The McMaster men’s baseball and rugby team lead the way in fundraising for men’s health issues
Raising money for men’s health is an annual November initiative for athletes at McMaster University. As the end of this year's Movember campaign nears, Marauder sports teams have quietly raised over $25,000.
The McMaster men’s baseball team and men’s rugby team spearheaded this year’s fundraising efforts, with over $11,900 and $9600 in donations respectively. In addition, the McMaster men’s volleyball team and wrestling teams fundraised over $3600 and $1100 each. Other participating teams include the McMaster rowing team, swimming team and men’s soccer team.
The McMaster teams primarily fundraise through the Movember campaign website. Established in 2003, the international campaign looks to allocate resources to various areas of men’s health such as mental health, testicular cancer and prostate cancer. Over $19 million was donated to men’s health projects in Canada just last year.
Though growing a mustache and fundraising for Movember is a tradition amongst McMaster sports teams, the movement has not lost its meaning to repeat participants such as Marco Dilaudo, Maclean Van Raay, Josh Kalmain and Aiden Muldoon.
“We just want to give back to the community and continue to support those that have been supportive to us as athletes, especially here at McMaster and abroad, while also paying respect to those that are fighting everyday to continue – whether that’s against cancer or mental health,” explained Marco Dilaudo, the first baseman for the McMaster men’s baseball team.
In addition to leading the baseball team’s fundraising efforts with over $2,000 raised individually, Dilaudo plans to bike 300 kilometres over the month of November – an opportunity for Dilaudo to embrace a challenge and support others that are battling illnesses in their day-to-day lives.
“Everyone struggles with mental health in some way. Being an athlete, it becomes really stressful trying to balance school and athletics. The mental health part of it definitely plays a factor [wanting to raise money] as well,” said Maclean Van Raay, third year student and middle infielder for the McMaster men’s baseball team.
For some McMaster athletes, raising money and awareness is especially important because of personal experiences with loved ones. Participating for his fifth in a row, Aiden Muldoon became particularly connected to the cause after experiencing the loss of his father to cancer in 2021.
“It’s nice to know that there’s a movement for something that’s affected me so dearly [and] that it’s a movement that we can progress towards as a team. I know guys are thinking about other [teammates] that have also lost people to different illnesses. When we’re raising money, it’s good to know that it’s with a direction,” explained Muldoon, a fullback for the McMaster men’s rugby team.
As club captain for the McMaster men’s rugby, Muldoon organizes various fundraising events with other members of the team. The rugby team held a Touch 7s Rugby Tournament that took place earlier this month where all profits from the event were donated to Movember. In the past, the team has also welcomed guest speakers or held raffles to raise money.
“For us, as much as it is a serious issue, we do like to make fun of each other’s mustaches a little bit . . . It’s another way to encourage one another to not only support the cause but also support each other in raising money for a good cause,” said Kalmin, a third year student and pitcher for the baseball team.
Along with raising awareness and fundraising, Movember is a chance for McMaster teams to bond and boost team morale. The competitive aspect that McMaster athletes bring into sport also translates into friendly competition to raise the most money.
Inconsistent play down the stretch results in an early exit for the reigning silver medalists as they fail to clinch a provincial playoff spot
The men’s baseball team failed to advance to the Ontario University Athletics West Regional finals after losing 10 to eight against the Brock Badgers on Oct. 7. Finishing their regular season with a four and seven record, the Marauders’ championship redemption will wait another year following three consecutive playoff losses.
At last year’s OUA finals, McMaster University lost the title game six to two to the Toronto Varsity Blues. That season, the team entered the playoffs without major contributors Nicolas Velocci and Mark Zanette due to a collision at their qualifier against the Guelph Gryphons. Despite their injuries, the Marauders did manage to work their way into the semifinals, beating the Carleton Ravens six to five before losing to Toronto.
Heading into the 2022 playoffs, the Marauders faced stout competition in their final set of regular season games. Starting with a doubleheader against the Gryphons on Oct. 1, the team struggled to hold their own against a top-seeded opponent.
In game one, McMaster fell to the Gryphons in a close three to two matchup that went to extra innings. Rookie Benjamin Cook pitched phenomenally, allowing just two runs over seven innings of play. His replacement, James (Rory) Bredin, stymied hitters across two innings before Ashton Patterson’s RBI single in the tenth gave the Gryphons their eventual three to two win.
Following the defeat, Kenneth Noguchi took the mound in the second game; however, three defensive errors in the first left the Marauders in a four to zero hole. While McMaster would claim four runs by the fifth inning, the Gryphons completed the sweep with a 12 to four victory.
The next day, the team played the Windsor Lancers in a consecutive doubleheader. Despite their short rest, McMaster dominated Lancers’ pitching, collecting 16 runs across the pair of games to win eight to three in the first game and eight to four in the second.
While Brock gained an early five to one lead in their first contest, McMaster pooled together four runs in the bottom of the fourth to tie the score. Shortly after, Brock returned with their own four run rally on back-to-back-to-back doubles in the sixth. The Badgers would keep their lead and finish the game with a final line score of 10 to seven.
Against Guelph, the Gryphons lineup continued to torment the Marauders' staff. After two innings of play, the Gryphons held a six run lead. The team kept adding on until the score reached 11-1, activating the fifth inning mercy rule to hand McMaster their second tournament defeat.
On Oct. 8, the Marauders returned to face Brock for a chance to play Guelph in the tournament finale, needing to win both games in order to advance. The team came out swinging, leading to an offensive frenzy capped off by a bases-loaded, 3 RBI triple by Gabriel Knox that put McMaster up eight to three going into the bottom of the seventh.
Unfortunately, the pitching came undone, with the Badgers pulling ahead 10 to eight in the eighth inning on a four run rally. Senior pitcher Hayden Stam closed out the game to knock McMaster out of the playoffs.
Having played in his last season, Zanette imparted some final advice for his teammates, reminding them to always keep their plate approach the same no matter the situation.
“When you’re young and you’re having your first, second, third, at bats in the OUA and the pressure’s on, guys are yelling at you. . . it can get a little intimidating. But just sticking to your approach and doing your own thing is the biggest thing,” said Zanette.
Joining Zanette, Noguchi, Philip Hache and Colin Heron will be departing from the baseball program next year. Despite their losses, Heron hopes this year’s OUAs will be a steppingstone for the team to grow as athletes and leaders on the bench.
“I think that a lot of those players that got their feet wet this year, going forward, are going to be able to draw from that experience and perform well. . . [These playoffs] will serve as a good opportunity to build that experience for the future,” said Heron.
For its ten rookies, maturity and development will be key to the rosters future success. Although they failed to improve upon last season’s silver medal, the Marauders’ young core of talent will be interesting to watch in their 2023 campaign.
Marauders rebound from a blowout loss with a win thanks to some unexpected contributors
The men’s baseball season is well underway with the final regular season game taking place on Oct. 2.
The Marauders faced the Windsor Lancers in a well-matched double header last weekend on Sep. 24. The Lancers outrank McMaster University for tenth place in the Ontario University Athletics standings with a record of four wins and six losses. The Marauders were eleventh in the OUA standings as of Sep. 29 with two wins and five losses.
The first game between the two teams wrapped up early in the fifth inning with a tough 14 to four loss for McMaster. The mercy rule took effect and the game ended in the fifth inning once the Lancers led by ten.
McMaster managed to bounce back in the second game, winning 11 to eight in a seven-inning affair. The Marauders were able to make critical adjustments between games, cleaning up on the defensive end and generating momentum from their offence.
Rookie pitcher, Benjamin Cook, played a key role in the team’s comeback victory. Cook came in midway during the first game and continued his strong pitching performance in the second game.
“This is pretty much my first opportunity to pitch for the team this year, so getting into the [first] game was really nice. And then getting into a situation where I really got to [perform] my best and show what I can do, it means a lot,” said Cook.
As the pitching change put a stop to the walks, McMaster’s performance on the offensive side continued to heat up. Adam Strongman, the head coach, took notice of the increased offensive production as a result of the spark provided by the pitching staff.
“Confidence was building [in the last few innings]. I would say that it started to go when the pitching flipped . . . As the pitching got better, the runs got better,” explained Strongman.
McMaster ran into a little bit of trouble, pitching-wise, when a few close calls didn’t go their way in the middle innings and the team found themselves in a loaded bases situation in the midst of their tight game. However, Cook managed to close out the inning unscathed, proving himself once more.
“I sort of got in my own head. But after that last walk, I got to myself and said “Okay you’re better than this. You can throw strikes. You know what to do.” Then it’s just about commanding my stuff and throwing [the way] I know how to,” explained Cook.
The rookie played a big role in the series split, allowing the offense to climb back in the game and keeping the team from losing their footing in the standings.
Next up, the Marauders face one of the most difficult opponents they will endure this season in the top-ranked Guelph Gryphons on Sep. 31 in a double-header at home. The Marauders look for a strong defensive start against the offense-heavy team.
The Marauders will later finish their regular season back against the Lancers in a second double-header on the road. To follow along with the Marauders as they wrap up their season, visit their Instagram or Twitter. The team’s upcoming schedule is available here.
C/O McMaster Baseball
After a major collision, two varsity athletes have faced months of recovery time
The 2021 season was supposed to be a good one for the Marauders baseball team. They had championship aspirations on their mind and a team with a chance to do it, featuring the reigning Cy Young winner (awarded to the best pitcher in the league), Julian Tymochko, the reigning (and now back-to-back) most valuable player, Nik Motruk, the 2021 rookie of the year, Josh Kalmin and four players who would be named to the 2021 all-star team.
Having finished with an OUA silver, many would suggest the season to be near perfect, but a major collision changed the whole story.
On the weekend of the qualifiers, McMaster needed to win just two games to secure a spot in the playoffs. Oct. 9, the first day of games, was not what they expected when they lost both games. They would eventually win both games on Oct. 10 to earn their spot in the playoffs and many of the team members credited a newfound motivation after a very scary moment in their second loss.
It was a standard baseball play; a shallow fly ball to left. Left fielder Mark Zanette ran in, attempting to get to the ball before it dropped. Shortstop Nicolas Velocci, realizing just how shallow the ball was hit, began ranging back to make the play. With the ball in no man's land, neither felt they had a clean play and when nobody called it, both ran at full speed to try and get there in time.
At the last moment, Velocci goes to make a desperation play, diving for the ball. Instead of making the catch, Velocci’s head would collide with Zanette’s knee, leaving both players with severe injuries.
“I went into a full on dive and everything from there on is just black. I don’t remember anything. I remember for a few seconds getting loaded onto an ambulance and that’s where it all hit me . . . I didn’t have time to gather my thoughts, but I knew that something was wrong. Seriously wrong,” said Velocci.
Following the play Velocci would lay there unconscious. Ambulances quickly made their way to the field, the first taking Velocci and a second (later arriving) to take Zanette, who soon realized he could no longer hold his weight.
“As the ball was about to hit my glove, I felt the impact on my knee. I did a flip in the air [before landing] and wasn’t really sure what happened . . . I think adrenaline was going, so I didn’t feel that much pain in the moment,” said Zanette.
Zanette originally believed that he was relatively unscathed and had gotten lucky. It was only after a few minutes that he would realize how badly he was injured.
The outfielder would later be diagnosed with an intermediate grade partial thickness tear of the ACL, a complete tear of the proximal PCL, a grade one MCL strain, a radial tear involving the posterior root of the medial meniscus, an impaction fracture at the medial femoral condyle and several other less significant injuries throughout his leg.
It has already been three months since the incident and, although Zanette has gone a long way, there is still a long path ahead with several more months of recovery.
“I avoided surgery, which helped a bunch. In terms of a [recovery] timeline, I’m not really sure . . . By the end of the school year, I won’t be back to normal, but pretty functional again,” said Zanette.
As bad as that may sound, Zanette may have actually gotten the better of the two. Zanette may have a longer recovery period, but Velocci had a much more difficult time thus far, with his site of injury being his head.
Velocci would incur fractures and breaks to his nose, jaw, orbitals and cheekbones, while also dealing with a concussion. He would spend 14 days in the hospital in a time when hospitals were trying to get people out as quickly as possible due to the pandemic.
In the recovery process Velocci would have his jaw wired shut with screws and elastics for three weeks, causing a 30-pound weight drop. He also needed a breathing tube inserted in his throat (tracheotomy) and went through two surgical procedures.
“I can say whole-heartedly that it was the biggest challenge of my life. In the beginning I didn’t even know if I was going to be alive — it was that big a shock to me. I remember asking the doctors while half out of it if I was going to live . . . It was traumatic,” explained Velocci.
Velocci described the early days of the injury with a very dark tone, elaborating as to just how terrible an experience it all was.
“It was bad. It was so painful that I kept passing out. I wasn’t even awake,” said Velocci.
Through the interview, Velocci continuously brought up the number 53. This was the number of days in which he called the recovery period. This is the timeline from the day it happened to the day he was finally able to function somewhat normally and unassisted.
He hopes to begin training with the team again before the winter is over as he is already doing much better and hopes to be fully recovered over the next month or so.
The event was very traumatic, not only for the players involved, but also for their teammates who witnessed it all. They would soon develop the hashtag #DoItForNicolasandMark, which helped inspire their playoff run.
The team would go back to the tournament after two losses, facing elimination and win both games to advance for their chance at a medal. In a past interview with the Silhouette, pitcher Josh Kalmin commented on the situation and how badly the team wanted to do it for their fallen teammates.
“Going back on that bus Sunday morning, we knew we were going to win. No one on our team ever said anything about [possibly losing]. We were going to do it for Nicolas and for Mark,” said Kalmin.
As badly as Velocci and Zanette wanted to be on the field, they were thrilled to see the success the team had. They both plan on a full return next season, where they will once again have their eyes set on the gold.
C/O McMaster Sports Community, Guest speakers Sundeep Dhillon & Richard Martinelli
McMaster alum and 2021 World Series Champion Alex Anthopoulos to headline event with the McMaster Sports Community
The McMaster Sports Community is offering McMaster students an opportunity of a lifetime to those interested. Alex Anthopoulos, the General Manager of the Atlanta Braves, will be joining MSC for a general discussion and a question and answer session over Zoom, marking the first time the speaker has ever returned to the school. The event will be taking place on Dec. 8 at 6:00 PM.
At the event Anthopoulos will be joined by close friends of his from his time at McMaster, Sundeep Dhillon and Richard Martinelli, who Anthopoulos credits as being highly impactful in his career success, and a large part in both his life journey, and his time in university.
As a former Mac student who studied economics, Anthopoulos has built an impressive career for himself in the world of sports. He acted as the GM of the Toronto Blue Jays from 2009 to 2015, and currently works as the GM of the Atlanta Braves. Impressively, he has recently become a World Series Champion in the 2021 season, and is the first Canadian to ever do so as GM.
Why is Anthopoulos’ experience relevant to MSC? Jack Hinde, Co-President of MSC, described the excitement club members feel towards the opportunity to meet and hear from a Mac alum who has carved such a successful sports career for themselves.
“Everyone within the club is extremely excited to have Anthopoulos over to talk about his career. It really is an amazing opportunity for all McMaster students. Not only is he one of the most important GMs in [Major League Baseball], but he is a Mac alumni, which makes this event even more exciting to all of us,” explained Hinde.
Interestingly, it was during an interview for the Silhouette that Anthopoulos was invited, and accepted to attend this MSC event. Jovan Popovic, Sports Editor for the Silhouette and Co-President of MSC, invited the accomplished Mac alum to host the event for the club.
“Well, when Jovan [Popovic] had an interview with Anthopoulos a couple of weeks ago, he offered the GM an opportunity to host the Q and A over zoom for the club. To our excitement, Anthopoulos accepted and that is what made us really happy: to have a very busy man with consistent duties take some of his time to do an [event] for our club,” explained Hinde.
While this is an excellent chance for students to learn from a figure in sports of significant stature, this is also an opportunity for Hinde and the rest of MSC to represent the Mac community for all it’s worth.
“Most of us are still in disbelief about this, as it means so much to the community, especially the baseball fans who knew about Anthopoulos for years. We are just so thankful for it, but now I feel like we have a bigger job to do when it comes to the interview. We have to be well organized and we want to represent the club in the best way possible to him,” said Hinde.
Those interested can keep their eyes peeled on the MSC Instagram page, where they will post frequent updates about the event. Sign ups for the event also remain open through their Google form. The guest speaker appearance is available to all McMaster students, not just club members, although sign-ups will be capped at 50 people.
C/O Jessica Yang/Production Assistant
During a sporting season athletes are always in action, but what do they do during holidays?
As the winter break slowly approaches, there is more anticipation for the holidays than before. Not only do students get a good three week break from their studies, but student athletes also get a chance to resort to activities other than their actual varsity duties.
One may wonder, what do student athletes do once their season finishes and the holidays approach? Do they work on recovery, do they try out new activities or do they simply sit back and enjoy their time off?
Focusing specifically on the men's varsity baseball team, they have had a successful season within the Ontario University Athletics competition, finishing in second place at the final OUA championships in Ajax.
Magnus Hanson, a first-year baseball team member, expressed dissatisfaction at not winning the final tournament.
“This season had ups and downs. We had a very tough incident at one of our games that our players are still recovering from, but we did make it to the OUA finals which is a good achievement. The team and I are still not satisfied. We wanted to win the whole thing and show the baseball community that we mean business,” said Hanson.
On the subject of holiday season and the team’s direction after the season, Hanson described what he is up to and how the team spends their time during the winter break.
“For this Christmas break, we will all have to undergo a workout program. It is actually run by one of our senior players who is a trainer at the pulse and is obviously good at what he is doing. The work out program consists of a couple hours of a training program on a daily basis and lasts up until [New Year’s Day]. [After Jan. 1], the rest of the holiday is a recovery period,” said Hanson.
Hanson also mentioned that his time will be spent in his home province of British Columbia, where he will return for the winter break.
“For the holidays, I'll be back in British Columbia with my family. However, I will still need to undergo the workout program that the baseball team requires. After the workout program ends, I will practice with my baseball team to keep in shape. As an athlete, it is vital for me to do my best to keep my form up even during the off season,” explained Hanson.
Finally, Hanson added what the team is expecting for the rest of the off season, even beyond the holiday break.
“The rest of the season will consist of us playing in a soccer pitch bubble. Although it is not a baseball field, we will still get the opportunity to practice on turf during the winter, which is vital,” said Hanson.
Although many sports seasons have ended leading into the time off over the winter, it is evident that athletes haven’t finished their business of keeping in shape. Far from it, they consistently practice during the off season to keep their form up.
C/O John Lott
One alum's journey to winning a World Series
The year was 1996 and McMaster students were arriving on campus. For some, it wasn’t just their first time at McMaster, but also in Hamilton. This was the case for a first year economics major making the trip from Montreal. This was the story of Alex Anthopoulos.
“I remember having left Montreal [with] my father and brother . . . Waking up in Hedden Hall the morning after I got dropped off, I didn’t know a soul. I remember calling home and I had a lump in my throat,” said Anthopoulos.
The experience of leaving home can be stressful, but it’s what follows that makes all the difference.
Anthopoulos remembers his time at McMaster fondly. School, his experiences and his friends had long-lasting effects on his life.
“Definitely the best, both academic and social, experience of my life,” said Anthopoulos. “My best friends in the world are friends I made at Mac and the life experiences and everything I went through, I would never change it for the world.”
It was during his time at McMaster that Anthopoulos would enter the baseball world. He loved sports, specifically baseball, but never expected to work in the sport. He recalled frequently discussing the possibility, but never made a move on it until a friend of his just couldn’t take it any longer.
“One of my good friends to this day, Rich Martinelli, went to Mac with me [and we] roomed together. He was the one who I would just annoy, [telling] him about how I just wanted to get into baseball, [and] kept talking about it. He finally snapped on me one day and said ‘I’m sick of hearing you talk about it, I want you to do something about it,’” explained Anthopoulos.
After that conversation in his third year, it was exactly what he decided to do, reaching out to the Blue Jays and Expos in search of an opportunity. Although it wasn’t exactly what he expected, he found his way in.
“The Expos said, ‘we don’t have an internship in baseball operations, but we have something where you can basically open the players mail, coordinate it, work with them, work in the clubhouse, those types of things.’ It was a non-paying job, but I just wanted to get my foot in the door,” said Anthopoulos.
As minimal as the role seemed, it would play a big part in the advancement of his career. He always eyed scouting and felt he had an opportunity at hand. He would complete his mail duties during the day and spend his nights working on scouting.
“At night when I was done and the games were starting, I would go sit in the seats and write scouting reports. I knew I was capable of more than doing player mail, but that was a way to get my foot in the door. I got paid in experience,” explained Anthopoulos.
This is where things began to take off. The organization took notice of his skills and determination and had him travel to Florida to work as an international scout. After a year and a half, he would become a scouting coordinator. Two years later, he took on a scouting coordinator position from the Blue Jays and would get his big break after another two years.
“I got offered [the] assistant [general manager] position, did that for four [years] and then the GM position came up. A lot of it was right place, right time — no doubt about that. I think the key was that I really enjoyed what I was doing . . . I couldn’t wait to get into the office,” said Anthopoulos.
He discussed many late nights at home, watching VHS tapes and DVDs of draft videos. He worked so hard not just to get ahead, but because he was genuinely interested and loved what he did, calling it “a real labour of love.” He was just glad to do something he loved.
For those wanting to follow in his footsteps, he emphasized the importance of having a true passion for the job, suggesting that it’s a requirement for the line of work.
“Make sure you are doing it for the right reasons, meaning you absolutely adore it,” explained Anthopoulos. “The sacrifices, socially, time commitments, things like that — it’s really a way of life. . . I’ve told people before that have interned with us — there’s nothing wrong with just being a sports fan and having another career.”
Anthopoulos was always very passionate and never stopped working on his way to the top. After being named the Blue Jays GM in 2009, he spent six more seasons with the organization. In his final year with the team in 2015, they won the division and made the playoffs for the first time since 1993.
Anthopoulos gained a reputation as a top-tier GM that season and was named the Major League Baseball Executive of the Year following a flurry of moves to bring the team into contention. With a 53-51 record at the trade deadline, Anthopoulos pulled off one of the “best-ever” trade deadlines, acquiring five time all-star and Cy Young winner David Price, and five time all-star, Troy Tulowitzki, along with several other pieces.
In 2021, Anthopoulos found himself in a similar situation with the Braves sitting third in the division with a 51-54 record, and batting injuries.
Over the course of the season the Braves would see Canadian ace Mike Soroka retear his achilles, perennial MVP candidate Ronald Acuna Jr. tear his ACL, and two time all-star Marcell Ozuna break his hand while also being arrested on domestic violence charges. All three would miss the remainder of the season.
Leading up to the trade deadline, Anthopoulos rebuilt the Braves outfield entirely, trading for Joc Pederson, Adam Duvall, Eddie Rosario and Jorge Soler, all of whom were huge contributors in the title run. Rosario was named NLCS MVP and Soler was named WS MVP.
“We still had a chance to get in the playoffs . . . Your job as a GM is to try to get your team in. If you get your team in, anything can happen. Our runs allowed, our runs scored, we had scored a lot more runs than we had allowed, it just wasn’t resulting in wins. We thought we were capable of a lot more,” said Anthopoulos.
Anthopoulos surely made the most of this opportunity, never giving up after many had written his team off.
“Our run differential was like plus 100 and something and we were a game under .500, we should’ve been so much better — it just ended up showing up over six months. It wasn’t a tough call. Selling just didn’t make any sense,” explained Anthopoulos.
A few months later, he would be proven correct, as it was the Atlanta Braves celebrating with the World Series trophy during their parade.
It was a long journey for Anthopoulos to become the first Canadian GM to ever win the World Series and it was a journey that all started at McMaster University.
C/O McMaster sports
With qualification success, the men’s varsity baseball team will head into the OUA championships with quite a dramatic week behind them.
Written October 28th
During the weekend of Oct. 9 to Oct. 10, the Marauders Men’s Baseball team went against the Brock Badgers and the Guelph Gryphons in the Ontario University Athletics qualifiers for the final tournament that took place in Ajax just a week later.
The games in the Oakes Park Stadium did not get off to a great start. In their first game against the Brock Badgers, the Marauders fell to a loss of 4 to 1. Although this was not the perfect start, the qualifiers are based on a round-robin system, hence the Marauders still had a chance of making it to the final tournament.
Shortly after the first game, just about five hours later, the Marauders played against the Guelph Gryphons and had the chance to fix their round robin record, which would give them a chance of being the top seed within the tournament. However, the second game proved to be a very distressing one for all involved.
Midway through the game, in a routine fly ball, two McMaster players accidentally collided at one of the bases, causing severe injuries to both involved. Luckily for them, the coach of the Gryphons is a firefighter, while the cameraman who was present at the game is a paramedic. The coach and cameraman immediately rushed to the scene and helped the ones affected until the ambulance arrived approximately 20 minutes later.
As the ambulance arrived and the players were stretched off the field, the truck got stuck on the muddy field, causing the wheels to spin in place. Although a very troublesome predicament, varsity players from both universities collaborated to try to remove the truck from where it was stuck, making for a very unique moment in varsity history.
It was as if all the rivalries were set aside between the teams. As the Marauders scrambled to push the truck away, the Gryphons rushed to help their rivals out to get the truck moving. Eventually, the truck was freed and the ambulance made its way to the hospital.
This isn’t the first time a dangerous incident has happened during a game between the Gryphons and Marauders. In 2019, a McMaster assistant coach had a heart attack during batting practice, while the same coach for the Gryphons performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the assistant for 25 minutes until the ambulance arrived.
The game ended with a loss for the Marauders, ending at 12 to 0., However, this was not the most distressing part of the day. Ryan Clark, a longtime baseball team veteran, expressed the team's distress over the events that occurred during the game and how it affected them throughout.
“We were all really shocked by the whole series of events. That was the moment we realized that baseball is second and the health of our teammates [is] the priority. As the game continued, we were still all in shock so we didn't finish off well,” explained Clark.
After the two consecutive losses, the Marauders had to play the semifinals against the Gryphons again, but this time they had newfound motivation.
“Just before our next game in the semifinals we spoke to each other and called for focus. We knew that we were the best team there and we wanted to prove it. We wanted to play for our players and to win the whole qualifier for them,” said Clark.
This new motivation helped the Marauders significantly.. Just one day after the incident, the Marauders came out on top against the Gryphons, with a 10 to 8 win. This meant that the Marauders made it to the finals of the qualifier, where they were to play against the Brock Badgers.
In the final game against the Badgers, the Marauders did the unthinkable. After losing their first two games, the Marauders beat the Badgers 9 to 4 in the finals of the qualifiers, meaning that they officially qualified for the Ontario University Athletics championships of Oct. 17.
When asked for final thoughts regarding the entire comeback, Clark said he knew this would happen.
“After beating [the Brock Badgers], we proved that we were the best team there. It is something that we knew from the very first moment and to actually finish off the qualifiers in first place, it was a job well done. We are now looking towards the championship in a week where we are confident that we will [again] do well,” explained Clark.
The OUA Men's Baseball Championship took place on Sunday, Oct. 17 in Ajax Sportsplex and involved four different teams around Ontario battling for first place. McMaster’s first game was against the Carleton Ravens at 11:00 am.
C/O Seyran Mammadov and McMaster sports Instagram
The baseball team finds big success in 2021, bringing back several awards.
As Canadian university sports teams returned from more than a full year off from their sports, many found themselves brushing off the rust that came from no in person practices and light workouts. The Marauders baseball team was not one of them.
After a near elimination earlier in October, the team surged all the way to the Ontario University Athletics finals against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, falling six to two while earning themselves a silver medal. To complement their successful season, outfielder Nik Motruck also won his second consecutive most valuable player award and pitcher Josh Kalmin took home the rookie of the year award.
As if a provincial silver medal wasn’t exciting enough, Josh Kalmin had an amazing week upon hearing that he had officially been declared the rookie of the year award winner, catching him by surprise.
“I was in Costco getting a mattress for my apartment when I saw that I was mentioned on Twitter. When I first saw it, it was exciting. [It’s] obviously really nice to be recognized by your peers for an award like that . . . Although it’s an individual award, the culture that McMaster baseball set up for me coming in was really the driving force. This team gives 110 per cent every single day,” explained Kalmin.
Although Kalmin had a great season himself, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the team, who finished with a record of three wins and two losses and came one game away from elimination in the qualifying round — but they never let go of their hope. Kalmin spoke to the fight in the team, praising his teammates for never letting go.
“I think that the season had a lot of ups and downs and there were a lot of opportunities for us to quit or give up, but this team really persevered and we came together as a group,” said Kalmin.
Kalmin stressed how proud he was of the team and the silver medal that they brought home, but remains hungry for more after getting ever so close to the gold.
“I’m proud of the team and the year we had, with us overcoming everything that we overcame, especially with what happened in the regional. I’m proud of the accomplishment we had, but I want to come back next year and finish the job [and] win it all,” explained Kalmin.
The team overcame a lot to get to where they were. Going into the regional, not only were they on the brink of elimination after losing the first two games on Saturday Oct. 10, but they were also still in shock over an injury to two of their teammates.
During their second game on Oct. 10, Mark Zanette and Nicholas Velocci struck one another in a scary collision and ended up leaving the field in an ambulance. Not only were the two players unable to contribute to the team going forward, but it left their teammates extremely emotional and distressed. Fortunately, this event turned into motivation for the squad, who needed to win both Sunday games to avoid elimination.
“Saturday was a shock to us. Seeing what happened was hard, I had tears in my eyes. A lot of the guys had tears in their eyes . . . Going into Sunday, our choice was either [to] be done, or [to] come back, win two games and continue the season. Going back on that bus Sunday morning, we knew we were going to win. No one on our team ever said anything [possibly losing]. We were going to do it for Nick and for Mark,” said Kalmin.
The team came through on their promise, qualifying for the playoffs and finishing their season with a silver medal, their second highest ranking since winning the gold in 2008.
Jovan Popovic has shown that he’s serious about his business in an industry that has found itself growing quickly amid the pandemic.
More often than not, university students solely focus on their studies for the four years that they spend in their undergraduate programs. For many, the only vision that they have in mind is schoolwork and graduation and they avoid pursuing their dream career on the side for this reason. However, this isn’t always the case. There are students around who have their own business success stories and have translated their entrepreneurship into serious and impressive endeavours.
A third-year business student, Jovan Popovic, has developed his passion for sports memorabilia into a serious business. Also known as the Sports Editor of the Silhouette, Popovic has been running his paid private signings business, Pop Sports Memorabilia, for 3 years. His business first began as a card flipping venture, but later changed focus, implementing a strategy to target a niche with sports fans by offering private autograph signings.
The business is based on Popovic finding various popular players and arranging private autograph signings with them. The business student would then collect items from all interested clients, and meet with the player on a predetermined date to get them signed. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Popovic found this unique opportunity to develop his business, and by taking advantage, his business gained much momentum.
In an interview, Popovic explained how autographs became a rarity during the pandemic as face to face meetings were limited and players avoided in-person physical contact, whether it be by choice or as a result of league protocol.
Since autographs became much less common, private signings took over. As business continued to grow, Popovic continued looking for more players to sign, having included as many as 12 players in a single wave of signings before.
When explaining his business model, Popovic described himself as the one who “connects” the two parties — players and fans.
“The way the business works, I would conduct research and find players that I believe are in high demand. I would reach out to them using my connections, or by contacting their agents. As soon as I get in touch with them, I’d negotiate a deal, and once it's set I would bring it to my customer base and start collecting items for the player,” explained Popovic.
Although Popovic is currently in contact with dozens of different baseball players, getting in contact with all of them was not easy. He explained that when he first broke into the business, he messaged 150 different players over Instagram, only to receive a reply from one.
Through his connections and his negotiations with sports agencies such as Apex Baseball and True Gravity, Popovic has managed to gather an impressive pool of talent from the baseball world. Among the players with whom he has done business are Daniel Nava (World Series champion, 2013), Reese McGuire (Blue Jays catcher), Kris Bubic (Royals starting pitcher) and Ross Stripling (Blue Jays starting pitcher and former All-Star).
Although players may be slowly returning to normal signing more often now than through a majority of the pandemic, Popovic has found himself able to maintain a high business volume. After having grown the business from scratch, Pop Sports Memorabilia has made a name for itself in the industry over the course of the year. To learn more about the business, or to get in touch with Popovic, you can message him through the business Instagram or visit his website.