Jon Mueller is in his seventh season as the leader of the Great Danes. After setting a school record with 37 wins in 2004, Albany finished 20-19 a year ago. Mueller, who played in the Northern and Northeast leagues from 1994-2000, will contribute a journal to for the second season.






March 24, 2006

Smokin' Keydets, Hirsch and the Island


Our travels have given the team many of the answers we are searching for. The roles of the players are beginning to take shape, and the sun is starting to peek out from under the stormy Northeast winter.


Our trip to VMI proved to be fruitful as we ran into a team playing with a lot of confidence. Marlin had the boys strapped up and waiting for us as we ventured down the hill to VMI.


We took two beatings on Saturday and escaped with a one-run win on Sunday. The ending was dramatic as our centerfielder ran down a ball, climbed the wall and split his head open while holding on to the ball in the bottom of the ninth. The team rushed out to left field to pick up their fallen teammate, and the coaches just shook their heads in disbelief.


We sandwiched a game down at St John’s in between our trip to Long Island, and it was moving along smoothly until the seventh when we experienced a major meltdown. This is when you put guys in to get outs, and they have a hard time doing it. In the college game you cannot always turn off the enemies machine and this was the case here.


I guess the wind was at about 100 knots blowing straight out, and a few balls turned into golf balls on their way towards the city limits!!! Once again, we got on the bus and headed for home with a sore and swollen backside.


Three-one run losses at New York Tech to one of my closest friends, Bob Hirschfield, didn’t make life any easier for our staff, but we remained positive.


In the Northeast, it truly is about conference play. You schedule 20-plus games and try to form a team and pitching staff to be conference ready when their time is called. With nine new arms on the staff, I have seen some things I have not had to deal with in six years since we started building the program from scratch. I had to go back to my old notes and make some changes based on what was being produced on the field. As a head coach you always ask yourself those questions: “Is this guy going to give me six innings on Friday, or is he going to crawl into his crib and hide?”


There are many things to look forward to as we approach our April 7 opener in conference. Our team is regaining its confidence with a win over UNC Greensboro, and the field is starting to thaw out for this weekend’s home opener with Yale. Many of the guys who have missed time are regaining their health, and the long 13-hour bus rides are starting to come to an end.


I cannot tell you how many bottles of water I have to purchase to stock the coolers for the long rides, but I can tell you that you learn a lot about people during the tough times. You never learn a lot about people when things are peachy. Rather, it’s when your back is up against the wall, the umps are squeezing your guy and getting his pitch count up and your best hitters are swinging the bat with little or no confidence.


This is what the challenge is all about. Get your guys ready, and stop the crying. We all know there is no crying in baseball.




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New Turf, a Wheelchair and a Little Southern Home Cookin' (3/3/06)


(photo courtesy of Albany Media Relations Office)