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73 days until Opening Night vs. USC

The Major League Baseball Hot Stove season is well underway as the flea market Marlins have shown, so figured why not turn on the FIU Stove baseball hot stove as well.

As of this blog there are 73 days until FIU opens the 2008 baseball season at home against the USC Trojans on Friday, Feb. 22. There have been many of you craving some baseball blogs and guess what, Christmas is coming early for you people.

Start sending in your questions here on the GPP for new FIU baseball coach Turtle Thomas as the GPP will conduct a question and answer session with TT and you folks ask the questions. We'll try to get to as many of your questions as possible with TT and post the answers on here soon. Please have your questions in by this Saturday, Dec. 15.

Not exactly an earth-shattering performance by the FIU hoops team the other night against the Hurricanes. The way the Golden Panthers played made um look like North Carolina or Kansas. I know I mentioned it in the live hoops blog, but FIU hoops needs to hit the weight room as Hoops last Saturday's domination in the paint by um showed. It seemed like FIU was very tentative to attack the basket and settled for jump shots. Also, I'm not too sure what is the purpose of the FIU offense. It just seems like guys are standing still waiting for a pass. There is not much movement or cutting to the basket. Not saying they have to become the Phoenix Suns, but there just doesn't seem to be much life when the Golden Panthers have the ball.

Yes, it was not a conference game for FIU, but the Golden Panthers have not shown any consistency this season that allows you to believe they will compete for the Sun Belt title. Sun Belt play begins at Arkansas-Little Rock on Saturday night. It's still early, but I was expecting a better start by the Golden Panthers hoops squad. Maybe 5-2 now instead of 3-4 with USF and um having better teams than FIU.

El Monstruo Antwan Barnes comes back home to Miami on Sunday when the Ravens take on the Dolphins at Dolphin Stadium. With the Swiss cheese Miami O-line, it could Ab be a big day for EM. I'm scheduled to cover the Ravens on Sunday for the Herald's game coverage, hopefully EM can get a few sacks, an interception and score a touchdown while he's in town.

***BLOG ADVISORY: The next blog posted on the GPP will be the guest blog of our second winner of the Win a GPP Blog contest. That would be CrazyCane.

But after that blog is posted, we'll roll out the red carpet for the 1st Annual GPP Football Awards. Red

PANTHER PAWSE

UltimateFIUFan: Good to meet one of the GPPers in person at last Saturday's game. The Raja Bell video can be seen on the fiusports.com website. The FIU athletic department is a fan of this blog and read it daily so they got the Bell tribute on their website. As far as FIU students and fans at the game, you got to remember this is a bandwagon town we're living in and in the past FIU students and fans have not had much to cheer about. I was somewhat surprised not to see a better turnout last Saturday, but when FIU starts winning on a regular basis and it will, then you'll see plenty of FIU people in the seats. And you will even see people, who have no connection to FIU start showing up and supporting the Golden Panthers. That's just the way this city works.

FIUJM: Talk and write about all the recruiting you want on the GPP. It's all welcomed here and positive when you have some of the more talented players in this area wanting to come to FIU. My big issue with recruiting is that we rely on the words of these 18-19 year olds, who have not signed any letters. Most of these kids are easily influenced and cannot make up their minds on such simple things like picking Oreo between Rocky Road or Oreo at Coldstone (go for the Oreo, kid) and yet the public gets all excited about what a kid says in the months before signing day. I'd like to see the John Hancock on the dotted line in February before writing anything about it. Although, I know the Herald will have me write FIU recruiting stories as signing day nears.

CJ: We'll have another GPP New Stadium Tour in early January and we'll post updates and new pictures on FIU's new home. I know fiusports.com already has some new photos up if you people want to check that out.

Baseball Fan & Blonde2864: Welcome both to the GPP. And yes, baseball is right around the corner.

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Pete, thanks for turnin' on the stove! I know it's time to light the fire in the hearts of FIU fans for the upcoming baseball season.

I have three questions for Turtle:
1)Turtle, welcome to FIU. This season there's been so much excitement coming from many fans about the upcoming season. Have you heard anything from the players about them being more pumped up for this season with the change in leadership as opposed to previous seasons?

2)With the modification in the schedule by the NCAA, how will you handle the catching situation? Will you have have two "regular" catchers sharing the load, or will you go with one primary catcher who will handle the majority of the games?

3)Who do you see making the starting rotation?

Thanks for your time, Turtle. Have a great season!

Looking forward to Baseball season.

On a side note, one of the U fans was asking about national coverage for the Bills TE Everett that was injured?
there is a 9 pg story on si.com about him today on the front football page.
I know this is an FIU blog, but It's a great story for any football fan and it shouldn't matter what team we cheer for. Anyone who has ever played at ANY level has taken the risk of this happening to them. So there is your positive media and a good read.

Pete, this is awesome - thanks!

Couple of questions:

In one of your earlier interviews with TT, he said that he was pretty set at the corners but would use the rest of the fall to assess the middle of the field (catching, pitching, shortstop and centerfield) – what did he learn from practices/inter-squads and who will be getting time at those positions?

While it appears that they have some bats, the old saying that pitching and defense wins games/championships is so true – have him assess those two areas.

Is this a station to station team or do you have guys that can run?

Finally, when does he plan to post his roster?

Thanks Pete and thanks TT for coming to FIU.

Question for TT and i know i prob asked Pete this a while ago. i personally have never been a baseball fan, yet i am an FIU fan.so my question to you is what are you planning to do for the Non-baseball Fans to get them more involved

Like always, thanks for the information Pete. I must admit, I'm interested in reading CC's writing.

The hiring of TT has definitely encourage me to follow FIU baseball. I usually had an interest at beginning of the previous seasons but for some reason that interest would fade away. As for the USC series, I'll definitely be there. I'll be attending many baseball games this year!!!

Question for TT: Who do you think will be the leader on this year's baseball team?

Can you tells us what your expectations are for your first year at FIU?

Thanks.

Go FIU!!!

pete this is good stuff, but from what ive been overhearing, alot of guys have begun to transfer out due to something having to do with their scholarships...any word on what that is all about?

My questions to TT are:

1) why are there players leaving right before the beginning of the season in the dawn of a new era?

2) how did those 'middle' positions hold out in the fall and who does he think will start at these positions?

3) where can i get tickets to the sun belt tournament because im booking my trip now to root for FIU

First, I just want to say that I cannot wait for CrazyCanes blog - I am sure it will be good. And PP, please don't post something right after so the GPPers do not have time to comment and respond.

Second, is this q and A with TT going to be like the one with MC where the questions by the UM GPP readers are like an after thought?

My questions for TT are this:

1) If Coach Morris decided that this was going to be his last year at UM, and the UM job was offered to you, would you take it?

2) Why do you recruit players that you know are going to get drafted and never go to FIU?

3) If it wasn't for UM, would TT be who he is today?

Pete...good stuff. Thanks for the opportunity....Please, don't let some "foreign" fans with dreams of being attorneys influence the way you run this blog...LOL....Keep doing it your way...

Where are all the posters. 8 posts on a PP blog. Is it b/c it is not about football. I thought you all were GP fans, not just FIOU football fans. I think that the number of posts will increase dramitically when CrazyCanes blog is posted. Based on his posts over the past 5 months or so, I am sure it will be controversail and funny. I just hope all of the sensitive FIU fans do not take stuff to serious, as they always do. PP, can't wait - lets see what Crazy has to say.

Question's for TT:
I am good friends with one of the kids that just left and he said the inside rumor was that TT was trying to start fresh with "His Players" and did not want to have any of DP's players left for next season.
Is it true that he has 30 players signed for next season and does not want to release names until the spring for the morale of the current team.
2008 Season:
How can he win with a team that does not have a single player that will steal 10 bases or hit 10 HR's.
I will be rooting, but TT was not left with a whole lot of talent.

Baseball Fan,

Not sure where you heard that the team doesn't have anyone that can steal 10 bases or hit 10 bombs, but this team has looked really good in fall ball and should be a lot more fundamentally coached come this spring than ever before.

I am convinced that this team will be OK and are very well coached, it is unusual for a team to not have power or speed, most teams are built one way or another. Last years team had one player (Pullin) that stole 11 bases and no one near 10 HR's, maybe it is no big deal, but it is very unusual.

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