBall web site was named in the builder's category to the Roll of Honor at the BC Minor awards banquet at the Langley Events Centre. ....  

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By Bob Elliott

LANGLEY, BC _ There were a million stories and almost as many sites during the internet era.

Richard Todd was one of those dreamers.

Battling word press.

Putting up pitching, hitting and practice drills.

Answering emails.

Clearing up questions.

Scouring all the resources he could find to help promote the game of baseball.

A funny thing happened while Todd was spending all those hours banging away at his machine.

His site -- WebBall Baseball’s Resource Center -- grew and grew.

It grew to the point where he was mentioned in USA Today Baseball Weekly.

He even hobnobbed with the rich folks at Forbes.com.

Yet, he never knew for sure.

That is until the annual BC Minor awards banquet at the Langley Events Centre.

Todd was one of three men presented with Roll of Honour awards.

“I’ve done things here and I didn’t even realize what I’d done or that anyone around here was paying attention,” Todd told the crowd when the applause finally quieted down.

Todd’s site, which covers all ages, helps coaches plan practice and athletes improve.

WebBall was founded in 1996 to help his own team and by 1999 it became a business,

WebBall reaches baseball people in at least a dozen countries, but most of its followers are south of the border.

Like so many, Todd’s passion was passed down from his father, also named Richard from watching the Montreal Expos early years at Jarry Park.

An active coach for 25 years he also served on the BC Baseball board.

Little did Todd know he was a leader, a baseball leader, touching lives ... spreading lollipops, and touching people he wasn't even aware of ... as Drew Dudley speaks about in this clip.


Speakers: The clinicians and presenters at the coaches’ clinic and talking to high performance players were: Former Blue Jays Lloyd Moseby and Rance Mulliniks were teaching and instructing, along with former Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Reggie Smith, Baseball Canada’s director of national teams Greg Hamilton, Chicago’s Peter Caliendo of USA Baseball; Ron Davini of Tempe, Az., former Team USA Coach; Seattle’s Pete Wilkinson; Rick Johnston of The Baseball Zone in Mississauga; Randy Town, a college coach in California and born in Vancouver; Marty Lehn former team Canada coach, who runs Big League Experience camp in Canada; Vancouver’s Matt Holtzman and Dave Empey, who coached the likes of Ryan Dempster, James Paxton and Simon Pond were on the roster major domo Mike Kelly rounded up.


Best speaker: Impossible to tell, but we did hear Hamilton speak to coaches and he was outstanding. Meanwhile Johnston was impressive working with Smith, the former Dodgers hitting coach invited him to Los Angeles for a few days this summer.


Best story: Smith told of playing for the 1974 St. Louis Cardinals. St. Louis and the Pittsburgh Pirates entered the next-to-last day of the season tied for first place with 86-74 records.

“We had Bob Gibson on the mound and Al Hrabosky warming in the bullpen and a 2-1 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth,” Smith told the crowd as MC (Hammer) Rob Fai asked the questions.

Willie Davis singled with two out and stole second to bring up Mike Jorgenson and he “homered into the pool beyond the right field fence.” Dale Murray recorded the save.

But the Cards were not eliminated yet. The next night in Montreal the Cards-Expos game was rained out. So, the Cards gathered in the lobby to the Queen Elizabeth Hotel and made phone calls to Pittsburgh and had phones placed beside radios.

They took turns standing in the bank of four phone booths listening to the Pirates game on KDKA from Three Rivers Stadium and relaying the messages to teammates like Ted Simmons, Joe Torre, Ted Sizemore, Mike Tyson, Ken Reitz, Lou Brock, Bake McBride, Tim McCarver, Lynn McGlothen, John Curtis, Alan Foster, Sonny Siebert, Bob Forsch and others.

This was a tad before the internet era kiddies.

Players put coins into the phones to keep the lines open.

The Cubs were leading 4-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth.

“Lead-off walk to Richie Zisk,” said one listener.

Miguel Dilone, pinch running,” said another.

Manny Sanguillen walked -- how can they walk Manny Sanguillen?” came the next report ... with editorial content.

“They bunted ‘em over, one out second and third,” was next.

Dave Parker pinch hits and grounded out ... runs scores ... it’s OK ... two out.”

Bob Robertson not hitting ... strike three ... he struck him out ...”

“Hold on a second ... dropped third strike. Steve Swisher didn’t catch the ball ... Tie game.”

Rennie Stennett ground outs ... we’re going to extras.”

And in the 10th the Cubs went down in order and in the bottom half, Al Oliver hit a one-out triple off Ken Frailing. The Cubs walked the bases loaded intentionally and with two out Sanguillen singled home Oliver.

Game over ... season over for the Cardinals.


Best line: Rance Mulliniks discussing a former opponent who wasn’t a very good player ... “Aw he couldn’t play dead in a Western.”


Second best line: MC Ron Fai noticing Mike Kelly approaching wearing a checker board sweater “I think that the tarp from Nat Bailey is missing.”


Others Lloyd Moseby on former teammate George Bell: “George would give you the shirt off his back ... mind you it would be an old shirt.”

Fai after BC president Mike Sarai made the welcome remarks: “The last banquet I was at after the opening remarks the speaker torched Rogers Communications.”

Moseby on his son Lydell Moseby, who played at Bluefield last season: “It’s nerve wracking, I feel like I am 112 years old. I’m pulling for him. It would be my dream come true, it’s all about the kids.”

Moseby on choosing baseball over hoops: “I liked basketball, after I was drafted I chose the money. I was drafted in 1978 and was sent to Medicine Hat. The next year I went to spring training -- I thought I was going to make the team. I was 19. I stayed at Dunedin, the next year played 37 games at Syracuse and was in the majors.”

Moseby on the pressure of playing in the majors: “Pressure? Pressure was growing up in Oakland and staying away from the police.”

Mulliniks on the use of advanced sabermetrics in use in the majors today: “What the heck is sabermetrics? For me, playing the game was the thing.


Roll of honor awards Joining Richard Todd were ...

Warren Karsgaard, Richmond City. Involved in the game for 43 years with stops in Dunbar, Richmond and the LMDA. With 22 years in the LMBA he is a founder, player and manager to this day. He spent many years until 2011 as a board member with Richmond City.

Vince and Maurice Restoule, Burnaby Minor. For almost 30 years after moving west from Scarborough the pair have been involved, playing two seasons, then beginning coaching as teenagers and they have been coaching ever since. Besides coaching they have been involved running concessions, fund raising, managing, tournament and provincial organizing, serving on boards from president to registrar. They’ve been involved with 12 teams that made provincials and one at the Westerns, winning one Provincial, finishing second twice and once at the Westerns.


Umpire Greg Harrison, South Burnaby After starting umping at age 13 and was a tad stressed ... so stressed he almost left the field. He stuck with it, met Sean Weatherill and has worked Provincials and been umpire in chief for two years.

He attended the 2013 Super Clinic and attain Level 3 status and last year workeed the John Main tourney, the 15U Cloverdale/White Rock tourney, the 13U qualifier in Vancouver and the 15U AA and the 15U provincials.


Coach of the Year 11U Pete Davey, Ridge Meadows He created “Friday Night Lights” and “Chalk Talk.” His players were interviewed at a skills competition told the crowd that their coach was the best part of baseball to them.

13U Scott Lunny, Richmond City. He played his youth ball for West Richmond reaching the provincials, Westerns and earned a bronze with the BC team at the midget nationals.

He began coaching univeritsy in Kits and then Little Mountain, then coaching his three sons from Blastball to peewee, and now watches them play bantam and midget.

Recently he has coached peewee AA and AAA with year round games and training sessions, while continuing to play in the over 30 LMBA for the Richmond Raineers.

15U Garnett Pawliw, Cloverdale. His bantam AA team won the Provincial and Gold at the BC Summer Games, as well as bronze at the Canadian nationals. Since joining Cloverdale he has won four provincial titles, a Western and in 2012 his pee wee team went a perfect 44-0.

18U Sean Wandler, Kamloops. He begins his 16th with the midget AAA RiverDogs going 310-194 including 14 appearances at the Provincials reaching the championship final four rimes and winning in 2007 and 2011.

Along with three Western Canada appearances he has been on staff for Team BC at the Midget nationals on five different years. The Dawgs have sent 29 players to college ball, 15 to the 18U Team BC select program, three players to the Canadian Junior National teams and five have been drafted.


Athletes John Main Tournament Luke Szmutko, Abbotsford. With the Abbotsford Angels he won two Provincials and was with Team BC at the peewee Nationals. He came third in the home run derby and was Team BC’s MVP in the national championship final game.

Oustanding male athlete Bradley Teasdale, Comox Valley. A hard worker who never shows bad sportsmanship, he does not judge others by their abilities. He always provides positive feedback and encouragement.


Oustanding female athlete Stephanie Russo, Rutland. A veteran of the Selects program she played for the 16U Selects and the 20U Selects at the Nationals.


Elizabeth Bampton Memorial Award Sofi Jansch, Greater Victoria.

The unsung hero played for both the 16U and the 20U Selects.


Team of the Year, North Delta Rays, 11U. The mosquito team opened the summer in the Surrey Canadians Mosquito AA All-star tourney and came within a strike of winning it all against older competition. They finished in the top three in the Lower Mainland with a 5-3 mark, played in the AA Provincials going 3-1 in their pool, losing to Abbotsford and beating Burnaby to win bronze.


Association of the Year, North Delta. In its 53rd year the association improved on its coaching clinics, umpire’s clinics winter training, as well as hosting the Coaches Caravan so NCCP credentials were made available to all coaches. The association unveiled a new summer team and played under one name - The Ray. They founded the 8U summer tournament and the 11U Jeff Francis tourney. North Delta hosted the 13U Provincials.


Meritorious award

To Chicago’s Pete Caliendo. He posed with the three former winners Baseball Canada president Ray Carter, MC Rob Fai and some other guy for pictures. Caliendo is the president of Caliendo Sports International, is vice-president of the International Sports Group, a non profit group which sets up 10-to-12 coaching seminars around the world and he also makes extentsive coaching winter tours through BC.