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Archive for January, 2011

HERE WE GO!!!!!!

The LONG LONG LONG wait is finally almost over!  We open our season on Tuesday and all of the guys are very excited!  We’ve been getting after it pretty hard these last 3 weeks and in my opinion, we are READY!

My last post was about 10 days ago, and since that time I have gotten to throw 2 more innings in inter-squad.  Based on my own critique, I think I’ve been decent.  I was right around the strike zone with my fastball, threw a few good change-ups and sliders, and I’ve continued to work on holding runners, fielding bunts.. etc.  The walks were to 2 of the best hitters on our team, so I guess it’s not all that bad.  I would say that it has been 100% different pitching in these last few innings then it was the entire fall.  I think I am in a totally better and different mind set when I’m on the mound.  I’m a lot more focused, and thinking about each pitch.  During the fall if I would walk or hit a batter, I instantly lost my train of thought, and began going into “DON’T MODE”.  I would be telling myself, don’t walk this guy, don’t hit him.. blah blah!  I knew I shouldn’t have been thinking this way, but it’s easier said than done.

Now I have a lot more confidence when I’m on the mound, and I’m continually reminded that over the course of the fall and spring, WHEN I throw strikes, I really haven’t been hit hard.  Obviously there are have been hits here and there.. but basically I have beat myself when I am on the mound with walks, hit batters, pass balls and throwing the ball away.  I am enjoying pitching A LOT more these last 3 weeks, and I feel like I’m really starting to get the hang of things. I’ve been able to get some video of myself, and saw some adjustments that needed to be made, and I feel like I’m going in the right direction.

Pensacola Bill Bonds and Billy Sadler Clinic

Pensacola Bill Bond and Billy Sadler Clinic

On Jan 29th our team got to participate in a youth clinic in Pensacola.  It is a tradition for the team to help, and it is a great way to give back to the community.  There were 90+ kids at the clinic and it reminded me of when I was younger and had to chance to go to clinics like this.  The kids look up to us because they know what it means to be a college baseball player.. just as we look up to guys in the big leagues, because we know that we want to be there one day!

I had one question emailed to me this week, and I’m hoping that once the season starts and more people follow CBlineup that more questions will come in.

Scott E. from Dover, OH writes:

Hi Phil.  I’ve seen a lot of sidearm pitchers.   I’ve been told that sidearm is very hard on your arm, compared to “over the top” pitchers.  What do you do to prevent arm injuries or what can pitchers do to prevent injuries.  A pitchers life sometimes gets cut short way too soon.  I notice, too, that kids who try to throw curve balls in little league are the ones that usually get hurt.  What’s your thought?

Thanks for the question!  You’ve got a lot of stuff going here, I’ll start with arm problems..  When I was first researching sidearm pitching, the one thing that stuck out on every article was that the risk of arm problems was higher.  Personally, I have never felt any discomfort.. I’ve got one of those weird arms where I’ve never had anything hurt.. and my “normal” throwing mechanics are not what you would call “perfect”.  One thing we do in the gym is to work a lot of stretching the shoulder, working on the rotator cuff, and overall posture which helps with throwing.  In regards to little league pitchers throwing curve balls… I think it is a bad idea to have them throwing breaking pitches because their arms are not fully developed.  Unfortunately, a lot of coaches want to win and aren’t thinking about how the kids are is going to feel in 5 years if they continue playing.  They want to win that game, and if the kid has a decent curve ball they will probably throw it too much. Thanks for the great question!

Our quest for a ring starts on Tuesday!!

Send your questions to Philipebertuwf@yahoo.com

Also, follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/phillybert36
Thanks Everyone!

Philip Ebert #36

Florida State Maple Leafs

There are a number of theories as to why “O Canada” is sung by FSU supporters during every game at Dick Howser Stadium. One of the more popular speculations is that fans were honoring a Canadian player and a tradition was started. Another conjecture is that it has something to do with a group of FSU supporters love of bacon.

To get a definitive answer of the longstanding Seminole tradition I got in touch with Drew Hankin, the “Zookeeper of the Animals of Section B”. The Animals are a group of students, alumni, businessmen, families and fans who have a passion for Florida State baseball. They cheer together in Section B of Dick Howser Stadium and use cheers and songs to energize the crowd and rally their beloved team to victory.

Harkin explained that back in 1988 the Calgary Olympics were in full swing and Canadian anthem was being played incessantly – kinda like the heavy “ Alejandro” rotation on pop radio these days. While it wasn’t the catchiest tune in the world, the hymn from our northern neighbors had its way of getting stuck in your head.

The Seminoles were playing and found themselves trailing Grambling State in the middle of the fifth inning. A member of t he Animals started humming the tune as it had been rattling around in his head. Like seeing someone yawn, the singing quickly became infectious, and more members of the group began joining in.

As the Animals sang of patriot love and glowing hearts, the Seminole bats ignited. The game quickly took a turn in the garnet and gold’s favor and FSU won the game. Fully aware that their singing saved the game for their beloved team, from then on the Animals began dutifully singing “O Canada” whenever the first Seminole batter of fifth inning stepped up to the plate.

In 1991 the Animals began displaying a Canadian flag when the anthem was sung. They even learned to sing it in French as well as backwards (not backwards-backwards, they just turn around and sing). If an FSU rally starts while they are in the midst of singing, they’ll sing a second rendition, changing up the tempo and style like a remix.

While the singing is an Animal institution, other fans join in as well and will even raise a few L’Unifolié flags of their own. They tradition has become so well known in ACC and southern baseball circles that a few good natured opposing teams will even play the music for them and have displayed a Canadian flag on the scoreboard while the Animals belt out the tune.

In 2003, after the United States and coalition forces invaded Iraq , a significant portion of a Montreal hockey crowd booed the Star Spangled Banner before a Canadians/Islanders game. In retaliation, the Animals sang “God Save the Queen” instead of “O Canada” during their next fifth inning routine. The rest of the fans in attendance gave them a rousing applause and the event made national news. For the rest of the season the group switched to the British anthem before falling back to tradition in 2004.

While the singing is a fixture at home in Tallahassee , you may not hear the song on road games. While the Animals try to attend as many games as possible, they simply can’t make them all. There can be a number of FSU fans at a road game such as the College World Series, but the singing is an Animal tradition primarily as opposed to being a Florida State one.

Following is a video with Drew and the Animals singing the Seminoles on to victory:Why the Animals of Section B sing \"O Canada\"

Game Ready

After two long weeks of double days and a full week of class and practices this week, we are ready for Game 1. In the last 3 weeks we have welcomed 11 new players, participated in many challenging practices, played a whole bunch of intrasquad innings, but most importantly we have come together as one.

We feel like we are extremely prepared to meet the challenge that the long college season presents. Our players have met our expectations in practice everyday we have shown up at the field, and that is all you can ask for as a coaching staff. They are feeling the confidence that comes from preparing for greatness at all times. That confidence will carry over to the field and will guide us through the ups and downs of the season.

The first series begins on Friday, February 4th at Sonoma State. It will be an exciting time as the New Brand of MB Baseball takes the field. The series will provide some interesting emotions, as 4 of our 5 coaches are SSU alumni. The next blog post will feature of brief preview of the opening series.

The 2011 Season has Arrived

The season official season is upon us, and there are many things to report.

First off, practice started as we returned to school on January 17th. Right away we got into the thick of things with pitchers throwing live to hitters in our indoor facility known as, “the pole barn,” going over bunt defenses and first-and-third defenses in the Concordia Dome where we can get more realistic ground balls on the turf, and of course our hitters getting as many hacks as possible.

We have been trying to hone all aspects of the game as we prepare to start our season on March 5th in Orlando, Florida against West Chester (PA) University. We are all anxious for the season to start. Travel rosters for the spring break trip to Florida have already been set, so now it is just preparing ourselves to compete against guys in different color jerseys.

Personally, I have been continuing my rehab from off-season surgery. I feel like I am getting stronger everyday and continue to feel more confident in the strength of my hip. I have thrown three live bullpens thus far, and have my fourth live session scheduled for tomorrow. My throwing sessions so far have been two sets of 15 pitches (all fastballs), one set of 20 pitches (all fastballs), and two sets of 15 pitches (all fastballs). Tomorrow is scheduled to be three sets of 15 pitches (fastballs, changeups, and cutters). I am excited to start mixing up my pitches, but we are still not throwing breaking balls quite yet.

The point of throwing multiple sessions of just fastballs is for our pitching staff to establish their fastball and throw strikes with it. Everything works off a pitchers ability to throw strikes with their fastball, and then use their other pitches to mess with hitters. Our strike percentages have been phenomenal thus far. I am one that struggles with control at times, but as my body continues to heal and gets stronger I have continued to progress as a pitcher. I feel confident locating my pitches right now, and as of today I have thrown 64% strikes.

Other things going on with the program has been fundraising. All players and coaches have been working a baseball tryout for a local youth baseball organization at the Concordia Dome. This is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year.

Also on the fundraising side of things, Wednesday, January 26th was our annual Gold Plate Dinner at Mancini’s Char House in St. Paul. Every player sells three tickets to the dinner and live auction. It is a great night. Last night’s guests of honor included two-time World Series winning manager Tom Kelly, two-time World Series winning first baseman Kent Hrbek, and the parents of Joe Mauer.

Both Mr. Kelly and Mr. Hrbek spoke to the crowd of players, parents, and friends. It is a fun night, and helps raise a substantial amount of money to fund our season and provide us with outstanding opportunities. This was the 12th consecutive year of the Gold Plate Dinner at Mancini’s. Aside from the dinner and guest speakers, there was also a raffle, live auction, and good humor.

The Concordia Golden Bears have exactly 25 more practices before we take off to Orlando to play eight games in eight days, including a double-header on the last day of the trip against conference foe the University of Minnesota-Crookston. The trip will also include going to a Detroit Tigers-Philadelphia Phillies spring training game in nearby Lakeland.

The preseason rankings have also been released. For the second year in a row we have been selected by the coaches to finish 8th in the NSIC. We hope that we can prove those voters wrong and move up the polls throughout the year.

Junior Bryan Lippincott was tabbed as a preseason All-American after hitting .410 last season with 10 home runs and 51 RBI’s in 52 games played. Fellow junior Troy DuBay was named a, “player to watch” in the NSIC and freshman hurler Adam Kramer was named a, “newcomer to watch.”

I know that everyone is excited to get our season started, and we all hope that we can make a push to the postseason this year.

-Go Golden Bears-

Gett to the Cape

Assistant coach Alex Gett has been hired to join Mike Roberts’ Cotuit Kettleers coaching staff in the Cape Cod Baseball League.  Gett will report to the Cape on June 1 for his summer coaching duties.  The Kettleers won the 2010 league championship.

“WINwithCLASS”

Jeff Ditch
IUP Baseball
www.winwithclass.com

Pittsburgh Pirates Workout at Practice

Pittsburgh Pirates Neil Walker, James McDonald, and Jeff Karstens practiced with IUP today.  The afternoon workout was followed by the Pirates Caravan at the Indiana Mall.  Also with the caravan were pitching coach Ray Searage and broadcaster Tim Neverett.

Photos of practice:

http://www.winwithclass.com/PiratesCaravan2011.htm

“WINwithCLASS”

Jeff Ditch
IUP Baseball
www.winwithclass.com

Smiff The Great Hip-Hop

Former IUP player Jamie Smith (2008-2010) has turned in his spikes and become “Smiff The Great” !  His new hip-hop career includes this video of IUP.

Link on IUP baseball’s facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/IUP-Baseball/264336208438

“WINwithCLASS”

Jeff Ditch
IUP Baseball
www.winwithclass.com

Otter Night 2011

On Thursday night the MB Baseball team participated in the first ever Otter Night. Otter Night is a special night for MB Baseball. It is an opportunity for them to hangout beyond the field, but more importantly it is an opportunity for them to come together as one and declare their commitment to the team.

The event was held in the Otter Student Center. After eating a pizza dinner, the players were left to enjoy the facility. They played ping pong, air hockey, pool, Nintendo Wii, Dance Dance Revolution, foosball, and even the coaches got in the action with the old school sit-down arcade games.

After about an hour and a half of game playing, the players and coaches convened for the team building portion of the night. The players filled out cards that asked them to define words, set goals for the team, list how we are going to achieve those goals, state their favorite part of MB Baseball, and write down why the team is important to them.

The important part of the night came after the cards were filled out. The coaches all spoke to the team about their excitement and feelings about the squad. Then each player stood in front of the group and read their cards and added anything they felt was important. The speeches by the players were nothing short of amazing. They were filled with lots of laughs, choked up recollections, sharing of emotions, and proclamations of what this team is capable of. Each player gave their declaration of what they are going to do to make sure we achieve our goals.

Otter Night signals that the team has come together as one and are emotionally ready to begin the season. With the conclusion of double days and the beginning of the Spring semester on Monday, we are ready to start our games. A short 2 more weeks of practice and then we will take on Sonoma State in Rohnert Park on Friday, February 4th. Go Otters!!


Season Quickly Approaching…

Hello everyone, welcome back to my blog.  I am continuing to get a lot of positive feedback from people all across the country and from family and friends.  Having all of these people show interest in something that I’m doing is very motivating to continue to try and make each new entry fun and easy to read.

Infielder Justin Bennett

Infielder Justin Bennett

There’s not a whole lot that I can talk about this week, other than February 1st can’t get here soon enough!! College Baseball Lineup came out with the new D2 rankings and we are ranked 21st in the nation, it is nice to get that kind of recognition, and we are very optimistic about this season.  We are continuing to “GET AFTER IT” every day in practice.  We all have that common goal of finishing the season with a big fat ring on our fingers.. and I know that I’ve been waiting a long time to have the chance to be apart of something that has the potential to be so memorable.  The team chemistry this team shares is unlike any other team I’ve been on, and that is very encouraging because in the time I’ve spent at UWF, there have been guys that mostly want to “get mine”.  And when things weren’t going well, it was like a cancer to the team.  I haven’t seen anything like that this year, but it is very important to take a step back and realize, the season hasn’t started yet, we have a long way to go!   Coach Jeffcoat always preaches to us that the “season is MARATHON, not a SPRINT!”  Which means, it’s great coming out of the gates in a sprint, but how long are you going to be able to keep up that pace before you break down?  We take each day one at a time, work on the things that need to be worked on, and don’t take THIS day for granted, because you never know if there is going to be a tomorrow!

Outfielder Ryan Day

Outfielder Ryan Day

I got to throw an inning in a squad game last week, and lets just say it could have been worse..  One cool thing this blog has done for me has opened up my teammates perspective on where I’m coming from on the baseball field.  When I started off the first batter by throwing one to the back stop, I was really motivated to get back up and fire a strike because all my teammates and coaches were behind me trying to keep the situation positive.  I was able to take a deep breath, focused on the next pitch, and deliver.  The outcome of the at-bat wasn’t necessarily important to me at that time, I wanted to mainly focus on losing that fear of the hitter being there.  I think I accomplished that.. I eventually drilled 2 batters, (Sorry Houston and Zimmerman) but I feel like that is more of an issue of mechanics, which I’m working on.  I saw in video that I am not stepping directly to the the plate, which is why I’m drilling right handed batters, and have such trouble throwing to the outside corner.. Just another thing to think about.

Now on the the questions of the week:

Jeremy B.  from San Diego, CA wrote:  Hey Phil, why did you decide to switch to pitcher from outfield?

-Thanks for the question Jeremy!  Basically, from the time I’ve spent at UWF, we always reload heavily in the outfield.  At the point when I made the decision to switch to pitcher I had 3 at-bats, and 2 remaining years of eligibility.  Obviously I wanted to contribute more to the team, and didn’t think that I was going to help any from the outfield in my remaining time at UWF.  I wanted to try something different, and see if I could help the team from the mound.

Kyle R. from Mesa, AZ wrote:  Hey Phil, I was wondering if it is hard learning sidearm pitching if you don’t have any coaches that were sidearm pitchers?

-Not at all, when I started last year one of our pitching coaches was a sidearm guy when he played at UWF (David Pedro), so he taught me the basics of what to think and how to throw.  He’s not at UWF anymore, but Coach Jeffcoat knows his stuff about pitching, and has helped me make adjustments in my mechanics that will help to be more consistent.  Also, always listen to the catchers,  they have the best viewpoint of where your ball is coming from.. our catchers have helped me a lot also.

Don’t forget to keep the questions coming at  PhilipEbertuwf@yahoo.com

Also, follow me on twitter at  Phillybert36    www.twitter.com/phillybert36

New MB Baseball Team Room

With the dawning of the 2011 season and the new coaching staff at Cal State Monterey Bay, the Otters have welcomed a huge addition to their program. The MB Baseball Team Room was completed in January and provides the team and the athletic department a tool that not many others can provide for their student-athletes.

The team room features 36 full-size wood lockers with a clothes rod, individual hooks, and a shelf. The room also has two 55″ flat screen TV’s, a PS3, and 2 leather couches.

The team room is a huge step forward for our program. It’s with this continual progress that we will soon realize the great potential of this program. Go Otters!

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