Editor's note: Each week throughout the 2016 season, Arizona sophomore right-handed pitcher Robby Medel will be giving fans an inside look at the Wildcat baseball team, the life of a student-athlete and so much more. These are written by Robby as a first-person account of what it's like to be him. Medel transferred to Arizona from TCU after redshirting the 2014 season there. Last year, he posted a 2-3 record and 4.25 ERA in 65 2/3 innings of work (third-most on the team).
Hello and welcome to what I hope to be a season-long written series. First off, I would like to thank everyone for taking their time to read this, and thanks to all the awesome Wildcat fans for their support on our upcoming season. Reading this will provide you with a week-to-week inside view of what it's like to be an Arizona Wildcat baseball player, as well as my take on the upcoming week, and maybe a guest appearance from Bobby Dalbec if we're lucky.
This week is the most exciting week for any ball player. No matter the age or level, the week before your first game is full of many emotions. The chance to strap on the cleats with a bunch of guys you've been practicing with and playing against for six months is the best.
Finally, we get to play someone other than ourselves. Let me tell you I'm extremely tired of facing JJ (Matijevic) and (Jared) Oliva week after week. Trust me it gets old. Coaches are tired of splitting our team in half for intra-squads, and now finally we all get to wear the same color. It's going to be something special when all 32 of us are in the same dugout, each striving for one common goal. Win one game at a time.
As you all know this is the first season in the Jay Johnson era. I challenge you to find a guy that's more fired up to be here than him. From day one he walked in and demanded the respect of every guy trying to make the spring roster. He has made it special to be an Arizona Wildcat. He lets it be known that every one of the 32 guys have earned their spot. The approach of this team is simple, one game at a time. One of his favorite sayings is treat every game like it's the Super Bowl. We have 59 Super Bowls this year and none of them are any more important than the other; whether it's a mid-week against New Mexico St. or a weekend in Eugene. Because each game means something, every game is a big game and we will treat it like so.
This isn't your daddy's Arizona baseball team, it's something different and there's a buzz around the team that you could feel. Each day at practice becomes more and more intense as guys crack down on their daily tasks to become 1% better.
One of my favorite sayings I've heard is from Tyler Crawford (GrandCraw) "we're a baseball team with a hockey mentality." No, I promise you won't see Craw drop the gloves on the mound or see Cody Ramer go in spikes high on a dude coming across the bag turning two. What that saying means is you'll see a group of dudes doing guy things and grind as bros. The energy you'll see and style of play will be much different than anything seen from Arizona before.
This year's team is special. Never have I seen a team like this before. This year's team is also filled with a lot of personality, which I think will be a strength. For example, as I'm writing this I'm watching (Luke) Soroko and JJ fight over the AUX cord. (Cody) Moffett, (Matt) Hartman, and (Michael) Flynn are throwing around the football, as the rest of the team critiques every song played over the speakers. Except for Kyle Lewis, I haven't heard him talk since he got on campus, but he plays his butt off and has one of the best gloves this side of the Mississippi.
Quick thing on this year's pitching staff. Dave Lawn aka The Ring Leader, aka CL, is the G.O.A.T. His mission is to get PDU (Pound Down University) back to where it belongs. That's all on pitching, for now.
This is more of an introduction to the team and what's to come for Arizona Baseball fans. Weekly this will be more of a day in the life thing along with some inside scoop for the upcoming week.
As for what I have on Rice: I'm just excited to get going, and to play in the great state of Texas!