May 8, 2013

Blog #8: Titan Nicknames

Blog #8: Titan Nicknames
May 10, 2013

When you are on a team of 35 guys plus the coaching staff, there are bound to be some quality nicknames handed out throughout the course of the season.  Some of the nicknames are easily given out just because of a last name, but others are truly earned, and those nicknames are usually the best.  I'm going to review some of the best nicknames of the 2013 Cal State Fullerton Titans. 

 

KYLE MURRAY aka "SHOOKY"
It didn't take Kyle too long to earn his nickname once he got on the field for fall practice.  It's safe to say that Kyle was a little nervous in his first few outings of the fall, considering he was a freshman.  It was not very long before Coach Vanderhook dubbed him "Shooky" for being shook on the mound.  Although the nervousness has calmed down a lot since then, unfortunately for Shook, the nickname has stuck.

 

JAKE JEFFERIES aka "KAREEM"
Jake's nickname stems from his unique and awkward style of throwing that caught the attention of just about everyone early on this year.  If you watch, you'll see Jake's right leg kick back and his arm throw across his body, resembling Kareem Abdul Jabbar's famous "hook shot".  That is how Jake earned the nickname "Kareem".  Listen closely next time when a ball gets hit out to him at second base.  You might just hear one or two guys in the dugout yelling "KAREEEEEM" as he's throwing the ball.

 

AUSTIN DIEMER aka "STIFFY"
Austin's nickname origins date back to the fall of his freshman year, when he came to Fullerton with a relatively tight swing.  Diemer was the first to receive a nickname last year, as Coach Vanderhook dubbed him "Stiffy" because of his swing, but it's working for him so I say don't change a thing! 

 

DAVID OLMEDO-BARRERA aka "DOB"
David's nickname is simple, but effective.  When David first got to Fullerton, I think Coach Vanderhook was pretty tired of trying to say the full name, "David Olmedo-Barrera," so he simply changed it to the acronym "DOB" and it has stuck ever since.

 

CHAD WALLACH aka "RED"
Chad's nickname is pretty self-explanatory.  His nickname, "Red", comes from his stunningly gorgeous head of red hair.  I don't know if you've taken the time to really look at those locks, but that hair is exceptional.  He's not the first to have the nickname Red in this program either.  As many of you know, Justin Turner donned the "Red" nickname because of his hair of fire as well. 

 

AUSTIN KINGSOLVER aka "KINGFISH" aka "DINGUS"
King's nicknames are both old and new.  Kingfish has been used since I got here back in 2009.  That goes back to the nickname of Anaheim Angels great Tim Salmon, who was the original "Kingfish".  With Austin being an Angels fan, "Kingfish" was an obvious fit.  Dingus, however, is a relatively new nickname given this year.  The original term, Dingus, was coined by teammate Matt Chapman, but was used to poke fun at an opposing player, who's overall appearance on the field wasn't a good one.  Yes, dingus is a made up word, but it is now used to describe Austin Kingsolver, mainly because it rhymes with Kingus.  Therefore, he is "Kingus the Dingus".  It may not all make sense to you, but with nicknames, it doesn't always have to. 

 

MATT CHAPMAN aka "CHAPPY" aka "PEGASUS"
Matt's nickname that most people call him - and probably have called him for a long time - is "Chappy."  It's an obvious choice because of his last name, just as most on the team have.  But another nickname that I want to touch on that is interesting is "Pegasus".  It wasn't more than two weeks ago that Chappy stood up on the bus and told the team that he now wants to be known as "Pegasus".  Do not ask my why because I don't know the answer.  To be honest, don't ask Matt why he wants to be called Pegasus either, because chances are, he doesn't know.  This is just one of the billions of statements that don't make any sense out of Matt's mouth, but we love him for it.  Classic Pegasus.

 

J.D. DAVIS aka "BUBBLES"
To be totally honest, I have no idea where the nickname, "Bubbles," came from.  Maybe someone else on our team does, but I don't.  I know it is a reference to the scene in Finding Nemo, where the fish is obsessed with the bubbles in the fish tank, but I don't know why J.D. was nicknamed that.  However he got it, I like it, and it stuck with him.

BRYAN CONANT aka "OLD MAN RIVER"
Bryan's nickname was acquired within days of arriving on the campus at Fullerton.  From the moment he showed up, Bryan just looked like an old man.  The way he walked around and how he actually looks, it just all added up to the nickname, "Old Man River."  I don't think that nickname is going away any time soon either. 

 

JUSTIN GARZA aka "REPTAR" aka "MOGLI"
Justin's nicknames stem from physical appearance only. Some guys on the team think he looks like Reptar from the show Rugrats because of his short arms.  I can see it, but personally I'm fonder of his other nickname, Mogli.  Garza bares a strong resemblance to Mogli from the movie, "The Jungle Book."  Pretty similar if I do say so myself. 

 

Blog #7: Trip To Hawaii
May 4, 2013

  

What's up Titan Fans!  I know I haven't been blogging in a little bit, but I'm back and I promise to be on top of it throughout the rest of the season.  One of the cool things about playing at Cal State Fullerton is the opportunity to play at some pretty sweet places.  Last weekend we packed our bags and headed to Honolulu to take on the University of Hawai'i. 

 

It is safe to say that the trip had its ups and downs from the start, but in the end we took two out of three games from the Rainbow Warriors.  We went to Hawaii with the mentality that it was a business trip and we were there to play baseball, but we did get the chance to enjoy ourselves a little bit while we were on the island.  Our hotel was across the street from the beach so we were able to get in the water and hang out for an hour or so.  The weather was great the entire time we were there, although a tad bit more humid than Southern California. 

 

One pretty cool thing that we were able to do in Hawaii was go snorkeling at Hanauma Bay.  The whole team and coaching staff had a great time visiting the beautiful part of the Hawaiian shore for about an hour.  We saw some really cool fish and even some sea turtles swimming around the coral reef.  For a lot of the guys on the team, it was their first trip to Hawaii, and I think everyone really enjoyed the trip. 

 

This weekend we take on the Long Beach State Dirtbags.  Of course, there has always been the Fullerton-Long Beach rivalry that has spanned decades, which we do not take lightly.  There have been so many great players that represented both of these programs which is why this rivalry has been one of the best over the years. 

 

 This year, however, the series is even more special to me.  I get to stand across the field and take on my little brother, Eric, who is a freshman catcher for the Dirtbags.  It's a pretty cool feeling walking up to the plate and stepping in the box knowing that your brother is back behind the dish calling pitches against you.  Trust me when I say this, there are bragging rights on the line again this weekend along with the all-important wins.  He's had this day circled on the calendar since the schedule came out.  No matter what happens, though, I couldn't be more proud of Eric and what he's accomplished to this point in his life.  His future is bright and even though he wears "Dirtbags" across his chest, I will be rooting for him every step of the way (except this weekend of course). 

 

Well I hope the Titan faithful can make it out to the series this weekend since we haven't played at home in over two weeks.  Our game on Saturday is on ESPNU at 8:00 pm if you can't get to Goodwin Field.  See you all at the ballpark!

 

 

 

 

 

Blog #6: Lip Rug Results
April 3, 2013

Mustache March has finally come to an end, and I think it is fair to say that it was rather successful.  I'm not sure if our 25-4 record has anything to do with the staches, but it certainly couldn't have hurt.  We have quite a few older guys who I thought would have some solid growth on the upper lip, and we didn't disappoint.  It's no surprise that the top five is dominated by upperclassmen; we just have a few years on some of the pups.  Their best facial hair days are ahead of them for sure.  There were some legitimate mustaches grown this month, but there were also some that lacked any kind of prowess.  I will stick with the positives, however, and only rank the top five mustaches of March.  You're welcome Nico Darras and Michael Lopez. 
 
  1. GRAHAMM WIEST:  The honor of growing the greatest mustache in the month of March goes to pitcher Grahamm Wiest.  It was simply flawless and it had everything you want in a mustache: thickness, color, prowess, and power.  The stache even changed color about two weeks into March, changing from a light brown to nearly black.  Grahamm's stache almost took on a personality of its own and you just can't teach that.  He was the favorite before the month to be ranked number one and he lived up to all the expectations.  Congratulations Grahamm.
  2. ANTHONY HUTTING: I was a little cautious to rank myself too high in the initial predictions for Mustache March.  However, after the month played itself out, I feel pretty comfortable ranking my mustache at number two.  I thought I'd have a solid lip rug at the end of the month and I'm glad that my prediction was correct.   It had solid growth and some real dark color to it.  One comment that I heard a lot about my stache was that I looked like a police officer.  I'll take that as a compliment.
  3. CARLOS LOPEZ: Carlos was one of the biggest surprises of Mustache March, partly because no one had ever seen him with any hair on his upper lip.  He admittedly had never attempted to grow a mustache, so he had no experience and no expectations from the team, however, he surprised everyone by growing the third best mustache on the team, quite a feat for someone who had never grown one before.  All in all, he got some real nice growth up there on the lip and landed himself a spot in the top five. 
  4. JARED DEACON: Like I said in my predictions, Jared has some mustache experience that he certainly brought to the table this month.  His experience served him well, as his mustache ranks as the fourth best on the team.  Deac often compares his stache hair to the whiskers of a cat because they stick out more than the usual mustache.  That uniqueness is what drove Deac's stache into the ranks of the top five.
  5. RICHY PEDROZA: Richy was also in the predicted top five at the beginning of the month.  I knew Rich would have a solid stache, just enough to get in the top five and he delivered.  He's got some good growth on the upper lip.  His hairs are a little on the lighter side, but it's nothing to complain about.  He did not take my advice to go by "Ricardo" throughout the month, which I feel could have put him over the top.  However, all in all, solid lip rug for Richard. 
 
So there you have it, the best five mustaches of 2013 for the Cal State Fullerton Titans.   Some guys made valiant efforts to make that top five, but just came up short.  The following names are my teammates who made the honorable mention list for the best staches of Mustache March. 
 

HONORABLE MENTION: Keegan Dale, Shane Stillwagon, Miles Chambers

 
I didn't have time to take pictures of all five of the worst mustaches, but Nico Darras takes the honors as the worst of the worst. 
I don't think I really have to say much about Nico's lack of a mustache.  The hair simply isn't there.  I give the kid credit for trying his best all of March, but he just didn't have what it takes to even be mediocre.  Good try Nico, but you are the worst of the worst buddy.
 

Blog #5: Mustache March Predictions
March 14, 2013

As most of you know by now, Mustache March is now in full affect.  There are definitely some players on this team that have what it takes to make the stache a permanent look.  With that said, there is no doubt that there are others that hate this month already.  Here are my predictions for the five best and worst mustaches on the team!

Five Best
1. Grahamm Wiest: 
There is no doubt that Grahamm is one of the hairiest players on the team, and it is no better reflected than in his grizzled mustache.  He takes pride in his manly chest full of hair, as well as the thickness of his upper lip fur.  Grahamm did have some savvy by not shaving his mustache while getting rid of the full beard he had going for a while, giving him a really solid head start.  He's my pick to have the best 'stache at the end of March.

2. Koby Gauna:  Like Grahamm, Koby has been preparing for March by growing his mustache for the last two weeks.  He just seems like the kind of guy that could get away with having a mustache all the time.  Look for him to have a very dirty 'stache out on the mound this month.

3. Jared Deacon:  I know a lot of people wouldn't think it, but Deac can grow quite the mustache.  He has sported the mustache in the past, which is definitely an intangible in his quest to top the rankings.  He's bringing a lot of mustache experience to the table, which a lot of my teammates lack.  He also grooms it very nicely, occasionally even parting the 'stache right in the middle.  We'll see what he chooses with this time around.

4. Richy Pedroza:  Richy grows a pretty solid lip rug himself.  Personally, I think Richy should start going by "Ricardo" during March to make his mustache more distinguished.  That's just a thought, but he will definitely have solid growth on the upper lip. 

5. Anthony Hutting:  I've got to go with myself to round out the top five on this one.   I've got some experience growing mustaches in the past, and my hair grows really dark.  Some other guys could have been in this fifth spot too, but the darkness of my mustache separates me from some of my teammates on the fringe of the top five. 

Honorable Mention:  David Birosak, Shane Stillwagon, Tanner Pinkston, Tyler Peitzmeier

Five Worst
These following five players are my predictions to have the worst of the worst mustaches by the end of March.   It's really not their fault that they are genetically challenged and can't grow a thick mustache that we all want.  It is what it is, but these guys just won't cut it. 

1. Matt Chapman:  This one I am sure about.  Chappy will have the worst mustache on the team.  I'm not even sure if I should even call it a "mustache" because there will be so few hairs on his lip.  It's not the kid's fault.  He should probably take this facial hair deficiency up with his dad, Jim. 

2. Clay Williamson:  Clay is another guy who doesn't grow a lot of facial hair.  It's hard to keep him out of the five worst if you can't even see any growth at all.  However, Clay likes to keep his facial hair free to maintain his incredibly good looks.  We'll see if he can prove me wrong. 

3. Nico Darras:  By the end of the month, it wouldn't surprise me if it is Nico who takes home the second worst mustache on the team, behind Matt Chapman of course.  Honestly, I wish Nico could grow a little hair on his face, because the ladies might take a liking to it.  Unfortunately, facial hair simply isn't a reality for the young pup. 

4. Michael Lopez:  Lopey's mustache is mostly non-existent.  Most of his hair grows around the lower neck area, which is a terrible look in itself.  I think we are all hoping that he shaves the neck hair to save us all from having to look at it.  There are zero mustache expectations for Michael.

5. Matt Orloff:  Unlike the previous four players named on this worst of the worst list, Matty can grow a decent amount of mustache hair.  However, that hair simply doesn't look good.  The scouting report on Orloff's lip rug is slightly sporadic, not very full, and generally a bad look.  I can tell you this much, however, it is not for a lack of effort that he is on this list.  The effort will be there throughout the entire month. 

Honorable Mentions:  Kyle Murray, Austin Diemer, Chad Wallach

So there you have it, my predictions for the best and worst of Mustache March.  By no means is this exactly what it's going to look like at the end of the month.  These are merely predictions.  Only time will tell if my teammates live up to their mustache expectations.  There could be a few surprises out there that have more facial hair prowess than I gave them credit for.  We will soon find out. 

Until next time Titan fans,

Blogman Hut, OUT


Blog #4: The Legacy of Nick Hurtado

March 8, 2013
The Titan family is mourning the loss of an incredible person, Nick Hurtado, who passed away on Friday after a courageous battle with bone cancer.  Nick was one of the best people I have ever known in my life.  His compassion and love for people was unparalleled, and he had an impact on so many lives. 

It didn't matter if you were his best friend or someone who had just met him one time, you couldn't help but feel the joy he had for life and happiness he lived with every day. I'm a better person for knowing Nick Hurtado, and I know that everyone who knew him feels the same.  I hope that one day I can grow to be half the person that he was.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Nick's family and friends, who are mourning the loss of a beautiful person. 
 
Nick is the definition of a Titan.  No matter how many times he was knocked down, he fought his way back up.  When he was healthy enough to be out on the field with us, no one worked harder than Nick.  He never gave up on anything in his life including his goals to pitch again and his fight with cancer.  He wanted so much to pitch on the mound at Goodwin Field, but there is no doubt that he is pitching up there in Heaven. 

We loved every single day that we spent time with Nick, and we will never forget the great times we shared on and off the field.  We all know that he is looking down on us every day, rooting us on and protecting us from above. 

Sometimes it is easy to forget that there are so many more important things in life than baseball.  Nick's passing puts life in perspective in such a way that I have never experienced before. 

Love the people around you and don't take any day for granted.  Tell your family and friends that you love them, and try to keep the important things in life in perspective.  Nick's spirit will be with us forever. 

You will be missed, Nick Hurtado, and your love will never be forgotten.
 
Blogman Hut, OUT
 
 

 

 

 

Blog #3: Great Start to 2013!

March 1, 2013

With the first two weeks of the season in the books, we have gotten off to a great start. Our record stands at 8-0, and we feel good about how we are playing the game right now.  From my perspective, the best part of our success is that it has been an absolute team effort. We've gotten tremendous pitching out of the starters and bullpen, which has kept us in every game thus far. The pitchers are throwing strikes and trusting the defense behind them, which will be a key to our success all season long.  Offensively, we've gotten production from a lot of different guys, up and down the lineup, and that's what it is going to take throughout the course of a season to be consistent.  

Our trip to TCU was great and it was awesome to see that some of the die-hard Titan fans could make the trip out to Fort Worth. I think we all had a lot of fun playing on the road for the first time this year. For a lot of my teammates, this was the first road trip of their college career, and what a way to get their feet wet. The long flight to Texas and being all together for the weekend is a great chance for our team to keep building that chemistry and closeness that you can only get by spending that much time together. Personally, TCU is one of my favorite places to play because they bring big crowds and the games are always pretty intense. This year's series was no exception, as there was no shortage of chippiness throughout the weekend. In the end, however, we let our play do the talking and headed out of Texas with a series sweep. The team played great and everyone contributed in a different way. It was also nice to see our old pitching coach, Kirk Saarloos, this weekend. He has the respect of a lot of players on this team, but as much as we like him, it felt great to get some wins.

We're looking forward to being back at Fullerton, and getting back to work to keep improving. We are excited that we have gotten off to such a good start, but definitely not satisfied.  We know that the season is long and there will be some bumps in the road, and we are focused on getting better every day.  I think everyone is excited to host Coach Horton and the Ducks at Goodwin Field this weekend. It should be another tough test for us and a chance to find out exactly how we stack up against a highly-ranked team. It will be nice to get another crack at them after the losing in the regional in Eugene last year. 

Just a heads up to Titan fans out there, today is the first day of March. Some might remember a slight change in facial hair amongst the team a few years back. Well, I will say this; be on the lookout for a little fur on the upper lips of the guys starting today.

Also, here is the first of many player interviews coming your way in future blogs.  I sat down with Friday night starter Thomas Eshelman and Sunday starter Grahamm Wiestthis week.  Enjoy!

See you all at Goodwin Field this weekend when we take on the Oregon Ducks!

Blogman Hut, OUT

 

Blog #2: Alumni Game Recap and Opener Preview

February 14, 2013

The alumni game is one of my favorite days of the entire year because I get to play against some of the former Titan greats that I looked up to as a child.  I grew up around Cal State Fullerton baseball, and I still have the 1995 College World Series championship game on a VHS tape at my house. My parents can attest to the fact that I watched it dozens of times when I was younger.

It is so cool to be on the same field with the players that I watched on that VHS tape for years like D.C. Olson, Tony Miranda, Joe Fraser, and Brian Loyd (with that sweet taped up catcher's mask he rocked back in '95).  It's even cooler to know that we all share that same special bond as Titans.  The players from the 1990s, and the Titans from the decades before them, paved the way for what Cal State Fullerton is today and what the "Titans" across our chests stands for.  That tradition and respect is passed down to us, and it's our turn to continue the hard-nosed, blue-collar way of playing the game that has made this program so successful.  That is why I think the alumni game is such an awesome day for everybody on that field. 

The alumni game also gives us a chance to see some friends and former teammates that we haven't seen in a while, including my roommate from a couple years ago, Tyler Pill, who is now in the New York Mets organization.  It's awesome play against former Titans like Gary Brown, Sergio Pedroza, Josh Fellhauer, Joe Scott, and Jon Wilhite just to name a few.  The opportunity to spend time with the alumni doesn't come around that often, and the alumni game is the one time a year that so many former Titans come back to Goodwin Field to be around the team once again. 

Although we didn't play our best baseball to say the least, we were able to finish with a 5-3 victory against the Alumni.  All of our focus has turned to opening weekend when we play USC on Friday night, a doubleheader with Nebraska on Saturday, and CSU Bakersfield up north on Sunday.  We are ready to get the 2013 campaign underway, and I'm sure the Titan faithful feel the same!  See you all at the ballpark this weekend and let's pack the seats at Goodwin!

And on a side note, be prepared for a little different look from the Titans on Friday.  The new look might come with some serious attitude.  Just be on the look out.

See everyone on the other side of opening weekend Titan fans!

Blogman Hut OUT

 

Blog #1: Days Away From Opening Night!  

February 8, 2013

Hello Titan fans!  This is senior outfielder, Anthony Hutting, bringing you the first blog post of the 2013 season.  I will be posting on a regular basis, in hopes of giving Titan fans some insight into what is going on with the team throughout the season both on and off the field.  Hopefully this will allow the Titan faithful to get to know this 2013 team a little better!  I'm excited to bring the blog back after not having it for a couple of years, so I hope that I can live up to the standard set by past blog men Jake Floethe, Kevin Rath, Jared Clark, and Jon Wilhite.  

Just a little background about myself.  I am in my fourth and final year wearing the pinstripes as a member of the Titans.  It has been my dream to be a Titan ever since I was a little kid growing up watching my cousin, former Titan Aaron Rowand, play at Goodwin Field in the late 1990s.  I even got the opportunity to be a bat boy for the 1997 and 1998 teams, an experience that I will never forget.  As a senior in 2013, I am truly amazed at how fast my time here has passed, and I cherish wearing the Titan uniform every day with this great group of guys.  

With the season just a little over a week away, I wanted to let all of our fans know how excited this 2013 Titan team is to get the season started and step out onto Goodwin Field on Friday, Feb. 15.  We have a great group of guys who love playing this game hard and enjoy being around each other on a daily basis.  The countless hours of work this team has put in throughout the summer, fall, and winter put us in a position to be very successful this season.  Our schedule will be challenging as we play a number of quality opponents in non-conference play such as Oregon, Nebraska, Texas A&M, Oral Roberts, and TCU.  I can tell you that we will meet these challenges head on, and it will definitely prepare us for Big West Conference play that features some very good teams as well.  

As many of you know, the majority of the position players are returning from last year's squad.  We have a lot of experience on the field including three fifth-year seniors (Matt Orloff, Carlos Lopez, and Austin Kingsolver) and three additional true seniors (Richy Pedroza, Casey Watkins, and myself).  Other returners include juniors Michael Lorenzen, Chad Wallach, Jared Deacon, Keegan Dale, and Greg Velazquez as well as sophomores Matt Chapman, Clay Williamson, J.D. Davis, and Austin Diemer.  Newcomers include a handful of freshmen who are looking to contribute to a veteran offensive group including infielders Jake Jefferies, Tanner Pinkston, and David Olmedo-Barrera, catcher A.J. Kennedy, and outfielder Nico Darras.  The 2013 team might have as much experience offensively as any Titan team in recent memory, and we are ready to make a big impact on games in that aspect.

As far as the non-athletes on the mound go (I'm a little biased being a position player), the staff is filled with young guys.  They might be young, but they are pretty talented.  As the elder statesman of the staff in just his third year, Grahamm Wiest has some experience under his belt after establishing himself as a weekend starter last season.  The pitching staff also returns sophomores Koby Gauna, Willie Kuhl, Jose Cardona and Tyler Peitzmeier as well as seniors Dave Birosak and Michael Lopez.  However, the majority of the pitching staff is made up of freshmen.  The pups include Justin Garza, Thomas Eshelman, Henry Omana, Joe Navilhon, Kyle Murray, Miles Chambers, Shane Stillwagon, and Bryan Conant.  

We are looking forward to seeing everyone out at Goodwin Field throughout the season!  I know we are chomping at the bit to get this season started, and I hope everyone out there is ready to see the Titans back in action again!  See you at the yard on Saturday for the Alumni game or Friday, Feb. 15, as we take on the Trojans opening night!

Until next time, Blogman Hut, OUT