Steve Andres has seemingly has enjoyed everything about his 2004 summer baseball experienece, including a loving host family.

Andres Caps Summer Baseball Diaries With West Coast Report

Aug. 9, 2004

The 2004 Summer Baseball Diaries have drawn to an end but not without another award-winning effort – this time from rising junior leftfielder/DH Steve Andres, who has been playing for the Solano Thunderbirds near his hometown of Napa, Calif. Those who have been around the Irish baseball team during the past few years have developed a true appreciation for the unique personality that is Steve Andres and his trademark sense of humor shines through in this most excellent entry. Steve typically bats in the middle of the order but he came through here in the 8-hole and certainly will help “turn it over” to the Summer of 2005 crew. Just a reminder that links to all of the Notre Dame Summer Baseball Diaries for the last three years can be found on the baseball page at Notre Dame 2004 Summer Baseball Diaries – Entry #8 (Steve Andres; Solano Thunderbirds) Hello loyal readers, this is Steve Andres reporting live from home sweet home, the Wine Country. I am writing this journal entry after just completing my daily six-mile jog through luscious vineyards and dried-up creek beds. I am glad that Pete LaFleur asked me to do a journal this year. I remember last year when I spent a whole weekend just crying in a corner of my room because I had not been deemed worthy of writing for the ND baseball webpage. But that is in the past and I have forgiven Sluggo for that. Oh, what a summer it has been for me! I am playing for the world-renowned Solano Thunderbirds in the California Coastal Collegiate League (the CCCL as most of you know it by). Right now, the T-Birds are riding high on an 11-game winning streak, which has run our record to 32-21. The Thunderbirds home is in Vacaville, California, 35 miles away from my hometown of Napa. However, with rush-hour traffic, the roundtrip takes me close to two hours every day. In total this summer, I have spent the equivalent of almost five days in my car simply driving to and from the ballpark. But hey, that is what summer is for! My host family has just been amazing. They have been so welcoming and I am thankful they opened up their home to me. Tom and Jan are wonderful people and although I am living at their home for free, the only payment they request is to cook them gourmet meals when I am around (which I am quite good at if I don’t say so myself). I don’t know how they did it but they also made my bedroom look exactly like the one I have at my own house. My two host sisters, Jill and Paige, coincidentally have the same names as my own sisters. I have had some recent tennis battles with Paige on Playstation 2 and, unfortunately, I have come out on the losing end more times than not. Because my days are boring and uninteresting I decided not to give you a minute-by-minute rundown as did Sean Gaston and Tom Thornton. Instead, I thought it would be more appropriate if I gave you a top-10 list of the summer’s highlights for me. With apologies to David Letterman, here we go in no particular order whatsoever. (1)Unlike the summer league team I played on last year, the Novato Knicks (no offense to Chris Kenyon, a huge ND fan, and the rest of the guys) it was nice to play with our rightfielder Josh Roenicke from UCLA, whose father played 15 years in the major leagues. Last year, our rightfielder was a 35-year-old father of one whose nickname was “Dead Guy”. (2) Not getting hurt! Of the 12 original position players the Solano Thunderbirds had on their roster at the beginning of the summer, half have come down with season-ending injuries. Luckily, I am still standing and playing every day, although I do have a blister on my hand that just will not heal. Fortunately, I have a whole week off before I have to go back to school (excuse me, to get to go back to school). I am sure that will be more than enough time to let it heal. (3) July 4th and 5th. Why those dates? That was the longest stretch I had without a game. We play six games a week and to start the year we played a mere 13 days in a row. I was definitely eased into the summer season. Those two days off we had in a row were possibly the best days of the summer, because I was able to simply rest and relax. (4) While on a trip down to San Louis Obispo, I spent the long afternoon on the beach laying in the sun and then at night went 2-for-4 and scored the winning run as we went on to beat the Blues. However, there was a negative to spending five hours in the California sun. The next week-an-a-half my back blistered and peeled, but it was worth it! (5) In one game, I tied for the T-Bird lead for home runs. After not hitting a home run all year, I recently decided to hit two in one game. That was fun, I should think about doing that more often. (6) Six consecutive games without recording a putout in left field. That stretch of 162 outs without a catch was rather discouraging, but I finally caught a ball and it is now hanging in my trophy room. (7) No road games at San Quentin State Prison this year. Last year, my team played several games at the prison but, unfortunately, this year we were not so lucky as to play San Quentin (aptly named the Pirates). (8) For our home games, we have a staff-to-fan ration of nearly 1-to-1. I have no idea why our team employs so many people to just stand around and smile. I guess they are promoting happiness throughout the stadium, but I think they should concentrate on attracting more fans. (9) Back to my host family; it was great when I arrived and they told me that they had lined me up with a host girlfriend and her name was Noelle, just like my girlfriend. I was really excited when I met her, and strangely enough, they looked very similar. It is weird how things work out, isn’t it? (10) And my last highlight of the summer (drumroll please) … being able to go to my favorite burrito stand and order giant burritos everyday. Tannya’s Taqueria, thank you for bringing so much joy to my life! Well, that is about it for my summer in review. Overall, it has been nice to be back living at home, in California, and playing baseball in a competitive league. Sadly, the summer has flown by but luckily South Bend is anxiously awaiting my return. I already talked to my advisor and, supposedly, there will be a welcoming party for me at South Bend airport Sunday, August 22. Hopefully everyone reading this will be able to attend. Don’t worry, refreshments will be served along with a small party favor. Thank you to everyone reading this for their support, I couldn’t have done it without you all. And, of course, how could I not say it, I would not be a true Notre Damer, if I did not say Go Irish! Love, Steve Andres