Saturday, February 28, 2009

Northern Illinois 5, Missouri 2

I've loved baseball since I was a kid. When I got older, I discovered Mizzou baseball, and fell head over heels in love with the game. There is not much I enjoy more in life than sitting at Simmons Field, watching every pitch, every hit, every part of the graceful evolution of a game. When I'm at the game, or listening to Tex and Hudson on the radio, I often get into that zone where my job, my busy schedule, my other life completely leaves my thoughts. Total relaxation.

But when it gets like this, when the Tigers lose 7 in a row, to tough opponents and patsy opponents alike, something changes.

This is like sitting and slowly savoring a large French Vanilla cappuccino with a touch of cinnamon, enjoying the experience, and then finding a dead cockroach in the bottom of the cup.

And pretty soon, you begin to nervously expect to find the cockroach.

Go Mizzou.

Oregon State 12, Missouri 8

■ Next up: MU vs. Northern Illinois, 2:00 PM Saturday

■ The Columbia Missourian says Tiger baseball drops sixth straight game:
Starting pitcher Ian Burger lasted only two innings after giving up four runs before being pulled for relief. Burger walked three batters and hit two other batters.

"Hard to win against good competition when you only get two innings out of your starter," Jamison said.
■ The Oregonian says Beavers thump No. 15 Missouri:
"We relied heavily on our offense this game and it came through today," Beavers
coach Pat Casey said. "Stefen had some good at-bats today and we got a solid effort from the lineup overall."
■ A Beavers blog,, had a few words about the game:
I got to "watch" this game off and on today at work. Again offense looked very good and I was especially impressed by the Beavers' five runs in the sixth inning after the Tigers just went up by a run with a big sixth inning of their own. It was a very nice response. Romero is still hitting very well and had two doubles and four RBIs including a two RBI double in that all important sixth inning. But he wasn't the only one.
■ And some instant analysis from
BBFanatic: 35 times Mizzou batters struck out in the last three games. I am trying to see the positive side here, but this is not very good. Some good things today. Double steal early in the game got Mizzou going. Trevor Coleman homerun. Rex Myer did great leading off as the DH. Ben Turner hit the ball hard, as did Kyle Mack. I never seen such a long umpires meeting before the game. It must of lasted 10 minutes. Weather was unbelievable. Sunny warm and clear skies. "35 strike outs for Mizzou batters in the last 3 games." Ouch.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Arizona State 2, MU 1: Meltdown

■ It's a day game on Friday: MU takes on Oregon State at 2:00 PM. Today is the first day of the rest of the season.

■ sums it up with Leake Dominates Tigers:

It was a dominating performance by both starting pitchers on Thursday night at Packard Stadium. Team USA teammates Mike Leake and Kyle Gibson put on a show for the ages, but Leake was just that much better. Leake didn’t allow a hit until the 8th and led the Devils to a 2-1 victory over 15th ranked Missouri.

Andrew Thigpen’s double to lead off the 8th ended Leake’s no hitter bid, but it was a gem none the less. ASU’s ace threw eight shutout innings and struck out ten in a game that had the intensity and feel of a super regional game.

“The tighter the games, the better I pitch,” said Leake, “A lot of pitchers can let it get to them, it causes me to focus more.”

Leake’s head coach felt that the junior had extra motivation on Thursday.

“He heard all week about this other guy,” said Murphy referring to Gibson, “That he was a better prospect than him; Leake had something to prove tonight.”
■ ASUWebDevil describes a rowdy game in Leake flirts with no-hitter in win:
In the bottom of the third, MacPhee grounded out routinely to the pitcher. There was an unpleasant exchanged between MacPhee and Gibson on the way back. In a game already high on the intensity scale, MacPhee sent it up a few ticks.

“[MacPhee] gets a little to bull doggish at times, says the wrong thing,” Leake said.

In what clearly appeared to be retaliation, Gibson plunked the next batter, junior Jason Kipnis, in the back. UM’s dugout chirped at Kipnis as he walked to first.

“Kipnis was hit on purpose,” Murphy said. “That catcher and him had words in Tuesday night’s game.”

Murphy stomped out of the dugout and confronted UM’s catcher Trevor Coleman along with UM coach Tim Jamieson and umpire Scott Higgins. No peace treaty was signed.

Jamieson was later ejected for arguing a strike call by Higgins. The animosity quickly
spread into the stands as a few UM fans got into a barking match with the ASU
student section.
■ Speaking of meltdowns, this from the Columbia Missourian's Andrew Dewitt on Stripes and Seams:
I don’t know why the Sun Devils stole five bases when they only had seven men reach first base(one was on catchers interference so that man had a runner in-front of him and no reason to steal) but that’s a serious problem for the Tigers. The Sun Devils went 5-for-5 on stolen base attempts.
. . .
I just read the all-sports board over at TigerBoard and it kinda was a meltdown over
there. I forgot how much I love the fans that are always at the park or on
TigerBoard talking away about this team.
■ Which of course leads to a couple of quotes from
burnlawrencedown: Coleman: between the lack of clutch hitting, 5 swiped bags tonight, another error, and his .174 avg our all american catch is struggling to say the least. this team has to have him fill the middle of this order with a reliable bat.

in-the-mix: Last season he hit .295 with 4 HR. Those all came toward the late part of the season. He had a great freshman year and that is keeping him in the 5 hole.WHY? Well we all know Coach J and how predictable he is.
■ And an encouraging note on the board at
georider: Leake is a great baseball player and with Josh Spence on board they have go two deep (starting pitching wise) as well as any team in the county.

Missouri is just dreadful this year. I though they were hugely overrated by post-season last year (they were just a .500 team without Crow on the mound) but this year they may not even equal that.
RockMNation takes note of the 5th straight loss:
You look at the pieces in place (Grey, Lollis, Senne, Coleman), and you think the offense can't be that bad, and it has to put it together soon...right? In the meantime, Mizzou is now 1-5. OUCH.
■ If it makes you feel any better (I doubt it), 12th ranked Oklahoma State was upset by #23 East Carolina. Details at

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Quotes & Notes: Mizzou vs. Arizona State

■ Andrew DeWitt has analysis of tonight's game at
Mizzou is walking fewer batters(15 less) but striking out fewer batters(17 less). This is consistent with Mizzou pitching Mantra of pitch to contact.
■ Tonight's pitching matchup is expected to be MU's Kyle Gibson vs. AZ State's Mike Leake, who were teammates on this past summer's USA National Team. Both were listed on Baesball America's Preseason All America Team.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Quotes & Notes: Josh, Jeff, "stitch heads", Max & Dumbinguez

BaseballAmerica's Aaron Fitt has thoughts on the pitcher MU faced Tuesday night:
The day’s top pitching performance probably belonged to Arizona State lefthander Josh Spence, who struck out 13 over seven scoreless innings in a 3-1 win against No. 15 Missouri. Impressively, this was Spence’s second strong start of the year, as he worked six scoreless innings Friday against Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Looks like the Sun Devils have a special one in Spence. has thoughts on the loss Tuesday:
Freshman pitcher Jeff Emens got the loss last night and from what I heard on the radio was that both of the home runs he gave up were moon-shots. The first one
went like this..

Tex Little: “And the pitch…(ping)ITS ONE-NOTHING SUN DEVILS”
■ Eric Sorenson, formerly of CSTV, has a new blog called College, worth checking out. Especially check out the collection of photos of "stitch head" fans from around the country on opening weekend.

The Columbia Missourian published a good AP feature: Scherzer hope to jump-start pro career in 2009

Price said Scherzer’s mental approach stands out, perhaps even more than his repertoire, which he’s still developing.

“He looks at the game a lot differently than most, in that I haven’t noticed any outward fear or reluctance,” Price said. “It’s almost as if he’s playing a game and the opponent is unimportant. He understands what he needs to do to be successful.”

■ Thanks to Stripes & Seams for linking to a piece on The Hardball Times on The color of clutch, a statistical approach to measuring clutch hitting:

There is no question: clutch hitting does exist. Indeed, as long as you make humans the central participants in contexts that change wildly, it will be a foregone conclusion that the results will not be completely random from our expectation of those participants. Therefore, that we find the existence of clutch hitting is not terribly exciting. It is expected. However, we haven't established the degree to which it exists, nor have we established the likelihood that we can even find the thing that we know exists.
■ And in case you were wondering what happened to every MU fan's favorite arrogant third baseman, The Louisville Courier-Journal has a story about Chris Dominguez just playing the market:
Coach Dan McDonnell said Dominguez is now "the face of our lineup."

"Any time you're playing us you have to be familiar with who he is and what he's done in college baseball," McDonnell said. "It's also an opportunity for the other
hitters to thrive. It's kind of like Manny Ramirez and what he does for the Dodgers' lineup."

Arizona State 3, Missouri 1

■ Summary of the game from KTGR's Tex Little:
The Tigers played better baseball Tuesday night, but just fell short. had their own take in Spence strikes out 13 in ASU win:
Missouri chose to save its best pitcher for Arizona State on Thursday and throw almost everyone else at the Sun Devils in Tuesday night's game.

The gimmick worked for three innings.

When the Tigers went to their fourth pitcher, Jeff Emens, in the fourth, Jason Kipnis led off with a home run to Rural Road. Two outs later, Jared McDonald also found Rural on a homer along the right-field line.
■ From
CWTiger: What hotel is the team staying in? I'm about ready to send them Jobu and a bottle of rum. Maybe even a live chicken. We need to take the fear from our bats
RockMNation puts in their two cents:
Finally, Mizzou Baseball is now 1-4 after a tough 3-1 loss to #7 Arizona State last night. Mizzou managed just seven hits (two from Ryan Lollis...oh yeah, and they struck out 15 times), but hey, they only gave up one unearned run...that's an improvement! Next up: Arizona State again tomorrow night, then Oregon State, Northern Illinois, then Arizona State again to end the weekend. Goodie.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Quotes & Notes: MU vs. AZ State

■ Today's game: #15 Missouri vs. # 8 Arizona State @ Tempe, AZ, 7:30 PM CT

Coming up: Arizona State Tournament @ Tempe, AZ
· MU vs. Arizona State Thursday, 2/26 7:30 PM
· MU vs. Oregon State, Friday, 2/27 2:00 PM
· MU vs. Northern Illinois, Saturday, 2/28 1:00 PM
· MU vs. Arizona State, Sunday, 3/1 2:30 PM
According to the Game Day notes at, MU's pitcher for tonight is still TBA (that's "to be announced", not Tepesch, Berger & Allen). General consensus seems to be that Tim Jamieson sill "staff" the game, starting someone who pitched very few innings this past weekend (such as Tyler Clark or Ryan Gargano), not expecting that starter to go as long as a regular starter, filling in with anyone and everyone available in the bullpen. Of course, it will be General Jamieson, not General Consensus, who names the starting pitcher.

Oddly, the same Game Notes show Josh Spence starting the game for Arizona State. Spence was their starting pitcher Friday night, going 6 innings. It will be interesting to see, if he actually gets the start, whether starting him again on what is very short rest for a college pitcher, turns out to be a good thing or a bad thing.

House of Sparky has a preview of the MU-ASU game:
The Sun Devils, on the other hand, committed eight errors in the series against UWM, but was able to make up for their defensive lapses with bursts of offensive tenacity. If they keep hitting home runs every inning, the defense can afford to
improve at a steady pace without compromising our winning percentage.
■ The Columbia Missourian's Andrew DeWitt has a feature called Lineup Watch on his StripesAndSeams blog. Sounds like an interesting thing to keep tabs on through the season:

I’ve always been interested to see how a lineup evolves throughout the season. On this page, I’ll track how coach Tim Jamieson adjusts his lineup according to how players are performing. Obviously, I probably won’t begin really looking at his choices until about 15 games into the season. takes a look at the Big 12's opening weekend By the Numbers. Yes, Mizzou is represented, but not in a way you'd like to see. A few interesting numbers:
2,110 - miles Oklahoma will travel this week (assuming they go from San Diego to
Pullman, Washington).

0 - number of miles Texas will have traveled in the first two weeks.

2 - spots Baylor rose in Baseball America’s,, and Collegiate Baseball's rankings after a very mediocre weekend. lists Evan Frey ('05-'07) among the Fastest Runners in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization.
It's hard to rank Frey so low (4th) on a list like this. While he's most definitely fast, much of Frey's effectiveness running comes from savvy and know-how rather than merely outrunning the ball. Oddly enough, he did not steal that many bases at the University of Missouri: just 20 in three years. He accelerates quickly, though his top speed isn't incredible. Frey takes great routes to the ball in center field and gets great jumps on the base paths, making him one of the most effective runners in the organization, even though he's not the very fastest.

Northern Iowa announces elimination of Baseball

Rest in Peace Northern Iowa is the second D-I baseball program in week to suffer the death sentence from its athletic department. Like Vermont did a few days ago, Northern Iowa says it will discontinue its Baseball program at the conclusion of this season. Details from the AP on
Northern Iowa will eliminate its baseball program after this season, a cost-cutting measure officials say will save the school about $400,000.

Athletic Director Troy Dannen made the announcement Monday, three days after the baseball team began what is now slated to be its last season. Dannen noted an expected athletic department budget shortfall of up to $600,000 next year, thanks to a 9 percent drop in state funding. Cutting the baseball program will save the school about $400,000. The baseball program is expected to cost around $485,000 to run in the 2009 fiscal year but only bring in about $87,000 in ticket sales and fundraising.
This should be disturbing news to any college baseball fan at a university that hasn't made Baseball a big priority. A decade or so ago there was a spate of Baseball program closings, including the Big 12's Iowa State. Considering that the University of Missouri is currently scrambling to come up with ideas for making drastic cuts in costs due to anticipated reductions in state funding and a depression in foundation funds and donations, this news strikes a little too close to home.

Northern Iowa was once a semi-regular on Mizzou's non-conference schedule, especially during the Gene McArtor years. The last contest was in 2003, when MU beat UNI 11-4.

■ Speaking of termination: Just a small note of no consequence to nearly anyone. The old location of has now officially and completely shut down.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Quotes & Notes: Rankers away

Baseball America has shown they have a crush on Missouri over the last year or two, and today's new Top 25 confirms this, with Missouri dropping only to 15th from their preseason height of 10th. On the other hand, MU's next opponent, Arizona State, jumped 5 slots, from 13th to 8th.

BA's Aaron Fitt talks about Mizzou in his weekly Top 25 Chat, including these comments:
Really though, for Missouri to live up to its preseason top-10 billing, it needs Tepesch to grow into that No. 2 role. I hear he was up to the mid-90s this weekend with a wicked mid-80s slider, yet he got drilled; just shows you how important command is.
And in the weekly Top 25 Podcast, BA had this to say comparing Michigan with Missouri:
Michigan has a lot of young players stepping forward. There's a contrast here if you compare them with Missouri, for instance. Both these teams have a group of sophomore power arms they're relying on this year, guys that need to step forward and shoulder more of a load than they have in the past. Michigan's did, and they looked really good doing it. And Missouri's struggled, and the Tigers lost three games out there in the Grand Canyon Tournament.
■ As mentioned earlier, dropped MU out of their Top 25 altogether. Collegiate Baseball apparently agrees, letting the Tigers slide out of their Top 30 as well.

■ The NCBWA poll will likely come out sometime tonight or tomorrow. The USA Today/ESPN poll is usually not updated during the earliest weeks of the season.

The Baseball Draft Report highlights a pair of MU's draft-eligible hitters:
Ryan Lollis: 6-15, HR, 2 2B, 6 RBI, 5 R, 1 BB, K

Greg Folgia: 5-14, HR, 3B, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 7 R, 3 BB, 3 K

Two pretty promising starts for key players on the Missouri squad. Four of Folgia’s five hits went for extra bases, that’s always nice.

Quotes & Notes: Bull Dogs, Sun Devils & a Crow

Perspective: Fresno State baseball started the 2008 season 1-3. The Bulldogs did not rise above the .500 mark until they were 13-12, nearly halfway through the season. After 9 games (the # of games MU plays on this opening road trip), Fresno State was 3-6. Anybody know the final outcome of Fresno State's season in 2008? has dropped Mizzou out of their Top 25.

■ While the Tigers were struggling to find their footing this weekend, their next opponent, Arizona State, completed a weekend sweep of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, according to

For the series, ASU scored 53 runs and hit .355, and the pitchers allowed 16 hits and one earned run in 36 innings.
Baseball America has a feature (subscription only) that examines the upcoming months for two pitching prospects who were drafted last year and did not sign: Tanner Scheppers, a second-round pick of the Pirates, and Aaron Crow MU, '05-'07). These comments from the Washington Post in regard to that feature:

"He needs to pitch and basically demonstrate that he's as good or better than he was last year," Randy Hendricks said. "And I'm quite confident that that's what he's going to do."

Hendricks also indicated Crow's price hasn't come down, and said if teams aren't willing to meet that price, "Don't draft him."

Crow is confident things will work out.

"I should be in the best shape of my life this season," he said. "I don't feel like I'll be behind at all. I know all the other people that got drafted last year, they got in a couple of more months (of pro experience). But I can make up that quickly. I'm still working out and getting my body ready for the season. So I don't think I'll fall behind at all."

Gonzaga 13, Missouri 9

■ So what went wrong? And is this a terminal case of BadBaseball-itis or just early season jitters? I'll start the Quotes & Notes by quoting myself, from the Q&A I did for RockMNation last week:

Really, the Tigers' effectiveness as a team in 2009 may hinge on those sophomore pitchers consistently fulfilling their potential.
That opinion was obviously in error. I shouldn't have singled out just the sophomores. There were some good outings by Tiger pitchers: Gibson, Mueller, Clubb, Gargano and Clark still have 0.00 ERAs, with a combined line of 4 hits and 4 bases on balls among them in 9-1/2 innings pitched; plus Jeff Emens gave up just 1 run in 2-1/3 innings. But the rest of the staff was generally ineffective, resulting in a team ERA for the weekend of 5.66, giving up 22 earned runs in 4 games.

It should also be noted that there were 9 unearned runs for the weekend, which points a stubby finger at the defense as well. On Friday night I was marvelling at the great D on display. By the end of the weekend I was shaking my head, baffled.

The offense misfired a few times, but really, 28 runs in a 4-game set ought to be enough to win more than a single game.

■ Tim Jaimeson, on

"You can't pinpoint just one area and say that is the area we need to get better," Head Coach Tim Jamieson said. "It's everything. We didn't run the bases well, didn't play defense well and made mistakes at bad times."
■ says Wacky weekend sends some falling, and list Missouri among the Losers:

The Big 12 had a productive weekend. Missouri was the exception. The Tigers looked very good in Game 1 against Nevada, but struggled the rest of the weekend out in Arizona. They dropped a 9-3 decision to Gonzaga on Saturday and had a dismal Sunday, dropping contests to Nevada and Gonzaga by scores of 8-4 and 13-9, respectively. Missouri's schedule only gets tougher this week, so it must find a way to regroup sooner rather than later.
■ From the opinionators at

KCTiger83: Major issues from 08 repeating . . . Horrible defense continues to allow an incredible amount of unearned runs. . . 9 errors and 9 unearned runs allowed in 4 games. . . This is a repeat of the comedy of last year's lack of defensive fundamentals. You simply can't put a team out there with seasoned guys in CF, 1B, C, RF, 3B, plus no E's on Thigpen yet, and just hand the other teams runs like last year. The fielding, not pitching continues to be the single most detrimental factor on this team.

in-the-mix: This is no surprise!! But the pitching is soft in my opinion. Pitching should dominate the first month.

TigerNation25: Let's see how the first couple weeks play out. Can't judge everyone by one start. Tep should be alright, and Whopper didn't pitch awful. Fick was actually OK too...lets just get them some innings under their belt.

The Maneater points out a problem and points to what's next:

Defense was a big problem for the Tigers over the weekend, as in four games Missouri committed nine errors. If Missouri expects to live up to the No. 10 preseason ranking bestowed upon them by Baseball America, the defense will have
to improve.

Missouri will get a good early-season challenge Tuesday when the Tigers take on Arizona State Tuesday night at 7:30 pm. The Sun Devils were ranked No. 13 in Baseball America’s preseason rankings.
■ And a prediction from Matt Stephens of the Kansas Jayhawks Examiner:

The Tigers started the season No. 19 in the country according to the poll, but will likely drop from the Top 25 all together after a disappointing weekend in Phoenix.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Quotes & Notes: Nevada 8, Missouri 4

■ Sunday's Game Two has been moved up to start at 2:15 Central Time. Let's hope we won't be snake-bit by another arbitrary get-away-day game curfew. This according to Tex and Hudson on KTGR. At least I think that's what they said. Hard to tell between the pops and static and other assorted electronic fuzz.

■ By the way, Texas A&M opened their season Friday night against Wright State, not a huge attendance draw on their own. But the crowd for opening night was an impressive 7,343.

■ Unrelated to this particular game, but too good to not post: has a tidbit about a certain former Tiger:
And the best story of the week is that Max Scherzer found his locker nameplate replaced with one saying, “39 Mr. Electric,” following comments he made to a reporter. Said Chris Snyder, “I have no idea who’s responsible for that.” Sure...
The comments in question were made in the Arizona Republic:
"My arm feels great," he said. "The ball comes out of my hand, and it feels electric. I'm ready to get off the mound anytime."

Quotes & Notes: Gonzaga 9, Missouri 3

■ The Columbia Missourian describes a Rough outing for MU baseball:
Everything that went right for the Missouri baseball team in a decisive win over Nevada on Friday night went wrong it its 9-3 loss to Gonzaga on Saturday afternoon in Phoenix.
■ Comments from the folks at
mizzoucobra: Leave this behind, take two tomorrow, and win this little shindig

Thief: Mini-Mach has quite a bat
■ The Tigers have a double-header today:
Sunday 11:00 AM MU vs. Nevada

Sunday 3:00 MU vs. Gonzaga

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Recruits: Garcia honored

■ MU Recruit Eric Garcia from Pflugerville, TX, was awarded the Preseason All CenTex Shortstop award. The photo at right shows him with Chicago White Sox pitcher John Danks, who received the CenTex Major League Player of the Year. Danks is the brother of former UT outfielder Jordan Danks.

■ The Austin Amrican Statesmen piles on the kudos for Garcia, listing him as one of the Central Texas baseball players to watch:
Eric Garcia, SS, Hendrickson: A .474 hitter last year, he had 14 doubles, 13
steals and a .925 fielding percentage.

Quotes & Notes: MU 12, Nevada 1

■ Several photos from MU's opening game in Arizona can be seen at Five Outs to Go. Thanks to JDot for the link

■ Saturday and Sunday schedule at the Grand Canyon Tournament:
Saturday 4:00 PM (CT) MU vs. Gonzaga
Saturday 8:00 PM Gonzaga vs. Nevada
Sunday 11:00 AM MU vs. Nevada
Sunday 3:00 MU vs. Gonzaga
■ Andrew Dewiit, this year's baseball writer for the Columbia Missourian, has started a blog to go along with his stories in the newspaper, Stripes and Seams:
The thing I’m watching the most this weekend is how the talented bench helps this lineup that returns seven of eight position players. Coach Tim Jamieson said on Tuesday during media day that he would try to fit everyone into the lineup this weekend. I expect the middle infield combination of sophomore Andrew Thigpen and junior-transfer Michael Liberto to keep Jamieson happy with their defense. Last year at times the Tigers struggled up the middle of the infield.
■ The Columbia Daily Tribune's Matt Nestor says MU's Gibson puts pitching in perspective

Over the past two years, he learned from Aaron Crow how to attack hitters and learned from pitching coach Tony Vitello how to be stronger mentally. But he said the biggest change has been that he realizes baseball is just a game.

“God’s allowed me to play this game, and I think it’s important to know, win or lose, in the whole scheme of things, that’s not what it’s all about,” said Gibson, a preseason first-team All-American. “We’re out here to play the game, have fun and do our best.”

■ Among the more interesting games featuring MU's 2009 opponents:
· Oklahoma State outlasted Brigham Young 17-14

· Kansas' lefty Shaeffer Hall pitched in no-hitter in the Jayhawks' opening game 5-0 victory against Air Force. Then they turned around and lost their second game of the day, 5-4 against Memphis.

· Nevada beat Gonzaga, 7-4, before losing to MU in the nightcap.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Quotes & Notes: Tiger Futures & Tiger Past

RockMNation has part 2 of their Baseball preview, with a series of Questions answered by some guy named Trripleplay

The Baseball Draft Report blog has an All-Senior Prospect Team, made up of college players who returned for their senior year. One of his three outfielders listed is MU's own Ryan Lollis:

Lollis is another plus defender in centerfield, but his lack of power has held his prospect stock down thus far. has a Draft Profile of Kyle Gibson, complete with stats, videos, links and generally 2nd-hand semi-informed information.

■ Bill Clark has a great profile in the Columbia Daily Tribune about former Tiger and current Hallsville Baseball coach Barry Koeneke (MU '73-'74):

Almost every one of Barry’s 34 teams have sent players on to play college ball. None has ever played for MU. “Maybe soon,” Barry hopes.

■ Our latest "You Make the Call" poll has concluded, and by a narrow margin the fans have predicted Mizzou will win the College World Series and win the national championship in 2009. And if not, most fans seem to think this team can at least make it to a Super Regional. Detailed results are over there, in the left-hand column on this page.

The College Baseball Blog reports that the University of Vermont has announced it will shut down both its Baseball and Softball programs at the conclusion of this season.

Opening Day Lineup

Game #1 of the 2009 season is underway, and here is the starting lineup:
  1. LF Greg Folgia (moving to the outfield after playing 2B in 2008; Folgia is also expected to get more innings as a relief pitcher this season
  2. DH Rex Meyr (Double-Zero has looked good at the plate in the Fall and Winter practices)
  3. RF Aaron Senne (moving to RF from LF, where he spent most of 2008)
  4. C Trevor Coleman (picked by some to be All Big 12)
  5. CF Ryan Lollis (spurned a 20th round draft selection to return for his senior year with MU)
  6. 3B Kyle Mach (interesting to see him in the 6th slot)
  7. 1B Steve Gray (hit a home run off the top of the Devine Pavilion a couple of weeks ago in a practice game)
  8. 2B Andrew Thigpen (moving to 2B from his 2008 position at SS)
  9. SS Micahel Liberto (the sole newcomer in the lineup, a slick-fielding JuCo transfer)
Kyle Gibson, of course, is the starting pitcher tonight.

Opening Day 2009

■ I've barely been awake long enough to get my eyes open and drag myself to the computer, and already the first Division I game of the season is in the books. Flordia Gulf Coast beat Central Michigan 4-3 in a game that started 1 minute after midnight this morning. The game ended at 3:13 AM.

■ Listening to the game: All MU Baseball games will be broadcast over the air on KTGR AM1580, or by streaming audio FREE online at either or

For a different perspective, the Nevada Wolf Pack website has free streaming audio of their broadcast.'s 10-day forecast for Phoenix and Tempe, AZ shows perfect baseball weather: Highs ranging from 75 to 86, lows 45 to 60, and zero chance of precipitation except for 10% on Thursday has an audio interview with MU sophomore Nick Tepesch:
Q: What do you all hope to accomplish during this trip?
A: Nine wins.
■ The Columbia Missourian's Andrew Dewitt reports that Tigers baseball preps for season-starting road trip:
This summer, Gibson played for Team USA's collegiate program. Gibson went 5-0 for the United States at the FISU World Championships, including winning pitcher honors in the Gold Medal game.

"The thing that I brought back is that fastball command is going to beat anyone," Gibson said. "If you're able to locate your fastball, nobody can really hit it, if you put it where you want and in the right spot.", as they will for every series, has a preview of the opening weekend for the Tigers. The initial edition of the PDF Game Notes is now up. Some tidbits from the Game Notes:
· The Tigers' first win of 2009 will tie Tim Jamieson in all-time wins with none other than the legendary John "Hi" Simmons

· 74.9% of MU's 2008 RBIs were produced by players who have returned as a part of the 2009 squad. 65.9% of the 2008 innings pitched were by 2009 returnees.
The Nevada Appeal has a preview of the Nevada Wolf Pack's opening weekend in Arizona:
Chris Garcia (2-5, 7.49), a junior, will start on Friday night against Missouri followed by junior college transfer Tyler Rogstad, from Edmonds (Wash.) Community College, on Saturday against Gonzaga and Brock Stasis (4-2, 4.85 in 2008) on Sunday against Missouri.

“The one area up in the air right now, and it’s always up in the air at this time of year, is the pitching staff,” Powers said. “Everybody needs to settle into their roles.”
■ The Kansas City Star says "Ping!" Big 12 Baseball opens today:
Metal bats will ping throughout the country today as Division I college baseball
begins its 13-week regular season. If Big 12 coaches are to be believed, Missouri will be one of eight teams to qualify for the conference tournament. Kansas State and Kansas will not.
■ The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, as expected, is apparently unaware the college baseball season begins today.

■ The College Baseball Blog has a Big 12 Opening Weekend Series Preview - more of a quick summary of who plays who.

■ If you're interested in seeing a full schedule of Division I matchups on opening day, check out This website has all the raw data and info a college baseball fan could want. Click on today's date on the calendar for the complete schedule.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Quotes & Notes: Coaching & Pitching & Rankings

RockMNation has a great feature on MU head coach Tim Jamieson: The Man in in Charge

Jamieson has survived a down period, and not only is he now known for being one of the classiest guys in college sports--he's also known for being one of the best coaches in the country.
Check back at RockMNation sometime tomorrow for a Q&A discussion of the 2009 Tigers with a long-time obsessive MU Baseball fan. has a quick statistical look at the MU pitching staff's statistics from 2008 and asks for your comments.
Question for you Missouri fans - is Berger as consistent as he should be? Is this a solid staff, or will they need to be bailed out by a bunch of offense?

The College Baseball Blog joins the crowd with their own Preseason Top 25. Missouri is slotted at #22. They have North Carolina as #1. MU opponents on the list include #8 Texas A&M, #9 Baylor, #12 Arizona State, #15 Oklahoma State, and #17 Texas (ranked surprisingly low).

Quotes & Notes: Good hands & Good old days

■ The Columbia Missourian's Andrew Dewitt writes about JuCo transfer Michael Liberto in Transfer takes over shortstop for MU
Liberto's journey to MU began with an email he got from recruiting coordinator Tony Vitello while Liberto was on the road last season. Liberto then came to watch Missouri play against Texas.

"Once I hung out with these guys, I knew it was going to be a good fit," Liberto said. "The players talked about how fun the coaches are and how laid back everything is."

Liberto started playing shortstop at age 10 and developed a reputation for getting to every ball hit up the middle of the infield. But Liberto never grew to a size that teams at the highest level look for.

Joe Walljasper of the Columbia Daily Tribune has some positive things to say about Mike Alden and the direction of the MU Athletic Department:
If you are a fan of the Missouri Tigers, the memory of lousy ol’ days should be fresh enough to realize these are the good ol’ days.

MU in the Minors & Majors: Base Cadets has some thoughts on where Brock Bond ('06-'07) might spend his summer:
Over at second base, the trio of Matt Downs, Brad Boyer and Brock Bond saw the bulk of the action for the Giants last year. Downs and Boyer both enjoyed standout seasons and are ticketed for the upper levels of the farm system while Bond also performed well after a mid-year promotion from Augusta. However, the 23-year old Bond may return to San Jose this season where he would be expected to play a key role on the club.

Last year, Bond hit .297 with no homers and 19 RBI’s in 45 games with the Giants. A line drive hitter with a good eye at the plate, Bond possessed an outstanding .394 on-base percentage and often thrived hitting first or second in the batting order during the second half. If there’s room for Bond in Double-A, then he should be headed to Connecticut, but a bevy of second baseman in the upper levels of the organization may result in a return to the California League

Ian Kinsler ('03), who, like Brock Bond, once earned a Tip of the Cap as "Base Cadet of the Year" here at, is listed by Beyond the Box Score as one of the best baserunners in MLB in 2008. Go figure.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Quotes & Notes: Tigers are offensive, Jayhawks are giddy

■ The Columbia Daily Tribune's Matt Nestor writes the Tigers plan to get offensive:
The 11-day road trip might sound like a harrowing experience, but Jamieson said it will give Missouri’s coaches a good understanding of what kind of team they truly have.

And if the hitters have any say in the matter, they’ll make sure future opponents know that the Tigers are not the one-dimensional program they’ve appeared to be.

“Yeah, we’ve kind of been overlooked the last couple years, and we’re looking to make a name for ourselves and show everybody that it’s not just the pitching. It’s about hitting, as well,” Senne said. “Either way, it’s going to be both that take us where we want to go come June.”
■ The University Daily Kansan says the KU Infield strength bolstered by transfer:
Junior David Narodowski will try to fill the shoes of the great Kansas shortstops of the past. Narodowski, who is a native of Vancouver, Canada, transferred from Vernon College following an impressive effort during his sophomore season. Batting .420 to go along with eight home runs and 42 RBIs, he has coach Ritch Price particularly giddy at what he can accomplish.

■ has posted a print version of that audio interview with Tim Jamieson

Quotes & Notes: Roster, Rivals Radio, Rivals Regionals

MU's 2009 Roster has been cut down to the final 35 for the beginning of the season and is now posted at No longer on the official roster at this time is catcher Cole Mazurek.'s weekly College Baseball Hour is in its second week of the season. Each week's show is available live online at 9:00 AM each Wednesday, and then is archived on the website. This week Kendall Rogers of had a few words about the Big 12 and about Missouri:
The Big 12's going to be one of the best conferences this year, if not THE best conference. . . . Keep an eye on catcher Trevor Coleman. also has their Preseason Regional Projections, demonstrating they are as capable of making thoroughly pointless stab-in-the-dark predictions as Baseball America. If you care, they show Mizzou as a #2 seed playing at a Baton Rouge Regional with #1 LSU, #3 Tulane and #4 Southern.

Quotes & Notes: TJ & KG audio, Power Rankings, Gold Spikes has an online audio interview with Coach Tim Jamieson. (subscription required)
"I think because of the ability to transition outside a lot earlier, we have a much greater comfort level in what they can give us outside this weekend. So all the guys that are starting this weekend should be able to give us at least seven innings if their pitch count's efficient."
They also have online audio of a talk with Kyle Gibson:
"The great pitchers are defined by what they do when they don't have their best
stuff." begins its weekly power rankings this week. Trevor Coleman is #5 among Catchers, Kyle Gibson is 9th among pitchers, and Aaron Senne comes in at 10th among outfielders.
LSU's Blake Dean is the cream of the crop in the outfield category, while Arizona State's Jason Kipnis and Tennessee's Kentrail Davis also are elite hitters. Elon expects another huge campaign from Cory Harrilchak, while Marshall's Nate Lape is expected to become a household name this season. Missouri's Aaron Senne is the wild card at this position.

■ USA Baseball released its 2009 Golden Spike Award watch list, which includes MU's Kyle Gibson.
On May 26, USA Baseball officials will cut the watch list of players to 30 names. The final list of 30 will then be sent to a voting body consisting of select professional baseball personnel, past USA Baseball National Team coaches, select members of the media, former USA Baseball sports information directors, and current USA Baseball staff - close to 150 voters in total.

Fan voting will once again be a part of the Golden Spikes Award in 2009. May 26 will also mark the day when college baseball fans from across the country will be able to
vote for their favorite player for the Golden Spikes Award on As part of this selection process all voters will be asked to choose five players from the list of 30 names. On June 2, USA Baseball will announce the five finalists, and voting will once again commence that same day.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Big 12 Baseball Coaches' Poll puts MU at #5

The annual Big 12 Coaches PreseasonPoll was released this morning, with Missouri coming in at #5.
1. Texas A&M (9 1st place votes)
2. Texas (1 first place vote)
3. Baylor
3. Oklahoma State
5. Missouri
6. Oklahoma
7. Nebraska
8. Texas Tech
9. Kansas State
10. Kansas

Quotes from the Big 12 Baseball Coaches Teleconference holds a periodic live teleconference with all the Big 12 Baseball head coaches during the season. The first conference was held this morning. The complete transcript will be archived at A few quotes from Tim Jamieson at this morning's first teleconference:
The Big 12: The conference is as good as it's been. There are a number of teams that could be in Omaha at the end of the year, and a number that could play for a national championship.

Confidence: From a confidence standpoint, I look at the number of players we have with post-season experience.

Concerns: The concern that you always have is that we don't rely on first year players to come in and have a big impact . . . So for us to have a big year, we need to rely on the guys who were freshmen last year to come in and contribute.

Dealing with the high ranking: Three of the last four years we were ranked in the top 10 at some point . . . . This year the guys are probably pretty indifferent about it.

Starting rotation: We start the season with 9 games in 11 days. The first weekend, we'll start Kyle Gibson, Ian Berger, Nick Tepesch and Kelly Fick. By mid-week we may even just "staff" a game.

Big 12 Coaches Live Teleconference on Tuesday

The first of several planned teleconferences with the Big 12 baseball coaches will be this week, on Tuesday, beginning at 10:00 AM. According to the posted schedule, MU's Tim Jamieson is slated to go first. The teleconference will be broadcast online live at, and will then be archived for later listening.

Quotes & Notes: Minor amusements

■ In probably the only time you'll see a mention of Mizzou's minor sports on this blog, I'd like to take note that MU Basketball, after playing 3 months of its season, has finally caught up with the #10 ranking that Mizzou Baseball enjoys at this season's start.

■ KU closer Paul Smyth is the subject of a profile in the University Daily Kansan: Experience in bullpen emboldens closer
Smyth is also not your prototypical Big 12 closer in a conference that has seen great fireballers such as Texas’ Houston Street or Missouri’s Kyle Gibson. Smyth said using more off-speed stuff allows him to get batters off balance, especially if the lineup only sees him once.

“For me, I rely a lot more on my movement,” Smyth said. “In terms of quality innings I’m able to go through it one time and after that I think it becomes a little rockier, so one time through is good.”

Just for laughs, check out Smyth's profile picture at the bottom of the page HERE

■ Just for laughs, check out the All-Time Baseball Movie Team
Manager: Jimmy Dugan (A League of Their Own) - Simply put, this guy can flat out manage a team. He's not afraid to get in a player's face, but he also has a compassionate side. Will take chances, like executing suicide squeezes with his best hitters (work on your bunting Hobbs). He'll demand respect in the clubhouse.

■ No laughing matter here: MU recruit Brannon Champagne is being honored by the St. Charles County Amateur Sports Hall of Fame as an outstanding scholar-athlete. has released their Preseason All-American Team. No Tigers to be found argues for more marquee matchups on opening weekend

With the uniform start date, it seems that opening day should be a bigger deal than it is. Wouldn’t better games on opening day make college baseball more desirable for coverage, whether it be by television or print media?

I’m not arguing the point for the purpose of controversy. After three years of covering college baseball and several years of following it, I’m still trying to
understand why and how the sport works the way it does other than that’s the way it’s always been.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Baseball America 2009 Preseason All-American Team

Baseball America has released its 2009 Preseason All-American team, and Kyle Gibson is named to the First Team. Gibson is joined by Catcher Trevor Coleman on the 2nd Team.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Quotes & Notes: The list starts with Hi Simmons

■ Voting is underway for the College Baseball Hall of Fame's 2009 class. Among the nominees on the ballot for former Coaches is none other than John "Hi" Simmons, the long-time head coach of the Missouri Tigers.

Oklahoma State pitcher Andrew Oliver was reinstated by a judge after previously being suspended due to confusion over contact with advisers/scouts, according to

The Daily Texan has a story about fresh arms leading the Longhorns.

“We have a lot of new arms that can throw. These guys are quality pitchers,” said relief pitcher Keith Shinaberry. “We have really learned that we have a bunch of guys who can get thrown in there and get the job done.”

The new guys — freshman pitchers Taylor Jungmann, Sam Stafford, Andrew Kirahan and Austin Dicchary — will give the Longhorns more depth.

To prepare for the season, Texas pitchers — all of them — are focusing on being able to pitch five innings. With a starting rotation and bullpen identities yet to be established, the Longhorn pitchers are focusing on maximizing their depth and having the most options ready for the long season.

“I hadn’t pitched five innings since my senior year of high school,” Shinaberry said. “But it is good work. We have to work on getting out of jams. And we weren’t able to do that too well last year.” has an interview with Cory Luebke, a Padres prospect, in which Luebke mentions a Mizzou alum:
I learned a lot from watching Nathan Culp (MU 04-06) this year. He is smart - hard in and soft away. I took a lot away from that. I got to watch him throw a lot of innings. Seeing a guy like that - you learn.

Perfect Game's Top 100

■ Perfect Game has released their ambitious Top 100 College Teams, 2009. Missouri is ranked 19th, with Kyle Gibson named as MU's top professional prospect (each team has their top pro prospect listed). Mizzou's 2009 opponents on the list (and their top prospects:
#2 Texas A&M (Barret Loux, RHP)
#4 Texas (Brandon Workman, RHP)
#7 Baylor (Kendal Volz, RHP
#12 Arizona State (Mike LEake, RHP)
#14 Oregon State (Josh Osich, LHP)
#18 Oklahoma State (Andrew Oliver, LHP)
#31 Oklahoma (Garrett Richards, RHP)
#44 Missouri State (Tim Clubb, RHP)
#57 Gonzaga (Ryan Carpenter, LHP)
#58 Nebraska (Mike Nesseth, RHP)
#85 Texas Tech (Chad Bettis, RHP)

It's not hard to tell from that list (and the entire list of 100) that Perfect Game is partial to pitchers . . . and not partial to Kansas or Kansas State.

Friday, February 13, 2009

5-part MU Baseball Preview begins Saturday

A five-part daily series previewing the 2009 season is slated to begin tomorrow, Saturday the 14th, at

2009 Season Preview
Saturday, Feb. 14 -- PART 1- 2008 Season in Review
Sunday, Feb. 15 -- PART 2- The 2009 Pitching Staff
Monday, Feb. 16 -- PART 3- The 2009 Infielders and Catchers
Tuesday, Feb. 17 -- PART 4- The 2009 Outfielders
Wednesday, Feb. 18 -- PART 5- The 2009 Schedule

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Quotes & Notes: Signs, Previews & Service

■ There's an interesting discussion/argument/hissy-fit on the message board at about whether coaches should call the pitches from the dugout vs. letting the catcher call pitches:

Dodger Matt: How does a coach call pitches from the dugout? Does he squat like a catcher and flash the signs between his legs? Do the catcher and pitcher both look, or just the catcher, who relays to to the mound? Does this tend to slow the game? Does using this kind of pitch-calling make it easier to steal signs?

boydnation: It's no huge surprise that we're going to mostly disagree on this one, and I think the other guy's overstating his case a bit, but by and large, the things that coaches do in-game like that fall into the Hitchhiker's Guide "Mostly Harmless" bucket -- they keep the coaches off the streets, I suppose, and they don't do much harm, if any, but they really don't matter. I know that's troublesome to those who believe there's magic to be gained by being inside the game, and I don't care enough to belabor the point past this post, but by and large the best thing you can do is to tell your hitters to get on base and then stay out of their way. has a Preview of the 2009 DeMarini Classic, MU's 2nd weekend tournament:
The Huskies of Northern Illinois head into the 2009 season looking for the Mid-American Conference title. The Huskies were 28-26 (16-10 MAC) last season and have strong hopes for an NCAA Regional berth this year.Those hopes lie on the shoulders of catcher Justin Behm. The senior from Downers Grove, Ill. was named to the Brooks Wallace Award watch list
■ The Jayhawks held their Media Day Thursday, and The College Baseball Blog has a lot of quotes:
Head Coatch Ritch Price: "We lost our No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5 hitters. . . I don't expect to score the same number of runs as last year. We have already talked to our guys about overachieving and trying to get better each month of the season."

■ CBB also has a 2009 Preview of Oregon State, one of MU's early opponents:
Coach Pat Casey: "It's a team that we as a coaching staff would all agree is the most wide open we've had in a couple of years. There are not many guys who have a lot of playing experience, therefore the positions are wide open."
■ CBB also has a link to an interesting article at Lennawe Connection about a college pitcher who missed most of last season:

Siena Heights starting pitcher Chris Boertje traded his cleats for boots, ball cap for a combat helmet, gold jersey for desert camouflage. His new teammates donned body armor, instead of chest protectors. . . .

After graduating from Franklin High, he decided to join the National Guard, which requires work on weekends during the school year and several weeks in the summer.

“I joined for a few reasons,” Boertje said. “One, to do my part as a civilian and as a solider. There’s not a lot of soldiers out there, so the more the merrier. Two, I had
something to fall back on if something happened with school.

“I ended up getting a scholarship to Siena Heights. Me and my dad talked about joining the Guard, and I signed up for six years.”He completed basic training in the summer of 2007. The day he finished, though, after finalizing necessary paperwork, he received some news. Life-changing, unavoidable news.

“They said we would be deployed over to Iraq on November or December of 2007,” Boertje said. “Once the war started going on over there, I kind of figured it out that it was going to happen. I played it by ear and did what I was told to do.”

I'd encourage you to click the link and read the rest of this fascinating story.

Quotes & Notes: Here and there has its Big 12 Conference Preview up today, with Missouri picked to finish 5th (Texas A&M is 1st), and Mizzou's Trevor Coleman, Aaron Senne and Kyle Gibson on the Preseason All-Conference slate.
Missouri listed its strengths as an experienced offense, good team defense and speed, and a trio of good arms in the outfield. A potential weakness is the fact they play several road games this season. Impact newcomers to watch include shortstop Mike Liberto and designated hitter Conner Mach.

BaseballAmerica has some thoughts on one of MU's early 2009 opponents, Arizona State:
Arizona State also suffered serious attrition from last year’s Pacific-10 title team, losing 13 of its record-tying 14 drafted players including first-rounders Brett Wallace and Ike Davis. But the Sun Devils reloaded better than anyone in the nation, bringing in a number of elite junior college transfers as part of the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class, so ASU begins the season ranked No. 13.

■ According to the College Baseball Blog, Cal State-Fullerton, held their first practice on the year at midnight on February 1st, in front of 200 fans:
The Titans charged the field just after midnight in an attempt to become the first team to practice and the last team to play.

Do you suppose 200 fans would have shown up at Taylor Stadium at midnight on February 1st? Of course, the low in CoMo that night was 27 degrees, while the low in Fullerton was 46.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Quotes & Notes: 2009 Opponents

Nevada Wolfpack: Inexperience is the buzzword for Pack

The pitchers who made up more than half of the Nevada baseball team's innings pitched from 2008 as well as more than half of the team's starts are no longer on the team.

So it's not difficult to see what will make or break the Wolf Pack's 2009 season.

"(The rotation) is a work in progress," 27th-year coach Gary Powers said Monday after the team's first practice of the season at Peccole Park. "The one question mark on the team is the lack of experience of our pitching staff."

Arizona State Sun Devils: Australian will play key role for ASU

Australian Josh Spence is part of what Murphy believes could be his best starting pitching staff in 15 seasons at Arizona State. The 6-foot-1 left-hander will fill the role held in recent seasons by Josh Satow, pitching between righties Mike Leake and Seth Blair in ASU's rotation.

"He reminds you of Josh," Murphy said. "He's got a little better slider and maybe not as good a change-up. He's going to beat you. He's a pretty special kid. He's an
exceptional human being.

"I'm really confident he'll do well. His problem will be trying too hard, and trying to be better than he was. He doesn't need to be much better than he was."

Northern Illinois Huskies: Talking baseball

NI Coach Ed Mathey: "It's going to be an interesting year. We lost a lot of innings on the mound. As we get some new guys acclimated to being on the mound, being out there and the highs and lows of it, it's going to be a growing process. Posiontally, I think we've got a chance to have a really good ballclub. We've got some versatility. We can do a lot of different things with our lineups. I think we have to play a matchup with pitcher, a stadium or weather conditions, we can do that. I think that's going to be our foundation early and hopefully some of our pitchers develop into what we think they can be.

"We've got speed. We've got depth. We can play a more powerful lineup. From that standpoint, it's going to be intriguing. I just hope I don't get to the point where I'm tweaking things too much."

Western Illinois Leathernecks: 'Necks dealt three of a kind to start season

Last season, the 'Necks took down the two highest-ranked opponents they played, Long Beach State and Missouri, and managed to put runs on the board against every ranked team in their schedule. The biggest problem wasn't the ability to score in the big games, but an inability to hold down their opponent's talented offenses.

This season, the Leathernecks may have improved offensively with their core of starters in their lineup but have question marks in the pitching staff, only returning three pitchers.

"It's the biggest turn over we've had in a pitching staff," Hyman said. "It is a young group and me and coach Radz will handle them very carefully. I think it's a very talented group, and the only reason everyone is questioning it is because they don't have D-1 experience."

Ball State Cardinals: Cards begin practice

Ball State has been joined in winter practices by Perci Garner, who was the third-string quarterback the past two years. Garner pitched in high school, but has not played since then.

"He's kind of had a backup role in football, Perci wanted a chance to come out and play," Beals said. "We took him slow to make sure his arm's in shape. He has a future playing baseball."

As Garner tries to work into a pitching role for the Cardinals, Beals said the other big question in the lineup is where infielder/pitcher Kolbrin Vitek will play when he's not
on the mound.

"He can hit and he can pitch," Beals said. "We're finding the way where he best fits our team, knowing he'll be in the everyday batting order and as a starting pitcher."

Illinois-Chicago Flames: Baseball picked to win Horizon League in 2009

23 players from last year's 35-win NCAA College Station Regional squad return to the diamond for the Flames in 2009, including Brooks Wallace National Player of the Year Award candidates Brett Schaefer (Orland Park, Ill./Brother Rice H.S.) and Steve McGuiggan (Burnsville, Minn./Apple Valley H.S.).

Schaefer (.382/10 HR/61 RBI in 2008) and McGuiggan (.370/5 3B/40 RBI in 2008), the team's leaders in batting average last season, are just two of the returning hitters that will anchor the Flames' offense.

The mound will be manned by returning senior starters Derrick Miramontes (Durham, Calif./Durham H.S./Butte College) and Mike Kool (Davenport, Iowa/Central H.S./Black Hawk College) and senior closer Adam Worthington (Gurnee, Ill./Warren Township H.S.).

Eastern Illinois Panthers: Panthers picked second in OVC baseball

This marks the highest EIU has been picked in the preseason poll since also being tabbed second in 2003.

Additionally, senior center fielder Brett Nommensen has been named the OVC Preseason Player of the Year. He led the conference with a .518 on-base percentage last season while ranking third with a .402 batting average. In January, he was named a Preseason All-American by the college baseball Web site, Ping!

Sophomore right-hander Josh Mueller, meanwhile, has also been selected to the Preseason All-OVC Team by the league coaches. En route to representing the Panthers on the 2008 OVC All-Freshman Team, he led the EIU pitching staff with six victories and 79 strikeouts, the latter total ranking third on the program’s single-season list.

Texas Longhorns: Texas baseball team has much to prove this season

And while many players say there is no pressure to turn the postseason trend around, some seniors are feeling it.

"I thought I would come here and win four national championships," Shinaberry said. "To not even get to Omaha in three years, this is my last shot. I'm ready to go. I think there's a lot of built-up feelings about the past three years in this clubhouse."

The Longhorns will have to do it with a different look, as outfielders Jordan Danks and Kyle Russell, the school's career home run leader, left for the pros. With less power than last season, Texas will focus on manufacturing more runs. They'll also have to play stronger defense after committing 89 errors a year ago.

Oklahoma Sooners: 2009 OU Baseball Preview: Pitchers

Jeremy Erben (Righty) started both the season and Big 12 openers for the Sooners last year. In between those two starts he allowed just six runs in seventeen innings of relief pitching. Opposing batters only hit .247 off him in conference play.

Andrew Doyle (Righty) led the team in wins with 9 and was named to the Big 12 All Tournament Team after a complete game performance in OU’s win over Texas A&M. He also led the team in strikeouts with 72.
Kansas State Wildcats: Baseball holds first Spring practice

The Cats, who recorded the most conference victories and its highest conference finish (tied for sixth) since 2002, return five pitchers who combined for 21 starts in 2008. The Wildcats will rely heavily on junior A.J. Morris and seniors Lance Hoge and Todd Vogel, while sophomore Thomas Rooke, who tied for fifth in school history with 25 appearances out of the bullpen last year, could be called upon to start some games this year for the Wildcats, but is invaluable as the team’s top middle reliever.

Offensively, K-State returns four of its top five hitters from 2008, including junior infielder Justin Bloxom and senior outfielder Dane Yelovich. Bloxom led K-State in virtually every category last season, including batting average (.288), hits (63), RBI (49), triples (2), total bases (105), total plate appearances (252), at bats (219), games played (58) and games started (57). Yelovich finished with a .286 average and stole 18 bases, which was good for fourth in the Big 12.
Kansas Jayhawks: Kansas baseball joins the club
The Kansas baseball team inched its way closer to having facilities comparable to the top teams in the Big 12 Conference with the construction of the McCarthy Family Clubhouse. The clubhouse opened Jan. 14 and is located behind the home team dugout on the first base side of Hoglund Ballpark.

The main features of the $2 million clubhouse include new locker rooms for the home team, a game-day training room, a study area with computers and a printer, a cardio room and a deck that overlooks the field. The players’ lounge, equipped with couches and flat-screen TVs, is already a favorite among the athletes.
Texas Tech Red Raiders: Tech baseball begins practice, expects to be more aggressive

Players said Spencer intensified the off-season workouts and fans should expect
to see a more aggressive 2009 squad compared to years passed.

"We're going to have a fast team," senior right handed pitcher AJ Ramos said. "A lot of stolen bases, a lot of bunts. We're not going to be a finesse team with not that much power. Pitching-wise, we're going to have a lot of good pitchers."

Nebraska Cornhuskers: Huskers, who figure to need more offense, have four switch-hitters

Coach Mike Anderson said he welcomes the offensive versatility, which figures to make the Huskers formidable for opponents who stress the right-left matchups. But the abundance of offensive options also makes it tempting for Anderson to over-coach.

"Just because it's a good matchup, that doesn't mean it's where we should go," Anderson said. "The key is being a good hitter and being able to fit a role within a lineup. We're going to settle into a lineup that is created by good hitters."

Nebraska loses 72.9 percent of its innings on the mound and 28 pitching victories from a team that finished 41-16-1 a year ago and lost at home in NCAA regional play.

As a result, Anderson said, the Huskers must be more offensive than they were in 2008. NU often produced in the clutch to average 6.4 runs per game last year but hit .276, its lowest mark since 1989.

Missouri State Bears: Missouri State picked to win Valley
Missouri State returns a solid pitching rotation led by right handed junior Tim Clubb. Clubb was preseason all-Valley along with first baseman Ben Carlson and third baseman Brayden Drake. Clubb was last year's pitcher of the year and spurned the big league's to return to Springfield.

Tim Clubb/Preseason All-Valley: "I think that's what a lot of college athletes who face the decision of going pro ultimately decide on, to win something special for the school and the team, it's what I want to do, and I wanted to come here and win a championship and this is what I think we can do this year."
Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners: Young 'Runners open baseball practice

CSUB's squad includes 13 freshmen, 11 junior college transfers and one four-year college transfer.

The season is approaching quickly. The first game in the history of the Roadrunner program will be Friday, Feb. 20, at home vs. St. Louis University. CSUB's first eight games will be played on its new field, located on the west side of campus.
. . .

The focus this first season is player development. Kernen calls that more important than wins and losses.

"We're going to get some lessons along the way," he said. "We're going to get our hat
handed to us a few times. "But my deal on that: Let's see what it's like. Let's let these guys look and say, 'This is the deal. This is the big time.'

"We're going to Nebraska where there will be 6,000 people there. This is it. What happens is: They raise the level of their game if you give them those experiences ... I want them in the deep end of the pool. As long as they don't drown, we'll let them thrash around a little bit. Then they'll be used to being around UCLA, Nebraska."

Quotes & Notes: Rosters, etc.

Evan Frey (05-07) has been invited to the AZ Diamondbacks major league Spring Training as one of 17 non-roster invitees, according to

■ Word is the final 2009 Roster will be posted next week on The Tigers have 36 on the current practice roster and the NCAA deadline to get the roster down to 35 is February 18th, just two days before the first game. In the meantime, you can take a look at our patched together unofficial version of the current roster.

■ It's disappointing but not surprising to note that the Big 10 Baseball national TV package is a good deal better than Big 12 Baseball's package.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The good time is approaching

"The good time is approaching.

The season is at hand

When the merry click of the two-base lick

Will be heard throughout the land.

The frost still lingers on the earth, and

Budless are the trees,

But the merry ring of the voice of spring

Is borne on every breeze."

The Sporting News, 1886

Quotes & Notes: Free Tex & Cool Max

■ In response to a question asked on one of the message boards, I checked with Josh Murray of the MU Media Relations office and learned that MU Baseball broadcasts by KTGR will once again be streamed FREE online in 2009.

Max Scherzer (04-06) was the star of the show at the Arizona Diamondbacks' Hometown Tour stop in Show Low High School in Arizona, according to the White Mountain Independent:

This was actually Scherzer's second trip around the state on the Home Town Tour, which gives fans of all ages across the state a chance to mingle and get autographs with their heroes. Scherzer said interacting with the youngsters is what makes these events fun. "It's great because you get to come out here and really see fans that are growing up as Diamondbacks' fans," Scherzer said. "That's special to see because they watch you on TV and they really look up to us and to go and shake their hands and go to their schools and really get to have an effect on their lives, it's a really cool moment for me."
An interesting coincidence: Show Low is the High School that boast another MU alum now in the major leagues: Doug Mathis (05)

2009 NCAA Baseball Rules Changes

■ Former Tiger coach Gene McArtor is now the NCAA Coordinator for Umpires. In that role, he has narrated a video detailing changes in the NCAA Baseball Rules for 2009 (the video runs about 20 minutes) . The 2009 Rulebook is also online in PDF format, and the first few pages detail these changes in print. Changes include:

· Positioning of base coaches
· Base coaches must wear helmets while on the field
· A coach leaving the dugout or their position to argue balls and strikes may be ejected without warning
· Specifications about personal confrontation and physical abuse of umpires
· Umpires will be emphasizing checking the proper location of the batter's box and the marking of the coaches' box
· Players shall not leave the dugout for home run celebrations or any other purpose while the ball is live
· Unsportsmanlike activities in the dugout will be penalized
· Umpires will emphasize the rule that a batter must not leave the batter's box during an at-bat, and will enforce the limit of 20 seconds between pitches
· Walk-up music must stop when the PA announcer announces the next batter or when the batter reaches the dirt cut-out surrounding home plate

Quotes & Notes: Former Tigers

■ Former Mizzou Student Manager and Bullpen Catcher Paul Kruger posts a few memories and thoughts at Everything College Sports, an Ohio University blog:
During my time I also witnessed at least five of our recruits forgo their collegiate career for the chance to play minor league baseball as an 18 year old and begin living their childhood dream. Of these five players that chose to pursue their professional career early, only one of the players is currently at a higher level within their team’s farm system compared to those who signed to come to Missouri, and came, the same year
■ The Baltimore Sun's Dean Jones Jr. tries to Predict the Future in regard to former Tiger Rick Zagone (06-08):

I've seen a few analysts mention that Zagone will likely have a more successful career as a relief pitcher, but I think it's better to keep him as a starter. Zagone eventually should pitch in the major leagues if he's able to build upon last season's success with the IronBirds.

It's unclear where Zagone will pitch during the upcoming season, but I think it would be best if he begins the year with the Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds. The Orioles could promote him to the Single-A Frederick Keys or Double-A Bowie Baysox if he's pitching well in the middle of the season. They could also choose to have him start with the Keys, but it all depends on where the other pitchers in the organization are placed.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Photos of Taylor Stadium expansion drawings

I just discovered that the new architects drawing of the planned Taylor Stadium expansion are indeed available online. Click HERE for the architects' drawings

Great pictures of what's to come!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Taylor Stadium renovations to be ready for 2010 season

At the First Pitch Celebration Saturday night, Coach Tim Jamieson presented architects drawings of the NEW version of the planned new construction and expansion at Taylor Stadium.

The most obvious change to the plans presented a year ago is that the bulk of new construction has been moved from the right field line to the left field line. According to the Coach, this was done for the simple reason that the 1st base dugout is more protected from the cold NW winds that often whip into the ballpark, and the Tigers would prefer to stay on that side of the field.

Hopefully the architects' drawings will be posted at at some point, but here is a summary of the planned construction:

■ The Tigers' clubhouse will be located along the third base line, starting from the end of the current locker rooms

■ Moving on down the 3B line from the clubhouse will be a training room, a lobby, new offices for the Baseball coaches, a glass-walled observation area, and an indoor pitching/batting area.

■ There will be a door into the indoor practice area from the home bullpen, which will remain at it s current location and be widened to add a third pitching mound.

■ In front of the clubhouse area along the 3B line will be a set of field-level suites available for rent by fans and groups. There is also the possibility of building a flat deck on the top of the clubhouse area, accessible from the existing 3B-line stands, where various events could take place.

■ The RF stands will be extended down to where the current visitors' bullpen is. There are plans for a picnic area or some such space to replace that current bullpen.

■ The visitors' bullpen will now actually be on the field itself, in foul territory directly in front of the new RF stands. Coach Jamieson said this was Tony Vitello's idea, and suggested we need lots of students to sit in that area.

■ Because of certain logistical details of the entire plan, it may be decided to move the RF wall in a few feet, from 340 feet to around 312 feet. This would be accompanied by the building of a 24 foot high outfield wall in that area.

All of this is slated to get underway immediately following the close of the 2009 season and will be ready for use by the beginning of the 2010 season.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

2009 First Pitch Celebration a success !!!

I just got home from the 2009 First Pitch Celebration, and it was a great evening. Fans and families, players and alumni gathered to celebrate the start of a new season.

Several former Tiger players were in attendance. A contingent from the teams of the 30s , 40s and 50s held down a table in the center of the crowd: Kent Kurtz (50-52), Carl Miles (38-40), Frank Graham (40-42) and others. Also in attendance were several players from the Tim Jamieson years. Max Scherzer (04-06), now of the Arizona Diamondbacks, came in to town for the event.

Coach Jamieson introduced the players on the 2009 team and recognized the returning players as well. In his remarks to the crowd, Coach unveiled new architects' drawings of the Taylor Stadium renovation (more details on that tomorrow here at, and spoke a few words about coaching at MU.
"For me, it's about the players, the legacy with the players, the relationship with the players. It's about the players that played here; it's about the players that play here; and it's about the players that will play here. That's why I stay here."
The guest speaker for the event was motivational speaker John Cassis (Luke Cassis' father). His speech drew rave reviews from all in the the crowd. He emphasized six characteristics for success, both as a team and in life:
Mental Strength
Zest for everything you do
Ownership of your life
He grabbed the crowd's attention early on with a great story about his son, Luke. I can't begin to tell it the way he did, but I can't resist repeating it here:
Luke was 4 years old at the time. I was preparing for a Father's Day talk and was reading a book called How to Be an Effective Father.

Luke comes walking into the room and stops about 8 feet from me. He's wearing a Chicago Bears shirt, a California Angels cap; he's got a wiffle ball in one hand and a softball in the other; he saunters in with his min-athletic walk; he's got two toy guns strapped around his waist ... and he's totally naked from the waist down.

He says, "Dad, lets play ball."

I said, "Where's your pants, Luke?"

"I dunno."

So I explained to him that I can't throw the ball around, I'm too busy.

"I'm trying to read this book on how to be an effective father." And I put the book back in front of my face and went back to reading.

Luke - 4 years old - winds up and throws that softball - that hard softball - straight at my face. It hit s the top of the book and ricochets and hits me straight between the eyes.

"Bulls Eye, Daddy!" shouted Luke.
Of course, he put down the book and went to throw the ball.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

First Pitch Celebration this coming Saturday

Don't forget: the annual First Pitch Celebration for MU Baseball is this coming Saturday, February 7th.

The 5th annual First Pitch Celebration is a reception for all MU Baseball fans and former players to gather and celebrate over 100 years of Missouri Baseball, and to celebrate the beginning of the 2009 season.

The fifth annual First Pitch Celebration is a reception with a buffet that will include hors d’oeuvres, beverages for young and old. Introductions will be made of past and present players. Tim Jamieson will take a look ahead at the 2009 season. A silent auction will be held, featuring prestigious professional and collegiate items. Luke Cassis usually has a video montage prepared of highlights from the 2008 season.

Plus there will be a special guest speaker.

This is a great opportunity to meet and talk to current players and coaches and others associated with the team. There will be former players from recent teams and from teams farther back in Tiger history, all the way back to the teams of the 30s and 40s. It's great fun to sit and ask the "old-timers" to tell stories about John "Hi" Simmons and playing in the Big Seven conference.

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

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Quotes & Notes: Looking ahead to 2009

The College Baseball Blog has put together their own Pre-Season All Big 12 Team, which includes some MU Tigers:
· First Team: Starting Pitcher Kyle Gibson, Catcher Trevor Coleman, OF Aaron Senne
· Second Team: 3B Kyle Mach

Big12Hardball says Missouri on the Prowl for Conference Title:
Since Tim Jamieson took over the reigns as head coach of the Tigers, his teams have consistently played in the postseason, and most recently have gone on a run of six playoff appearances in the last seven years.

While that is obviously an accomplishment in its own right, there are some Missouri fans who are starting to wonder whether Jamieson is the man who can lead the team to the next level. In those six postseason appearances, the Tigers have advanced past the regional playoffs just once.
■ The Big 12 has announced its 2009 FSN Baseball Television Schedule. Missouri is NOT on the schedule.