What is the difference between your club baseball team and the university's NCAA baseball team?
The difference is fundraising and organizing. We have to plan our games and reserve the fields we play and practice on; we have to set up everything. NCAA teams have people who do all of that; all the players have to worry about is getting to practice and playing, whereas we are responsible for everything associated to the team. Through the university, we only get about $1,000 to $3,000 a year, and our expenses run up to about $80,000 a year. We try to raise funds as much as we can, and if fundraising doesn't happen, then we pay for the expenses out of our pockets. But most of us don't mind, because we love to come out and play. We play because we want to play.
How did you start the team?
I had to fill out all the paperwork and get in contact with the right people over at the National Club Baseball Association (NCBA) to get recognition. All spring, all I did was try to get the word out about the team. I went to the UA Rec Center and hoped to recruit there, and I did find a couple of guys to start off the team with. In the fall, it was the same thing, but we started to contact coaches and referees to help us put together the team and get it going. We told (potential team members) we would try to pay all of their expenses, which we did. So, from there, we have been trying to keep building the team and make it stronger.
What has been one of the team's biggest accomplishments?
It has to be playing in the NCBA championships this past year. Last year was our first year going to the championships, which were held in Fort Myers, Fla. We were one of eight teams to make it to the championships, and in total, there are about 170 teams in the league. I thought it was a great accomplishment, because it was our first year as a solid team.
What is one thing you would like to educate people about?
In general, club sports: A lot of people don't understand the effort it takes to run a club team. We do all the work and don't have the resources of the varsity programs. ... There are also many more club teams on campus who have strong alumni support and sponsors, because they have been around for a while. We hope to have that type of support in the future.
How did you put together this year's team?
We had tryouts this past fall, and those who made it onto the team had a month to pay their fees and to demonstrate their dedication toward the team. We want team members who play because they want to play; we are serious about this game and put a lot of work into it. As far as the fees, we needed them to pay for field rentals, shirts, coaches and other types of expenses. Those who the coach felt would make a good contribution to the team and who showed their dedication made it onto the official team roster.
What is one of the team's biggest goals, and how do you think you will accomplish it?
Our biggest goal this season is to make it to the World Series for the NCBA and to maintain a strong team in the process. Hopefully, we can do the same thing we did last year, because we are a strong team with great coaches and great players.
How and where can fans and prospective team players get your playing schedule?
We have a Web site where we list all of our game dates, times and locations. There is a full roster on the Web site, as well as sponsors and stats. ... It is always great to get as many people out to our games, because the weather is getting warmer, and spending the day out watching a game is great.
What is the biggest hurdle your team has faced?
The biggest challenge will have to be keeping the team focused, together and ready for the NCBA World Series. I think if we all play together and listen to each other, we will be able to make it all the way to the NCBA World Series.