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.
March 16, 2004
Snow in the Sunny South
It’s been about seven months since I have played in a game setting. Now it’s
that time again. The season is within so many hours now of lacing up my new
cleats and putting my uniform on again. But before that can happen, our team
must make that long trip down south.
I wait inside our Recreational Center at Le Moyne College around 6:20 p.m.
Because I'm a captain, and I want to get going early, I am making the list so
people know what equipment they have to take from the bus to the field and vice
versa. The list includes the medical kit, new batting practice balls along with
old batting practice balls. We have to take both of these balls due to the
weather we might face. Along with the old and new we also take our yellow rubber
balls. Then, the last thing that needed to be assigned was the fungo bag. All
these bags must be assigned so there is no confusion. With many of the teams I
have been on, it has been the new members of the team who have the
responsibility of taking care these items. As I started making the list, one of
the first members that came in was senior transfer outfielder Matt Ryan. He
helped me assign the bags, making sure that certain people didn't have too much
stuff to carry from their personal equipment to team equipment.
Once the bus arrived at our school, all of our players were waiting outside in
what seemed to be 30-degree weather with blistering wind. We loaded up the bus
and started filling in where people were sitting. The senior class that I am a
part of wanted the back of the bus. Along with the seniors, many of the juniors
had their own seats. Having your own seat on these trips is a big deal. I
remember when I was a freshmen, I hated to have to sit with another person due
to the fact that I could never get comfortable. If you can imagine, as many
college athletes and young professionals do, getting your own seat is a luxury.
Now, being the senior I have
all the space in the world to have my pillow and snacks in the seat with me.
Also being able to sleep is a key thing. After playing a week of games and
traveling back to school in the middle of the night, you have to get to classes
within four hours once you step of the bus. You want to make sure you get your
rest so you don't get sick.
Many of the activities that happen in our bus rides are watching the classic
movies of Tommy Boy, Major League, Billy Madison, Old School. Along with the
movies playing, there are numerous card games going on. The topic of
conversation that I was in was how fast your college career goes by. You get
here so young and ready to play, and before you take a breath, it seems like
you're in your senior year. Where does the time go? As our coach says all the
time “don't waste at-bats.” And when you think about it, when it is all said and
done, many people say "Man, I wish I had one more year to play."
It took us about 12 hours to get to our hotel in Greensboro, N.C. After several
hours of sleep, I saw the sun rise and looked out. Much to my surprise, the
grass I thought was going to be green was white. North Carolina was hit by a
major snowstorm and many comments around the bus were, "Did we actually leave
the Northeast yet?"
We got off the bus, and after a brief meeting, we received our room keys and
headed for our rooms. Since I slept on the bus, I was ready to practice as
expected. But with the snow, we had to wait for coach to find out what our
alternative practice would be.
We practiced inside the batting cages at UNCG and got in a quick lift - a far
cry from the outdoor hitting and fielding practice we'd expected.
We were scheduled to open our season at 1 p.m., but when I woke up, there was
still at least 3 inches of snow on the ground. After coach told us their method
of getting snow off the field, which was to turn their sprinkler systems on to
melt the snow along with the sun, our game was going to be pushed back to 4 p.m.
I was hoping we would play, because I've seen days in the Northeast when it
warms up enough to melt enough snow to be able to practice.
Sure enough, when we arrived at the field, many of their players and coaching
staff had their drag mats in the outfield, knocking down the snow along with
five players wetting the snow with a water hose. It was comical because many of
their players were having snowball fights. We're used to this stuff, and they
don't have the experience, but I was glad they worked so hard to have the field
ready to play. It was a real credit to the people at UNCG.
When the game started there was still snow in the outfield and by the end of the
game, that snow turned into ice. Our first time outside since October didn't
turn out the way we'd expected as UNCG beat us 7-1 that day, 16-2 the next and
9-3 in the last game.
We walked into N.C. State feeling confident after three defeats because we were
able to face a team we'd played in the NCAA Regionals last season. But they beat
us 17-2 the first day and 8-2 the next.
Today was the one scheduled day without a game. We traveled from Raleigh to
Charlotte, where we would play our final three games of the trip.
After a slow start, it was nice that we didn't have competition to refocus. The
team chemistry really started to come together because we were able to have a
loose batting practice in the warm sun. We were able to joke around with each
A lot of the outfielders got to go into the infield. Most outfielders dream of
playing infield again and vice versa. Matty Ryan and I were practicing turning
double plays. Once, I tripped over second base, and the entire team started
The one thing that was missing was that team is used to listening to country
music during batting practice. On this day, we only heard the ping of the bats.
It's kinda neat to have a practice at another school. It's a different
environment. To me it's like going to a new house. I like to explore behind the
fences, how the dirt is different and the different types of grass. We throw
balls off the fence to see how well the ball bounces off the fence and where it
goes. Charlotte's fence had a lot of carom. It was wood and it would shoot back
fast. The one thing from an outfielder's perspective is that the gaps were not
as deep, compared to UNCG and N.C. State.
The games seemed closer at Charlotte, but we still weren't executing. We headed
home 0-8. A long bus trip without a win, made the 12-hour bus ride seem like a
day and a half. It's tough not to have any victories to tell anyone back home
A Day in the Life: Lots to Do Before Hitting the Road (2/26/04)
After 153 Inches of Snow, It's Time for Baseball (2/23/04)
(photo courtesy of Le Moyne Media Relations Office)