Much has been written about what an outstanding coach and promoter of college baseball Ron Fraser was. Off the field, Fraser was an even better person. One of the many random acts of kindness by Fraser I witnessed over the years was the one that happened after Fraser coached his last game in a 8-1 loss to Cal State Fullerton in a semi-final game at the 1992 College World Series. Under pressure from CBS to play a championship game the next day, on time, the game was played in a nearly constant downpour. An emotional Fraser (below) used the press conference to rail against the NCAA for playing the game in such poor conditions.
The following is what I wrote for UM’s Ibis Yearbook back then:
OMAHA, Neb. – The day from hell.
Upon arriving at NCAA media headquarters to pick up my press credential for the College World Series, the secretary handed me a seat cushion and a poncho.
Noticing the bright and sunny weather conditions outside, she deadpanned about our planned use of the rain gear at the game later that evening.
Little did we know she was a meteorologist. In the third inning that night, the skies opened up and our ponchos came out.
One good moment, though, came following the No. 1 Hurricanes’ dismal 8-1 loss to Cal State Fullerton in the semi-finals of the CWS.
As retiring coach Ron Fraser, after the final game of his 30-year career, left the stadium, he was met by a young boy waiting for an autograph in the pouring rain. Instead of his signature, “The Wizard of College Baseball” removed his hat and gave it to the young fan.
A class act by a class individual.
Over the years I came to know “The Wizard,” he did absolutely nothing to change my mind. This great university has lost a legend.
At yesterday’s Hurricanes Baseball Photo Day, I shot a series of portraits of seven student-athletes. In the never ending quest to create something different, I used the desktop version of an iPhone app used for the Hall of Fame portraits I shot earlier this year.
(Click on an image for a larger version)
After reading “Cane Mutiny” author Bruce Feldman’s retweet from Heath Cline about the 2010 FSU media guide featuring Rhodes Scholar Myron Rolle on its academics page and misspelling his name “Myrone,” I was reminded this gaffe wasn’t the most egregious one in ‘Noles Sports Information history.
Back in the fall of 1982, Florida State printed 10,000 copies of its 125th Anniversary special edition football program before someone noticed one of the fans on the cover was none other than Miami Hurricanes baseball coach Ron Fraser. Fraser, fresh off the ‘Canes first College World Series title, was photographed as part of a crowd shot with his daughter Lynda, who attended FSU at the time. While Fraser is a FSU alum, his claim to fame being “The Wizard of College Baseball” was due to his success of leading the rival Miami baseball program to national prominence.
Needless to say, the program was pulled after the discovery.
Neither case compares to the Florida Gators putting a photo of a crocodile on the cover of their 2003 media guide. Only in “Floriduh!”
Thanks to John Clough for the Rolle story and to Karen Fraser for the program story and the copy of the program shown above.
Hurricanes infielder Scott Lawson is tagged out at the plate by Texas A&M catcher Kevin Gonzalez during the 5th inning of the Aggies’ 11-7 victory over Miami. The Aggies win forces a elimination game tonight at 7pm at Alex Rodriguez Park with the winner advancing to face Florida in a Super-Regional matchup this Friday in Gainesville.
Hurricanes infielder Scott Lawson watches one of his three home runs clear the fence as Miami defeated Texas A&M 14-1 Saturday to stay in the winner’s bracket of the 2010 Coral Gables Regional. The ‘Canes will play the winner of the Texas A&M vs. Dartmouth game Sunday at 4pm at ARod Park and on ESPNU.
Freshman righthander Eric Whaley, filling in for the injured Eric Erickson, pitched four shutout innings to lead the ‘Canes to a 12-8 victory over the Dartmouth Big Green yesterday in the Coral Gables Regional. Whaley gave up two hits struck out four in his 44 pitch performance.
The ‘Canes led 11-0 before a lightning delay of 68 minutes sapped their momentum and fundamentals, with poor relief pitching and fielding miscues allowing the Big Green back into the game.
“We played well the first five or six innings and after the lightning delay, it was another team on the field.” UM coach Jim Morris said. “We thought the game was over with, which it obviously wasn’t.”
Miami takes on Texas A&M today at 4pm at ARod Park and on ESPNU.
Hernandez is 7-2 on the season after a career-high 13 strikeout performance last Friday against Barry.
Hernandez is tied for second in the ACC in wins with seven, is fifth in ERA (3.04) and sixth in strikeouts (76). The award is his second of the 2010 season.
Harold Martinez’ three-run homer in the 5th inning highlighted the 13th ranked Hurricanes’ 11-1 win over #21 North Carolina at Alex Rodriguez Park last night. The win guarantees the Hurricanes their first series win against the Tar Heels since 2005 and their fifth ACC series win in their first six this season.
The homer was Martinez’11th this season and his fifth in Miami’s last 10 games.
Our friend Jorge Milian over at the Palm Beach Post makes his case for current UM catcher Yasmani Grandal over Charles Johnson (above) and Jorge Fabregas as the Hurricanes’ best all-time catcher. It also gives us an excuse to run a photo of CJ from our soon to be released scan project from the 1992 season. Read Milian’s latest blog here.
The Miami Herald story is here.
A more complete game story by FAU Owls Access can be read here.
The FAU beat writer for the Sun-Sentinel has one of the most interesting sports blogs I’ve ever read. You can access his take on the game here.
Hurricanes baseball head coach Jim Morris and former Hurricanes Pat Burrell, Danny Matienzo and Alex Cora have been nominated for potential selection to the College World Series Legends Team, as announced by the NCAA on Thursday.
To commemorate the final Series being played in Omaha’s Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium during the 2010 Men’s College World Series, the NCAA is asking baseball fans to help select the College World Series Legends Team.
The Legends Team will represent those student-athletes who had the best CWS performances throughout the 60 years the event has been played at Rosenblatt Stadium.
The team will consist of 27 members: two former student-athletes per fielding position, four pitchers, two designated hitters, three head coaches and two “utility players”. The utility players will be determined after fan voting has completed, and will represent those student-athletes deserving recognition who may not have been selected by fans, media and coaches at a particular position.
Voting for the CWS Legends Team begins Thursday, March 11, and will run until Noon on Friday, April 16.
Read the entire release here.
Stephen Perez went 4 for 6 with six RBI while starter Steven Ewing improved to 2-0 to open his career as the Hurricanes routed Central Florida 19-2 last night in Orlando. Read the complete release here.
Nathan Melendres slugged a three-run homer in the bottom of the 7th inning to lift the Hurricanes past the Florida Gators 9-6 last night, evening the series at one win apiece. Today’s rubber game starts at 3pm at Alex Rodriguez Park and will be televised on Sun Sports.
The Florida Gators come to Alex Rodriguez Park for a three game series with the #10 ranked Hurricanes starting with game one tonight at 7 pm, game two tomorrow night at 7pm and game three Sunday at 3 pm. Sunday’s game will be televised live by Sun Sports.
Miami owns a 122-95-1 advantage all-time over Florida. Last season, the ‘Canes and Gators met five times in Gainesville – with UM sweeping an early season three-game series before the Gators won both match-ups in the Gainesville Regional in late May. The last time the two teams met in Coral Gables, the ‘Canes won two of three games in 2008.
ABOVE: Hurricanes infielder Adam Ricks tags Gators infielder Adam Davis between the eyes during a game in 2004.
Junior catcher Yasmani Grandal drove in five runs as the #10 Hurricanes picked up their fifth straight win to open the 2010 season with a 18-1 blowout victory over Manhattan Saturday night at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.
The 5-0 start is the ‘Canes best start since the 2003 team opened the season 8-0. The ‘Canes have now scored 56 runs through their first five games – the highest total for a Miami team since the 1992 team scored 72 runs through five games.
Down 7-6 with two on and two out in the bottom of the ninth, freshman centerfielder Zeke DeVoss slugged a three run, walk off home run to lift the Hurricanes to a 9-7 victory over Rutgers yesterday in front of 3094 fans, including the New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez, at Alex Rodriguez Park in Coral Gables.
The win secured the series sweep of the Scarlet Knights and gives the 12th ranked ‘Canes a 3-0 start on the 2010 season.
Michaels, who played at UM from 1997-98, hit .396 (3rd highest in school history) with 34 home runs and 154 RBI in his Hurricanes career. In 1997, he set Hurricane single-season records for hits (106), doubles (32) and total bases (189). The Cardinals selected him in the 15th round of the 1997 MLB amateur draft, but Michaels returned to Miami for his senior season.
In June 1998, Michaels was selected for the fourth time in the baseball amateur draft, this time by the Phillies in the 4th round. Entering his 10th season in the majors, Michaels has played for the Phillies, Indians, Pirates and Astros.
Hurricanes Baseball opens their 2010 season tonight at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field against Rutgers. The stadium, shown above during last season’s opener, added permanent aluminum bleacher seating behind the third base dugout and down both lines, and a new scoreboard with video, during the off-season.
Former Hurricanes shortstop and current Milwaukee Brewers all-star outfielder Ryan Braun was the featured speaker at the Hurricanes Baseball First Pitch Banquet Friday night and participated in the FanFest Home Run Derby on Saturday.
Current Hurricanes catcher Yasmani Grandal came away victorious in the Home Run Derby, hitting seven home runs in the first round and five more in the second, defeating Braun – who hit one home run in the final round – for the title.
The ‘Canes will be led by preseason All-America catcher Yasmani Grandal. Grandal emerged last season as one of the top power hitters in the ACC, leading Miami and all ACC catchers with 16 home runs. The Miami native led the ‘Canes with a 1.081 OPS in 2009 en route to earning All-ACC second team honors. He finished his sophomore season ranking second on the team in slugging percentage (.599) and total bases (118), while collecting 45 RBI and 48 runs scored in 59 games.
In his two seasons in Coral Gables, Grandal has 23 home runs, 73 RBI and a .978 fielding percentage in 97 career games. After hitting .234 as a freshman in 2008, he improved his average by 65 points last year to .299. Over the summer, Grandal was a key member of Team USA during its championship run at the 2009 World Baseball Challenge.
HAPPY NEW YEAR ‘CANES FANS! HERE’S SOME CELEBRATIONS!
This HDR image of Alex Rodriguez Park was shot the day after opening night of the 2009 season. An HDR image is actually several images of different exposures merged together giving a greater dynamic range of luminances between the lightest and darkest areas of an image than standard digital imaging techniques or photographic methods.
Florida Marlins 1B Gaby Sanchez, seen here with the Hurricanes back in 2004, hit his first career homer – on Miami Hurricanes night, no less – last Saturday against the Nationals. Sanchez was called up by the Marlins on September 8th after a injury-plagued season.
Visit www.procanes.com for the latest on Hurricanes in the pros.