Here We Go Again

(Left to right) Jordan Renz, Hank Conger, Ryan Mount, Chris Pettit, and Mark Trumbo were the instructors at Saturday’s Quakes youth baseball clinic.

For the sixth straight year, the Quakes hosted a youth baseball clinic at The Epicenter as a kickoff for the minor league season to come.

For those of us who are part of the Quakes’ extended family, it’s an opportunity to see familiar faces and start planning for the upcoming season. Sure, it’s a youth baseball clinic, but the Quakes staff is there, many of the boosters and host parents show up, and it helps to get your mind geared up for the next season. My mantra at these events is, "Here we go again."

This year’s event was a little different, in that several Angels top prospects who happen to live nearby were brought in to help teach the clinic. Most of the players will be on the Quakes roster this year.

For Hank Conger, Mark Trumbo, and Ryan Mount, it was their first time on The Epicenter field. Although they were focused on teaching the youngsters, they couldn’t help but look around and check out their new workplace. Jordan Renz, who played for the Quakes in 2007, spent the winter in SoCal rather than return to his home in Oklahoma. And Chris Pettit returned for the first, and most likely last, time since winning the Angels’ 2007 minor league player of the year award.

I’d guess there were something like 300 kids in attendance, so the players get a lot of help running this show. The Quakes’ front office coordinates, of course, but the Angels’ new farm director Abe Flores was on the field too. Abe told me he worked many youth clinics over the years when he was trying to make a living as an amateur coach and scout, so he knew what had to be done to keep the event on schedule. Kevin Vann volunteers his time with the Angels’ community relations department to lead many youth baseball clinics in Orange County and the Inland Empire.

Tony Reagins, recently promoted to general manager, showed up and found out what it was like to be Bill Stoneman the last eight seasons. I overheard some kids asking Tony why he traded Orlando Cabrera, and if there would be any more trades. It must be dangerous to go out in public when you’re a GM.

The one man who truly impressed me was Bo Hughes. Bo is a longtime Angels scout. He’s currently their Western Supervisor. Abe told me that Bo has served as technical advisor on many baseball films. Watching him work with these kids, it was evident he’s had a lot of experience as a baseball instructor and he’s good at it.

I filmed the event and edited it into a video that runs a little over eleven minutes. Click Here to watch the video. You need Windows Media Player and a broadband (cable modem, DSL) Internet connection to watch. You’ll see the five players and Kevin Vann, but most of the instructional footage is Bo Hughes. Enjoy.


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