I have a case of hypermnesia when it comes to the end of our last two baseball seasons and I am hoping with the depth we have built into our 2013 Sharks roster we will not triplicate the past.
When we set out to build our roster for 2013 we were looking for quality and depth at each position. To prevent running out of steam in the last two weeks of our season as we had in the first two seasons, we had to build depth. We felt that we had to develop a habit of shaking off lineup cavities when we rest players or like last season when injuries pile up. At the end of last season our starting shortstop, and arguably our best player, and our third baseman went down with injuries with only two weeks left in the season. We went on a five game losing streak and fell out of second place and consequently out of the playoffs. We don’t want to struggle nightly when we have subtractions to our starting lineup. This is precisely why we looked to build depth this upcoming season. I want to make sure a Tad Gold does not tire at the end of the season. He is a dynamic leadoff hitter who led the league in stolen bases, but, and this is me thinking out loud, his batting average dropped from .330 to .271 at the very end of the season because he played almost every game (over 55 games) on top of his college schedule. Don’t misunderstand my comment as he had a great season and was a leader on and off the field, but he must be rested periodically throughout the season if we want to keep him fresh. I expect Tad to be the leader on this team, especially since this will be his third season. This upcoming season he will have corner outfielders that will have similar speed to match him defensively as well as on the base paths.
We have a solid roster on paper, but of course that must translate on the field. We do not have any redshirted freshmen on the roster as we did in the first two years, in fact we only have a four freshmen on the roster; two of them are pitchers who were highly recommended by assistant coach Anthony Corona, currently a senior and not eligible to play in the FCBL, who catches both pitchers at LIU Post University. Both have pitched twice so far this young college season and have put up solid numbers. We have depth in all positions and a solid core of starting pitchers. Our weak spot right now is the lack of another lefty pitcher or two, which we have been trying to resolve and will hopefully do so before the start of the season.
Unlike the college baseball season where the players live on or near campus together, we need to percolate chemistry right off the ferry when the players arrive. The host families must make the players feel like they are at home, while away from home. Fortunately, we have a great group of host families, but could use 4 or 5 more families to help us out. Hosting a player is a great influence on the host family’s children. As an example, we had a player last season that was directly responsible for changing the eating habits and initiating a workout regimen for a host family’s teenage son.
In today’s social media world players continue to stay in touch with their newly “adopted” brothers and sisters through texting, Facebook postings and Twitter well after they leave the Vineyard. A truly rewarding experience for both the player and the host family!
Be ready for opening day on Tuesday, June 11th (time to be determined)!