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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) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: college

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   1. jacjacatk Posted: February 08, 2014 at 10:40 AM (#4653611)
The NCAA run environment is higher than any in the history of MLB, and that's in spite of a ridiculous over-reaction to the BBCOR introduction that's caused all the sort of small ball worship that you'd expect from '70s ERA MLB on astroturf.

They should all switch to wood, quit bunting, and stop whining.
   2. Squash Posted: February 08, 2014 at 02:19 PM (#4653664)
NCAA seams are crazy high. But they're also using aluminum bats - do away with both.
   3. puck Posted: February 08, 2014 at 02:39 PM (#4653671)
But they're also using aluminum bats - do away with both.

I thought they did.
   4. bigglou115 Posted: February 08, 2014 at 02:46 PM (#4653673)
For what it's worth, the NCAA run environment has dropped significantly over the last several years since the bats were replaced. They're trending in the correct direction. Although I agree that a huge part of that is that colleges now bunt about 1 or 2 times an inning, with any and every combination of batter/hitter. I once saw Van Horn himself call for his 3 hitter to bunt over his 1 hitter so the 4 hitter would have a man on 2nd with 2 outs. What's crazy is, Baum Stadium in Arkansas is probably the hardest park to hit home runs in out of all the SEC stadia, so it's not like they were getting by on the 3 run homer before...

Also, whooooo piiiiiiig sooiiiiee!

PS, Dave Van Horn's an ass.
   5. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: February 08, 2014 at 04:05 PM (#4653687)
They should all switch to wood, quit bunting, and stop whining.

Agreed...but wooden bats cost money, and many college baseball programs are on life support as it is.

Maybe college baseball as we know it should just go away, and be replaced by an NCAA-sponsored supergroup of collegiate leagues that play through the summer?
   6. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: February 08, 2014 at 04:51 PM (#4653699)
wooden bats cost money, and many college baseball programs are on life support as it is.


This is the thing that has to be the real reason, right? Because otherwise there doesn't seem to be any reason not to switch to wood.
   7. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: February 08, 2014 at 07:18 PM (#4653721)
This is the thing that has to be the real reason, right?

yes, that is exactly the reason.

Technically, wooden bats are legal to use, but, there's not one player who would make that choice.
   8. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: February 08, 2014 at 08:01 PM (#4653730)
Maybe college baseball as we know it should just go away, and be replaced by an NCAA-sponsored supergroup of collegiate leagues that play through the summer?


Why would the NCAA sponsor a league that isn't connected to colleges? If the sport is losing money as it is, what does this proposal fix? Besides, college players already have sponsored leagues to play for during the summer.

[EDIT] to correct slight misreading.
   9. BDC Posted: February 08, 2014 at 08:23 PM (#4653733)
As comments above note, college baseball is an aesthetic peculiarity: small ball, line drives, weak fielding, and erratic pitching make it less than satisfying to watch. And I take nothing away from the dedication and talent of the players, or the professionalism of the coaches. It's just a weird sport to watch. In many ways, I prefer softball. It's on a smaller scale, more intense, more consistent, and the players get excited about every little thing that goes on. For a college baseball player to show emotion would be a crime against humanity, somehow :)
   10. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: February 08, 2014 at 10:04 PM (#4653742)
It's just a weird sport to watch

I live in Charleston, so the Gamecock's back-to-back titles and then getting to the finals the next year are very big down here but....I still hear CLANG instead of CRACK.

Just weird
   11. Mike Fast Posted: February 09, 2014 at 06:34 PM (#4653952)
The new ball with lower seams is going to make a pretty big difference in home run rates. Contrary to what Coach Van Horn says, I don't think the coefficient of restitution is as big of a difference between the MLB and college balls as he seems to think. The new ball is going to fly something like 20 feet farther just due to the lower seams. That's a big deal.
   12. zack Posted: February 09, 2014 at 06:39 PM (#4653953)
Won't lowering the seams greatly effect the movement on breaking pitches?
   13. Mike Fast Posted: February 09, 2014 at 06:57 PM (#4653958)
Won't lowering the seams greatly effect the movement on breaking pitches?


Yes, it will affect the movement on pitches (not just breaking pitches), but I would expect that to be a minor effect rather than a major one.

We had some professors from Washington State and Illinois at Minute Maid Park to conduct an experiment and make measurements on these very questions. I expect they will publish their results some time in the next few months, and then we will have more definitive answers.
   14. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: February 09, 2014 at 08:16 PM (#4653969)
It's on a smaller scale, more intense, more consistent, and the players get excited about every little thing that goes on. For a college baseball player to show emotion would be a crime against humanity, somehow :)


I have been surprised to discover that I agree with this.
   15. bunyon Posted: February 09, 2014 at 09:44 PM (#4653987)
It's peculiar because it's rare in college sports. In almost every sport, the college game is an expected, necessary and occasionally required stepping stone on the way to the pro game (or high amateur). In baseball, players often forego college and the established minor leagues are played at a higher level than the highest college level. I'm not sure what the answer is because I like college baseball but, yeah, it could pretty easily go away and not affect the overall sport. I'm not sure that can be said of any other college sport. (Maybe I'm wrong about some of the lesser (from a money standpoint) college sports.

Note: I'm talking about how the sport is currently laid out, not how it MUST be.
   16. zack Posted: February 09, 2014 at 10:44 PM (#4654004)
I like college baseball but, yeah, it could pretty easily go away and not affect the overall sport. I'm not sure that can be said of any other college sport.

Hockey would definitely survive without the NCAA. Junior hockey (age 16-20, mostly; in Canada it includes stipends and so barrs you from the NCAA) is the main development path for the NHL, and is generally played at a higher level than college hockey. Despite this, college hockey is actually becoming increasingly popular as a source of pro talent, and as a choice for talented kids.

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