Monday, April 26, 2010

World Champs visit the President

The 2009 World Series Champions, The New York Yankees resumed their victory tour yet again today. Yet they weren't visiting a Yankees fan.  In fact the team visited a White Sox fan.  (Relax, I said WHITE sox fan not RED sox fan).

So who was the lucky guest of honor?

Oh, just Barack Obama, the President of the United States.

The team visited with the president to celebrate their world championship from last year and presented him with a number 27 jersey.  Normally the championship teams that visit the president give him the number jersey which represents his presidency.  In Obama's case, number 44 is retired and belongs to Reggie Jackson.

Obama stressed the importance of the athletes giving back to the community while still enjoying their fame.  He specifically mentioned Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mark Teixeira.  He even shared an anecdote about Teixeira and his first big contribution to his former high school.
“Before he was a three-time Golden Glove winner, Mark was a 21-year-old kid fresh out of Georgia Tech,” President Obama said. “Shortly after signing his first Major League contract, Mark visited his old high school and asked how much it would cost to set up a scholarship in the name of a friend who had been killed in a car accident. And when he was told it would cost $75,000, he wrote a check on the spot.”
The players and the rest of the delegation also visited wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Here's a funny quote from the President himself I'll leave you with before showing off some pictures.

“It’s been nine years since your last title—which must have felt like eternity for Yankee fans. I think other teams would be just fine with a spell like that. The Cubs, for example,” Obama said, drawing laughs from players, coaches, members of his Cabinet and Congress and other guests.


Angels Hand Yanks First Series Loss

Opponent: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Location: Angel Stadium, Ahaheim, CA
Overall Record: 12-6
MVP of Series: Andy Pettitte & Robinson Cano
Honorable Mention: Jorge Posada
Quote of the series: comes from Sunday's starting pitcher  Javier Vazqquez following yet another lack-luster performance.
“I’m not doing a good job out there,” Vazquez said. “And it’s kind of embarrassing the way I’m throwing the ball.”
 The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim finally handed the Yankees their first series loss of the 2010 series.  The Yankees were off to their best start since 1926 after winning their first five series of the young season.

Over the years, the Angels have OWNED the Yankees.  In fact, during Joe Torre's tenure, the Angels were the only team the yanks had a losing record against over the years.  Once Torre left, the losing continued against the angels.  I mean I personally thought it was a miracle that the Bombers managed to win the ALCS against Mike Scoiscia's talented club.

The reason why the Yanks lost this series is simple.


The offense showed up just fine but poor starting pitching from Javier Vazquez and the bullpen on Friday and Sunday proved to be the team's Achilles heel.

The lone exception when it came to the pitching staff this past weekend was old reliable, Andy Pettitte.

Pettitte, who will turn 38 years old this year is looking like he did during his glory years, of the late 1990s.

He pitched 8 innings and only gave up one run.  He's now competing with Phil Hughes for the team for the least amount of runs given up per start.

Pettitte may have the advantage, after all should Hughes respect his elder and learn how to pitch like Pettitte?

Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada remained on fire, driving in the majority of the runs scored this weekend.  Cano had yet another four hit game on Saturday.

Next Up: After a stop to the White House this afternoon, the team heads up to Baltimore to play the O's, who only have three wins on the season.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Yanks win Fifth straight series

Opponent: Oakland Athletics
Location: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA
Overall Record: 11-4
Series MVP: Phil Hughes
Honorable Mention: Patience of the hitters from Game 1
Quote of the Series: Comes from game two starter Phil Hughes following his near no-hitter on Wednesday night.
"I guess you’ve got to fantasize about it sometimes because it’s probably not going to happen again.”
The Yankees came into Oakland fresh off a sweep of the Texas Rangers and were in search of their fifth consecutive series win.  They were trying to become the first Yankee team to win the first five series of the season since the 1926 team.

And boy did they accomplish that.

In game one of the season, Javy Vazquez finally earned first win since returning to pinstripes.  Well, it was actually on the road so he's yet to earn the fan's respect yet. But that's irrelevant.  Vazquez pitched into the sixth inning and gave up three runs in the team's 7-3 victory.  Tuesday's game was one that umpire Joe West would sure complain about.  The game last nearly four hours and was aided by the Yankees 10 walk effort.

Wednesday's game was simply magical.  23 year-old Phil Hughes pitched 7 no hit innings, before losing the no hitter on a come-backer off of Hughes in the 8th inning.  Hughes had ten strikeouts in an amazing performance.  The Yanks won the game 3-1.  To think that Hughes is so good as the Yankees fifth starter is unbelievable.  Many teams now could use Hughes as their second starter (Red Sox ring a bell? but wait they have Jon Lester!).  It's going to be scary to think how good Hughes will be in a few years.

Thursday's game brought an end to the six game winning streak the team had run up.  CC Sabathia was a little wild but not terrible.  The final score of the game was 4-2.  The offense was simply shut down by Oakland starter Dallas Braden.  Braden and Alex Rodriguez had their own little conflict that Chad Jennings of the Journal News explains perfectly here.

Next Up: The Yankees look to get back on track against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim tonight at Angels Stadium.

- Courtney  

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Men's track team finishes second, women's sixth at ACCs

Here's my newest article for The Collegiate Times

The Virginia Tech men’s track and field team finished second with 130 points at the Atlantic Coast Conference championships this past weekend at Clemson University.
The women’s team finished sixth.

“I was very proud how everyone competed especially on the final day, because that’s when we scored the majority of our points,” said head coach Dave Cianelli.

The men’s team also finished second during February’s indoor championship.
Cianelli said it’s the highest the men’s team has placed in the Outdoor Championship.

The men’s team finished 8.5 points behind Florida State for the title.

“There were four teams that were within 20 points of each other,” Cianelli said.

Sophomore Marcel Lomnicky won the hammer throw title for the second year in a row. He set an ACC-meet record with his throw of 235-07 meters. Lomnicky is the first Hokie to win back-to-back ACC titles since Spyridon Jullien in 2003-05.

“I’m pretty happy about winning the title again after last year,” Lomnicky said. “But I was pretty happy about throwing the ACC meet record too, but I really wanted to throw farther. I felt really good, I’m kind of disappointed about my performance but I did pretty well.”

Lomnicky was not the only successful Hokie in the hammer throw. Senior Matej Muza finished second while freshmen Alexander Ziegler and Denis Mahmic finished fourth and seventh, respectively.

The team of Lomnicky, Muza, Zieglar and Mahmic earned 25 points toward the overall men’s point value.

Nineteen more points were added to the total team total thanks to another great performance by the pole-vaulters.

Senior Yavgeniy Olhovsky won his second straight and third overall ACC title after clearing 18-00.50. Juniors Hunter Hall and Jared Jodon finished third and sixth respectively.

“We have built depth in those areas (throwers and pole vaulters) with a lot of quality athletes,” Cianelli said.

On the track, sophomore Will Mulherin won the 5,000-meter race, earning his second consecutive ACC title. Mulherin was disqualified in the 3,000 meter at the indoor ACC championship for allegedly pushing an opposing runner during the event. The win helped make up for the mishap in February.

“I think he along with the coaching staff and his teammates were really happy to see him pull off that win considering what happened in indoors in the 3,000,” Cianelli said. “I think he felt a sense of redemption.”

Sophomore Keith Ricks contributed 24 points overall to the total team value as well. This included his performance in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays, which he finished second and seventh in, respectively. Ricks also took second and third place individually in the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash respectively.

“I think that’s the first time we had someone in the top three in the conference in each of those events,” Cianelli said.

Sophomore Michael Hammond won the men’s mile and finished second in the 1,500 meter.

On the women’s side, senior Queen Harrison continued her magical season by winning the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 12.44 seconds — a new ACC record, but the time did not stand because of the wind acting as an aid to the competitors.

“I’ve been doing a lot of training since freshman year so I think I kind of put an exclamation point on the end of my ACC career,” Harrison said.

“Even with the wind she had the fastest time I had ever seen before,” Cianelli said.

Senior Kristi Castlin joined Harrison on the podium, earning second in the 100-meter hurdles with a personal best time of 12.59 seconds.

Harrison continued her dominance at the meet by winning the 400-meter hurdles while setting yet another ACC record with a time of 54.66. Senior Asia Washington finished fourth with a time of 57.71.

Harrison’s performance in the two events places her as one of the top competitors in the world now, according to Cianelli.

“She had the best double (the 100 and 400 meter hurdles) by a collegiate (runner) ever in history,” Cianelli said. “As longs as she’s able to maintain her health she’s going to be one of the best in the world. I really do believe that.
“If she’s able to continue to run those types of times through the season, she’s going to be ranked in the top 10 in the world,” Cianell said. “With the types of things that she’s doing now I would consider her in the top 10 now. It’s very rare to see her do both events at such a high level. She’s been the cornerstone of our program.”

Cianelli said the work Harrison has done with sprints, hurdles and jumps coach Charles Foster has really benefited her. Foster has served as a mentor that she has not had in her previous seasons at Tech.

“12.44 is the fastest I’ve ever seen ever in the 100 meter hurdles,” Foster said. “In watching (Harrison) grow and mature, she’s always had a willingness to accept a challenge. She doesn’t back off very well. That’s probably one of her greatest talents in that she isn’t scared. I have to know when to back off and rest her, we work hard so we can rest hard.”

Harrison is just trying to stay focused for the remainder of the season by using the same strategy she used in the indoor season.

“Just like in indoor I just made sure this whole outdoor season that every race I run I make sure I run it like it’s a final and don’t take anything for granted,” Harrison said.

Foster said the overall women’s performance is what he expected when he took over the sprint program this past fall and is looking forward to the future.

“We expect to keep rocking and rolling like we’re doing,” he said.

The women’s 4x100 meter relay and 4x400 meter relay teams finished fourth and second, respectively.

The women’s team is in a bit of a rebuilding stage and should be in better shape next year with the strength of the recruiting class coming in the fall.

“We have a really young team but I feel like a lot of girls really stepped up to the plate,” Harrison said.

“We have one of the best in terms of numbers and also talent in that we’ve ever had coming in,” Cianelli said. “Even losing Queen and Kristi, who are such high level athletes, we’ll be able to improve as a team.
“I’m pretty happy with what’s coming in for the future on both sides.”

The team will send several competitors to nationals in June where Cianelli believes the team can make an impact on the national level.

“I really think we can finish with a top 10 finish from both sides,” he said. “This has never happened on the men’s side but if they perform at the level they’re at now that should happen. This will really be a milestone for our program. We want to have a strong enough program nationally on a consistent basis so we can be in that top 10 year in and year out.”

Monday, April 19, 2010

Yanks sweep Rangers

Opponent: Texas Rangers
Location: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
Overall Record: 9-3
Series MVP: Derek Jeter
Honorable Mention: Robinson Cano, CC Sabathia
Quote of the series: comes from first baseman Mark Teixeira who hit his first home run of the season on Sunday
“My teammates have been picking me up so far,” Teixeira said. “Now it’s time for me to start picking them up.”
The New York Yankees are off to their best start since the days of Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth.  The Bombers have not won their first four series since 1926.  Their fast start is pretty rare considering how slow of a start the team has had over the past decade.

During Satuday's game, second baseman Robinson Cano and shortstop Derek Jeter became the first Yankee teammates to hit safely in all of their first ten games.  It's quite remarkable given the Yankees history that they were able to set that record.

Friday's game was shortened to six innings due to a large thunderstorm that hit the East Coast.  The Red Sox were forced to suspend their game on Saturday in the ninth inning due to the storm.  Anyways, back to the more important team, Sabathia was remarkable against the Rangers, his lone mistake was giving up a home run.  Catcher Francicso Cervelli claimed Sabathia was in better form then in his start against the Rays where he had a no hitter going into the eighth inning.

Saturday's game brought AJ Burnett back to the mound.  Though he was a bit wild he learned to settle down quickly and gave the Yankees control of the game.  Jeter was actually pulled early from the game in the 7th inning due to what Joe Girardi is calling a "head cold".  Jeter did not play in Sunday's series finale for the same reason.  Girardi claimed the WFAN beat writer Sweeney Murti was the cause of the cold.  The Yanks still won regardless, 7-3.

In Sunday's game, Andy Pettitte returned to the mound.  He continued his amazing start to the season allowing only two runs over 8 innings.  Not too bad for a 39 year old lefty is it?  The offense came to life with Brett Gardner having three infield singles and three stolen bases. The final score was 5-2.

Next Up: The Yankees begin their first west coast trip with a series at the Oakland Athletics

- Courtney

Hokies avoid sweep against Hoos

This past weekend a baseball showdown in the Commonwealth took place between national powerhouse Virginia (the number 2 ranked Hoos) against the #20th ranked Virginia Tech Hokies.

I was personally present for Friday night's game at Davenport Field in Charlottesville and I'm rather happy I went to that game (even though the hokies lost) as opposed to the other two games.  You see the first game was actually competitive on all sides of the ball.

Well, not really, it was just a more balanced game.

On Friday the Hoos defeated the Hokies with a score of 4-2.  Unfortunately bad baseball got the best of the hokies after they got an early lead.  How early you might ask? Oh just two batters into the game.

It started promising, but one thing I've learned following the Hokies is to never get your help up.  We had a lead 1-0 after the first inning, not just the first inning but after the SECOND batter.

But all good things must come to an end.  Junior starting pitcher Justin Wright walked two people with the bases loaded to bring in two runs during the fourth inning.  This led to a 2-1 hoos lead that looked like it was going to hold up for the remainder of the game.

Until the top of the 8th inning.  Andrew Rash hit a game tying home run.

Game tied.  What was I thinking? Extra Innings no doubt.

Too bad the hokies defense decided to start summer vacation a little early.  Catcher Steve Domecus air-mailed a throw to center field on a stolen base attempt which allowed the go-ahead run to score.  But he doesn't deserve all the blame.

His buddy over at first, Ronnie Shaban bobbled a would be double play that allowed yet another run to score.

That was one of the worst innings I ever had to sit through, not to mention as an opposing fan in enemy territory.

Saturday's game wasn't much better as the Hokies got shellacked 8-3.  That was embarrassing.

But all good things must come to an end 'Hoos fans.

That's right the impossible happened.

Virginia Tech DEFEATED the all mighty Virginia, in David versus Goliath fashion.

That's right when everything was looking down for us we scored five runs in the ninth to make the final score 8-5, salvaging an otherwise forgetful series.


PS I managed to get through a post about UVa baseball without mentioning the name of their Head Coach...what was his name?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Park to the DL

Yesterday before the start of last night's game against the Rangers the Yankees placed reliever Chan Ho Park on the DL with a hamstring strain.  Park did not think the stint on the DL was necessary but team officials chose to be cautious now rather then be sorry later.  Park originally hurt his hamstring in September while with the Phillies.

LHP Boone Logan was recalled from Scranton to take his place.

Friday, April 16, 2010

neVer forgeT 4/16

Today marks the third anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings.  Please take a moment and remember the 32 victims of the massacre.

"While 32 of our friends and classmates are trying to explain to heaven what a Hokie is, I stand here sure in the fact that I wouldn’t want to be anything else."

Yanks take series from Angels

Opponent: Los Angeles Angels
Location: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
Outcome: Yanks win 2-1
Overall Record: 6-3
Series MVP: Phil Hughes
Honorable Mention: Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano
Quote of the Series: comes from Angels DH Hideki Matsui, who made his return to the Bronx for the first time as an opposing player
"I know they're missing one Japanese player from the team," Matsui said, "but they're still a tough team and tougher than ever."
The Yankees played their first series in the Bronx since defeating the Philadelphia  Phillies in the World Series since November.  Championship rings were handed out to the players and staff.  Longtime Yankee trainer Gene Monohan made his first visit with the team this year to receive his ring.  Monohan has been out all season and spring training while battling throat and neck cancer.  He received a warm reception from both the crowd and the players.  Manager Joe Girardi even fought to hold back tears.  As mentioned in a previous post, Matsui received the loudest cheers out of anyone thanks to his MVP performance in the fall classic.  After the pre-game festivities ended, the Yankees continued their winning ways by defeating the Angels 7-5 in game one.

Game two was a different story for the Bombers, who lost 5-3.  Javier Vazquez made his second start of the spring but first in New York since giving up Johnny Damon's epic grand slam in the 2004 ALCS.  Needless to say, Javy was not greeted all too kindly by the crowd.  Vazquez pitched better then in his season debut but was still suffering from a lack of command.  He gave up 4 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings.  He greatly improved from his disastrous debut when he gave up eight runs to Tampa.  The story was more of the Yankees lack of offense then how Vazquez pitched.  The offense was shut out by Angels starting pitcher Joel Pineiro who held them to two runs.

On Jackie Robinson Day (every player wore number 42 as seen in the picture above) the rubber match of the series was surrounded by one question prior to first pitch.  How was Phil Hughes going to pitch in his debut?  The answer you might ask? OUTSTANDING.  Hughes beat out Joba Chamberlain in the spring for the fifth starter role.  This was the first start that Hughes has made all spring.  A major reason Hughes beat out Chamberlain this spring was due to the fact that he had developed a change-up over the winter.  The ironic thing is Hughes only used that pitch about 5 times during Thursday's game because the Angels hit the change-up so well.  He allowed two earned runs (one of those coming off a Matsui bomb), three hits and had six strikeouts.  Quite an impressive season debut if you ask me. The offense of the night was helped by a Robinson Cano home run and double.  Derek Jeter also had his second home run of the series and season.

Up Next: The Yankees take on the Texas Rangers in the Bronx.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Welcome Back

World Series MVP Hideki Matsui returned to the Bronx this afternoon as a member of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  Luckily for Matsui, he was present for the presentation of World Series rings.  He was the last person introduced to the crowd and received the loudest ovation from the fans, including a louder one then the core four aka Jeter, Rivera, Pettitte, and Posada.

It's strange to seem him in red but I'm glad Matsui got picked up by a great organization.  He's a class act and a great baseball player.  Here's hoping he has a great season.


Update 8:31 pm: Here's a picture of the Yankees Championship Rings.  Pictured is Alex Rodriguez showing his to the press.  Rodriguez claims he's going to wear the ring every day and would even wear it on the field if it did not interfere with his play.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Yankees take series from Rays 2-1

Opponent: Tampa Bay Rays
Location: Tampa
Outcome: Yanks win series 2-1
Series MVP: CC Sabathia
Honorable Mention: Yankees Infield Defense
Yankees overall record: 4-2
Quote of the series: comes from Mark Teixeira after ending his hitless streak to end the season
"During your career you always aim for milestones,” Teixeira said. “So I made sure I went 0-for-17 to have a personal best. After that I wanted to make sure I got a few hits.”
The Yankees won their second consecutive series against the Tampa Bay Rays.  Outside of a miserable start from Javier Vazquez on Friday, the Yankees took advantage Saturday of an excellent start by Sabathia (and not great pitching from the Rays) to win 10-0.

Saturday's game was defined by Sabathia.  He took a no hitter into the eight inning with four outs remaining in the game.  The lone hit he gave up was to catcher Kelly Shoppach, his former teammate in Cleveland.  Sabathia was certainly aided by tremendous defense from the Yankees infield particularly, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano.  Also, if Jason Giambi was manning first place Sabathia would have lost his no-no much earlier in the game.

Sunday, AJ Burnett had a quality start after looking shaky through the first inning.  Curtis Granderson again showed why GM Brian Cashman traded for him with outstanding play in center field.  The offense was aided by Alex Rodriguez, a two run double and Nick Swisher's first home run of the season.

Next Up: The Yankees take on the Angels tomorrow afternoon during their home opener in the Bronx.  The team will be handing out their 2009 world series rings before first pitch.  World Series MVP Hideki Matsui will make his debut in the Bronx in an opponents uniform and will also receive his ring with the rest of the team.

- Courtney

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Yanks Win First Series

As the sole writer for this blog, I made the executive decision to write about the Yankees on a series by series basis rather then game by game.  Frankly with the semester winding down it's a busy time and there aren't enough hours in the day to write about a game that could potentially last four hours each night.  The lone exception will be any late breaking news regarding injuries, trades, suspensions, etc, or any controversial areas from a specific game.  With that being said let's talk about the first Yankees - Red Sox series of the season.

Opponent: The Boston Red Sox
Location: Fenway Park
Outcome: Yanks win 2-1.
Series MVP: Curtis Granderson
Honorable Mentions: Andy Pettitte, Chan Ho Park, Nick Swisher
Yankees overall record: 2-1

After a heartbreaking loss to begin the series the Yanks rebounded and won the next two games.  Ironically, there were six top tier starting pitchers from both sides and they all earned no-decisions.  The first two games were relatively high scoring and were won by miscues by each team.

The Red Sox won on Sunday due to the ineffectiveness and wild pitching of Damaso Marte and Chan Ho Park. The Sox eventually won with a score of 9-7.  Tuesday, the Yankees were helped with the error that newly acquired (and supposedly excellent defender) Marco Scutatro made, which allowed the Yanks to score the game winning run.

Wednesday's game was truly a pitching battle all around.  John Lackey for the Sox and Andy Pettitte for the Yanks started the game and each gave up one run.  They turned it over to their respective bullpens after pitching six innings a piece.  (We'll ignore Pettitte's "graceful" tumble at first for now. I'm sure it's all over Sports Center).  Park took over for Pettitte and pitched three easy scoreless innings.

After Lackey, a series of pitchers came in before Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth.  The game remained tied after the ninth.

In the top of the 10th inning,  new Yankee center fielder Curtis Granderson solidified his new position in the Yanks-Sox rivalry by hitting his second homer in three games.  The home run was the go ahead run, with the Yankees eventually winning 3-1 and Mariano Rivera earning yet another save in the history books.

Quote of the Series: Comes from Alex Rodriguez

"We won two out of three, and Tex and I really didn’t do much to help out,” he said. “The bottom of our lineup did a great job all three games. They came up big for us.”

- Courtney 

Siblings extend family tradition as Tech athletes

Here's my latest article for The Collegiate Times.

Chicago maroon and burnt orange are two colors that have run through the Blow family since 1979 when Carol and Mike Blow entered their freshmen year at Virginia Tech.

Now, more than 30 years later, their children, Katie and Matt, continue that tradition of representing Tech by attending school in Blacksburg just like their parents did.

Katie is a sophomore human, nutrition, food and exercise major, and Matt is a senior residential property management major.

Other than the fact that the Blow children attend the same school,  there is another factor that makes their relationship quite unique.

Matt and Katie are talented varsity athletes.

Matt is a redshirt junior on the Tech baseball team. Splitting his time between first and third base, he has amassed a .271 career batting average in three years. This season, he plays a vital utility role for the Hokies.

Katie is a member of the Tech tennis team. In two years of work, she has compiled an impressive 26-15 overall record. This year, she is one of the rising stars on a young team that features just two juniors as its eldest members.

Their mother explained how two children from one family can make it to such a high level at the same school.

“They’ve always been really close,” Carol Blow said. “They’ve had a bit of competition between the two of them, I guess, but in a friendly way. They’re very supportive of each other.

“Growing up, Matt spent a lot of time teaching Katie how to do whatever it was he was doing, whether it was catching for baseball or something else. They’ve both been huge supporters of each other. Now it’s tough for them to go to each other’s events, but they do go when they can.”

Both Katie and Matt believe that being away at school together has made them closer than they were prior to college.

“We’ve always been really good friends,” Katie said. “And we’ve actually become better friends since we’ve been here at Tech.”

“We’re both really competitive with each other,” Matt added. “I’ll definitely go home and play some tennis with her, and she’ll come out and throw the baseball with me.”

Matt transferred to Tech from the College of William & Mary after his freshman year. Coincidentally, he had been faced with the same decision in his senior year of high school.

While he initially decided to attend William & Mary, it didn’t take long for him to realize it wasn’t where he belonged.

“William & Mary wasn’t the school for me,” Matt said. “It ended up not being the school for me. It was a long process but in the end, I’m happy with the choice I made.”

Matt’s decision to transfer proved to be beneficial for the entire family, though, as the following year Katie made her decision to play tennis for the Hokies.

“Obviously the tennis was a big factor in coming here, but him being here was definitely a positive factor,” Katie said.

Even though both Katie and Matt ended up at Tech, neither of them felt they were pressured by their parents to come to Blacksburg to represent the Hokies.

“They never pushed us to go to Tech when we were growing up but both Matt and I just love it here,” Katie said.

Their mother agreed, adding that although she and her husband were ecstatic the kids chose Tech, they weren’t a factor in either decision.

“We’re thrilled that they chose Tech,” Carol said. “Each of them made a decision independent of one another and it’s just kind of funny that they both chose Tech. It’s a good fit for them both academically and athletically.”

Carol and Mike make frequent trips to Blacksburg to support their children.

“We try to come as often as we can,” Carol said. “It’s not very often that baseball and tennis play in Blacksburg at the same time, but when those weekends happen, we’ll be there.”

Matt says he enjoys the time he gets to spend with his parents when they do visit.

“I know every time they come back we’ll always go out and walk around campus and they’ll say ‘This is new,’” Matt said. “They really like coming back to Blacksburg, and it really helps that we’re here so they are able to do that.”

Even though their schedules are sometimes hectic and usually overlap with one another, the siblings try to support each other as much as they can by showing up at each other’s events.

“I usually get to go to a lot of his weekday games,” Katie said. “I go to the ones on the weekends when I can.”

“It’s hectic,” Matt said. “Our schedules are pretty busy during the spring. She’ll be on the road one weekend and I’ll be on the road, or I’ll be on the road and she’ll be on the road. It’s tough, but we try to do what we can.”

Through hard work throughout the season and offseason, the Blow siblings have experienced success in their respective sports.

Tennis head coach Terry Ann Zawacki-Woods said it’s clear the kids were raised well.

“Katie’s such a team player,” Zawacki-Woods said. “She’s one of the hardest workers on our team so she really does a great job of setting the standard in practice. She’s shown a lot of improvement so she’s just a very positive force on our squad.

“Her work ethic is second to none,” she continued. “She works so hard at everything both on the tennis court and in the classroom. She’s such a perfectionist she’ll be out here, until she gets her stroke just right, which is just a pleasure to coach.”

The baseball team is off to a great start this year, earning a national ranking of No. 25 this week thanks to a 21-10 overall record. Matt has contributed two homeruns and 10 RBIs. He is currently batting .286 for the Hokies.

Baseball head coach Pete Hughes can count on Matt’s leadership qualities as well as his contributions on the field.

“Matty’s a kid who’s developed real leadership qualities,” Hughes said. “Whether he’s playing or not he doesn’t back down vocally ... he’s going to speak up.”

“He has a positive team-first attitude,” Hughes said. “He’s the most improved guy in our program hands down. He was our fall MVP.”

Matt’s versatility to play both first and third base allows Hughes to make more moves when a victory is on the line.

“He gives us some flexibility to make some moves late in the game,” Hughes said. “I have no problem putting him at third. That just speaks for the type of athlete and baseball player he is.”

While Mike and Carol are thrilled that their children are representing the Hokies on the playing field, Carol is just excited that herkids get to experience Tech like she did.

“It’s such a unique atmosphere and Hokie Nation is really like nothing out there,” she said.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

2010 Yankees Opening Day Roster

Alfredo Aceves, RHP   
AJ Burnett, RHP *
Joba Chamberlain, RHP
Phil Hughes, RHP *
Damaso Marte, LHP
Sergio Mitre, RHP
Chan Ho Park, RHP
Andy Pettitte, LHP *
Mariano Rivera, RHP
David Robertson, RHP
CC Sabathia, LHP *
Javier Vazquez, RHP *

Mark Teixeira, 1B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Derek Jeter, SS
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Jorge Posada, C

Designated Hitter
Nick Johnson

Brett Gardner, LF
Curtis Granderson, CF
Nick Swisher, RF

Francisco Cervelli, C
Randy Winn, OF
Marcus Thames, OF
Ramiro Pena, INF

* denotes starting pitchers.

My Thoughts:

When the final roster cuts were announced today, I was for the most part satisfied.  The only move I was really disappointed over was  the team only deciding to carry one left hander out of the bullpen, and the fact that it is Damaso Marte scares me.  Marte was only reliable during the postseason and costs the Yanks a few games during the regular season.  Boone Logan had an incredible spring training and was a big pick up in the trade of Melky Cabrera to Atlanta for Javier Vazquez.  I understand that he had options left to send him to Scranton but c'mon Joe and Cash.  What's it going to take to put Logan on the big league roster?

By the way, that's a picture from the AP of Vazquez talking to Posada in his final spring start against the Yankees minor leaguers this afternoon.

Tomorrow night is opening night.  I'm looking forward to seeing CC take on Josh Beckett at Fenway.  I can't wait for CC to earn victory number one of hopefully 20 in a Cy Young season!

Baseball is finally back! HALLELUJAH!  


P.S. Happy Easter!