First year head coach Josh Keim returns to Rockford after being an assistant coach in 2016.
Coach Keim was asked a series of questions, and here is how he answered:
What are your goals for the 2019 season: “the tradition of Rockford Rivet’s baseball through the Northwoods League is fairly new to the area, but there have been some really good players come through Rockford as a part of some very good teams. Our goal is to continue to develop the baseball tradition in Rockford, as well as develop our guys to go back to school better than when they left. Our goals as a team and as an organization are to compete every night and show up the whole summer.”
What excites you about the group you are working with this upcoming summer: “We have high hopes for the summer. I feel good with what we have. We have a healthy mixture of guys who have plenty of experience in the Northwoods League, who have been with Rockford. We have a good mix of guys looking to forward their career with bigger schools. We have a good mix of guys, who are having their first go-around with this type of league. Overall, we just have a solid group. There are some young players who will contribute right away, and I’m excited to be a part of that.”
What excites you on the field this year: “Our entire group of guys are going to be fun to watch. I’m very impressed with all of their spring play.”
What excites you off the field this year: “Our group of returning players is a huge factor to have in the dugout. The leadership quality that these guys bring is going to be huge in the clubhouse. It’s all exciting.”
What is your thought on player versatility and the ability to play different positions: “The best part about us being flexible, is at the plate. We’ve got four different guys who are going to hit from both sides of the plate, and that, in itself, is going to be huge for our lineup versatility. Any given night, we could have six to eight guys hitting from the left side of the plate, which is going to help us score some runs against opposing pitchers. We have a bunch of guys who can play all over the diamond, and it is exciting to say the least. Some are going to play infield, and some are going to play outfield, and some are going to swap back and forth.”
What about baseball has made it a passion of yours: “I grew up across the street from a baseball field. For as long as I can remember, I went to that field every night with my dad, and we hit. That was where I really found the passion for the game of baseball. There’s nothing I enjoy more than a night at the baseball field. I enjoy the process of helping guys get better and seeing them grow on the field and grow as young adults. I try to take the things I learned at a young at from the coach I had in my dad and try to carry that over to the guys that I am fortunate enough to coach every day. The huge thing for me, is continuing to keep the passion for the game.
What is important to keep in mind from a player’s perspective about the game of baseball: We need to play the game the right way. We need to respect the game, respect the fans, respect the organization, and respect the umpires. We want these guys to run hard, and get on and off the field, but also, we want them to carry themselves with good conduct. If they do that, the game will reward them.”
Opening night for the Rockford Rivets is Tuesday, May 28th versus the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. Game time is set for 6:35. Call the box office today at (815)-240-4159 for tickets, and information about our new $75, all-you-can-eat 5-game pack!
The Rockford Rivets are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 25-year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, over 200 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (MIA). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.Rockfordrivets.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Rivets as your favorite team.