Jan. 1, 2004

With the dawning of the New Year, the countdown has begun for the start of Notre Dame’s 2004 baseball season. The Irish – already ranked 10th in the first national preseason poll – head into the 10th season of the Paul Mainieri era looking to add to the legacy of success for a program that dates back to 1892 and includes more than 800 former ND baseball monogram winners – and www.und.com is your destination for preseason features and releases about the 2004 Notre Dame baseball team and the great tradition of the Irish program.

Starting with the Jan. 2 release of Baseball America’s preseason All-America team, the countdown-to-opening-day will include offerings such as: weekly practice reports; audio extras and photo galleries; various preseason national polls and awards; ND Baseball History Book entries; a “Catching Up With” series featuring former ND baseball players (such as current Indiana governor Joe Kernan); and a weekly ND Baseball Trivia Corner.

Note that all audio features are available to those with a College Sports Pass subscription, which includes game-by-game internet audio feeds of the entire 2004 ND baseball season (plus other ND sports events, a wide selection of archived audio and access to audio from many other schools that are part of the OCSN College Sports Pass network).

Several press releases and game reports from 2003 summer ball and the ’03 fall season also are available in the baseball news archive at und.com, including:

* Summer baseball diary entries from various returning players


* Mainieri’s comments (text and audio) about the progress of the freshman class during fall ball


* Updated biographical information on the current freshman class, rated by Baseball America as the nation’s No. 6 incoming class


* Game reports from the Blue-Gold intrasquad series




* Early preseason polls and awards from Collegiate Baseball magazine and the BIG EAST Conference


* An inside look at Notre Dame’s 2004 schedule


Here is the tentative schedule, leading up to the Feb. 20 opener vs. San Diego State at the USC Classic (check back for alterations to schedule):

Week of Jan. 1-4

* Jan. 2 – Baseball America preseason All-America team (link: http://und.ocsn.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/010204aaa.html)

* Jan. 3 – Academic Excellence: the Irish baseball program just turned in yet another impressive semester in the classroom (link: http://und.ocsn.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/010304aaa.html)

* Jan. 4 – Catching Up With … Jeff Perconte and Matt Nussbaum: former Irish players are on their way to success, via the Notre Dame Law School (link: http://und.ocsn.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/010504aaa.html)

Week of Jan. 5-11

* Jan. 5 – Baseball America preseason top-50 poll (link: http://und.ocsn.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/010504aab.html)

* Jan. 5 – Ticket sales begin for Notre Dame’s third annual Opening Night Dinner, featuring keynote speaker John Grisham (Feb. 5 at the Joyce Center) (link: http://und.ocsn.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/010504aac.html)

* Jan. 8 – ND Baseball History Book: Alumni Award Winners, recent honorees include several associated with ND baseball (Jim Gillis, Harry Durkin and Frank Eck) (link: http://und.ocsn.com/genrel/010804aaa.html)

* Jan. 9 – Summer Ball Recap: final stats for ND’s current players in 2003 summer leagues and former ND players in pro baseball during the ’03 season (link: http://und.ocsn.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/011004aaa.html)

Week of Jan. 12-18

* Jan. 13 – Preseason coaches and writers polls released (link: http://und.ocsn.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/011304aaa.html)

* Jan. 16 – Audio Extra: a visit with first-year Notre Dame assistant Terry Rooney, who will discuss the team’s deep pool of pitching talent (link: http://und.ocsn.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/011604aaa.html)

* Jan. 17 – ND baseball captains Steve Sollmann, Javi Sanchez and Chris Niesel are set to lead the Irish in 2004 (link: http://und.ocsn.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/011304aaa.html)

Week of Jan. 19-25

* Jan. 19 – Notre Dame Baseball Trivia Corner #1 (link: http://und.ocsn.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/011904aaa.html)

* Jan. 21 – Audio Extra: Notre Dame assistant coach and recruiting coordinator David Grewe provides his insights on the Notre Dame position players heading into the 2004 season (link: http://und.ocsn.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/012104aaa.html)

* Jan. 25 – Best of the Best: A look at the various preseason lists of top prospects, top tools, etc., for ND players and the 2004 Irish opponents (http://und.ocsn.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/012504aaa.html)

Week of Jan. 26-Feb. 1

* Jan. 27 – Audio Extra : Head coach Paul Mainieri provides some overview thoughts and specific comments on the 2004 season (link: http://und.ocsn.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/020104aaa.html)

* Jan. 31 – 2003 Season in Review: relive last season’s exciting 45-18 run (link: http://und.ocsn.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/013104aaa.html)

* Feb. 1 – ND Baseball 2004 Season Preview

* Feb. 1 – Report from the first official day of 2004 practice

* Feb. 1 – Catching Up With … Cory Mee and Mike Amrhein, the former Irish greats are set to start the season as the respective head coach and the volunteer assistant at Toledo University

* Feb. 1 – Waiting For Grisham … First-year Notre Dame baseball volunteer assistant coach John Gumpf has a wide assortment of duties with the Irish baseball team, including serving as point man for the upcoming Opening Night Dinner featuring John Grisham. Week of Feb. 2-8

* Feb. 2 – Where are They Now?: An update on the former Notre Dame players from the Paul Mainieri era

* Feb. 2 – Inside the Irish Lineup Card: ND hopes to maximize its overall effectiveness in 2004 with various position shifts

* Feb. 2 – Notre Dame Baseball Trivia Corner #2

Feb. 2 – Freshman Bio’s – take a look at the first-year players who have joined the Notre Dame baseball program, comprising the nation’s No. 6-ranked freshman class.

* Feb. 3 – ND Baseball History Book: Dan Peltier, the first ND baseball player ever to couple All-America and Academic All-America honors, played several seasons in the big leagues and remains an avid supporter of the Irish baseball program

Feb. 3 – Sophomore Bio’s – Notre Dame’s second-year players were not as highly-rated coming out of high school as the current junior and freshman classes but the sophomore class likely will play a big role in the 2004 season.

* Feb. 4 – Catching Up With … former ND baseball players Rick Chryst (commissioner of the Mid-American Conference) and Mike Bobinski (Xavier University athletic director)

*Feb. 4 – Junior Bio’s – The nation’s top-ranked freshman class in 2004 now comprises many of the leaders for the Irish baseball program.

Feb. 5 – Behind the Scenes: longtime ND associate athletic trainer Mike Bean is one of the hidden secrets behind the ND baseball program’s continued success

* Feb. 5 – Audio Extra: Comments from the Opening Night Dinner, featuring keynote speaker John Grisham and former Notre Dame All-American Steve Stanley

*Feb. 5 – Senior Bio’s – this group has it all, ranging from a four-year starter and All-American to players who have undergone major position shifts and valuable reserves.

* Feb. 6 – A recap from the Opening Night Dinner

* Feb. 6 – Photo Gallery: see highlights from the Opening Night Dinner

* Feb. 6 – Inside the Irish Lineup Card: Battling Back, junior righthander Grant Johnson is looking forward to a big return in 2004, after missing the ’03 season due to a shoulder injury

* Feb. 7 – Notre Dame Baseball Trivia Corner #3

* Feb. 7 – Catching Up With … former ND baseball players Joe Kernan (current governor of Indiana) and Dick Nussbaum (an accomplished South Bend lawyer and current member of the ND Monogram Club)

* Feb. 8 – ND Baseball History Book: Steve Andres and Jess Stewart follow in the footsteps, respectively, of their great-grandfather and grandfather as ND baseball players

* Feb. 8 – Weekly practice report

Week of Feb. 9-15

* Feb. 9 – ND Baseball History Book: Gene Duffy , the centerfielder for ND’s 1957 College World Series team went on to become a beloved coach and administrator at Creighton, with the Big Eight and with the CWS, before his tragic death at a young age

* Feb. 10 – Catching Up With … Bob Stratta and Angelo Capozzi, two of several former ND baseball players who have gone on to noteworthy careers in medicine

* Feb. 10 – Inside the Irish Lineup Card: outfield options are aplenty for the Irish in 2004

* Feb. 11 – Notre Dame Baseball A-Z: an updated glossary of Notre Dame baseball history

* Feb. 12 – Audio Extra: Senior catcher Javi Sanchez provides his unique insights on the 2004 season and the ND baseball program

* Feb. 13 – Notre Dame Baseball Trivia Corner #4

* Feb. 14 – Catching Up With … Tommy Hawkins, Vince Naimoli and Joe Garagiola, Jr. (three former ND students who now are top-ranking administrators with Major League Baseball teams)

* Feb. 15 – Weekly practice report

Week of Feb. 16-22

* Feb. 16 – Season-Opening Game Notes – get caught up on the Irish and their first three opponents, with opening day just four days away

* Feb. 17 – 20 Questions With …Cody Rizzo, the sophomore outfielder is quickly emerging as one of ND’s top players

* Feb. 18 – Behind the Scenes: Frank Eck, the benefactor of Notre Dame baseball and 1944 ND grad has an interesting life story that includes an unquenchable love for the game of baseball.

* Feb. 19 – Catching Up With … Brad Lidge, Aaron Heilman and Craig Counsell reflect on life in the Big Leagues and their experiences at Notre Dame

* Feb. 20 – Decade of Excellence: A look back at the coaching career of Paul Mainieri, now in his 10th season at Notre Dame and 22nd overall as a college head baseball coach

* Feb. 20 – The Irish open the 2004 season vs. San Diego State at the USC Classic