Welcome to MavBlog!

Welcome to MavBlog • Providing Insite & Information on the Mavericks Since 1985Mankato, Minn.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Have Wheels, Will Travel (providing you have a playable field)

Minnesota State "hosted" MSU-Moorhead April 7th
at Gustavus. The Mavericks have yet to play a game in Mankato.
As the Minnesota State baseball and softball teams try to stay hot in conference play, they are also spending their whole season trying to stay warm in their dugouts.

Due to the “normal” spring weather that Minnesota has provided, both squads are scrambling just get as many games in as they can.

According to MSU baseball head coach Matt Magers the team doesn’t expect they will be playing where their schedule says anymore. After getting 14 games in the Metrodome and eight games down in Florida in March, the squad has only played on their own field for four games.
Back near the end of March, the Mavericks had a four-game conference series slated with Northern State, but both teams didn’t have a playable field. The Mavericks and the Wolves ended up driving to Rapid City, S. D., home of junior outfielder Parker Sullivan, to get those games in.

A week later the team found themselves in the same situation as the University of Mary didn’t have a playable field so they drove an hour and a half west of Bismark, N.D., to Dickinson, N.D., for the doubleheader.

Mapquest tells us that the Mavericks drove more than 2,100 miles to get those six games in.

On April 14-15, the Mavericks had to go south to Sioux City, Iowa for their four games against Southwest Minnesota State.

 “It can take a toll on the body, sitting there for so many hours, but we just want to get out and play. We will drive that distance just to get some games in,” said utility infielder Lucas Skjefte.

Senior catcher Ben Keller has accepted all the challenges they have faced this season with the traveling and they just have to roll with it.

“It’s nothing like playing at home, but we deal with it,” Keller said. “It’s baseball and we are young guys.”

The softball team has found themselves in a similar situation, but the team has been fortunate enough to use sports domes to get its games in. The Mavericks have played four games in Rochester, Minn., at the RCTC Dome, six games at the sports dome in Savage, Minn., and they traveled to Saint Peter, Minn., to use Gustavus’s turf football field for games vs. Northern State and MSU-Moorhead, respectively.
Softball head coach Lori Meyer has been through this before in her 28 seasons here and it’s just something the team needs to work through.

“We’ve had other difficult springs, but I think it’s much more glaring this year because the last couple of years we haven’t had that many (cancellations) and again with the expanded schedule and travel this one has been a challenge,” said Meyer.

The overall atmosphere going through the two squads is frustration, especially for the softball team as they haven’t even had a home game at MSU so far this season and we're nearing the end of April.

“We are just really frustrated at this point and we just want to be able to play outside. I couldn’t imagine being a senior and not being able to have a home game in your last season,” said junior infielder Lindsay Erickson.

To look at it in a positive way, both teams are having the most luck getting games in in the NSIC. The baseball team has put in 18 conference games in the books and that is the most in the conference, compared to teams like Minot State who has only played eight.

“We think it’s pretty bad here, but it’s worse somewhere else and that’s the case with some teams in our conference haven’t played a home game yet and they might not this year,” Magers said.

Even though this isn’t what the teams has signed up for, some of the players have embraced all of the driving and traveling as they enjoy the time they have with their teammates.

“Some of the best times we have are on the bus rides, 10 hours out to Bismark or out to Rapid City. We have a lot of fun on the bus and kind of enjoy that,” Skjefte said.

                                                                                      - Joey Denton, intern, Athletic Communications



Sunday, April 7, 2013

Behind the Scenes: Dan Rickbeil

Dan Rickbeil is in his seventh year as Minnesota State equipment manager

For Minnesota State Athletics, game days start early and end late for Dan Rickbeil and his staff.

Making sure that everyone looks good and and everything's working properly is a full-time job for the Maverick equipment manager and and his army of student workers. Getting prepared for a home game takes a lot of time and effort from the equipment room and the Worthington, Minn., native does his job with equal parts elbow grease, comedic give-and-take and mechanical know how.

MavBlog took a few moments to do a Q & A with one of MSU's most integral pieces to the puzzle.

Please tell us a little about your background. Where did you grow up, where'd you go to school, what sports did you play, etc.
Rickbeil says: "I grew up and graduated high school in Worthington, Minn. I played hockey, football, golf, and also did a lot of waterskiing and downhill skiing. I went to college here at MSU."

Tell us about your family.
Rickbeil says: "
I have been married to my beautiful wife Angie for almost eight years. We have three amazing children - Eliana is five and ready for kindergarten, Claira is three and loving preschool and Kian is 1½ and loves playing with and teasing his big sisters. I also have three brothers and three sisters. My younger sister, Anne, played hockey here at MSU.

What did you do prior to becoming the Head Equipment Manager at Minnesota State?
Rickbeil says: "
I was a golf course superintendent at Red Lodge Mountain Resort in beautiful Red Lodge, Montana."

In general, what does your job entail?
Rickbeil says:  "
Ordering, issuing, fitting, inventorying, repairing and laundering equipment and uniforms. Setting up fields, courts and locker rooms for game day.  It’s not equipment management, it’s preparing athletes to succeed."

What's the best part of your job?
Rickbeil says: "W
orking with great people and helping athletes succeed."

What's the worst part of your job?
Rickbeil says: "P
oor communication and last minute “EMERGENCIES”.

Do you think there's any misconceptions about being an equipment manager?

Rickbeil says:  "S
ome think that all I do is laundry, they don’t see or appreciate the behind the scenes things or long hours. I have heard a coach in the past say that I work a “thankless job.” The only time it is thankless is when people don’t see or appreciate what we do. Slowly, I think that more and more actually understand what I do and they would have to do if we did not have an equipment manager. Though there are many that do understand and appreciate all that we do and the time that we put in."

Who's got the biggest feet in the athletic department?
Rickbeil says: "
Staff: Chris Brunkhorst, Strength & Conditioning Size 15
Athlete: Michael Bernarde, Football size 17."

Any funny stories about requests from coaches or student athletes?

Rickbeil says: "
Steve Robinson, one of our football players, tried to tell me on a Saturday morning in Duluth that someone got under the bus and stole his helmet. He had me going until he came back and said they took his pants too. Figured out pretty quick then that he had forgotten them in his locker back at home."

Any tips on getting a grass stain out of a pair of baseball pants?

Rickbeil says:
"Right water temp and right chemicals. Don’t dry it until the stain is out."

If someone wanted to be an equipment manager, what advice would you give them?

Rickbeil says: "G
et involved early and be ready to work extremely long and odd hours."
Thanks Dan!  It's great to be a Maverick!