Saturday, February 27, 2010

Suburban Outfitters

Today we're taking a sneak peak at the 2010 version of North Central game hats. There are some big changes from last year's lids.

Home Hat
Similarities: As with both of last year's hats, the 2010 home hat will feature the Cardinal head on the crown with a red bill and cap. It is not visible from the picture (right), but it also features the "NC" on the back of the cap.

Differences: It's pretty obvious what the main difference is, but in case anyone needs a refresher, we are going with a white crown instead of black, accented with red eyelets.

Notes: The cap will be worn mostly with our home whites but will also be worn with virtually all of our jersey tops. The one combination fans will won't see is this worn with the road gray pants.

Road Hat
Similarities: The only similarity with this hat from last season's is that it is all black.

Differences: We decided to feature the "NC" on at least one of the hats this year. The "NC" is sort of a throwback edition reminiscent of the hats of the late-1990's/early-2000's. It features a bigger logo and the block letters are skinnier and more narrow than in years past. The road hat from two seasons ago featured a white "NC" but sported a thin black outline around the lettering. That is missing from this year's model. Not shown is the Cardinal head that is featured on the back.

Notes: Expect to see this hat at all road games this year and don't be surprised if it makes a few appearances at The Zimm.

Through the Years

Here's a look at the hats over the past five years or so. Back row (L-R): 2009 Home, 2009 Road, 2008 Home, 2008 Road, 2000-07 Home/Road. Front row (L-R): 2010 Home, 2010 Road

Suburban Outfitters

Here's a look at this year's game hats with the new Nike set of apparel. Featured in the locker is the new alternate black "Cards" jersey (right), the black BP top (left) with the long sleeve tee featuring the Cardinal head (middle) and the Nike turf trainers (bottom). Hidden in the locker are the black fleece and the short sleeve tee with the "NC" on the front. Stay tuned for more pics of the 2010 hats with the different uniforms.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Looks Familiar

Everyday before we take live ground balls, we perform a series of warm-up drills, usually done with a partner (sometimes in smaller groups). Demonstrating one of the forehand and backhand drills we do is 2008 Gold Glover Award winner Michael Young. The only difference is we add a "work through" motion at the end where the infielder will get in throwing position. We will either do sets of three or five with the "work through" on the last one.

To make sure the backbone(s) of our infield get some love, here is a video of Albert Pujols working on "Dirtball Picks" at first base. I picked this drill up a few years ago from a coach at Mississippi State and it has become a staple in our every day routine and is a favorite among the first baseman. The coach won't be in the picture until the end but you can see him using a fungo to hit the dirtballs, which adds an extra element to the drill.

These videos were added as favorites on The Coach's Cave YouTube page, along with a few others.

Monday, February 15, 2010

330 Challenge Standings

The 330 Challenge has been in affect for two weeks now and we finally have some results to post. Team Robinson picked up another win scoring 183 points. There was a second place tie between Team Corrigan and Team Kloss who both recorded 153 points. The obstacle course is lurking around the corner which will combine strength, speed and agility.

Nebraska Drill.....Drill Points (Team Points)
Robinson.........183 points (8)
Corrigan..........153 points (7)
Kloss..............153 points (7)
Wulbecker........149 points (5)
Foytik.............131 points (4)
Scott..............127 points (3)
Yarbrough........127 points (3)
Turek..............73 points (1)

Overall Standings
Robinson.........16 points
Corrigan..........14 points
Kloss..............11 points
Wulbecker........10 points
Scott...............9 points
Yarbrough.........6 points
Foytik..............5 points
Turek..............4 points

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

1,000 and Counting...

A few years ago, when I was still coaching at Mount Union College, a couple of infielders got together to make a skills video for a senior sport management project. It has been on the web for awhile now, but earlier this week it surpassed 1,000 views. If you would like to add to the number of views, here's the link, but the video can be seen below. Thanks to the 321 Productions team of Jimmy Habecker, Ryan Schmidt and Kevin Hogue. Congratulations boys!

The video will soon appear on The Cave's YouTube page along with one other video in the series, which features the world-famous Power Infield. This is one of my favorite team infield drills of all time. To get a better idea of the drill, check out this article from the ABCA website.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


One week of practice is in the books and things couldn't have gone better. Without going overboard, because it was only one week of workouts, this has been one of the best weeks of practice I have been associated with. I'm not exactly sure what it is, maybe it's just that we are all a year older or maybe it can be attributed to North Central's new facility (the Res/Rec Center - someone has to donate some more money to have it named after them because a building like this needs a better name). Maybe its because there are less players on the team or that we've added a coach or we're just more organized as a staff...I don't know. Maybe I'll never know. But there is an extra element at play when we hit the practice floor that wasn't there last year.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I can come back to earth. We still have four weeks of indoor practice before we take the field in Indianapolis against a team that took 3-of-4 games from us to open the 2009 campaign and there is still a lot of work to do. But I know the team knows it too, but after week one, we've had the best week of practice far.

One final note on Res/Rec...this building is incredible! There is so much space for us to run a practice. It's like a miniature version of a spring training site. That is, if MLB teams held spring training indoors. We can have up to three full infields, the outfielders can make game-like throws, pitchers can do day-after long toss without getting close to a ground ball. There is really nothing we can't do in this building, short of live hitting. I hope to have pictures, or better yet video, in the coming weeks to show off the building.

One final note for the post, I don't want to start counting down least not yet, but one month from today is Opening Day!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 1 Wrap

Day 1 is officially in the books and we couldn't be more excited about how the day went. The new Res/Rec building has technically been open for awhile but for us it never really opened until this morning to rave reviews. After practice, we asked some of the players their thoughts on the first day.

Justin Moriarty (Sr.) - Collectively, guys seemed upbeat and ready to go to work. I thought Coach Fitz's address at the beginning of practice was a meaningful one to start the season. Coach (Fitzgerald) keeps things simple around the team and is more than fair when it comes to playing time. The best guys are going to play and that is all a team can ask for if they are really in favor of the ultimate goal of winning baseball games.

Dave Williams (Jr.) - The field house is could very well coincide with our success this season... it will really benefit our arms and legs, and I also thought practice was ran well as a whole, not a lot of commotion for a first day, which can be expected a lot of the time.

Aaron Kovac (So.) - Knowing that last year is in the past and we are only looking forward from this point on, as we can only go up from here. I think today's practice was a good way for us to ease into practice and begin our new season because it all starts from day one. I think Coach Heller really adds some knowledge to the team and his work outs are very beneficial to the team as a whole. Overall, a successful day in my opinion.

Joe Turek (So.) - The new building (Res/Rec) is definitely going to enhance our options, which in the end will enhance our performance.

Joe Wietecha (Fr.) - For the first practice of the spring, I thought things went really well. It seemed as if everyone practiced with a purpose of getting better.

Happy New Year!

This is fifteen minutes premature, but Happy New Year! The countdown is over and Spring Training is finally here! Even though it is only 10 degrees outside, it feels like it's in the 80's. I'll be back after the first workout with a recap of the good, bad and ugly...since it's the first day of camp there is no chance for any bad or ugly. So I'll be back with the good in a few hours.