Penn Baseball at Citizens Bank Park

While the Phillies are in the midst of a 10-game, West Coast road trip, the Quakers will take the field under the lights of Citizens Bank Park in South Philadelphia tomorrow night at 7:30 to take on St. Joe's in the championship game of the 21st Annual Liberty Bell Classic. Penn, one of the original eight participants in the Classic since it was introduced in 1992, will be appearing in its first ever championship game. The Hawks, who have also never won a title, will be taking part in their first final since they lost to Temple in 2003.

The Red and Blue earned their spot in the title game with their 11-4 quarterfinal victory over defending champion Villanova on March 27 and a 9-4 semifinal win over La Salle on April 3. Coming off a brutal 1-3 weekend at Princeton, the Quakers will likely be shorthanded on pitching, and coach John Cole may have to call to the centerfield bullpen several times throughout the game. The Hawks earned their berth by topping Temple, 4-1, in the quarterfinals and defeating  Delaware, 3-2, in the semis. They are coming off a 2-1 weekend series win over UMass.

Follow along tomorrow night right here on The Buzz as we liveblog all the action!

Why you should come to Meiklejohn Stadium

Okay. I get it. The stadium is somewhat far. For whatever ridiculous reason, you may not even like baseball. But it's gonna be seventy degrees and, if there was ever a day to suck it up and enjoy our national past time, it's tomorrow at three for our home opener against Temple.

Besides the weather, it should be a good game. At 5-10, Temple's is going be an even matchup for the Quakers. And, at 3-5, the Red and Blue are actually ranked second in the Ivy League, so, while they're record may not show it, they aren't really a bad team. Plus, there's a promising freshman pitching - Connor Bernhard - in his fourth start of his career.

So pack your soda (or whatever other cold, enjoyable, mid-day beverage that you may discretely enjoy) and walk down to Palestra. Then go past the Palestra onto the bridge on the right. Then take that path for another quarter mile.

Shut up. You need the exercise.

And check out this promotional video the Penn baseball team made; it's actually incredibly well-done.

 

 

Sweet Penn Baseball video has us pumped (+1)

The smell of fresh cut grass, the crack of the bat, the whir of cars rushing down I-76. Yes Penn baseball season is almost upon us and the boys from Meiklejohn have put together this slick video to get you ready:

The short was directed by program alum Jeremy Maas, who graduated last spring. Maas and the Quakers finished 19-21 overall, going 10-10 in Ivy play, second in the Gehrig division. They begin their season Friday against Stetson as part of the Bright House Invitational in DeLand, Fla.

We just want someone to please explain what (+1) means.

The DP sits down with Doug Glanville

DP: You and Mark DeRosa represent two of the most accomplished professional athletes in the recent past to graduate from Penn. Are you at all close with Mark? Have you talked to him about making it to the Major Leagues as a former Penn student and Ivy Leaguer? Do you have any thoughts on Mark as a person or as a ballplayer?

I haven’t talked to him much in the offseason but whenever I see him we catch up, we definitely share that common thread. I did an event with him, it was an event for athletes against drugs last winter. We just talked, and when I introduced him I gave a nice warm 15 minute presentation on Mark DeRosa, and we both have the Jersey connection so yeah, I’m always rooting for him. I hope he continues to have success and plays as long as he can.

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Nets hire Penn grad Matt Tellem as “Capologist”

The NBA's New Jersey Nets have been on a hiring spree and one of their new targets is from Penn.

According to the Nets Daily, 2011 School of Arts and Sciences graduate Matt Tellem has been hired as a "Basketball Information Coordinator". His position will involve researching contract figures and the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The position could become a stepping stone to higher aspirations.

Tellem's father is Arn Tellem, one of the most powerful sports agents representing Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, and Chase Utley, among others. Arn was a Philadelphia native who graduated from Haverford College. In 2006 he was named the Most Influential Agent by The Sporting News and Sports Business Journal.

The younger Tellem graduated from Penn with a degree in Economics last spring. He played baseball for the Red and Blue for three years appearing in 28 games as a backup infielder.

More on DeRosa: Steve Bilsky’s take

Last week, DP Sports alum Ken Rosenthal tweeted that Penn football and Penn baseball alumni Mark DeRosa was very close to reaching a deal with the Washington Nationals. Today, the one-year deal was officially finalized.

At Penn, DeRosa played both football and baseball, but left Penn early when he was drafted in 1996. Earlier this fall, Athletic Director Steve Bilsky talked about DeRosa's early departure from Penn:

One of the biggest eggs on my faces I ever had was when Mark DeRosa, who was an outstanding quarterback here, and probably would have set all of Penn's QB records if he stayed … was drafted. He wasn't just listening to what I had to say, but my sense was, 'Stay at Penn, you're going to be the all-time leading quarterback, you're going to be a good baseball player, you still might have a chance in baseball. And you're certainly going to have opportunities career-wise that are going to be unbelievable. As compared to leaving, taking your chances, the longshot of making it … really a long-shot. Look at what you're giving up.' And I think he's playing in his 13th year of Major League Baseball.

Last season was DeRosa's 14th year, and now, he's guaranteed a 15th. Not too shabby.


New Astros GM Jeff Luhnow is a Penn alum

With a front-office shakeup ongoing in the Houston Astros organization, and MLB's winter meetings taking place, baseball's losing-est team this year announced the hiring of Jeff Luhnow as its new general manager.

As Zachary Levine, Astros beat writer for the Houston Chronicle, points out, Luhnow went to Penn, graduating from Wharton and the School of Engineering in 1989. (Levine, too, is a Penn and DP Sports alum).

Lunhow had been a vice president with Cardinals organization since 2003, and was most recently director of player procurement in St. Louis.

RELATED: Wharton alum Josh Harris buys 76ers

“We are very pleased to have Jeff as the new General Manager of the Houston Astros,” team CEO George Postolos said in a statement. “Jeff is the perfect fit for the Astros because of his track record in scouting and player development during his eight-plus seasons with the Cardinals.

The new GM was also quoted in the DP back in 2006 in an article on Ivy Leaguers in the MLB:

Jeff Luhnow, a Penn grad who now works as the vice president of player procurement for the St. Louis Cardinals, previously worked for McKinsey.

"Decision-making in baseball is not too different than decision-making in business," Luhnow said. "You ultimately have to make decisions with less than perfect information, and you may end up being wrong because there are always variables that are impossible to account for completely in advance."

Nonetheless, owners and fans alike are relying on younger people armed with prestigious degrees to do their best to calculate success.

Dinner on the Diamond and baseball throwback game

Last weekend Penn baseball had its annual Dinner on the Diamond event with alumni, but added in a new wrinkle: a throwback game with alums wearing retro uniforms. Check out this video from Penn Sports Network today recapping the event. Also note a dapper Penn baseball media maven Chas Dorman, who also got into the festivities.

Movin’ on up

Today 2011 Penn grad Paul Cusick tweeted that he was returning to Philadelphia tonight. Shortly thereafter, the Penn Athletics twitter feed confirmed he was promoted from the Phillies' Gulf Coast League team to the Williamsport Crosscutters, the Short-Season Class A Minor League affiliate. The news comes quickly after Cusick picked up his third win for the GCL Phils in the final game of the league's season.

In an interview for Williamsport_Crosscutters_Logoa Summer Pennsylvanian article in July, Cusick said he was unsure of what his plans would be after August. But his 3-2 record and 4.14 ERA were enough to move up to the Crosscutters. Cusick pitched 32 innings of mostly relief, striking out 32 and allowing 17 earned runs. He batted .234 with one home run.

The Crosscutters are away this weekend but return to Williamsport on Monday.

C Will Davis to sign with Phillies

Capping off a busy week for Penn baseball, another graduate is going pro. Pitcher Paul Cusick signed with the Phillies last week, and he'll now have some company in Clearwater Fla., as his teammate and classmate Will Davis is scheduled to join him there on Tuesday, when he will sign with the ballclub.

Davis, a power-hitting catcher from Georgia, went undrafted, but reportedly worked out for the Phillies prior to last week's MLB Draft.

The Phillies apparently liked what they saw from Davis, as he was offered a contract today, according to a tweet from Penn Athletics.

In his junior campaign, Davis finished with 12 home runs, tying the Penn single-season record. This year he hit just six long balls after the NCAA updated its bat specifications, making them less powerful. His 25 career home runs ranks second all time at Penn. Davis was first-team All Ivy and All Big 5 this season. He also hit .304 this season with 16 doubles and 27 RBI.

In addition to his power numbers, Davis deserves recognition for his efforts behind the plate. He started in 39 out of 40 games for Penn this season, and as catcher, he deserves some of the credit in Cusick's Ivy Pitcher of the Year nod. He caught 17 runners stealing on 58 attempts.

Saturday afternoon Cusick jokingly posted on Facebook a note for his friend Davis, who he also lived with at Penn:

"Just want to congratulate Will Davis for signing with the phillies, gonna have to tell them to change my single bed to a queen size."