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Saturday, February 08, 2014

Van Horn: Flat-seamed baseball isn’t enough

Something, something…PED testing!

Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn has reservations about the new baseball the college game plans to use beginning in 2015.

Speaking at the Razorbacks’ media day on Friday, Van Horn said the new ball — which features flatter seams — is only a start on the path toward using the same baseball the professionals use.

“I think it’s going to be the same ball with flat seams,” Van Horn said. “We need to use a flat-seamed ball that’s a little harder.”

...“We’re not using the rock baseball that they use in the big leagues, or in the minor leagues,” Van Horn said. “The bats aren’t too bad, to be honest with you. That ball’s the issue.

“If we used the big league ball, we’d be fine. Because it’s a little golf ball is what it is, or a big golf ball.”

Van Horn said his primary concern about the lack of offense is that the recent surge in the game’s popularity will be affected by dwindling scoring.

“I just don’t want fans running off because the game’s getting boring,” Van Horn said. “I love bunting and defense and small ball, but I don’t want people leaving in the seventh inning when you’re down three because they think you can’t hit a three-run homer anymore.

“That’s a little bit of my fear for the future of the game.”

Repoz Posted: February 08, 2014 at 10:17 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: college

Monday, February 03, 2014

Baseball America: 2014 College Preview: All-America Teams

Top-ranked Virginia leads all teams with four players on Baseball America’s preseason All-America teams, released Monday.

Outfielder Derek Fisher is Virginia’s lone first-teamer, while outfielder/first baseman Mike Papi makes the second team, and shortstop Branden Cogswell and outfielder Brandon Downes land on the third team. No. 4 Cal State Fullerton and No. 6 Florida State land three players apiece on the three teams.

Baseball America annually polls major league scouting directors to vote on the team and make their selections based on performance, talent and professional potential. In the past, the preseason All-America team has been a predictor both of the first round of the draft and of team success. For example, 11 members of last year’s preseason teams went on to become first-round picks, and two others were taken in the supplemental first round.

Fifth-ranked North Carolina State is the only team to land multiple players on the first team, as shortstop Trea Turner and lefthander Carlos Rodon both earn first-team preseason honors for the second consecutive year.

They are the only players to repeat as first-teamers, while Oregon State’s Michael Conforto, Kentucky’s Austin Cousino, Virginia’s Derek Fisher and Texas Christian’s Kevin Cron are also repeat members of the preseason teams. LSU’s Alex Bregman is the only player to earn postseason first-team All-America honors last June and preseason first-team honors in 2014.

Repoz Posted: February 03, 2014 at 03:24 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: college

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Calcaterra - Robert Pollard of Guided by Voices threw a no-hitter in college? OK.

Look, it’s baseball!

I knew that Bob was a pretty ballplayer in college, but this is a neat piece of trivia.

I Helped Patrick McGoohan Escape Posted: January 29, 2014 at 03:22 PM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: college, music

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Flynn: At Temple, other sports pay to keep football alive

Johnnie ain’t the only Temple hollerin’.

Baptist pastor Russell Conwell began Temple College, which we know as Temple University today, in the basement of his north Philadelphia church in 1884 to give working men (and later women) the opportunity to better themselves through education.

Friday’s announcement by the university’s bean counters to eliminate seven sports – but, oh, no, it’s not because of football – must have the good pastor rolling in his grave.

Athletic director Kevin Clark said the elimination of baseball, softball, men’s gymnastics, men’s crew, women’s rowing, and men’s indoor and outdoor track and field would save $3 million from the department’s $44 million annual budget. The costs fall disproportionally on men’s sports for Title IX reasons – Temple is far from compliance – and on sports that require travel to far-flung outposts in Temple’s latest athletic home, the American Athletic Conference.

Facilities for these sports – baseball and softball have to travel 12 miles, which can be an eternity in Philadelphia traffic, to the school’s Ambler campus, while the rowing teams have operated out of a tent along the Schuylkill River’s famed Boathouse Row because their building was condemned – don’t come close to meeting modern standards.

So 150 athletes and nine coaches lose their opportunity at Temple, whose officials took great pains to disassociate Friday’s stunning announcement from football.

...While the football program licks its wounds after a 2-10 season, Temple baseball will pack up its trophies after its 85th season. Men’s sprinters won’t take part in the Penn Relays after this spring. And Temple’s rowing teams won’t contend again in the Dad Vail Regatta, a rite of spring in the city.

Meanwhile, Temple president Neil Theobald floats the idea of an on-campus football stadium, the balloon he launched at a speech last month. It’s crazy to think that a program that eliminates seven sports would even consider such a thing. It could make a holy man like Conwell utter a few unholy words.

Repoz Posted: December 08, 2013 at 12:06 PM | 134 comment(s)
  Beats: college

Monday, December 12, 2011

Texas A&M-Kingsville pitcher Travis Madden dies in fall

Travis Madden had a bright future at Texas A&M-Kingsville.

The Inez native and Industrial graduate was a freshman majoring in chemical engineering and had just completed his first season of fall baseball.

But Madden died Sunday morning at the age of 18.

Kingsville police responded to a call just after 9 a.m. found Madden unconscious at the bottom of a stairwell at an apartment complex on the 1400 block of West Santa Gertrudis Street, about a block away from the campus, according to a police department release.

The release said Madden had been dead for several hours… Madden had reportedly left a party off-campus the night before and was walking to his dorm on the Texas A&M-Kingsville campus. There is no known connection between Madden and the apartment complex where he was found, the release said.

The police department is awaiting the result of an autopsy and the investigation continues.

The District Attorney Posted: December 12, 2011 at 11:11 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: amateur, college

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ben Goessling, MASN: The new CBA, the Nationals and the end of signability

So what will it mean for the Nationals, now that they’re picking later in the draft than they have before? Well, in the short-term, they won’t be at as much risk of losing their first-round pick for signing a Type A free agent as they would have been under the old system. But it seemed less likely they were going to pursue a big-name free agent this year than they were last year anyway. This has been a team built on scouting and development; Rizzo constructed his entire front office around the idea of winning the amateur draft. Lately, that has meant spending money.

Now the trick will be to figure out if a player can be selected later in the draft, knowing the savings will be greater than if he goes early in the draft. But with such a large pool of players, both from college and high school, baseball’s draft is unlike any other sport’s, and it might be the biggest crapshoot of the major professional leagues. Teams won’t be able to pluck falling talents like Purke (who was projected to go in the first round but slipped to the third because of signability concerns) with fat contracts. It might mean the top players go where they should, but that would require every team to agree on who the top players are. At the very least, it’ll be interesting.

TerpNats Posted: November 23, 2011 at 06:10 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: business, college, high school, nationals

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Bat Stands Pat: Pat Burrell Hangs It Up

Burrell was elected into the University of Miami Hall of Fame in 2008 and was followed two seasons later by Aubrey Huff(notes) and Jason Michaels(notes). Huff later credited Pat with helping him overcome his shyness by saying “I broke out of my shell at the University of Miami when I got around guys like Burrell.”

How did Burrell help? Well, here’s one story Huff has told:

  “After two weeks at Miami, I wanted to go home [...] So my mom flies out, trying to convince me to stay. I was living with two seniors and they ragged me, too. I just didn’t understand all this baseball ragging nonsense. She’s in my room one night and I’m sitting on my bed and she’s telling me to give it another two weeks.

  “Anyway, there’s a knock on the door, and before I can even get off the bed, Pat comes barging in with a six-pack in his hand, dripping wet, buck naked.”

BourbonSamurai Is a Lazy Nogoodnik Posted: November 17, 2011 at 07:02 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: college, giants, phillies, rays

Friday, November 04, 2011

AZ Republic: ASU baseball ruled ineligible for 2012 postseason

Other penalties, some self-imposed by ASU in a case under investigation since January 2008, include scholarship reductions, vacating wins and the 2007 Pac-10 title, coaching limitations during practice and restricted recruiting.

...

ASU continues to dispute that some players being minimally overpaid for working in the Sandlot program, created by former coach Pat Murphy to promote youth baseball, and that certain work by student managers including throwing batting practice are major violations. Neither, ASU claims, provides a recruiting advantage.

Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: November 04, 2011 at 05:01 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: college

NYT: Schwarz: At Moneyball U, What Are the Odds?

Good stuff from Alan Schwarz…including a Father Gabe Costa sighting!

Watching a baseball telecast may not be the best way to learn basic probability.

Let’s say Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees and his .313 career batting average stride to the plate after 20 straight at-bats without a hit. Sports Announcer No. 1 will invariably discuss how Jeter is in a slump, suggesting that, because of some problem either physical or mental, his chance of getting a hit is somewhere less than his usual 31 percent. And then, right on cue, Announcer No. 2 will giddily agree — “Yeah, Marv, Derek’s definitely due!” — with the “due” implying that Jeter has gone hitless for so long that his chances now are somehow greater than his innate 31 percent.

Welcome to “Bert and Ernie Teach Probability,” America’s less storied national pastime.

...As society gets ever more data driven and risk aware, formal statistics are becoming increasingly relevant. Probability has revolutionized finance, polling and, yes, even the running of sports franchises; popular culture has embraced stat geeks through television shows (“NUMB3RS”) and best-selling books (“Freakonomics”). As Brad Pitt evangelizes the power of probability in this fall’s hit movie “Moneyball,” you know that numbers have earned a seat at the cool kids’ table.

Repoz Posted: November 04, 2011 at 01:59 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: college, history, sabermetrics

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-1-2011

Pittsburgh Press, November 1, 1911:

JAMES THORPE, OF CARLISLE, GREAT ALL-ROUND ATHLETE

Football this season has brought into the public eye a young Indian student at the Carlisle school, who promises to become the greatest athlete the world has ever seen.
...

James Thorpe has broken all traditions by approaching world records in so many lines of activity that physical trainers are at a loss to account for his skillful feats of strength and endurance.

Puh-leeze. Greatest athlete the world has ever seen?  Like anyone 100 years from now is going to know who James Thorpe was.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Longhorn infielder arrested for evading arrest, marijuana possession

Didn’t the Cardinals have Jordan Etier high on their draft chart?

Jordan Etier, an infielder with the University of Texas Longhorns baseball team, was arrested Saturday afternoon and charged with two misdemeanors: Evading Arrest and Possession of Marijuana (less than 2 oz.).

According to a police affidavit, a person witnessed two men urinating beneath a pedestrian bridge on the 1800 block of Trinity Street and told a nearby police officer.

When the officer approached the two, Etier took off running with the officer in pursuit.

After being chased for two blocks, he was arrested in the second story of a parking garage. Police say they then saw him throw an object outside into bushes below.

When officers searched the bushes, they found an ATM receipt belonging to Etier wrapped around what they believe to be marijuana.

Repoz Posted: October 17, 2011 at 09:16 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: college, special topics

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Daily Titan: Athletics barely hanging on to Division I Status

Budget cuts, tuition increases and insufficient revenues have left Cal State Fullerton athletics barely clinging on to Big West Division I status.

The NCAA requires a university to maintain seven priority sports and fund them at 80 percent in scholarships in order to be considered Div. I.

The seven sports that are considered priority by the Big West conference out of CSUF’s 15 are men and women’s basketball, men and women’s soccer, baseball, softball and women’s volleyball. CSUF is currently Div. I defending champions in both baseball and women’s volleyball.

CSUF is now at the bare minimum seven priority sports and is in jeopardy of being bumped to Div. II if its expenditures continue to exceed the current budget.

“We have some issues in terms of whether or not we can meet our minimum funding at the Div. I level,” said Steve DiTolla, associate senior athletics director. “In the NCAA, the Div. I level is defined, outside of men and women’s basketball, you need to have 50 scholarships, full scholarships, and we are dangerously close to not being that far.”

The full scholarships are split evenly between the men and women’s priority sports, DiTolla explained. The CSUF athletics budget barely covers these fees even after terminating both men’s wrestling and woman’s gymnastics during spring in order to meet budgetary obligations.

The budgeted athletics scholarship fund for 2011-12 is about $2.1 million and was not increased to accommodate the additional 12 percent tuition fee increase that affected every student on campus.

“When we are issuing scholarships, we pay the school for our student athletes,” DiTolla said. “So as each one of you got hit (with tuition fee increases) we got hit to the tune of about $90,000.”

Tripon Posted: September 27, 2011 at 10:05 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: amateur, angels, business, college

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Mexico State University Baseball ‘Hitter’ Mannequin Reported Stolen

Probably by the ACC.

The New Mexico State University baseball team says its “hitter” mannequin has been stolen.

NMSU announced Tuesday that the team reported the mannequin stolen after a player noticed that it was missing.

The six-foot tall black mannequin wearing a gray New York Yankee uniform is modeled after a baseball player holding a bat and standing at home plate. The equipment, paired with a “catcher” mannequin that was not taken, is used for pitching practice.

The hitter mannequin is valued at approximately $4,000. However, because the pitching practice mannequins are only sold in pairs, the NMSU baseball team will be forced to replace both pieces of equipment at a cost of $16,000.

Repoz Posted: September 20, 2011 at 07:52 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: college, memorabilia

Friday, September 16, 2011

LSU baseball: Former LSU baseball player Terry Belle killed in car accident

Former LSU baseball player Terry Belle, twin brother of former Tiger Albert “Joey” [Belle] died in a car accident last Saturday in Paradise Valley, Ariz.

Belle, 45, earned three letters from 1985-88 and played on LSU’s first two College World Series teams. He batted .276 in 135 career games with 11 homers and 65 RBI.

Belle’s two children were in the car with him at the time of the accident, but were apparently unharmed. RIP.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 16, 2011 at 03:24 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: college, obituaries

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Joel Horlen, former OSU baseball player

Catching up with the traceable Joel Horlen.

Horlen, now 74, is believed to be the only person to play on teams that won the Pony League World Series, the College World Series and the major league World Series.

We had a good pitching staff. Led the league in four or five different categories. I still didn’t get pitcher of the year award.

I faced a bunch of good hitters. Tony Oliva won the batting title every year. That’s about the only guy I can remember that I really didn’t like facing. I know I gave up enough hits to everybody else. He was by far the best. I tried to hit him one time, right in the neck. He just stepped to the side and hit a double down the left-field line.

Winning all those different World Series, they’re all good. The major league World Series was more boisterous. We poured 100 bottles of Champagne on each other. Then had to get back on the airplane and go back to Oakland. The party continued on the airplane. We got in about 2 o’clock in the morning. Opened a couple of bars for us there, then celebrated some more. Had to be at the park at 8 o’clock in the morning and be ready for the parade. They served cocktails there, too.

 

Repoz Posted: September 10, 2011 at 10:56 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: college, history, reds, white sox

Thursday, September 01, 2011

al.com: Former Olympic baseball player charged with making meth near Loxley school

It’s B.J. Wallace.

Billy Lyle “BJ” Wallace Jr., 40, and Amber Sheree McKenzie, 29, were being held in Baldwin County Corrections Center as of Wednesday, both charged with first-degree manufacturing of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Wallace, a Monroeville native, pitched for the U.S. team in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, and the Montreal Expos picked him third in that year’s amateur draft, signing the left-hander for $550,000, according to baseball-reference.com and Press-Register archives.

He set an Olympic record for strikeouts in a game by fanning 14 in a win over Italy, but he never reached the major leagues. ...

While his professional baseball career never prospered, Wallace put up impressive numbers in organized baseball.

In 1992, Wallace set a Mississippi State University school record with 145 strikeouts, according to baseball-reference.com.

Greg Franklin Posted: September 01, 2011 at 04:03 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: college, expos, olympics

Friday, August 26, 2011

Rice Tight End signs with Blue Jays

Willson, a power-hitting, left-handed hitter, will report to Toronto’s minor-league complex in Dunedin, Fla., at the end of the spring semester. Willson can play either first base or the corner outfield spots.

As part of his deal, Willson received a signing bonus that will be spread over three years, which allows him the flexibility to pursue a football career after college, if he chooses.

The baseball contract will not affect Willson’s remaining two years’ football eligibility.

Willson has a baseball background, which includes playing for the Canadian junior national team. He also briefly worked with the Rice baseball team in the fall 2009 before deciding to concentrate on football.

I know these type of signings don’t normally get their own thread, but this particular signing seems very interesting.  He doesn’t play baseball for Rice, only football, and he’s signed a professional contract with the Jays but will stay be allowed to play Rice football.  I had no idea that was allowed by either the NCAA or MLB.

Paul D(uda) Posted: August 26, 2011 at 02:58 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, college

Friday, August 12, 2011

College World Series gets OK for instant replay

The NCAA has given final approval for the use of instant replay to review certain calls at the 2012 College World Series.

Reviewable plays would be limited to deciding if an apparent home run is fair or foul, whether a batted ball left the playing field for a home run or a ground-rule double, or whether there is fan interference on apparent home runs.

The NCAA Baseball Rules Committee proposed the rule, and it was approved Thursday by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel.

Instant replay won’t be used in regionals and super regionals because not all venues will have access to the same technology as TD Ameritrade Park, the new home of the CWS.

Thanks to Jed.

Repoz Posted: August 12, 2011 at 06:12 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: college

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Boston Globe: Magnetic Field - MIT program teaches science through physics of baseball

Boston youth resist The Charm of the Highway Strip and don’t Get Lost on The Wayward Bus en route to The House of Tomorrow.

Yogi Berra once said you can’t think and hit at the same time.

However, the New York Yankees legend never attended the MIT Science of Baseball program. It encourages eighth- and ninth-grade inner-city boys to learn baseball-related math and physics each morning and then apply those principles on the ballfield in the afternoon.

[...]

Half of the 30 students are poor enough to qualify for free or reduced-priced meals at Boston and Cambridge schools. Some worry more about bullets than baseballs; “safe at home” is just a baseball term.

Mattbert Posted: August 03, 2011 at 03:55 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: college, high school, red sox

 

 

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