Diamond Notes #4: Ready for Spring Trip

Illinois' spring break trip is usually attended by a mixture of fans and major-league scouts.
Illinois' spring break trip is usually attended by a mixture of fans and major-league scouts.

March 19, 2009

Hey Illini Fans,

I just got back to my apartment after practice and decided to write a Diamond Note before we hit the road tomorrow. We leave tomorrow afternoon for Winter Haven, Florida, for five games in five days. We play Army on Friday, Hartford on Saturday and then Central Connecticut State from Sunday through Tuesday. Next week is our spring break from school, so we're able to spend some extra time down south and play a few more games than a normal weekend trip.

Like in the years past on Spring Trip, we will be staying in condos while we're down there. It's a nice change of pace from hotel rooms like we usually stay in. These places usually have two or three bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room and a dining room. The guys always live with players they don't live with on campus, so it's a good way for the players to bond a little more. We'll see how much the freshman like being away from the easy access of dorm food when they have to go grocery shopping and get some things for meals while we're down there, too. The first three years I've been here we've played in Bradenton, Florida, for our Spring Trip, so it will be kind of nice to try out a new location. Although I did grow really attached to a certain classic rock radio station and local hot wing establishment in Bradenton (they aren't sponsors of Diamond Notes, so they don't get mentioned by name), so I will have to try to find new ones in Winter Haven.

It was nice to see a good amount of fans last weekend at Illinois Field for our series against Akron. After being on the road for three straight weekends, it was great to have a good-sized crowd behind us. We really lucked out with the good weather, too. I've been to many games here in April where it's been 40 degrees and sleeting, but thankfully this mid-March series was not like that. We'll be back at Illinois Field in nine days for the first of three games against Michigan State to open Big Ten play. We're going to need the Illini Faithful out in force to help us through what looks to be a rugged Big Ten conference.

I'll try to check in again between Winter Haven and Michigan State, so look for that soon.

Until then, Go Illini! Michael Schroeder