Think you are amped up for baseball season?
Brady Singer couldn’t sleep Wednesday night.
Two nights before his first Friday night start for the No. 1 Florida Gators, the junior pitcher was tossing and turning like there were needles in his sheets.
“That just means I’m excited,” he said.
And Singer is an excitable boy.
His worst fear is a stopped clock. Time can’t fly fast enough when he is scheduled to take the mound. And the fact that he is opening the season on the bump for the No. 1-ranked team in America just adds to his anticipation.
Oh, and they’ll be raising a national championship banner as well tonight after a long pregame celebration of Florida’s first baseball title.
“I don’t think it’s going to change it at all,” Singer said. “I’m going to do what I have to do to get ready.”
That means plenty of hydration and plenty of food. No need for cramps to cut short what what will already be a start limited by a pitch count.
It will also mean watching his roomates Jackson Kowar and JJ Schwarz dueling on a pair of side-by-side TVs as they play the video game “Fortnite.”
“I’ve never seen anyone get so excited watching other people play,” said another roommate, second baseman Blake Reese.
But mostly, it will be just waiting to go to the park to get this thing started. The 2017 championship will be celebrated, but the page will be turned immediately. Florida has won zero games in 2018 and many of the guys responsible for that championship will be at McKethan Stadium in street clothes.
Then again, at least one of them will be dressed out.
Waiting to unleash everything he’s learned since the masterful performance in Omaha in 2017 (especially the 12 strikeouts against LSU) when he capped an amazing season with a 9-5 record and a 3.21 ERA.
“Mentally just get ready,” Singer said of his pregame ritual. “The more the day goes on, the more focused I get.
“Once I get to the field it starts getting real. It’s really hard to play the waiting game. The clock’s going to be ticking and I’m just going to be staring at my phone waiting for the time to get here.”
It will against Siena at 6:30 p.m. with all of the fanfare and hoopla of a team celebrating a championship. Which means it will require extra focus from a guy who helped it happen.
“I have seen the best version of Brady Singer,” Reese said. “I really like what I see of him. He’s one of the first people here every day. He’s out here all the time taking ground balls. He probably takes more than our infielders.
“He’s really leading by example.”
Everyone knows already about the competitive side of Singer. It was on display in Omaha on inning-ending punch-outs and in Gainesville when a rain delay ended his stint.
And it will be a part of the psyche that is trying to step into the large shoes vacated by one of the best competitors on the mound in Gator history in Alex Faedo.
“Alex was more reserved when he first came in,” said Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan. “Brady’s always been Brady. Ever since we started recruiting him he’s worn his emotions on his sleeve so he hasn’t changed a bit.”
Today, Singer gets to experience what it’s like to start a series, what it’s like to be the target not only of a team that wants to get off to a good start, but also get their hacks against the projected No. 1 pick in June’s MLB draft.
“I like that everyone is going to try to beat me,” Singer said. “The better the competition, the better I get. Siena is going to come out and swing the bat. They’ve been locked up in a cage for awhile. It’s been snowing, it’s been cold outside.”
Notes: Show up early because it’s 2017 National Championship Celebration day, with the unveiling of a championship display in left field, ceremonial first pitch prior to the game by CWS MVP Alex Faedo and members of the 2017 championship team will raise a National Championship flag before the game.
Who: Siena Saints vs. No. 1 Florida
When: 6:30 p.m. today, 4 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday
Where: McKethan Stadium
Radio: AM-850, 98.1-FM
Pitching matchup: Today, Siena RHP Brendan White (Career: 5-7, 4.96 ERA) vs. UF RHP Brady Singer (Career: 11-7, 3.66 ERA)