is a senior shortstop for Notre Dame who will contribute a weekly journal
to CollegeBaseballInsider.com in 2006. A native of Upper Arlington, Ohio, Lopez
has been a mainstay on the Irish infield since he arrived in South Bend,
starting 159 games and playing in 172 his first three years. Lopez, a
two-time captain for Notre Dame, holds a 3.37 GPA as a double major in
pre-professional studies and anthropology.
Feb. 24, 2006
Hello College Baseball Fans,
My teammates and I are here at the University of
Notre Dame waiting for our chance to get on the field. It is amazing that even
after three years of playing here, the wait to begin the season is just as hard
as ever to endure.
Anticipation for the season builds when we have our annual baseball kick-off
dinner, which occurs about three weeks before our season begins. This is an
exciting night for the team, mainly because of the incredible fan support. Each
year, 1,700 fans come to meet the team, listen to the guest speakers and eat the
best ballpark food. Since my freshman year, it has been a great experience
meeting and getting to know fans that come to our games.
Having patience is hard at this time of the year. At this point, the pitchers
and position players have faced each other for what seems to be a 100 times in
scrimmages. As infielders, we’ve taken thousands of groundballs, and the
outfielders have taken just as many pop flies. To say the least, we are prepared
as a team for our opening weekend in Tennessee.
After our first practice outside this winter, we realized that all of our hard
work this year is paying off. It is easy to see how dedicated the team is to
winning by witnessing how intense our practices and our winter workouts have
been. I am anxious to see how much our hard work has improved our play.
Even though waiting is hard to do at this time, it is a good period to take care
of business in the classroom. We are expected to graduate in four years, so each
player takes a full load each semester. I think this is a reason why we grow so
close as a team because we go through the same hardships and make the same
sacrifices on and off the field. Buckling down on school at this time is not
what everyone wants to be doing but it pays off during the season, when time
outside of baseball shrinks up.
This season is unique for me because I am a senior and it’s my last chance to
suit up and play for the Irish - but, more importantly, it is my last chance to
play alongside my fellow seniors and teammates. I think what makes Notre Dame so
special is that the team becomes a family. It amazes me how much we help one
another and keep each other in line, and because of this, I know everyone on
this team is going to do everything he can to make this season as long and
memorable as possible.
To all of the Irish fans out there, Notre Dame is ready to be road warriors.
(photo courtesy of Notre Dame Media Relations Office)