By Alex Bensley, news correspondent
The Northeastern baseball team held their annual Leadoff Fundraiser Saturday in the EMC Club at Fenway Park, consisting of a cocktail hour and reception. Joe Morgan, former MLB player and Red Sox manager, addressed the Northeastern team at the reception. Team members, families and alumni gathered to celebrate the start of another promising Northeastern baseball season.
Morgan, a native of Walpole, led the Red Sox to two AL East Division titles during his tenure as manager from 1988-91. Shortly before addressing the Northeastern team, Morgan shared what he hoped the men would learn from his speech.
“They might find something out about hitting, what to look for yourself and don’t be worrying about your weaknesses out there and worrying about fastballs down the middle,” he said.
Morgan said he was thankful for this opportunity to speak to the Northeastern community, a feeling that was reciprocated by baseball head coach Mike Glavine.
“To have Joe speak is quite the honor,” Glavine said.
Northeastern players left the room at approximately 2 p.m. and swiftly returned with aprons full of raffle tickets. The players went around the room selling raffle tickets to alumni, families and EMC Club staff.
The cocktail hour lasted until 3 p.m., when athletic director Peter Roby thanked everyone for attending. Glavine praised the academic strength of the team, as well as the emphasis on community service.
“The [players] do the 19 ways of community service, they have a 3.0 GPA, they go to Cuba and leave a lasting impression of what Northeastern athletes is all about,” Roby said.
Glavine spoke next, expressing optimism and anticipation for the coming season.
“I can’t wait to see the team play,” he said. “We’ve just done so much inter-squad play all fall, practicing now all winter, I want to seem them just get out on the field and start playing against other teams and watching them compete.”
Glavine specifically cited the team’s athleticism and pitching depth as key areas that can propel this year’s team to success. He also talked about the team’s recent trip to Cuba, a special experience during which the team partook in community service and scrimmages against local teams.
Glavine then turned it over to Morgan, who spoke about the evolution of baseball since the 1960s and shared noteworthy lessons he learned during his career.
“Well what’s happening in the big leagues today with pitching? It’s the greatest pitching in the history of baseball,” he said. “Nothing has compared it to this time when we played, our hardest guys threw as hard as these guys, but [there weren’t] nearly as many of them [as there are today].”
After Morgan spoke and wished the team a successful season, a Northeastern baseball hype video was presented, as well as a short recap of the team’s recent trip to Cuba. The reception followed, and players shared some thoughts about the meaning of Saturday’s event.
“It’s great to be here,” senior pitcher Mike Fitzgerald said. “The backdrop that we’re in is great, but I think it’s more important just to see how many people are here supporting the program and supporting what we do. It’s nice to see everyone come together and supporting our program.”
Players expressed a similar message about the event’s significance with respect to the strength of the Northeastern baseball community and the support it has garnered over the years.
“It’s cool to inform people everybody from our parents and fans around Boston about what we do, and the fact that we can come to a major league stadium and do our thing is awesome,” freshman infielder David Stiehl said.
Northeastern won 30 games last year, becoming the fifth team in program history to accomplish the feat. This year’s team has an opportunity to build on last season’s momentum, and with the enthusiasm expressed by the team on Saturday, there’s little reason to believe this year’s Huskies team can’t accomplish special things. The team plays their first game on Feb. 17 at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Photo courtesy Eric Kilby, Creative Commons