For a program that has suffered through its share of adversity in
recent years, the Burbank High baseball team should have been
prepared for what it faced this season.
Because of construction at the school that affected the Bulldogs’
on-campus field, the team was forced to reschedule all of its home
games and was prepared for a long season on the road.
However, with a great deal of help from the program’s booster
club, repairs and modifications were made to the field, and the
Bulldogs moved back their home games and found solace in the fact
that -- for this season at least -- they have a place to call home.
“We’ve done all that we can to try and make this facility
playable,” Burbank Coach Paul Marietti said. “But if you notice, we
have no batting cage. I can tell you, it is extremely hard to put
together a winning program without a permanent batting cage.
“People come to our field and they tell us ‘You can’t have a
winning program, just look at your field, it’s too small You can’t
build a program here, you don’t have a dugout.’
“The players and coaches have tried to do the best with what we
The problem with its facility is just the latest setback for a
program that has taken its share of hard knocks the past few years.
The woes with its facility is just the tip of the iceberg for
Along with seeing a number of players migrate to cross-town rival
Burroughs, the Bulldogs have also had problems keeping coaches,
difficulties competing in the tough Foothill League and have a
history of getting little or no respect from opponents.
But this season’s team seems unfazed by the program’s past
hardships, as the Bulldogs are putting together one of their finer
seasons in recent years.
Despite losing to Canyon Friday, 7-4, in a Foothill League game at
home, Burbank (6-3, 2-1 in league) has been competitive in league
The Bulldogs are not only playing well, but they are breaking down
some barriers, and maybe even getting a little respect along the way.
With a 3-1 win against Saugus Match 21, Burbank got its first
league victory since 2000, breaking a 31-game league losing streak.
Tuesday, the Bulldogs defeated Burroughs, 3-0, for the first time
“These kids in this program have been dealing with adversity from
the time they got to Burbank, so what has happened this season is
nothing new to them,” Marietti said. “When you play sports in
Burbank, and you play in a tough league like the Foothill League, you
better be tough and you better be ready for some adversity.
Marietti said he couldn’t be more pleased with the way his players
have coped this season. And as for the Bulldog seniors, the coach
said he has a great deal of respect for the athletes who have stuck
it out when times got rough.
“These kids have gone out of their way to work hard, and to risk
and try new things, all for the sake of the program,” he said. “To
deal with all this adversity really takes a lot of courage.
“A lot of kids today would rather say ‘You know what? I don’t want
to play for Burbank because they lose and I don’t want to lose.’
“But what I’ve tried to instill in the kids it’s not whether you
win or lose that makes you a winner, but it’s whether you dare to go
out on that field to take the risk and give it your best. That’s a
real winner. The losers are the ones who never try.”
Marietti has helped build confidence in a team that hasn’t had
much to be confident about in the past. Although one might think the
coach has had an uphill battle making his players believe they can be
winners, that hasn’t been the case.
“The know they can win, I don’t have to teach them that,” Marietti
said. “We do compete, and have done well in tournaments and in
[nonleague] games and in summer league. But when you go 0-15 in
league, people have a tendency to think of you as a horrible team.
“In league, we are playing teams that are bigger than us, stronger
than us, their facilities are better than ours and they have Little
League programs that are outstanding. What I have told my players is
simply: If you want to compete in the Foothill League, you have to
work twice as hard as the other guy. And the guys have really
“The things the players have learned and the way they have dealt
with things in baseball will help them later in life.”
Even if the Bulldogs go winless the rest of the season, Marietti
said his team has accomplished a great deal, and they should be proud
of the way they have risen above adversity.