July 12, 2003
The Summer Baseball Diaries have made their return to und.com and one of the most popular participants from last summer’s diaries, rising senior catcher Javi Sanchez, is the first to report from the Northwoods League with the Madison Mallards (where he just was named to the league all-star game). The rest of the Summer Diary schedule (dates are approximate) is as follows:
July 16 – Matt Macri (Brewster Whitecaps; Cape Cod League)
July 21 – Tom Thornton (Newport Gulls; Northeast League)
July 26 – Matt Edwards (Waynesboro Gernerals; Shenandoah League)
July 31 – Greg Lopez (Delaware Cows; Great Lakes League)
Aug. 5 – Craig Cooper (Hays Larks; Jayhawk League)
Aug. 10 – Matt Bransfield (Colorado Sox; Rocky Mountain League)
Notre Dame Baseball 2003 Summer Diaries (Entry #1, Javi Sanchez; July 12)
Hello Irish Fans. This is Javi Sanchez, checking in from Madison, the capital city of Wisconsin. I am playing in the Northwoods League for the Madison Mallards, and honestly I could not have asked for a better situation.
I am living with junior pitcher Tyler Jones and playing alongside senior first baseman Joe Thaman. We live just outside of Madison, in a county called McFarland. Tyler and I are staying with the Voelker family. John and Becky Voelker are my host parents. Ross (10) & Jay (5) are my little host brothers.
Ross is a stud baseball player and he recently was selected for his all-star team. Ross is also the best batboy I have ever seen. I wish we could ship him in for all the games at the Eck (where we of course already have a great batboy in Tommy Mainieri). Anytime you need something, Ross is on it. He is extremely passionate about the game, which is strange to see at such an early age.
On the other hand, Jay is a great athlete, but he’s more of an outdoorsman. He reminds me of a young Cody Rizzo, our sophomore outfielder and catcher back at Notre Dame. I live with a beautiful family and they have made Tyler and I feel as part of their family. The Voelker family provides so much for Tyler and me, besides a place to sleep every night.
For the past three years, I have been blessed with amazing host families and I thank them all. Our summers are made special because these families opened their doors to us, the Irish players.
As for baseball, our team won the first-half championship in te league. This feat guarantees us a spot in the playoffs at the end of the summer. I have been splitting time between catcher and third base. We have been playing some great all-around baseball. I really feel comfortable at the plate and I have worked to improve my running game.
As always, Joe Thaman is playing a solid first base and has been swinging well as of late. Tyler Jones threw six complete innings in his first start and only gave up two runs. Since then, Tyler has been pitching out of the bullpen for the Mallards.
The Madison Mallards have amazing fans and we average close to 4,000 fans at every home game. It’s pretty exciting and we are easily motivated to play every night. For the most part, we get to the field everyday around 3:15pm for a 7:05pm game start. As you can see, we don’t have much time on our hands, because most of it is spent at the ballpark. The little free time that I do have, I spend working out, fishing or reading.
The guys on the team are great. We all get along well, which is rare to see on a summer-league team. Actually, I have embraced an enemy. Mike Rozema, who is the starting shortstop for St. John’s University, plays shortstop for the Mallards. Mike is a great player, but more than that he is a remarkable person. I enjoy playing baseball with him because he concerns himself with the right things on and off the field. Our team has great character and I learn a lot playing alongside some talented individuals.
Already, I consider this a productive summer. I am looking forward to playing in the playoffs, because that experience prepares me for the many pressure-packed situations I will encounter over the course of a collegiate season. I would like to say hello to my fellow seniors (in addition to Joe), Zach Sisko, Cody Wilkins and Steve Sollmann.
Hopefully, all you Irish fans are enjoying your summer as much as I am. Lastly, I just want all my Irish teammates to know that I miss them a lot and I hope you guys are as excited as I am to get after it in the fall.