NEW BRITAIN - Roberto Mercado called it a humbling experience.
That’s how the New Britain baseball head coach described being a presenter at the World Baseball Convention at Mohegan Sun back in January.
“I’ve been going to conventions for some time now and it’s cool to be going from an attendee to a presenter,” Mercado said. “It was a cool experience.”
The head coach was among 39 others who were there to talk about the different aspects of the sport from batting practice and fielding drills to throwing programs for pitchers to how to build a successful program.
Each presentation lasted about 45 minutes and included tutorials from Yankees pitcher J.A. Happ; Rays manager Kevin Cash; former Major Leaguer Mark DeRosa; Matt Hyde, the Northeast Area Scout for the Yankees; Mike Bell, the head coach at Pitt and former pitching coach at Florida State; and Scott Stricklin, the head coach at Georgia, among others.
Mercado gave his presentation on a high school coach’s checklist from September to the first game of the season, breaking down areas from fundraising to workout programs to tryouts and offseason practice routines.
“I got a lot of positive feedback on it,” Mercado said.
The Hurricanes head coach was first approached with the idea of presenting at the forum by Adam Jasemsky and Rick Orluk, who run marketing and event operations for the World Baseball Convention. The two learned of Mercado through his summer coaching job as an assistant in the Cape Cod League, which often features some of the best collegiate players in the country.
“They got a hold of my resume and asked me if I would be interested in giving a presentation on high school baseball,” Mercado said. “It was an honor.”
It didn’t take long for Mercado to accept from there.
And before and after his presentation, Mercado make sure to attend or get the information from a number of panelists as well. As he puts it, it’s never a bad opportunity to learn and pick up some new tips and drills to bring into a program.
From Steve Trimper, the head coach of Stenson University, Mercado took some little nuances about base running and the hit and run. There was the throwing program Bell uses with his pitchers at Pitt and how a program in the SEC - Georgia - goes about its practices.
“I think it’s huge,” Mercado said. “We ask our players to continue to work hard and getting better and we as coaches need to do the same. I need to be a sponge and learn as much as I can to teach our players so they can continue to work to get better.”
Overall, it was quite experience for the head coach and the opportunity it presents not only his program at New Britain, but the city as well.
“A big thing is representing New Britain and resenting the city in the right way,” Mercado said. “And being able to represent that was a blessing and an honor. I know there might be some negative news or perception about New Britain, but it’s always nice to highlight the positives.”
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org