Saturday, December 03, 2005

Interview with John Wylde of the Wareham Gatemen, Part II

We continue our chat with John Wylde, President and GM of the Wareham Gatemen of the Cape Cod League.

On Shawn Haviland, who had a 7.71 ERA in 2 1/3 innings as a non-roster invitee:

My own personal feeling is that in his freshman fall, Haviland looked great. I’ve never heard Joe [Walsh] as enthusiastic about a young pitcher. Joe thought he might be a team USA guy. For some reason, it looks as if Shawn got concerned about or fell in love with having to throw harder. He succeeded earlier because he disguised his curveball well, had a very smooth delivery on that late-breaking curveball. But once he became obsessed with having to throw harder, the result was he lost his command and didn’t gain any velocity, anyway.

We clocked everybody, and he had the widest disparity on his fastball. Most guys varied about 5 MPH. He varied from 82 to 89. He pitches at maybe 84, 85, 86. If Joe feels like he can relax and just use that great natural motion he has, and Joe now feels he’s done that, he’s gonna be fine. He’s coming back in the same status in the summer. He’s a great kid.
On the freshmen pitchers:
The local boy from Lincoln-Sudbury–-at Scout Day, we were told every fastball was registering 90. He came on a lot late in high school. Joe was moderately interested in him early and became more and more interested, but people had to push him a bit. He had a great summer pitching for his American Legion team.

I think Joe’s been a little more circumspect about Cole after how excited he was about Shawn Haviland a year earlier, but if Joe’s being candid, both he and Ryan Watson are probably weekend starters this year.

Hampton Foushee looked like he might be a pretty decent setup guy, give you a few innings. We went to Yale and Brown to see their guys, and the only guy Stuper and everybody wanted to talk about was Foushee. “How’s Foushee doing?” He's not afraid to go inside on right handed hitters.

Those are three pitchers there that will probably help.
On Matt Rogers, whom Walsh earlier called “maybe the fastest kid I’ve recruited here at Harvard.”
He looks like he will help. My own personal opinion—he may not be not as quick as they anticipated. When I was there, I think Morgan Brown outran him. That’s not a knock on Morgan Brown, but I pictured this guy about five yards ahead of everyone in the 60. He wants to play shortstop, and Joe envisions him in the outfield this year. [I note that Joe had once deemed Matt Vance his shortstop of the future] Matt Vance has put on some weight—positive weight, not negative weight. Joe feels that possibly he’s built himself to the point where you keep him in the outfield.

Wylde also noted that he was most impressed by the infield drills the team did, led by Morgan Brown, adding that he would’ve been proud to see Gateman teams perform that well.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

'Fork in the Road... to Arizona

AP photo. Please don't sue us.As predicted by many in baseball, former Harvard infielder Peter Woodfork '99 was named the Assistant GM of the Diamondbacks. So goes the meteoric rise of Woodfork, with whom I got to chat when he joined the Red Sox. Congratulations! Here are a few clips, conveniently assembled by Paul McNeeley of Friends of Harvard Baseball:

The Boston Globe's Eric Wilbur:
“We’re sorry to see Peter go, but this promotion is an opportunity he has been working for and building toward for several years,” said Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino. “He was a valuable contributor to our operations and administration for the last three years, and we wish him the best in Arizona, except, of course, in interleague play.”

Interview with John Wylde of the Wareham Gatemen, Part I: Lance Salsgiver

In the continued interest of giving you more coverage of Harvard baseball than any entity has ever produced in the offseason, Sons of Bart Brush brings you another installment of our “hot stove” series.

Today, Part I of our chat with John Wylde, President and General Manager of the Cape Cod League’s Wareham Gatemen. A frequent visitor to O’Donnell Field, Wylde watched Lance Salsgiver’s breakout summer in the Cape, Shawn Haviland’s first summer as a member of the Gatemen and also attended the Crimson’s fall scouting festivities. I spoke with John today. Here are some of John’s thoughts on Lance Salsgiver, who made the Gatemen as a “temporary” or non-roster invitee the past two summers. [The Cape League allows its teams to use unsigned players for approximately the first two weeks of the season, due to potential problems created by players whose teams are still in the NCAA tournament or have Team USA or other considerations.] Lance wound up making the All-Star team in this wooden bat league, batting .301 and leading the Gatemen with 43 hits. On Saturday, we’ll have some of John’s thoughts on non-Salsgiver subjects.

It’s a very nice sort of story. Lance made team as unsigned player as a sophomore and made the team, and the same happened his junior season. We generally have a team policy against signing juniors because of the [MLB] draft. You can have a wonderful-looking roster with a lot of juniors, then come June 10th they won’t show up. Obviously, Ivy League players are more likely to show up.

The two summers mirrored each other. Lance started off slowly two years ago. In the last half of the season, Lance hit just over .400 after hitting .150 for the first part. Wound up around .280 or so.

Last year was very similar, with perhaps a less pronounced disparity between each half of the season. Lance started as our fourth outfielder and played himself into the lineup. We play a 44-game season, and by around game 18, you couldn’t believe how hot he was. Every ball he hit was a rope. He just missed a grand slam at Chatham, their left fielder made a circus catch on that ball. Toward the end, he cooled off a bit.

Lance hit over .300, which is a tremendous accomplishment in the Cape, and made the All-Star team. Just missed making the final league all star team, which is tougher to make—for the game, there are two teams of 40 or 42 all stars, but final all star team is 20 players. The coaches had him as their fifth outfielder, and four are selected to the final team.

I think Lance opened a lot of pro eyes. I know professional scouts have liked him since high school. I remember words Joe was getting during his freshman year that he might have been a 5th or 6th round draft choice. Since then, teams have known that they weren’t going to be able to buy him out of his commitment to Harvard. People were kind of waiting for Lance to show them a bit more. At least four teams expressed interest in signing him this summer, with San Diego being the most aggressive. But I think national professional attention will come.

I still think most scouts still feel that his brightest professional prospects as a pitcher.

You’ve seen only limited glimpses of that at Harvard. Maybe he's one of those guys that has to feel 100% on the hill, maybe his arm doesn’t bounce back terribly well. He’s got essentially two pitches, fastball and the curve. The fastball is realistically hovering in the high eighties, but what really distinguishes him is that devastating curveball. If he gets back to pitching regularly, it’s gonna be in the dirt a lot, and he’s going to need a catcher who can block the plate well.

Steffan Wilson [an All-Ivy first team reserve pitcher as a freshman last year as well as a unanimous pick at third base] will play for us next year. But I don’t think I could see him pitching for us as I would see Lance. I think Lance is more effective.

On Saturday, we'll run Wylde's thoughts on Shawn Haviland as well as this year's freshmen.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Boston GM search continues: Mike Hill '93 mentioned

Peter Woodfork and the rest of the internal candidates for the Red Sox job haven't been mentioned much lately, but there is this new potentially interesting wrinkle from Saturday's Globe:

Michael Hill, the Florida Marlins' assistant GM the last three seasons, also is expected to be interviewed in the coming days. Hill, named to Black Enterprise magazine's 2003 Hot List of African-American executives under age 40, is a celebrated 1993 graduate of Harvard, where as a senior he was elected class marshal, led the football team in rushing, and captained the baseball team.

Hill, in an e-mail last night, said he had not yet been contacted by the Red Sox.
Flashback: Hill's Triple Threat: Run, Hit and Lead:
Hill's dignified leadership draws praise from his coach and teammates as well as votes from his classmates-Hill is also a Senior Class Marshal.

"Mike is as fine a captain as we'll ever have," Harvard Coach Leigh Hogan says. "He's an outstanding player and an outstanding person."

Fellow outfielder senior Juan Zarate agrees:

"He is a quintessential leader. On the field he does his job extremely well. Off the field, he's a person you can approach with any kind of problem. He just does things right and makes people feel good about being on the team."

Hill's low-key leadership manifests itself in the values he impresses on his team; teamwork, unity and shared sacrifice.

"This is my last year playing, and I really want the team to do well," Hill says. "This year we don't have the same personnel we had in the past, and we just have to bring everything we have together and focus on winning. We're trying to promote team unity. If we don't get contributions from all nine players, we won't have an Ivy League title."

"Mike is talented, classy, and a very hard worker," junior first baseman Dave Morgan says. "He's real interested in making us a team and is doing a good job so far as Captain."

Harvard is at a cross-roads-lacking the bats of Jim Mrowka '92, Dan Scanlan '92 and Nick DelVecchio '92 as well as the strong arms of Tom Hurley '92 and Scan Johnston '92-the team must find a new persona, a new way to manufacture runs and win games.

Hill is the team's triple threat; he can run, field, and hit. The second leading rusher on the football team this year (averaging 4.2 yards per carry), Hill has stolen 28 bases in three seasons for the Crimson. A good glove in right field, the stalwart holds a remarkable .963 fielding percentage over the last two years-and he was errorless in league play last year.

Flashback: The Harvard Independent, 2004
I: Fair assessment. Now a few things about your Harvard background. Did you ever feel as though there was a stigma in baseball attached to being an Ivy Leaguer?

MH: I've never really thought about that. I know what kind of person I am, I know my abilities. The fact that I went to Harvard, I would hope that nobody would ever stereotype me or label me as anything. My experiences are different from other Ivy Leaguers within baseball. There are Ivy Leaguers who are GM's, who never played the game beyond high school or junior high. I'm proud of the fact that I played in the minor leagues, I rode on the buses, and from that standpoint, I feel like I have a perspective in dealing with players that some other people may not have.
Bonus Flashback: The Crimson, 5/2005:
Hill, meanwhile, worked his way into baseball operations after playing for three years in the minor leagues. He now stands just a step away from joining DePodesta as Harvard alums as general managers.

“The toughest part is getting the opportunity,” says Hill of his experiences in baseball. “Then you have to make the most of it.”

Monday, November 07, 2005

Since You Been Gone...

Joe Walsh wouldn't have minded just one more season out of Mike Morgalis and Frank Herrmann. Image hosted by
Figured it was time we posted something on the current team for a change, even in the absence of real Hot Stove activity in Harvard baseball. We know who's gone. Last year's league weekend rotation consisted of righties Mike Morgalis, Frank Herrmann and Shawn Haviland, with a combination of Matt Brunnig, Jay Brown, Brad Unger and, really, whomever they could get innings out of, in the fourth spot.

Now, Morgalis has graduated, Herrmann has somewhat unexpectedly signed with the Cleveland Indians and Haviland finds himself the team's de facto ace.

In an unusual press release last month, Joe Walsh made it clear that he would likely depend on this year's freshman to fill at least one of those weekend spots:

Walsh, whose team began fall practice on September 23, is expecting big things out of a trio of freshmen pitchers in Adam Cole (Sudbury, Mass.), Ryan Watson (Ambler, Pa.), and Hampton Foushee (Winston-Salem, N.C.). Cole, a righty, led Lincoln-Sudbury HS to the Division II state title as a senior. "We are looking for Adam to step in right away," conceded Walsh. "He is a hard-throwing kid who has a chance to be in our weekend rotation with some hard work."

Cole, a two-time Dual County League MVP looks to be joined in the spring weekend rotation (Ivy League play) by Watson, a two-time first team selection of the Suburban One American Conference, at Upper Dublin HS. "We are hoping that Watson will give us something Harvard has not seen in a long time, that being a strong left-handed starter."
That Walsh would put such pressure on his freshmen so early in the year suggests that, at the very least, he is still entirely insecure with Matt Brunnig taking the mound in one of the weekend spots. (Brunnig's career in Crimson has been staccato bursts of brilliance and ambidextrous promise interspersed with injuries and other enigmatic developments.) It also suggests the very real possibility that Brad Unger, the other intriguing 6'7 hurler, is still very much a project. (Unger will soon begin his second Harvard hoops campaign as well.)

So what of the new guys? Here are some online scraps on Cole and Watson:


Boston Globe:
A senior, Cole returns to the All-Scholastic team after an 8-1, 1.10, ERA, 98-strikeout campaign for the Warriors. He has led the team to back-to-back North sectional championships. For his career, he posted a 23-2 record with an ERA under a buck. He is a three-time Dual County League All-Star and two-time league MVP. In the classroom, Cole was an L-S Scholar in all four of his years at L-S, gaining admittance to Harvard University. Cole will continue his baseball career this summer as a member of the Summer Legion Post 191.
Here, Cole throws 141 pitches in 10 innings and hits 87 on the gun in winning the state championship. And here is evidence that he is probably not on the juice. Which is, you know, good to know:
Glenn Cole's son, Adam, led Lincoln-Sudbury to the Div. 2 baseball state championship. The pitcher is headed to Harvard in the fall. Cole believes communication and education are two of the keys in helping keep their kids away from steroid use. Like many of the other parents, he also is keen to the warning signs.
``I try to be as aware and talk to him as much as I can. A lot of times, we talk about it,'' Cole said. ``Hopefully, they stay on the straight and narrow. But a lot of times, you never know. You cross your fingers.''
Also, if you happen to subscribe to the Milford Daily News, let us know what this is all about.


...has a less colorful baseball paper trail. Some resume items prior to his senior year here:
Ryan Watson - LHP/1B/ - 2005
HT: 6'2" - WT: 185 - GPA: 4.6 - PSAT: 1130 - SAT: 1350
B: L - T: L
HS stats: Bat Avg. .330 - RBI 15 - HR 2 - SB 1 - 60 Time 8.00 - Pitching W-2 L-2 - ERA 2.50
Career Highlights
1. Ft Washington Generals
2. Legion 10 Baseball
3. Pre-Season All-American Candidate with Baseball Factory
4. All American Baseball Training
5. Baseball at It's Best Program with Pitching Coach Rob Keu, Joe Cziepietro
4. High School Team Won Division for first time in thirteen years
5. 8-1 with a 1.33 ERA – 69 strikeouts in 63 innings
6. Selected first team Suburban one pitcher and second team 1st baseman where posted a .391 batting average
7. Selected to All-Area Team as a pitcher
8. Carpenter Cup participant All Star Tournament Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware areas
9. Legion season 7-1 with a 1.70 ERA
And some stuff from an archived version of Upper Dublin's decent-looking website.

Could we see a Haviland-Cole-Watson front three against Ivy opponents? It would've been some time since two freshman pitchers made the weekend rotation.

Here are some other notable recent seasons from freshman weekend starters:

Shawn Haviland, 2005: 7-1, 3.10 (9 starts, 14 appearances).
Matt Brunnig, 2003: 4-3, 3.55 (6 starts, 9 appearances).
Kenon Ronz, 2000: [can't find the numbers online, but I seem to recall an ERA below 4.00, his best season aside from his senior season]
Ben Crockett, 1999: 5-1, 4.88 (4-0, 3.69 in league starts, League Co-ROY)
John Birtwell, 1998: Scoreless through his first 20 innings, missed the next month with a virus, won NCAA Regional Play-In Game.

Reasons for optimism.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

For the Harvard baseball fan in your life who has everything...

...why not consider the recently released How They Got into Harvard : 50 Successful Applicants Share 8 Key Strategies for Getting into the College of Your Choice for the holidays? In this paperback gold mine, several Harvard students share their experiences getting into Harvard, including former Crimson second baseman Zak Farkes. Farkes, who appears as evidence of "Strategy 1: Flaunt Your Talent and Get Recruited," talks about being recruited by Harvard in an article that includes his SAT/GPA splits and high school extracurricular breakdown. It's fun for the whole family, folks.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Make Way for Jeff Bridich!

As someone pointed out in our Comments section, Jeff Bridich '00 has been promoted within the Rockies organization. Congratulations to the new Director of Baseball Operations.

Athlete of the Week, 1999.

Harvard Rumors Swirl in Epstein's Wake

After losing the Texas Assistant GM derby, former Crimson third baseman Peter Woodfork has already been mentioned for the newly vacant Boston GM spot. By no means a favorite at this point, he's still getting a lot of mention. mentions both Woodfork and recently available Paul DePodesta '95:
Paul DePodesta: Abruptly and somewhat surprisingly, the Dodgers relieved the young general manager of his duties Oct. 29, with three years remaining on his five-year contract. DePodesta, who made a name for himself as Billy Beane's assistant in Oakland for six years, is a big believer in numbers and has a Harvard education.
Critics in Los Angeles say that his weakness was interacting with the players. The Dodgers did go to the postseason in his first season. However, year two (71-91) wasn't nearly as successful, ultimately leading to his departure.
Red Sox owner John W. Henry and Lucchino both adhere to sabermetric philosophies, possibly making DePodesta an appealing candidate. However, if DePodesta landed in Boston, he would likely have to make a bigger commitment to his PR skills, something Red Sox ownership also places a priority on.

Peter Woodfork: Another longshot because of his youth, the 29-year-old Woodford is the director of baseball operations and assistant director of player development for the Red Sox. He recently interviewed to be the assistant general manager of the Texas Rangers, but lost out on that position. A graduate of Harvard University, Woodfork came to the Red Sox in 2003 after working in the labor relations department for Major League Baseball and assists with the arbitration process and contract negotiations.
In the NY Times:
Epstein surrounded himself with a young, educated front office, and it is expected Lucchino will look at Peter Woodfork, the director for baseball operations; Jed Hoyer, the assistant to the general manager; and Ben Cherington, the director for player development.
The Globe, meanwhile, mentions another recent Harvard alum, Dave Forst:
Beane has an Epstein-like assistant in David Forst, the former Harvard baseball captain. Forst is on the fast track to becoming a general manager, but he recently turned down an offer to become GM of the Diamondbacks, a job that went to Byrnes, and appears in no hurry to end his apprenticeship with Beane. There is a good likelihood, in fact, that Forst winds up as Athletics GM in another year or so if Beane moves upstairs.
The favorite at this point is probably the Padres' Kevin Towers, but this situation bears watching.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

In a move that redefines "hasty"...

...the Los Angeles Dodgers have severed ties with Paul DePodesta '95.

Hired by Dodgers, 2004.
As Asst. GM of A's, 2000.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Lo Ricco announcement...

...posted the same day as our earlier post on CSTV's website (but inexplicably, nowhere to be found on

Cambridge, Mass. (October 19, 2005)--Harvard baseball coach Joe Walsh has announced the hiring of Tom Lo Ricco as the program's assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.

Lo Ricco joins the Crimson following numerous stints as an assistant and head coach of several high-profile Division III programs throughout the region. Most recently, he spent the past spring as an assistant at Western New England.

I consider us very lucky to have a quality person such as Tom joining our staff," stated Walsh. "In Tom we have a guy who has been an absolute success as a head coach for eight years for other collegiate programs. He is a person of knowledge and integrity and will be a tremendous asset to our program."

Prior to WNEC, Lo Ricco served as the head coach at Westfield State where he posted a 34 victories including 21 during his final year in 2004. Lo Ricco also served as head coach for six years at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts from 1996-2002 where he posted a 112-111-2 record.

There, his teams reached the ECAC Division III Tournament during his final three years, winning the tournament in 2001 with an overall record of 24-19. His next, and final, season at MCLA was his best as the team posted a 29-10-1 record en route to Lo Ricco being named the MSCAC Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.

Other collegiate coaching stops have included Wofford College, the University of Massachusetts, and Springfield College. Lo Ricco is a 1987 graduate from Massachusetts with a BA in accounting. He earned his master's degree of athletic administration in 1995 from Springfield.

Lo Ricco resides in Feeding Hills, Mass. with his wife Jennie and two children, Anthony (5) and Sophia (2).

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

New Assistant Coach?

There is no formal announcement, but the Harvard staff directory now lists Tom Lo Ricco as the new Harvard assistant coach, replacing Matt Hyde.

So who's Tom Lo Ricco?

Apparently, he's the former head coach of Division III Westfield State.
Baseball, which is now led by highly regarded third-year coach Tom Lo Ricco, also is highly competitive while playing in one of the top conferences in New England. The baseball squad posted its first 20-win season in 20 years in 2004 and advanced to the conference tournament championship game.

Before that, head coach at Mass. Liberal Arts:
Tom Lo Ricco was selected as head coach at Westfield State. For the past six years, Lo Ricco has been head coach at Massachusetts Liberal Arts.

So he's something of a local guy, which isn't surprising.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Woodfork '99 Shortlisted for Rangers' Asst. GM Job

From the Globe's Gordon Edes:

Woodfork up next
Peter Woodfork, part of Theo Epstein's coterie of bright young assistants dubbed the ''Gammons Youth" by Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, is scheduled to interview with the Texas Rangers tomorrow, two days before his 29th birthday, to become the team's assistant general manager.

Woodfork would join 28-year-old Jon Daniels, who last week succeeded John Hart, and displaced Epstein as the youngest GM in baseball history.

Woodfork, who grew up in Swampscott and played baseball and was a psychology major at Harvard, held the title of Director of Baseball Operations/Assistant Director of Player Development with the Red Sox. Boston hired him in March 2003 away from Major League Baseball, where he served in the labor relations department and worked on the 2002 collective bargaining agreement.

Despite his limited experience in baseball operations, Woodfork was on the fast track to developing the background necessary to become a GM, especially with teams leaning toward backgrounds like that of Epstein -- young, tireless Ivy League grads with legal ties and a strong grasp of the game's business side who learn the baseball side on the fly.

David Forst, the former captain of the Harvard baseball team and current assistant GM with the Oakland A's, is said to be in line to become Sandy Alderson's first choice in San Diego if Kevin Towers leaves and goes to Arizona, a widely reported rumor. And Josh Byrnes, the Red Sox' assistant GM and former star player at Haverford (Pa.) College, is a possibility to interview for the Washington Nationals' GM job.

One American League executive gave Woodfork a rave review yesterday. ''He's smart and has a great personality," the executive said. ''Because he worked in the MLB office, he's well known throughout the league, because teams always called him when they needed advice on technical contract issues.

''The Red Sox had him going to games and assisting Ben [Cherington] in player development, and he would work with Theo on contract issues because he was such an expert on the language. He's a great communicator, one of these guys who always seems happy."

Here's a Crimson story about when Woodfork landed his present job.

Woodfork got to know Epstein—who became the youngest GM in baseball history when he was hired at age 28—during his time at the league office, when Epstein was director of Baseball Operations for the San Diego Padres. Woodfork took his post around the time baseball reworked its collective bargaining agreement, which he now remembers as a “great opportunity” to get acquainted with the financial side of the game.

Woodfork started 148 of his 157 career games for the Crimson, playing three seasons at third base before sliding over to second for his senior campaign. A native of Swampscott, Mass., he hit .301 for Harvard, scoring 87 runs and knocking in 62 more as the Crimson won the 1997, 1998 and 1999 Ivy League championships.

Daniel Habib ’00, a former Crimson baseball writer and current staff writer for Sports Illustrated, has written two articles about the new Red Sox administration this spring. Yesterday, he remembered Woodfork as a fundamentally sound player who fit in well with the Ivy championship teams of the late 90s.

“He was somebody who understood Joe Walsh-style baseball and played it well,” Habib said. “He was a solid contact hitter, very versatile defensively and also had a sharp, biting kind of wit to him.”

Habib suggested that the move fits Epstein’s approach to personnel

“Someone like Epstein will hire someone and err on the side of education and intelligence rather than having a traditional baseball background,” Habib said. “There’s isn’t necessarily a high emphasis on having a rolodex full of baseball contacts.”

Friday, October 07, 2005

Captain Morgan

Harvard baseball, it has been written, is best viewed in black-and-white. It's fitting, then, that a program known for its vintage style has chosen a true throwback as its leader.

Morgan Brown has been named the captain of the 2006 Crimson.

From the way he wears his socks, to the way he plays the game, the rangy Brown oozes old school, fitting right in with the classic style at O'Donnell Field.

Skipper Joe Walsh agrees. "Morgan," he said in announcing Brown's captaincy, "exemplifies what Harvard baseball is all about."

Brown has always seemed like the kind of player who would be underrated on most teams, but not so underrated at Harvard because the things he's good at aren't underrated here. The rest of the league's coaches took notice in '05, naming him Second Team All-Ivy. Now, his coaches and teammates have, too.


Friday, September 23, 2005


Sources close to the team indicate that Matt Hyde left his assistant coach position with Harvard baseball several weeks ago.

Although Hyde's bio is still up on, it is no longer linked from the Harvard athletics staff directory, having been replaced by "TBA" there.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Baseball Updates in The Crimson

THC follows up on several of the stories we've posted here. First, Frank Herrmann's exit:

While playing with the Oahu Paddlers in the Hawaii Collegiate Baseball League, the senior pitcher drew the attention of scouts on the strength of his rejuvenated right arm. In the past, the Rutherford, N.J. native had suffered from tendinitis at the ulnar nerve, hindering both his health and velocity.

But this summer, finally “truly healthy” for the first time, Herrmann—who went 5-1 with a 3.09 ERA last year—was hitting 93 MPH on the radar gun.

After being considered by the Kansas City Royals and the Red Sox, the starter was approached by Indians scout Don Lyle, who offered him the best deal.

Herrmann, who stands 6’4, 220-lbs., calls the time he spent mulling over signing and thus leaving Harvard baseball the “toughest three weeks” of his life.

“I talked to everyone,” he said. “I talked to my family, friends. I talked to Zak, Coach Walsh, Coach Hyde.”

The notion of “What if?” ultimately proved too glaring for Herrmann to ignore. He figured that if he pitched for the Crimson in 2006 and did poorly, or got hurt once again, the prospect of another contract coming along would be slim.

So the Indians threw out a number, offered to help pay for school, and included a signing bonus. Former Boston Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette—whom Herrmann played for in the New England Collegiate Baseball League two summers ago—helped negotiate the deal for him and his family.

“I was a part of the best team ever in my opinion,” Herrmann said. “But I might never get this opportunity again.”

Today, Herrmann is back at school, living with his roommates and readying for the fall semester.

He’ll practice and work out with the team, he says, and then head to wherever the Indians send him in March. He is “99.9 percent sure” that he’ll return next fall to get his degree in government.

The same article also discusses Zak Farkes' summer:

“My main goal was to get experience this summer,” he says. “If I deliberated, waited until next year, I might’ve missed 100 or so at-bats. The wheels would’ve been going too fast. It would’ve been my first spring training—with no pro experience.”

Farkes acknowledged he “was pressing” during a short season at Class A ball this summer. His stint with Lowell—which finished just short of playoff contention in the New York-Penn League—somewhat resembled his junior season at Harvard, in which a slow start was topped with a season-ending hot streak.

Farkes hit two home runs in the season’s final week, but finished with a disappointing .174 average in 132 at-bats.

“You learn a lot about yourself,” he says of unfulfilled expectations. “But [the minors are] not really about stats. It’s more about learning to play the game.”

Despite the rough summer, the Red Sox were impressed with Farkes’ finish.

After working towards his Harvard degree this fall and living with roommate Frank Herrmann in Eliot House, he will report to spring training in March.

The article also reports that John Wolff, whose selection in the late rounds of the draft surprised many, has signed with the White Sox.

The Crimson then devotes a separate article to Schuyler Mann's signing with the Yankees:

“I hadn’t talked to any scouts in a while,” Mann says. “By that time, I’d basically given up any thought of baseball. As far as I knew, they weren’t signing people that late.”

When the Yankees came calling, Mann was at home in Corvallis, Mont., engaging in his favorite hobby, fresh-water fishing, and entertaining designs on joining the family jewelry business.

Finally, there's this on other players' summer league stints.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Breaking: Herrmann Leaves

Sources close to Harvard Baseball indicate that rising senior RHP Frank Herrmann has signed with the Cleveland Indians. His Harvard baseball career is over. The 6'4", 220 lb. Herrmann went 5-1 with a 3.09 ERA, including two shutouts, and was arguably the team's best pitcher in 2005.

With the early departures of Herrmann and Zak Farkes, this summer is proving to be the costliest in recent memory for Harvard. We'll have more on this one later.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Crimson Community Affected By Hurricane Katrina

As readers of this blog will remember, we talked previously about the variety of Crimson connections to the state of Louisiana. One of those important connections is Josh San Salvadaor ('02), who came to Cambridge from Chalmette, a city hit almost head-on by the eye of Katrina and remains swamped in water (images from Chalmette here and here).

Sanzo has alerted us that he is safe, and that he is staying with extended family in Lafayette, LA. He has indicated his sincere appreciation for the thoughts and prayers that have come from all those who have tried to contact him, and he is confident that the strength of his family will get him through this very trying situation.

If anyone has any information about the Keck family, we'd greatly appreciate it if you could let us know. According to press reports, Keck's high school, Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, may be closed until Christmas. Also, if there are others in the Crimson baseball community who have been affected by the storm, please let us know (the Crimson has reported on undergraduates who have been displaced by the storm).

And if there's any help the Harvard baseball community can provide beyond keeping the victims in our thoughts and prayers, please pass along those suggestions.

UPDATE: Auto-reply from Jason Keck's email address says the following:

Out of town on a "camping" trip until the 8th of September with no
access to email. If you are wondering about the family and new orleans,
all are safe and well.

UPDATE (2): David Forst has passed along the info he has on the Keck family
-- thanks for the update:

Jason Keck's parents, Bill and Jeanny, and the rest of Jason's extended
family are safe. I know they stayed at home for the hurricane itself,
but were forced to leave when NO began to flood. They were able to get
out of the city to get to Baton Rouge, and were then planning on going
to stay with family in Savannah. That is all the info I have.

Monday, August 22, 2005

More notes

Joe Walsh is quoted in this article about the Boston Park League, but the more interesting thing might be that he was quoted by phone while "recruiting in Atlanta."

Josh Klimkiewicz has also been quoted in the Globe lately.

Lance Salsgiver finished the season leading the Cape Cod League's Wareham Gatemen with a .301 average.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Mann Alive!

Speaking of recent Crimson catching greats, Schuyler Mann has indeed surfaced within the Yankees organization.

The Continued Adventures of Brian Lentz

Former Crimson catcher Brian Lentz has gotten a lot of press recently, although not all of it is the kind you'd like...

Brian Lentz was a tremendous athlete at St. John's Prep in football and baseball. In 1997 - the year the Eagles had perhaps their best football team in a generation - Lentz did it all ... even overshadowing future BC quarterback Brian St. Pierre.

He was on everybody's list of "can't-miss" prospects as a catcher, was headed to Harvard to play ball, and - with apologies to Timbuk 3 - his future was so bright he had to wear shades.

Well, what happened? Lentz, at the age of 25, had a cup of coffee with the North Shore Spirit within the last month, but was released by manager John Kennedy last week - basically for taking an "it's all about me" attitude. And if Kennedy needed further proof that he was right, all he had to do was read what Lentz had to say after he left.

Lentz could have chosen to leave quietly (as any player with a shred of self-respect might have done after being unceremoniously cut from a Single A level team). Instead, he not only burned the bridge, he blew it up ... a classic case of being hoist with one's own petard.

---From Steve Krause's "Lentz Burned Bridges," the Daily Item of Lynn (8/9/2005).

The Globe has a more charitable take, as the reporter rides with Lentz himself:

As he drove from his home in Manchester-by-the-Sea to Little Falls, N.J., last Friday in a Honda Accord without air conditioning, Brian Lentz was asked how much longer he planned to pursue a professional baseball career. The day before, Lentz, a catcher, had been discouraged by his release from the North Shore Spirit, but now that episode was in his rearview mirror, another obstacle in the bumpy road he has traveled in pro baseball.

''You just keep trying and trying and don't get discouraged," said Lentz, who for his five-hour drive to join the New Jersey Jackals was rewarded with one game and a plane ticket to Pensacola, Fla. The Jackals traded the 25-year-old Manchester native to another independent minor league franchise, the Pensacola Pelicans, last Friday.

---From Christopher Gasper's "A Catcher on the Fly," The Boston Globe (8/11/2005).

And so continues one of the more fascinating storylines Harvard sports has seen in recent years.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Lance Salsgiver, Cape League All-Star

And the nice ink that accompanies such an honor.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Noise of Summer

Harvard Update:

  • Lance Salsgiver (.327) is leading the Cape Cod League's Wareham Gateman in batting average. Shawn Haviland has a 5.21 ERA in eight appearances.

  • Steffan Wilson is making quite the impression, according to this article that, for some reason, vanishes as soon as it loads. You have to press "stop" quickly to read it. Excerpt:

    TORRINGTON -- When Torrington Twisters manager Gregg Hunt looks at Steffan Wilson, he sees a solid right fielder. And infielder. And pitcher if need be. In fact, Hunt just sees one darn good baseball player.

    With virtually total roster turnover year-to-year in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, surprises are always part of the deal, and there has probably been no nicer surprise for the Twisters this season than Wilson.

    "When we agreed to take him as a freshman (at Harvard), we didn't know what we were getting," Hunt said.

    "He's a heck of a right fielder and can probably play anywhere he chooses. He played the infield for Harvard and was their closer. The only positions he probably can't play are up the middle."

    "I think if I spent some time there (up the middle) I could play there," Wilson said with a smile when told of Hunt's analysis.

    Wilson, a sturdy 6-foot-1, 210-pounder, was the 2005 Ivy League Rookie of the Year. He is currently hitting .320 for Torrington with a team-leading 32 RBI. He has spent most of the season in right for the Twisters, a situation he almost considers relaxing.
    "It's nice to only focus on right field," Wilson said. "There is going to be time soon to focus in (on one position). I don't know if I need to make my decision now. If a scout told me to zone in, I'd definitely listen to the advice. But right now, I'm keeping all the doors open."

    At this stage in his career, Hunt sees Wilson's versatility as nothing but an advantage.

    "Eventually he is going to have to decide what he is, but he is in a great position now," Hunt said. "He can choose what he wants to do on the baseball field."

    Wilson has no specific preference where he plays; this summer, he says, is about getting better in all areas. But, he does have a general direction for the future.

    "I want to hit," he said. "I don't want to be stuck on the mound. I've always loved pitching, but I would choose to hit. I like being part of the action every day."

  • Former Crimson catcher Brian Lentz was released by the Mariners organization and signed with the independent North Short Spirit.

  • Former Ivy Pitcher of the Year Trey Hendricks leads the Yakima Bears, the Diamondbacks' Class A Northwest League affiliate, in average (.310), slugging (.442) and RBI (15) over 33 games.

  • Former Ivy Co-Pitcher of the Year Ben Crockett has an 3.68 ERA through 7 relief appearances and one start with the Class AA Tulsa Drillers.

  • While Wilson has thrived in the NECBL, Josh Klimkiewicz (.200) and Tom Stack-Babich (.156) have struggled. Speaking of struggling, Zak Farkes (5-for-45) has not had an auspicious start to his pro career at Class A Lowell.

  • Finally, we have this: Apparently, Larry Summers enlisted Matt Hyde for a crash course in reaching the mound before throwing the first pitch at Fenway recently.
    “He was going to throw from behind the pitcher’s rubber like it was the baseline in tennis, so I had to get him straightened out,” Hyde recalled. “I told him they’d probably have him throw from 45 feet or something. But Larry said, ‘No, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it from the full distance.’”

    “You learn a lot about a person when he puts on a glove,” Hyde said.
  • Friday, July 08, 2005

    Zak Farkes: A Greatest Hits Compilation

    Image hosted by

    Breaking News: Farkes Leaves

    Image hosted by

    The Harvard Crimson reports in its Friday edition that Zak Farkes forgoes his last year of NCAA eligibility to sign with the Red Sox, the team that drafted him last year:

    TROY, N.Y.—Zak Farkes has always known just what kind of career he wants. From his childhood watching the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park through his years as a slugging infielder for the Harvard baseball team, Farkes has had the goal of playing baseball for a living.
    Although various setbacks threatened to deny that dream, Farkes fulfilled his lifetime desire July 2 by signing a professional contract as a non-drafted free agent with his hometown Red Sox. Foregoing his senior season of baseball eligibility at Harvard, Farkes is embarking on what he hopes will be a long professional journey.

    “What I want to do in my life is be a pro baseball player,” Farkes said before his new team, the Lowell (Mass.) Spinners, played Tuesday night. “A Harvard degree will help me out in the future, but my first commitment was to baseball.”

    That commitment began last Sunday evening in Troy, N.Y. After signing the previous day—a contract that he negotiated with the team himself—Farkes was assigned to the Spinners of the New York-Pennsylvania League, a class-A franchise.

    Farkes joined his new team just in time to catch the bus to Bruno Stadium, where Lowell was taking on the Tri-City ValleyCats, a minor league affiliate of the Houston Astros. He was barely settled before learning Spinners’ manager Luis Alicea had penciled him into the starting lineup at second base, the position where the Red Sox have told Farkes he’ll get the majority of his playing time.

    We'll have more on this story.

    Sunday, June 19, 2005

    Diamond Notes

    Having taken a bit of a break to catch our collective breaths (and watch CS-Fullerton fail to make it back to Omaha after all), here's a look at some Harvard baseball news and notes:

    • Ben Crockett '02 was called-up to Double A Tulsa about the same time the Crimson met their Game 1 fate, after extended spring training / injury rehab:
      Ben Crockett is back on the mound after spending rehabilitation time for a shoulder injury in Tucson, Ariz. But the 25-year-old power pitcher from Topsfield, Masconomet Regional and Harvard University is not in a familiar role with the Tulsa Drillers of the Double A Texas League.

      Crockett is now pitching in relief.

      Professionally, he's been a fixture as a starting pitcher since signing with the Colorado Rockies in 2002, a third-round draft choice who was highly coveted coming out of Harvard.

      However, the power-pitching right-hander suffered an impingement of a shoulder nerve in spring training. He spent almost two months in Tucson in extended spring training for players who are on the mend.

      "If it's going to get me to the majors quicker, all the better. I have no problem with it," Crockett said. "I'm 100 percent healthy and anxious for the opportunity just to pitch.

      "I haven't done relief in some time, but I did close at times at Harvard and I relieved some that summer I pitched in Alaska after my freshman year at Harvard. It was a mixture of starting and relieving."

      Congratulations, Ben. Immediately after Crockett and the Crimson lost to Washington in the 2002 NCAA Regionals, I met Ben after his final press conference, shook has hand and thanked him for the memories. Ben Crockett starts in senior year were incredibly thrilling experiences, including a number of performances that felt even more dominant than the no-hitter he hurled against Dartmouth in 2001. I felt pretty confident it wouldn't be the last I saw of him on the mound. Here's hoping.

      And now, some more draft fallout:

    • Steffan Wilson grew up on a diet of pretty good backyard pitching. His big brother and Winthrop pitcher was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 27th round. The younger Wilson gets a mention in this article.

    • Nick Pulos, Penn catcher and new Oakland A's draftee, had some awfully interesting things to say about being drafted out of Penn in this oddly written article:

      The sole Penn player selected in the draft is disillusioned with the way Penn prepares its players for the possibility of being drafted. He said Penn does little to expose the varsity players to current Major Leaguers. For example, former Penn players and major leaguers Mark DeRosa and Doug Glanville, seldom, if ever, meet with current Penn players.

      The player claims that the draft is a tremendously political process, and the Ivy League and Penn are often overlooked by scouts. He claims that the outgoing Penn coaching staff did little to pressure players to be drafted and equally little to encourage Major League teams to draft Penn players.

      His case-in-point was the example of Nick Italiano. Italiano, a 2003 graduate was Penn's all time hit leader yet did not get drafted. However, Italiano's story was not complete disappointment, as he later signed with the Phillies as a rookie free agent.

    • Summer-watch: Lance Salsgiver and Shawn Haviland in a Cranberry-Cape League showcase.

    • Frosh-watch: Chris Stevens ("plans to walk on as an outfielder"), Jared Wortzman.

    Saturday, June 11, 2005

    Thanks To All

    It’s been a fantastic season to cover. While the ending was disappointing, the voyage was not. Another Ivy Championship under the belt, a whole host of All-Ivy Leaguers, tons of great performances (both individual and team) and plenty of days under the sun to remember. To the class of 2005, from my experience, I can tell you that your Harvard baseball experience only gets better with age.

    Congratulations to the senior class. Two Ivy Championships will stay with you for a lifetime. On a special note, good luck to Rob Wheeler who will go on to serve something larger than himself. As noted by The Crimson previously, Doggie will be shipping out on June 23rd to Fort Jackson, SC, where he will undergo nine weeks of the Army’s basic training and another 14 weeks of Officer Candidate School. Best wishes – our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    I’d love to know what the rest of senior class has planned. If anyone knows, drop us a line. I’d love to see Sky get a shot in rookie ball. Ian displayed great character this season. He travailed through the early part of the season which saw him getting very little playing time, but he earned his way back into the lineup and was a solid contributor.

    As for Lande, I too am going to miss reading her columns. Her almost-maniacal enthusiasm for baseball has shined through her columns for four years. By the way, Lande’s final column didn’t fully detail what a superstar her brother, Chas, is. Keep your eyes out for him next year in a Florida Gators uniform. This year, he led the Key West Conchs to the 3A championship (as a shameless plug, my high school – Melbourne Central Catholic – finished sixth in 3A at the end of the regular season). Anyways, Chas, the 103rd ranked prospect in the ’05 high school class according to Perfect Game, fired a no-hitter in the state semifinals to get his team to the championship game as she noted. Lande, thank you for your contributions to the Harvard baseball program – but I have to say, in what could have been your biggest contribution, you fell short (getting Chas to Harvard). Best of luck to all.

    And lastly, let me thank the creators of Sons of Bart Brush. This blog was the brainchild of Marty Bell. Brian Fallon served as the spark plug, and I was just along for the ride. Thanks to Brian and Marty for your efforts. A special note of thanks to Marty who dedicated literally days upon days to the blog, attended a number of games, met with the coaches, and put up an unceasing flow of insightful commentary. Also, thanks to all those who contributed to and read the blog. I’ve heard lots of positive feedback, and I’m satisfied the blog accomplished what was my personal goal – to reconnect the Harvard baseball alumni community.

    Go Crimson! Repeat!

    Thanks, Seniors.

    Harvard Commencement was Thursday, and with that we give a heartfelt thanks to Schuyler Mann, Ian Wallace, Mike Morgalis, Rob Wheeler, Jeff Friedman and Javi Arteaga. Doggie and Mikey Mo were featured in the Crimson's outstanding commencement issue (which also named Steffan Wilson the Crimson's Male Rookie of the Year and Frank Herrmann its Breakout Athlete of the Year and ran more baseball articles than any commencement issue in memory).

    Jeff Friedman. Image hosted by Photobucket.comIan Wallace. Image hosted by

    Sky Mann. Image hosted by Photobucket.comRob Wheeler. Image hosted by

    An added note of congratulations and thanks to Lande Spottswood, a superb baseball writer and devoted fan of the cause for four years, whose final column ran on Thursday as well. I'll miss reading her.

    Thursday, June 09, 2005

    Crying... Wolff?

    Neither Schuyler Mann nor Zak Farkes was drafted today. However, it appears that John Wolff was. After reading this Pablo Torre story, I'll admit having to check elsewhere to make sure it wasn't an elaborate prank. But it wasn't.

    Wolff, a reserve player on the Crimson, was picked in the 47th round—1,407th overall—by the Chicago White Sox. There are 50 rounds total.

    The Armonk, N.Y., native out of Byram Hills High School played in just eight games in 2005 and started two of them, registering one hit in 11 plate appearances. He missed his entire freshman year due to injury, and appeared in nine games in 2004, going 4-for-8 on the season.

    Wolff’s father, Rick Wolff ’74, was drafted after his junior year at Harvard by the Detroit Tigers, while his grandfather, the famous Bob Wolff, was a Hall of Fame broadcaster most notable for his work with the Washington Senators.

    So figure that one out.

    Pablo also pointed out in an e-mail that if you go to's draftcaster (linked from here and check out the scouting video for St. John's pitcher John Sullivan, it's from his start against us at the Metrodome in the opening weekend this past year. Relive Matt Vance's early OBP tear! See Chris Mackey bat! Good times. He's pick #583 on Day Two.

    Wednesday, June 08, 2005

    Day 1 of MLB Draft Passes With No Crimson Taken

    No Harvard players were taken in the first day of the MLB Draft. A couple Ivy League draftees: Will Venable (Princeton) – 7th Round to Padres
    Josh Sowers (Yale) – 10th Round to Toronto

    Best of luck to Farkes, Mann, and company tomorrow. We're rooting for you.

    Sunday, June 05, 2005

    Press Post-Mortem

    • The Harvard Crimson: RECAP [and a preview that recounts the Depodesta meeting]
    • RECAP
    • Mizzou Tigers: RECAP
    • A sparse AP RECAP
    • AP Photos, including this very poignant one of Steffan Wilson consoling Ian Wallace as his collegiate career comes to a close.

    Saturday, June 04, 2005

    The Season Ends.

    Screenshot from ESPN, which switched over to the game in the seventh when college softball got rained out. Image hosted by

    We'll have more in the next few days, with the promise of a McPhillips recap and pre-MLB draft activities as well... As far as this game goes, I think the Crimson can be somewhat more satisfied with this effort. They showed some genuine fight after falling behind early on, although I think one would be hard-pressed to say that we saw the very best of Harvard baseball over the past two days.

    That said, congratulations to the Crimson on a very good season, which featured the return of the Ivy and Beanpot championships.


    Thanks to Bink for the heads-up

    Missouri-Harvard Update

    Final: 14-6, Missouri... Every Harvard starter wound up with a hit... Brunnig scoreless ninth...

    In-Game Notes:

    Live updating scoreboard here... An error and a misjudgment by LF Wallace key a 4-run first for the Tigers... Wilson's RBI groundout ends streak of 10 scoreless tourney innings... Herrmann: 2 2/3 inn, 10 hits, 3 BB, 9 er, 4 K...

    Listen to Harvard-Missouri LIVE

    Here. A few annoying clicks, but the broadcast is available.

    Preview of Tonight’s Game

    After watching the Crimson go down hard to Cal State Fullerton, you have to think that Missouri may be looking past the Crimson to a matchup against the loser of 2004 CWS attendees Cal State Fullerton and Arizona -- that game by the way may be the most competitive 1-2 game in the nation (which is why Baseball America’s Will Kimmey called the Fullerton bracket the “bracket of death.”)

    If Missouri is indeed looking past the Crimson, they may not pitch their number two tonight – Nathan Culp (9-2, 3.18, 87.2 IP, 57Ks, 29 walks). They may choose instead to go with their number three – Doug Mathis (5-4, 3.27, 77 IP, 67Ks, 17 walks) or Taylor Parker (1-2, 1.90, 42.2 IP, 40Ks, 20 walks). In the Big 12 Tournament, Mathis and Parker combine to squeeze Missouri past Oklahoma, 8-7, in their first round matchup. Mathis is a right-hander and Parker is a lefty. Missouri’s not a team that hits a ton of balls out of the park. In fact, in 15 less games, the Crimson as a team has hit 10 more homeruns than Mizzou (but then again, Cal State Fullerton wasn’t supposed to be a big homerun team, and they dropped four on us last night).

    We’ll see how Missouri plays their hand. I also wonder whether Coach Walsh will go with Herrmann or Haviland tonight. It seems a tough call, but given that Herrmann’s been the game 1 starter on weekends this whole year, I’m guessing Coach may go with him to start, and may be quick to turn to Haviland (or vice versa) should the starter get in early trouble. Either way, the Crimson are well-positioned in terms of their starting pitching over the next two games, if they can pull it out tonight. Brunnig and Wilson should still be fresh out of the pen.

    Pics From Last Night's Game

    Courtesy of the AP, here are some pictures from last night's game

    Steffan Wilson (it was the first time I've seen the Crimson's gray caps)

    Mike Morgalis

    Wes Roemer

    Danny Dorn

    image that was repeated too often last night

    The Day After

    THC's Alex McPhillips filed this sobering recap on last night's rout:

    FULLERTON, Calif.—It took a three-year postseason drought, a mild California night, and, between the raucous 3,604 in attendance and a nationwide television audience tuning in, throngs of eager spectators to bring Harvard College back to the world of big-time college baseball.
    And then reality bit back.

    Cal State Fullerton (42-15) looked every bit the defending national champions, sending the Crimson (29-16) to the loser’s bracket with a crushing 19-0 defeat.

    Big ups to the Crimson for getting a writer out to these games, especially one as good as Alex.

    Also of note, the account from theLA Times opens with mention of Dodger GM/Harvard alum Paul DePodesta's visit to wish the Crimson well prior to the game. Contrary to the reporter's wisecracking, I'm sure the team was thrilled at the chance to meet him.

    Also, the write-up from the Crimson's SID office (Kevin Anderson does a great job with these) is here and the version from Fullerton's is here. The latter notes that the crowd last night was the second-largest ever at Goodwin Field, which says something considering this is something like the fourth regional Fullerton has hosted since expanding its seating capacity to its current size in 2001. If it wasn't clear already, it is now: Harvard couldn't be on a bigger stage than it is this weekend.

    Impressions from the Blowout

    Unfortunately, this game turned into a repeat performance of the Crimson's game 1 match-up against Cal State Fullerton in 1998 down in Baton Rouge. It wasn't pretty.

    First, Mike Morgalis pitched a helluva lot better than his line might indicate. He had some good movement and was pitching to spots with a relatively generous umpire behind the plate. The pitch that he made to the guy who hit the grandslam was low-and-in, about 2 inches off the plate inside, and the guy was able to get his bat there and take it out of the yard.

    Second, the Crimson played with tons of nervousness. It was evident from the get-go; Farkes, who was stealing, got picked up after getting hit by a pitch in the first (another Crimson baserunner got picked later in the game when he was going which led me to believe that the Titans might have been onto the signs... suspicious that they'd pull their best move over to first at the perfect time... still no excuse to get picked). On defense, it just seemed that everything was being rushed. There was a lot of tension in how infielders approached balls and hurried throws.

    Third, Roemer, while good, probably shouldn't have dominated us as he did. Though I didn't see all the pitchers the Crimson faced this year, I can't imagine that Roemer was the best. The bats just weren't as sharp. In addition to the general failure to get hits, there were very few hard-hit balls or even good swings. Roemer, facing an all-right-handed Crimson lineup, was effective in throwing a tight, hard slider that gave fits to the hitters all night long.

    Fourth, I talked earlier about how hard it is to stay sharp, and the Crimson proved that difficulty tonight. The defense had a difficult time fielding bunts. Three errors and generally sloppy play. Hitting was hardly consistent. Of course, some of that can be attributed to the nerves, but there's also the simple fact that Cal State Fullerton is no Quinnipiac, Cornell, or Brown. To compete with teams that are abound in talent and playing at the top of their game, you not only have to be playing your best at the right time but also somehow find a way to get better without playing high-level competition (I'm talking about the few games played from the time the Ivy Championship ended until the Regionals began).

    Lastly, I'll leave on a positive note by mentioning the '98 Crimson team who got clobbered by Cal State, but went on to turn plenty of heads. The '98 club defeated Nicholls State 6-4 in extra innings the day after its defeat to CSF, and then defeated Tulane 14-11 the day after that. Ultimately, they faced Cal State Fullerton that same evening after having defeated Tulane; they went up early, had Cal State on the ropes for a bit, and then lost 11-7. Regardless of the score tonight, the Crimson face Mizzou tomorrow with a clean slate and an opportunity to show what they've got. With Haviland and Herrmann still in the hole to pitch, the team has a chance to make a bit of a run.


    Well, this wasn't very good at all. I will defer to SoBB guys who got to see the game on TV for further comment.

    The Crimson takes on Missouri tomorrow at 7 pm EST in the loser's bracket. We should have a radio link here tomorrow night.

    Friday, June 03, 2005

    Harvard-CSF Update

    10-0 CSF... Brown in for Morgalis (110 pitches), gives up a two-run shot to Dorn, Dorn's second homer of the game, and a solo shot later in the inning... Roemer has faced the minimum...

    In-Game Notes:

    Third inning Danny Dorn grand slam set up by two Harvard errors keys a five-run inning for CSF... Joe Walsh apparently did a live in-game interview on national television... Tommy Lasorda addressed the Crimson before the game... According to Faiz, watching with former tri-captain Erik Binkowski, alums across the country recognized the bunt-for-hit sign given to Matt Vance in the first... Mann breaks up the no-hitter with a single to start the fifth, but Harvard would get no more in the inning...

    Listen to CSF/Harvard LIVE

    Here. [EDIT: Also, see your live boxscore here.] Let's go Harvard...

    Also, the Crimson's Alex McPhillips filed this from the left coast:
    The answer was confirmed today—neither. Titans rookie Wes Roemer (5-3, 3.68), who took home Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year honors as the team’s third starter, will take on Harvard’s strong lineup. Though Roemer pitched well overall this season, he figured largely in Fullerton’s recent cold spell (two straight losses and just a 6-4 record in the team’s last 10 games).
    In his last appearance, Roemer gave up four runs in three innings of relief against UC Riverside.
    “Some people might think of it as an insult,” said Harvard junior Frank Herrmann, who lounged in the stands at Fullerton’s Goodwin Field during Friday’s earlier Missouri-Arizona game. “But you have to use it to your advantage. If we can get to [Roemer] early, he might start thinking about it.”
    “Hey,” Herrmann added, “if they don’t want to throw their [MLB] top-10 pick tonight, it’s fine with us.”
    Early word was that tonight’s game, which will be broadcast live on ESPNU at 11 p.m. EDT, has been sold out. Seating capacity at Goodwin Field tops out at approximately 3,500.

    Boston Herald Article on Klim

    The Boston Herald writes today about what a great effect having a healthy Klimkiewicz has had on the Crimson lineup this year. Coach Walsh speaks high praise about his power. At least the Herald knows first-team All Ivy talent when they see it.

    This Boston Globe article from yesterday gets an impression about the team by interviewing Doggie Wheeler.

    Wheeler, one of the six seniors who can remember Harvard's last trip to the NCAA Tournament, called the team chemistry the difference between this team and teams that did not reach this point. He noticed things were different this season when the team dressed up the freshmen in ridiculous outfits during their early-season trip to Florida. As the newbies walked around Daytona Beach in skin-tight denim and hideous DayGlo colors, he noticed the team bonding as never before.

    Coach Walsh does his usual psychological analysis on the team:

    "When they announced we'd be playing Cal State-Fullerton, you would think we'd just won the lottery," Walsh said. ''You could see it in the look of their eyes the next day in practice. They want to get it on."

    And, of course, what would an article about the Crimson baseball program be without Coach Walsh talking about a quest for respect:

    ''We don't think we belong [at the bottom]," Walsh said. ''We got a little chip on our shoulder. We're constantly fighting for respect. Obviously, Harvard is known for its academics. We're trying to get it known for its baseball, too."

    Breaking News: Crimson Likely To Face CSF's #3

    According to the program put out by the Cal State Fullerton sports information department, the Crimson are not going to see either of the top two Titan pitchers.

    Probable Starters:
    CSF - RHP, Wes Roemer
    HAR - RHP, Mike Morgalis

    Who is he?

    FRESHMAN PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Wes Roemer earned Big West Conference Freshman Pitcher of the Year honors as he made his presence felt when he was pressed into action by an injury to teammate Ryan Schreppel in March. He made 17 appearances, garnering a 5-3 record, including five consecutive Saturday wins. The freshman right-hander’s 3.68 ERA is good for 11th in the conference.

    No disrespect to anyone involved, but I'm loving our chances more and more. Clearly, the Crimson are going to have to put up quite a few runs to win, and throwing Roemer at least gives us the best chance to do it.

    UPDATE: Perhaps getting its information from the same source, the OC Register also has Roemer starting tonight.

    Thursday, June 02, 2005

    Sons of Bart Brush Roundtable: Installment One

    So we've got something new for you today.

    We recently gathered several alums from the championship teams of the late 90s for an e-mail roundtable in anticipation of the NCAAs and because even Faiz and I run out of things to post during lulls like this. Their availability over e-mail is limited because they all have regular jobs, and a couple of them face particularly busy weeks.

    Still, many were able to time to respond, and we'd like to thank Andrew Duffell, David Forst, Mike Marcucci, Brian Ralph, Peter Woodfork and, of course, Bart Brush, for agreeing to participate in a feature we hope will continue.

    SoBB: At this time of year, it makes sense to think back to your era's Harvard teams as the ones that were the most successful in the modern history of the program, both in the league and with some impressive showings in the NCAA postseason. What stands out about those teams the most in your memories?

    Mike Marcucci: Some thoughts while thinking I could probably shut down the A's for at least a couple innings right now.

    * Saving the specific anecdotes for later, I'll make two comments I think one of the biggest things that stands out about those teams is the difference between perception and reality. The perception of the teams, I think, was that they combined deep, quality pitching and good defense with a scrappy offense that scrounged out runs through nifty baserunning and intentional out-making. The first two parts are true. In particular, I was a regular beneficiary of having Forst, Hal, and Woody in the infield. What I think is underrated most about those teams is how good the offense was. We had solid hitters one through nine, guys who worked the count and could hit for power. The power tended toward doubles and long foul balls in New Hampshire but, when needed, we could mash. In that way, this year's team seems to resemble those older squads. In the NCAA, you have to be able to swing the stick because, eventually, everyone runs out of pitching. And, the top teams are so good on defense in many cases that some of the aggressive baserunning we employed to great effect in the league and in the northeast, was neutralized to a certain extent. The other problem, of course, is that small ball helps you score a couple of runs, but you need more than that in the tourney. Take Forst (please!), for example. People usually focus on how good he was on defense and how much time he spent in the training room, but what lots of people forget is that by mid-way through the 1997 season, he was an on-base and doubles machine (sound familiar?) and had successfully moved up from the 11 hole to #9. We were successful because we could win pitchers' duels and slugfests.
    * Second was the obvious-- the top teams that be played and beat. When Coach Walsh came in, he came with the attitude that we would play anybody, anywhere and our goal as a team as not just to win the Ivy League, but to be the top team in New England and competitive on a national level. He went out and scheduled the big boys and it paid off, both in post-season success but also success in the Ivy League. We fed off of that attitude and the results speak for themselves. Of course, it also helped that there were two great recruiting classes in a row, and the talent was there to match that attitude. Otherwise, the attitude would just have been annoying.

    Bart Brush: Cooch is correct. The 1997 team especially could really swing it by the end of the year.
    I also always love to see that 18-2 Ivy record.
    On a less serious note, not sure if you guys remember this but I know Ralph was there with me. Do you remember shagging BP one day after we had won the Ivies in 1997 and trying to determine MLB trade-style how we could get one more bat for the NCAAs. I think we were ultimately decided to dangle me (capitalizing on the fact that I had begun to pitch better after an awful start that season), Cooch (always reliable in the pen) and Woodfork (Woody was just coming around after being hurt on and off throughout that year) for Cornell SS Bill Walkenbach with the intention that he would play 3rd base and hit 5th for us in Stillwater.
    On yet another different note, if Fullerton elects to save Romero (high
    draft pick and ace lefty) on Friday, it would be eerily similar to UCLA
    holding back Jimmy Parque (high draft pick and ace lefty) against us back in 1997.

    Andrew Duffell: I remember that day... although I believe we also considered shipping Kessler to the Big Red as well, as we didn't think they would bite for pitchers alone (Kalyvas was also in the mix). Harris volunteered himself, uttering something not fit to print about the Cornell females, but we didn't think adding self-nicknamed "Slash" to the equation would sweeten the deal.
    Sidenote: Randomly, a friend of an ex-girlfriend of mine married Walkenbach, and I met him a few years back. I told him about the proposed trade and he said he gladly would've packed his bags and headed to Cambridge. I then told him he would've needed to lose the rec specs first, as he looked like a dork on the field.

    Dave Forst: (We're starting our draft meetings today, so I'll try to get in some comments between deciding whether Farkes is a 2nd or 3rd rounder.)
    Thanks for starting us off Cooch. I appreciate the kind comments, but my recollections of the 97 team are more of Hogan at Miami, Quinn at Cornell, Cooch vs. Princeton, and Ralph vs. everyone. I think we pitched our way to 34-16, and once that ran out in Stillwater, we got exposed. I seem to remember Ralph's bat carrying us most weekends, with a dose of Hal, Albers, and streaking Kessler mixed in. We went out every weekend thinking we should we win 4 games because our pitchers were going to keep us in the game, and Ralph was going to come up with a big hit at some point (after which, he was probably going to get picked off trying to do too much on the bases).
    Bart, I do remember the conversation regarding trading for Walkenbach, mostly because I was flattered that you guys had agreed to move him to 3rd base for me. I thought I might miss Woody's sunny disposition and constant optimism, but I was willing to risk that for a chance at Omaha.
    I had the same thought about Fullerton possibly holding out Romero Friday night as an analogy to Parque in '97. (For what it's worth, Kotsay has a call in to the Fullerton coach to see what they're going to do, and then he'll decide how many runs to give me in our gentleman's bet.) The 4 team format makes it a different decision, plus they have 2 other starters who are pretty freaking good.
    "Think double," "go for the jugulah," and "stocker's rights" will never cease to be funny reminders of those teams.

    Brian Ralph: Cooch, excellent points as usual. We did have solid, deep pitching (even after some injuries to key parts) and the defense was great not good. If I remember we not only finished 6th in the country, but that was on fields not as good as in the Sun Belt. Plus, we regularly mixed in spectacular plays in addition to making the easy ones.
    The '97 team had better pitching and defense. Add Albers and Hogan and a Forst that only made like 5 errors (3 in game against Army, I believe). We should have been 20-0 in the Ivy if not for the Princeton collapse which would have been pretty incredible. I think the 18-2 is still the best ever in Ivy play. [Editor's Note: It is.]And I also remember most of those games were not close, lots of 5-1, 6-3, 7-2 scores. And with 1 more SP, Omaha was a real shot (no offense to Bart but I would have loved to have had the 96 Quinn or 97 Jamieson go the first 5) and Hogan against UCLA again. Although that offense was not as good 1-9, scoring 7, 6, 7, and 11 runs in 4 regional games is impressive. That team hit homers, hit 'n run, stole bases, worked counts (remember Jacquez throwing like 60 pitches in the first 2 innings), but didn't hit quite as well as '98.
    Giving up pitching (unless it was a Kalyvas/Vail deal) wouldn't have helped win a regional. You need every last decent arm in a 6 teamer.
    '98 whacked the ball around against anyone. I think we only lost 1 game to Dartmouth at the end after the 1st weekend series and won every midweek game. Although we lost Albers (and Wilke), Forst was way way better, Kess, Huling, and Keck were way better. We definitely did not just play smallball and we did draw a lot of walks (Forst and Hal the exceptions). With the exception of the Fullerton debacle, 6, 14, and 7 runs again for an avg of 7 runs in 4 reg games. Hard to beat. No pitching other than Cooch, Vail, Birtwell, and Donny.
    As for Farkes, where was Moneyball and OBP when I needed it? If I hear another Damon Buford story from Walsh... Is charles thomas still hitting .100? Hitting .330 in the second half of the FSL with a million walks got me a nice warm seat behind the infamous Darrell Dent. You have to retire when a team goes with Darrell Dent over you. No surprise that staff is all out of the game.

    [And] speaking of Harris, how about his exit from the program? Remember the dive into first base as a pinch runner getting picked off and the hurt shoulder that led him to the links? We should have packaged him in a prospects deal.

    Wednesday, June 01, 2005

    Road to Omaha: Press Clippings

    The Boston Herald was with the team as it watched the announcement in Allston. The Crimson also had an article.

    The Tucson Citizen, in its regional preview, focuses on this particular regional's wealth of quality arms and speculates about Romero being pushed back, as we all have. (It also very briefly peruses the statistics and declares Shawn Haviland Harvard's staff ace).

    Monday, May 30, 2005

    Crimson Readies To Face Ricky Romero

    The first and perhaps most important question to ask after learning that the Crimson will be facing the defending-national champion Cal State Fullerton Titans is: will we see sure-to-be-first-rounder Ricky Romero in Game 1? Romero is the returning left-handed superstar ace for the Titans, having pitched for Team USA last summer. It was Romero along with fellow ace and 2004 College World Series MVP Jason Windsor who led the Titans to the championship last season. Romero was named to the 2004 CWS All-Tournament team. Windsor is now in the Oakland A’s farm system, where he is pitching in High A for the Stockland Ports.

    So will we see Romero? To try to answer this question, I took a look at how Cal State handled their regional games last year. In 2004, they faced #4 seed Minnesota in the first round at home. Windsor, the ace at the time, pitched and dominated the Gophers. Romero pitched the second game against Pepperdine, but the bullpen failed to hold the Titans' lead. The Titans then faced Arizona State and beat them to advance to the final where they had to beat Pepperdine twice and did (with Windsor coming back to start the second game). They then swept Tulane in Super Regionals at home with a dominating performance by Windsor and a less-than-dominating performance by Romero. And we all know the Titans then went on to take the 2004 CWS Title on the strength of Windsor’s 2 victories and a save, and Romero’s victories over Miami and Texas. Past performance suggests that we will see Romero because Coach George Horton does not appear to be one who keeps his bullets in the gun.

    But yet, I still pause in saying that the Titans will surely go with Romero, primarily for two reasons. First, they’ll take us more lightly than Minnesota (read “Ivy League”). And second, because they have a quality second starter in LHP Scott Sarver who last year came up with big pitching performances against Pepperdine and South Carolina in the post-season. This year, Sarver is 9-3 with a 3.97 ERA, with 51 Ks, 26 walks in 77 innings pitched. (Romero is 12-4, 2.80, 119 IP, 129 Ks, 31 walks).

    So either way, the Crimson will most likely face a lefty starter which seems to be bode well given the strength of our right-handed bats. I’m still hesitant to say the Titans will pitch Romero because they may be looking ahead to a second-round matchup against Arizona, a team that Romero lost to 1-0 during the regular season (Fullerton took 2 of 3 in the regular season match-up). If Fullerton takes the Crimson too lightly, they may be surprised by the offensive strength of the club, a department in which I think we stack up quite well. More on this later.

    Breaking News: NCAA Regionals Announced: Crimson Heads West

    In order to be the best, they'll have to beat the best.

    Mike Morgalis and the Crimson will invade national No. 6 seed Cal State Fullerton, the defending national champions, on Friday on a game to be televised nationally on ESPNU. Missouri and Arizona are the other teams in a very stacked regional.

    More to come...

    Sunday, May 29, 2005

    Crimson Bats On Fire Heading Into Regional Play

    Morgan Brown had a career day – literally, hitting his first career homerun – as the Crimson took the third straight game from Quinnipiac. Those victories should ensure that the Crimson will be a higher seed come tournament time (attention Baseball America, hope you’re watching).

    Brown went 3-3 with 2 runs, 3 RBI, and a stolen base. Ian Wallace, quietly having a very consistent senior season, went 2-4 with a run scored and an RBI. As an aside, on a Crimson team full of all-star sluggers, Wallace is fourth on the team in average (.316). Matt Vance also went deep – his 2nd of the season.

    Good news for the weekend is the bats don’t seem to be that rusty. Bad news is that the pitching does. Morgalis may have had the best performance of the weekend, which is good news given that Coach Walsh has pledged he’ll be the Game 1 starter in the Regionals. Jake Bruton came up with a clutch relief appearance today, saving the day for the Crimson by leaving the bases loaded in the 8th.

    The Crimson bats continue to impress, though let’s be honest, the pitching they saw probably doesn’t compare with Blake Wood, Bryan Ball, Bryan Henry, or Ricky Romero. Still, it doesn’t appear that the hitters have lost anything during exam period. Major kudos go out to Coach Walsh for getting the Crimson three big games against a competitive team. He’s put them in a position to do well next weekend, and as an added bonus with the 3-game sweep, he has given even more confidence to the club that they’re ready to go up against some heavyweights.

    The 16 Regional sites were announced today. We’ll get the big announcement on Monday at 11:30am.

    Saturday, May 28, 2005

    Salsgiver Slam Lifts Crimson a 12-11 win over Quinnipiac. Morgalis and Herrmann each went three innings. They do it again in Cambridge tomorrow.

    Friday, May 27, 2005

    Baseball America: Westward ho?

    Baseball America's currently projecting Harvard in the Fullerton Region, along with No. 2 seed overall CS-Fullerton, Stanford and Oklahoma. (Subscription sites: ESPN Insider or Baseball America).

    Return to Fenway for Mann, Farkes, Wilson

    Schuyler Mann, Zak Farkes and Steffan Wilson were named to the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association All-Star Team, with Mann named a first teamer. Steffan Wilson was the only freshman among the 25 honorees. The all-stars will play a team of Division II and III all-stars on June 5.

    Thursday, May 26, 2005

    The Ivy League: Scott-free?

    Duke's baseball coach has resigned and Princeton's Scott Bradley has emerged as a frontrunner for the job. Bradley, who played college ball for UNC, is no stranger to that part of the country.

    Should Bradley leave Princeton, this would be a huge development for the league, and in some ways a very unfortunate one given his accomplishments. Winning four of the past six Ivy Titles and nine straight Gehrig Division championships before Cornell's breakthrough year this spring, Bradley's program has produced most of the league's standout pro prospects over the few years.

    Of course, one could also see it as an opportunity for the generally stronger Rolfe Division to rack up Ivy championships in the forseeable future.

    Stay tuned.