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Ponce Can Recruit; More Baseball

TAMPA -- Apparently, FIU baseball brings out a much more spirited debate than some people thought. The 2010 season is just 6 days away when the Panthers open next Friday, Feb. 19 against Maryland at University Park Stadium.

Ponce Went out to another intrasquad game the other day and this time caught four innings. Since FIU baseball brings out such passion in some of our readers, there will be a comprehensive FIU baseball blog on the next post. And you can look for the Herald's FIU baseball preview in next Thursday's paper.

But for now will let you catch your breath from the last post whether you were talking baseball or talking about which school has the better apple pie in their food court.

Yours truly is in Tampa for the weekend working a soccer tournament, but here's a little mix of FIU sports stuff going on in case you missed it.

Three members of the FIU football coaching staff are among some of the candidates being considered for the open running backs coaching job. Among them are special teams coach Apollo Wright, who coached Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook at Villanova. Grad assistant Dennis Smith and director of football ops Juan Navarro.

Congratulations to FIU receivers coach Frank Ponce (above left making a "W" sign for Willis Wright, thanks to Alex J. Hernandez photo) who was named by ESPN as the top recruiter in the Sun Belt for securing ManChild to join the Panthers. Former FIU OC James Coley, now the OC at Florida State, was named the ACC's top recruiter. Click on this link: Top College Football Recruiters  for more info and notice that it looks like ESPN used a mug shot of Coley wearing an FIU coach's shirt.

HOOPING IT UP

A pretty inaccurate article in the new times about FIU hoops. Hey, we're in America and you can express whatever opinion you want, but when you use facts (i.e.: actual numbers and actual people that said certain things -- "Isiah Thompson") at least get those right in a story.

PG responded to the article on Friday and here is a short story that is expected to run in the Herald atIt some point:

   FIU athletic director Pete Garcia fired back at a recent New Times article on FIU basketball.

   Garcia noted several inaccuracies about the story which chronicles Golden Panthers coach Isiah Thomas’s first season and the program’s ticket sales.

   Among some of the misinformation from the article that has Garcia perturbed is FIU basketball’s average attendance numbers.

   Garcia is also upset about the article’s writer misidentifying FIU President Mark Rosenberg as the person to wrongfully introduce Thomas at the coach’s hiring news conference.

   Former FIU provost Ronald Berkman, now the president at Cleveland State University, introduced Thomas as “Isiah Thompson” at the April 15, 2009 news conference.

   Rosenberg was not working at FIU at the time. Since the Times article was published Wednesday, the error was corrected to Berkman mis-introducing Thomas.

   “This is a classic example of irresponsible and sloppy journalism from someone who uses inaccurate numbers and inaccurately quotes President Rosenberg with introducing Isiah Thomas at his hiring press conference which he never did,” Garcia said. “This is the end result and it’s unfortunate, because the quality of journalism in South Florida is among the best in the nation and this one story won’t ruin the good journalism that takes place in South Florida on a daily basis.”

   The Times article states “. . . the basketball team has averaged a paltry 120 attendees per home game this season. The arena seats 6,000.”

   U.S. Century Bank Arena, which seats 5,000, has averaged 1,163 fans per FIU basketball game this season, according to figures FIU ticket operations manager Jeremy Lamb provided the Miami Herald.

   Lamb added it’s an increase from the 2008-09 FIU basketball season’s average attendance of 487 fans per game. Lamb said FIU has also sold 46 of 50 courtside seats added to the arena this season.

   The Panthers are 7-20 this season, but Thomas has signed the No. 17 2010 recruiting class in the nation.

 

WARMING UP IN THE BULLPEN

 

Catch your breath yet about FIU baseball? Apple pie? (Cracker Barrel has a pretty good one). Ok, then.

 

FIU was picked to finish third in the Sun Belt by the conference's coaches on Friday. Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky were picked ahead of the Panthers. But don't take the SBC coaches word for it, you decide in our poll question below.

 

Jobe FIU first baseman Tim Jobe (left, thanks AJH photo and for Zeke photo above, right) was selected to the preseason All-Sun Belt team. Jobe was a member of the 2009 All-Sun Belt team.

 

Several publications and websites are picking FIU baseball to finish near the top of the conference, but I think you have to wait and see how the Panthers starting rotation and bullpen shake out.

 

FIU is going to miss projected No. 2 starter Logan Dodds (academically ineligible). Dodds -- like Scott Rembisz 2 years ago -- was the Florida JUCO Pitcher of the Year last season at Miami Dade College. R.J. Fondon, Corey Polizzano and Daniel DeSimone are going to have to step up.

 

A bigger concern could be the Panthers bullpen. It could be a closer-by-committee until someone nails down the job. Among the candidates are freshman Alberto Cardenas, last season's part-time closer Jorge Marban and third baseman/pitcher Garrett Wittels.

 

Eric Berkowitz (a.k.a "Harry Potter" as his teammates call him, because of the Potter-like glasses he wears) is likely moving to middle relief where he had some pretty good outings last season.

 

Logo PANTHER PAWSE

 

Aaapaw Will have a Happy Blog Hour 2-for-1 special in LIVE BLOGS  next week. Log on to theHoops GPP on Thursday, Feb. 18 at 7:54 p.m. for a LIVE BASKETBALL BLOG of FIU/Hooters basketball when the Hooters from Del Boca Vista Phase 2 visit the Bank for game two of the Pat Riley Classic this season.

 

Then log on to the GPP the next night, Feb. 19 at 6:56 p.m. for a LIVE Base BLOG BASEBALL of FIU's season opener against Maryland from the House that Mike Lowell Built. Yes, I know she is one of the FIU Witches.

 

Q&A

 

Gooch7: Pete: Who will the closer be? Any input about him?

 

PP: Hope the two paragraphs above at the end of the baseball section of this post answers your question.

 

Yandro: Pete, thanks for the update. Do we know who the starters will be come Opening Night, or are positions still up in the air with a week left?

 

PP: Competition still going on at several positions. Will have TT come on here next week and give you an update straight from the head coach's mouth.

 

Wes Kendall: Hey Pete, I've heard rumors that Rosenberg is rebranding FIU, which might again lead to another logo change/color change. Have you heard anything?

 

PP: Nothing to it. The university changed their logo to block letters not too long ago and the athletic program went to block letters with a more fierce Panther just 2 years ago.

 

 

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Hey Pete,

Thanks for the corrections to the New Times article which has always been irresponsible in the way they portray the actual facts. Its the reason I never pick it up and only did in the this case because of IT's picture on the cover. Anyone reading the article would automatically assume that our athletic program is among the worst in the country without looking at the strides it has accomplished during the last 2 to 3 years.

In the years to come everyone will know FIU through its ever improving academic standards and successful athletic squads.

Count on it.

Go FIU!!!!!

Very good blog, Pete. Thanks for the information. As for baseball, I'm concerned with our pitching. If there was one aspect we ended up the season particularly weak, it was pitching. With the departure of last season's #2 or #1 pitcher, plus the pro signing of one good pitcher sitting out (Mejia)....and now the inelegibility of our new projected #2 pitcher in Dodds, we better hope someone really steps up...and soon.

Fondon could very well establish himself as a Sophomore, and Polizzano returns for his Senior season. The other returning pitchers (Arboleya, DeSimone, McVay, etc), we need a couple...or threee...of them to have a significant improvement in their production, for this team to win big, in my opinion.

Like Fanatic I have some concerns about our pitchers. While our bats are potent, I'd hate to be in a position to rely on them to bail us out of games on a regular basis. It is a shame Dodds is academically ineligible, but hopefully the other guys step it up. I still think we can finish second in the SBC. MTSU is a pretty strong team, but we improved a lot last year, and a lot of the guys Turtle brought in will be more mature and familiar with the college game.

I look forward to PG's response. The New Times is an exceedingly negative publication, it is a real shame that they cannot see any good in this community, but I guess there are those who always see the glass as being half empty.

I knew the "article" that rag was gonna publish would focus, and showcase, the negatives of the program....whether it was based on truth, half-truth, exaggerations, innuendos, bad reporting, mistakes, wrong information, or plain lies. I did not expect more of that thing....

So now they changed the article (online) to reflect that it was former Provost Berkman saying Thomson, rather than current President Rosenberg....still, the obvious intent was to discredit the university, staff, coaches, fans, athletic department, etc. with some doses of truth surrounded by massive amounts of inaccuracies, mistakes, wrong information, and lies.

Ok...feel a bit better now...

The New Times article is an example of how the South Florida media attempts to discredit FIU. I subscribe to the Herald, but I always call my subscription into question because it seems that FIU, mainly athletics, is always an afterthought to the Herald. Tons of irrelevant articles about UM, but very few about FIU. UM has about three regular writers (Degnan, Navarro, and Cotex since he's a UM kissass), but FIU has just Pete. Not to say that's a bad thing because Pete actually went to FIU and represents it very well.

I guess FIU has to start winning. The media and the population will not take us seriously until we start winning. Turtle has a chance to get things going. Hopefully our team can make it into the NCAA tournament and make some noise. Hopefully Mario Cristobal can get our team to a bowl game and hopefully Isiah can do much better next year.

alt, it would be nice if more of our alums had the same attitude that alums at other universities have, that is they take ownership of their team and school. People here need to start realizing that if they get involved they can shape the future of the program and lead it to being successful.

I agree with you 100% Jules. The problem is that people will not do that in this city. We all know that Miami is the biggest bandwagon city in the country, possibly the world. So, people wont put their support behind a program that has a history of losing. It is unfortunate, but it is what it is.

My moron neighbor (FIU Grad) put UM flags on his car for the first month of the college football season. When they lost to VT and Clemson, he promply removed them. This is the kind of attitude that people have in Miami, support the winner and ditch the loser. There are no such things as real fans in this city.

alt7787,

I have the same kind of douche front running FIU Grad scUM loser friends....

It's just ridiculous.

Give preferred parking to people with FIU license plates. Add special parking lots for people with UM, UF, and FSU license plates on the edge of campus.

Since it is free marketing and FIU gets a small percentage of the registration fee, give the student who registers his car with a FIU plate a few dollars credit.

Odds are pretty good if a student has FIU plates on his car for 4 years, he will continue to buy the FIU plate after graduation.

Hahahahaha!! Love the separate parking lot idea, but a lot of people with those plates are FSA's (Faculty members, staff members, or administrator's) so the plan would unfairly screw people that dont deserve it.

The license plate idea is not such a good idea. Many students will not commit to an FIU plate before graduating. Plus, giving a student credit doesnt accomplish anything. When one purchases an FIU plate, a percentage of the money goes to FIU. Giving money back to the student (or credit, whatever that means) doesnt do much good.

Hey, Pete, can you give us any updates on who FIU is offering preferred walk-on status for Spring camp? I read that J.J. Worton will be a preferred walk-on at UCF, and I was hoping he would have ended up at FIU. Our walk-on kids really contributed last year, and I think this year's could be even better. Thanks!

Coach Frank Ponce- Congrats!!! We will have a BCS quality receiving corp next season. Good Luck FIU Baseball

can we please get some pictures of the weight room? im dying to see what it looks like

Pics won't do it justice. If you live in town, just go to the Field House and look at it first hand through the doors in the lobby by Coach Moore's office.

TIGHT WORK !!

Although hard to believe, I think this year's banquet was better then last years. Sounds like some decent money was made for our baseball team and softball team on Saturday night. Im excited for the season, like everyone else pitching concerns me and might put us in some tough spots, but i cant wait for next year's banquet. Always a great time.

Jules,

Great comment about our alumni. As a LOUD FIU diehard, I'm identified with FIU! BTW SUPER proud of that identification! When I get ANY push back on why I wear my FIU stuff ALL the time, I PUSH BACK harder as to WHY NOT!

I went to the Pro Bowl game, wearing FIU gear (Dolphin cap!), Heat game; Heat Polo & FIU cap. Additionally, the movies, the Grove, Lincoln Road, the Falls, corporate meetings around the country (business casual), etc. Any outdoor activity ANYWHERE in this Globe (3 continents & counting!) and I'm wearing FIU garb. MY motto is:

LET THEM KNOW, WHERE EVER I GO! THAT I'M FIU!

I see that attitude with other Universities, including the school down the road. Good for those schools! We need to crank-up the voice and the visibility where ever we live. It starts with the GPP Nation.

GO FIU!!!

I like what you are saying Ultimate... I love rockin my FIU gear in public as well.

alt7787 wrote (Feb 14 at 12:03 AM)

Hahahahaha!! Love the separate parking lot idea, but a lot of people with those plates are FSA's (Faculty members, staff members, or administrator's) so the plan would unfairly screw people that dont deserve it.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
If a faculty member (or any FIU employee) is driving around OUR campus with a UM or FS or UF plate they can park at a shopping plaza and take the bus. Good grief, we are paying them $50,000 - $100,000 or more and they are driving around with another schools license plate on our campus.

They don't deserve to work for us if they can't grasp the concept that this is FIU. Whatever they do there are many people as qualified or more qualified than they are looking for work.

Lets get that license plate requirement in place for next September!

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