Retired Gopher baseball coach was a motivational speaker for Pelican state Legion tourney ballplayers

“The win and loss records will fade over time…but the impact on kids is permanent…I’m proud of playing a role in molding good citizens, parents,
teachers and the other occupations they have entered.”

Those were among the inspirational words to young ballplayers, delivered by Bob Fornasiere, recently retired University of Minnesota Gophers assistant coach. He spoke Aug. 2 at the state American Legion baseball banquet, hosted prior to the tournament in Pelican Rapids.

Following is a sampling of some of his comments and encouragments for more than 100 players, plus family members, in the banquet hall.

Longtime Gophers assistant coach Bob Fornasiere, speaking at the state American Legion Baseball Tournament banquet in Fergus Falls August 2.

• Perseverance is the basic factor in success, he said. “Hard work is the only avenue to success,” said Fornasiere, who coached 33 seasons with the Gophers.

• Attitude as well. “You’re not born with an attitude…It is something you develop as time goes along.”

• As a coach, Fornasiere came to realize that detectable, learned skills in an athlete are manageable. Determination and “will” is not as easy to nurture and encourage. “If you don’t have the will, it won’t happen.

• “There is a thin line between a great player; and an average player,” said Fornasiere. One base hit per week can be the difference between a potential Hall of Fame player–and an average player.

• “Winners take responsibility for the outcomes…Losers transfer the blame elsewhere.”

• Comradeship is crucial. Remember, said Fornasiere, “you are not alone out there” in baseball or life. “There are buddies there to help and pick you up.”

• There is no remedy for bad pitching in baseball. “The game starts–and ends on the mound.”

• “No matter what happens that is negative, success is only one pitch away.”

• Baseball is one pitch at a time. Once you understand that, in baseball or in life, “you can make it.”

• Unlike other sports, “you can’t run out the clock in baseball. You always have to get those final three outs.”