Thursday, March 31, 2005

Who is St. Thomas?

As we await the outcome of tonight’s game against St. Thomas, I’m reminded of a game we played against them in 2000.

Let me preface it by saying the Class of 2002 faced some very good pitchers during our time, among them Washington Nationals spring training invitee Josh Karp, Rob Henkel – a lefty out of UCLA now in the Tigers farm system, David Gil – an All-American pitcher out of Miami, a trio of Rice Owls pitchers who could deal – including current San Francisco Giant David Aardsma, former Princeton Tiger and Texas Rangers spring training invitee Chris Young.

But I think one pitcher who was just as good, if not better, than all of those guys was the one who may be least known because he pitched for a little known NAIA school in Florida called St. Thomas (it actually is quite well known in South Florida because they’ve appeared twice in the NAIA World Series). Vinny Chulk certainly took us by surprise. We faced him on a hot evening on the main Homestead diamond inside the stadium with just a few faces in the audience. The low attendance only helped amplify the pop on Chulk’s low to mid-90s fastball that would echo throughout the park when it hit the catcher's mitt. I distinctly remember him going through our order once without a problem, throwing only a fastball. So we all assumed that the second time around, this tall and lanky right-hander would be easier to hit given that he had one pitch. Until we saw his Smoltz-like slider. He was tough. Here’s how the Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel described it:

The St. Thomas University baseball team defeated Division I Harvard 5-2 late Wednesday at the Homestead Challenge behind the strong performance of pitcher Vincent Chulk.

Chulk, a senior, struck out 18 to set a school record, a personal record and a Challenge record.

There you have it. Congratulations Vinny. For those wondering what Vinny’s doing now, he’s made it big time. Last season he made 47 appearances for the Toronto Blue Jays out of the bullpen. He went 1-3 with 2 saves, with 44 Ks in 56 innings. Keep him on your fantasy baseball radar – he could end up being a closer. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said, “Guys tease Vinny a lot, I think because they like him so much.” You gotta have a guy like that around.

The lesson of this story is don’t underestimate St. Thomas.

Harvard falls to Florida Atlantic

11-5 loss. With the Ivy opener scheduled for Saturday, I guess Walsh wasn't going to throw any of his top arms out there.

An interesting lineup tonight, with Schuyler Mann hitting 7th, and Morgan Brown remaining in the second spot. The game also marked Farkes' return to the middle infield.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Reminder -- NYC Alumni Dinner This Friday

From Madhu...

Looks like we will be at Smith & Wollensky Friday night at 8:30. I have heard from a few people including one who is just in town for the weekend. So if you are around, let me know and we will save a seat for you.


Madhu Satyanarayana
UBS Investment Bank
299 Park Avenue - 35th Floor
New York, NY 10171
T: 212 821-3963
F: 212 821-3008
M: 617 256-8881

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

To err is human...

...but after a while it becomes cause for concern. Five tonight in the loss to Florida International.

Javi Arteaga got the start tonight, Javy Castellanos and Jake Bruton followed. None of them, at least on paper, definitively resolved what appears to be a race for the fourth weekend starter spot along with Morgalis, Hermann and Haviland. (Walsh seems to like Matt Brunnig, the tall, ambidextrous junior hurler with a history of injury trouble, better as a reliever.)

Two homers for Klimkiewicz tonight--what a boon it would be to this lineup if he's healthy the whole season--and one for Steffan Wilson.

College Baseball Round-up

Here’s your Baseball America Top 25. Texas is back at the top. Georgia Tech welcomed Miami into the ACC this past weekend by taking two of three games from them in Miami (Tech got smoked in the first game 20-1, but came back to take the next two). Tech went from 5th to 3rd, while Miami dropped from 6 to 8.

In the Lesser Division of the Ivy League: Penn and Columbia kicked off the Ivy season. The big winner was Penn, who took 3 of 4 from Columbia. Princeton took two and lost two to Stony Brook. Cornell wrapped up its Bradenton trip by losing two to Illinois and another two to Ohio State.

In the Red Rolfe Division: Dartmouth went on a little losing spree down in Bradenton. They dropped five in a row to wrap up their trip – Vermont, Northwestern, Ohio State twice, and Northwestern again. Yale beat Pace twice. In Asheville, NC, Brown took 2 out of 3 from UNC-Asheville. They beat Newberry College yesterday and got a big matchup against #14-ranked South Carolina tonight.

Crimson Comments

The Crimson stole 8 bases against Lynn; freshman leadoff hitter Matt Vance had 3.

The rotating lineup continues. Sky got the DH, so Casey caught. No Steffan Wilson -- I think that's his first college game he hasn't appeared in. And I think Rob Nelson made his first start of the season, in left field.

By my count, here's the "depth chart" so far based on who's actually played this season (though I'm not pretending to know who's ahead of whom...):

C Mann, Casey

1B Wheeler, Klimkiewicz, Dukovich, Wolff, Farkes

2B Farkes, Jenkins, Wallace, Meehan, Byrne

3B Klimkiewicz, Wilson

SS Brown, Vance, Meehan

OF Salsgiver, Vance, Wallace, Mackey, Wilson, Friedman, Nelson

Finally, although the Crimson offense has been pretty solid throughout, the defense still leaves something to be desired. The team has a bit of an error streak going -- through the first 10 games of the season, the Crimson has yet to go one full game without committing an error. Hopefully, that's something they can tighten up before the Ivy League season begins. But as long as they keep scoring 10 runs a game, maybe they can get away with it...

First Things

Well, I was wrong about the boxscore. Thanks to Pablo Torre for the heads-up.

Farkes was back in the field tonight against Div. II Lynn, played first. Reassuring to see him at least being gradually moved back into the field (I can only assume that's what's going on). Even more reassuring than the home run, his first of the season.

Unger, who sounds like an intriguing project, remains something of a project and struggled some in his second outing. Morgalis and Meehan were solid on either side of him, which Morgalis more and more looking on paper like the foot issue isn't one.

Up Tuesday, a very good team in FIU.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Harvard outslugs Div. II Lynn University the score of 13-9. No boxscore appears to be up for this game, and somehow I don't expect one.

Heads-up: The early forecast calls for more rain for Saturday's Ivy opener at Columbia.

Inside the Box Score... and some random thoughts

Coach Walsh decided to change around his lineup against New York Tech yesterday, and it paid off. Ian Wallace made his second start of the season, in right field. He provided a spark batting out of the eight-hole, singling twice and scoring two runs. Morgan Brown, who generally hits in the bottom third of the order, was placed in the two-hole and delivered two hits and two RBI.

Lance Salsgiver did not make an appearance (maybe because Coach was keeping him aside to possibly use as a middle reliever... or maybe just to get some other guys in). Josh Klimkiewicz started at 1B, while freshman Steffan Wilson started at third. Seven strong innings from Haviland, and Matt Brunnig, looking more and more like he’s going to fill the all-important reliever position I talked about earlier, pitched two uneventful innings of relief. So far this season, Coach Walsh has been tinkering plenty with the lineup, giving opportunities to a number of different positional players to show what they can do – Wallace being the latest example. For the most part, the results have been positive, with the Crimson showing that they should have a deep roster on the offensive side of things.

I’ll take this opportunity to issue a few random musings. As a former Quadling (for the uninitiated, we’re the people who lived far enough off campus that we had to take the bus...), I was sad to hear the QRAC is being shut down temporarily for renovations. The QRAC front-desk helped partly pay my way through college, and because I had a key, it was also the host of many midnight pick-up games between me and my blockmates. I agree wholeheartedly with this Crimson editorial that the diminishment of the Quad’s resources delegates Quadlings to second-tiered status for the short-term. The Quad was a great place to live, but it wouldn't nearly have been as great were it not for Hilles Library and the QRAC's conveniences. It remains to be seen what the long-term impact will be, but I somehow doubt that River students are going to be trudging up to the Quad very frequently to take advantage of the new student resources. Ironically, the upgrades may have the unintended effect of suppressing student activity of the very groups who stand to benefit from the renovations simply because students have always been averse to going up to the Quad for any extracurricular activity. Location, location, location.

I remember when former Harvard President Neil Rudenstine stopped by the Cabot Dining Hall for a dinner with us on his farewell tour. He took a few questions from the crowd, and one person asked him about the Quad’s resources, specifically the QRAC. Rudenstine responded: “QWAC? What’s the QWAC?” Luckily, his wife bailed him out by telling him what the student was referring to: “it’s the quadrangle recreational center, dear.” Looking back, that was an ominous sign of things to come and a very apt analogy for how Quadlings are currently being treated.

On another subject, does steroids help you shoot three-pointers? Having watched an unbelievable set of college basketball games this weekend and seeing three-pointer after three-pointer rain down from the heavens, I just want to know what drugs help you shoot the basketball like that? Whatever it is, these college kids are smoking or injecting the heck out of it. Or maybe it’s the rarified air of these indoor arenas. Or maybe it’s the lighter ball. That must be it – we’ve ushered in the lighter ball era in college basketball. Whatever it is, it’s fun to watch.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Harvard back above .500

Harvard downed NY Tech on Easter Sunday to improve to 5-4 on the season. This has got to be the Crimson's best start to the season after this many games in a good while.

In any case, Shawn Haviland impressed once again, it seems. And Matt Brunnig didn't fare too badly himself. More details to come once a complete box score becomes available.

Box Score Punditry, Easter Edition

A few items found while searching for Easter eggs and Salim Stoudamire's shooting touch:

* Maine left twice as many men on base as Harvard Saturday, 14 in all. But it was three runners stranded by the Crimson that were the most damning. Harvard left the bases full in the first inning, settling for just two runs after the inning's first five hitters all reached safely. The turning point was an at bat by reigning Ivy Player of the Week Steffan Wilson. Maine starter Steve Richard had just walked three in a row (two of which forced in runs), but proceeded to get Wilson to strike out looking, Rob Wheeler to strike out swinging, and Morgan Brown to ground to short. Richard either decided to bear down all of a sudden or else maybe got the Crimson to chase some pitches. Either way, he found his groove after that rocky start, facing just one batter more than the minimum over the next five innings.

* Farkes as DH today invites some speculation. The shoulder that kept him out last weekend doesn't seem to be affecting his swing, but is it hurting when he throws? It may be that Walsh is just being careful easing his star infielder back into the lineup. But if this shoulder issue, whatever it is, is keeping Farkes from playing second, the situation moves beyond the 'precautionary' stage and opens up a whole 'nother can of worms, from the issue of what the exact diagnosis is, to how playing time gets divided for Ian Wallace/Brendan Byrne/Griff Jenkins, to what happens with Sky Mann on the days he doesn't catch if the DH spot is taken. Long story short: it would be reassuring to see "FARKES - 2B" against NY Tech Sunday.

* Take Rob Wheeler's bat, Jeff Friedman's wheels, and Mike Dukovich's glove and what do you get? A pretty toolsy, everyday first baseman. In what seems to have emerged as a pattern, Wheeler played first base through the first two turns through the lineup, before being subbed out for the fleet-footed Friedman after singling in the fourth inning. The defensively adept Dukovich--who became famous as a freshman for his limber stretches over at first--entered the game at first the next inning. The combination is a pretty solid one for Harvard--Wheeler (who's hitting .500) and Dukovich (4 BB in 12 plate appearances) are a two-headed OBP machine. And, with all of Wheeler's seven hits this year being singles, Friedman usually finds himself in a running situation when he enters the game. For Joe Walsh, that's called getting the most out of your bench.

* What's wrong with this picture? After kicking the Baseball Beanpot out of Fenway Park last year, then exiling two-thirds of this year's tournament to Lowell, the Red Sox are now seeking the city's permission to open America's favorite ballpark for college hockey games and public skating next winter. This sets up the ridiculous possibility that the Harvard hockey team will get to play more games at Fenway next year than the Harvard baseball team. Anything for an extra buck, I guess.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Harvard loses to Maine, 8-4

Frank Hermann's early-season scoreless streak comes to an end. A day after the first game of Spring Break was rained out, Farkes returns as a DH and goes 2-for-3. Senior Ian Wallace gets some meaningful time at second, goes hitless but seems to have handled all his chances in the field. Byrne also plays.

The Crimson rounds out its unusual upstate New York swing tomorrow against New York Tech, we think.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

From Madhu -- NYC Alumni Dinner

Greetings NYC Area Baseball Alumni and Friends,

My name is Madhu Satyanarayana '03. I am writing to invite you to an informal baseball alumni dinner next Friday, April 1st, at a steakhouse TBD in Midtown Manhattan (location will be finalized upon determination of how large our party is).

Head Coach Joe Walsh had initially asked me to help set up a formal dinner for the team in conjunction with the Varsity Club the night before they play Columbia this year, for two reasons:

1. Get the team a good meal, but more importantly,
2. Show support for Wes Cosgriff '06 (LHP)

Wes has testicular cancer that has spread throughout his body. He is in chemotherapy and, last I heard, he was beating it, albeit slowly. It turned out that Wes would not be able to come to a dinner, as his schedule will not permit it. Therefore, we had to cancel the formal dinner.

It is our intention turn this into an annual event before either the Princeton or Columbia games, much like the fundraisers that other teams have. The lax team, for example, gets a strong turnout and raises a good deal of money for the program. A strong turnout next weekend will no doubt help us organize a larger event next year. Plus, the more alums in attendance, the more "Glory Days" stories we will all have the pleasure of listening to.

Please RSVP to me via email by Tuesday, March 29, so that I may make a reservation of appropriate size. I look forward to seeing many of you Friday night, and just as many Saturday afternoon.

Madhu Satyanarayana
UBS Investment Bank
299 Park Avenue - 35th Floor
New York, NY 10171
T: 212 821-3963
F: 212 821-3008
M: 617 256-8881

College Baseball Round-Up

On the national scene, here’s your Baseball America top 25. Last week’s number one, Texas, got swept by Baylor last weekend. Texas goes from one to four, and Baylor goes from 16 to 10. Cal-State Fullerton is the new number one. Louisiana Lafayette dropped out of the top 25 a week after beating the Crimson.

In the Lesser Division: Princeton took 2 out of 3 from Old Dominion (walloping them once 18-1), but earlier in the week they lost thrice to North Carolina. Cornell is in Bradenton where they’ve lost to Illinois and Northwestern but beat Wisconsin-Milwaukee twice. Columbia is also in Bradenton where they lost to St. Francis and split with Vermont. Earlier last week, they beat Farleigh-Dickinson and lost to Central Florida. Last week, UPenn lost to Temple but beat Hartford twice and Lafayette once (not the one from Louisiana -- the one from PA).

In the Red Rolfe Division: Brown has not played since returning from California. They’ll play UNC-Asheville this weekend. Last week, Dartmouth kicked off its season by beating Bucknell, Northern Iowa, and St. Francis down in Bradenton, but then lost to Illinois. Yale beat Indiana in Bradenton early last week, then went to Durham, North Carolina to beat Radford, and then went back up home to take three from Sacred Heart over the weekend.

Ivy Leaguers In MLB

In this wonderfully amusing Press-Enterprise write-up (a paper out of Riverside, California) of Paul DePodesta ‘95, the “Dodgers’ Man With a Plan,” we learn about his previous career as a TV show extra on “Homicide: Life on the Street.” But more importantly, the author gives this Major Ivy League Baseball breakdown:

DePodesta is part of a growing cadre of Ivy League-types who are infiltrating baseball's front offices, usually after new ownership takes over and wants to make hard line changes. Theo Epstein, all of 28, who took over as the Boston Red Sox's GM in 2002 when the team was sold, has degrees from Yale and University of San Diego's Law School. The team's director of baseball operations is Peter Woodfork, who has a degree in psychology from Harvard. Michael Hill, the Florida Marlins' assistant GM, has a degree in government from Harvard. Mark Shapiro the Cleveland Indians' executive vice president and GM, has a degree in history from Princeton.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Wilson Named Rookie, Player of the Week


Alex McPhillips ran a notebook in today's Crimson that was interesting on a few counts.

First, Farkes:
Junior pitcher Frank Herrmann, who pitched five innings of one-hit ball in a 3-2 victory on Sunday, said he was unworried, hinting that Farkes’ absence was only “precautionary.” Coach Joe Walsh could not be reached for comment.
“When I saw that he wasn’t in the lineup,” said captain Schuyler Mann, who trailed Farkes for the team lead in home runs with 11 last season, “I knew it probably wasn’t great. Zak, he’ll do anything to get in the lineup.”
“But I also realize there are people looking out for his best interests,” Mann added. “He can’t do anything that’s going to hurt his professional career, which he’s obviously going to have.”

It'll be interesting to see whether Farkes plays Friday against New York Tech.

Then, demonstrating that you can only get so much from looking at a boxscore, there's this read on Griff Jenkins' debut weekend filling in for Farkes:
Freshman Griff Jenkins complicated coach Joe Walsh’s infield picture with an outstanding debut weekend at second base.
In the first half of Saturday’s doubleheader, he went 2-for-5 with three RBI and three runs. But Jenkins’ composure at the keystone most impressed teammates and coaches.
“He made an awesome play while Frank was pitching, up the middle,” Mann said. “Flipped it up with the glove to Morgan for the force, and almost turned two.”
Most importantly, added Mann, “he showed no fear.”
With several other candidates seeking playing time up the middle, including incumbent sophomore Brendan Byrne, Harvard benefits from an overabundance of infield depth.

One would have to think that Walsh would be more likely to go with Morgan Brown at short with a presumably healthy Farkes at second, particularly since Byrne didn't really get to play much until Brown got hurt last year and hasn't played yet this spring (he's probably still with the NCAA-bound Harvard men's hockey team. But that this level of depth exists is of course always welcome news.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Congratulations to Michael Hill '93...

...who was promoted within the Marlins organization yesterday.

Promotion for Hill: Mike Hill was promoted Monday to vice president and assistant general manager.

Hill, 34, previously held the title of assistant general manager.

A Harvard graduate, Hill joined the Marlins in 2002 after spending three seasons with the Rockies.

Since joining the Marlins, Hill is responsible for roster management, payroll and contract research and negotiations, plus waiver and rule compliance.

Drafted by the Rangers in the 31st round in 1993, Hill also has worked in the Devil Rays' system.

Monday, March 21, 2005

No need to panic

Alex McPhillips' Crimson recap clarifies the Farkes' situation some:
Junior infielder Zak Farkes, who led the Crimson in home runs in 2004, sat out during the weekend to nurse a strained right shoulder, a measure Herrmann deemed “precautionary.”

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Crimson splits Sunday games as well

Hermann pitches well again in a 3-2 win, Unger starts the other and can't escape the second in a 7-2 loss. Farkes didn't play either game. Freshman Griff Jenkins starts all four games, and goes hitless the rest of the way after a strong outing in the series opener (2-for-5, 3 RBI).

More on these later in the week, as we recover from a weekend of March Madness, Harvard Hockey and, perhaps, something called "Spring Break Shark Attack" on CBS.

Inside the Box Score: Crimson Errors Propelled Wildcats Victory

Going inside the box score on the Crimson’s loss to Bethune-Cookman in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, it’s clear that the Crimson didn't lose as much as they gave it away with sloppy defense. The B-CC Wildcats scored all 8 of their runs in the first 5 innings. It was Crimson errors in 4 of those 5 innings which aided the Wildcats in their scoring.

After B-CC’s leadoff man reached in the bottom half of the first inning, it was an error by the Crimson pitcher which opened the door to the first Wildcats run. In the second inning, the Wildcats scored their first run on an error by the 3rd baseman, and the second run of that inning was unearned. In the third inning, an error by the Crimson second baseman opened the door to a 2-run inning by the Wildcats. An error by the Crimson shortstop allowed B-CC to score a second unearned run in the bottom half of the fifth inning. In all, B-CC scored 7 of their 8 runs in innings in which the Crimson committed an error.

Defense wasn’t the only problem; Crimson free passes also hurt. In the fourth inning, the Crimson starter walked the first two Wildcat hitters before being pulled. A wild pitch allowed the runners to advance, and B-CC was able to score one in that frame.

The Crimson weren’t alone in their defensive miscues. Bethune-Cookman also committed four errors and allowed the Crimson to score 3 unearned runs. In case you're wondering, the Crimson had one error in the first game while B-CC committed two. That rock-hard Florida clay is a far cry from the stable astroturf of the Metrodome and Lavietes Pavillion (although game-time temperatures hovered in the high 50s and low 60s)...

Crimson Splits With Bethune Yesterday

So it turns out that the Crimson and Wildcats were rained out Friday, and played a doubleheader yesterday and will again today. Yesterday's doubleheader produced a split, with Harvard whalloping Bethune-Cookman 17-3 in the opener and falling 8-6 in the nightcap.

Zak Farkes, it seems, didn't play in either game. Hmmm...

Leading the hit parade in the opener was freshman Steffan Wilson, who knocked in four runs on a single, a triple and the first of what will likely be a good many collegiate homers (and in fact, he had one in the second game as well). Javy Castellanos went four innings and walked four, but escaped having only allowed one run. Jake Bruton went the rest of the way, and threw five strong innings of relief.

Haviland struggled in his second collegiate start, allowing six runs in three innings. Morgalis relieved him and allowed two runs in the remaining five innings. One can hope that his recovery from his foot ailment is going smoothly.

More later...

Friday, March 18, 2005

Bridich update (with Hendricks and Crockett mentions!)

From Jeff Bridich '00, Manager of Minor League Operations for the Colorado Rockies. Bridich will live in Crimon history for hitting a homerun over the Green Monster in Fenway during a Beanpot tourney game against UMass in 1999. Here's how Daniel Habib covered that moment for The Crimson:

It was Bridich, however, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Week, who supplied the big blow that juiced the Crimson up, driving a fat fastball from Samolewicz over the Green Monster in the third for a 6-4 lead. It was Bridich's third home run of the season, and he is now tied with Binkowski for second on the team. "Initially, I didn't think I had gotten enough on the ball," Bridich said. "I didn't see it go out, and I thought it was going to hit the top of the wall. Then I saw the outfielder give up on it, and I knew it was gone." [Habib, The Crimson, 4/28/99]

Anyways, here's his update (as posted in the Dugout)...

Hello from the Colorado Rockies camp in beautiful (beautiful?) Tucson, Arizona. Before I get into things, I have to give kudos to the creators of this site. For those of us who have seen our playing days pass us by, this site provides us the opportunity not only to live vicariously through the current Crimson nine, but also relive our college glory days so that we can start to develop our "old man" stories in which we are much better than we actually were.
Our minor league spring training games kicked off today and while there were 3 former Crimson on site, only one of them played. I, of course, watched from the sidelines while eating seeds. William Benjamin Crockett threw a bullpen today and will most likely be slated to pitch in his first game action of the spring this coming weekend. Ben has been doing well in camp thus far, and for good luck he's even wearing my old college number (33), which will never ever be retired in my name by Harvard. Since the
Rockies were playing the Diamondbacks, Trey Hendricks was also in attendance this afternoon. He started at DH in one of the Single A games and collected 3 solid base hits that I saw.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Frozen ropes

Harvard Baseball leaves tomorrow for its three-day, four-game visit to perennial MEAC power Bethune Cookman. The Crimson has games Friday, Saturday (doubleheader) and Sunday in Daytona Beach. Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

One of the new dugouts. Image hosted by

...the thaw continues.

Coach Walsh will likely submit something of a coach's corner feature on a regular basis in the weeks to come. I had the chance to chat with him today and surmised the following:

1) Regarding Brian's question on the Message Board about the Javy Castellanos start against ULL, Walsh characterized his outing as a positive step and also noted (as we had) that his start wasn't terribly well documented by the scorekeepers. He noted that against a lineup like the Cajuns, a team that "could be there at the end," if you're throwing a hard fastball and a hard slider, you need something of an offspeed out pitch to rely on. Javy has shown glimpses of said pitch, but not consistently. Still, Walsh said he looked good, digs the way Javy steps into his pitches more now, loves the fact that he's in tremendous shape, and sees him as a major contributor. Whether that's as a weekend starter or in some other role remains to be seen...

2) Expect the middle infield to remain the way it was this past weekend for the foreseeable future. Walsh seems to like Morgan Brown quite a bit at short and Farkes at second, despite a number of factors (Farkes' playing short for most of the stretch last year, the availability of senior infielder Ian Wallace...). Brown was limited by injury in the early Ivy portions of the 2004 season, but had started most of the team's early season games at short last year and wound up hitting .286. He's also seen time as a relief pitcher over the past three seasons (hardly unique among position players on the Crimson in that respect)...

3) Walsh described freshman Steffan Wilson, whom he started in the four-hole in the opener before batting him seventh against Minnesota, as a "guy who'll definitely be that kind of hitter someday." Somewhat contradicting an early Crimson report, Walsh said he expects to play Wilson mostly in left field or at third, should he move Josh Klimkiewicz to first more regularly (we saw both lineups this weekend, with Wilson at third against the Gophers). Whether Walsh'll settle into either of those lineups on a consistent basis seems an open question...

4) Walsh sees Matt Vance as the team's shortstop of the future, but has him playing center just to get his bat in the lineup right now...

5) On Frank Hermann, who looked excellent against Minnesota: "I think he'll be a strikeout guy for us. I see him throwing seven innings and getting somewhere between five to eight strikeouts a start."...

6) Could the "Unger Strikes" Crimson headlines be far off? Walsh is intrigued by Brad Unger, a 6'7" forward who just finished his first season for Harvard basketball. The Harvard Hoops bio notes that he "also was a standout pitcher for the baseball team." Walsh, having clocked him in the early, raw stages of things and noting that "you can't teach height," sees shades of Chris Young, former two-sport standout for Princeton.

7) Ambidextrous Matt Brunnig was actually ready, willing and able to go a couple innings with each hand if needed against Minnesota. Who knows, it could happen one of these weekends...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Ivy Honors Mann, Herrmann

The Crimson picked up two of the three weekly awards handed out by the Ivy League today, as captain Schuyler Mann was named Player of the Week and Frank Herrman won Pitcher of the Week honors. Congrats to both.

Harvard just missed out on a sweep of the awards, as rookie Shawn Haviland was edged out for Rookie of the Week recognition by Columbia's Bill Purdy, who went seven-plus innings against Elon. Haviland received much-deserved inclusion on the weekly honor roll.

In related news, if you happen to notice a mistake with the official Ivy League statistics or are just looking for a pen pal at the Ivy League office, send some spam to this this man.

Monday, March 14, 2005

College Baseball Roundup

Texas is ranked number one in the nation, moving up from 2nd last week, in the Baseball America Top 25. Tulane dipped from 1 to 3 after dropping two of three games to high-powered and 2nd ranked Cal State Fullerton. ULL, fresh off its victory over the Crimson this past weekend, rises from 21 to 17 in the rankings, moving ahead of Florida State (18) who got SWEPT by Hawaii…yes, Hawaii. Hawaii is also responsible for handing ULL one of its two defeats this season.

In the Lesser Division of the Ivy League: Princeton got swept by William & Mary this past weekend. Cornell took two out of three from West Virginia. UPenn lost every game they played last week, six of them – lost to San Francisco, Fresno State, Southern Utah, Gonzaga, Dallas Baptist, and Monmouth. Columbia dropped three to Army.

In Red Rolfe Action: Yale lost to Georgetown three times, beat UMass, and lost to Indiana down in Florida. Brown was out on the west coast – they lost to Santa Clara twice, beat them once, and also lost to San Jose State. Dartmouth was not in action.

Reminder: Fill Out Your Bracket

Just a reminder that if you're interested, you should join the group Mike Marcucci has set up and fill out your online college baseball brackets. Click here to join.

The History of Baseball

A New York Times article this morning discusses a new advertising campaign being launched by Major League Baseball to rejuvenate interest in the game, and presumably, to rehabilitate the game from steroid scandals. Irwin Warren, executive vice president and executive creative director of the ads, defended the new campaign by saying, “Baseball is entertainment, not something you wrap a flag in or have to go to Harvard to take a course in."

Well, Mr. Warren, no disrespect, but clearly you haven’t been to Harvard. We know baseball is entertainment… in fact, sometimes we wondered whether that’s all it was. But we also know it’s something you CAN take a course in. Prior to his passing, the esteemed history professor William Gienapp, a baseball traditionalist, offered a course which many a Crimson baseball player has taken called, “Baseball and American Society, 1840-Present.”

You may be tempted to think only Harvard would be so nutty as to teach a course on baseball, but you’d be wrong. A University of Northern Colorado professor once taught a class also called “Baseball and American Society, 1840-Present.”

So in honor of Professor Gienapp, I thought it might be fitting to post some of his prescriptions to fix the game he loved (this shouldn't be read to be an endorsement of his views):

Gienapp: “The intensity of the fans isn't there any more. The season is too long. It is only in the last month that, for the teams in the race, it seems like life and death. Of course, in Boston, when they play the Yankees, the intensity is there for every game."

Gienapp: "Our society has become a much faster society and baseball is a slow game. That hurts baseball. The owners always talk about the need to speed up the game, but they don't do a damn thing."

Gienapp: "I think the downward trend could be made less steep if the game were regulated better," he says. "The fundamental problems are endemic to the society and beyond the game itself. It has been hurt by television. It doesn't televise well as a game, compared to basketball and football. It is hurt by the fact that it has no time limits. It can go very late into the night, and that discourages parents with young children from going to games. It is hurt by the fact that it's a hard sport that takes an enormous amount of skill to play decently as a young person. If you can't hit the ball or you can't catch it or you throw it away, you're not going to have a great time. Children who don't develop that skill quickly don't continue to play it. The fans have always been people who played it as children."

What to Make of this Weekend

Good news: Marty has opened up our message board, also known as The Dugout, to the general public. Registration is no longer necessary to access this portion of the site.

To usher in our new, improved and more democratic message board, I've started a thread offering five things to consider in light of this weekend's games. You can view it here.
From what Friday's start means for Javy Castellanos' future to how often we can count on seeing Rob Wheeler from now on, there's plenty of fodder to talk about over the next week until Harvard is back in action.

Please chip in with your own thoughts and insights. We're in the market for some good, insightful commentary.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Gopher Broke

Listening to the internet feed, it was obvious that Walsh and Co. came out extremely aggressively, and while not everything they tried worked (the botched squeeze, a couple guys getting caught stealing to end innings), it was great to see them not rest on the early lead... Hermann did a great job staying poised despite allowing the leadoff man to get on more often than not.

Great win. Minnesota had barely lost to ULL the night before.

And now, the early favorite for Non-Walsh Quote of the Year. Eric Nelson, doing play-by-play solo for, introduces home-schooled hurler Matt Brunnig:

"Matt Brunnig in to pitch, from ... Can that be right? He went to a high school called Home? Home High School? All sorts of pun possibilities with that one ... 'Home goes on homestand.' 'Home to play on the road.' 'Home wins away.' 'Every game's a home game!'"

Clicking On All Cylinders, Crimson Leave Minnesota 2-1

The Harvard Crimson are leaving the Metrodome with a winning record and a great deal of confidence about how they’re playing. Living up to Coach Walsh’s statement that they may be the best indoors team in New England right now (all the credit goes to the mini Metrodome -- Lavietes Pavillion), the Crimson played well on the astroturf, knocking off the snow belt teams (St. Johns and Minnesota), losing only to Louisiana Lafayette (which had played 16 games before facing the Crimson).

The bats came out with full force today, jumping on top of the Minnesota Golden Gophers early and coasting to a 9-1 victory. All but two Crimson hitters had at least one hit, with four Crimson hitters picking up multiple hits. Schuyler Mann was a machine at the plate – he went 5 for 5, with 2 RBIs and 3 runs scored. Coach Hyde was busy at first today, wheeling around multiple Crimson players on their way to extra-base hits – Mann (one double), Josh Klimkiewicz (2 doubles), and Steffan Wilson (double, triple). The fleet-footed Rob Wheeler also had two hits.

Meanwhile, pitching in the home of the Minnesota Twins (whose season opener in the Dome is on April 8th against the Chicago White Sox), right-hander Frank Herrmann played the part of Twins ace Johan Santana. He was almost flawless, going six complete innings, 0 runs, 5 Ks, 4 hits allowed. Matt Brunnig came in to relieve Herrmann and did an equally fine job, yielding a run only because rightfielder Lance Salsgiver lost a fly-ball in the Teflon roof (don’t say I didn’t warn you).

Coach Walsh has to be pleased with the all-around effort by the Crimson today. The pitching was excellent (perhaps another weekend starter spot has been nailed down), and the offense was tenacious -- scoring in the second, third, fourth, seventh, and ninth innings.

There were few Crimson blunders, but you always have to find something to build upon, so here are my nominations. Early in the game, the Crimson weren’t able to execute a suicide squeeze. Deuce will be counting on that being there next time. Also, the Crimson committed a pair of errors, but it was on the whole a solid defensive effort.

The Crimson go back to classes and practice this week and then fly off at the end of the week to Daytona Beach, FL for a game Friday night against Bethune-Cookman as part of a four game set.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Crimson Notches First Victory

Congratulations to the Crimson team for picking up the first of many wins this season.

A few thoughts:

  • St. Johns is a very solid team. Last year, they were the 3 seed in the Stanford Regional. They beat Florida International University earlier this season, a team previous Crimson players will remember as a very good team. And FIU is doing it again this year.

  • After throwing five pitchers the previous day, Coach Walsh was able to get solid production from 3 pitchers today. Shawn Haviland had a great first appearance, lasting into the 6th. And just as importantly, Mike Morgalis and Taylor Meehan combined to pitch 2 and 2/3 innings of relief without yielding a single hit.
  • Looked like things got very interesting in the top of the 9th. With the Crimson leading 3-2 and one out, Meehan hit a St. Johns batter. After getting the second out, Meehan walked the next two guys, but got St. Johns' three-hole hitter to ground out to first with the bases loaded to end the game.
  • The heart of the Crimson lineup got a taste of the big leagues today. The 2-3-4 hitters – Lance Salsgiver, Zak Farkes, and Steffan Wilson – all got a chance to face St. Johns' premier closer, Craig Hansen, and each faced the same fate, striking out swinging. Hansen pitched last summer in the Cape Cod League for the Harwich Mariners, finishing second in the league in saves. He was also named to the All-Cape team. Baseball America has listed him as the number 3 prospect in the upcoming Major League Baseball draft. Hansen’s Cape numbers were ridiculous: 22.1 innings pitched, three unearned runs, nine hits, two walks, and 41 Ks.

The win puts the Crimson in position to leave Minnesota with a winning record to start the season. The team will face Minnesota tomorrow at 3 pm. Diehard Crimson fans can listen to the game live online – click here

I know Harvard baseball is not given to hyperbole ...

But look out, Hal Carey '99 and Mark Mager '02 on the all-time Harvard hits list! Matt Vance has five hits in two career games. Maybe Marty can set up a running counter over on the right underneath the visitor log.

Vance added a walk today and also reached on an error in yesterday's game, meaning he's gotten aboard in seven out of his first eight at-bats as a college player. Talk about table setting. Keep this kid at the top of the lineup, Joe.

Hav' Plenty

Live internet feed is a very good thing.

The early word on Shawn Haviland: Looks pretty darn good.

The St. John's game is ongoing, with Mike Morgalis out there in relief, but Haviland left after 5.2 having thrown five shutout innings and gotten into a bit of trouble in the sixth with a leadoff walk, a wild pitch and a single and was hurt by an error behind him on what reads like it should've been a sac bunt. Haviland induced a double-play from SJU's No. 3 hitter that brought home a Red Storm run, and then gave up a single to the clean-up hitter before being pulled for Mikey Mo.

Haviland cruised through those first five innings, retiring the first six batters he faced. Didn't give up a hit until the fourth. This is a kid who's making his first collegiate start, and it's in the Metrodome against a solid team.

The line on Haviland:

Harvard............. ip
h r er bb so
Shawn Haviland 5.2 2 2 1 3 2

Not bad at all.

He's also off the hook for the loss, as the Crimson has come up with a 3-run sixth against Sullivan.

Today's Matchup: Haviland vs. Sullivan

Harvard goes for its first win of the season today at the Metrodome when Crimson rookie Shawn Haviland opposes Red Storm sophomore Anthony Sullivan.

Haviland's performance is highly anticipated as Walsh seems to expecting big things out of him right away. But his counterpart on the mound today is also no slouch. Local product Sullivan put together quite the high school career a mere Shuyler Mann tape-measure shot away from O'Donnell Field. In his senior season at Arlington (MA) High in 2003, Sullivan once threw a one-hitter against the then-No. 1 team in the state, Peabody, which was 10-0 entering the game. The only player to muster a hit off Sullivan for Peabody in that game? Jeff Allison, a pitching prodigy who became a first-round draft pick of the Florida Marlins but has since seen his career curtailed by chronic drug troubles, as documented by Sports Illustrated this winter.

Allison and Sullivan headlined a pretty good class of pitchers to come out of the Greater Boston League in 2003. That group also included Tyler Thornton of Walpole, Mass. Harvard may see Thornton later this season--he pitches for Northeastern now.

One more interesting connection: Anothony Sullivan spent the summer of 04 in the NECBL with the Concord Quarry Dogs. His teammate in Concord? UConn sophomore Josh Farkes, who transferred to Storrs after playing for the University of Richmond last year. Maybe Zak can call his brother for a scouting report.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Pitching Is Key To Season

We have a bit of a discrepancy in the box scores with regards to who pitched for the Crimson today. Minnesota's box score says we threw five guys, Jason Brown relieving Javy Castellanos. The ULL box score shows only four pitchers, no mention of Jason Brown appearing (seemingly, the ULL scorekeepers didn't notice a change on the mound). I'm assuming the Minnesota one is correct which means the Crimson threw five guys today. I think it's safe to assume that pitching is going to be THE key to the Crimson's success this season, and Coach Walsh is experimenting early (and probably often). The rotation should be returning Mike Morgalis and Matt Brunnig, assuming they're healthy. Frank Herrmann, Jake Bruton, and Javy Castellanos are the Crimson's next most experienced starters, suggesting they may be top contenders for the other two weekend spots. And then there are a couple of freshmen who we'll be seeing over the next couple of days who have a chance to contribute significantly, perhaps taking a weekend spot.

There is always a lot of attention paid to the starting pitchers. What shouldn't be overlooked, however, is the opportunity for a go-to guy out of the bullpen to step up and secure a spot -- particularly for a younger pitcher looking to make an impact. In the past, the Crimson has found reliable go-to guys out of the bullpen in Barry Wahlberg, Mike Marcucci, John Wells, Derek Lennon, Mike Dryden, Donny Jamieson, Matt Devine, and Mike Madden, among many, many others (apologies if I didn't mention your name). The reliability of pitchers with the mental toughness to come into any situation and throw strikes and prevent a one-run inning from turning into a four-run inning was, in many cases, a key element of previous Ivy Championship squads.

The glass half empty view is that the pitching does not appear as deep for the Crimson this year as it has been in years past. The glass half full view is that, because there are few set spots, there are opportunities for many to shine. The question is: how are the Crimson pitchers looking at the glass?

Chalk it up as a learning experience

Harvard has fallen to Louisiana-Lafayette, 14-2, in its 2005 season opener. Not the most exciting way to break out of the gate, but these opening games are always more interesting for what they suggest about how Walsh is leaning personnel-wise.

That said, a quick look at the box score shows mixed results for the two rookies who figure to see lots of action early on. Rookie speedster Matt Vance started in center and had two of Harvard's seven hits out of the leadoff spot, including an RBI single that plated the Crimson's first run. Left fielder Steffan Wilson went hitless in four trips, with three Ks, in his debut out of the cleanup spot -- a place Walsh has historically been unafraid to insert rookies right away.

Besides Vance, another offensive bright spot for Harvard was Rob Wheeler, who looks poised to reap some serious playing time after three years of paying his dues by doing whatever was asked (from pinch hitter to mop-up man to, if I remember right, the team's emergency catcher at a couple points). Wheeler started at first and had two hits. He was the first Crimson hitter to reach base off Cajun Jered Salazar--who retired the first six men he faced--and came around to score the team's first run.

As for Harvard starter Javier Castellanos, the good news is, well, he didn't walk anybody. But all of Harvard's hurlers had a tough go of it today and Javy ended up getting tagged for six runs on 9 hits and exited in the third. Going forward, one of the more interesting things to find out in next week's postmortems of this trip will be whether Javy just didn't have good command of his pitches (particularly his well-advertised breaking stuff) or whether it just didn't matter against a top-25 team's offense.

Ivy's collective early struggles

Lande Spottswood's preview of the season opener calls attention to the Ivy's collective early season struggles:

It has been a rough start to the season for the Ivy squads already in play. Led by Penn (0-5), the Ivy League has combined to open the year 0-16 through yesterday….Defending Ivy champion Princeton (0-2) opened its season with a pair of one-run losses to Richmond last weekend, but kicks its schedule into high gear with 10 games in 10 days over its Southern spring break swing beginning this afternoon at William and Mary….Defending Red Rolfe division champ Dartmouth won’t open its season until March 17 after a pair of games against Lafayette scheduled for last weekend were cancelled due to inclement weather.

Which isn't terribly surprising given the number of games most of these other teams have already played.

One nice thing about these dome games: No Florida rainouts means these games will definitely happen.

From Marcucci: Fill Out Your Online College Basketball Brackets

From Marcucci...

Gentleman: Anyone interested in matching college hoops wits with current and former Crimson greats? I've set up a group on ESPN for just that purpose. Free to play-- password, Deuce-- Faiz, feel free to post the info on the blog.

Mike Marcucci has put together a group on's ESPN Men's Tournament Challenge and would like you to join.

Group name: Harvard Baseball

Password: Deuce

Helpful links:

Create a new account:

Already have an entry?

Join your friend's group:

ESPN Men's Tournament Challenge

Let's Geaux, Harvard: Opener won't be quite so Ard-uous

Harvard will miss Louisiana-Lafayette ace Kevin Ardoin when it faces the No. 19 Cajuns Friday in Minnesota. According to the team's game notes, rookie righthander Buddy Glass will get the ball against the Crimson. While the Cajuns' staff is pretty deep throughout--national-level pitching talent has apparently been the hallmark of Coach Tony Robichaux's programs here and at his last gig, McNeese State--facing Glass is something of a reprieve considering he has pitched a grand total of 9.2 innings at the college level.

Ardoin, on the other hand, is one of the best pitchers in the country so far this spring. A 12th round pick of the Rangers last spring and sure to go higher this June, he is a perfect 4-0 with a sub-1.00 ERA and 30 Ks in 27+ innings. Since starting the team's season opener on Feb. 11 vs. Louisiana Tech, Ardoin has been kept on a fairly regular schedule, as Robichaux has mostly stayed true to his five-man pitching rotation. Ardoin had appeared to be in line to pitch against Harvard, but he will instead go against Minnesota on a whopping ten days rest.

Sucks to be the Gophers.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

My Valentine's Day Memory...

I remember running around Lavietes with the team my sophomore year, minding my own business, and I hear Coach Walsh say, "anyone who is dating the daughter of a professional baseball scout, take four sprints." At the time I was smooching the daugher of a man who happened to have "Head International Scout for the Dodgers" on his professional resume. But, being the dense kid I am, I figured he wasn't talking about me since my beau's dad had just gotten out of the scouting business. A few seconds passed before someone tapped me on the shoulder and informed me that it was my turn to take the solitary sprints. Considering the situation, I was more than happy to hop out of the crowd and show off my wheels.

Walsh's Words of Wisdom

Throughout the season, I’ll try to tally some of Coach Walsh’s best quotes. Maybe at the end of the season we can have a vote on our favorites. Here are some nominees from Pablo Torre’s article in The Crimson today (see Marty’s entry below for a link to the article):

“Hey, we may be the best team indoors in New England right now.”

“Man, you shake hands with that kid and it’s like shaking hands with a shovel.”

“They’ll know how to pronounce his [Klimkiewicz’s] name before the season’s over, I can tell you that much.”

“Right now, those are two guys [Rob Wheeler and Rob Nelson] that have, ‘Play me, play me, play me,’ on the backs of their shirts.”

“To me, the bigger the ballgame, the better your bunting game’s gotta be.”

And from Alex McPhillips’ profile of Deuce in FM:

“When I pick up the phone and I say, ‘hey, it’s Hahvahd baseball callin,’ it’s a dead giveaway,” says Walsh, ever the active recruiter. “Especially when I’m calling some other places in the country. Yeah, I’m a Boston guy… When I make calls down [South and West], they’re on the other end of the line going, ‘who is this guy?!?’”

The Crimson checks in...

...with a spring practice article and, more unusually, a piece in Fifteen Minutes.

Among the highlights:

1. "Javy Castellanos, weekend starter." Intriguing. He's already come up with big innings in the clutch before, and has shown great promise against quality competition.

2. Sounds like we may be looking at a few immediate freshmen contributors in Haviland (RHP), Steffan Wilson (2B) and Bryan Hale heir-apparent Matt Vance.

3. Ah, springtime in Minnesota. An endless indoor start to the season. Why? We're still not sure, but the official word is:

“We’re anxious to get ground balls going off of Astroturf,” head coach Joe Walsh said. “For the very first time, we’re opening up indoors...Hey, we may be the best team indoors in New England right now.”

According to Walsh, the set-up has also let the coaching staff transfer attention upon the more minute, but no less important, aspects of the game. Though outdoor on-field action often lends itself to players simply trying to blast the ball out of the park, indoor baseball facilitates work with bunt and first-and-third defenses, the running game, and swing mechanics.

“If we can do those little things better than other teams and be better prepared, then I really feel that we get a chance to win the tight ballgame,” Walsh said. “To me, the bigger the ballgame, the better your bunting game’s gotta be.”

4. The team will wear Wes Cosgriff's No. 28 on their jerseys.

5. The FM piece, a semi-profile on Walsh, gives us gems like this:

Take what the team calls the Valentine’s Day Massacre.

No ordinary man could hatch such an ambitious plan. The Massacre takes so much work that Walsh needs help—a couple of spies, like Herrmann and first baseman Mike J. Dukovich ’06—to get the dirt on his own players. Hook-ups, embarrassing weekend details­—little is sacred.

“I get a little bit of information,” Walsh says. “Inside information on the team. A few little things.”

During the team’s Valentine’s Day baseball practice, he uses the information to structure sprints, says Lance L. Salsgiver ’06.

“He’ll say, ‘for all you guys who have done this, run.’ Except one guy will start running and he looks behind him and sees no one else,” Salsgiver says. Inside info, indeed.

“Coach tries to keep the mood light,” Herrmann says. “He’s good at that.”

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Wes and site news

Following up on the post below, we all wish Wes a speedy and full recovery. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.

You can contact Madhu here, but he will post any announcements about the dinner on the Message Boards, so please register and check in regularly. We will also copy major announcements here.

More Site News:

* We welcome Danny Habib and Kenon Ronz to the cast of blog posters. Danny covered the baseball beat for four years here for the Crimson and writes for Sports Illustrated now (he had a feature on the Oakland A's revamped pitching staff last week). Kenon was a Second-Team All Ivy pick as a senior, a 33rd round draft pick by the Tigers, and is now with them in spring training. Both will post on the main page occasionally.

* We've included a "Support Harvard Baseball" link on the sidebar. Gifts help pay for recruiting and out-of-region team travel costs, and help Harvard Baseball stay where it belongs, among the best programs in the East. Select "Friends of Harvard Baseball" under section 2.

There's more to come...

From Madhu... please read

The following is a post on the Message Board from Madhu. Please read it:

2 asked me to help set up a formal dinner for the team in conjunction with the Varsity Club the night before they play Columbia this year to serve two purposes:

1. Get the guys a good meal, but more importantly,
2. Show support for Wes Cosgriff '06 (LHP)

Wes has testicular cancer that has spread throughout his body. He is in chemotherapy and, last I heard, he was beating it, albeit slowly. I don't know many more details other than that.

Turns out that Wes will not be able to come to a dinner, as his schedule will not permit it. Therefore, we had to cancel the formal dinner.

I would like to see if NYC-area alums would like to get together for a less formal dinner in New York, April 1st. I know some alums will be in town for the weekend anyways.

This could turn into an annual event before either the Princeton or Columbia games, much like the fundraisers that other teams have. The lax team, for example, gets a strong turnout and raises a good deal of money for the program. Peanut butter and marshmallow fluff are not cheap, fellas. Let me know what you think... I will be glad to get us a table at one of New York's finest restauarants... or Brother Jimmy's (I know, Carmack, Brother Jimmy's IS one of New York's finest restaurants. Shut up and go back to your room). Your call.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


As the Crimson readies to play the Ragin Cajuns of Louisiana Lafayette in its season opener this Friday, I thought it might be worth taking a look at the link between that goofy state of Louisiana and the Harvard Crimson baseball team.

JOSH SAN SALVADOR. When the Class of ’02 thinks about Louisiana, we think Sanzo. Josh San Salvador talks funny, like some Louisianans, but he’s also got the qualities of a southern gentleman, the kind of qualities nice Louisiana women are looking for in a guy. Think I’m joking? Click here

Anyways, Coach Walsh once called Sanzo “a tough kid from Louisiana.” (Brian did an awesome profile of Josh). One of the ’02 class’s favorite games was a critical comeback win against Brown our senior year. In that game, we were down 9-2, but we ended up coming back and winning, with Sanzo blasting a walk-off 3 run shot to win it. Sanzo’s high school principal John Serio was quoted as saying he wished Sanzo had stayed in-state to play. The New Orleans Times-Picayune interviewed Serio, who said: "The point of Josh San Salvador is, you need a kid like that. Go get that kid." We’re glad he decided to come up north.

JASON KECK. When the class of ’99 thinks about Louisiana, one of the things it remembers is Jason Keck. Keck’s also a Louisianan, but he can talk relatively normal. A graduate of Newman High (that’s somewhere in a rice patty I believe), Keck said upon graduating high school that his top honor was “Being accepted to Harvard. It's the top academic honor that I could receive. The fact that I'll be able to play baseball makes it even better.” [Times Picayune, 5/28/95]

Keck had a number of momentous games in his distinguished Harvard career. He was the backstop and the backbone of a very successful Harvard team that went out to an NCAA Regional and upset the 16th ranked Tulane Green Wave in 1998. He was also a vital part of the Crimson’s ’97 squad that shocked the college baseball world when it beat top-seeded UCLA in the NCAA Regional. In the 7-2 victory over UCLA, Keck had a two-run single. Frank Hogan, the “crafty left-handa” (as Coach Walsh would certainly call him), turned in an amazing performance in the victory, but gave quite a bit of credit to Keck. Hogan: “I was hitting my spots and changing speeds. That was easy with Jason back there calling the pitches." Upon graduation, Keck received the 1998 Marty McDonough/White Allard Sportsmanship Award, an award given annually to a New England-area player or coach by the College Baseball Umpires Association.

MR. KECK. No mention of Jason Keck should go without also mentioning Mr. Bill Keck, a top candidate for all-time greatest Harvard fan (along with Mr. San Salvardor, among many others). Mr. Keck was always a presence no matter where we traveled, whether it was Homestead, FL, O’Donnell Field, or back home in Louisiana. It was a family affair in 1998 when the Kecks turned out to see Jason play in his home state. The Times Picayune reported, “Keck's father, Bill, took Jason's grandparents to Harvard's practice Wednesday to see their grandson's first workout at Alex Box. It was the first time Jason's grandparents got to see him play ball for Harvard, Bill said.”

THE 1998 REGIONAL. I don’t have enough space to go on and talk about the 1998 team’s memorable NCAA regional showing in Alex Box Stadium down in LSU. Suffice it to say, it turned a lot of heads and continued to show people around the college game that Harvard could play. I’ll just leave it with what one LSU official who stopped by to offer his congratulations to the ’98 team said, "Ya'll got 'bout the scrappiest little team I ever seen." Louisianans talk funny.

Let me know if there are other Louisiana connections out there that I missed.

No Place Like Dome

This Friday, The Crimson travel to Minnesota to play in the Minneapolis Metrodome, a stadium renowned as a difficult place to play in light of the astroturf, the high speakers, and the Teflon on the roof of the Dome. Just this year, the Metrodome changed the ground rules for fly balls that go off speakers...

DEAD BALL: The ground rules at the Metrodome have been changed slightly for this season. The speakers that hang from the ceiling over foul territory are now considered dead, even if a batted ball bounces off of one of them and back into play. In the past, balls caught off those ricochets have been outs. Now they won't count as such.

"That eliminates me sitting me up there for 15 minutes with each new umpiring crew that comes in," manager Ron Gardenhire said, "explaining it to them and have them having a heart attack when a ball does hit up there." [Associated Press,

Apparently, the hometown Minneapolis Golden Gophers have problems playing in the Metrodome as well. This is what was reported by the
University of Minnesota college newspaper about a recent game in the Dome:

With the score 3-1 and one out in the top of the second, South Carolina's Neil Giesler hit a routine pop fly to straightaway center that got lost in the Teflon.

Shrugging his arms to signal that he lost the ball, center fielder Tony Leseman turned to see left fielder Luke MacLean just miss making a sliding grab. The play scored one run, and Giesler advanced to third on the play, only to score later on a bunt single to tie the game 3-3.

Senior pitcher Josh Krogman said he had to come to terms with the unfriendly conditions of the Dome but doesn't expect to see Saturday's result again.

"When Tony is out there, he makes that play 99 times out of 100," Krogman said. "It's one of those things that the Dome presents that no other place does, and you just have to try to deal with it."

I guess my only recommendation is don't be hungover when you play in the Metrodome.

Monday, March 07, 2005

The New Message Board.

The sidebar now features a link to The Dugout, the official message board of Sons of Bart Brush.

Registration is required. The board will be moderated chiefly by Faiz, who will rule as he sees fit. It should make for a place to post and expect to be read, and avoid the semi-visibility problems posed by comments on individual posts.

Please read the lead welcome post there. Sorry in advance about the pop-ups.

It's still a work in progress, so let us know how things go. We now return you to your regularly scheduled Harvard Baseball blog...

Kenon Ronz (and Birtwell) Update...

While we’re working on a user-friendly posting system for the players (which we’ll alert you to as soon as possible), we wanted to make sure you guys saw this Kenon Ronz post. Recall Ronz got drafted in the 33rd round (970 overall) by the Detroit Tigers in the 2003 MLB draft, where he now plays in the same farm system as John Birtwell (’01, 30th round, 897 overall). After Harvard lost to Princeton in the 2003 Ivy Championship, the typically modest Ronz said this in an article written by Marty: “Baseball’s done so much for me,” Ronz said. “It’s tough to believe it’s near an end. At an end, maybe.” Well, because he's a marathon man who works so hard, it didn't quite turn out like he thought:

Hey all. The CS kid has to make his mark on this piece.
Faiz asked for an update, so here's mine:

I wound up getting drafted by the Tigers in the 33rd round on Class Day 2003. I am currently at Spring Training in Lakeland, FL and I'm hoping to get assigned to our High-A team: The Lakeland Tigers. Of course, I wouldn't complain if they decided to bring me to The Show a little ahead of schedule. Right.
I hang out with Birtwell (and his thighs) at local watering holes. He still doesn't give himself any credit for his wiffle-ball-like movement. He may also still have that disgusting gray shirt he would drool on in between innings at school. In other words, he's still Birty.
Hope to hear from some other fellas on this. Is there a way to open up posts to everyone instead of having all of us non-Shakirs relegated to comments, or is that the idea? Its also possible I just couldn't figure it out. I'm new to the blogging thing.
Have a good one fellas. This could be good.

Thanks for the update. Keep 'em coming.

Alums and the Continuing, Rapid-Fire Evolution of SoBB

The initial response to SoBB has been awesome. We want to make the posting situation a better one for those who have worn the uniform while still balancing the desire to make a workable site for more casual fans.

We think we've come up with a solution.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Bink Is Back

To make sure it gets the honor it deserves. This was posted as a comment to Marty's entry -- from the former tri-captain Erik Binkowski:

Dan, many thanks for your well written words. Also, I am truly grateful for the those who have put this together. This is an awesome idea.

With the upcoming MLB season, the best wishes of success go to Forst (nice press in SI this week; currently not included on our list), Woody (and Rock) and Bridich.

Turning to Harvard Baseball, nothing like getting pumped up for the season opening road trip to Minneapolis in early March. I heard it is great there this time of year. Isn't it getting near the time of the Frozen Four. In closing, I wonder if anyone will lie down in the dugout on this roadtrip and yell "I cannot believe I struck out against St. Johns, while in Minnesota, in the middle of winter. They suck." That comment really only applies to those who remember B. Ralph in 1998 and our road trip to Brown (for those who may not understand, it can be explained).

We need to add Madden to this distribution list.

Send out the APB for Madden. Here's a story about Bink from back in the day. From the Buffalo News, 6/11/96:

BY: MARY JO MONNIN; News Sports Reporter
Erik Binkowski's college choice became easier once the acceptance letter from Harvard arrived in the mail.

The Cheektowaga senior, the valedictorian of his class, considered other Ivy League schools, but chose Harvard. Binkowski, an all-Western New York selection in baseball, will study pre-medicine/economics with the hope of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.

"I like the background of the school, the history, and its reputation as being one of greatest institutions, not only in the nation, but in the world," said Binkowski. "Living in the city of Boston has been a dream of mine, where the roots of our nation are."

Bulldogs, not of the Yale variety

Thanks to Marty and Brian for a truly great idea and for putting in the work to make this possible. Hopefully, this site will be used to provide more information for the fans about how our team's doing. But, more than that, it will serve as an opportunity for those of us whose glory days are long gone to remember what we loved most about Harvard baseball, the great moments we shared, and oh yeah, fun stories about this guy, the one link through the championship years. I hope former alumni, friends, and family will enter some posts to update us on how everyone's doing and what they've been up to. Here's to another Ivy Championship, NCAA Regional birth, and a fulfillment of the dream.

The baseball gods are smiling

Props to Martin for envisioning this and Faiz, always the quintessiantial thinking man's ballplayer, for lending what will surely be an invaluable insider perspective.

As Marty points out in his eloquent-as-usual mission statement, the goal of this site will be to shine a brighter spotlight on a program well deserving of it. Hopefully from our shotgun seat, we can help will the Harvard bandwagon to Omaha, and beyond--as in the day when the seventh or so iteration of College GameDay broadcasts live from O'Donnell Field.

Dartmouth has their Loudmouth Brigade; Harvard baseball now has a blog. Score one for the good guys.

Welcome to Sons of Bart Brush.


Welcome to Sons of Bart Brush, a blog dedicated to Harvard Baseball.

The primary authors of this blog, for the time being at least, will be:

  • Martin Bell and Brian Fallon, former Crimson baseball beat writers
  • Faiz Shakir, former second baseman for the Crimson, who authored two of the most memorable hits in Harvard baseball history. As someone who always wished he had more of an insider's perspective when I covered this team, I'm thrilled that Faiz is aboard.

This will be a place to talk about the full range of storylines and issues this season as the race to the Rolfe Divison championship and beyond gets going. One ground rule for those joining in via the Comments section:

1) We'd ask that all comments in the "comments" field remain at a level of class commensurate with that of the team itself. The alternatives, disabling of comments or limitations slightly short of that, aren't cool.

That's it. If you have an RSS or Atom (XML) reader, you can subscribe to SOBB using the Feedburner link on the right.

Finally, a word on the site's name. For this, we throw it to Danny Habib '00:

Remember Bart Brush? I didn't think so.

Brush was the most colorful figure on the 1997 Harvard baseball team, a squad with more hues than a jumbo box of Crayolas. He wore thick glasses and robust muttonchop sideburns and strolled around the right-field bullpen with his uniform shirt untucked and his pitching hand down his pants.

Brush was a senior relief pitcher, a holdover from the days of part-time Coach Leigh Hogan, when the Crimson practiced when it felt like it and went three years without a winning record, going as low as 10-25 in 1995.

Of course, things changed under the renaissance of present Coach Joe Walsh, who has led the Crimson to four Red Rolfe Division titles, three Ivy League championships and four NCAA Tournament wins in five seasons. But in 1997, when it had been 13 years since Harvard had tasted postseason play, Brush was a bridge to the past and quaintly anachronistic. It looked like he could have wandered up North Harvard Street to O'Donnell Field from the Sports Depot in Allston and, stumbling upon a baseball game, decided he wouldn't mind tossing the horsehide around a little.

Even a wild card like Bart Brush had his role on Walsh's Crimson.

When I interviewed Walsh for the first time, on the eve of Opening Day of the 1998 season, I asked how he could replace the team's two graduates--cleanup-hitting Pete Albers and Ivy Pitcher of the Year Frank Hogan. Walsh interrupted to correct me, told me there had been three seniors on the 1997 team, and made his apologia for Brush: "He might have looked like who-knows-what, but he came to play every day."

At the time, I bracketed Walsh's enthusiasm, writing it off as another in the litany of stock responses that reporters get by the dozen: "We played our game today," "We were able to execute," "We had a lot of positive team energy," or the chestnut so moldy it was banned from the Crimson sports page--"It was a real hard-fought win." As Red Sox manager Jimy Williams is fond of saying about his favorites, "Trot Nixon, he's a real baseball player." And so on ad nauseam.

But with the patience and diligence of a deconstructive critic, I came to read more into Walsh's words. As I watched his Crimson blitz through a 34-16 season in 1998, one which ended at the NCAA Tournament in Baton Rouge, La., with Harvard ranked No. 24 in the nation and just three wins away from the College World Series, I realized that Walsh was anachronistic in his own right.

Bucking the prevailing trend of what's derisively called "gorilla baseball" in the college game and "the NL Central" in the pros--relying on juiced-up batters drilling juiced-up balls for double-digit run totals--Walsh's Crimson played baseball so throwback that watching it, you felt like it should have been in black-and-white.

The ideal Harvard rally featured two bunt singles, a double steal, a Texas-Leaguer and a suicide squeeze. The Crimson is still the only team I've ever seen that lines up outside its dugout to congratulate somebody who moved a runner from second to third with a 4-3 groundout. Sophomore catcher and All-Ivy First-Teamer Brian Lentz went 9-for-16 on the first weekend of league play this year, and Walsh told me he was happiest that Lentz slid hard into second to break up a double play when down nine runs in the ninth.

It worked, and brilliantly. Walsh and a cast of versatile, professional ballplayers like Dave Forst '98 and Brian Ralph '98, four-year starters Hal Carey '99 and Peter Woodfork '99 and tri-captains Erik Binkowski, Jeff Bridich and Jason Larocque resuscitated a bush-league program and made it the unabashed terror of New England baseball.

But true to Walsh's attention to detail, there were role players who were often equally significant. The most improbable hit in O'Donnell Field's history came when rookie infielder Faiz Shakir slapped a two-out, two-run single in the top of the ninth in the deciding third game of the 1999 Ivy League Championship Series to give Harvard a 3-2 lead and the title. Shakir had 11 career hits, 10 of them singles, at that point in the year.

Throwing what some Yale starters laughed off as a "BP fastball," sidearmer Mike Marcucci '98 went 7-0 in relief and could never have cracked 80 on the radar gun. Being on such a single-minded and intelligent team made everybody better and produced some of the most thrilling moments in the last four years of Harvard athletics. I salute the 1997-2000 Crimson. Real baseball players, all of them.

This blog is something of a salute to the teams before and since, who play largely in anonymity but reward those fans who venture out past the stadium. Here's to the characters, from the coach on down, and to the dream of enough success so that one day, everyone will have to take notice.