Kyle Brown is a senior outfielder at Le Moyne of
the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. In helping the Dolphins to last year’s
NCAA Regionals in Wilson, N.C., Brown batted .338 with four homers, 24 RBI and
swiped 25 bases in 27 attempts. Brown, from Schenectady, N.Y., was ranked 48th
in Baseball America’s pro prospect list for the senior class. He is a sociology
major and will provide insight from the Le Moyne program throughout the year.
Feb. 23, 2004
After 153 Inches of Snow, It's
Time for Baseball
November, December, January, February and early
March - these are the months that a Northeast baseball player dreads.
As the weeks fly by, our team is getting ready
to get on the bus and take that half-a-day trip down south to face teams that
have been playing for a week or two already. Meanwhile our team has not even
seen the grass on our field since November. We’ve had 153 inches of snow in
Syracuse, but the weeks have passed, the time is here to play BASEBALL!
With less than a week from our first game, our
team is right in the midst of gym fever. We have been stuck inside our gym, and
our batting cages, since the first day we came back from semester break. A team
can only do so much inside. Our facilities allow us (a Northeast team) to do all
the little things that are so important in winning. It is hard to believe that a
team has done more hitting or gone over the little things as much as we have
done in the past two months.
I believe it was 38 degrees outside today. It is
cold, but to me it’s actually warm. There was a time in the year when our team
thought that 38 degrees was no weather to be playing baseball in. Now, times
have changed, as they do every year. Thirty-eight could be the temperature the
first home game (March 31 vs. Buffalo). Would we take playing in that cold,
instead of being inside? I can’t imagine any player saying, “No, I would rather
stay inside longer.”
We work out daily in our cages, in the gym and
at an off-campus facility that has turf and almost a full infield.
Having the right chemistry wins baseball games.
Being able to stick together when things are not going the team’s way can make
or break a season, especially as the hours count down till we open up at UNC
Greensboro on February 28. The team is molding even more to understand each
other and thinking about the one goal that everyone wants: “win.”
Coach Owens has posted the travel roster for the
trip to North Carolina. So, I know the trip is getting closer.
Today, we worked out in our gymnasium. Because
the basketball teams were still practicing, we used the “back gym” to loosen up
and stretch out before heading into the cages for some live and BP hitting.
At Le Moyne, we’re lucky to have our own space
for hitting and live pitching. It’s a long, narrow, turf-covered area, and from
personal experience, hard to hit in. But it makes you focus because it seems
like the pitchers are on top of you. Without the field behind the pitcher, I
focus more on the pitcher himself…and that has made me a better hitter.
Before we face live pitching, we do some tee
work. Then assistant coaches Bob Nandin and Scott Landers throw some BP until
our pitchers are good and loose and ready to throw live. I knew from the start
of BP that my body wasn’t as loose as I wanted it to be. So I knew today was
going to be a hard day to hit against live pitching. But, taking a positive out
of it, I learned that I can still be productive by learning that I’m not going
to succeed every time.
In my live at-bats, I faced Al Drechsler and
Nick Marascia from our staff and my former teammate Andy Weimer, who is working
out before heading south for spring training with the Devil Rays organization.
They’ve faced me so many times over the years and so many times in the last two
months that I think they know the pitches to throw to get me out. That makes me
a better hitter because I’m seeing those pitches more and more.
After our practice we had to set up for
tomorrow’s men’s basketball game. As a team, we pulled out the bleachers and
played a game of “lights out” basketball as Coach Owens turned out the lights.
Senior catcher Steven Suarez, from Miami, Fla., shows off his basketball skills
by throwing up an air ball from half court. This leads into Jeff Justice,
another senior captain, grabbing a ball and taking off to half court to show off
his half court shooting ability. Meanwhile, the lights are fading. After Jeff
misses, I grab the ball and display my ability…mine actually grazed the rim.
After a good practice, our team ends it on the way to our cars with some type of
joking around. It really makes our team close with one another, and it makes it
fun to be on this team.
When the day started off, I had to help out my
roommate and teammate Tom Warner. He works the basketball games as an usher. As
unbelievable as it may sound at 22-years-old, he has not yet learned to tie his
own tie. So I tie it for him. How he’s going to survive in the real world as a
teacher, I don’t know.
We won’t practice until after the men’s
basketball game. Before the basketball game and after a hard night of hitting
the night before in the cages and a trip to the Outback Steakhouse with my
girlfriend, I got in some intense tee work.
I moved the tee around so I could cover all nine
pitches in the strike zone (high middle, high in, high away, middle middle,
middle in, middle out, low out, low middle, low in). Doing this drill has really
improved my hitting. I’m working on staying back and driving the ball to all
Our practices will be more focused on situations
that we may encounter in our first week of games. We have worked for months on
our fundamentals and doing the little things, but now it’s time to get ready for
We haven’t seen grass since November, but in
less than a week, I’ll be smelling the fresh cut grass and that brisk,
air. Even if 40 degrees, our team will be playing like it’s 85 next week. I
(photo courtesy of Le Moyne Media Relations Office)