Inside the Dugout with Matt Florer
April 12, 2011
"Ain't done nothin' `til you sweep."- Coach Ward
What a way to open up conference. It was a complete team effort from the Lions this past weekend, as the Lions traveled north for their conference battle at Santa Clara. With great pitching, timely hitting, intelligent base running and stellar defense all weekend, the Lions hope to continue these important fundamentals as now they have there eyes set on this week's midweek game against #8 Cal State Fullerton, as well as a battle for first place in conference, against #24 Gonzaga, this upcoming weekend. As all these games will be played at Page Stadium, come out to support your Lions as this will be the most important week for LMU's baseball program in quite sometime.
With so many nominees for this week's "Zoo Crew Member of the Week", it was a difficult decision to narrow it down to just one. But since there is always a winner and always a loser, this week's award goes out to senior Jason Barmasse, as he introduced us to what may now become a Lion tradition for decades to come. As some of you readers may know, Jason takes charge in the Lions dugout as he has been appointed dugout captain for the majority of this 2011 season. Before last week's departure to Santa Clara, Jason out-did himself again as he introduced the team to the "Championship Belts" that are commonly worn by WWE Pro Wrestlers when they are crowned champions of the world. Jason is entitled to his own belt for the time being, as he has rightfully deserved it for being champion of the handball court that has now been created in one of the baseball houses. He also has deemed the other one of his belts as the "Tag Team Championship Belt" - for the pair of Lions that work best together on or off the field. As Jonathan Johnson and Shon Roe held the belt for most of the weekend, due to their savvy defensive plays up the middle, the "Florhan" (Matt Florer and Nick Truhan) ended up walking away from the weekend as champions of the tag team belt for their dynamic dancing skills on the bus following the sweep over Santa Clara. Now you readers have been warned, just in case you think how odd it may be to see golden championship belts being raised above a player's head and carried around the field. Thank you Jason, as I am sure this tradition will continue for years to come.
Finally, this week's shout-outs:
1. As mentioned in my previous blog, I brought up the dedication of UCI's "Superfan". Now I would like to give respect to our own Superfan, Russell Johnson (Jonathan Johnson's father). Over the past four years, there has been no fan that has come close to showing the dedication and support that Mr. Johnson has. Not only will you find Mr. Johnson at every home game, he also travels with the team, as I do not remember an away game that he was not in attendance. As Johnny will be graduating this upcoming May, we hope that Mr. Johnson will still continue to drop by every so often to come support our future Lion teams. Thank you, Mr. Johnson!
2. My second shout out of the week goes out to "stat girl". Ellen, who is normally just refereed to as stat girl, made her first ever road trip with the team this past weekend. I don't know how she dealt with all of us guys on the long bus rides from LA to Santa Clara, but she seemed to do just fine when talking with her for a short bit. As stat girl in a way acts more like an AYSO team mom - handing out snacks and drinks to the players of the team - she is most commonly used by the coaching staff as she delivers them their requested coffee drinks before each game. Ellen, I told you I would not make fun of you on the blog. Next time is fair game though!
3. My final shout out of the week goes out to the biggest attraction of our trip to Santa Clara, the Campbell Hooters! As we arrived at our hotel Thursday night, we were all hungry from the long bus ride. As a small group of us set our eyes on finding anywhere to eat, we could not pass up on the Hooters location that was roughly a 10-minute walk from our hotel. Of course we went for the world famous wings and fried pickles, but we also made great friends with the hostesses that just so happened to serve our table. After leaving a great tip for our hostess Amanda (who can be found as "Ms. February" in the national Hooters calendar), we were invited to return the following nights in our stay at Santa Clara. The Campbell hostesses told us that they were now Lion fans for life, but we will see how true they are to their words when the next visiting team comes in for a bite to eat.
Come out to Page Stadium and help root on your Lions, as there is no more of an important time in the year than now...GO LIONS!
March 24, 2011
Hello to all of my blog followers. To be honest with all of you, it is really difficult for me to try to describe in words this past week's games. First off, we knew the importance of this past weekend's games against #14 UC Irvine, and to only come away with one win was something we were not planning on or expecting. Also, a midweek loss to Long Beach State left the Lions with a bitter taste in our mouths, as we now must prepare for a weekend battle with Cal State Northridge. As we will reflect on what we need to improve on during Wednesday's and Thursday's practices, we are all looking forward to getting back on the field to face the Matadors starting this Friday.
The Zoo Crew is real! Congratulations to Jimmy Bagwell for winning this week's "Zoo Crew Member of the Week" award. (Yes, it might not be posted on our roster, but Jeff Bagwell's younger brother Jimmy is on our team). It is clear to the rest of the team that the coaching staff's favorite player is Jimmy, as coaches are now commonly calling out, "Lets go Jimmy!", to whoever may be hitting at the plate or pitching on the mound. Even though you would think we would be jealous of Jimmy, Jimbo is a one of a kind teammate. He puts away his own time to help out teammates with advice that older brother Jeff has passed onto his younger brother. As Jimmy has told us countless stories of Jeff's Major League career, one story Jimmy seems to always mention is how Jeff and Tony Gwynn became best friends while playing against each other at the Big League level. Earlier last week when the Lions faced Tony Gwynn's San Diego State team, it was an exciting moment for the Bagwell family to say the least. Even though older brother Jeff could not make the game, (Jimmy told us he was playing in a celebrity golf tournament) Jimmy and "Uncle Tony" were once again reunited. When asked by Coach Silva and Coach Ward about the closeness that Jimmy has with former Major Leaguer Tony Gwynn, Jimmy stated, "Uncle Tony has always been a big part of my life. He has watched me play baseball ever since I could remember and has been to every one of my birthday parties growing up." Jimmy, thanks for your continuing insight about older brother Jeff, as now you have been rightfully awarded with this week's "Zoo Crew Member of the Week" award.
And finally, a couple of this week's shout-outs:
1. First shout out of the week goes to UC Irvine's "Superfan". Even though us Lion players, and I am sure fans who were in attendance to any of this past weekend's games against UC Irvine, thought that Superfan might have taken his cheering a little too far, you have to give the man credit and respect for his loyalty to his team. But why this shout out goes out to Superfan is for his comment he made when I (Matt Florer) was taking the mound during Saturday's second game. As you fans may already know, whenever I take the mound out of the bullpen I come out to a hardcore/rock song that has some screaming in it. When Superfan heard this song he exclaimed, "Ra Ra Ra, Devil". As I had to try to keep my composure while warming up, I couldn't help but smiling at this comment. When I came back into the dugout teammates were swarming me with jokes and impersonations of this comment. Thanks Superfan!
2. My final shout out of the week goes out to the collective bunch of Matt Lowenstein, Sean McIntyre, Jason Barmasse and Nick Truhan. As Matt and Sean needed to create a video for a class project, they turned to the masterminds of Jason and Nick to help them create this documentary and inspirational video of Lions catcher Steven Duenas. No words can explain how touching of a piece this video has become. Please follow the link below or search "DUENAS" on YouTube, to enjoy this heart warming video, as I am sure one day it will be used as an ESPN 30 for 30 Classic.
I hoped you enjoyed the video. Come out and support your Lions at Page Stadium on Saturday (1 p.m.) against Cal State Northridge, or next Wednesday against UC Santa Barbara (3 p.m.), and remember...GO LIONS!
March 17, 2011
Happy St. Patty's Day to all of my readers! As the 2011 season is quickly moving, it is amazing to think that another week of play has gone by in a blink of an eye. This past week was the first true road test for the 2011 Lions, as they eventually went on to split the series against Cal Poly. Also, another midweek test against Tony Gwynn's San Diego State team, led to another big win for the club. Looking now at our 12-6 record, it is something that we are pleased about, but nowhere close to being satisfied with. As we move into the weekend's series vs. #14 UC Irvine, we realize that these games will now become the biggest games we have played so far. Not only does their national ranking add fuel to the fire, but so does our coaching staff's close ties with this program. All I can promise you readers is that this is going to be fun to watch.
As I mentioned in last week's addition of Inside the Dugout, I had the chance to interview "Draw Dogs" President Jason Barmasse, as he described what the Draw Dogs were and also his reaction to John Lally's previous comments involving the Dogs.
MF: Welcome Jason and thanks for joining this week's segment of Inside the Dugout. Now Jason, please describe to me who the Draw Dogs are?
JB: That's a good question. Let me first reinstate what the Llig Lounge is, to best describe the Dogs. The Llig Lounge is a group of squirrelly kids who draw their inspiration from the coaches and players. Now the Dogs, the Dogs consist of all the hitters. We basically do what the Llig Lounge does, but just on our side of the dugout.
MF: Jason, what are your thoughts of John Lally's comments saying that the Llig Lounge is the "first line of defense" and that "when the team is in a key situation, they all look to the Llig for support"?
JB: He came in a little hot right there, came in a little hot. But the Llig Lounge is loud, they're repetitive and very unoriginal. See, the Draw Dogs are the originality of the dugout. We come up with all the spectacular sayings, and it seems like the Llig Lounge then turns to the Dogs and give a little "ohhh"...and then repeat what the Draw Dogs have said.
MF: Straight to the point Jason, how is the relationship between the Draw Dogs and the Llig Lounge?
JB: You know what, that is a very tricky question Matthew. At first the relationship was very competitive and rocky. It kind of led to a nice little animosity in the dugout. However now, to my understanding, there was the "Treaty of Guadeloupe Llig Dogo". So now we seem to feed positive energy off each other.
MF: Jason, what is your specific role as President of the Dogs?
JB: Well you know what, I don't look at myself as a President. I look at the Dogs as a democracy, which is led by the ambassadors such as myself, Nicholas Devian and Nicklaus Truhan. We all have times where we come up with original sayings. There's no dictatorship like the Llig.
MF: Can you give my readers examples of these original "sayings" the Dogs commonly go to?
JB: Well here, I'll give you a few sayings. For example, when Jonathan Johnson is at the plate, we like to, "keep our swing SHORT", or "have a LITTLE Q", or "SHORT through the ball", and "get a SMALL Q". Or when closer Ryan Hawthorne is on the mound, we say, "HAWK and firing". You know what I'm saying, what I'm saying, when I say that? Just originality that the Llig can't come up with by themselves.
MF: Final question Jason. Before every game, while the Llig pitchers are warming up, you bring up the Draw Dogs and I have been told you give some words of wisdom that you bestow upon the Dog Members. Please elaborate.
JB: Oh I can elaborate. Well, as you know, it is tough to pump the team up for 58 games a year. So I give my life lessons and some metaphors of life to keep the team loose. I tend to tell stories in which the opposing team's mascot is involved. Some stories, for example, are referred to as: "The Riverside", "The Wolf Pack", "The Mustang Horse Race", "The Dirtbag", "The Titan Tumble" and most recently "The Aztec Warrior". For further information you can read Jason Barmasse's blog or something like that.
MF: Thank you, Jason, as it is always entertaining to have you around.
John Lally, welcome to the honored club! You have now won your first "Zoo Crew Member of the Week" award. As everyone knows by now, Lally leads the Llig Lounge not only as the acting President, but also influences the decisions of when to start certain rallies or not. During Friday night's game at Cal Poly, Lally started what has now become known as the "Teddy `Silva' Graham Rally". John reached into his bag of tricks and pulled some Teddy Grahams from his pitching bag. As most food rallies go, the person in charge hands out the specific food to each member of the team to hopefully start up a rally. But John took this a little too far, as his Llig Lounge was eventually called out by the coaches for being "too squirrelly". John was marching back and forth, from one side of the dugout to the other, with the Teddy Graham package held high screaming things that God only knows. The next day, advisors of the Llig Lounge were talked to by the coaching staff as we eventually came to realize we took this too far. For punishment, the Llig was suspended for both of Saturday's games. John has now learned his lesson, as he will be making his apology via video press conference at a later date.
Lastly, this week's lone shout-out:
1. Shout-out to Steve Duenas for his epic attempt at Applebees' Friday Night Karaoke, during our visit to Cal Poly. After Friday night's game, the majority of the team decided to eat at the Applebees right near our hotel. What we did not know was that every Friday night was open karaoke night for all dining at Applebees. During practices, Steve is always found singing to himself as he has told us he believes he has an angelic voice. As we normally tend to do, we forced Steve to show off his talent, as he took the stage singing Boston's "More Than A Feeling". Before belting a note, with the mic in hand, Steve asked the crowd if they were all ready for the "featured presentation"? The crowd seemed to ignore the comment as Steve continued on to sing his little heart out. Only missing a few notes, we commend Steve for his valiant effort. Steve is already preparing for his summer audition of American Idol in New York City, while he will also be trying to balance out playing in the Cape yet again this summer. Good luck Steven!
Readers, we need all your support this weekend as it is the biggest series of the year so far! Please try to come out to Saturday or Sunday's game at Page Stadium against UC Irvine, or Tuesday's home game versus Long Beach State. And remember...GO LIONS!
March 10, 2011
Hi Everybody! Thanks for continuing to follow my blog. As many of you readers may know, this past weekend brought a split series for the Lions, as we were facing a very experienced Hawaii baseball club. Every series you go in looking for the sweep, or at the very least to win the series, but this past weekend's 2-2 split is nothing to hang our heads about. Of course we would have loved to walk away with one, or even two more wins, but this past weekend was a great test for the Lions as every game could have gone either way, which helped us learn a lot about ourselves and more importantly our team. Our ultimate team goal is that we want to improve day-by-day and series-by-series so that we can be in full stride as the season progresses through the WCC schedule and hopefully into a WCC Championship and NCAA Tournament berth. We believe we did improve against Hawaii, and hope to keep on improving as we move into this weekend's series at Cal Poly.
As mentioned in last week's addition of Inside the Dugout, I had the chance to sit down with junior pitcher John Lally to discuss what the "Llig Lounge" is, and his role as the acting President.
MF: John, thanks for joining us for this week's edition of Inside the Dugout with Matt Florer. Now John, can you please explain what the "Llig Lounge" is?
JL: Always an honor to be accompanied by you, Matthew... but to answer your question, the Llig Lounge has become an establishment created by the pitching staff. This year we have a new organized dugout in which we the pitchers have our own side of the dugout to keep to ourselves. But what the Llig Lounge brings is a sense of pride and supportiveness to the whole team as a unit.
MF: John please explain to my readers your own personal role as President of the Llig Lounge, and the other roles that the remaining pitchers make up to create the Llig Lounge?
JL: Yes I have been given the honor of being President of the prestigious Llig Lounge. But we all know that you, Matt Florer, have been appointed as my Vice President...
MF: Thank you John.
JL: ...well as President, I have the responsibility to make sure all members of the Llig are cheering, screaming and supporting the team. Being "squirrelly" at all times. And I make sure the younger members do not get out of line. But if I am not able to be in control, I hand the authority to you, or third in charge, Alex Gillingham, who is the Secretary of Defense.
MF: Please inform our reader of the role that freshman Jacob Smigelski brings to the Llig, John?
JL: Matthew, he uses this line "use your experience." He likes to yell it in key at-bats or big situations. It is basically for the guys that are juniors and seniors that we rely on for quality at-bats. It always seems to excite the dugout, and make us cheer even louder.
MF: To wind things down John, I will be interviewing Jason Barmasse next week and his role as President of the "Draw Dogs".
JL: Oh those Draw Dogs.
MF: Wow John, a little hostile right there. Can you please explain the relationship between the Draw Dogs and the Llig Lounge?
JL: Well the Draw Dogs recently originated this past weekend as the position players were feeling a little left out by not belonging to such a prestigious group such as the Llig. The Draw Dogs try cheering as loud as we do, but everyone knows that if it is a key situation in a game, the bench turns to the Llig Lounge. We are the first line of defense. We appreciate what the Dogs are trying to do, and respect their efforts while looking at our team as a whole, but they shouldn't be surprised when I say that we are more powerful.
MF: John thank you for your time. It will be interesting to hear what the Draw Dogs have to say to these remarks next week. But you are now officially off the Hot Seat.
JL: Thank you Matt. Anytime. Llig!
What a week for freshman Bret Dahlson. Not only did he receive the WCC Player of the Week, but more importantly is taking home the Zoo Crew Member of the Week. There is no easy way to really describe Bret's personality other than saying that Bret is what many people may call the ultimate flirt. If it's flirting with professors, employee's of the Lair, student-athletes in the training room, or even teammates, he finds a way to try to show off his charm. Over this past weekend Bret took another step in his college flirting career by finding a way to even flirt during a game. Bret was involved in a bang-bang play, which forced him to slide into second base. When he came back into the dugout, he noticed some bleeding on his forearms that he thought needed medical attention. To make a long story short, Bret found a way to flirt with our training staff while being attended to in the dugout. This flirting ended with some of the trainers pulling at his hair, as he had to leave them to take the field. (Definitely child's play, but a technique of flirting to say the least). Older experienced teammates such as myself, Ramiro Carreon and Martin Viramontes, who noticed this in-game flirting, could only shake our heads as this pup has so much to learn. The team has come to the decision that we will only allow this as long as he is bringing home Player of the Week honors on a weekly basis. Way to win a week, Bret!
Lastly, here are this week's shout-outs:
1. Shout-out to John Lally and Sean McIntyre for single-handedly allowing the Lions to win Thursday's and Sunday's games not by their talents, but by their leadership in the dugout. As baseball players try finding the most bizarre ways to start rallies, Lally took charge of his Llig Lounge Thursday by starting up the five-run, 6th-inning "Beef Jerky" rally that allowed the Lions to come back and beat the Rainbows. Lally was passing around his Jack Link's Beef Jerky to members of the Llig , while also cheering and yelling only using the words or sayings that were found on the Jack Link's package. If you were in attendance Thursday and heard screaming from the dugout such as "prime premium cut" or "messing with sasquatch," don't be alarmed. We were not doing this for no apparent reason, or using the sasquatch reference to describe Sean McIntyre's "Big Foot" nickname, this was just a way of helping the Lions rally to a come-from-behind win. As for Mac, (Sean McIntyre) Sunday's 6th-inning, four-run rally will always be remembered as the "Inning that Mac Spoke." Mac is a quiet guy who usually only utters a couple of words a game, but he made it a point in Sunday's sixth inning that he was ready to be rowdy. With the whole dugout and coaching staff surprised to hear Mac ultimately leading the dugout with his cheering, the Lions went on to score the four runs that led to the series split. Nice work Mac!
2. My final shout-out of the week goes to Alex Gillingham and his choice of pitching song that is played before each one of his home starts. Alex, whose favorite movie is Top Gun, comes out to Kenny Loggin's 80's hit Danger Zone. Alex has told me that he really believes he belongs in the U.S. flying school for advanced fighter pilots, which led to his song choice. If any of you readers are walking around campus and see a man wearing a white undershirt, leather jacket, jeans, aviator glasses and dog tags, I am guaranteeing you it is Gilly (Alex Gillingham), as he has told me he commonly wears this to get into his alter ego mode.
Join me next week as I will be with "Draw Dogs" President Jason Barmasse for a one on one exclusive interview. Make sure to follow your Lions as they head to Cal Poly for this weekend's four-game series, and also as we return home Tuesday to face San Diego State. And remember...GO LIONS!
March 3, 2011
Hello Everyone! Welcome back to my blog. After another week of non-conference play, your Lions have now posted an impressive 7-2 record to start off the 2011 season. Even though a three-game sweep against visiting Nevada helped us keep our confidence to the start off what looks like to be a promising year, our midweek loss to #7 Cal State Fullerton was a tough one to swallow. Yes, looking at our week as a whole, going 3-1 is something to build off of and take pride in, but knowing the importance of each game, and realizing that we can compete with any team out there, every loss becomes a tough one. As our four-game series against a very good Hawaii team begins on Thursday, it will test the Lions, once again, on how quickly we can come up swinging after being knocked down.
But now, what I am sure most of you readers have been waiting for. The first ever recipient of the "Zoo Crew Member of the Week" award goes to...Drumroll please...
Congratulations to redshirt-senior pitcher Jeremy Burrell for winning this week's award! As many of you Lion fans who come out to the games may already know, Jeremy (J.B.) wears prescription athletic goggles to help him with his vision. (These goggles are commonly known around the campus as "broggles"- Burrell + goggles = "broggles"). During Friday's matchup against Nevada, J.B. was told by Coach Silva to get "hot" in the bullpen, as the plan was for him to enter the game. Unfortunately, after only two warm up pitches in the bullpen, the band that allows J.B. to adjust his broggles snapped undone due to the vicious tork J.B. displays from his pitching mechanics. J.B. asked for help from Coach Billy Traber to fix the broggles, but after many attempts of trying to fix them, the inning ended. This then forced J.B. to sit back down, ending his chance at an appearance that day. As there was frustration from the coaching staff to say the least, LMU Athletics has announced that there will be an upcoming game that will give away authentic J.B. broggles to the first 100 fans in attendance. (just kidding)
Lastly, here are a couple of shout-outs:
1. First one goes out to Sophomore Steve Duenas for his in-depth explanation of what his dream girl and dream date would consist of. Not only did his 30-minute description allow us to imagine what this girl may look like, but so did his facial expressions. Steve reminded me to let you readers know that he is currently single, and if any of my female readers are interested, to either come out to a game, talk to his roommate Sean McIntyre, or view his online E-Harmony Account to let him know of your existence.
2. My second shout-out goes out to my roommate Nick Truhan. Congratulations to Nick as he finally won his first career bin-match. For a little background of what a "bin-match" is, Lion baseball players will settle arguments or conflicts by wrestling each other in front of a packed locker room. Whoever can throw their opponent in the laundry bin first wins the bin-match. Nick now has a career record of 1-2 after calling out Steve Duenas, who "reportedly" told teammates that if he had to choose one teammate he would guarantee to strikeout, it would be Nick. Congrats to Nick, as it was much deserved and very due.
Stay tuned to next week's blog, as I will be interviewing junior pitcher John Lally. John will be discussing what the "Llig Lounge" is, and his role as President of this organization. Until then, come out to one of this weekend's games against Hawaii to support your Lions, as it will be the final home games before a week away from Page Stadium. GO LIONS!
February 25, 2011
Hello everyone, and welcome back to another year of LMU baseball. After trying to start this blog for quite sometime, school has taken a break which has now allowed for me to focus on the beginning of a weekly blog, allowing you readers to follow your 2011 Lion baseball team that much closer. My name is Matt Florer and I am in my second year pitching for the LMU Lions. I am new to this whole blogging thing, so please bare with me as this is also a new learning experience for myself. First off, I'd like to thank Geivo (Tyler Geivett) for not only allowing me, but also trusting me, to write this blog and hopefully keep readers well-informed and entertained of their team and favorite players throughout the 2011 season.
With that said, as you followers can already tell, the 2011 Lions may have many familiar faces, but the team has a completely new look and nature about the way we play the game. After the first week of play we are out to a 4-1 start, which has only been done six other times since the 1976 season. This year we return a well-experienced team with a couple of returning All-Conference players and players that have played pivotal roles on past teams. Though we are off to a great start, Coach Gill stresses his importance of the "three P's" (staying in the present, staying positive, and sticking with the process), which forces us to continue to look at what we can do better now in order to help us succeed tomorrow.
As for keeping the readers of this blog entertained, I plan on making weekly shout-outs while also including the newest feature of Lion Baseball by awarding a weekly winner of the most prestigious and coveted award - the "Zoo Crew Member of the Week" award. This highly-regarded award will go out to the player on the team with the best outburst, cruelest comment, funniest impression or humdrum attitude throughout the course of the week. Look for these segments starting next week.
Until then, come out and enjoy this weekend's series at Page Stadium against Nevada, or next Tuesday's game at #12 Cal State Fullerton. Peace...and GO LIONS!