Feb. 15, 2010
Hello everybody -
First, I would like to introduce myself to the blogging world. I am Brian Smith, and I am a senior pitcher. I am not your prototypical senior though, I am a rare sixth-year senior. In the fall of 2004, Ben Etcheverry, Cody Jacobson, and Jayme Wells (freshman Huskies in 2010) were all entering eighth grade. I was entering college! I was experiencing G. Wolfe making a name for himself across the country before those boys had experienced a high school football game yet! As I say that, those three guys are now teammates of mine. They keep me young.
After my freshman year, I never expected to play college baseball with anyone born in the 90s. Plans changed during my sophomore season, and I got hit with the injury bug. A severe case of it, too. I had bone spurs removed in April of 2007, and a little more than a year later, I had Tommy John Surgery in July of 2008. After a long process of rehabbing, graduating, applying for Graduate School (got accepted into NIU's Sport Management program, and had an awesome first semester) and applications with the NCAA to make sure I can receive this sixth year...
THE TIME HAS COME!
We are entering Week One of a long season this Thursday, when we leave for Tempe, Ariz. The team has been getting the itch to get this season underway. Over the past few weeks, we have had quite a few morning practices, ranging from 5:30 to 6 am start times. Luckily for us, we have not had any 5:15 am starts, like we have in the past, because those are not pretty. With the facilities that we have available to us, I would have to say that we have prepared ourselves better than ever. I am always interested to see how it transfers from the field turf at the DeKalb Rec Center to an actual playing surface like Arizona State's Winkles Field - Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark (I think I got that right). Our pitching rotation is getting finalized this weekend, and it will be nice to see all of us back on dirt in comfortable weather. With our adrenaline running, our pitchers have a big task ahead of them. If we allow ourselves to stay relaxed and stay within our own game, we will give our guys the best chance to win. Arizona State is a national power every year for a reason, we have to respect them and play our game.
The coaching staff has done a great job getting themselves prepared, too. Coach Mathey has taken steps to get inside the heads of his players. He established early in the fall a "Leadership Council," which allowed ten of us to read a book on leadership and each week bring something to the table to help us succeed as a program. My favorite session was when we discussed "Controlling the Controllables". Basically, allowing ourselves to not get caught up in the weather (which is always an issue when playing in the MAC), or in the umpires' business, things of that nature. We have the ability to control how we prepare ourselves mentally and physically for each game. We all learned a lot from the process, and I am sure he did as well.
I always see Coach Joslyn wearin' his helmet around the office giving signs to compliance ladies. Just like we have been preached our whole lives, practice makes perfect and Coach Joslyn wants to be the best third base coach in the league. That's how we know that the season is just around the corner. He's considered a wizard with the fungo bat as well.
A tip to NIU staff and employees of the Convocation Center: If you see someone about 6'1 165lbs (165lbs may be generous) with red hair walking around in NIU baseball attire - I know you have the immediate urge to say "Hey Brian" or "SAAC DADDY" (says Evans Adonis). Think twice, because the person I described is my older brother Jason. Jason has been our hitting coach for almost a year now. If you are not sure which one of us it is, which happens on a daily basis, a simple "Hey Smitty" works because then we can acknowledge you as if you knew exactly whom you were talking to. With that being said, I am challenging the NIU Staff to not get the two of us mixed up ANYMORE! Jason and I discuss these things quite often, so if you slip up, I will find out and I will post it.
I will keep everyone involved as much as possible in NIU baseball on and off the field throughout the season. I look forward to hearing from you as well. If you have any suggestions or comments about my posts feel free let me know.
Say your prayers and take your vitamins, and you will never go wrong.
Keep it real -