Leadoff Hitting: A Lost Art

A quality leadoff hitter is a a crucial element to a productive and prodigious lineup.  Unfortunately in today’s college game some of the essential qualities of traditional number one batter have gone the way of the Dodo Bird.  I came up with the following list of rules and guidelines for a good leadoff hitter:

Rules for being an effective and selfless leadoff hitter:

1.) A walk is better than a hit.  You will see more pitches and allow your teammates to get a better look at the starters arsenal, movement, release point, etc.  The following counts should be take counts during any leadoff at bat by the leadoff hitter: 0-0, 1-0, 2-0.

2.) During your first plate appearance of the game, it is essential for you to see as many pitches as possible, regardless of outcome.

3.) You must bunt, and show bunt enough for it to be a legitimate threat to the opponent. Continue reading

Baseball and Mustaches: The Relationship Between America’s Pastime and the Ultimate Display of Manliness

Mustache Mafia

Florida State’s 2013 “Mustache Mafia”

As we begin the month of March,  it’s without a doubt that those of you watching NCAA baseball will increasingly see more and more facial hair gleaming from the upper-lip of the college baseball world.

Why is this? Is it something random? Is there a higher power responsible for forcing young men across the country to suddenly neglect the area above their lip when shaving? Or have the stars magically aligned to bring college baseball players back to their primal roots of displaying their male dominance through the testosterone-driven feat of growing facial hair?

mustache kids

Even the kids join in on the fun

Well, while those all may be valid explanations, the simplest reason for this recent abundance of crumb catchers, handlebars,  and flavor savors is none other than the fact that it’s March and in the college baseball world, March = Mustaches.

What started as a campaign in the Air Force, Mustache March has grown into a national phenomenon and, at the spite of many girlfriends across the country, results in thousands of guys devoting an entire month to putting their manhood on display and growing their ‘staches out. Continue reading

2014 Division I Baseball Attendance (3/10/14)

By Average (min. 1,200)

 School Avg. Total #

1.  LSU 10,846 141,007 13
2.  Arkansas 7,504 60,037 8
3.  Mississippi State 7,464 97,038 13
4.  South Carolina 7,337 95,393 13
5.  Ole Miss 7,053 91,695 13
6.  Texas 5,363 48,267 9
7.  Florida State 5,313 58,447 11
8.  Clemson 4,914 54,054 11
9.  Texas A&M 4,178 50,146 12
10.  Louisiana-Lafayette 3,718 33,470 9 Continue reading

Spring Trip Summary and Observations

We finished our Spring Trip on a high note with a hard-fought 8-7 win over Tiffin University to end the week at 4-5, and 6-6 overall.  The record at this point is disappointing for sure, but the talent is still here and we are getting better at the plate with each game.  It wont be long before the engine is firing on all cylinders.  The individual approaches are normalizing and becoming more consistent, and the hitters are getting more adept at making minor in-game adjustments to increase their competitive results.  The key to our future success is finding the proper balance between being selective and being aggressive.  Each has its place in an overall approach, but neither is mutually exclusive, meaning that from pitch to pitch and at-bat to at-bat the sliding scale between being passive and aggressive must be moved and evaluated.  Once we get a handle on this, we will be a very good hitting team. Continue reading

South Carolina Tops Latest NCBWA DI Poll

South Carolina has joined Cal State Fullerton (preseason No. 1), Oregon State (Feb. 17) and Virginia (Feb. 24-March 3) as schools holding down the No. 1 positions in the first five 2014 surveys. Last season only five teams were No. 1 during the entire January-June NCBWA compilations. The poll voters come from 44 college baseball writers and related media persons from throughout the nation.

NCBWA DIVISION I POLL (MARCH 10)
Rk. School Conference Record Week Pvs.
1. South Carolina Southeastern 15-0 5-0 3
2. Florida State Atlantic Coast 12-2 4-1 2
3. Virginia Atlantic Coast 11-3 2-1 1
4. Oregon State Pacific-12 14-3 5-0 5
5. Vanderbilt Southeastern 15-2 5-0 6 Continue reading

Spartans Streak Continues, Tampa Remains DII’s Top Team

Rank(Last Week) Team / Comment
1(1) Tampa SpartansTampa (19-1) swept St. Leo in this past week’s marquee matchup, twice rallying to win in the final inning. UT also had a win over Seton Hill. Can Bridgeport or Rollins stop the Spartan Express this week? Probably not.
2(2) Minnesota State MavericksThe Mavs (9-2) are in the middle of their Spring Trip in Florida. So far they’ve gone 4-1 with wins over Findlay, Saginaw Valley and Northwood; their loss was against Ashland. BIG game against GVSU tomorrow.
3(3) Lander BearcatsThe Bearcats (19-3) had a nice midweek win over Mount Olive and took two of three from Francis Marion to hold on to the three spot for another week. Lander plays Newberry and GRU Augusta this week.
4(4) West Florida ArgonautsThe Argos’ (16-2) have a twelve game winning streak going after sweeping three from Union in which UWF pitchers only allowed three runs. UWF plays Alabama-Huntsville in this week’s showdown series. Look out for Jordan DeLorenzo. Putting up macho numbers: 5-0 with 0.96 ERA.
5(5) Southern Arkansas MuleridersMuleriders (19-4) remained hot with a midweek win over suddenly slumping Arkansas Monticello and a sweep of Henderson State. SAU plays Delta State and Harding this week. Continue reading

Off Day – Various Thoughts and Observations

• After being handled by Grand Valley State the last two games, I must say that up and down the lineup they are one of the very best college baseball teams that I have seen, OUTSIDE of DI.  Their hitters don’t get cheated.  Not one bit.  They are excellent defensively in many areas and more than adequate overall.  On the mound, the Lakers have some velocity and they compete well pitch to pitch.  That being said, the 1927 Yankees are dead.  Long dead. GVSU caught us at a good time and they outplayed us.  When the regional rolls around I’m sure we will cross paths again with Mr. Brugnoni and company.

• Eating team meals at an Applebee’s, or a TGI Friday’s, or some such establishment is infinitely preferable to the pizza/sub sandwich route, both from a meal quality and camaraderie standpoint.

• I think most coaches, on occasion, ask themselves why they do what they do.  The hours are long, the pay is not ideal, and there is little gratitude nor appreciation for the job that we do.  Two things come to mind, personally, when I consider why I continue to coach college baseball: Continue reading