Unfortunately, it is for all the wrong reasons. And yes, here is where the obligatory LeBron James comment would go.
Now, to shift the focus BACK to baseball, I recently had a chance to catch up with one of Miami’s favorite sons…Florida International’s hit king Garrett Wittels.
As some of you might know, Wittels is currently in a holding pattern. Last month, when the Golden Panthers season came to an end, the infielder had to put on pause his 56-game hitting streak.
HOVG: Who has your biggest influence and why?
WITTELS: One of my biggest influences in my life is my father. Believe it or not, it has nothing to do with baseball, but for how he goes about in his everyday life. He is an orthopedic surgeon and strives for greatness on everything he does. He has taught me that hard work always pays off and that you must stay even keel.
HOVG: Outside of the 56-game hitting streak…what has been your best baseball experience or greatest accomplishment?
WITTELS: I’d have to say that outside of the hit streak, my greatest accomplishment was winning the Sun Belt Championship this year. The 2010 FIU baseball team never gave up all season and we fought tooth and nail each game to be able to dog pile and win that ring. That feeling is the best feeling in all of sports.
HOVG: Who all has contacted you to wish you luck and what have they had to say?
WITTELS: Right after the season ended, the Florida Marlins invited me out to their game between them and the Texas Rangers to be on their pregame show, in-game telecast and hang out for batting practice. Guys like Cody Ross, Hanley Ramirez and Michael Young came up to me to congratulate me on our season and wish me luck next year hoping that I break the record and keep going. That had to be one of the highlights of my life for Major League players to come up to ME and recognize and talk to me. It was a pretty special day.
HOVG: Baseball is a game of superstitions…do you have any oddball things that you found yourself doing throughout the season?
WITTELS: Yes, I definitely have a lot of superstitions that I do on an everyday basis. To name a few, I always chew watermelon Bubblicious bubble gum during every game. I always get my wrist tapped the same way by the trainers at FIU and have many different handshakes with fellow teammates. There’s also my hair which I haven’t cut since the start of the season.
HOVG: Do you have plans yet for when break Ventura’s record or are you waiting?
WITTELS: I’m definitely not thinking about the record right now. I’m trying to get myself and the rest of my team ready to repeat as Sun Belt Champions and make a big run in the NCAA playoffs next year.
HOVG: Lastly, what advice do you have for the new king of South Beach, LeBron James?
WITTELS: Miami is going to go insane with LeBron here with the Heat. I love the idea of having one of the best basketball players of all-time play in the same city as me at the same time. Who knows, he may want to take in an FIU baseball or basketball game!
Wittels ended the season with 100 hits in the 56 games that he played…giving him a .413 batting average for the season. Just a sophomore in college, he has at least one more season at Florida International before he seriously decides if he wants to go into the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft.
Currently, Wittels is one of the five finalists for the “Best Male College Athlete” award that will be handed out next week during the ESPYs on ESPN. You can (and should) go vote for him over at ESPN.com.
You have only one more day to get out and vote, so click THIS LINK now!