(This story appeared in the April 24th issue of The Stall, the student run newspaper of Brookdale Community College.)
It’s that time of the year again. Winter is in the rearview mirror, and the weather is heating up as spring arrives. With all the snow gone and playable conditions occurring more and more frequently, the Blues baseball season is well underway.
The team starts their season every year on a road trip down in Florida, where they faced some good competition against junior colleges from around the country. Troy Reynolds, who is the team’s starting second basemen, discussed the trip.
“It was great. It was actually my third time down there because I redshirted a year. The trip is great. We play a lot of great teams down there, and we had doubleheaders every day for seven days. We were right in Orlando so we had Disney right there too and the weather is always beautiful there. It was especially nice after the winter that we had this year. We’ve already had over 10 games canceled since we got back. But it’s a great experience, and it’s a great thing the coaches put together.”
The Blues entered the season with lofty expectations, and they looked forward to facing the best competition in Florida.
“Down there we play the best competition that we could possibly play for a junior college. We were pre-ranked seventh in the nation so we went down there and played the rest of the top ten teams in the country. Gloucester is in our conference and they are defending World Series champions so we play them a couple times a year. We faced some good competition.”
During the summer, the team prepares for the upcoming season either by themselves or by playing games in summer leagues.
“For the most part, most of our guys play in the same summer leagues. But if we are not playing in a summer league, it’s pretty much doing your own thing: get as many reps as possible, stay in shape and just be ready for the fall when you come back.”
Balancing schoolwork and athletics is the top priority for student-athletes, and it is no different with baseball.
“We usually have practice everyday around 2:00 so our classes have to be around 8:00 in the morning. We have to be out by noon so we can get out here and get ready to practice. It is the same thing in the spring when we have games, they are usually around 3:30 and we have to get the field ready before hand.”
Brookdale’s head baseball coach is Johnny Johnson, who is entering his 15th season as the team’s coach. Reynolds had nothing but praise for his skipper.
“(Coach) Johnson is a great guy. If you ask everyone on the team, they will tell you he’s probably the best coach they have ever had as far as teaching the game, learning the game the right way and carrying yourself like a professional. He really preaches that and it really helps you become a better ballplayer and a better person in life.”