Thursday, March 27, 2008

Pirates Preview (starting lineup)& Stuff

Well, time to take care of the Pirates preview, but before I do that a couple quick workout notes:

Wed- Swim at the pool with Beth. My goggles strap snapped, so I had to spend some of my limited time (need to leave the house by 6:45am to get to school on time) rigging up my strap so the goggles would work. I ended up only doing 9x100yd, each one around 2:00. The intervals were 2x2:35, 2x2:30, 2x2:25, 2x2:20, and 2:15.

Today, Beth did the Masters swim in the morning, so I took the am off and saved my working out for the track team. We did 6x(hill acceleration & power skip) about 100 yds. Then, we did some stepper drills I'll explain some other time.

Okay, on to the preview. Since I broke down the team on Sunday morning, a lot of the roster had been finalized. So, I'll shift my preview to more on the roles for the season instead of who will make the 25 man roster.

So, the probable starting lineup:

1. CF Nate McLouth - finally in his starting role; he has a little pop for a CF and is fundamentally sound in the OF and the basepaths
2. 2B Freddy Sanchez - Hopefully his shoulder cooperates. It's been a little cranky since off-season surgery. It hasn't affected his hitting as he's batting .350 this spring, but he can't throw it 100%. Fortunately, there aren't many hard throws from 2B
3. LF Jason Bay - Coming off a TERRIBLE 2nd half of the year (mostly due to a bad knee), he needs to rebound to his .300 avg, 30 HR, 100 RBI form. He's a likely candidate to be traded if the Pirates falter
4. 1B Adam LaRoche - He should have a better season after only hitting .200 through the first two months of the season.
5. RF Xavier Nady - Another candidate to be traded. He's healthy (hamstring among other things) and hit well when he was healthy last year.
6. 3B Jose Bautista - This is his season to make it or break it. Only 15 HR and a .254 average isn't enough for a corner power bat. He did have a strong second half of the year after finally getting comfortable with his new batting approach.
7. C Ronny Paulino/Ryan Doumit - Doumit's the much better offensive option, but he's had hamstring and other issues to keep him off the field. Paulino, after hitting .300 in 2006 and mashing the ball in 2007 spring training, he had a TERRIBLE season. I'll be curious how the at bats play out for these two.
8.SS Jack Wilson - From somewhere around August 1, he was one of the top hitters in the major leagues. He hit around .400. Hopefully he can do that
9. P (Snell, Gorzelanny, Maholm, Morris, and Duke) - Snell had a great year last year with 208 IP and 177 K's. Gorzo looks better and better, so we'll see if he can rise up to the next level. Maholm, a former 1st round pick, could be the key pitcher. Morris, making $10million this year, looked TERRIBLE this spring- I'm not looking forward to his starts. Duke is a man on a mission this spring looking to return to his 8-2 and 1.81 ERA from 2005. We'll see if it continues in the regular season.

Relievers, bench, and future players to come in future posts....

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Track meet #1

Well, we survived our first track meet. We went down/over to Wheeling, WV (a little over an hour away) for the meet. Why go so far for a scrimmage? Apparently it had something to do with us wanting a meet on Tuesday and most of the Pittsburgh area schools being off of school on Monday. The weather cooperated for the most part, it was a little windy and there were some sprinkles at the end, but other than that it was good.

As far as how the jumpers did (again, I'll have to explain why a distance runner is the jumping coach), I'll defer to a comment from the head coach before my first meet as a track coach last spring. He said that at any given meet, there will be some performances that are better than you expected, some about what you expected, and a few that are a little disappointing. So, take it all in stride.

Especially since this was our first meet, his saying held true. A few exciting highlights were a guy tying his PR in the high jump on a cold, blustery day and first meet of the year. And a freshman girl jumping 15 feet on her first time doing the long jump (the jump actually measured 13 feet and change because she feel back on her hand, but we unofficially measured where her feet were). Also, two girls got over 30' in the triple jump. So, all in all, not a bad day.

Workouts for me:

Monday - swim workout without Beth (she had the day off, so she slept in and did her workouts in a different order). 100-100-400-200-100-50. My goal was to do the 100's around 2 minutes and get myself psyched for a PR in the 400. I didn't do it, but was still pleased with my 7:51.

Tuesday - 55 minute run with Beth & Roxy the dog before school.

I still need to get around to the Pirates preview. I talked it through with Beth on Sunday's 90-minute run (she could really care less, but it makes the run go by quicker), so I just need to get it down on paper.

Off to the pool tomorrow before school.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

David-son! David-son!

Boy, I thought they had no chance when they got down by 17. What a comeback! Stephen (pronounced "Steff - in" Billy Packer) Curry sure can take over a 2nd half for being such a small guy. On to the sweet 16! My dad even busted out his 1969 Davidson College yearbook to show me the basketball team that last had this type of success in the NCAA tournament.

I guess my 2008 Pirates preview will have to take a back seat for a few days......

On the workout front, Beth, Roxy (our 28-lb dog), and I did 90 minutes on the road this morning. Then, it was off to church for the Easter celebration where our pastor reminded us that problems in our lives can be removed like they're small pebbles (like the rock in front of the tomb). Then, off to Greensburg to my parents' house for our Easter family get together of about 20 people. We ate, talked, and watched basketball (including one amazing Wildcat comeback).

Back to the grind tomorrow. I had this entire last week off of school for "Spring Break." I think our school is trying to simulate a college atmosphere. Track practice after school and we've got a meet in Wheeling, West Virginia (Wild & Wonderful) on Tuesday. I hope the weather cooperates.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Today's Workout

One thing that Beth and others do with their blogs is to list their daily workouts. During track season, my workouts get somewhat erratic, but I do what I can. I've been swimming with Beth in the mornings two days per week and getting in a few runs. I'm hoping to do my first triathlon this summer, so I guess I'll need to do some biking (not to mention get a real road bike) at some point.

Anyway, the workout for today was squeezed in among the track practice I was conducting. It was a small turnout with the Easter break. But, my 3 jumpers (that's right, I'm the jumping coach....I'll explain that more some other time) and I did 2 miles (8 laps) of straights & curves where we sprinted the straight and walked the curve.

Just as they were finshing, the distance guys were coming in off the road and I heard the coach telling them that they were going to do some 400's. I was intrigued as I watched them do the first one. Earlier this week, I joined Beth for her 400-400-800-800-400-400 workout. So, I figured I could hang with the guys. But, they came through at 72 on their first quarter and I thought, uh-oh.

Still, I couldn't resist and did four respectable quarters at 72-74-75-76. Not bad after already doing the straights & curves.

Okay, that's about it. Back to the Pitt-MSU game. Being a PSU alum, I'm not a big fan of Pitt. We'll see what happens. In the big picture, my brackets aren't looking too hot after Duke and others went down. I have Stanford going to the final four, so I still have hope after they survived in OT today.

Introductions, Easter, Brackets, & Stuff

Okay, now that I've got this thing started, I guess I should write a second time. I'll be up front and say I probably won't be a daily blogger like my wife. But, we'll see where this goes.

First of all, to frame the genre of this blog, let me tell you a little about myself. I have an engineering degree and went back to become a high school math teacher in the Pittsburgh area. I also am an assistant coach for the cross country and track teams. I've got one of those dry personalities and like to throw out sarcasms, so be on the lookout for those.

I grew up in a Baptist church and was involved in youth group. In college, I attended a methodist church and became an adult leader with the youth group (part of the reason I probably ended up teaching high school instead of doing engineering). Now, my wife and I attend an Assembly of God church near our house called Evangel Heights.

Sports is probably the biggest thing in my life. I run with the high school team and my wife who's a pretty good triathlete. In the summers, I play in a fastpitch softball league where I grew up. I mostly play outfield, but I have gotten into pitching over the last few years. I love watching sports and going to games. My favorite teams include:

1. Pittsburgh Pirates
2. Penn State Football
3. University of Arizona Basketball
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
5. Pittsburgh Penguins

Others receiving votes:
Penn State and Davidson College basketball, Altoona Curve (AA team for the Pirates), and running and triathlons.

I love having music in the background when I'm grading or doing workouts. I pretty much only listen to Christian music like: Jeremy Camp, Third Day, Delirious, Skillet, Kutless, Jennifer Knapp, and just about any praise & worship music that rocks. I found this podcast under "" on Itunes and the South Oklahoma City one rocks. The December 2, 2007 worship set is probably my favorite. I'll definitely list others as I find ones I like.

I'm excited about Easter. It's pretty much the reason for our faith. Jesus died for our sins and came back on Sunday. No other religious "leader" makes that kind of claim and there were many eyewitness accounts to verify that Jesus died, but came back and spent time with his followers before ascending to Heaven.

On to the brackets, my first round wasn't very good (Only 22 out of 32), but I only lost one team from the sweet sixteen so far (Clemson) and have my Elite Eight still intact. I'm so excited for Davidson winning their first NCAA tourney game since my dad was there. Back in the late 60's Davidson made it to the Elite Eight.

Okay, this is getting long, so I'll save my Pirates preview and analysis for down the road......

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Welcome to the Madness!

Well, here we go.....a trip into the blogging world. Who knows how this will go and how often I'll do it, but at least I have a blog now.

The blogging is not the madness that I'm referring to. Tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the year with the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament getting started. There are just so many games and so many close finishes and a few upsets along the way. It's just so unpredictable.

Who am I rooting for? Well, I've got several answers for that. My favorite college basketball team is the University of Arizona Wildcats. Why does a guy who grew up in Southwestern PA like Arizona? Well, my Aunt moved out to AZ back in the mid 80's, so I've been following U of A since the Sean Elliot, Steve Kerr, and Jud Buechler days.

Who else? Davidson. Why? My dad went there, so I've been following them for the last ten years. They've been close a few times in the NCAA tourney. Maybe they'll pull it out one of these years. Back about ten years ago, they had Robert "Tractor" Traylor and Michigan on the ropes, but couldn't finish it. They've also had Maryland and Ohio State on the ropes in the last few years.

Who do I think is going to win? Who knows.....UNC? UCLA? This year's going to be so wide open. I'm looking forward to tomorrow and the next month.

What's the goal of this blog? Again, who knows?!?!?!?!? But, I hope to share my thoughts on sports, my faith, my wife and her triathlon adventures, and my teaching and coaching in high school. We'll see where it goes.

Thanks for checking out the blog and come back to check out my 2008 Pittsburgh Pirates preview. They're my favorite team even though they're on the verge of making history next year with the most consecutive losing seasons. But, there's plenty of time to talk about that down the road.