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Countdown to First Pitch: 16 days

Feb. 5, 2009

ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech baseball team begins the 2009 season Friday, Feb. 20 when it opens a three-game series with Lipscomb. Every day, leading up to the first pitch, a different member of the 2009 squad will check in with their thoughts on the upcoming season. Today’s blog is by senior outfielder Jay Dantzler.

It was a milestone day for our squad, as we officially welcomed everyone back. Each year, a few days before the annual baseball banquet, members of the team shave their heads, and we again took part this season. Our upperclassmen helped out the younger ones with their new `do’s, and as you can imagine, most of them were pretty hideous.

Although all of the haircuts were exceptional, I believe that this year’s “Golden Clippers Award” has to go to Jeff Ussery for his work on my fellow redhead Connor Winn – I didn’t know a ginger could ever look so bad! I hope his fellow Wesleyan alum, Tony Plagman, approves of the look! Honorable mentions went to Jed Bradley, Jake “Cake” Davies and Harrison Bell.

As odd as it sounds, the haircuts have been a tradition at Georgia Tech for years. It is a great bonding experience for the team, bringing us all together – not to mention we get a good laugh out of it! It’s not something that we are required to do, but it’s certainly something we all ENJOY doing. The good news is that everyone will be clean shaven by this weekend’s banquet, which we are all looking forward to.

As a side note, for those of you that haven’t signed up to attend the banquet yet, it’s a great event that kicks off our baseball season every year. Our operations guy, Nick Scherer, better known as “Flea” to those of us around the team, is in charge of the dinner. Give him a call if you would like to attend. (Click here for more info on the banquet.)

Needless to say, the shaved heads couldn’t come at a better time, with the frozen tundra sweeping through Atlanta. Because of the cold weather, practice was rather light today – consisting of live bunt defense, rundowns, and first/third defense. The infielders got back into the groove of things and were looking great towards the end of the drills. Jason Haniger showed his leadership behind the plate and made sure everyone was on the same page. And the pitchers, especially Sean Devine, were bouncing off the mound, showing off their unappreciated athleticism.

After the defensive work, the hitters moved upstairs to the cages for batting practice and front toss. Luke Murton swung the bat well, and Jeff Rowland, who works as hard as anyone else on the team, appeared to be in mid-season form.

All that being said, every member of the team is looking forward to the start of the 2009 season. I am very excited about where we are as a team and have high expectations for this year. We can’t wait to see y’all at the Rusty C (Russ Chandler Stadium), and we appreciate everyone’s support!

Tune in tomorrow for an experience you won’t forget, brought to you by Matt Simonds.

–Jay

Past Blogs/Q&A’s:
Countdown to First Pitch: 17 days – blog by Chris House
Countdown to First Pitch: 18 days – Q&A by Jason Haniger
Countdown to First Pitch: 19 days – blog by Derek Dietrich

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