July 16, 2004
The popular Summer Baseball Diaries at und.com have returned for 2004 and rising junior Matt Bransfield has checked in as the first of eight who will report from their wood-bat summer leagues during the next month (see Summer Diary link on baseball page at und.com for ’02 and ’03 Summer Diaries). Bransfield had a stellar 2003 summer with the with the Colorado Sox (.381, 12 HR, 36 RBI) and again is swinging a hot ball in the summer of ’04 as a member of the Waynesboro (Va.) Generals of the Valley League.
Bransfield – who recently was selected for the Valley League All-Star game – ranks third in the league in doubles (8) and is eighth among the league’s players with a team-best .326 batting average. He also leads the Generals (10-21) in home runs (3), RBI (16) and slugging pct. (.505) while ranking second on the team in hits (31-for-95), on-base pct. (.383) and stolen bases (7-of-9), plus third in runs (13). His other stats, as of July 16, included 8 walks, 2 hit-by-pitch, 21 strikeouts, 2 sac. flies, 3 errors and a .977 fielding pct. while splitting his 25 starts between mostly right field (11) and catcher (10, plus a pair of starts at 1st base and one each at LF and DH).
The diary schedule is listed below (as is Bransfield’s entry) while the following link provides recent updates and team wesbite addresses for all of ND’s 2004 summer players:
Notre Dame Baseball 2004 Summer Diaries:
Thur., July 15 – Matt Bransfield (Waynesboro, VA, Generals; Shenandoah Valley League)
Mon., July 19 – Craig Cooper (Brewster Whitecaps; Cape Cod League)
Thur., July 22 – Matt Edwards (Mat-Su Miners; Alaska LEague)
Mon., July 26 – Dan Kapala (Delaware, OH, Cows; Great Lakes League)
Thur., July 29 – Danny Dressman (Faquier, VA, Gators’ Clark-Griffith League)
Mon., Aug. 2 – Tom Thornton (Wareham Gatemen; Cape Cod League)
Thur., Aug. 6 – Sean Gaston (Waterloo, IA, Bucks; Northwoods League)
Mon., Aug. 9 – Steve Andres (Solano Thunderbirds; California League)
Summer Baseball Diary Entry #1 – Matt Bransfield, Waynesboro Generals (July 16 2004)
Greetings Irish fans. This is Matt Bransfield checking in from Waynesboro, Virginia where I am playing ball with teammate Scott Bickford in the Valley Baseball League for the Waynesboro Generals. Waynesboro is about 30 minutes away from Charlottesville, where the University of Virginia is and where coach O’Connor now coaches.
I couldn’t have asked for a better living situation. My host parents are Tim and Robyn Riley and my host brothers are Matt (15) and Chipper (11). They have all treated me as another member of their loving family. Matt is a stellar guitar player and on the local all-star team for his age group. He also sings and acts so, basically, the kid does it all.
Chipper is just a stud. He is always hitting home runs or shutting people down on the mound. He is also an all-star for his age so this makes me about the third or fourth-best baseball player just in the Riley household. I’m also told that Chipper is the heartthrob for all the 11-year-old girls in this area and I’m sure it’s true. I have just yet to witness it in action.
As for baseball, the Generals are currently riding a two-game winning streak. Although we own a record of 11-21, we are making a late-season push towards the playoffs. We have lost countless one-run games and many other tough ballgames but our team has shown a lot of character to bounce back and keep working hard. We have been riddled with injuries and early departures but the team keeps pressing on with the guys that are left. We are down to three or four guys for relief pitching. Bickford has been our go-to-guy and nearly unhittable out of the ‘pen. He has got us out of tight situation after tight situation, always either keeping the lead or keeping us close. With us not having the luxury of a full roster of guys, we have had to battle as a team and pull together.
I have played every game since I have arrived, splitting time behind the dish, in right field, a few games at first base and I have batted in the middle of the order for most of the year. Our bus trips range from 30 minutes to three hours to travel to certain away games.
The Waynesboro Generals average about 100 to 200 fans a game and there are always young kids playing pickle or five-hundred down the rightfield line. Although our crowd may not be as big as other ballparks, they are just as into the game and always ready to remind an umpire, as one man did earlier this season, that the word idiot is indeed spelled I-D-I-O-T.
A typical day for me usually starts at around 10:00 a.m. at my job, which is on the field for the work crew. Our owner pays a few members of each summer’s team to keep the field in order and this has the title of work crew. Along with Scott Bickford and myself, the work crew also includes Brandon Selvog from Tennessee Tech and Josh Drew from Georgia Southwestern. Brandon, known by friends and teammates as Boo, usually mumbles through a southern accent so we don’t really pay a whole lot of attention to him but love him anyway. Josh’s favorite thing to do in the entire world is cut our outfield grass on the city’s John Deere mower.
After we are done working on the field, which can take up to 3 or 4 hours, some days I usually head to the local YMCA for a workout. Then, I generally have about a 2- to 3-hour block before I have to be at the field for batting practice or leave for that night’s game. There is not a lot of free time but that is the life of a summer baseball player. With my free time I usually read, work out or watch tv, or see a movie. We saw “Anchorman” with Will Ferrel and we all thought that it was just super-duper.
Well, that’s my summer in a nutshell so I hope that you enjoyed reading my journal and I hope your summer is going as well as mine is. To all my teammates, I miss you guys and I hope your summers are going well. I ‘ll see you in the fall.
Farewell and Go Irish!