There are certain “required readings” in college baseball, especially since there aren’t that many stitched-ball writers out there to begin with. As you guys know, I’m deep into the college football thing this time of year, so I’m usually dragging ass to get something posted for baseball. But I’ve always appreciated the good work [...]
Man, this college football thing is getting out of hand. We’re only two weeks into the season and already, scandal, allegations, suspensions, poor sportsmanship, bad refereeing and awful fan-dom are already running rampant. (Is it freaking baseball season yet?) Here’s an example …
Here are 13 things that crossed my mind…
Hey you guys.
It’s the eve of the first Saturday of college football season. Crud, I know. That means I’m going to be taken away from my college baseball duties and selling my soul to the pigskin for a few months. But don’t worry, it’s just part of our penance for the gods of college baseball deciding to have eight months of an off-season – Boy would I like to get my hands on the college baseball absurdists who decided the off-season should be THAT long.
Anyway, here are 13 things that have been on my mind lately.
If it’s early August, that must mean it’s Area Code Games time again down at Long Beach State. This is the week-long exhibition which showcases the top baseball talent from across the country all in one place. It’s one grand stage for the professional scouts, college coaches and number-crunching stat geeks to salivate over.
Here is the open letter Rice head coach Wayne Graham wrote on the state of college baseball.
(I re-typed it myself since it was sent in PDF form so any typos are my own, not coach Graham’s)
July 12, 2013
The Destruction of College Baseball
Major league baseball learned in the 1920s that the long ball made the game an extremely marketable entertainment product. They have never forgotten it. The advent of the padded wall has added a new dimension with the superhuman catch to prevent the home run. Watching TV at the end of the day tells how important these two elements are to the entertainment value of baseball.
Everyone who enters a sport should understand the risks involved, whether it be Nascar, football, motocross or basketball. Fear of litigation should never be allowed to change a sport to the point that it is losing its momentum and popularity. The chance of a successful lawsuit were the risks are clearly defined is remote if the person chooses to participate.
The game that was played in Omaha this year has many similarities to the game that was played in 1905. To say that this is the “pure” game is silly since baseball did not become “America’s Pastime” until the 1920s with the advent of the long ball era. Major League Baseball has made various moves since to ensure that the game would have the proper balance.
The college game is now officially out of balance. This can be rectified by adopting a ball with the same life as the major league ball. Make no mistake. A ball can be made at a reasonable cost with the same “life” as the major league ball. This has already been done.
Even with a ball with the life of a major league ball, the exit velocities will be less in college than in the major leagues because major league players are bigger, stronger and have better timing than college players. There will still be more home runs per game in the major leagues.
TV revenues and attendance are going to diminish over time if we do not restore the entire entertainment value to our product. This needs to be done immediately, even to the point of emergency meetings. Every coach I have talked to wants this. Fans I have talked to tell me that after a few games they became bored with the type of baseball played at the College World Series.
Our teams are known for pitching and defense. Therefore, I have no bias toward the long ball. My only bias is toward the welfare of college baseball. I am grateful for the life that I have had, and I want others to have the opportunity to experience a life in a balanced and dynamic college baseball.
At the end of the UCLA-North Carolina game the other night, the TD Ameritrade p.a. operator played the classic David Bowie song “Heroes” over the loudspeaker after the two teams had shaken hands and the UNC players were starting to gather their belongings to exit the field one last time. I thought it was an appropriate song at the time.
But it took until Saturday afternoon for me that song to sink in for me. The old adage is that you should never meet your heroes, right? Well, whoever said that lied their ass off. I met Dave Schrage. And he is very cool.