Talkin' Baseball With Jared ClarkBLOG 12: May 5, 2009
Last week was a good week for the Titans and it had nothing to do with our 3-1 record. I guess you could call it a rebuilding week. Not rebuilding our swings or any pitching mechanics, but rebuilding our TEAM. After Wednesday night's loss to USC everyone was pretty down, not just because we lost but because we played poorly. So the next day we had a long meeting up in our V.I.P. room, that ended with a session with our old buddy, Ken Ravizza.
This was not a screaming and yelling session from the coaches. It was a meeting letting us know what we were missing and why we were losing. It was simple, we were not playing like a team. We were not playing like 35 guys that would do anything and everything for one another. So this meeting was all about building team unity, and you can ask anyone who was there, it was the best thing that could have happened to this team.
See, what I think the fans sometimes don't get is that it's very hard to be amazing ALL OF THE TIME. Just about every team is going to get some bumps and bruises along the way. What doesn't help us is when we hear our own fans booing and saying rude things from the stands. That isn't good for anyone and that is not being a good fan. That is being a fair-weather fan. The Titan fans I know are not fair-weather fans. So let's all get on board the "we turned it around" ship and have a great rest of the season!
Shortly after this meeting, Kevin Rath decided to bet me that I could not go "ball out" (aka, hit a home run) left-handed in 30 swings. This was a friendly bet, of course, with no money involved because that is an NCAA violation and we wouldn't want that. So I set the screens up and got my batting practice pitcher, Matthew Fahey, warmed up. I made sure most of the team was right there to see what was about to happen. Kevin was sure that 30 swings were not enough, walking around with this confidence that he had already won. So I put my bat right where I wanted Fahey to throw the ball and he did just that. I took the first pitch into the arboretum just to the right of the "hit it here" sign and Rath was speechless. Not only could he not believe it but he was shocked on how far this ball went. I'm not sure if I could have done this right-handed. It was truly amazing. Joe Scott told me that he would tell his grandkids about this day, which was touching for me. I think it might have had something to do with my dirty mustache. If any of you see Kevin please remind him of this event.
BLOG 11: April 29, 2009
Has anyone else noticed that right after we shaved our mustaches, we started playing bad baseball and losing (15-2 record in March , 10-7 in April)? Well, I certainly have and I will not stand for it, so (Matt) Fahey, (Joe) Scott and myself are going to be at the bow of this ship. "BRING THE MUSTACHE BACK!" And, anyone on the team is welcome to join us if they are not afraid of their girlfriends getting mad. This is the part I always find funny. Shouldn't I (one of the few single guys on the team) be the one worried? I mean, they already have girlfriends, I am the one who has to try to talk to a girl with a dirty `stache. Right? Anyways, we started growing them out last week and are 6-0 since, so go figure.
Now, as you all know, I have been here for quite some time. So, obviously, I have seen some impressive home runs in my day, some by the Titans and some not by the Titans. Here is my list for the biggest bombs I have seen in my career here.
5. Brett Wallace, ASU- Kevin Rath served up a cookie to the first rounder and he did not miss it. This ball was a lined shot that went over the hitters eye in centerfield. The ball was still going up as it left the yard.
4. Sergio Pedroza, CSF- My freshman year we went out to play Tulane in a 1 vs 3 series that was very exciting. The game was a blowout on Sunday and in the 9th inning Sergio had a 3-0 count and he got the green light and pulverized a ball to right field that had to go at least 480 feet. This was one of those shots where the crowd goes silent and just watches how far it goes.
3. Casey Haerther, UCLA- Last year in the playoffs Michael Morrison left a pitch up and Haerther made him pay for it. He also made Matthew Fahey pay for it because it dotted his car in the parking lot.
2. John Mayberry, Jr., Stanford- Former Titan Ryan Schreppel served this one up in the first series of the 2005 season. Mayberry didn't have a great series but he punished this ball well over the street and into the tree that stands outside Goodwin Field.
1.Evan Longoria, LBSU- In 2006 we were playing our non-conference series against the Dirtbags at Goodwin Field and the weather was not so great. It was a Saturday night and the showers started to come in. That did not stop Lauren Gagnier from throwing a pitch right into Longoria's wheel house where he smashed one that went over the hitters eye in the rain. The ball disappeared into the night never to be seen again.
There will be more Jon Wilhite bracelets being sold this weekend at the games vs UC Santa Barbara.
BLOG 10: April 13, 2009
I've been sitting around thinking about what to say about this horrible tragedy for a while now. Wondering why these terrible accidents happen to such good people, and why the person doing the harm never seems to get what they deserve? It's a sad world that we live in today, where someone thinks that it is alright to go get hammered and drive with a suspended license at 70 mph on a city street. But there is nothing we can do about what has happened now except mourn the good people we lost and pray that God has a special plan for Jon.
I had the pleasure of knowing everyone in the car that night. I met Courtney through the athletic system. She was a beautiful young girl with a good heart and a huge Titan fan no matter what the sport. I met Nick through Henry a couple of times and he was never the "big league" type, he treated everyone with respect and never thought he was too good for anyone. I met Henry (or "Hank Deisel" as I called him) through Jon. They went to high school together and Hank was going to law school to become a sports agent. He was also a huge Titan fan, coming out to as many fall scrimmages as he could just to watch some good baseball. Hank wanted me to become one of his clients once he got his license and once I told him that I already had an advisor it was never spoken about again. We shared many Angel games together, we went to watch his buddies Nick Adenhart and Brandon Wood play on a couple occasions and then meet up with them to go out after the game. Henry was a stand up guy that I will miss greatly.
Now, it is truly a miracle that Jon is alive and we have God and the firemen and paramedics to thank for that. I was told that the accident happened around 12:15 a.m. and that he was at the hospital by 12:40 a.m. They did an amazing job of keeping him stable and not moving his body around to cause further injury. If you are a Titan fan, then you know or have heard what Jon Wilhite is all about. He is the most unselfish person I know, both on and off the field. If I was ever in a hitting slump he would always be there to cheer me up or go hit extra with me. Jon is the definition of TITAN, he would do anything he could to help the Titans win a ballgame. As a teammate there was no one who played harder or loved the game more than him. Many people can, and have learned a lot from the way "Willis" went about his business. As a friend, I could not ask for more from someone. He is the nicest, most positive person I know no matter what was going on in his life. This all comes from his wonderful family that I have gotten to know well over the years. After meeting them it's easy to see where Jon gets all of his love for others and positive spirit from. I pray for them to have strength during this tough time.
What can we do for Jon?
There will be Livestrong bracelets being sold for \$5 at our games this weekend that were made especially for Jon. The proceeds will go straight to him and his family to help with his medical bill once he is fully recovered. The whole Titan team will be purchasing and wearing them as well.
There will be a dinner soon that I will keep you posted on.
Please keep praying for Jon and his doctors.
BLOG NINE: Apr. 6, 2009
Stay Hot Joe Scott.
After a tough series against UCR it was off to Arizona State on Monday. We had weights in the morning and then left around noon for beautiful Tempe. We arrived there around 5:30 p.m. and got checked into our rooms. We went three to a room on this road trip so Matthew Fahey and I took little Matt Orloff under our wings for a few days, making sure no one tried to beat up on him or anything.
It was the last week of spring training so we decided to see if there was a game we could catch that night. So we asked Joe Scott to go see if he could find a USA Today to check game times since the hotel charged \$15 for internet access. Joe came back with great news saying, "The Padres play the Indians out in Goodyear at 7 p.m. My girlfriend's grandparents live out there, its only 20 minutes away."
There were about 9 of us who wanted to go so Fahey went and asked the hotel if they could get us a big taxi van to take us to the game. There wasn't one available, but instead they got us an old 1970's limo and said they would charge us a normal taxi's rate. So we took off to Goodyear. It was packed pretty tight in the limo, but since it was only 20 minutes away we didn't care. So 40 minutes later, after all of the hot topics of conversation had dwindled, we were starting to get restless and asking Joe if by 20 minutes he meant an hour. Joe was not finding it funny and was blaming it all on the slow driver. After about an hour's drive we saw the stadium lights as we got off of the freeway and were very happy that we finally got to get out of the cramped little Dirk Diggler-style limo.
As we pulled into the stadium, it didn't seem to be as packed with fans as we had thought. We drove around and realized that the game had started at 4 p.m. (7 ET). This was very discouraging for us because not only did we not get to watch a baseball game, but we had to drive another hour back to the hotel. This is where everyone in the limo started giving Joe the evil eye for not knowing that the USA Today's times were listed as Eastern Standard Times. Not only that, but we were still all going to have to pay for this taxi/limo ride with no meter. This scared us because the price was strictly based off of the driver's discretion. An hour later we arrived with sore legs and cramps, along with the thought that Joe should just pay for the whole bill himself. The fare ended up being \$140, and we could not do that to Joe, so we split it up 9 ways and went to our respective rooms. When we got into our rooms we saw SportsCenter's top plays and the No. 1 play of the day was from the game we were supposed to go to.
On the bus trip home Joe had another little problem that would make Joe the MVP of the trip without a doubt. We were playing cards and Joe needed to use the restroom on the windy part of the 60 freeway. Now, in Joe's defense, it is very hard to use the restroom standing up on the bus, and no one wants to sit on the seat. So we are waiting for Joe to deal the next hand and he peaks his head out and asks, "Does anybody have an extra pair of shorts?" The back of the bus broke out in laughter knowing that Joe had had an accident or missed the toilet because of the windy roads. This laughter woke up Christian Colon and he was not happy about it. Anyways, we found Joe some shorts and got home safely before a good Thursday practice. By the way, Graduate Assistant Jake Silverman is a bottom dealer.
Pick to Click: Joe Scott
BLOG EIGHT: Mar. 26, 2009
Interview with Christian "CC" Colon
How do you feel the season is going so far for the 2009 Titans?
"It's going great. So far, so good, but we do have a lot of improvements to make and that is the scariest part. When we do reach our potential, things are going to get out of hand for other teams. Too much to handle!"
How do you feel about Mustache March?
(laughs) "I love it, even though I look like Jose Mota with it. Other than that, it is a cool thing to do with your teammates. I did it for Joe Scott, my second baseman."
Where has been your favorite place to play on the road?
"So far, Texas A&M and Southern Miss. I love going on the road, people boo us like we are the Yankees, it's crazy. Swagger on the road, that's what we got."
How did you like the 11-day road trip? Do you think it was good for the team? Why?
"That trip was amazing. We found out so many good things about our team and also some bad ones, but, overall, it was a great experience for our team. We came a lot closer together as a team and as a family...it was great to see that."
How was it playing against Oral Roberts Head Coach Rob Walton, who was our Team USA Head Coach last summer?
(laughs) "Besides the fact that J. Clark, Felly and I killed him offensively and defensively, it was fun. It was great seeing him again, knowing that we did something special with him last summer. We also got to ask him for our rings that we were promised but never got, but overall it was great seeing a great friend. I am sure we will see him again somewhere down the road."
Did he give you any words of wisdom after the series was over?
"Yea, he actually stopped J.Clark, Felly and I to talk a little bit about us, how things were going, and also to give us some good tips on other teams. He is a great person and we appreciate his words and friendship."
How do you feel about Josh Fellhauer shaving his mustache a week before the team agreed to?
"That's not good, we are very disappointed in him. I almost thought about giving him the silent treatment for the rest of the season, but I couldn't do that. I guess when you're player of the week you can do whatever you want, but still we pray for Felly and his bad decision of shaving his ugly mustache."
How easy is it to throw across the field to such a big target?
(laughs) "Wow, you mean tall, skinny target at first? Yea, it is pretty legit. I am not going to lie, but that's the point -- I need to throw it high enough because if I throw it low there is no chance the big guy can bend his knees and catch it. Then I will have to hear about how much his knees hurt. (laughs) No, just kidding, it feels good to have a gold glove caliber first baseman, and I mean it, too."
Are you sensitive?
(laughs) "Not as sensitive as everyone on the team thinks I am, but hey, I am sensitive, I know. Either you love me or hate me.. what can I say? It's all good. I just need to chill and not show Bergy I am sensitive. I will show you guys the real CC."
BLOG SEVEN: Mar. 19, 2009
So why "Mustache March" you say?
Recently, I have been hearing a lot of "hoopla," or, in layman's terms, "WHINING" about Mustache March. Most of this is coming from girlfriends and guys who care way too much about how they look. What separates us from the other teams in the country, is that it's not about how we look, it's about how we play the game. Now, don't get me wrong, we look really, really good out there, and we know it...but that is not what we are all about.
Now, as many of you know, the mustache thing got started from a friendly challenge between Joe Scott and Jeff Newman, but it has become much more than just an idea or a funny thing we decided to do. These dirty mustaches show how much this team means to all of us. Not only are we doing everything we can for each other on the field, we are now doing it off the field by growing out these filthy mustaches.
I have already had countless conversations with people, mostly girls, where I will be talking and as I am talking I see their eyes wander right on down to the "'stache," this is where it gets awkward and I have to say, "I totally just caught you checkin' out my `stache... so what do you think?" Usually it's an "ummmmm" or my favorite, "Most guys don't look good with them, but you can pull it off." Probably the nicest way of saying, "you look hideous, shave it, now!" But it doesn't matter to us, not even the almighty girl or girlfriend can hold us down.
Now I know many of you cannot see the `stache's too well from the stands, so I will give you a little insight on what we see from the field.
Michael Morrison looks beautiful, if I might say so myself.
Christian Colon is now a spitting image of former Titan Jose Mota.
Mike Harkey, I mean Tony Harkey, looks just like his dad, circa 1987.
Coach Brown is no longer Coach Brown, he is Señor Brown.
Then there are the boys who can't grow them. It's nothing to be ashamed of because at least they are trying. Wes Borba, Gary Brown, and Dustin Garneau cannot seem to get those whiskers to pop out yet.
BLOG SIX: Mar. 11 2009
After a very impressive weekend at SMU we hit the road for the crazy town of New Orleans for the night. We arrived into town at around 8 p.m. and before Fahey and I could even set our bags down there were three guys already in our room ready to go out on the town. Since I had been there before I guess it wasn't as important for me to rush down to Bourbon Street. Soon enough we got down to where the madness happens and knew that we were in store for one of the most fun nights of our lives. We started off just trying to find some good music to listen to and we did. There was an awesome cover band playing at one of the Bourbon Street establishments that we listened to for a while. They rocked. They played all the right songs at all the right times.
Then it was off to a country-themed saloon, where I asked Fahey how much it would take for him to ride the bull. He said, "Ten dollars and the riding fee." Somehow this turned into me not paying him anything and me riding the bull as well. I don't know why or how it happened but I'm guessing it was me just trying to get back to my old rodeo days. The bull won.
After that we decided to head back to where the live band was playing and they were still rockin' the joint. This was where Joe Scott and I decided to show off our dance moves to the wonderful people of New Orleans. They didn't know what hit them. But the best part of the night definitely came from this old, old man that was on the dance floor with us. This guy was at least 70 and oddly enough, was wearing an orange shirt - go Titans! He also had a denim jacket tied around his waist to go with some dirty khaki shorts and some high top shoes. This was all topped off with a gross backwards trucker hat that held his ears down. This guy had the dance moves that reminded us of Forrest Gump trying to get his groove on. The best part was he was trying to get right into the middle of this group of girls and they were not having it at all. He was just creeping the whole night and we were enjoying watching his every move. If you feel like you must know how this guy danced please feel free to ask Joe or myself to do a reenactment, you won't be disappointed. Blogman out
BLOG 5 Mar. 6, 2008
Thursday was one of the longer days in my tenure at Cal State Fullerotn. We started it off bright and early with weights at 6 a.m. when we tried to convince Coach Vandermade to join us for mustache March. He is still on the fence about it. Then it was back home for a quick shower and a light breakfast...ok it wasn't that light. Then it was off to the airport where we saw Spike Lee and a couple cross town rivals (USC and UCLA). We were with out a doubt the best-looking and best-dressed team there. "Dressed for success" as my road roommate Matthew Fahey likes to put it.
Then it was onto the 3 hour plane flight where Joe Scott, Coach Bergeron, Coach Brown, and myself passed the time by playing a couple games of Hearts. "Bergy" was trying to hustle us acting like he didn't know how to play. "Oh, the queen of spades is good right?" he said. We weren't buying it for a second. But Joe and I definitely underestimated the coaches' skills as Coach Brown "shot the moon" on the very first hand and then quickly won the whole game as my points skyrocketed past 100.
After a smooth landing we got on our bus for the 2 hour trip to Hattiesburg. Once there, we checked into the hotel and then went to the stadium for a short practice. The facility is very nice and looks like it has the potential to be a very hostile environment.
Now its off to bed, that is if I can fall asleep with Fahey snoring like a bear who is hibernating for the winter.
BLOG 4: Mar. 4, 2009
Joe Scott's real-life handlebar mustache.
The Titans will be taking part in "Mustache March" in `09. We will be growing out our mustaches throughout the month of March and will not be able to trim or shave them at all. This is a tradition that many people across America take part in every year.
This whole idea got started when Jeff Newman challenged Joe Scott back in October. The two were talking about mustaches and Jeff decided to bet Joe that he wouldn't grow his mustache from then through April 1.
For those who know Joe, you know never to challenge him to something like this, because he will gladly do it with no qualms. Joe's mustache can be summed up in one word...gross! And Joe knows to take that as a compliment because gross is beautiful and we all hope to have mustaches that are as gross as his by the end of the month.
Pick to Click - Gary Brown
BLOG 3: Feb. 27, 2009
An Interview with Gary "G-baby" Brown by Jared Clark.
As many of you know, Gary Brown is our everyday third baseman and leadoff hitter. In my opinion he is the fastest player in college baseball and our biggest offensive weapon this year.
Gary, how has it been making the change from playing outfield last year to third base this year?
It was not that big of a change because I played infield last year in the early in the season and even though I was playing outfield later on, I was still taking ground balls in the infield at practice. The hardest part is the difference of being on the left side of the infield and how quick the ball gets on you at third
What is your take on the team's slow start this year?
I think it has to do with a little over confidence. I think we were a little surprised by TCU's talent and attitude towards the game and I think it carried over to our midweek at SDSU.
Besides me, who do you look up to the most on the team?
Joe Scott and Matthew Fahey. Joe brings the right mentality everyday showing us how to give it all we've got every single day. Fahey has fun no matter what we are doing and that keeps me on track to keep having fun and no matter how rough things are going. Its still a game and it's meant to be fun
How do you like hitting leadoff compared to batting in the middle of the order last year?
I like it a lot. That is where I have hit most of my life. I need to get used to it again, and make sure I know that it's not always about hits or the stat sheet. It's about finding a way to get on base no matter how it happens.
Who is the best badminton team you have ever seen?
Side note: On a rainy winter day, Matthew Fahey and I (Jared) decided to go to the new rec center to get an extra lift in - which I am sure by the looks of us comes as no surprise. Anyhow, as we were walking in we spotted Christian Colon and Gary Brown sharing a game of badminton in the gym area. We walked to in to say hello and got a challenge that we could not refuse.
It started out as a best of three series playing each game to 15. Fahey and I quickly won two in a row. They asked us to make it a best of five series and we kindly obliged and quickly won the third game with little struggle.
After that, the "kids" were getting very frustrated wondering how these two huge, old, and slow guys are whooping them in this game of quickness and agility. They begged and pleaded with us for another game making it a best out of seven series, and after a breather and a sip of water, we agreed.
The young guns jumped out quickly to an 8-0 lead. "Now we got it, now we got it," they were saying. They kept applying the pressure making it 13-1, and it was looking like the old guys had gotten tired and lost it. Anyone else might have given up and said, "We'll get them next game and save our energy." But not us salty vets, Fahey simply looked at me and said, "You ready to turn it on?" After a deep breath I looked at my teammate and said, "with out a doubt!"
The 13-1 score quickly turned into 14-7. At this point they were sure they had it in the bag thinking there was no way we could run off 9 straight points against two All-Americans. Little did they know Fahey and I had been badminton teammates since we had it for a class in 2006, when we used to dominate Corey Arbiso and Joe Scott. So beating up on our teammates was nothing new to us.
As expected, we scored 9 straight points defeating the sophomore connection 16-14. They could not believe what had just happened, but learned a valuable lesson in defeat... Don't mess with the veterans!
BLOG TWO: Feb. 19, 2009
Last night the Titan baseball team was out and about sporting their colors proudly around town. After practice we had a team dinner hosted by Esther's Taco House which was absolutely delicious, if I do say so myself. It was a buffet style line-up with enchiladas, beans, rice, along with chicken and steak tacos. Now this event might have been a mistake on their part because I don't think they anticipated just how much some of the guys on the team could eat in one sitting. With Matthew Fahey, Kevin Rath, and me, you can guarantee there will be at least three - maybe even a four plates being put away. Rath, who has been known to put down three Chipotle burritos in one sitting, is definitely the biggest eater on the team. I am sure that is no surprise to anyone - the kid is a giant. A big thanks goes out to the Diamond Club and everyone at Esther's Taco House for the awesome dinner that was put Wednesday night.
After that it was off to the basketball game to cheer on our fellow Titan athletes against a good Long Beach State team. The whole team sat in one area in our orange Titan Baseball shirts and joined the Orange Curtain in its effort to quiet the 49er faithful. As I am sure it comes to no surprise we are very cleaver when it comes to ragging other teams, mostly because we have heard many harsh things said to us in the past. That was the most fun basketball game I have ever attended in my tenure here and it was a thriller until the last second. Our boys put on a great show for us with some spectacular dunks and some long-range threes's by my boy Josh Akognon. Unfortunately we fell one point short in the end, but as the true stubborn fan that I am, I say it was the ref's fault!
Pick to Click: Khris Davis
Beware of the "stache"... 10 days and counting
BLOG ONE: February, 12, 2009
The blogman begins...
As I sit on my new couch that was purchased off of craigslist I cannot help but be excited for the 2009 college baseball season. Coming into my senior year there is a buzz and extra skip in my step just thinking about all of the great times and experiences that I have been lucky enough to have because of college baseball. In the weeks leading up to my last opening weekend for the Titans, I can only wait in anticipation for a schedule that has us going on an eleven day road trip to Mississippi, Texas, and Oklahoma, as well as a trip to Arizona to play two midweek games against the very talented Sun Devils. With a non-conference schedule like this I have no doubts that we will be more than prepared for a very competitive Big West Conference that has many teams on the rise.
About two weeks ago, we had our first practice of the year at 12 in the morning on February 1, and it was one of the craziest and coolest things I have done on a college baseball field. This might not have been true if it were not for the 200-plus fans that showed up to see us take the field for the first time. That was truly awesome and shows how much our fans really support us. From alumni to the Diamond Club, from parents to girlfriends, they were all there to watch us take the field, batting practice, and play a 9-inning scrimmage. Now after 1 and 2 o'clock rolled by, many people started disappearing into the night as expected at those hours of the night. And by 4 a.m. there was a lonesome 10 people still there waiting impatiently in the freezing cold for that final out of the scrimmage. All-in-all it was a great experience that I will never forget and I will try my best to make sure our "First to Practice, Last to Play" motto comes true.
As many of you know, Christian Colon, Josh Fellhauer and I got to play for Team USA this summer and I can honestly say it was the greatest experience of my life to this point. I was an injury replacement in the middle of the summer and wanted to make the most of the amazing opportunity that was given to me. So after leaving LAX at 8:00 in the morning and arriving in Amsterdam, yes, Amsterdam, at 7 a.m. the next day, I was picked up and taken straight to a game that started at 10 a.m. Now you have to understand that this was about 3 weeks after our season ended and I was trying to heal a finger that I had broken right before playoffs started. So all I had been doing was working our summer baseball camps and letting it heal - definitely not swinging a bat. This made me a little self conscious about how "rusty" I might be since I had not seen live pitching for a while and I was going to be facing the likes of the Cuban National Team in just 2 or 3 days. All of this self consciousness went away when Coach Walton had me had me batting fourth right behind my boys "Felly" and "C.C." in the very first game I could play in. We went on to win every game that followed. My first experience of a true dog pile was exhilarating and I, along with the rest of the leaders on this team, will do everything in our power to make sure it happens in June.
Hope to see you all out there on the 20th as we make the first step towards a national championship against the TCU Horned Frogs.
Pick to Click- Khris Davis
"Mustache March" - Coming Soon.