Sports

Grateful for the Past, Playing in the Present, Focused on the Future

By Dustin Niles

Layout & Design Editor

Matt McCann is all baseball.

“Anyone who wants to be good at something,” McCann said, “usually gets kind of lonely to be good at something, and you gotta sacrifice things and give up a lot of time, you gotta put a lot of time into it.”

McCann has been busy lately. The baseball team has been hot at home, going 7-2, and 7-4 in the NEC overall. But in addition, he’s starting to think about playing baseball at the next level.

“Well, along with my teammates Logan Frati and Ryan Brennan, we were on Baseball America’s top prospect list for the Northeast Conference,” McCann said. “It’s humbling, because it’s something that you obviously want to pursue, and being a senior, you don’t know how much longer you’re going to get to play because it’s your senior year and college is coming to an end. So it’s just nice to know that you might have a shot to keep playing the game that you really love.”

McCann has been working out for a couple of pro teams. He won’t say who (“There are some teams.”), but it’s happening, and fast.

And so is McCann.
“Yeah, my 60-yard time at some of the workouts I’ve been to has been as fast as like 6.3 seconds, which is considered a carrying tool, a very good tool,” he said.

In addition to physical workouts, McCann has been taking psychological pro ling tests to determine his coachability for potential pro teams. It’s not his first time

he’s taken them.
“Pooch (Head Coach Gary Puccio) has got players when they come in, you take a test and it matches your personality with how coachable you are, things like that,” McCann said. “And so I took one for him when I first got here, everyone does, and then it’s kind of the same way with professional teams.”

McCann is a speed player. He’s not a huge guy at 5’9” and 170 pounds. Fast on the eld, he’s relaxed o of it. He relaxes into the back and arms of the chair he’s sitting in, and his words are clear but not calculated. Just easy. He’s a specialist, and excels in stealing bases, a vital component of Assistant Coach Justin McKay’s offense. He’s no power hitter, but he can get around the bases in the blink of an eye.

“I’ve actually never hit a college home run,” McCann said. “Because I’m a smaller guy, it’s just not something that I do. But speed is something that I can do, something I take a lot of pride in. I can steal bases and use it to get on base, get around the bases.”

McCann’s speed comes naturally, but like anything else it takes refining to reach its full potential.

“I work out at the Parisi Speed School, and I have a trainer there that helps me work on my speed,” he said.

As of April 23, McCann leads the team with 47 hits and 29 runs, and also leads the team with an on-base percentage of .468.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to stay healthy, to start, and to just keep it simple and put the barrel of the bat on the ball, and the ball just finds holes and you just keep it simple and get on base for the big guys like Ryan Brennan, Bobby Romano,” McCann said. “Those guys deserve a ton of credit for my personal successes as a base stealer,  because it’s real easy for me to get the opportunities to run on breaking balls when you’ve got guys who mash fastballs. So, they definitely deserve a lot of credit in terms of my personal success. Evan McDonald too, those guys all contribute. And then from a defensive standpoint, I just try to play good defense behind the pitching sta , they make good pitches, throw strikes, and I try to give them all the help that they need by making plays for them.”

In terms of his college experience, FDU has opened McCann up to new experiences through his studies.

“I definitely came to college with nothing in mind but baseball, and I’m still very, very baseball-only, with that tunnel vision,” he said. “But it’s definitely helped me grow outside of baseball, helped me see some things that I didn’t really know were in me, in terms of my interest in my major, which is communications.

“I found something else that I’m kinda interested in,” McCann said. “I’m not a huge school person, but ever since late in my sophomore year when I determined I was going to be a communications major, it’s actually been a little better. It makes it easier to get up and go to class with a professor like Dr. Battistoli, Dr. Sun, Dr. Buzzard, she’s the head of the department, they’re all great really.”

But like anyone committed to his craft, there have been times where his commitment to baseball has kept him from helping others as much as he would have liked.

“Well always, as an athlete, as a committed athlete the way that I am, you’re gonna give up a lot of opportunities that other students get to have,” McCann said. “I would have like to do a little more for the community I guess. I was part of SAC last year, and they do a lot of really good things. But because I’m very committed to making this happen for me and to get a chance to play at the next level, I haven’t been able to do some of those things. Which is a little sel sh but, sometimes you have to be. But, if there is one thing, it would be to get more involved in the community.”

McCann credits his success to his teammates and coaches. “Knowing that they believe in me, and when Pooch named me captain too, believing that I could lead the team, it’s just cool because you always think you can do it,” McCann said. “And when someone else kind of con rms it for you too, it makes it easy to just go with whatever ideas you have, it just builds your confidence.” Nearing the end of a stellar college baseball career, with major league baseball calling, McCann is filled with gratitude.
“My former teammates, my current teammates, everyone deserves credit,” he said, “because they’ve all laid a role in helping me become a better player.”

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