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 focuses on spring training, only problem is, spring hasn’t arrived yet, as snow, ice, and brutal chill forces the team to concentrate their practices indoors:
Gymophobiaitus (noun) – when a typically outdoor played sports team is forced into confinement of a building or gymnasium due to outrageous weather conditions.
Ok that’s obviously not at all a word, but I’m going to make it one, because it is around this time for the past four years where the CSI Dolphins baseball team has fell victim to this just brutal disease.
It has happened the past four years that I’ve been here, where we begin our official practices inside the two basketball gymnasiums, and honestly at first it’s tolerable to be in there because you can’t help but just be happy to be back on that grind, throwing, hitting, and seeing everyone again.
Now, with the Super Bowl over everyone of course is looking forward to baseball because spring training begins in a couple weeks, which in essence means spring, which then brings on the summer.
However, it is like clockwork every year about two weeks into our practices that you can’t help but notice that it’s still 20 degrees out and the snow isn’t stopping anytime soon, which means getting out onto the field is looking bleak, and the continued confinement inside will continue.
So why is gymophobiaitus such a brutal disease?
I remember last season we were actually lucky enough to get outside pretty early in the season only to have late March snow storms force us back inside. First Baseman Sal Todaro said by the third day of re-confinement that he was actually getting headaches from being back inside the gym.
Pitcher Jeff Pontebbi even muttered something along the lines of that the other day during a team stretch.
When I asked Outfielder Joe Cassano why he hates being in the gym he said, “what don’t I hate about it?”
I find the surroundings bother me after a while also. It’s like when you have this background on your computer for a long time and finally you change it to something else. It just feels better on the eyes to finally see something different.
Rest assured however, even though we’ve been stuck inside I have never seen the team work this hard. We’re not letting any space, or time go to waste. It’s an extension of our Head Coach Mike Mauro who tells us every time we break for stretches that, “the smaller the area we have to work with, the harder we have to work”.
20 more days till our season opener in South Carolina… CAN’T WAIT! (Bart Scott voice)