For the past three seasons, CSI student-athlete and baseball pitcher James Mardikos has called “the mound” his home at the CSI Baseball Complex.  The southpaw hurler has made a living making clutch pitching performances for the Dolphins, enjoying a pair of CUNYAC Championships in the process.  He’s also a force in the classroom, where the Communications major focuses in Journalism and is due for graduation at the close of the Dolphins’ 2011 season.
But what exactly does it take to be a CSI Dolphin?  What are the rigors associated with being a national-caliber student and athlete?  Mardikos tells all now in a new CSI Athletics feature called “Mardy on the Mound” a new web log chronicling a year in the life of the CSI baseball senior, as they strive for national prominence.  Join James and his teammates through the grinds of preseason workouts, fall-ball, classroom commitments, and finally…Opening Day and defending their 2010 CUNYAC Championship!  Mardy, as known to his teammates, will make periodical contributions to his blog, giving insiders a taste of what Dolphins baseball is all about.
This week, James takes us through rigorous preseason workouts culminating in the team’s lone play date of the fall against NCAA Division I Wagner College…
10/27/10“It’s All Mental Guys!” … “Well, it’s A Little Physical Too” – Greg Belson
The fall season has wrapped up, and it’s officially the offseason for us. However, the hard work to prepare for the 2011 season is just beginning. In the latter part of the fall practices, our Pitching Coach Greg Belson has had our staff working hard after practices and during some off days in an effort to improve even more.
Circuit training has been the main emphasis with the aid of floor ladders, bands, medicine balls, planks, and physio balls. The first week was tough on everyone whether it was some who were a little out of shape (me), the ones who were routinely falling over themselves, but mostly the grueling soreness afterward which affected everyone. However, like anything we all adjusted, got used to it, and now it’s becoming a solid routine which we will continue on throughout the winter months.
Our goal is to build off of last year’s success as a team, and take the next step to an NCAA Regional. These challenging workouts are going to be something we all look back on when we are successful throughout the season long grind.
A week ago at the Staten Island Yankee Stadium, we finished up the fall campaign against Wagner College. It was our only game of the fall so the plan was to play one long 18 or so inning marathon. For the older guys on the team it was a nice challenge to see how we stacked up against the Division One competition, and for the new comers it was one last chance to impress Coach Mauro and show that they want to be a part of this season’s squad.
The games were basically split into two 9 inning affairs, which we ended up splitting with Wagner (Wagner won the first 9, we took the second 9). There were a couple of highlights from the day; one was before the game even started during batting practice at the expense of newcomer Joe Falcone. Before I continue, Joe is a large individual who has routinely been hitting rockets at practices; he has also served our country in the war overseas as he is a former Marine. Joe put on an impressive show in BP, tattooing three balls far out of the stadium toward the ferry terminal, as well as many other loud liners to the outfield… one in particular that took my own glove off. It even left some Wagner players who were watching say, “Wow, who is this guy?” Can’t wait to see that again, and this time I will be in left field, not in his line of fire.
Another highlight of the day was more of a discovery. We as a team discovered that we may have a future gold glove outfielder on our hands, Mr. Sal Todaro. Our usual first baseman who has been lobbying for a shot in the outfield got his chance during the second half of the game, and while he wasn’t the most graceful of outfielders, Sal got the job done. He even made a diving catch – diving catch meaning, the ball was hit near him, he fell forward, almost broke a wrist, and the ball landed in his glove – great job nonetheless buddy!
On a serious note, the overall performance was solid. We might have played a little tight the first couple innings, but we definitely competed the whole time. The pitchers all threw well and the hitters adjusted after the first couple innings to really hit the ball well from the 5th inning on.
We’ve been done with practice for almost a week now, and I know it’s already eating at me not being out there playing ball. Hopefully, time flies fast and we can start our journey to the NCAA Regionals, but while the first game isn’t for another 4-5 months, like I said before the hard work to prepare, starts now.

Happy Halloween and World Series to all… Mardy