Archive for February, 2011

Baseball Recruiting, 8-Month Update

February 14, 2011

Of the nine recruits who committed to HC Brian O’Connor and staff (according to – list below), only seven are on the current roster

 Name Pos Ht Wt B-T High School Hometown State
Ryan Ashooh  LHP 6-2 175 R-L Centreville Clifton VA
Kyle Crockett  LHP 6-0 150 L-L Poquoson Poquoson VA
Derek Justice  LHP 5-10 169 R-L Orange Unionville VA
Artie Lewicki  RHP 6-1 190 R-R St. Joseph Regional Wyckoff NJ
Justin Nicolino  LHP 6-2 155 L-L University Orlando FL
Mark Podlas  OF 6-2 190 L-L Westhampton Beach Remsenburg NY
Mitchell Shifflett  OF 6-1 170 R-R Cosby Midlothian VA
Tyler Skulina  RHP 6-6 235 R-R Walsh Jesuit Strongsville OH
Austin Young  RHP 6-4 240 R-R Atlee Mechanicsville VA

Nicolino’s path is relatively well-known.  He was selected in the second round of the MLB amateur draft, and reportedly received a signing bonus of $615,000 from the Toronto Blue Jays.  He was “actually at a car shop getting my engine looked at” when he got the call.  Slated to debut in the Gulf Coast League in 2011.

As for Skulina, he took the path less-traveled.  He spent the fall in Charlottesville, and started Games 2 and 7 of October’s “Orange & Blue  World Series,” earning a win in both outings.  In Game 2, he threw five scoreless innings, yielding only two hits while striking out 5.  In Game 7, he went 2 1/3 innings, allowing two hits and 2 runs (1 earned) in Orange’s 9-8 series-winning victory.

Three months later, he was at Kent State, looking forward to “a fresh start,” according to his high school coach:

Former Walsh Jesuit standout pitcher Tyler Skulina is returning to Northeast Ohio.

And, presumably, Kent State couldn’t be happier about it.

After spending the fall at the University of Virginia on a baseball scholarship, the 6-foot-6, 235-pound right-hander has transferred to KSU for the second half of the school year and the foreseeable future.

”It’s absolutely true,” Walsh Jesuit baseball coach Chris Kaczmar confirmed to the Beacon Journal. ”He is now enrolled at Kent State and is on the team, all moved in and looking forward to a fresh start at Kent.”

Skulina, who was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 46th round (1,385 overall) of the 2010 major-league draft, will sit out this season, but will have four years of eligibility intact, Kaczmar said.

Virginia did provide him with a release, he said.

Calls to Skulina were not immediately returned.

The right-hander never lost in his high school career and struck out 221 batters with a blazing fastball that often reached 95 mph.

With a firm commitment to Virginia, Skulina fell in the major-league draft.

Once on campus, Skulina realized Virginia was not the right fit for him in the long term, Kaczmar said.

He will now be eligible to get drafted again as a redshirt sophomore in 2013.

At Kent State, Skulina will be reunited with left-handed pitcher David Starn. The two combined to help lead Walsh Jesuit to a Division II state championship in 2008.

”A lot of his teammates have had a lot of success at Kent State and he felt comfortable there,” Kaczmar said.  


Loser Talk, Version 36

February 3, 2011

As Dan Steinberg dutifully documented, Joe Gibbs recently did an interview on Sirius NFL Radio with Bob Papa, Peter King and Ross Tucker.  Below is some of the discourse: 

“I’ve got to tell you, Dan and I are good friends. I told everybody when I was there, Dan did every single thing he could to help us win,” Gibbs said. “If we lost games, it was my fault, not his, and I say that to everybody. I think this guy has a burning desire, I think he’s the right kind of owner, and I was fortunate enough to have him.

“I think with Mike, I had a chance to visit with him some….I think he’s a proven guy. Yeah, it was another year with the Redskins where you’ve got a lot going on, but I will say this: almost every first year for coaches, that’s what happens. It did for me, it did for Mike. I think they’ll get settled down now. He’s had a year with the players, I think he knows where the problems are. I think they’ll go to work. And I know Dan, it’ll be the same thing he did with me, he’ll give him whatever. And so I have really hope here as a Redskin fan that we’re gonna come bouncing back here. I got to go to a couple of the games late, I think the team fought hard all year, and I think the second go-around here we’re gonna take a step up.”

Tucker then chimed in, thanking Gibbs for his comments on Snyder and saying that other owners around the league let the bottom line cloud their football decisions, unlike Snyder.

“I played for five teams, including the Redskins twice,” Tucker said, “and the thing I always tell people is it’s the really easy thing to do to rag on Mr. Snyder. And I know that some of the signings have not panned out, there’s no question about that. But at least when you’re a player for the Redskins, you know that your owner is completely consumed by winning, and you know that all he wants to do is win, and he’ll do whatever it takes. Now sometimes that might be misguided, but he’ll do whatever he thinks it takes to win.”

“I’ve seen Dan give airplanes to players that have problems and let them travel back home, I’ve seen him send his wife Tanya to the hospital when Renaldo Wynn broke his forearm in our playoff game and stayed there with him,” Gibbs agreed. “There’s a lot of great stories about Dan. It’s just unfortunate, there’s been a lot of things that have happened with the team, and what have you, and everybody’s so passionate.

“But I really think in the end, we’re gonna see, this guy has a burning passion to win, and I think he’s matched up now with a proven guy, and I think we’ll make some steady progress here….I think we’re gonna have good days in front of us for Redskins fans. That’s my hope.”