Column: Baseball’s all we’ve got

Column: Baseball’s all we’ve got

Hope you like baseball, although around these parts, you’ve got very little choice in the matter.

No, I’m not merely talking about the Old Town Team that resides in one of America’s most beloved ballparks over on Yawkey Way.

I’m talking about your very own university and our very own next-door neighbor, Brookline. In that quiet, rich, sheltered town, a different baseball team plays regularly in front of empty stands at Friedman Diamond.

Yes, they’re the Northeastern baseball team and they help fill a void in the Husky athletic calendar.

You see, the crossover from winter to spring in Northeastern athletics is about as dramatic and (to some) as upsetting as can possibly be.

For one long winter, we have four major programs, men’s and women’s hockey and men’s and women’s basketball, alongside men’s and indoor women’s track ‘ field, and swimming ‘ diving. At the start of winter season, you can also add the final-season runs of the soccer programs, along with the football, volleyball, field hockey and cross-country teams. All are still competing and make for an active Husky athletic lifestyle.

But then as the flowers start blooming and the birds start chirping, our athletic season gets a whole lot quieter.

In the spring, we’re down to baseball, men’s and women’s track ‘ field and the rowing teams.

Not that we should be crying too heavily. Our men’s hockey team made a vast improvement and went deep into its schedule as a contender. But they were still no force of nature. Our men’s basketball team started off slow but finished respectably and produced a star in the making in Matt Janning. But they were still non-factors during their second season in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).

Our women’s hockey and basketball teams? Well, yeah, they struggled.

But once spring rolls around, we’re down to one major program. The Husky baseball squad, generally competitive and largely successful, may not always know it (based on attendance figures hesitantly released by the sports information department) but they take a spot in the minds of anyone interested in Northeastern athletics.

Of course, the major discussion is usually reserved for men’s hockey and basketball, along with the football team.

It goes without saying that a place in Hockey East (which officially produced a whopping five NCAA teams this season, as announced Sunday) is cause for interest in a team. As is a team in the CAA, a comfortable mid-major. Football, to Americans, is football.

In terms of encompassing all seasons and all teams, there’s very little choice but to get interested in baseball if you call yourself a serious Husky fan.

It can only help that a “progression” into baseball season in Boston does not exist. The hardball capital of the country is a 365-day, 24/7 baseball mecca where all things Red Sox are as relevant in early December as they are in mid-July.

We live in a town where Red Sox gear predominates our athletic apparel and where Fenway Park serves as a meeting ground for those in need of a regular baseball fix.

The Huskies can – and should – only profit.

When we need to be reminded of the simplicity and beauty of the game, we have a highly competitive Division 1 program in our midst. This year, the Huskies have their usual group of talents.

Junior starter Kris Dabrowiecki didn’t take long to establish himself as a front-line starter and has the statistics to back it up. He went 6-3 as a freshman and 6-2 as a sophomore, sporting ERAs just as impressive (3.86, 3.76). He’ll be counted on heavily.

Senior tri-captain and catcher Dan Milano is a team leader, and the Huskies have the right blend of underclassmen (sophomore third baseman James Donaldson and sophomore shortstop Mike Lyon) to remain their usual consistent selves.

This isn’t publicity for the baseball team, though. It’s a reminder that once Boston officially kicks itself out of this persistent winter and warms up, your baseball interest can be served (and saved) in many forms.

So stop bemoaning your packed hockey bag and your deflated basketball. Get your glove and head to the park.

Embrace the new season.

Even if it is a bit quieter in the NU Athletic Department.

– Jeff Powalisz can be reached for comment at [email protected]

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