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Wild Thing, You Make My Heart Sing

Hello College Baseball Fans,

Did you miss me? I am refreshed and ready to break my blogging hiatus. I spent the last few months recharging my blogging batteries, focusing on baseball, school, and trying to find a job when I graduate–which is excitingly/terrifyingly in less than five months. I also enjoyed a much needed break from hearing people say, “Why don’t you go blog about it?” The humor was only there the first 127 times I heard that the last two seasons–then it got kind of old.

However, I had to return to blogging for my senior season, because this journey that has been four years in the making needs an end, and for the #BearClawNation, lets hope it’s a good one.

The last time I wrote we had just finished our roller coaster season, having 19 games cancelled thanks to Mother Nature, and finished one game out of the post season. From there I had a crazy summer, playing town ball in Minnesota and going to the Class A Amateur State tournament with the North Saint Paul Red Roosters, working as the coordinator of baseball information for USA Baseball, and just enjoying the beautiful weather. I did plenty of traveling, going to Cary, N.C. and Omaha, Neb. as part of my internship, I went home to Aurora, Colo. twice, and I visited Clemson, S.C. and Spokane, Wash. to spend time with friends. To say the least, I’ve done a lot of things since we talked last (or, I wrote and you guys read).

After an wonderful Christmas break back in Colorado, I have returned to the arctic temperatures of Saint Paul, Minn., it was -8 this morning with wind chills in the 20′s below zero. Luckily, we have the Concordia Dome at Sea Foam Stadium (or simply, the Foam Dome) to start our winter practice this year. We started Monday, and are already deep into this thing. Pitching, hitting, and team defense are in full swing for the Golden Bears as we prepare for a February 18 date with Missouri Southern State in the Metrodome.

Two major changes have happened for my baseball career since my last post. First, our team has changed. Not just the players, but the attitude that everyone has around the locker room, the weight room, and most importantly, the field. We are a team this year. We have bonded both on and off the field. We are the Bear Claw Nation. This is the best “team” I have ever been a part of. Not just in the sense of a band of brothers, which we have become, but also talent, passion, and desire. Everyone on this team wants it as bad as the guy standing next to him–it is awesome. The second change is a personal one. Did you notice the title of this post? Hi, I’m Rick Vaughn.

Yes, I did just call myself Charlie Sheen’s penal league fireballer inĀ  the movie Major League (1989). Okay, so you might have to take 15 mph off the fast ball, and I certainly don’t have that awful haircut, but we now share a similar story line. No, I didn’t go to prison. I’ll explain. Over the past couple of seasons my production on the mound has seen plenty of ups and downs, and mostly because of walks. Last season I led the team in strikeouts per nine innings and walks per nine innings–sounds like Rick Vaughn, right? Well, this winter break I met with an optometrist and apparently I need some minor vision correction–sounds like Rick Vaughn, right? My first bullpen with my new specs on was a success: 75% strikes. Now, I’m not counting my chickens before they hatch, but I am definitely believing that I’m on to something. I am excited to see my progress and all the hard work I’ve put in this off season combined with a little better eye sight. Oh, and I get fitted for contacts on Monday, so I won’t be rocking rec specs on the diamond this spring.

My vision is clearer, my focus is sharper, and my team is the best guys I have ever been around. I can’t wait to get the 2012 college baseball season, my senior season, started, because great things are coming from the hard work that the Golden Bears have put in.

–Go Golden Bears–