American Legion baseball is one of the largest youth baseball programs in the country. Among the teams in the American Legion program Bristol has one, known as Post 2. This team has been coached by Attorney Jim Ziogas for the past 7 years. He has learned that good talent and good kids make a champion team. He only keeps kids with a good attitude and heart because if you have unruly kids you will end up with disharmony. He teaches kids to strive for individual goals like batting above .500 and hitting homeruns or stealing the most bases. Also, by telling his kids to keep team goals in mind, like playing hard everyday and giving your all at practices, he also looks for the long-term goal of his players which is to play college baseball. While playing college baseball you get to travel a lot, meet other people and see other schools. Having his kids reach this long-term goal is what he thinks to be the most rewarding and important part of his job as a coach.
Another amazing goal, every coach's dream if you will, was when they went to the World Series in South Dakota in 1997. While they were there, they were treated like they were in the Major Leagues. There were sponsors that met them at the gate. For example, the Elks Club was the Bristol Post 2 sponsor which basically adopted then when they got out there, giving them anything and everything that they needed. Also, while playing there, there were 7 umpires to ump the game which is an unusual amount of umpires for a youth baseball game.
There was only one bad incident while they were in South Dakota when the director would not let team manager Doc Gilhuly sit in the dugout with the team. The director said that you can only stay in the dugout if you are in uniform but Doc, being about 70 years old, never wore a uniform. The kids went up and had a talk with the director, persuading him to let the Doc stay with the team. "If it came down to the kids playing or not, they probably would have chosen not too," said Atty. Ziogas.
The coach had different favorites every year of his coaching. His son, of course, is always his favorite at heart; Mike Rose is remembered for making outstanding catches throughout the year, including an amazing diving catch in South Dakota, and Mike Kulak will always be a favorite for having the biggest heart for the game and always making the best of every situation, and doing the best he could. (Mike Kulak has gone on to play college baseball at the University of Massachusetts, starting in left field as a freshman. Having an incredible amount of talent, he hopes to someday make it to the Major Leagues.)
As a coach Ziogas tells his players: "There is no easy way. If you want to be successful, you're going to pay a price for it."
Interview with Atty. James Ziogas