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The Real Sacrifice

November 11, 2019
You often hear players, coaches, and parents talk about “sacrifice” from a baseball standpoint…5am workouts, lifting after a long day of school and practice, driving to the middle of no where on a weekend to compete, putting away those video games to train, etc.   While, sure, that 5am workout isn’t easy, we aren’t leaving our families for years at a time and sacrificing our lives like our veterans have done for us.    Happy Veterans Day!   Just think about that though…our veterans left THEIR families, put THEIR lives on the line, so that a bunch of people that they will never really know or meet can live a happy, safe life…without ever actually knowing what sacrifices were made on their behalf. Now that deserves our deepest of appreciations. Now that’s true sacrifice.   And all of that for little to no recognition. Let’s make it a point today to thank all of those that sacrificed literally everything so a bunch of us strangers could live our lives safely.   Make sure our Veterans feel the love today! To say that it’s well deserved may be the biggest understatement ever. THANK YOU! Be obsessed.   PS-Veterans hit for FREE today! Come in and hit some bombs on us!   Ken Spangenberg Director of Baseball Maplezone Sports Institute

What Losers are Great At

November 5, 2019
First off, let’s define what a “loser” actually is. A loser is someone who doesn’t work hard, is a bad teammate, makes excuses, acts entitled, and quits, among other things…but I think that’s a pretty good start.    Being a “loser” has NOTHING to do with your win/loss record or your batting average. Nothing.   Now that we’re on the same page, here’s another quote that I noticed this past week (but totally forget who said it so I’m sorry to whoever it was for not giving you credit for it)…   “Losers want their circumstances to be different and they use their circumstances as a reason for why they can’t produce the outcomes that they want.”   This is so true. It’s easy to point at reasons that you had a bad game…the umpire stinks, field is bad, it was too cold, your team isn’t good, it’s too early, and the list can go on and on.   We’ve all heard this from players and honestly, we’ve probably all used them ourselves. I am certainly guilty of it also.   The difference between winners and losers (again, this has nothing to do with the scoreboard) is how they handle less than ideal circumstances.    Example-The umpire stinks and is calling a pitch a foot off plate.l a strike.   Loser-Makes no adjust, complains, and has a terrible game because of it. Then complains some more. Never taking any responsibility over the situation.   Winner-Makes an adjustment. Whether it’s getting on top of the plate or being more aggressive earlier in the count…they DO something about it. They overcome the circumstances.   Whether it’s baseball or life…it’s all about handling circumstance. Nobody is going to have it easy. Struggles, difficulties, and brutal situations are going to happen. It’s inevitable.    Work on being aware enough to realize the circumstances that you’re in. Figure out what you can do about it. And then do it. Simple to say, very tough to do. But the ability to do this is not just a game changing skill, it’s a life changing skill. Own your circumstances. Be obsessed.   Ken Spangenberg Director of Baseball Maplezone Sports Institute


October 28, 2019
Here’s a tweet that caught my eye this past week from the Mariners Director of Player Development, Andy McKay (he’s a big deal)…     So if someone that high up in the MLB is telling his players this, shouldn’t it be even MORE true for younger players?   YES!   And that’s just another reason why you hear me talk negatively about GameChanger and traditional stats in general…because they don’t tell the whole story and they aren’t necessarily predictors of long term success.   That’s why, as coaches, players, and parents, we need to focus on doing and rewarding things that will be play at the next level of baseball and not get to caught up in what is “working” or not working right now.   For example, hitting the ball on the ground to the left side of the infield at 13U will result in a lot of “success”. Players aren’t used to the distance of the throw, don’t have great range, and struggle making that play at a high percentage.    Now, fast forward to the MLB (where the yearly fielding percentage is typically around .984)…hitting that same ball will not result in much success. At all.   Hit the ball hard. Make quality pitches. Compete. And if things don’t go your way…work on being mentally tough enough to get right back in the game and attack the next pitch. That’s a formula that will help you be successful in the long term. Be obsessed.    Ken Spangenberg Director of Baseball Maplezone Sports Institute

Status Update: I am a Crazy Parent

October 21, 2019
So for you that don’t know, my wife and I had our first kid this past Tuesday! Brette Spangenberg…healthy 8lb 2oz baby girl!   As I’m talking to other people about their kids, inevitably, one of the first things people talk about is the baby’s weight at birth. Brette weighs in slightly bigger than average, so I found myself thinking, “ha my baby is bigger than yours!”, as people told me about their babies who just happened to be smaller. After doing this a handful of times, it hit me…I’m being a crazy parent! Now for those of you that haven’t heard me talk about this topic before, I think parents get a very bad wrap. 99% of parents just simply love the hell out of their kids, are very proud of their accomplishments, and are inherently very  protective of their kids (rightfully so!)…but sometimes, in the heat of the moment, that can cause an emotional reaction or thought that isn’t the optimal for their kid’s career long term.   Why the heck does it matter who’s baby weighs more at birth? The truth is pretty simple…it doesn’t. I was just caught being proud of my daughter. Instead ofcomparing my baby vs others, I should’ve just been enjoying my time with her.   The balancing act we go through, as parents, is loving the heck out of our kids, being proud of them and their accomplishments, while not being caught in the trap of comparison because at the end of the day, it’s not about our egos or about what other players are doing…it’s about our kids and helping them develop tools that will help them be success as their careers grow.   So who’s baby weighs the most right now doesn’t matter. What matters is that our kids know they are loved and supported…and not because of an accomplishment or their place on a leader board, but because of their dedication, effort, and type of person that they are. Be obsessed.    Ken Spangenberg Director of Baseball Maplezone Sports Institute


We are grateful for the experience that Ethan is getting and appreciate all you and the other coaches do for the kids. You guys are very good with the kids run a great program.

Crissi, MSI Parent

Brooke is throwing her change-ups and they are working big time! The girls were way ahead of the pitch. Brooke could not stop smiling!
Nice work coach!

Scott, MSI Lesson Client

I wanted to thank you again for putting on a great winter lacrosse league. This was our first year in your league, and it was the best winter league we have played. We will definitely be participating next year.

Jeff, MSI Lacrosse League Client

The instruction and guidance offered to Michael by Corey during a batting session is truly appreciated. Just to see Michael’s expression when he gets that “ha-ha” moment after Corey improves his swing or stance is priceless. Everyone at MSI is truly wonderful. Please convey my Thank you!

Teresa Eze, MSI Parent

Chris, Just wanted to say you did a hell of a job getting everybody 3 pool play games. I’m sure it was a scheduling nightmare. That’s why you’re the best!!

Tom Hunter, MSI Tournament Client

Andrew did a great job with Daniel, he really liked his lesson. We will be putting him on schedule for lesson every week till the start of the season in March.

Paul Jacobs, MSI Parent

Thank you very much for allowing me and my teammates to use your facility, it’s the perfect place to get everything we need done to get ready for the upcoming season!

Edwin Lee, Goldey-Beacom College 1B/OF

Our MSI experience has been amazing. My daughter is about to start her 3rd year of softball. Michelle has been incredible with her. She is very new to catching and her first 2 lessons have helped her gain some confidence. She is so excited for her next lesson! We will definitely continue with lessons and clinics.

Julie Bossler, MSI Lesson Client

I cannot say more about how wonderful Cory is with my son!! He has made such a positive impact on my son’s hitting and is always kind and respectful of him. I constantly recommend him to my many baseball mom friends!!!

Julie McHugh, MSI Lesson Client

My son Cole raved about his experience with Carlos. This is his first year in little league and he has been very intimidated with batting. We are hoping the lessons will give him more skill and confidence so he can enjoy his experience to the fullest. So far, things seem great.

Lori Captain, MSI Lesson Client

Nick did a great job instructing my son Patrick. He took the time to teach him the proper mechanics and build his confidence at the same time… I was very impressed with Nicks ability to get through to my son and get him to respond much better than I could.

Rick Godfrey, MSI Lesson Client

Pat Shevlin was great. We’ll be back. Thanks!

Ian McDonald, MSI Lesson Client

Great lesson with Cory last night. My son responded to the couple flaws Cory picked up quickly. He hasn’t listened to me in 15yrs but listened to Cory in 30 min.
Thank you.

Stan Ciesielka, MSI Lesson Client

Chris, I wanted to compliment you, your staff and your location. This was my first visit to your facility and I was very impressed. I have played in dozens of venues on the east coast and our experience this weekend was one of my most enjoyable. The umpires, staff and facility were A+, and we as an organization can’t wait to come back in July! The competition was strong in the playoffs and we look forward to playing many tournaments in the future. I will be spreading the word here in CT about your facility for 12U and up! Thanks again,

Bill Granata, MSI Baseball Tournament Client