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.
April 30, 2006
A Winning Streak and Shark Day
It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve checked in, and it has mainly been due to
the fact that we are on a winning streak. There are a couple of things that I
don’t do on winning streaks. First, I try not to change anything. It is not like
I leave my jerseys and socks dirty, but I definitely try not to change too much
of my daily routine. Since I had not written an entry since before the start of
the streak, I was hesitant to write one now.
Second, I do not talk about the winning streak. I can compare it to a dugout
during a game in which the pitcher is throwing a no-hitter. When this is
occurring, no one can mention the no-hitter is taking place - because usually
the moment it happens, the other team gets a hit, and the no-hitter is over. But
because over the last week the streak has been mentioned numerous times, I think
mentioning it here will be OK. Right now, we are in the midst of a 22-game
winning streak and after starting the season 2-5, we have since improved our
record to 32-8.
What I have realized over the course of my four years here is to not panic at
the beginning of the season. Being a Northern school, we are at a tremendous
disadvantage. Our fall ball is actually in the fall and not in December, and
when we step on the field to play our first game, we are actually fielding our
first groundballs on clay and catching pop-ups for the first time since October.
So, when we first start our schedule and lose to teams like Oklahoma and
Arizona, I am not happy, but I know we are going to be OK.
I know I mentioned Jeff Samardzija in my last entry, but I have to mention him
here again. First, I am not sure how many of you know this, but the media calls
him “The Shark,” and they think it is because of his demeanor on the baseball
and football field. How he actually received this nickname is from our former
baseball teammate Chris Niesel, who gave Samardzija the nickname “Shark Face,”
and that was because he looks like the shark from the movie Finding Nemo.
And the original nickname is “Shark” not “The Shark” - a minor difference but
one known by those of us associated with the baseball team.
Either way, the reason I am mentioning him is because the other day we had Shark
Day at the field. The marketing department gave away 1,500 3-foot by 2-foot
posters of Jeff in the old-school Bo Jackson pose, where he was wearing shoulder
pads with no shirt and had his arms holding onto a baseball bat that was laid
across the back of his shoulders.
The pose was hilarious, but what it did to our game was something that I had
never seen before at Frank Eck Stadium. A few thousand fans were lined up three
hours before the game started to get into our stadium. Our field only seats
about 2,800, and we sold 3,500 tickets. People were actually turned away from
our field because we could not physically fit any more fans inside. It was
incredible, and the atmosphere was electric from the first pitch to the last.
Being able to see how our program has grown in popularity here over the past
four years in the South Bend area has been fun to watch.
Until next week, this is Greg from South Bend.
Greetings from Florida (4/7/06)
Playing in Front of the Family (3/23/06)
Opening Weekend and a Quick Day Trip (3/6/06)
Patiently Waiting (2/24/06)
(photo courtesy of Notre Dame Media Relations Office)