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Discussing baseball with Bowman
If there is one sports team at Columbia that students know, it’s the baseball team. Mark Kelly, vice president of Student Affairs, has been known to bring up the Renegades baseball team during freshman tours and orientation speeches, never forgetting to mention the championship they won in 2004.
Despite its relative anonymity, the team still plays and has just started its spring season. Although The Renegades lost their opening three-game series against the DePaul University Blue Demons March 24–25, captain Jon Bowman, senior Journalism major, is looking forward to a competitive season.
Bowman took some time between class and baseball practice to talk to The Chronicle about the team’s strengths and weaknesses, its biggest competition this season and Columbia’s rich baseball history.
The Chronicle: Baseball season is back. How does it feel to be in the diamond again?
Jon Bowman: It feels really good. It feels kind of like my home away from home, so it’s good to actually get out there and enjoy the nicer weather while playing a game that we love.
The Chronicle: The Renegades just started their season. Is the team where you want it to be at this point?
JB: Honestly, no. I blame that a lot on the fact that we had a weird winter, and it extended a little bit longer than we would have liked. We weren’t able to get on the field as much as we would have liked. But there were definitely some positive things we took away from it, and we learned what we need to work on.
The Chronicle: You opened with a tough series against DePaul. What went wrong?
JB: I don’t know how much it was that something went wrong as it was we didn’t have a lot of experience with live-pitching in the offseason. I think a lot of our batters were trying really hard to compensate for that. So we just need more practice.
The Chronicle: What do you feel the team’s strengths and weaknesses are this season?
JB: Compared to last year, I think we’ve got some better pitching. We have a solid five-pitcher rotation at this point that I really like. Obviously, our weakness is our hitting, but that will improve as the season goes on and the rust shakes off.
The Chronicle: Who’s going to be your biggest competition this season?
JB: It’s a competitive league. Northern Illinois University is undefeated so far in their season. DePaul and Loyola universities are high up there, too. Saginaw Valley State University is a little bit down, but they’re still ahead of us in the standings at this point. It’s a much more competitive league than I originally anticipated, which is good.
The Chronicle: Do you feel supported by the college administration?
JB: That’s kind of a difficult question to answer. I haven’t really gotten in touch much with the actual administration, but Mark [Brticevich, fitness and recreation coordinator,] has been wonderfully helpful. He’s been so supportive, and he’s always trying to find ways to help us out, and I really appreciate that.
The Chronicle: Do you feel supported by the college community?
JB: It’s hard to feel supported when not a lot of people in the college know who we are and that we exist. We’re working on that. As long as we’re rebuilding the team, we’re rebuilding its view in the school.
The Chronicle: Columbia baseball has a pretty rich history. What are you and the team doing to make sure that the legacy left by past teams is perpetuated?
JB: At this point, we’re just trying to make sure that kids come out who really want to play and that they’re passionate and committed to this team. That’s something that’s been on the decline, so I’m taking it upon myself to get the ball rolling and get this team back up to standards they had back when they were championship-caliber teams.