June 25, 2008
Various members of the 2008 Georgia Tech baseball team are participating in summer ball in the Cape Cod, Northwoods, Coastal Plain and Cal Ripken Leagues while others have already signed pro baseball contracts. Every week throughout the summer a different Yellow Jacket will blog about their experience. This week’s blog is by rising sophomore OF Chase Burnette.
Hi Tech Fans!
According to the norm of a college baseball player’s summer, I’m participating in a summer wood bat league – the Cal Ripken Collegiate League – in Maryland this summer. This league consists of multiple teams from Maryland and another from Virginia, and I’m playing for the Youseman’s Maryland Orioles. One of the great things about this team is that I’m still connected to a few of my college teammates, as Jeff Rowland, Patrick Long and Kevin Jacob are all on the Youseman team as well.
My summer began much later than most of my Tech teammates – throughout the year there were no openings on summer teams, leaving me wondering where I’d be playing over the summer of 2008. Our coaches told me I’d have to wait until after the draft before I’d hear where I was needed, so that’s what I did. I waited….and waited….and waited. The June 5th draft came and went and I still hadn’t heard any word, so I started to wonder if I’d get to play anywhere. Finally, while I was on the golf course the following Saturday, Jeff Rowland called me up to say that the Orioles had an opening. Needless to say, I was a little too excited too finish below par on the golf course that afternoon!
The following Thursday (June 12) I said goodbye to my family and hopped in my truck to make the 11-hour drive up to Laurel, Maryland. Around 7:30 that evening, I met my host family, the Stouts, for dinner before crashing at their place, exhausted from the drive.
The Stouts, along with their 16-year old son, Dustin, are actually hosting three guys this summer. In addition to myself, Greg Davis from UC Santa Barbara and Derrik Gibson, a second-round draft pick and University of North Carolina recruit, are all part of the Stout family for the next six weeks or so.
I was thrown right into game action the day after I arrived, and after a few games with the guys I had a chance to get to know everyone and just relax and play ball. The transfer from metal bats to wood bats is one that is difficult for everyone to make, but it truly makes you feel like you are playing pure baseball. I know that these summer leagues will do a lot for everybody’s knowledge of the game and increase our skills more than we could ever hope. Another thing that is different about summer baseball is that we typically play six to seven games every week. As a matter of fact, today is just the second day that we’ve had off all season. Our first off-day was spent attending an Orioles game in Baltimore, which was a pretty cool experience for all of us.
Speaking of the Orioles, our coaching staff has connections with that program like you wouldn’t imagine. One of them is an Orioles scout, another played centerfield for Baltimore and was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1973, and yet another roomed with former baseball great Cal Ripken during his baseball career.
I must admit that when I first began this league, I wondered what it would be like playing every day, and if it would be as busy as my first college season was at Tech. To be honest, it really isn’t, just because we don’t have to worry about the classes, homework, and everything else that goes on at Tech. To most people, my summer day might seem a bit boring, but once you are in classes fulltime, have four to five games per week plus practices on non-game days, and have to deal with the studying required to make it at Tech, you need a schedule like mine for the summer. Until July 4th, here’s what my typical day looks like: Wake up around 11 a.m. or so for lunch, hang out with the people at the house or find something to do for the early part of the afternoon, and then head over to the field around 5 or 5:30 to get ready for the game. We’ll get back around 11 p.m. or so, and then start everything over the next day!
I mention the fourth because the following week is when I’ll begin working the Cal Ripken Baseball Camps up here. I certainly won’t get to sleep in as much (the camps go from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.) but I am definitely looking forward to the experience! Our regular season ends the last week of July and we’ll conclude the year by playing in a tournament in Pennsylvania before we all head home.
No matter what, I’ve enjoyed my first collegiate summer and hope that all of our experience – here, in the Cape, at Northwoods, and with Team USA – will improve our chances of making it to Omaha in the future. Thanks for checking in with us this summer, and GO JACKETS!
For Tech fans interested in following what Chase Burnette and the rest of our players are doing this summer, check out the Summer Baseball Tab on the sidebar of the Georgia Tech baseball page, where updates are posted every morning on current members of the Georgia Tech baseball team. Tech fans can also follow what former Yellow Jackets are up to by clicking on the Alumni In the Pros Tab on the main page of Ramblinwreck.com. Daily updates are posted of all former Yellow Jackets playing professional baseball – both in the major and minor leagues.