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Halfway Home

We're one game past the halfway mark of the FIU baseball season and here's the difference between last year's record and this season's record after 29 games: FIU in 2008 (11-18, 5-4 Sun Belt); FIU in 2009 (19-10, 8-4 Sun Belt).

Although the last two games beg to differ, we've seen an improved Panthers team in several areas whenBull you look at 2008 and before compared to 2009. Yes, FIU still has plenty to get better on the diamond, but let's take a look at the 2009 Panthers at the halfway point of the season before a pivotal 3-game series at Middle Tennessee for 2nd place and possibly 1st (depending on what Western Kentucky does this weekend).

Taking a page from former Durham Bulls catcher Crash Davis (far right), we'll follow his memorable quote to check on the Panthers: "This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains."

This is a very simple game....

Remb Sure has been when Scott Rembisz (thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo), Tom Ebert and Corey Polizzano have taken the mound. Tyler Townsend and his .456 average and 10 bombs have made it look simple too. As has Ryan Mollica already with 40 RBI, plus a .350 avg. and 7 home runs.

You throw the ball....

Besides the three starting pitchers, freshman R.J. Fondon has pitched very well of late, not counting the Gulf Coast game on Wednesday.

The FIU bullpen, as we all know has not been good, but there is talent there with the freshmen and sophomores. These young pitchers have to learn to trust their stuff, attack hitters and not nibble soMmcv much. Turtle doesn't just hand out scholarships like dinner mints at a restaurant. If TT gave a scholie to a pitcher, then he has to have talent. Among some of the freshmen hurlers: Mason McVay (right, AJH photo), Andre Vazquez and Aaron Arboleya all can pitch in Division I, they just got to be more aggressive going after hitters and trust what they throw.

You catch the ball....

The fielding has been much better for FIU this season, but there is still room for improvement. Leading Jr the way has been Junior Arrojo (left, AJH photo), who has been smooth at shortstop and much better now in his junior season. Freshmen Raiko Alfonso and Garrett Wittels have done a good job at 3rd. Lammar Guy has filled in just fine in center field for Pablo Bermudez, who has had a nagging hamstring all season long. Townsend has made the adjustment to right field from 1st base with no problems.

You hit the ball....

A .331 team average, scoring 10 or more runs in 12 of 29 games and scoring at least 20 runs twice, FIU can hit. When your No. 9 hitter, Arrojo, is hitting .341 -- your lineup can hit. One of the more impressive hitters this season besides the regular mashers (Townsend, Mollica) has been freshman Mike Martinez (right, AJH photo). At the plate, MM doesn't look like a freshman, spraying the ball around Martinez and using the whole field when he hits. Tim Jobe has got monster power as evidenced by the bomb he hit against Florida Gulf Coast that is about to land at U.S. Century Bank Arena some time later tonight.

Sometimes you win....

Until the mid-week hiccup games this week, FIU has won more than just sometimes this season -- which has created a buzz for the baseball program that had been missing since the Super Regional run in 2001. TT (left, AJH photo) has changed the culture of the program Tt where guys are excited to come to the park every day and are playing a much cleaner game on the field. You see guys constantly backing up plays on the field where that wasn't always the case. Players are running the bases much smarter as FIU already surpassed its stolen base total from last season (32). The Panthers have already stolen 39 bases this season.

Sometimes you lose....

We're not making reservations for Omaha just yet. As seen by some of the losses, FIU still has to acquire more pieces to the puzzle. For one, you can never have enough pitchers. As TT said Wednesday, FIU only has 10 pitchers right now. Another recruiting class worth of pitchers will only help. As will having fireballing Dominican right-hander Miguel Mejia and Bryam Garcia eligible next season. Getting some more power in the lineup might be on the to-do list as FIU keeps building its baseball program.

Sometimes it rains....

With a relatively young team, you can expect some ups and downs with the Panthers this season -- such as the wacky mid-week losses that within the next couple of seasons FIU won't lose those games anymore. Then there are the two 20-run wins for FIU against Jacksonville and Arkansas-Little Rock. Or  that FIU has not lost a series this season and won series against 3 of the top 5 teams in the Sun Belt (Troy, Louisiana and Western Kentucky). FIU and Middle Tennessee would be the other 2 top teams in the conference. On its 32-man roster entering this season, FIU has 19 underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) and 11 juniors of which 7 are playing Division I baseball for the first time. There are only 2 seniors on the roster (Mollica and Steven Stropp).


Apaw FIU Stadium will now host 5 games on Miami FC's schedule beginning on April 24 to make the 7 screen names/1 person on the GPP happy.

Apaw Quijote is reading us from Scotland so let's tack on another country to our worldwide readership. So the 44/30/1/1 Club has been renamed to the 44/31/1/1 Club:



31 COUNTRIES: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, France, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Scotland, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, U.S.A., Venezuela, Vietnam.

1 DISTRICT: Washington, D.C. and 1 TERRITORY: Puerto Rico.

Apaw There is no college baseball All-Star Game at the halfway point of the season, but you can still vote on your Panthers in 3 polls:


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The board is back up. Go F I U.


Good thing....thank you....I've been impressed, although we knew he was a great hitter all along, with how Townsend is just dominating pitching up to this point. His .456 Avg. plus 10 homers are just an indication on the kind of year he is having....If he duplicates this feat on the second half of the season, he would reach 20 HR's for the season...at least. Folks, that is STRONG!!

Pete: I'm kind of perplexed by the pitching staff in our bullpen. Would you chalk up their shaky performance as a lack of experience coupled with the fact that we just don't have a lot of depth there to begin with? This is turning out to be a great season, and I can only imagine that if we're already doing this well this season that we'll be stellar come 2010.

Pete, can you ask PG how we can save the FIU Marching Band?


Pete something has to be done to save the band. We cannot lose them!

wow i cannot believe the band is not gonna be funded next year!!! RUBBISH!!!!

How many legitimate college sports teams dont have a marching band????

oh thats right we have DJ IplayMusicatthewrongtimes on the ones and twos.

This is some bullcrap. Im signing that petition asap.

whats up with the football team right now? are they just hitting the weights? can we get some updates on their weight, bench press, etc.?

If want to crack up, go and read the new Blog by our alumnus Manny Navarro. Those people are going to jump from buildings after reading his thoughts on recruiting...

Pete, great piece!... We should easily be 23-6 and 9-3 in conference, if our bullpen could just get the job done in the 8th or 9th. We have had a couple 2 out disasters as well... I think they(our bullpen) need to go out one night, get wasted, completely erase whats in their mind, wake up the next morning with some huge balls, and come out attacking people(but still pitching smart). By attacking i dont mean throwing 6 fastballs at them in a row, change up the pitches. That and they need to get in shape.

FIUBlueandGold - thanks! Great article by Manny. I think he's finally saying what's been in the hearts and minds of many of the recruits for a couple of years now. Nice to see FIU get thrown around as a threat. UM should worry b/c as many of us have seen, recruiting in S.Fla is an art, one which MC appears to be gaining ground on. Go golden panthers!!

please people dont go on the UM blogs and start talking $h!t now... I hate having to deal with idiots like CC/CP/lover of Jim's Jimmy/Etc., so dont get them started... Lets focus on handling our business at FIU. Raising $ would be a good start. We got players coming in, new coaches, etc. but we need to raise more $$$

Wow...great thing to see how local recruits are perceiving Mario Cristobal, and beginning to perceive FIU Football....great thing...

I don't get Manny Navarro. I've been actually pretty respectful of him...I just caught him saying two very different things on two blogs...a looong time ago...and let him know so for that doubled-faced "apology" he wrote....Kind of flabbergasted he would specifically name "me" two times and challenged me.......Oh well...he won't get my response over there...Sorry Manny...wrong....again.

Good last post, c-UM. Let's keep it here and simple...

manny just mad bc he fell head first into a beehive...Its obvious, just look at his pic on the herald

Fanatic, Manny is just upset because while he is at the Miami Herald. He left his HEART in San Francisco. What a tool, I still can't believe how two faced he was during that whole thing. Like I said then, I hope Herald editors don't ever assign him to FIU games, he doesn't want to do it and after his display last time, no FIU fan wants him to do it either. Go F I U!


c-UM, 23-6 would be nice, but if we were 20-9 or 21-8 as opposed to 19-10 it would be an incremental (sic) but very real improvement. We have to stop letting games slip away. Hopefully TT has another top 15 recruiting class next year as well and we keep on building momentum on and off the field.

Well, we blew the Troy game with back-to-back dongs in the 9th, blew FGCU with a couples walks and a grandslam in the 9th, blew Stetson in the top of the 8th, blew jacksonville last week in the bottom of the 8th (which turned out to be last inning), plus some others (those are just what came to mind w/out looking it up)....But i would def love to be 21-8. We have to keep the weekend series wins going and pick-up these tough mid-week wins.

I know what you mean. 21-8 seems quite realistic, and is where we should be, though this is a vast improvement over last season.

By the way, read Manny's blog and it is pretty accurate. The fact is UF has established itself as the top team in college football over the last four years, USF is solid, and we are making progress right next door. When a recruit comes to FIU and sees the stadium and field house going up they see a future home, there are no comparable facitilies in Coral Gables.

Oh yeah, i know that. I think we are doing a great job this year. I just WISH that our bullpen could get their act together and finish games. And not to put all the blame and pressure on the bullpen, but there has been a decent amount of games where the rest of the team has put them in great position and they couldnt get the job done... But complaining and wishing doesnt do anything for us, so im done with that. Im on to worrying about the rest of the game we have.

BTW, FIU Baseball team had a pretty serious scare in Murfreesboro, TN with a tornado being right outside a restaurant they were in. I heard it passed and everybody is ok... I even saw a report about it on CNN (not about FIU Baseball team)saying that 9 had been injured by a tornado in Murfreesboro

Hey, even former Utah signee...and now FIU signee...Dudley Laporte, said: "Then you add the top of the line facilities and on-campus stadium at FIU and the chance to play for a team that is on the rise. FIU really opened my eyes. I'm excited to play there."

Another top level JUCO recruit, FIU WR signee, Edgard Theliar said of FIU facilities: ``But everything you need to become a great college football player and student is at FIU. You can't beat that. The new stadium, wow. The new fieldhouse, wow. You want facilities and a great education, you can't beat FIU.''

The secret is out....it's only a matter of time now...don't you agree?


Wow...crazy thing about the tornadoes at Murfreesboro...thanks for the report on their well-being , c-UM.

What Manny Navarro wrote when he was reporting on FIU's first ever home game at our new stadium against USF last year was dispicable and amaturish. A game by the way that we only lost by 9 points to a top 20 team. That guy lost his license to call himself a journalist after that day, in my opinion. By the way, has anyone been able to confirm that he actually GRADUATED from FIU? If he did, I would be disappointed.

Yes he graduated from FIU. He confirmed it back when the scandal happened and its on his Miami Herald Profile.

Can't wait till the Boyz and TT head to the Sunbelt Tournament. They need to make it past the Semi's.. that is a huge jump from last year, but then again the coaching staff is probably expecting a big jump.

There has to be something done about the Marching Band. I love the idea of having a D.J. but every Big time program has to have a Band. The Mascot (Roary) needs to be a lot more energetic as well. Probably among the Top 10 worst Mascots in the nation. Get some energy Boy! Get the crowed pumped (that means don't just hang out with the cheerleaders all day)..

Go FIU!!

i heard they had tryouts for roary. Hopefully some crazy off the wall dude got the job. Last year's roary was kinda lame.


actually the Roary tryouts are on Monday, so we will see who gets it.

Roary at the baseball games has been doing a better job at least participating where he is allowed

oh ok...thanks, im glad roary is being more involved.


Are you going to write a blog as an overall review of spring practice?

Also, any input on which of the university's candidates for president is best suited for the continued development of our athletic programs?

I think this hiring is going to be crucial and will dictate which way our athletic programs will go in the coming years. Hopefully we'll "stay the course."

PLP Consulting, I agree. In my opinion, the incoming FIU president's most important job is to sustain the development of the athletic program, and more specifically, the football program. And I'm not kidding, that is the #1 job. We need to move up in conferences in the next 5 to 10 years, and to do that, we need to be ready to make that happen today.

The two most important goals for FIU should be to (1) continue to improve our academic excellence, and (2) create and sustain a top-20 caliber D-1 football program. That's it. Nothing more. If we accomplish those two goals, FIU will realize the dreams of Mr. Madique.

Great questions, PLP Consulting....The hiring of FIU's new president will have A LOT of importance as to how our Athletic Programs develop, especially FIU Fooball. Hiring someone with a narrow-minded approach towards Athletics will be a huge, huge mistake by the Board of Trustees, if it happens.

I'm sure there are many good candidates...or I hope we get more...out there willing to guide FIU into the future with its Colleges of Medicine, Law, Business, Hospitality, Journalism, Educations, Arts and Sciences, etc....along with providing enough resources, support, and time into making FIU Athletics a truly relevant Athletic Program. This will make FIU's aspirations of elevating its teams, and payouts from conferences as high as possible. You need the infrastructure first, build upon it with a solid base, and then grow from it and win, win, win.

One candidate I know is very experienced and successful in Florida politics, knows and loves FIU as any, AND, I believe, is a strong supporter of Athletics is Dr. Rosenberg....I would be happy with us hiring him...unless we really get an opportunity to land a "program maker" like Maidique turned out to be in his 23 years at the helm...

I've heard a lot of great things about Dr. Rosenberg as well. It appears he's the best candidate for the job right now. I truly do hope the advisory board can identify a more diverse group of candidates. A higher profile candidate list is what I'm expecting to see in the next few months. And yes, SouthPaw makes a valid point in that we need to improve on academics and sports. Football is definitely a focus point since it brings national attention and affinity to the school's graduates. By the way, it was great to see Mr. Maidique at the baseball game Wednesday supporting FIU baseball!

Pete, could we get a post-spring evaluation of the team? who stood out, whos gonna start come fall, and where do the recruits coming in during the summer fit in. thanks.


I don't know what this idiot means by 0-23 but anyways, keep hating!

I wanted to add one thing about making the right choice with picking the new president. I think what Mr. Maidique has done in the last 23 years is amazing. He will be extremely hard to replace. The new president needs to be equally as open minded when it comes to athletics (all sports).

We also need to be ready to make a change in A.D. if needed. I think Pete has done an amazing job bringing the entire athletic program up in only two years.. But the disrespect can not be ignored, and Pete needs to make a change with the attitude or FIU needs to make a change in A.D. Time will tell!

Go F.I.U.

As the father of an FIU student and hopefully a second FIU student in 2 years, I am more concerned with the new president focusing on the academics of the school and continuing the trend of turning FIU into a prestigious academic institution in all areas of study.

As seen in my previous posts, I am an avid FIU sports fan and I do think the President needs to support all sports, but without academics, we will never get respect.

All of our players are student athletes first. As that commercial says, most of them will go professional in something other than sports...we need to prepare them for the world....the sports will take care of itself.

As sad as it is... Football has a lot to do with making a University popular amongst potential students.

You can see signs of this everywhere in Florida, take USF and FAU for example. USF being ranked in the top 25 for football makes it a recognizable name IN and OUT of Florida and will draw top quality students that the school couldn't have otherwise.

And FAU, which has had success on the field, just had their first EVER waiting list to get into the school. Granted it was probably just about 3 people on the list, but hey at least it's 3. Who know maybe one of these days they will even increase their community college standards...who am I kiddint?!?

Has anyone heard a rumor concerning a BIG NAME coming to FIU to replace Sergio ???

Please advise ???

I heard Bobby Knight is on his way.

LOL! That would be great.

Pete's doing a fine job. Talks about being ready for a new AD are not needed.people get screamed at sometimes on the job and most mature people don't take it personal and move on with their lifes. Those that complain and form a show are immature and soft (unless the situation is abusive, but I don't know enough about situation).

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