Morris baseball ready, not able
The Morris Redskins were scheduled to be the first area varsity baseball team to begin their 2013 season, with their opener planned for this afternoon at Wilmington.
At practice Monday afternoon, eighth-year coach Todd Kein said the Redskins would not play Wednesday, and expressed concern about their first few games. Morris is also scheduled to play at Plainfield North Friday and at home against Bradley-Bourbonnais Saturday.
Kein spoke from an office near the Redskins' makeshift practice headquarters — the wrestling room at Morris. As of Monday — two days prior to the Redskins' scheduled opener — the snowy, wet and cold weather had kept them from practicing outdoors even once.
"The guys have done a good job," Kein said. "Being indoors day to day can get tough, but to this point, they've done great work. The weather is what it is. We're not the only ones that have to deal with it."
With another session of batting in cages awaiting them, some of the Redskins admitted they were a bit sick of the situation on Monday.
"It is frustrating. Especially for me, because I've been waiting for this for a while now, and then it starts raining and snowing," senior co-captain Grant Davis said. "I wish it all would have come two months ago."
Morris has seven returning players that pitched at the varsity level in 2012. Assigning roles on the staff is more difficult than usual, Kein says, with the possibility of mass postponements and even cancellations.
"Weather-wise, if it all works out where we're able to make up all of our early games that we'll be forced to miss, and it could be a number of games, it could create a need for guys to eat innings," Kein said.
Pitchers are able get their regular throwing in while stuck indoors, but until the Redskins are able to go outside, they have no way to simulate the cold temperatures they are likely to pitch through early in the season.
"It'll be a little bit of an adjustment for anyone," junior ace Tim Smyk said, "but I feel like I'll have no problem getting ready and it won't be that big a deal."
Where the weather could hurt the Redskins is in their ability to determine the winner of positional battles in center field, second base and both corner infield spots.
"Nothing is set in terms of our lineup," Kein said, "but we do have a lot of versatility, and that will benefit us as we try to figure those things out."
Kein says the situation the team is currently in may be unique to current players, but it is nothing new to him and other veteran coaches.
"It's been like this more years than we can remember. We've just been spoiled," Kein said. "The last five years, the weather has been splendid, and that's given us a new perspective, I think, on what we think it's supposed to be at this time of year. The snow this late is a little unusual, but in terms of moisture in the ground and the temperature, I think there have been more years like this than we may believe."