February 14th wasn’t just Valentine’s Day; in the world of sports, it was more importantly the first day of spring training. Commence my favorite season of the year: baseball season.
After watching our football team take the Sugar Bowl title, and our basketball team lead the nation, there’s no doubt that Ohio State fans are looking forward to Buckeye baseball.
I met with Ohio State’s head coach, Greg Beals, to discuss what to expect from his team this season. After three weeks of throwing in the bullpen and hitting in batting cages, the team feels prepared for their first game on February 18th.
The Buckeyes have a strong starting pitching line-up and twelve new recruits who are looking forward to contributing to the team. Coach Beals said his new players have done a great job fitting into the OSU baseball program. There’s a lot of genuine personalities and the senior players have done an excellent job in taking initiative and being team leaders.
There are three freshman starters for the Buckeyes: Tim Wetzel in center field, Greg Greve on the pitcher’s mound, and Josh Dezse at first base.
Ohio State lost seven starters after last season and this opens up new opportunities for the players to showcase their abilities. However, the loss of these starters has had a big impact on the management of team experience. The veterans of the team mean a lot to the coaching staff. The returning players hold things together and have done a great job adjusting to their new leadership roles. The seniors are expected to provide leadership on game day.
The Buckeye training program places an emphasis on plyometric training. This focuses on making the players well-rounded. It teaches them to give bursts of energy in a split second, and it helps train their muscles to become more responsive. “It’s about developing an athlete,” Coach Beals explained.
Coach Beals is looking forward to beginning the season as Ohio State’s new head coach. He has nothing but positive remarks in regards to OSU’s sports programs. He’s had a great transition coming into Ohio State and is excited to be a part of such a reputable institution.
The Buckeyes will have to put forth a strong effort in preparation for certain teams this season. Teams like Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State, and Indiana have strong baseball programs that rival that of Ohio State’s. The first weekend for Buckeye baseball should be eventful and exciting as they prepare to take on teams from the Big East to launch the season. The team speed and starting pitching are two prominent strengths of the Buckeye team that they’ve displayed from practice and conditioning. However, Coach Beals would like to see his team evaluate their game and progress, specifically the hitters.
I asked the coach if his team this year is better than the team last year. His response: “We have to be.” He aims to build success and uphold Buckeye Nation’s renowned sports reputation. He says its a rewarding feeling as a coach to watch his players get signed to the majors. Last year, he witnessed three Ohio State players achieve this goal.
So while most people choose their favorite season from winter, spring, summer, or fall; I choose my favorite season from football, basketball, or baseball. With opening day games approaching and spring training upon us, I’m anxiously awaiting Tribe Time, dollar dog night, and mostly importantly, Big 10 Buckeye Baseball. The first game of the season is February 18th as the Buckeyes travel to Florida to take on Cincinnati.