Over 250 Benefit From Ruffnecks Fall!

Over 250 Benefit From Ruffnecks Fall!

NEBC is Terrific new Home

Derek Jeter – A Reflection and a Lesson

Derek Jeter – A Reflection and a Lesson

Jeter Leaves Important Legacy for All

New Complex Means More Ruffnecks Development

New Complex Means More Ruffnecks Development

Ruffnecks at the Core of Development

Over 250 Benefit From Ruffnecks Fall!

More than 250 players have participated in a variety of Ruffnecks Fall Baseball programs since the first weekend after Labor Day.  And never have there been more opportunities to play, participate, and develop.  Fall Baseball, by definition, is a relaxed atmosphere in which players get to play baseball once or twice a week.  Even though the game is not designed for that kind of intermittent play, fall ball presents an environment where players can experiment, manage their own work load, and play baseball simply to keep sharp.  The brand new NEBC (New England Baseball Complex) creates a spectacular venue to take advantage of Fall Baseball in New England.  The following is how the Fall Program has shaken out for Ruffnecks.


First of all, Fall Baseball is an opportunity for players from many different backgrounds to experience the Ruffnecks program up close.  It provides a chance for the program to open its doors.  With the advent of the NEBC, players in Ruffnecks Fall Baseball have had opportunities to play in purely developmental, drill-oriented sessions, as well as in Fall League games and intrasquad games.  Each is a slightly different experience.  At the College Prep level there is more emphasis on games.  At the High School Wood Bat level, there is a balance between league play and intrasquad play, where coaches can focus more closely on individual development.  And of course, the 13U Fall Program has become well known for its emphasis on development and teaching, with up to 15-18 coaches working with 60 new 13 year olds on the “big diamond.”

13U Fall Program

The program is filled to capacity for the fourth consecutive year, serving 60 players who seek to improve their skills and advance to baseball as it was designed!  For six to seven weeks players participate in a variety of drills that introduce new elements and concepts that are either missing from, or are overlooked, from baseball on the smaller diamonds.  Drills lead to concepts; concepts lead to greater understanding; greater understanding leads to the ability to play game situations on the full sized field.  Teaching is paramount as players gradually adapt to game situations.  While 13U Fall Baseball also serves the Ruffnecks program as part of the selection process for next year’s team, it is a development program first and foremost.

High School Wood Bat Program

The High School Wood Bat program serves over 130 players ages 14U to 16U.  Over 100 are new to the Ruffnecks.  The program is designed to provide maximum flexibility and attendance options.  Rosters are constructed weekly based on the availability of individuals, positional needs, and pitching interest.  With rosters constantly shuffled, players get to play with many different players and against each other.  There is a blend of competition against outside opponents (in the NEBC Fall League) and competition against each other in games with two Ruffnecks rosters playing with umpires.

College Prep Program

The College Prep program has taken on a new dimension in Fall 2014.  Not only is the NEBC a valuable resource that ensures playability, it has become an attractive spot for college coaches to visit while evaluating future college talent.  The College Prep Fall League provides consistent weekly competition and opportunities for high school varsity level players to get their work in.  With the creation of the October Classic Fall Tournament, the spotlight has expanded to the activities at NEBC. Participants in the Ruffnecks Fall College Prep program are the beneficiaries.  With 60 new players and 20-30 returning Ruffnecks filtering into weekly rosters, the College Prep Program provides the same flexibility as the High School Wood Bat Program.  Players can manage their schedule and even advance heir recruiting efforts.

Future is Bright

The future is exciting, indeed.  The Ruffnecks will continue to roll out sound developmental programs and clinics for our own players and others in the greater baseball community.  Plans are under way for a Catcher Clinic, a Hitting Clinic, and other skill and position-oriented development opportunities.  The NEBC provides a spectacular “home” for the program, but it also provides a great place for the program to welcome others.  Fall 2014 has been a good start.

Derek Jeter – A Reflection and a Lesson

It is difficult to express why it matters… but it matters.  As we conduct our player and parent meetings with prospective Ruffnecks, a gem of a ball player has traveled through his final moments playing while it still “matters.”  And what a demonstration of what really matters!  Yes, this is a ramble of a blog, because many of the players in Ruffnecks uniforms may have watched the final game, the final at-bat, and the final heroics, of perhaps the greatest player of a generation.  Some may have been asleep or doing homework, but this was a moment that transcends the game.  It brings a gulp and lump to the throat… an actual tear… a bafflement in the wonder of baseball. It is a moment that articulates what we in the Ruffnecks program endeavor to teach, express, communicate.  How can a game do this?  How can a game of unpredictable circumstances script a moment where Derek Jeter comes to bat in the bottom of the 9th in his final game at Yankee Stadium and delivers a hit to win the game!?  Really?  Every kid who lies in bed dreaming of baseball has dreamed that moment.  We just watched it.  With modern media and technology, we can watch it over and over, but nothing matches watching it happen in real time… This is why it matters.  Real time has the threat of failure to rise to the moment.  Real time is uncertain.  In real time one cannot always control emotions or even cope with “what am I hoping for?’

So what are the lessons, and what matters?  Playing the game of baseball for real… while it matters… on a team… with a sense of united purpose… all this lasts a short time.  Jeter’s time lasted longer than most (a 20 year pro career).  But for Ruffnecks players it really begins at 13 and lasts (if the player enjoys four years of college baseball) for nine or ten years on the big diamond.  What matters is playing baseball with the humble stoicism of Derek Jeter.  His legacy of being a “winner” is underscored by having NEVER been voted the Most Valuable Player of the American League.  The lessons of Jeter’s play is all about TEAM.  It is raising the bar for others and elevating the play of those around him.  Derek Jeter is not the “greatest hitter who ever lived,” neither is he the greatest player of all time.  But Derek Jeter may have played the game the “Right Way” more consistently than any player… ever.  He hustles and plays the game with keenly trained instincts.  There are fundamental truths to the game of baseball and in life.  Some are obvious, and some are very difficult to understand, or even to identify.  But there are unshakable, fundamental truths nonetheless.  Derek Jeter honored those truths with his approach, his professionalism, loyalty, and his pursuit of excellence.

As young players and their families explore teams and programs, they express their hopes, aspirations, goals, and objectives.  The majority have good intentions, though sometimes misguided ones.  Some look for teams that have the best players; some for programs that play in the Super-Duper Divison of some league; some want to play for the “Elite-Whatevers.” Indeed the Ruffnecks have not learned all the lessons or all the fundamental truths, so we strive each day to deliver our best efforts in pursuit of those truths. It is doubtful that Derek Jeter has discovered them all either.  But what has been apparent for a long time is that Jeter strives to play the game with respect.  He wears his uniform the same way… the right way… every day.  He never shows up a teammate, even if that player doesn’t match his skill or even his passion.  He doesn’t need to surround himself with the “best” players to succeed; he makes himself the best he can be and inspires others to follow.  The Yankees do not win every game or every World Series Championship… but they are always in the conversation… and Derek Jeter has been part of and has defined that conversation for 20 years.

He played his final game in Yankee Stadium.  He choked back his own emotions.  He picked up his team.  He found himself confronting the circumstances of the great fundamental truth that one never knows when the “moment” may present itself.  He succeeded heroically, though he (and we) were all prepared in case he failed.  He made us cry.  He walked off thanking others.  Thank you Derek Jeter.

Fall Baseball Notices

(Updated Monday, Oct, 13 at 5:00pm)

13U Ruffnecks Fall Baseball
Sunday, October 19
8:30 - 11:30

HS Wood Ruffnecks Fall Baseball
Weekend October 18-19
Players should report 30 miuntes prior to Game Time
Assignments to be posted Wednesday, Oct. 15

College Prep Ruffnecks Fall Baseball
Tournament: October 18-193
Rosters to be posted Wednesday, Oct. 15


Ruffnecks Golf Outing

The New England Baseball Complex is located at:

333 Southwest Cutoff

Northborough, MA 01532


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