The Newest Blogger for 9 Inning: Mike Murray

An introduction, some background, and looking forward to metal bat baseball

Good morning (and an even earlier good morning to the Pacific Northwest brethren of 9 Inning Know it All).  This is my introductory post to contributing with Josh and Norm, and I look forward to interacting with some of you through their blog.  As many of the habitual readers know, Josh and Norm both spend a good amount of time during their summers with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, Class A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.  I was a player for the Volcanoes for the final month of 2010 and then the 2011 campaign on I-5.

Mike1During my time in Salem-Keizer, I was fortunate enough to have people who enjoyed being around the game and interacting with players as much as Josh and Norm.  The best anecdote to that I can give was from College Rivals night in August of 2010.  I had spoken to Josh at length about my childhood team being the Yankees and that Scott Brosius had been one of my favorite Yankees growing up.  Scott is now the head coach at Linfield College in Oregon and I had the opportunity to catch a first pitch from Scott and take a picture with him.  Over that off-season, Josh sent me the photo and had Scott inscribe and sign it for me.  It was the type of gesture that I was lucky enough to have during my time in minor league baseball and throughout my baseball career.

Josh approached me last month about doing some contributing to the blog, which I was excited to do.  During my time in minor league baseball, I did some blog work on my own, before ultimately not having enough time to keep up with it as much as I would have liked to, or with the quality that I would have liked to.  The opportunity to contribute with Norm and Josh is exciting, and I hope you enjoy a different perspective on the blog.  So I thank them for that opportunity.

A little bit about myself…  I am a 24 year-old now retired minor leaguer and New Jersey native.  My playing experiences include playing in the Giants organization from 2010-2012, at Wake Forest University in North Carolina from 2007-2010, the Cape Cod league in 2009, and my scholastic ball at Westfield High School in New Jersey. For some more information on my playing careers, or how to interact with me elsewhere, I have added the links below.

Mike2I received my B.A. from Wake Forest in 2010 in Political Science with a specialization in Latin American Politics, and I am currently pursuing my Master’s Degree in Sports Business from Columbia University.  Outside of my graduate schoolwork, I run a sports performance academy and baseball school in NJ, intern at a sports management agency in New York City, and volunteer as a Varsity coach at my high school.  I am lucky to have experienced this great game from many different prisms, whether that is as a player, student, youth coach, sports agency, or instructor.  The end game for me will be working on the team or league side of the game in the Front Office, while I hope that coaching and integrating new generations to our game will always be a part of what I do.

On to some content…

With that brief introduction past us, Josh and Norm have asked me to touch on some of the topics and experiences I have had, and I thought a good place to start would be preparations for the 2013 college baseball season. Despite the chilled air and snow in the northeast, college baseball season is less than a month away.  I focus my interest primarily in the southeast, where I played in the ACC at Wake, and where my younger brother is about to start his sophomore campaign at Georgia Tech.  I will be heading down to Atlanta for opening weekend and will watch the Yellow Jackets open up their ACC Championship defending season.

Mike3The preparation for opening day in college is quite a bit different than it is in professional baseball.  The routine of spring training, the general good weather in Arizona and Florida, more than a full month to prepare for opening day, and not having to attend classes every day make preparations for the professional campaigns quite a bit easier.  In most instances, the college season preparations are limited by NCAA restrictions on when official team practices can begin (all schools have programs of individual and group work leading up to “official” first day of spring practice) and a lack of good weather in late January on many college campuses make getting outside consistently more difficult.

When the third weekend in February rolls around and games begin, there are always a few key things to look out for.  There will always be a group of mid-major schools that get invited to travel into big venues in the West and South that will play spoiler and hand big programs bad early losses.  There is also going to be the one hitter that starts the season 0-28…you don’t want to be that guy.  Finally, no matter how many hours you spend in the dining halls, dorm rooms, and locker room working through your roster with your teammates, the opening day lineup never looks anything like the lineup the last day of the year.

Looking forward to the start of another college baseball season, and looking for big things from my Wake Forest Demon Deacons and the Yellow Jackets down at Georgia Tech.

Have a good Tuesday.

Mike Murray

Twitter: @mmurrayxv