MORNINGSIDE: Oklahoma’s baseball public address announcer also teaches at the Institute of Religion and arranged for the Cougars to participate at a Morningside this Friday, but those plans were scrubbed for BYU's baseball team when the Oklahoma series was moved to Las Vegas due to inclement weather.
PILOT FATHER: Outfielder Eric Urry’s father, John, was an extra proud captain (pilot) on last week’s US Air flight the Cougars flew to Phoenix. Eric flew one other time when his father was piloting the plane he was on, that was with his mother to New York. On the Phoenix flight, Captain Urry welcomed passengers over the microphone and then said he wanted to give a special shout out to the BYU baseball team of which his son is a member.
FORMER PLAYERS WATCHING NEBRASKA SERIES: From the Coach Tuckett era: Steve Hart (1968-69). From the Coach Pullins era: Brent Brown (1985-91). From the Coach Law/Littlewood era: Chris Howard (2010-14).
PLAYERS' PARENTS AT ARIZONA: Here’s a partial sighting of players' parents who watched sons play in the BYU-Nebraska series at Peoria in the 70-degree weather: Barker’s, Buffo’s, Cenatiempo’s, Corless’, Kinser’s, Larson’s, Nielsen’s, Marshall’s, Padgett’s, Reber’s, Robinson’s, Rogers’, Rucker’s, Starr’s and Urry’s.
BLACK & WHITE: The Cougars wore their Anthracite charcoal-colored uniforms in the final game against Nebraska. Some fans worried the uniforms might have been too hot in the Arizona sun, but coach Mike Littlewood says the new uniforms are actually quite comfortable. Littlewood says fans might see the team wear the anthracite uniforms on either Thursday or Friday nights, borrowing the look from UC Irvine a couple years ago or TCU last year. Look for the Cougars to also wear a throwback cream-colored uniform on Thursday home games and some midweek home games.
PAST PLAYERS/COACHES: Here’s a list of some former Cougar players and coaches who were in attendance at last month’s second annual First Pitch Fundraiser with Jeff Kent: Tim Anderson, Michel Bergeron, Jeff Bills, Ryan Chambers, Casey Cloward, Jonathan Cluff *, Tyler Dabo, David Decker, Tom Fife, Dane and Seth Iorg, Dave Jensen *, Kory Knell *, Adam *, Vance and Vernon Law, Mike Littlewood, Blair Lucas, Adam Miller, Bobby Noel, James Platt, Ben Saylor *, Bryce Searle, Brandon Taylor *, Glen Tuckett, Wade Vest, Ranger Wiens *, Brock Whitney *, and Randy Wilstead. The players marked with an asterisk* received the Cameron Tuckett Award that evening, too.
MORE ON FIRST PITCH: Former Cougar David Decker (1997-98), owner of CMS, in Orem near Walmart, out-bid others at the First Pitch Dinner to make the Arizona trip with BYU's team. Decker brought along his son Camden (named after Camden Yard, close to where they lived in Maryland), who served as the ball boy for the Cougars during the Nebraska series.
NICKNAMES: Among the nicknames tossed around the team is “Chief” for Hayden Nielsen and “Junior” not James, to distinguish Jeff Barker from younger brother James. Pac Man is Paxton Larson. Pancake is for Cole Wilstead and Jimmy is for James Lengal.
NOT THE BADGE, BUT THE STORE: Maverik Buffo does not use the letter ‘C’ in spelling his first name, unlike the badge of the lawman, but like the convenience store. However, Buffo’s father Steve confessed when Maverik was a toddler, the family wrote their names in a newly poured cement slab. Because Maverik was too young, his father wrote his name in the cement, spelling it with a ‘C.’ Steve Buffo is the owner of Buffo’s Pest Control that has offices in Provo, Salt Lake City and St. George. When Maverik isn’t playing summer baseball, he occasionally works for his father to earn extra cash.
ANXIOUSLY ENGAGED: Five players on the team are now engaged, preparing to join the list of eight teammates who are married. The engaged players are Kolton Mahoney, Hayden Nielsen, Dallen Reber and Eric Urry.
LANGUAGES & ETHNICITY ON TEAM: Spanish (Gates, Padgett, Reber, Urry and Whitney), Portuguese (Huxford, Isom and Chauncey), Tagalog (Marshall), Cebuano and Ilocano (Wilstead) are the languages. James and Jeff Barker are half Japanese. Brian Hsu is part Chinese and part Korean. Maverik Buffo is three-quarter Italian and his grandfather lived in Italy.
ANOTHER AMBIDEXTROUS GUY: Joining Brandon Kinser in the ambidextrous category is teammate Cole Wilstead who bats left, throws left, writes right and dunks with either hand. Wilstead said his brother Cody, who signed as a QB with BYU and now has a mission call to Neuquén, Argentina this April, “never will dunk on me, I’d foul him first.” Cole said his father Randy, a former pro and Cougar All-American, would take the ball out of Cole’s right hand as a toddler and put it in Cole’s left hand. Cole took yoga classes at UNLV before transferring to BYU to improve his ability to stretch as a first baseman.
SHAGGING FOR FUNGOS: Don’t be surprised if you see a girl catching balls tossed in after coaches hit fungos in warmups for the team. The young lady is Heather Black, one of the team’s trainers, who used to be a pitcher for Southern Utah’s softball team.
TRANSFERRED: Trace Hansen is playing at West Texas A&M in Canyon, and JC Snyder is playing at Angelo State in San Angelo, Texas.