STEVENS: Cavazos-Galvez a Hard Lobo With a Soft Side
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  05/12/2009
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

May 12, 2009

Brian Cavazos-Galvez
Year: Senior
Height/Weight: 6-foot-1, 215 pounds
Born: May 17, 1987
High School: Manzano High
2008 Honors: All-MWC First Team

Up Next: Lobos at Air Force, May 14-15-16

By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

Lobo Brian Cavazos-Galvez needs to watch out for Seth up at the Air Force Academy this week. Seth is coming for some of Cavazos-Galvez`s Lobo gear. Seth wants it bad.

So, will Seth charge onto the field during one of the University of New Mexico`s three games with the Falcons and go for Cavazos-Galvez's glove or maybe his UNM cap? Naw, probably not, because Seth knows if he is patient, he will get what he wants: the shoes. Maybe at the end of the series with Air Force. Definitely at the end of the season.

To better understand Brian Cavazos-Galvez, you have to understand about the shoes sought by Seth. As much as anything, the shoes are symbols of Cavazos-Galvez's soft side, his compassionate side.

Wait! Soft side? Cavazos-Galvez? UNM's rock-hard outfielder/slugger? Yeah, we're serious here. The often stern-looking, tough-looking, angry-looking Lobo is really a softie. He shows that soft side to Seth. He shows it to James. Lobo coach Ray Birmingham has seen it, too.

"Brian has gotten a bad rap because people think he has a temper," said Birmingham. "But they really misread him. Sure, he gets mad out there sometimes, but it's not like a tantrum. It's because he is out there trying so hard, wanting things so hard, that it's almost a desperation for him.

"But Brian is a fine kid with a heart as big as Texas. He cares and he has a special compassion for people less fortunate than him. I love the guy."

Cavazos-Galvez's contact with Seth and James came from the Lobo senior's involvement with Special Olympics and the Challenger Division of Little League, -- two organizations geared to put special-need kids on the athletic field. Cavazos-Galvez met Seth in Grand Junction, Colo. He met James in Albuquerque.

Seth is supposed to make the trip from his home in Grand Junction to Colorado Springs to watch Cavazos-Galvez and the Lobos play the Falcons. Seth will have his eye on the big Lobo. He also will be eyeing Cavazos-Galvez's big shoes.

"Seth's big thing is shoes," said Cavazos-Galvez. "He loves shoes. All shoes. Anything he can put on his feet. So, at the end of the season, I give him my cleats. I usually mail them to him with some Lobo socks. That seems to make his whole year, just to get those shoes.

"Both Seth and James text me. If I don't answer right away, Seth will get mad and say, `You call me right back, right now.' These are such good kids. When you see how happy little things make them, it makes you realize you shouldn't be getting upset over little things.

"It shows you how a little attention can be so important to people. In my eyes, it's not a big deal because they are my friends. But it means so much to them. They look up to me, but I look up to them because of how they make me feel about myself. No matter how good I do or how bad I do, they look up to me like I'm on this grand scale, simply because I'm on a baseball field."

The scale for Cavazos-Galvez for a few more weeks is the collegiate scale. But coach Birmingham thinks his senior might go all the way to the top.


Up Next: Lobos at Air Force
When: May 14-15-16
Online: GameTracker, recaps on GoLobos.com


"He has a chance to play at the next level and there are some scouts who think that, too," said Birmingham. "I think he`ll be a center fielder in the big leagues. He can run. He can hit and hit with power or average. He has an arm.

"His problem is he puts too much pressure on himself to be perfect. He wants to hit .1000 and hit every pitch to the moon."

Cavazos-Galvez hit a moon shot in UNM's three-game series at Stanford and another one at Saint Mary`s. He leads the Lobos in home runs with 12 and the power behind his .384 batting average has produced a .712 slugging percentage, also tops on the UNM team.

Of the Lobos batting above .300, he has the fewest walks, so the senior obviously likes to swing the bat. But Cavazos-Galvez makes contact, too. He has the fewest strikeouts in that group at 15. His speed also is reflected in his 16 stolen bases, second on the team.

Cavazos-Galvez is one of UNM's more potent sticks and he was that way at Manzano High in Albuquerque where he was the New Mexico Class 5A Player of The Year and the triple crown winner in 2005. But when Cavazos-Galvez first experienced Birmingham's hitting technique at New Mexico Junior College, Cavazos-Galvez almost left the batters' box in favor of the mound.

"Well, he threw about 96 mph," said Birmingham reflecting back on almost moving Cavazos-Galvez to the mound. "But that wasn't the reason. He needed to change some things in hitting and we fought like cats and dogs. I benched him the first 15 games of his career. He got mad at me, but he's gotten mad at me a lot. It's almost like a father-son thing. We sometimes go at it."

Said Cavazos-Galvez: "He changed a lot of stuff and I struggled, real bad at first. I almost stopped hitting completely and I was thinking about becoming a pitcher. He gave me all these crazy drills and I finally decided to do what he told me and finally it clicked."

The rest is Lobo history. Cavazos-Galvez followed Birmingham to UNM when coach got that job and Cavazos-Galvez has been swinging a big stick for the Lobos and Birmingham ever since.

Of course, Seth doesn't care all that much about that stick. Seth is just glad that Birmingham gave Cavazos-Galvez some neat shoes.

Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former Associate Sports Editor and sports columnist for The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at rstevens50@comcast.net. Previous articles are available at The Richard Stevens Corner