By Hayley Tafuro
NEW CANAAN —Long seasons aren’t just for the pros anymore, and the members of the Stamford Senior Legion baseball team can attest to that. Most of them have been playing baseball nonstop since as early as March.
Now, near the end of the regular season and into the dog days of summer, it’s hard to say that their ongoing schedules have not taken a toll on their physical state, as much as they push themselves to play through it.
Sometimes injuries are inevitable, but the coaching staff of Stamford Legion has the goal to prevent as many injuries as possible by keeping the health of their players at the top of their list.
“Conditioning is very important, because we’re playing every day, sometimes twice a day,” Coach Kevin Murray said. “It gets really tight, and we’re battling a couple of injuries right now.”
Of the injuries that the team is facing right now, Murray says it’s just some bruised wrists, knees and general wear and tear.
“It’s varied, but we’re lucky to not have any arm injuries, just tired bodies,” he said.
RJ Moavero, the team’s catcher after returning from his freshman year of college at St. Bonaventure, is among those on the injured list as of last Friday with a torn hamstring.
“I really try to prevent injuries as much as I can,” he said. “I actually came in a little fresh from college, fresh arms, fresh legs, but it just tightened up.”
Despite the injury, Moavero has got a good grip on what it takes for he and his teammates to stay healthy throughout the season, and hydration seems to be the key factor, especially for the scorching days.
“First we’ve got to stay hydrated, and we’ve got to eat in the morning,” Moavero said. “Sometimes it’s tough because we start early, but you have to force yourself. Even on off days where we have practice, it’s important to drink water and stretch.”
Practices are when Murray and the team focus on their conditioning and injury prevention regimes to not only keep the players in baseball shape, but also to keep them loose in between games.
“First we always warm up and do our dynamic warm-ups,” Murray said. “Next would be a moderate infield-outfield, and then we always end on a situational hitting batting practice, so we keep them loose that way.”
However, even more work has to be put in individually from the players if they want to ensure their health over these long stretches.
“These kids have got to take care of themselves, take care of their bodies, eat right and drink enough fluids during the day,” Murray said.
Moavero gave his personal routine as a testimony to how the players on Stamford Legion work hard taking care of themselves.
“During the season, I take it easy on lifting,” he said. “I’m always stretching though, and going on the bike and the treadmill just to loosen up. Going in the hot tub also really helps open my muscles so I can stretch them out.”
Although it’s important for everyone to stay physically healthy, players also have to make sure they don’t check out at this point in the season.
“Mentally you’ve got to stay focused,” Moavero said. “A lot of the times we’re out playing in the morning. You’re tired, it’s hot but you just battle through it, because the other team is going through the same thing.”
“Everyone’s scrapping at this point,” Murray added. “You’ve got to use your whole roster just to get by, which is what we’ve been doing the past week with injuries.”
Luckily, Murray and his team will get a small break in their schedule within the next week or so, and they plan to rest up in between games, while getting in some light workouts.
Stamford is currently 23-2 and has clinched the zone regular-season title, so despite this time of the season being the spot for fatigue to slip in, it has been handling any woes that occur quite well.
“This is a great bunch of kids,” Murray said. “They give 110 percent when they’re out here so you know, you can’t ask for much more as a coach.”
The Stamford Summer Baseball Report is sponsored by Mark Smith & Associates