SU’s Anderson delivers message like a pro at Cal Ripken Banquet of Champions
WINCHESTER — Kevin Anderson admitted before his speech at the 2014 Cal Ripken 10-Year-Old World Series Banquet of Champions Friday night that he would probably have a hard time living up to his predecessor.
As the Shenandoah University baseball coach put it, his baseball career doesn’t really stack up to former Baltimore Orioles pitcher Scott McGregor, who was the keynote speaker in 2011.
But even though he may not have had the kind of stories that come from a 13-year career in the majors like McGregor, Anderson delivered the perfect blend of instruction, motivation and charm in a speech that had all of the players, coaches and parents in attendance at Jim Barnett Park’s War Memorial Building standing and applauding when it was over.
“He did a great job, just like we knew he would when we asked him,” said World Series host president and Winchester Parks and Recreation Department assistant director Lisa Hamaker. “We knew he had a unique perspective with not only being SU’s baseball coach, but also having a son who was on the 2011 team. He was perfect for this role.”
Anderson was front and center three years ago as a parent — his son Kooper Anderson was an outfielder for the 2011 Winchester team that reached the Cal Ripken 10-Year-Old World Series finals — and he drew on his experiences as a player and coach in addressing the crowd Friday.
“For you coaches it’s all about the relationships you’ve formed with your players and your parents,” said Anderson, whose Hornet teams have won nearly 200 games since 2009, multiple conference regular season championships and a pair of South Region titles. “For the parents it’s about trust, trust the coaches, trust the players and be supportive.
“And for the players it’s about the three ‘C’s.’ Control what you can control, have confidence in what you’re doing and no matter what, compete.”
This was just one of the many messages delivered by Anderson to the crowded gymnasium that brought all 10 World Series teams together for the first time.
The nearly two-hour event featured player introductions, a welcoming from Winchester Mayor Liz Minor and some words of encouragement from Babe Ruth League board member Steven “Spike” Hupka and Hamaker.
Anderson said at the outset that his speech was going to come in threes, because that’s the magic number in baseball with three strikes and three outs, and he kept that promise.
From describing his philosophy on the days of the week — yesterday, tomorrow and today — to the types of coach people can be — preventative, reactionary, or someone who looks the other way — Anderson continually drove home the point that the players, coaches and players all had a hand in reaching the national tournament.
“When you look back this is going to be one of the best baseball experiences you’ve ever had, so enjoy it,” Anderson said. “You have a great opportunity in front of you, so make good choices and good decisions.”
Anderson recognized Winchester Parks and Recreation Department director Jennifer Jones and her staff for the work they’ve done on Yost Field, which will host all of the games starting today and running through Saturday, Aug. 16, and had all the parents and family members in attendance stand up and take a bow for their support and sacrifice.
He wowed the crowd with a riddle that had everyone wondering about orange kangaroos in Denmark, got more than a few laughs while recalling the assortment of noises he made in the stands whenever Kooper was at bat and reminded everyone to have fun no matter what.
“I can’t wait to watch you all play, I can’t wait to watch you coach and I can’t wait to watch you manage,” Anderson said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, make the most of it.”
— Contact Kevin Trudgeon at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow on Twitter @WinStarSports