Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 NCAA Division I Attendance figures has a message board thread on 2008 D-I attendance figures that is interesting. It contains a Top 50 list posted by's Kendall Rogers, plus some other data posted by Boyd Nation, College Baseball numbers guru (Boyd'

A few interesting bits of data:
Mizzou barely sneaks onto the Top 50 Total Attendance list #50, and #48 on the Average Attendance ranking, with a reported total home attendance of 30,248 and an average attendance of 1,167.

LSU leads the pack in both total attendance and average attendance, with a total home attendance of 311,187 and an average attendance of 7,590

■ Four Big XII teams are in the Top 20: Texas, #4 total and average (179,282 / 5,976), Texas A&M, #5 total, #11 average (176,723 / 4,208), Nebraska, #12 total, #10 average (136,120 / 4,391), and Baylor, #18 average, but # #21 total. Texas Tech (#30/#24) and Oklahoma State (#32/#36) are the only other conference teams that appear on the lists.

■ 15 schools have an average attendance larger than the maximum capacity of MU's Taylor Stadium

Boyd Nation has an Average Road Attendance Top 25 that amazingly shows the Kansas Jayhawks at #13, with 3,099 average fans in attendance on the road. He also has a Top 25 Percentage of Opponent's Home Attendance ("in other words, if an opponent averages 2000 and 3000 show up for your game, you get 150% counted"), which shows Nebraska 3rd on the list, drawing 204.8% and Texas 5th (194.9%).

■ Another board poster, HPoirot, shares an interesting fact that there are actually 3 D-I Baseball teams that outdraw their school's Basketball program: "The Rice program draws 321.5% of the basketball average attendance, Cal State-Fullerton 231.7%, Tulane 174.8%"

Quotes & Notes: Managing & Scouting

■ A correction to my posts earlier this week about former Tiger Jayce Tingler. According to The Raw Feed, Tingler has been named the Manager of the Dominican Summer League team in the Texas Rangers organization. This will be his second year in that position.

■ Thanks to CollegeBaseballBlog (an internet source that has become a daily habit for me) for tipping me off to a great article in the Boston Globe about the details of scouting for a major league organization. An excerpt:
"It's still the most unexact science in the world," said Rob English, who scouted for 18 years in Georgia, including the last eight for the Sox. "If there was a set thing you could do, it would be easy. You're going to make a lot of mistakes. When you get one right, that's what's really gratifying."

Each scout looks for something, whether it's athleticism or body type or energy on and off the field. They cite Dustin Pedroia, as if to say that in baseball a player doesn't have to be 6 feet 2 inches and 220 pounds. He doesn't have to be an Adonis. He has to be a baseball player.

"Not everybody understands that we want to like players," Fagnant said. "I remember when I was playing, I thought all scouts were cynical curmudgeons, waiting to see what he can't do. It's just the opposite. When I like somebody, you've got to prove to me that you're not a professional prospect. I'll always give him the benefit of the doubt and go back and see him. The bottom line is they still have to show something."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Kyle Gibson #4 in CBB Top 50 Players

The College Baseball Blog has been counting down the 2009 Top 50 College Baseball Players , day by day, for the past several weeks. Just yesterday I asked one of the CBB Blog-meisters when they were going to include Kyle Gibson - or whether they had done the unthinkable and left him off the list. He laughed and said that I would just have to keep watching until the countdown was done.

Well wait no longer, this morning's entry in the countdown is Number 4 Kyle Gibson of Missouri. The write-up is mostly a recounting of Kyle's career at MU, plus their comments about his summer with the USA National Team:
He spent the summer with the USA National Team where he saw action in 13 games (1 start) with a record of 5-0 and a ERA of 1.02. We saw both his starts during the trials period of the USA National Team. You can see our report from the North Shore Spirit game by clicking here and Newport Gulls game by clicking here.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Quotes & Notes: It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping

■ has come out with their Preseason All Ping Baseball Team. OF Aaron Senne is the only Tiger on the list, coming in as a Third Team Outfielder.

■ Project Prospect has an interesting article On Evaluating College Hitters Quantitatively. And he thinks highly of his methods:
My system is comprehensive, relying on empirical production metrics. It looks at a player’s total body of work adjusting for age, positional, park, conference, and schedule effects, and then uses a system of variable weights to determine a player’s likelihood of pro success based on what players of comparable skill have done in the past.

MU in the Minors: 2008 Summary

Here is a summary of MU alumni in the Minor Leagues in 2008. I have left out Max Scherzer and Doug Mathis, both of whom spent time in the minors in 2008, but are covered separately as Major Leaguers.

Garrett Bauer: Rockford Riverhawks (Independent Frontier League)

· 10-6, 2.98 ERA in 21 games
· Traded 9/9/08 to the Sioux City Explorers (Independent American Association)

Brock Bond: San Jose Giants (Class A Advanced California League, SF Giants organization) from the Augusta GreenJackets.

· 2008 San Jose stats: .297 BA, 155 AB, 26 R, 19 RBI, 9 SB
· Promoted from Augusta (Low-A) 6/26/08
· 9/5/08 Transferred to extended Spring Training

James Boone Altoona Curve (AA Eastern League, Pittsburgh Pirates organization)

· 2008 Altoona stats: .219 BA, 329 AB, 10 HR, 40 RBI
· EAS Player of the Week, 4/21/08
· On the disabled list (right shoulder) from 5/21/08 to 6/25/08

Garrett Broshuis Connecticut Defenders (AA Eastern League, SF Giants organization).

· 2008 Connecticut stats : 13-9, 3.78 ERA, 157 IP
· Blogs on

David Cales Boise Hawks (Class-A Short Season Northwest League, Chicago Cubs organization)
· 2008 stats
· Cales played his freshman year at MU, then transferred away

Kurt Calvert Boise Hawks (Class A Northwest League, Chicago Cubs organization)

· 2008 Boise stats: .216 BA, 204 AB, 11 RBI, 13 SB

Aaron Crow Fort Worth Cats (Independent American Association)

· Drafted in June by the Washington Nationals; did not sign
· Crow is working out and hanging out in Columbia, MO in the offseason and is expected to play in May for Fort Worth while awaiting re-entry to the Draft in June 2009
· Online audio interview with Crow about the failure of the negotiations with the
· The Washington Nationals' version of the breakdown in negotiations

Nathan Culp Lake Elsinore Storm (Single-A California League, SD Padres organization)

· 2008 Lake Elsinore stats : 14-8, 3.83 ERA, 157.1 IP, 74 SO

Cody Ehlers Trenton Thunder (AA Eastern League, NY Yankees organization)

· 2008 Trenton stats : .200 BA, 370 AB, 8 HR, 43 RBI
· Released by the NY Yankees organization, 8/30/08

Erik Dessau Traded to the Lancaster Barnstormers (Independent Atlantic League) from the Gateway Grizzlies (Independent Frontier League, 8/1/08

· 2008 Lancaster stats
· Barnstormers blog: Dessau traded

Lee Fischer Great Falls Voyagers ( Rookie Pioneer League, Chicago White Sox organization)
· 2008 Great Falls stats : .206 BA, 131 AB, 12 RBI

Evan Frey Promoted to Visalia Oaks (Class A Advanced California League, Arizona Diamondbacks organization) from the South Bend SilverHawks
· 2008 Visalia stats : .297 BA, 229 AB, 3 HR, 18 RBI
· MID Mid-Season All-Star, 6/17/ 08
· Also played for Phoenix Desert Dogs of Arizona Fall League
· Listed #7 among Diamondbacks' top prospects

Justin James Sarasota Reds (Class A Advanced Florida State League, Cincinnati Reds organization)

· 2008 Sarasota stats : 1.56 ERA, 17.1 IP
· Began the season at AA Chattanooga Lookouts
· Traded to the Cincinnati Reds organization from Toronto BlueJays
organization during the 2007-2008 off-season.

Andrew Johnston Tulsa Drillers (AA Texas League, Colorado Rockies organization)

· Began the season with the Modesto Nuts (Single-A California League)
· 2008 stats: 3-1, .240 ERA
· CAL Mid-Season All-Star
Hunter Mense Greensboro Grasshoppers (Single-A South Atlantic League, Florida Marlins organization)
· 2008 Greensboro stats: .289 BA, 432 AB, 13 HR
· Hunter's blog: The Life and Times of Aitch

Jacob Priday Lexington Legends (Class A South Atlantic League, Houston Astros organization)
· 2008 stats: .216 BA, 102 AB, 1 HR, 11 RBI
· Began the year with the Rookie-League Tri-City ValleyCats, promoted after 25 games
· Played 1 game at Lexington before going on the disabled list for several weeks

Andy Shipman Midland Rockhounds (AA) Texas League (Oakland Athletics organization)
· 2008 Midland stats: 2-2, 5.13 ERA, 37 G, 54 IP
Travis Wendte Brevard County Manatees (Single-A Florida State League, Milwaukee Brewers organization)
· 2008 Brevard stats: 4-0, 5.46 ERA, 28 IP

Rick Zagone Aberdeen Ironbirds (Class A NY-Penn League, Baltimore Orioles organization)
· 2008 Aberdeen stats: 7-1, 2.89 ERA, 65.1 IP, 79 SO
· Zagone's 1-hitter: Zagone (6-1) was working on a no-hitter until Ronald Ramirez singled to center with one down in the sixth. Selected by the Orioles in the sixth round of this year's Draft, Zagone struck out five and walked three over six frames while lowering his ERA to 3.23.
· Baltimore Sun, 9/6/08: IronBirds left-hander Rick Zagone finished the season with 79 strikeouts after collecting four in last night’s game against Brooklyn. Zagone came up just shy of the franchise record of 82, which was set by current Orioles starting pitcher Radhames Liz in 2005.

Torre Tyson, Manager, Charleston RiverDogs (Single-A South Atlantic League) Profile
· Tyson to return for 2009

Jayce Tingler, Hitting Coach, Dominican Summer League team of the Texas Rangers organization

Jonny Williams, Hitting Coach, Idaho Falls Chukars (Rookie League, KC Royals organization)
· Royals have announced Williams will return to this job in 2009

If anyone has additional information about Mizzou alumni playing or coaching in the minor leagues, please let me know. Send me an e-mail at

Notes & Quotes: Off the Field

A couple of articles in the Columbia Missourian this weekend include mention of some off-the-field activities of MU Baseball players:

■ "Coaches in the Classroom" talks about the Total Person Program (which, according to the apparently untutored Missourian proof-reader, is abbreviated with the initials TTP):
Trevor Coleman, an MU junior, knows the time demands of a student athlete all too well. A member of MU’s baseball team, he travels heavily with his sport in the spring and relies on help from tutors to keep him caught up.

“I have to find time for school,” Coleman says. “Tutoring definitely helps. During the spring, we travel a lot so we miss a lot of classes. Tutoring helps catch me up with what I missed. I get tutors for the classes that I know I might have trouble with.”

Coleman, a finance major, says he uses the TTP facilities about once a week, mainly to use the computers and as a meeting place for himself and his tutors.

■ "Tigers' Saunders fills two roles", talks about football player Tommy Saunder's involvement with Big Brothers-Big Sisters, and goes on to talk about the involvement of other MU athletes in mentoring programs:
Seven members of the MU baseball team, including Aaron Senne and Ryan Lollis, will start working with children at local schools.

“We need some good, quality male role models," Tina DeClue, a school-based mentor coordinator, said. “And it’s always good to get athletes involved, because it’s good for our kids to see they can head in another direction.”

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Jayce Tingler managing in the Dominican Summer League

I happened upon an interview with Jayce Tingler (MU, 2000-03) on from back in August . Some quotes:

■ On getting the job of coaching in the DSL:

Basically I had talked to Scott Servais. We had talked about the opportunity to coach in ’06 – basically after I was done playing. He said that there was maybe a job opening up, but it was going to be a little different. It was going to be in the Dominican Republic. We would sit down and we talked for awhile about it. It basically came down to I wanted to get into coaching. That’s what both my parents did, but at the high school level.

We talked about the benefits of it and one of the things I wanted to learn was Spanish. I figured if you’re going to be around the game of professional baseball, you talk about finding ways to separate yourself from other coaches. The opportunity came up down here and I said, ‘Yeah, I’d love to.’ I want to learn Spanish anyway.

■ The difference between coaching young Latin players and young U.S. players:

I think the difference between the Latin kids, where you grow up in the states – I’m from Kansas City – the number one sport was football and basketball. That was our opportunity and I was a big Chiefs fan and stuff. Down here, the number one sport is baseball and it’s by far. It’s not even close. Instead of guys like LeBron James or Michael Vick or whoever in the states, those guys aren’t football players – they’re shortstops or they’re left-handed pitchers.

I think that’s the beautiful thing about it. You don’t have an AAU basketball coach all over a 6-foot-4 13-year-old getting him to play AAU ball. That 6-foot-4 kid may be a left-handed pitcher and that’s what they want to be. That is kind of the difference.

Torre Tyson to return for third season of managing

The New York Yankees organization announced this week that Torre Tyson (MU, 1995-98) will return in 2009 for a third year as manager of the High-A Charleston RiverDogs.

“We simply love Charleston, playing in Riley Park and being a part of the RiverDogs family,” said Tyson, who is from the St. Louis area. “My family was excited to hear we would be returning for a fifth year and are hoping to call Charleston our home by the end of the season.”

In 2008, Tyson guided the RiverDogs to an 80-59 overall record tying the franchise record for victories in a single season, when the 2005 RiverDogs posted an 80-58 mark.

You can read more about Torre Tyson's experiences as a manager in the minor leagues in Ty's Take, his blog on the official RiverDogs' website.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Some early draft predictions has some [very] early thoughts about the 2009 Draft, including a couple of Mizzou pitchers:

Aaron Crow:
Aaron Crow, the ninth overall pick last year of the Washington Nationals, will be following in the footsteps of his former teammate at Missouri, Max Scherzer, while pitching with the Fort Worth Cats.

For Crow it came down to money, as he and the Nationals were reportedly several hundred thousand dollars apart as negotiations broke down before the August 15 signing deadline. He was tied for the nation lead in wins with 13 as part of a perfect 13-0 season for the Tigers. His availability gives the ’09 draft class yet another power arm, an area next year’s draft class has no shortage of talent.
Kyle Gibson:
The University of Missouri has produced some very promising right-handed pitchers in recent years, and Kyle Gibson poised to follow in the footsteps of Aaron Crow (profiled above) and Max Scherzer.

While Crow and Scherzer were praised for their fastballs, Gibson’s bread and butter is a nasty slider that is nearly unhittable. The only problem with his slider is that he can fall a little too in love with it at times. He does throw his fastball in the low-90s, with many expecting him to add velocity as he fills out his tall and lanky frame. However, the pitch can straighten out at times, and he can get in trouble when he catches too much of the strike zone, which causes him to nibble and fall back on his slider.

His slider and stature makes him a very similar prospect to Brad Lidge. Gibson will be given every opportunity to succeed as a starter as a professional, but like Lidge it would not surprise me if he eventually settled in as a dynamic closer.

Notes & Quotes: Christmas Week

Collegiate Baseball has released the Louisville Slugger Pre-Season All-American Baseball team for 2009.

MU's Kyle Gibson made the 2nd Team. He is the only Tiger on the team.

2009 MU opponents on the 1st team include:
· RHP Mike Leake, Arizona St.
· RHP Tim Clubb, Missouri St.
· OF Jason Kipnis, Arizona St.

■ Kendall Rogers at lists Aaron Crow as one of the Top 10 players hardest to replace in 2009. Kendall also has an interesting College Baseball Christmas Wish List.

■ Speaking of pre-season heroes, the Rochester Post-Bulletin reports on their hometown hero, Aaron Senne making the Brooks Wallace List

Monday, December 22, 2008

MU #22 in Collegiate Baseball Preseason Top 40

Collegiate Baseball has released it's "Fabulous 40" pre-season NCAA Division I Baseball poll, and the Missouri Tigers are at #22.

Louisiana State received the #1 ranking.

The Big XII placed 5 teams in the "Fabulous 40":

#9 Texas A&M
#10 Texas
#14 Oklahoma State
#15 Baylor
#22 Missouri

Other ranked teams on MU's 2009 schedule are:
#6 Arizona State
#32 Missouri State
#38 Oregon State

Missouri will play four games against ranked opponents during their season-opening 10-day road trip to Arizona.

By the way: MU Basketball was ranked nationally today for the first time in a while; MU Football continues to be ranked as it has been all year. I wonder how long it has been since all 3 of these MU sports - Baseball, Basketball and Football - were all ranked at once.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

MU Baseball Photo Album

Mizzou fan Josh Burch took a lot of photos at the ballpark in 2008, and he is in the process of uploading those to his zenfolio photo albums.
"The site won't let you download the originals, but if there are any you or anyone else wants, let me know, and I will be happy to send them."

I won't post his e-mail address here, but let me know if you are interested in some of his photos and I'll pass along the word. You can contact me, as always, at

There are some great photos at that site, and more to come. Keep checking back there as he continues uploading his collection.

Max Potential

Arizona Diamondbacks' General Partner/CEO Jeff Moorad participated in an online chat with fans on this week, and mentioned former Tiger Max Scherzer a couple of times. Sounds like Moorad has a very definite idea about where Max fits in with the D-Backs' future.
azgamer: Who will be the number five starter for the D-backs?
Moorad: Max Scherzer.

dhtdiver: Back to Scherzer & RJ....Didn't Scherzer's experience last year as a reliever show more promise that as a starter?
Moorad: I believe his best, long-term value is as a starting pitcher.

Thanks to a fellow fan for pointing me to that chat.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Notes & Quotes

A few odds & ends from the past few days:

■ Mizzou OF Aaron Senne was named to the 3rd team of the 2009 NCBWA Preseason All-America Team. Senne is the only Tiger named.

■ In case you missed it, be sure to check out the details on the 2009 First Pitch Celebration, and e-mail your reservation to our favorite Cubs fan.

■ Another developing college baseball story you may have missed involves Oklahoma State pitcher Andy Oliver, who has found himself in the middle of a legal mess involving the murky world of college eligibility and agents/advisors. SportsAgentBlog has been providing good coverage and analysis of the story, beginning with Let Andy Play, in which blogger Darren Heitner explains the details of what happened, and continuing this week with an update, They Still Won't Let Andy Play. This should be of interest to any players or their parents who are looking forward to the Draft and considering relationships with agents.

Baseball America and also have good reports on the Oliver case.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Doug Mathis a Ranger once again

As we reported earlier this week, Doug Mathis was given his release from the Texas Rangers, but rumor had it that they would turn around quickly and re-sign him to a minor league contract.

The Dallas News confirms the turn of events today:
The Rangers have re-signed RHP Doug Mathis to a minor league contract and invited him to major league spring training. The club made Mathis a free agent last week when it did not tender him a major league contract.

Monday, December 15, 2008

5th Annual First Pitch Celebration: Feb 7, 2009

This announcement came out today from Luke Cassis at the MU Baseball office:

You are invited to help us kick off the 2009 season!! Over 100 years of Missouri Baseball will once again be acknowledged with the 5th annual First Pitch Celebration. From the National Championship in 1954 to participating in our 6th consecutive NCAA Tournament during the
2008 season, Missouri Baseball has plenty of history to be proud of. Join us as generations of the Mizzou Baseball family come together to recognize past and present achievements in one fun filled night.

The fifth annual First Pitch Celebration will include hors d’oeuvres, beverages for young and old, introductions of past and present players, a 2009 season outlook, silent auction featuring prestigious professional and collegiate items, as well as a look at highlights from the 2008 season and a special guest speaker.

When: February 7, 2009

Doors will open at 6:30; Festivities will begin at 7:00

Where: Holiday Inn Select Executive Center (Right off I-70 at Stadium Blvd); 2200 I-70 Drive S.W.; Columbia, MO 65203

Tickets: Admission to First Pitch Celebration- $20

To register, email Luke Cassis @ with your name and address as well as the number attending in your party. Admission will be collected at the door.

Any questions can be directed to the Missouri Baseball office at 573-884-8929 or by email at

News on Taylor Stadium Expansion

This tidbit from Mizzouligan82 on

Just came across a tidbit in SportsBusiness Journal:
· Facility: Taylor Stadium improvements
· Purpose: 1,500 seat expansion of existing baseball stadium, renovation and expansion of existing concourse, new home clubhouse, new offices/locker rooms for the coaches, indoor batting cages, new scoreboard and lights
· Est. Cost/Budget: $3 million
· Architect: 360 Architecture
· Contractor: TBDMajor Subs/Consultants: Structural Engineering Associates, Lankford, THHinc., FSC
· Start Date: July 2009
· Completion Date: Spring 2010

Doug Mathis now a free agent

Former MU Tiger Doug Mathis, who spent part of 2008 with the Texas Rangers in Arlington and part of the year on the disabled list, was not tendered a Major League contract for the coming season, making him a free agent.


The Rangers have declined to tender a Major League contract to Doug Mathis and have instead made him a free agent.

The Rangers will likely re-sign Mathis to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. The move leaves the Rangers with 39 players on the Major League roster. Mathis was 2-1 with a 6.85 ERA in eight games, including four starts, with the Rangers last year. He did not pitch after June 15, instead going on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. predicted this move last week, with an explanation about the Rangers' rationale:

The Rangers aren't planning to let anybody get away by not tendering them a contract. But club officials said they might non-tender a player and then re-sign him to a Minor League contract. The Rangers did that five years ago with outfielder Jason Tyner.

The move would free up a spot for the Rangers on their 40-man roster. Right now, the roster is full. Two possible candidates are pitchers Willie Eyre and Doug Mathis, who are both coming off arm injuries.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Quotes & Notes: B. Dalton and B. Wallace

Quotes and Notes and a Correction from the past few days:

■ And now we learn that the blog host doesn't always actually read every word of the links he posts. I received an e-mail thanking me for the great job I do and especially for my post about the Brooks Wallace Award Watch List, which includes "both Aaron Senne and Kyle Gibson."

That was a subtle way of telling me I had heard somewhere that Gibson was on the list but had failed to actually look closely enough to see that Senne is also on the list.

Thanks to the completely impartial blog followers who brought this to my attention. We'll be rooting for both of these Tigers to make a good run at the award this coming season. has a feature on Blaine Dalton, Blue Springs South quarterback. The senior has signed to come to Mizzou to play football . . . and more?

Dalton has not decided if he will leave Blue Springs South at the semester to enroll at the University of Missouri, where he has made a commitment to play football for the Tigers.

“I think it would give me a jump at Missouri, going to spring practices,” Dalton said, “but I want to play my last year of baseball here at South. And I might want to try and play baseball at Mizzou.”

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Off-Season Baseball Deprivation Syndrome

"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." (Rogers Hornsby)

What can the avid baseball fan do in the off-season to stave off the dreaded baseball-deprivation blues?

Some suggestions:

  1. Listen to a lot of baseball music: Download it to your iPod, listen to it online, buy CDs and play them, whistle them while you work, break out into raucous renditions of them in inappropriate places. I've compiled a list, in the left-hand navigation bar here at, of links to baseball music sources online, many of them being various versions of Take Me Out to the Ballgame. My personal favorite is the mellow mandolin version.

  2. Lurk on Internet message boards: When you're mourning the loss of baseball, you can find similar distraught souls online. Many online baseball boards completely ignore College Baseball. But there are some places where fans of the college game congregate. is one of the most active gatherings of like-minded fans. For talk with other Mizzou Baseball fans, the All Sports Board has some discussion in the off-season, as does (on the subscription-only boards). Or you can go over to the PhogNet baseball board and interrupt their obsession with the Royals long enough to stir up the MU-KU rivalry a bit.

  3. Memorize the rules: Download the official NCAA Baseball Rules of the Game and memorize them. It'll come in handy for message board arguments and for heckling the umpires. And if you have questions, ask them on the NCAA Baseball Rules Message Board.

  4. Do some advance preparation for heckling: Start by reading some of the best heckles at ("How'd you get a square head in that round mask?"). If you're really ambitious, go to and see if you can find any unprotected pages of key players from our upcoming opponents.

  5. Take a trip in the WayBack machine: Here on we have a lot of information about Mizzou Baseball History. Of special interest is a day-by-day detailed re-creation of the Missouri Tigers' 1954 World Championship Season. Reading through the whole season from start to finish will not only be educational but a pick-up from the off-season blues.

  6. Pass the time seeing how some creative fans of America's Pastime are passing their time online: In the left-hand navigation bar here at is a list of links called Fan Fun. Many of these websites contained a veritable can of cornucopia of baseball imaginings. A favorite of mine is the Cosmic Baseball Association, which Nuke Laloosh would describe as "really out there."

    "Frank Zappa played cosmic baseball for three seasons as an outfielder for the
    Delta Dragons and the Paradise Pisces. He retired in 1988. He is currently the
    owner of the Franklinton Zappas which play in CBA's Underleague."
  7. The annual baseball movie marathon: Speaking of Nuke Laloosh, watching a bunch of baseball movies is a great cure for the off-season blues. I have a drawer full of baseball movies, some of them great, others tolerable only because they're about baseball. You might have to actually go to your local video store and rent them. Set apart a weekend - or a week - and go through your stack of movies one after the other. My Top 9 lineup, in no particular order:
    The Kevin Costner trilogy: Bull Durham, Field of Dreams & For Love of the Game (in which a current Big 12 head coach plays a small role as the Yankee manager); A League of Their Own, The Natural, The Sandlot, Eight Men Out, , Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings, Pastime. Or find the Baseball series by Ken Burns and watch the whole things straight through (many libraries, including the Columbia Public Library, have it available for check-out)
  8. Read some baseball books: My Top 9 lineup, in no particular order (more or less): Hornsby Hit One Over My Head, by David Cataneo (definitely the star of my baseball bookshelf); Moneyball, by Michael Lewis; The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, by Bill James; Eight Men Out, by Eliot Asinof; Sholess Joe , by W.P. Kinsella; The Glory of Their Times, by Lawrence S. Ritter; Don't Look Back: Satchel Paige in the Shadows of Baseball, by Mark Ribowsky; Baseball: A Literary Anthology, by Nicholas Dawidoff; and, if you can find them used or at a library, the out-of-print Fireside Books of Baseball, by Charles Einstein.

  9. Start your own website or blog about college baseball: Worked for me.

There is no #10. This is baseball. 9 is the magic number.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Quotes and Notes

A few notes and quotes from the past few days:

■ Kyle Gibson has been listed on the Preseason Watch List for the 2009 Brooks Wallace Award, according to the College Baseball Foundation. The Wallace Award is presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate baseball player in conjunction with the College Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. CollegeBaseballBlog has the entire list of 64.

■ is doing a series ranking the various D-I baseball programs in each state. I'm sure Kendall Rogers had to think long and hard how to rank MU, MSU, SEMO and SLU.

■ Aaron Crow was on the Wallace watch list a year ago. Now he just seems to be on a different kind of list for some Washington Nationals' fans, including the obviously objective fanatics at Nationals Inquisition:

Crasnick and a good majority of the media continue to blame Aaron Crow on the Nats when in fact it was Crow’s own arrogance, horrible agent, and the kid being a general f#*! up eating burgers and drinking beers in his off time that lead to him not being signed. No media outlet seems to want to report the other side of the story and instead follows the rest of the sheep in making the Nats out to be complete failures in this respect.
The blogger is obviously referring back to a Kansas City Star article back in October where the reporter met with Crow at Booches in Columbia, and Crow uttered the memorable line, "I'm not used to having to be anywhere."

Of course, if I was Aaron's age and forced to wait out a year to sign a multi-million dollar contract, I'd probably be doing the same thing he is: working out and hanging out.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

MU alum Ian Kinsler earns prestigious award

Former Tiger Ian Kinsler, now the All-Star starting second baseman for the Texas Rangers, was named the 2008 winner of the Rangers' Jim Sundberg Community Achievement Award, according to an MLB press release:

"Ian Kinsler devotes a great deal of time to this community, as is evidenced by his work with Toys for Tots and other initiatives," club president Nolan Ryan said. "I congratulate him for receiving this year's Jim Sundberg Community Achievement Award, which is one of the biggest honors that the Rangers present."

Kinsler and wife Tess are serving for the third consecutive season as the Rangers Ambassadors for the Toys for Tots program. has a good writeup about the Kinslers' involvement with the Toys for Tots program, including this extra news nugget:
Kinsler and his wife, Tess, have a special reason for their involvement in Toys for Tots this year: "We're expecting a child of our own," he told WBAP during the kickoff of the program at the south Arlington Toys R Us location Tuesday. Tess Kinsler is due to have a girl any day. Her husband, Ian, is trying to be prepared: "I've got to check out the girls' section and see what I can bring home.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Closer Look at the 2009 Schedule

The MU Baseball office has posted the official 2009 schedule, which is remarkably similar to the 2009 schedule we've had posted here for a few weeks.

Now that it's official, we can take a look at that schedule and ask the question: How tough is MU's 2009 schedule?

Boyd Nation, at Boyd', annually produces a list of Intended Schedule Strength, based on the final RPI or ISR numbers of each team on the upcoming schedule, averaged out to an intended average RPI.

Using that formula, and using the Boyd' final RPI numbers, I've compiled a list of the final 2008 RPIs of the teams on the tentative 2009 schedule, and averaged them out for an intended schedule strength of .541.

So what does that really mean, in terms we can understand?

Three teams (South Florida, Texas San-Antonio and New Mexico) finished 2009 with an RPI of .541, placing in a tie for 64th place in Division 1 of the NCAA out of a total 296 teams.

Tim Jamieson's Intended Schedule Strength has been moving slowly upward over the past few years, and this year's continues that steady rise, which is a good thing:
2009: .541
2008: .537
2007: .534
2006: .532
2005: .528
2004: .528

Part of that rise is due to the overall gradual strengthening of the Big XII conference from top to bottom. But it also reflects a willingness to schedule multiple contests against teams like Arizona State.

I have posted the details of the final 2008 RPIs for the teams on the 2009 schedule on Sheet 2 of the MU 2009 Tentative Schedule.