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.






May 11, 2006

Smoke Signals, Black Bears and Seawolves on the Way


The first two weekends in the conference gave us splits. From the staff standpoint we felt like we were getting close, but not where we would have liked to be. Vermont came to town, and we opened with a big win on Friday. We were excited to get after it on Saturday and looking to make some noise.


Saturday turned out to be a disaster, and we were swept at home. The ride home after a home sweep is ruthless. You think about how you let the day unravel so fast. I forgot that is was Vermont and with them, we needed to do a better job of masking our signs.

Their offense is predicated on stealing signs, whether it be from the bases, the dugout or the coaches’ box. We should have learned, but it was our own fault. They came out on Sunday and put it to us one more time to leave us with a sour taste in our mouths.. We stood at 5-7 in the conference and were headed north to Maine, which has not been a friendly place for me as a coach.


Ten years ago I remember facing “Oil Can” Boyd when he pitched for the Bangor Blue Ox in Maine. That was my first experience in Orono. Since those times, the Black Bears have had me in a headlock in conference play - 2-13 overall and 2-9 in Orono made the future look bleak.


On Friday, we came out and played flawless and reached win No. 6 in conference play. More importantly, we let the Bears know we were going out kicking and screaming. Saturday proved to be exciting with an extra-inning win in the first and a 12-4 loss in the nightcap. It was a long day, and the Maine faithful spent the day remembering Larry Mahaney who is one of their strongest supporters. It was a time to reflect back for me during the long day.


I had always dreaded going to Maine because of their strong baseball teams and the 7-hour ride after the series. However in 2006, the ride home would not be salty.


Sunday saw a freshman hop out of the bullpen for the second time on the weekend, and he brought life with him. He threw five innings on Saturday to quiet the best hitting team in our conference, and on Sunday he calmly took the ball with our team trailing and served for seven more innings. The day belonged to him, and once he got the pill, things turned for our team. The energy in the dugout was heightened, and the balance of power on the diamond had shifted. We strung together a couple of rallies and when the final out was made, the team spilled onto the field..


A great accomplishment for a young team, and a strong sense of life for our program. We were heading for a long ride, but there will be some singing for sure. That is what college baseball is all about. The sad, disappointing rides are always present. However, the times of joy when 19-year-old kids sing together like they are in kindergarten is special. It puts a smile on your face and gives you something you need to feel alive. CONFIDENCE.


Stony Brook comes in this week, and I know they will be well prepared. They have one of the best coaches in the country in Matt Senk, and his record speaks for itself. I have become friends with Matt, and understand that he is an expert at being a sports psychologist. The Seawolves are respected as is any who walk into the dogpound for a series.


It’s nice to be off the mat and feel life again. The team is running high on confidence, which is a good thing to have at this time of year.


We have shifted our goals since our early-season struggle, and it’s paid dividends thus far. The wife is due next Thursday with my first boy. I think about him often when I watch the boys run on and off the field. Try to remember - they are boys…They will make mistakes…they will feel like crap about it…And sometimes they may even grab a bear by the neck…


Good luck




Previous Entries

All the World's a Stage (4/29/06)

Who's the Boss? (4/12/06)

Wait 10 Minutes if You Don't Like the Weather (4/5/06)

Smokin' Keydets, Hirsch and the Island (3/24/06)

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


(photo courtesy of Albany Media Relations Office)