Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Big Day is Finally Here

Senior Mike Porcaro, a member of the Milwaukee baseball team, will once again be blogging all season long on the UWM website.

Porcaro is back in the saddle for his fourth and final season of blogging. Today is his second entry for the 2015 season.

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We are 1,890 miles away from Milwaukee, yet the bad weather still follows us. Sitting here in my hotel room with Derek Peake and we just found out our game against Aoyama University has been cancelled due to rain. Hopefully things will work out and we can play them tomorrow. Guys were definitely excited to play against a different culture and have a chance to represent the USA!

Just got word Mike Fiers is starting for the Crew on Wednesday. Peake and I pulled up some YouTube videos to get some scouting in. Just kidding, we are actually watching a SportsCenter episode for the third time this morning.

Been a pretty good trip so far. Taking the second doubleheader from Grand Canyon says a lot about our team. Friday night was a tough one. We all felt like we should of left the stadium that night with two wins. I was really proud of the team for coming back the next day with high spirits. Langley stepped up by giving us a great start in game three. The at bats were phenomenal and the result showed that. Game four is where we really turned the corner. It was nearly the same situation as the first two games and this time we finished!

Reussy gave us a great effort in his first start of the year. The bullpen was fantastic that game and all weekend! McShane made some quality extra effort plays! The biggest play of the night was one you wouldn’t be able to find in the boxscore. A Grand Canyon player ripped a ball in the left field gap that off the bat, everyone thought was a double. Everyone except Luke Meeteer! Skeeter went diving head first to cut the ball off from getting to the wall. He got up and fired a seed to McShane, who threw a laser right on the money to myself as I tagged the guy out at second. That play was huge because it prevented GCU from a chance at having a big inning. It’s safe to say we found ourselves a centerman in Luke Meeteer!

Shout out to all the family and friends who have made their way down to AZ! Our section was louder than GCU all weekend. Props to PANTHER BASEBALL NATION!

This week’s ‘Call to the Pen’ features quite possibly the most interesting man on the team, Tell Taylor. Tell is one of the hundred fifth-year seniors on the team and calls Burlington, WI home. Tell and I go way back to our sophomore year in high school. I still remember the first time we played catch at our high school field. Pretty crazy that seven years later we get the chance to finish our college careers together, along with Cody Peterson, who also went to Burlington. Tell came into UWM as a smooth-fielding shortstop. This year he has made the transition to first base where he easily is the most athletic first baseman in the nation, in my opinion.

Paco: Telly, if I told you in high school that you’d be playing first base your senior year of college, what would your response have been?

TT: I would have said you’ve been smoking something funny.

Paco: But seriously, how’s the new home over at one bagger?

TT: Well, it’s different getting accustomed to a different position. I don’t quite have the instincts for the position yet… I like to forget to be the cutoff man in big situations (laughs). But I’ll be more efficient as the year goes on. However, I am the best looking first baseman on both sides of the Mississippi.

Paco: You hit the first dinger of the year two weekends ago against Maine, how many bombs can we expect from you this year?

TT: One every other game or so. 30 on the low end, 40 on the high end.

Paco: For people that don’t know, you have three siblings (Ty, Trent, and Teagan). Who is the most athletic in the family? (Fun fact: Teagan will be a freshman on UWM’s volleyball team next fall!)

TT: Either Ty or me. I would say Ty because his strength index is higher than mine.

Paco: Got any ideas on what you’re going to say to the Brewer’s players when they get to first base? (Question submitted by Peake)

TT: That’s actually a great question. I’ll be checking for cups at first base. Be on the look out Gomez.

Paco: You’re a big basketball guy. Lets say you’re going to the K dome for a pick up game. What four guys are you taking from our team to play with and why?

TT: Koenig is coming because he has a close relation to Bronson (not really). King because he’s a competitor and he can stretch the defense with the three ball. Peake for the same reasons and he was a state champ. Both guys play good D. Peake can shoot from the parking lot. I want Langley because he has a strong shoe game. He’ll supply the team with shoes. I want anyone but Goodman. Overrated!

Paco: You’re stranded on an island and allowed to have one item. What item would that be?

TT: Fully loaded helicopter so I can get out.

Paco: What inspired you to pose like this for your senior photo (below)?

TT: I thought my modeling career was going to take off. That was my first passion.

Quick Hits…

Favorite food: Sweet potato
Favorite movie: American Sniper
Favorite baseball player: Was Jeter. Andrelton Simmons now.
Pet peeve: Inconsiderate Drivers
Vacation spot: Norway
Celebrity crush: I don’t really have one.
Song you’d want to perform on a karaoke stage: I Want It That Way by Backstreet Boys or Slow Motion by Juvenile.

Monday, February 16, 2015

2015: The Year of the (14) Seniors

Senior Mike Porcaro, a member of the Milwaukee baseball team, will once again be blogging all season long on the UWM website.

Porcaro is back in the saddle for his fourth and final season of blogging. Today is his first entry for the 2015 season.

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Coming back with three wins after the first weekend feels pretty darn good. Obviously a little disappointed we dropped the last one, but anytime you come out of a gym and set the program record for the best start to a season, you got to feel pretty good about that. We had a ton of positives throughout the weekend. Our at-bats up and down the lineup were solid all weekend, and we got some quality pitching performances. Luke Meeteer was an absolute stallion all weekend, causing chaos on the basepaths. Him and Peake really set the table for us at the top of the order and made our offense go.

Lots of positives from our pitching staff as well. BK had a great start on Friday, which is absolutely crucial on opening day. I think this was a great starting point for our staff and they will only get better as the year goes on. For now, it’s back to the gym where we need to stay motivated and get better each day as we prepare for Louisville.

I want to do something a little different this year than in years past. Considering most of you reading this are probably the same ones watching our games, I want to focus less on the games and more about the guys and the fun we have as a team. I’ll do a little write up each week about the games, and at the end, I’ll interview a guy from the team each week. We’ll make a “call to the pen” each week so all of you can meet our team and get to know them.

First up in our ‘Call to the Pen’ series is leadoff man Luke “The Duke” Meeteer. Skeeter is in his fourth year with the squad out of Middleton, Wisconsin. He is a kinesiology major and future track athlete for Team U.S.A.

Paco: Skeeter, what is it like to be so fast?
LM: It’s cool I guess. I’ve always been faster than everyone else since I was little, so, it just feels normal.

Paco: Looking back at the weekend, what are your thoughts on the squad’s play?
LM: I thought we pitched very well and I thought our offense came together nice with some clutch two out hits.

Paco: If you were stranded on an island and could be with one teammate, who would it be and why?
LM: Sam Hammer. I’m not dying if I’m with Sam. Dude knows how to do every single thing. McShane is right up there too.

Paco: Let’s say you have an off day, and no baseball obligations. Describe your ideal day?
LM: Go to the Pancake House for breakfast. A touch football game with the guys and hang out with my family.

Paco: For people that don’t know, you could of played football at Wisconsin. What’s better, hitting a home run or scoring a touchdown?
LM: Scoring a touchdown is better because you score a lot more touchdowns than you hit home runs. (Mike Goetz nearby: “Because they dumbed down the bats and not the footballs.”)

Luke getting burnt for a TD back in high school. Looks like he made the right choice to play centerfield instead of defensive back.

Quick Hits…

Favorite food: Chipotle
Favorite movie: American Sniper
Favorite baseball player: Mike Trout
Pet peeve: Not doing dishes. (Justin Jaquish nearby, Luke’s roommate, “Coming right at me.”)
Vacation spot: Hawaii
Celebrity crush: Blake Lively
Song you’d want to perform on a karaoke stage: Roses by OutKast

Friday, May 2, 2014

It's May ... and we're Back

Juniors Mike Porcaro and Eric King, members of the Milwaukee baseball team, will once again be blogging all season long on the UWM website.

Porcaro is back for his third season of blogging, while King gets his second crack at it. Today is their fourth entry for the 2014 season.

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Critical series this weekend down at UIC and we hope that all of you can make it and have some fun with us. This season has definitely been filled with a ton of challenges and adversity. With the weather not always cooperating (actually never), the cancellations, injuries, etc.

Even through all of that, we have been trying to stay positive and enjoy the opportunities thrown our way. One thing is for sure, our support system is second to none. I don’t think there is another team in the conference that travels as good as ours. Not only that, but they have the most fun together! So kudos to you parents and friends! Thanks for coming out all the time and cheering us on. Lets make this last month a great one, win some game and have FUN!

Haven’t wrote a blog in awhile so we gotta throw out some shout outs! Shout out to CP for throwing one of the best games in Panther history against Valpo! One hitter and getting national dap! That’s pretty cool! Big Solberg has been tearing covers off of baseballs! It’s gotta be all that cereal the man eats!

Last but not least, shout out to Tom King, AKA The Sheriff for being a loyal follower of the blog! Here he is below on duty arresting my dad haha. (Yes, they posed for this).

Paco Thoughts… No team plays clash of clans more than us! Brewers are for real believe it! How do we only have one more week of school? Where did the time go? Follow us on Twitter/Instagram @MKE_Baseball!

Here’s EK…

Well, the season is coming down to the end! This is the time of year where you see what your team can get through. As Mike mentioned we have been battling a lot with weather and injuries. This year we have only had three outdoor practices which only one of those has actually been at the Hank. It’s tough for a team to stay positive or energized when you’re caged indoors all year round.

Regardless of the situations we have to deal with this is when we need to be playing the best baseball. Our pitching is going to continue to get better each outing and the bats are going to keep finding barrels. These last couple weeks are going to be intense and filled with a lot of energy! We look forward to seeing you cheering us on as the season closes.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mother Nature Wins Again

Juniors Mike Porcaro and Eric King, members of the Milwaukee baseball team, will once again be blogging all season long on the UWM website.

Porcaro is back for his third season of blogging, while King gets his second crack at it. Today is their third entry for the 2014 season.

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Man, we thought the weather was bad last year! But don’t worry, this week we are scheduled to play four games. Hopefully the snow will go away and the temps will rise.

Anyways, last week was spring break, which allowed us to travel during the week to get in two games at Mizzou. We left Monday for Columbia and arrived to the hotel late that night. Many of the guys spent most of their time in the hotel at the pool table playing some billiards. There was a lot of down time in the hotel because we played at 6 both nights so thankfully we had something to keep us busy. To defeat boredom we turned to the “Odds game” where Tyler Hermann lost and had to belly flop into the pool. Check out the video below…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHNmtvh3LQI

If I were a belly flopin scorer, I would most definitely score that a 10! Perfect technique and he had excellent hang time on the jump.

Uni B’s cot was high quality in Mizzou!

We traveled to Youngstown on Thursday for what was supposed to be a weekend series. Trying to keep up with March Madness on a bus is not ideal, but with the technology these days we were able to catch some live action on our mobile devices.

After filling our bellies with Chipotle we headed to the hotel to watch the Panthers in the NCAA Tournament. It was pretty awesome watching those guys on TV and we want to congratulate them on the season they had and the run they made. The athletic department has been bringing in the championships all year and we look to continue that in the spring!

Stay positive nation and we will see you soon at the ballpark!

EK’s turn…

What a spring break that was!!! This season has been a real bummer lately, but I think it’s going to build up a lot of tension and give us a little extra fight when/if we ever get to actually play outside of the cages in the K Dome. As Paco mentioned there has been a lot of down time and bus rides and people are starting to get riled up! It’s hard to control 30+ guys on a bus for 30 hours in one week, but what can you do... It was getting to that point on the bus ride to Youngstown that everyone was so sick of sitting on a bus that people just erupted and let it loose!!! There were tunes being cranked from Koenig, people singing to music, shouting, who knows what all actually happened and who knows why at that moment everyone just decided to go nuts.

Being cooped up in a bus, I suppose, will do that and when we got to chipotle their soda machine was down so things just kept on rolling. You would think that after all this happening we would catch one break, but here at the U you just never know what you will wake up to! Everyone is all excited to finally get conference games in, start making some noise in the league, and show off the true talent that is built up waiting to explode… to find out that when we opened the blinds in our room it had been snowing all morning!

Considering everything that has happened this just added to the pile, and having to go practice in a gym at Youngstown was just the cherry on top. With that being said it’s still early and there is plenty to look forward to. Just make sure you have your GPS charged and ready along with extra clothes and blankets because who knows where we will be playing, how long we will be staying, or what the weather will be like! Again we appreciate all family and friends who continue to make the trips to support us and we can’t wait to get things rolling for good! Stay safe, Stay warm, and Cheer loud! PANTHER NATION

Here is a nice picture of 55 Tyler Thicke in the hotel room screaming after we found out the games for the weekend are canceled!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Becoming A Family In Florida

Juniors Mike Porcaro and Eric King, members of the Milwaukee baseball team, will once again be blogging all season long on the UWM website.

Porcaro is back for his third season of blogging, while King gets his second crack at it. Today is their second entry for the 2014 season.

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Brrrrrrrrr ... Hope everyone is staying warm in this ridiculous weather. Unfortunately, the cold temps are preventing us from going down to Kansas State this weekend. Pretty bummed out about that because we were looking forward to playing a team that made it to the NCAA Super Regionals last year.

Anyways, this last weekend in Florida in 80-degree weather was a treat. I’m sure most of you know we took two out of four. Sure was nice to get the first wins of the season, but for the way we played it’s a shame we didn’t come home with at least three wins. We were just a few plays/hits away from sweeping the whole weekend. It’s frustrating but that’s how baseball goes.

There were tons of positives from this past weekend. We played a lot better baseball than the previous week in California. It all started on Friday when we had to play a doubleheader starting at 10:30 in the morning. It almost felt like travel ball back in the day when we were youngsters. Cody Peterson (AKA CP3, AKA Cobra Commander) made his first career start and did an excellent job. Congrats to him on his first victory as a Panther. After getting the first win of the season, we had some momentum heading into the next game against Ball State.

Unfortunately, our bats decided to take a nap after being up so early. We really missed an opportunity there because Brian Keller pitched a great game and our bats just couldn’t give him any run support. But I’ll tell you what; we are going to win a lot of games this year when BK pitches like he did.

That Friday night, most of us were completely exhausted after the early morning and playing two games in the hot, humid Florida weather. Most of us grabbed something to eat and chilled by the pool at our hotel.

The next day was an early start as well. We took on Kansas, a solid Big 12 opponent who hadn’t lost a game yet. The game was pretty normal until about half way through when I feel like our team took a huge step forward. I think it was the fourth or the fifth and Kansas took the lead on a homer. They started to chirp a little bit and that kind of got us fired up a bit. We came back that next inning and belted two home runs courtesy of Nick “The Unabomber” Unes and Ryan Solberg. We were fired up! It was without a doubt the most intense game we have played all season. We got punched in the mouth, but instead of lying down, we punched right back. I was proud of how our team battled and came together that game. We became a unit, and if we compete and battle like we did that game all year long, we are going to be very successful.

On Sunday against St. Bonaventure we had a little fun. We got a big lead, scored a lot of runs, and a lot of guys got to play. One of the highlights of the game was when first-year player Sam Kohnke almost got his first career at-bat. This dude was so excited in the dugout and on the on-deck circle.

I’m not sure who, but someone made an impressive move by placing a cup on his helmet (check pic below).

Konks made it all the way to the on-deck circle with the cup still on his head. Our dugout was doing it’s best to contain our laughter. I think he took one warm-up swing when he realized a cup was on his head. He turned around and said, “Thankfully, I could see my shadow.” Ahhh man good times, good times.

Check out this pic of first base coach/cross-fit guru/All-American Mike Goetz. He said he was sick of the Florida sun beating down on his neck. What a boss!

We can’t express how thankful we are for all of the family and friends that made the trip to Florida. It is unbelievable how you guys travel with us. We can’t thank you enough. Out of all the teams in Florida, we had the most people there supporting us. So awesome, you guys are amazing!! Our parents are the best. There were times during the trip where I thought they were having more fun together than us. This program is one big family, and this season is going to be a heck of time!

Look at all of those beautiful faces! And to make a note, that’s not even everyone that was there!!!

Freshman Mike Aiello catching some Z’s on the plane ride back. Looks pretty comfy. Photo courtesy of Ryan Solberg.

Paco Thoughts ... Braun is going to go off this year. That is all.

EK, your turn…

Well I think Paco really summed up the weekend there! Again parents, thank you guys so much for making the trip to Florida, it means a lot! I’m sure you guys were all really upset that you had to take off of work to hang out in the warm and watch some great baseball. As Mike mentioned, this was a very encouraging weekend for the team. After a rough start in California, to come out and play with that energy isn’t the easiest thing to do! Not only did the pitching step it up, but the bats are continually getting better. This team is really something special and there is a lot of potential on the field and even more waiting for their turn. It’s a bummer that we aren’t going to be able to play this weekend, but that’s not going to stop us from getting better. Being able to relax a little and take in the first two weekends may be that extra deep breath we need to really settle in.

Seeing that this might be the last typed blog we do as we transition into more of a video blog, I figured I’d take this opportunity to pick on a rook. The first victim of the year will be Adam (Ken doll, Justin Bieber, Pretty Boy) Reuss. Adam is a freshman pitcher from Gurnee, Ill., who attended Warren Township. I had the chance to room with Adam this past weekend in Florida and I tell you what ... I don’t think I have ever met a baseball player who spends more time getting his hair ready before a game than him.

All joking aside, Adam Reuss is going to be a key component to the pitching staff this year. He made a big impression on the coaching staff and returning players this fall and it has carried over in the winter and the beginning of this season. He had his first opportunity in California and pitched great. Although he only threw one inning, he faced three batters and got three easy outs. This is definitely going to be a young kid who is going to be placed in big games/situations and I think we all look forward to watching him on the mound.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Kicking It Off, 2014

Juniors Mike Porcaro and Eric King, members of the Milwaukee baseball team, will once again be blogging all season long on the UWM website.

Porcaro is back for his third season of blogging, while King gets his second crack at it. Today is their first entry for the 2014 season.

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Stay positive. The season is a long journey full of ups and downs. It’s important that we learn from this past weekend, work hard in practice this week and play better this weekend. We got to get better each time we take the field, and we have an opportunity to do that this weekend in Florida.

It’s funny, because right now as I type this, I’m watching the 30-for-30 film “Four Days In October” which is about the Boston Red Sox comeback against the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS. Perfect example why you always stay positive. The Red Sox lost three straight games to the Yankees and easily could of thrown in the towel. Instead, they took it one game at a time and grinded it out to make the best comeback in postseason history!

Is losing three games to start off the season disappointing? Yea, but there is so much season left. Baseball is a crazy game, as we all know. One day the game can have you feeling like you’ve figured it out and the next day can have you feeling like you just started tee-ball. The game humbles you in a hurry. We’re not going to let this hold us back. This team is going to be special, I’ll tell you that right now. I’m just looking forward to getting back to work and preparing ourselves for another tough test in Florida. It’s going to be a great opportunity against four quality teams.

Stay positive and keep believing Panther Nation!

Paco Thoughts ... I know it’s going to be a great season. Why? Because our first team meal was at Chipotle! Every day I shovel, I am reminded why I’ll be moving to Arizona or somewhere warm when I’m done with school. I think a lot of guys feel the same way after spending the weekend in the beautiful Cali weather ... Thanks to the parents and family members that made the trip to Cali, see you all in Florida!

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @MKE_Baseball!!!!

EK ...

Well it’s great to be back playing baseball at the U! As Paco mentioned, it’s early in the year and we need to stay positive! We’re using this last weekend in California as a learning curve. It was a great opportunity for returning guys to finally get back on the field, and even more important getting the new guys (the rooks) on the field to get a little understanding of the “next level.” Thank you to all the parents that made the trip and we look forward to seeing others coming to the games. Your support means a lot to us even when we may not always show it!!!

As I’m sure some of you can already imagine trying to have two coaches control 35 guys for an entire weekend gets out of hand. Trying to keep the emotions in check and generally keep your mind free can get hard at times (especially when the weekend doesn’t go as planned). This weekend, for instance, we flew into LAX and some of the older guys (vets) decided to play a little prank on freshman first baseman Blake Fleischman. We were all waiting for our bags to come out of the baggage claim when someone took his bag and hid it from him. Somewhat in a hurry to get to dinner and to the hotel before practice, we all were waiting outside for the bus to come. Blake on the other hand was frantically walking in the airport asking security and other airline workers if they have seen his bag - like they had any idea what it even looked like. This went on for a couple minutes until he finally came outside to hear we had his bag, and then off to dinner. All these pranks are just a little welcoming into the “U” and are never intended to hurt another player, unless they never say uncle!

Paco and I were thinking about trying to set up a video blog instead of these boring page and a half posts. An idea along the lines of a video you can re-watch of players getting interviewed, coaches getting interviewed, pranks getting played, indoor practices ... I think you get where I’m going. I think this would be a great way for you parents to really see what happens on and off the field, and maybe get a couple laughs. Feedback from you on this idea would be great! Again any parent who takes pictures at the games can feel free to email me an album at kinget@uwm.edu. It doesn’t have to be of just players it can be of the field places you saw on the trip etc.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Unexpected Endings

Sophomores Michael Porcaro and Eric King, members of the Milwaukee baseball team, will be blogging all season long on the UWM website.

Porcaro is back for his second season of blogging, while King gets his first crack at it. Today is their ninth and final entry for the 2013 season.

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It’s hard to believe that the season is over. It feels like yesterday we were just getting on the flight to head out for the season opener against New Mexico State. As I drove home yesterday, all that was going through my head was all the memories from the season. So many positive/funny memories. As I look back, I can’t help but smile about all the good times this team had. We went through so much together and became so close with one another. We became a family.

Obviously, the season didn’t end the way we wanted to. It’s disappointing, but at the same time we can’t hang our heads. We had a great season, and accomplished so many things. We had to deal with all the crappy weather, not playing a home game until the end of April, traveling thousands of miles for the first two-and-a-half months of the year, and practicing inside a basketball arena for pretty much the entire year. Despite all of the adversity this team faced, we rose to the occasion. That’s what makes me proud to be apart of this team and to be a Panther.

This year was special. We won the regular season title, went undefeated at The Hank, and went 3-0 against Big 10 teams. It’s so cool to be a part of that. This program has come so far. Just typing this gets me excited for the future. I know each and every one of us who is returning next year is anxious to step back on campus. We got a taste of success this year, but we are hungry for more. With the type of guys we have returning, I fully expect each and every one of us to come back in the fall better than when we left.

Man, I just can’t believe it’s over. You spend literally every day with your teammates for about nine months. You become used to seeing the same faces every day. In the blink of an eye, it’s over. It’s hard knowing the seniors are leaving and you’re going to be away from your teammates for a few months. It’s sad.

I love this city, I love this team, I love my teammates and I love being a Panther. I can’t wait to come back in the fall. I hope everyone has a great summer. A lot of us will be around the state playing baseball this summer. Hopefully we will see some of you at the park.

It’s been real Panther Nation. Until next time …

Paco