Friday, February 27, 2009

Jerseys: 2009

As promised, here is a look at the new hats with our jerseys. We have decided to go with black undershirts this year instead of the traditional red. The Cardinals actually sported black underneath their jerseys back in the late 1990's, which is the last time the Cards were crowned champions of the CCIW. Thanks to juniors Dan Cladis, Justin Moriarty and Nick Robinson for their modeling services. They were great sports!

Full View of Photos

The Correspondents: Justin Moriarty

Well another week has come and gone. From my experience, weeks 8,9, and 10 of the Winter term are the most challenging of the school year. Games on the schedule are creeping ever so close and it is difficult not to swing focus to the athletic field. But as the saying goes, we are students before we are athletes. The rigors of academics weigh heavily on students at this time because of the workload and because the weather is nice one day, then makes a turn towards negativetown. Spring break is on the mind of everyone and we look forward for that time away from schoolwork. There is one upside to this time of year and that is 5am's are coming to a close. There is a little rumor that they have ended for the 2009 season (Let's hope so!!).

As for this weekend in St. Louis........ The weather looked somewhat promising at the beginning of the week but has since turned sour. We will be lucky to squeeze in some ballgames down there and if we do we will be playing in less than admirable conditions. The weather calls for chilly weather with a chance of snow on Saturday which is a bit disheartening. We will have to keep our fingers crossed and maybe the baseball gods will allow us to play.

As always finish the workweek out on a high note!

Weekend Update

We will have to wait another week before we open the 2009 campaign. Forecasts for the St. Louis area are calling for snow on Saturday with temperatures only reaching the upper-20's. Cold temperatures are nothing new for baseball players but it's not exactly how you want to spend your first weekend...sitting on a bus, waiting to see if the field will thaw in time with the "maybe we'll play, maybe we won't" mind set. Nonetheless, we will have to wait until March 6-7 to get thing started at Franklin College in Indiana.

Schedule Note:
Because of this weekend's cancellation, we are down three games to start the year. But a fourth game has been added to next weekend's trip to Franklin. Instead of three, nine-inning games (2 on Saturday, 1 on Sunday), we will play a pair of double-headers (Game 1: 7 innings; Game 2: 9 innings) for the weekend. So we will only be down two games for the year which we can make up with a multiple of teams in the area. So there is reason to stay positive.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

It Aint Over 'Til It's Over

Though Yogi is correct with this one, it is over as far as 5 am practices are concerned. We finished our last 5 am workout this morning focused mostly on our team defense. It was good to get a few last reps in before the weekend. It was also a light day for our pitchers. There was a list of about eight or nine pitchers who threw an inning apiece...some faced live hitters, some did not. Nonetheless, we put in a good days work and are ready for an offensive-minded practice tomorrow before we depart on Saturday morning. This, of course, is based on the fact the weather will cooperate. The forecast in the St. Louis area is calling for snow on Saturday but Sunday is supposed to be clear and sunny...cold but zero precipitation.

Cave Note: There are pics of the uniforms with the new hats coming hopefully later tonight. Thanks for your patience.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Game Hats: 2009

It's a new season and that means new hats. Not just new in the sense that they haven't been worn before, but these haven't been seen before...at least by North Central fans. The Cardinal head will be the primary logo this season instead of the "NC" as in years past. The home hat will feature a black crown with red eyelets, beanie and a red bill with a small "NC" on the back of the cap. The road hat will be similar in design except the hat will be all black. It is similar to the current uniform scheme of the Baltimore Orioles which debuted in 2002.

Check back tomorrow and see how the hats look with the game jerseys...

Monday, February 23, 2009

5 Days to First Pitch

We are now less than a week away from the season opener. Many of the same feelings that showed themselves the week leading up to the first day of practice are rearing their ugly head this week. Similar to the week before practice started, there is a helpless feeling because you can't do anything to speed up the week. With the scheduled departure date on Friday, it will be a short week of practice and off days are not a good thing when you are waiting for the season to start. You need to stay as busy as possible just to keep your mind occupied. It's like waking up at 5 am on Christmas morning and you are waiting for your parents to wake up so you can open presents. That's what I'm going through right now.

There is always so much to do the week before the season opener. Luckily for us, we took care of a lot of the details earlier in the year. Dugout charts, lineup cards, pitching charts have all been ordered, and not only that, they have arrived. We are still waiting on decals for our new helmets but that is pretty much it. There are always a few items that come up last minute but hopefully there is enough time when they do come up to get them completed.

After today's morning workout, we have only two more full workouts left this week. There is a light hitting workout planned for Friday afternoon but many of our kids have class during the day so they will have to get their swings in another time.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Correspondents: Justin Moriarty

Week 7 of the term is coming to a close. The baseball team has battled through week 4 of morning practices and are getting psyched up for next week in St. Louis. Right at about this time of the year you can't help but get excited for what is possibly to come. Not being successful is something that I personally don't think about. I try and visualize team goals as well as personal goals happening before the start of the season. My dad instilled in me at a young age not to be intimated or fear tasks at hand because if you do you are already defeating yourself within your own mind.

While I have a tremendous amount of respect for other members of the CCIW Conference I have some thoughts about the upcoming season. We work hard day in and day out, getting up at all hours of the morning just to play this game. Gone are the days of not being successful, gone are the days of being a doormat in this league, and gone are the days of being excluded from post-season play. Past seasons are history and this is a new and improved ballclub. Now if I, or any other member of the team don't believe in this then there is just no point in devoting so much time, energy, and hard work. We are hungry to make things happen this year and it all starts one week from tomorrow.

As always, let's finish out this workweek on a high note both academically and athletically. Until next time.......

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Winter Camp Photo Gallery

Our winter camps ended last night and we couldn't have been happier. Nearly 100 kids passed through the doors of the doors of Merner Field House. Joe Heller did a phenomenal job running the camp and our players did an outstanding job working with the kids. The campers will be invited to attend a North Central game this spring. We would like to thank all the campers for attending camp, and most importantly the parents who signed up their kids! Hopefully we will see everyone at camp this summer.

Full View of Photos

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Correspondents: Justin Moriarty

The Cardinal baseball team was fortunate enough to be given an off day on the final 24 hours of the workweek. However, I still found myself tossing and turning once the 5:00am hour came around. It may have been due to the fact that for the past three weeks I have been getting ready for practice at 4:00am or I was just conscious of the fact that I had to rise at 6:00 to get ready to observe high school social studies and did not want to oversleep. Whatever the case may be it was not a pleasant night of sleep for this Cardinal. With that being said I am still having a fantastic Friday. There's nothing like finishing the week out strong academically as well as athletically.

What does this afternoon have in store? I have made plans with Pitcher, Mike Kloss (The best fungo hitter this team has to offer) to hit some pop flies to myself and some other Outfielders out on the turf football field. At this point in the year we have to take advantage of dry conditions as much as possible and start adapting to seeing the ball off the bat. Tomorrow morning marks the end of week 3 and two weeks from now we will be upon the eve of game 1 of the season. I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Poll Position

The preseason CCIW poll was released yesterday where we were picked to finish fifth. These polls are good for one reason and that is to remind everyone that the season is right around the corner. Other than that, they are useless. Our goal coming into the season is to win the conference and get back to a regional. That will not change whether we are picked to finish first or dead last. There is not a poll in the country that make us think otherwise.

Being new to the program and to the conference, the only background info I have on the teams in this conference is what I read in the box scores. Although I am aware of the talent and history of the CCIW teams (three teams in the regional tournament is nothing to sneeze at), I have not seen any of the other seven teams play in person so as far as I'm concerned all eight teams in the conference are even. So this poll is used more to pay respect to those teams who have performed well in years past. But if you are tired of the winter, which most of us are, and want to read something non-steroid related, click here for the full release.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Correspondents: Justin Moriarty

On this beautiful 60 degree February day it is hard not to think about playing ball. Amidst this busy Tuesday the season has been on my mind while trying to have a successful academic day. This morning's 5am practice felt like it was a step up from the sluggish and hectic Monday that started the week. The Outfielders had a successful defensive session to start practice off and unfortunately I was unable to hit live against our best group of pitchers because I had to leave early to teach at Waubonsie Valley High School. From what I have been told our "aces of the staff" looked fairly good today and that is only a good sign due to the fact that the success of a ballclub lies with good pitching and defense.

The days are counting down to the first game and the team is striding towards being prepared.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Spring Has Sprung?

I never thought I would say I was happy to see standing water on a baseball field but because it is a result of snow melting, it is a sight for sore eyes. The field is clear except for a few spots on the outfield grass near the warning track. And after two weeks of indoor practice, I will take anything that looks like a spring day.

Another positive note is the football field is clear of snow as well so we should be able to get outside at some point this week. Our outfielders will be able to get reads off the bat and adjust to the outside air, even though we will be back inside this weekend when temperatures begin to drop back to typical Chicago winters. Hopefully the frost line is beginning to melt on the field but I don't know if how long these "warmer" temperatures will last. Regardless of the weather in Naperville, we are only 19 days away from the season opener against Illinois College

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Two-Week Report

Today marked the end of the first two weeks of practice and my feelings are somewhat reserved right now. We have looked pretty good through most of the drills and our hitters are beginning to regain their timing at the plate but that does not always translate into success on the field. It's a different animal when you step between the lines for the first time.

I don't know the tone of last year's practices but the last few weeks of the season ended on a positive note winning seven of the last eleven. It seems like some of that positivity carried over to the fall and into the start of our spring training. The next challenge for the team will be to fight through the next three weeks and maintain the same intensity and focus. Our pitchers will continue to throw live against our hitters which should add a little incentive for the remaining weeks. The season opens exactly three weeks from today in Sauget, IL.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Matter of Time

I knew it would happen. I woke up this morning at 5:30 without the aid of an alarm clock. Wednesday's are our off days so I turned off the cell phone alarm but after Monday and Tuesday's 5am practices adding on to the three from last week, early wake-up calls are becoming habit. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I always get more accomplished the mornings after practices but it usually only lasts until around lunch. Then it's usually time for a power nap but we spend a lot of time after each practice talking about what we have to do the next day. Throw in classwork for either my Tuesday or Wednesday night class and the window for some solid sack time disappears.

But after this week's practices, it will become a routine. Each of the four weekday practices will be at 5am and Saturday's practice has been moved up to accommodate the men and women's basketball teams. The good thing is that we are actually practicing baseball. The time we get to spend teaching our players is so limited and the season itself is so condensed, it is just a great feeling to hit a fungo. But looking to the light at the end of the tunnel...it's 3 1/2 weeks until the season opener!