Tuesday, November 29, 2011

SEC Dixie-nary: H is for Home Games

H is for Home Games

The SEC is notorious for scheduling a ton of home games each year.

For example, Georgia's 2012 schedule has 37 home games out of 56 (66%), as does LSU.  Only three of LSU's road games are out of conference, and all three of those are within the state of Louisiana..

Arkansas' 2012 schedule features "a school record 36 regular season home games, including 20 of the first 23 games at home."  Mississippi State also boasts 36 home games.

Florida and South Carolina have 35 home games,  AlabamaAuburn, Tennessee and Vanderbilt have 34,  Ole Miss has 32.  (Kentucky has not released their 2012 schedule - they had 33 home games in 2011)

Compare the 2012 schedules of Texas (32 home games), Ohio State (26) and Michigan (21).

Why are SEC schedules so home-heavy?  Because they can be.  First, their weather in the first few weeks of the season trends warmer than it does in many other parts of the country, so teams from colder climates need to schedule games in SEC-country.  Also, those same teams want the experience and RPI boost of playing against the SEC.

On the other hand, the NCAA is making changes to the RPI formula that will put a bit higher premium on results in road games.  This might lead to some changes in scheduling philosophy when the SEC sees how this affects their rankings.  See also The Proposed New RPI (boydsworld.com) and Alternative Futures (sebaseball.com)

So how does this affect MU?  Columbia's early season weather is not as favorable as the rest of the SEC, being the northernmost SEC school.  So just moving to the SEC doesn't mean Evan Pratte's going to have any better advantage in trying to pad the Tigers' home schedule.

Then again, he's doing a pretty good job at this in spite of MU's semi-northern location.  Mizzou's 2012 Schedule includes 33 home games (60%) - more than Ole Miss.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Border Showdown: Shutdown?

Tiger fans are celebrating MU's win over KU yesterday in what has been hyped as possibly the final meeting between the two rivals. Whether the football match-ups are history is yet to be seen - I'm thinking money talks and whining Jayhawks will be saying "Show me the money" - there are still several other MU-KU final Big 12 match-ups in store in this 2011-2012 season, including Baseball.

Fittingly, the schedules released by both MU and KU show them meeting on the field for the final weekend series of the 2012 season, May 17, 18 and 19, in Lawrence, KS.

One thing is missing from those schedules, though:  the annual MU_KU Border Showdown game at Kauffman Stadium.

As traditions go, that neutral-field game at Kauffman is a fairly short one.  2011 was only the fourth game in the series - all of which were won by the Jayhawks.

The interesting thing about the Kauffman game not being on the 2012 schedule is that it WAS on the 2012 schedule.

KU released their 2012 schedule on October 5th, with a press release that included this:
Kansas will play its annual game at Kauffman Stadium against Border Showdown rival Missouri (April 18) as well as a road game against Creighton at T.D. Ameritrade Stadium (April 3) – the site of the College World Series.
Here at SimmonsField.com we posted a bootleg early copy of the MU schedule on August 27th, based on a tentative schedule being passed around among the Baseball staff and the team.  That schedule also showed the annual Kauffman game on April 18th.

But if you look at the the official schedules posted by both MU and KU today, that game has disappeared.

I've not heard any word on who pulled the plug or why, but it's sad that we'll not get that game in this season. And the scheduling of the game would have been special as well.  Like last year, the MU-KU game was scheduled on the same day as a Royals' game, presumably to take place after the conclusion of the Royals game.  The Royals (Aaron Crow's current team) are scheduled to play the Detroit Tigers (Max Scherzer's current team) on April 18th.  that would have been a great day at Kauffman Stadium for Mizzou fans.

But it's not to be.  We'll have to settle for laying waste to Lawrence once again on the final weekend of the regular season.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

SEC Dixie-nary: G is for Geography

G is for Geography

The new 14-team Southeastern Conference covers 11 states, spanning distances up to 1,000 miles.

Below is a chart of miles (driving) from Columbia, MO to SEC towns. Schools in BOLD are in Mizzou's Eastern Division of the SEC:
  • 311 to Fayetteville, AR (Arkansas)
  • 433 to Nashville, TN (Vanderbilt)
  • 459 to Lexington, KY (Kentucky)  
  • 477 to Oxford, MS (Ole Miss)
  • 576 to Starkville, MS (Mississippi State)
  • 609 to Knoxville, TN (Tennessee)
  • 620 to Tuscaloosa, AL (Alabama)
  • 733 to Auburn, AL (Auburn)
  • 734 to Athens, GA (Georgia)
  • 772 to Baton Rouge, LA (LSU)
  • 779 to College Station, TX (Texas A&M)
  • 871 to Columbia, SC (South Carolina)
  • 1,009 to Gainesville, FL (Florida)
That's an average of 645 miles from Columbia to SEC schools.  686 miles average to the SEC East schools; 609 miles average to the SEC West.  Let's hope that the next SEC expansion (to 16 schools) results in Mizzou in the mosre geographically logical West Division.

Graphical representation of mileage at ColumbiaMissourian.com

The team itself may not be traveling on the highways much, though.
As for long bus trips to distant SEC schools that could cause more class time to be missed, [MU Softball coach Ehren] Earlywine said that in consideration of all SEC baseball teams using charter aircraft, there has been discussion that Missouri will do the same for both baseball and softball. (kansascity.com, 11/7/11)
Original Southern
Conference logo
Interestingly, the SEC was originally formed because the existing Southern Conference had way too many members, spread across to large a geographical footprint (although no one at the time used footprint to define geography). SEC History: Origin Of The 12 Teams (SaturdayDownSouth.com) provides a good overview of the conference's geography-driven origins and history:
The country’s preeminent modern football conference suddenly came into being on the evening of December 9, 1932, when then-Florida President John J. Tigert announced that his institution and 12 other schools had left the larger Southern Conference, effective immediately, to form the Southeastern Conference. Tigert’s announcement came at the Southern Conference’s annual meeting in Knoxville, Tennessee, the home of one of the breakaway schools. Tom Perrin, who authored a history of college football in 1987, wrote, “The main reasons for the rupture were geographical distance, travel time and expense, a great disparity between the large and small schools in the conference, and the fact that half the schools did not play each other from one year to the next, if at all.”
. . .
The Associated Press reported on December 10, 1932, “The unwieldy Southern Conference has split along geographical lines and out of the break today emerged a new group of thirteen schools, mostly of the deep South, to be known as the Southeastern Conference.” This group included the core of today’s SEC — Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Florida, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt — along with Georgia Tech, Tulane, and Sewanee (also known as the University of the South). The remaining Southern Conference schools were all located in Maryland, Virginia or the Carolinas: Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia Military Institute, Washington & Lee, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Duke, South Carolina and Clemson; seven of those schools — along with Wake Forest, which joined the Southern Conference in 1936 — left in 1953 to form the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New MLB Draft rules impact College Baseball

New Labor Deal Features Major Draft Changes (baseballamerica.com)
College baseball looks like it could be a major winner as a result of this agreement. UCLA coach John Savage watched as three of his top recruits—righthander Joe Ross, third baseman Tyler Goeddel and catcher Austin Hedges—signed for a combined $7.25 million within the final hour of the 2011 signing deadline. The new rules could direct more marquee players to college.

"I think the last couple of years, there's been a lot of high school players that get substantial money who normally would have gone to school where they were picked," Savage said. "So I think you'll see a little less of that, because the consequences will be heavy, in terms of loss of draft picks and financial penalty.| 
"I think you'd be foolish to think that it's college baseball-driven; we all know it's not. But from a party that's heavily involved in this decision, it looks like it was a good day for college baseball."
MLB changes draft rules (collegebaseballdaily.com)
Draft signing deadline moves from Aug. 15 to between July 12 and 18.
New CBA to impact draft, bonuses (perfectgame.org_)
Going forward, we’ll see the first collectively-bargained drag on signing bonuses—involving both drafted players and those signed on the international market. We’ll also see a welcome change in the signing deadline from Aug. 15 to mid-July, though it’s unclear whether we’ll see a change in the number of rounds from the current 50, a change in draft dates from early June to the end of June, or the introduction of pre-draft combines for the top prospects where physicals will be administered. All those issues were on the table as negotiations regarding the draft reached an 11th hour.
New MLB deal means positive changes for college baseball (cdispatch.com)
November, 22, 2011 could go down as the day college baseball changed drastically for the better.

Why? The entire sport was just guaranteed they're more than likely to get an influx of more quality talent from high school instead of these prospects bypassing NCAA baseball for a signing bonus with a professional franchise.
. . .
The end result: Once the details of this agreement were announced, the general consensus was that not only did the sport of college baseball get a talent boost in the future but professional baseball is likely to get more mature prospects and socially aware people signing into their business. Those two aspects are what professional baseball people think will provide a better overall product for fans at every level of play.

Simmons Field is Field of the Year

Simmons Field at Taylor Stadium Named Field of the Year (mutigers.com)
Simmons Field at Taylor Stadium, the home of the Mizzou baseball team, has been named 2011 College and University Baseball Field of the Year by the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA), as announced by the STMA on Tuesday (Nov. 22). The field is maintained and cared for by Mizzou Turf Specialist Josh McPherson and his staff.

"Each year, evaluating the applicant pool is very difficult," said Allen Johnson, CSFM, STMA Awards Committee Chairman. "The quality of the applicants continues to improve and this year's winners truly deserved the award."

"The Field of the Year Award validates the intense dedication of our members," said Kim Heck, CEO of the Sports Turf Managers Association. "Each year STMA awards no more than 14 Fields of the Year, so a very small percentage of our members are winners. Josh McPherson and his crew are very deserving of this prestigious award for Simmons Field at Taylor Stadium," says Heck. . .

Aaron Crow, fashion model

Uniform changes include All-Star Game logo (mlb.com)
Subtle changes in the Royals' uniforms were unveiled on Tuesday, but there's one striking addition that signals a big event for Kansas City -- the 2012 All-Star Game logo.

The logo is affixed to the right sleeve of all four versions of the Royals uniform. The All-Star Game, the first in Kansas City since 1973, will be on July 10 at Kauffman Stadium.

Pitcher Aaron Crow and hitting coach Kevin Seitzer modeled the newest versions of the uniforms at the Diamond Club at the stadium.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

SEC Dixie-nary: E is for East

E is for East

Word is that Missouri will be playing in the East Division of the SEC, mostly because Alabama and Auburn don't want to be separated.

The three schools that were considered the best in the SEC for much of the 70s, 80s and 90s are all in the West Division:  Alabama, LSU and Mississippi State.   However, the West's dominance appears to be a thing of the past.

In 2011, the West was greatly overshadowed by East.  Three SEC East schools finished in the Top 10 of the RPI rankings; 4 SEC East teams and 2 SEC West teams were in the top 20

With the rise to power of South Carolina, Florida and Vanderbilt as dominant players nationally, the West has failed to keep up.  See Around the Bases Looks at the Future of SEC Baseball (TeamSpeedKills.com)

SEC Divisions (from Mizzou2SEC.com)
On the other hand, the two schools most often in the SEC cellar are Tennessee and Kentucky, both in the East.

Then again, Tennessee has a hired a new coach beginning this fall:  Dave Serrano, who has taken both UC-Irvine and Cal State-Fullerton to the College World Series.

The upshot is that it really doesn't make much difference in the long term which division Mizzou is in, because the entire conference is pretty tough and the winds of fortune will change.


I've not heard yet how the SEC Baseball schedule will be set up now that there are 14 teams, but I can make a good guess.

Currently, each team's schedule features 10 weekend conference 3-game series:  5 series against teams within their division, and 5 against teams from the opposite division.  Under that system, an SEC team plays every other SEC team except one.

Arkansas, for example, is scheduled to play every team except Vanderbilt in 2012 (which is odd, considering Vandy is one of the closest to Little Rock geographically).

With two new teams in the conference, my guess would be the system will be similar.  The goal of the schedule is still a legitimate one - limiting the fixed conference schedule to 10 match-ups, leaving sufficient room in the schedule for out-of-conference weekend series.  In 2012, Arkansas has 4 non-conference weekends (Villanova, Valparaiso, the Houston College Classic, and Binghamton) prior to the beginning of the SEC schedule on March 16th, with no bye-weekend in the middle of the SEC schedule.

With 14 teams, that would mean each team would play 6 series versus their divisional rivals and 4 series against the opposite division.  Which means there would be 3 teams each season that aren't on your schedule.

For MU, that would mean a weekend 3-game series vs. Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia each season, plus 4 series against an annual rotation of 4 among Arkansas, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, LSU, Auburn and Alabama.

According to an article this past week in the Columbia Tribune, "Jamieson said the league is expected to continue playing 30 conference games, with six division series and four rotating interdivision series, though it has not been finalized."

For more on the geographical layout of the new SEC, check back in here Thursday morning:  G is for Geography

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tough SEC is opportunity for MU baseball team

♦ Some great quotes from Tim Jamieson plus informed insight from Baseball America's Aaron Fitt in Tough SEC is opportunity for MU baseball team (ColumbiaTribune.com)
“It’s both an incredible challenge and an incredible opportunity,” Missouri Coach Tim Jamieson said. “I think it’s something, having witnessed what we did when we went from the Big Eight to the Big 12 and the necessity to step up, we did it. I have no doubt that we’ll do it again when we go from the Big 12 to the SEC.”
. . .
“The bottom line is they’ve just got to recruit at a high level and develop those guys,” Fitt said. “When Missouri had its run there of seven straight regionals, they were doing that very well. They were getting high-caliber talent, and I think if they have years like that, they can absolutely compete in the SEC.”
Read the whole article HERE

Friday, November 18, 2011

MU Baseball Announces 2012 Schedule

The official schedule is nearly identical to the one we published earlier this Fall, EXCEPT for the addition of a Missouri-Illinois game at Busch and the subtraction of the MU-KU game at Kauffman.

Mizzou Baseball Announces 2012 Schedule (mutigers.com Press Release)

The Mizzou baseball program and head coach Tim Jamieson have announced its 2012 competition schedule on Friday (Nov. 18). The Tigers have 55 games scheduled for the 2012 season, including 29 against teams that qualified for last year's NCAA Tournament. Also, of the 55 games, Mizzou will play 33 at Taylor Stadium.

Mizzou will open the season in intriguing fashion as it will play at Auburn in a matchup that will serve as a Southeastern Conference preview. The Tigers will enter their inaugural year as members of the SEC in 2012-13, so there should be plenty of buzz surrounding the Tigers' season-opening series with Auburn. Those games will be held from Feb. 17-19.

Following the season-opening trip to Auburn, the Tigers will then head to the west coast for a three-game set with San Francisco. The Dons we're the West Coast Conference Champions and participated in the UCLA Regional last season. Those games will be held in San Francisco from Feb. 24-26.

After the Tigers' trip out west, they will return home to Taylor Stadium for a 19-game home stand that will last through nearly the entire month of March, beginning with a three-game series against Ball State on March 2-4. The Tigers will also battle Nebraska-Omaha, Charlotte, North Dakota, High Point and Indiana State before playing Oklahoma State, which marks the beginning of Big 12 play. That series with the Cowboys will be played March 23-25. The 19-game homestand will then close with a pair of midweek games against Central Arkansas.

Big 12 play will then hit full-stride for the Tigers as they will play back-to-back series at Texas A&M (March 30-April 1) and at home against Baylor (April 5-7) on Easter weekend. A midweek contest with Illinois will then take center stage following the Baylor series as the Tigers and Illini will battle at Busch Stadium, home of the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. That game will be held on April 11 at 6:35 p.m. and fans will be able to purchase tickets online at MUTigers.com or STLCardinals.com when they go on sale.

Following the game at Busch Stadium, the Tigers will then continue Big 12 play with a road trip to Norman, Okla., where they will play three games against OU from April 13-15. A three-game home series against Kansas State will be next up for Mizzou from April 20-22 before they open a six-game road trip at Missouri State, Texas Tech and Arkansas. The series at Arkansas will mark the Tigers' second SEC opponent of the 2012 season and those games will be played on May 1 and 2 in Fayetteville.
The Tigers will then return home to play Texas (May 4-6), Missouri State (May 9) and Memphis (May 11-13) before closing the regular season with a three-game series at archrival Kansas (May 17-19). The Big 12 Tournament will then be contested from May 23-27 with the NCAA Regional Rounds opening on June 1.

For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

2012 Recruits: Mizzou Baseball Inks 10 to NLIs

Details on all the Mizzou Recruits!

Mizzou Baseball Inks 10 to NLIs (mutigers.com Press Release)
The Mizzou baseball program and Head Coach Tim Jamieson have signed 10 prospects to National Letters of Intent this fall as all 10 student-athletes will join the Tiger baseball family for the 2012-13 season, which will be the program's inaugural year as members of the Southeastern Conference, one of the premier baseball leagues in the nation. Here's a brief look at the newest Tigers.

Paxton DeLaGarza - 6'1 175, INF, Lubbock, TX, Coronado High School
Coached by Gary Hix ... Played summer baseball for the Dallas Patriots ... As a junior: .418 BA, 18 2Bs, 12 HRs, 62 RBI, .495 OBP ... 2011 Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association Third Team All-State ... 2011 All-South Plains Team ... 2011 Texas Sports Writers All-State Honorable Mention.

Peter Fairbanks - 6'6 205, RHP, St. Louis, MO, Webster Groves High School
Coached by Steve Mazzola ... Played summer baseball for the St. Louis Gamers ... As a junior: 2-1, 2.26 ERA, 21.2 IP, 27 Ks, 11 BB, opponent .217 BA.

Griffin Goodrich - 6'4 190, RHP, Kirkwood, MO, Kirkwood High School
Coached by Ken Shaw ... As a junior: 6-3, 2.10 ERA, 50 IP, 69 Ks, 22 BB, opponent .185 BA ... Played summer baseball for the Rawlings Prospects out of St. Louis ... 2011 Suburban South All-Conference First Team as a pitcher and outfielder.

Gerrion Grim - 6'1 185, RHP, O'Fallon, MO, Fort Zumwalt South High School
Coached by Keith Deshurley ... Played summer baseball for the Missouri Elite ... As a junior 6-5: 1 save, 2.13 ERA, 65.2 IP, 72 Ks, 33 BB, opponent .245 BA ... As a sophomore, 5-1 record, 1 save, 1.91 ERA, 40.3 IP, 45 Ks, 27 BB, opponent .188 BA.

Dane Gronewald - 6'6 215, LHP, Winfield, MO, Jefferson College
Coached by Sam Carol, attended Winfield High School and was coached by Trent Crenshaw.... As a freshman at Jefferson College: 6-2, 2.79 ERA, 63 Ks, 15 BB, 68.3 IP ... Helped Jefferson College to the 2011 Junior College World Series ... As a senior year at Winfield High School: 10-2, 1.46 ERA, 94 Ks, 18 BB, 67.1 IP ... 2011 MLB Draft - 43rd Round with the Braves.

Hunter Haynes - 6'0 165, LHP, Mexico, MO, Mexico High School
Coached by Keith Louder ... As a junior: 5-0, 0.89 ERA, 78 Ks, 47 IP ... 2011 All Area Baseball Team ... Played summer baseball for Team Mizuno out of St. Louis.

Bralin Jackson - 6'1 185, OF, Raytown, MO, Raytown South High School
Coached by Steve Peck ... Played summer baseball for the Diamond Masterz ... White Sox Area Code Team.

Ryan Phillips - 5'11 185, RHP/INF, Columbia, MO, Rock Bridge High School
Coached by Justin Towe ... As a junior: .473, 2 HRs, 22 RBIs, 32 Rs, .537 OBP ... School record 43 hits in a season ... On the mound: 7-0, 1.23 ERA, 52 Ks, 40 IP ... Already holds the school record for wins with 21

Alec Rash - 6'5 190, RHP, Adel, IA, ADM High School
Coached by Mitch Krumwiede ... Attended Pelham High School in Alabama his junior year, coached by Jeff Mauldin ... 2010 Iowa HS All-State Team Class 3A First Team.

Sean Ullrich - 6'3 180, OF, Ballwin, MO, Marquette High School
Coached by John Meyer, played summer baseball for the Rawlings Prospects out of St. Louis ... As a junior: .351 BA, 6 2B's, 3 3B's, 18 RBI's, 21 R's, 12 SB's, .419 OBP... As a sophomore, .286, 3 2B's, 13 RBI's, 12 R's, .389 OBP, 2011 2nd All Suburban West Conference, 1st Team All-District.

SEC Dixie-nary: D is for Dixie

D is for Dixie

Eleven of the 12 long-standing SEC members are located in states that officially seceded and joined the Confederate States of America.

Kentucky and Missouri were both considered border states, with divided loyalties among the populace.

Texas also was of divided loyalty, mostly being loyal to Texas. Nothing much has changed in that regard in the past 150 years.

Is Missouri a "southern" state? (or perhaps I should ask if "Missourah" is a southern state.

Regimental flag of the 8th
Missouri cavalry (Union Army
(Missouri Civil War Museum)
Some have called Missouri the most northern southern state - and others call it the most southern northern state. Southeast Missouri, in the Cape Girardeau and boot-heel areas, have more in common culturally with their neighbors in Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas than they do with more northern parts of the state. The southern Ozarks (Springfield / Branson) share more in common with Arkansas than they do with Columbia.

The Tiger mascot of the University of Missouri was actually chosen "in honor of a Missouri Union militia unit that guarded the area of Columbia, Missouri (MU’s hometown) as well as the university itself during the American Civil War. The true “Missouri Tigers” were a Union “Home Guard” militia unit made up of local men from the area around Columbia. Their duties were to protect the University of Missouri and the area from approaching Confederate forces, pro-Confederate guerillas, desperadoes and others that may have threatened the area." (mcwm.org)

On the other hand, many SEC fans would probably be surprised to learn that Columbia sits in the middle of a section of Missouri known as "Little Dixie".

The Little Dixie Conference,
comprised of small town schools in
the area surrounding Columbia, MO.
Wikipedia actually has a good description of the historical reasons for that designation:
Little Dixie is a 13- to 17-county region of Missouri found along the Missouri River, settled primarily by migrants from the hemp and tobacco districts of Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee. Today, the region identifies with the Midwest, but because of Southerners settling there first, the pre-Civil War culture closely paralleled that of the Upper South. When the Southerners resettled in Missouri, they brought their cultural, social, agricultural, political and architectural practices; they also brought enslaved Africans and their descendants, from whom they extracted forced labor and thus accumulated wealth. On average Missouri’s slave population was only 10 percent, but in Little Dixie, county and township slave populations ranged from 20 to 50 percent, corresponding to the concentration of large plantations along the river.
As I've said elsewhere, Mizzou's position as the northernmost SEC school could offer a recruiting advantage for some prospects, if they're attracted to playing in the SEC but would rather spend three years in Little Dixie than BIG Dixie.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

2012 Mizzou Recruit: Austin Tribby, LHP

Austin Tribby, LHP
6'5", 230 lb, L/L
Springfield Catholic HS (MO)

♦ 2011 Pitching: 7-1, 2.02 ERA, 93 K; 152-1/3 IP

♦ Class 3 All-State 1st Team 2011

Catholic pitcher signs with Mizzou (Springfield News-Leader)
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Tribby made his college intentions official Monday, signing a letter of intent with the University of Missouri in the high school library in front of a couple dozen schoolmates.

"It just felt right," Tribby said of playing in Columbia for a showcase this summer. "I just feel really blessed and excited about this opportunity."
Catholic's Tribby comes back stronger (newsleader.com, 6/3/2011)
For Catholic High School pitcher Austin Tribby, his junior season did not start the way he hoped.

With only a few days before the team's first game, Tribby tore his meniscus, an injury that forced him to miss about four weeks of the season.

"He came off of (the mound) wrong and just kind of rolled his ankle and ended up buckling his knee," Irish coach Jason Daughrity said.

Careful rehab has allowed Tribby to return to the mound, and he has made the most of that opportunity. He has struck out 31 batters in only 152/3 innings.

Daughrity said Tribby is a big reason the Irish have reached the Class 3 final four.
Catholic's Austin Tribby Signs with Mizzou Baseball VIDEO

2012 Mizzou Recruits

The following players have been confirmed as having signed their Letter of Intent to play for Mizzou beginning with the 2012-2013 season.
There was a report a couple of months ago that Aaron Schnurbusch, LHP/OF,  Eureka, MO had verbally committed to Mizzou, but so far I have found no confirmation that he is actually going to sign.

SEC Dixie-nary: C is for College World Series

C is for College World Series

The SEC has sent 10 of its 12 schools to the College World Series since 1990 - Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. Ole Miss has played in four Super Regionals the last seven seasons.

The SEC has sent 46 teams to the College World Series since 1990. That was accomplished despite no SEC teams making the field in 1992. LSU has been to Omaha 12 times, Flordia six times, Georgia and South Carolina five times, Mississippi State four times, while Alabama and Tennessee have been three times each. Auburn has been twice, while Arkansas advanced in 2004 and 2009.

SEC teams have won nine of the last 22 national championships, with LSU winning six (1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2009), South Carolina winning two (2010, 2011) and Georgia claiming the 1990 title. The SEC has finished runner up four times in that time, 1997, 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2011.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Southern Exposure: SEC Baseball Links

Olsen overhaul: Blue Bell funds sweet upgrades for Aggie baseball (thebatt.com)
Preparing for Texas A&M's newest athletic facility — Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park — has been a team effort. "The team took the visiting locker room and made that into a weight room," A&M athletic director Bill Byrne. 
"The head coach's wife designed and upgraded the locker room and the kids went in and painted it." 
Spearheaded by a $7 million pledge from Blue Bell Creameries in nearby Brenham, Texas, baseball sports information director Adam Quisenberry called the $24 million stadium "one of the sweetest spots in all of college athletics."
. . .
After the renovations, only the stadiums of Louisiana State and Arkansas will offer more seating among schools in the Southeastern Conference.

"We have been gradually catching up," Byrne said. "We put together a master plan with new facilities to upgrade our capabilities as far as facilities in the Big 12, and we will continue to do that as far as updating our facilities for competition in the SEC."

Big 12 versus SEC: total baseball wins (columbiamissourian.com)
MU Chancellor Brady Deaton has announced that Missouri will join the Southeastern Conference for the 2012-2013 school year. Texas A&M has already bolted for the SEC, while TCU and West Virginia are on their way to the Big 12. Here’s a breakdown of how Big 12 and SEC baseball programs stack up on the playing field and in the classroom. SEE CHART
Cal Ripken Jr's son commits to Gamecocks (wistv.com)
South Carolina added a sweet-swinging, slick-fielding first baseman to the class of 2012 on Sunday afternoon. Ryan Ripken (Baltimore, Md./Gilman) is much more than a player with a famous last name.

Ripken, who is ranked as the No. 304 player in the country by Perfect Game, committed to the Gamecocks over Wake Forest, Coastal Carolina, and Maryland. He visited campus last week and took a couple of days to stew over his decision. On Sunday, he called recruiting coordinator Chad Holbrook and gave him the news.
. . .
A 6-foot-5, 195-pounder, Ripken had his best performance of the year in Jupiter, Fla. a couple of weekends ago at the Perfect Game World Championships. He was 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles in a pool-clinching victory over the Diamond Devils, a team that the Gamecocks heavily recruit.

Behind the scenes at Vanderbilt photo shoot

PHOTOS of 2011 South Carolina Baseball Championship Rings (gamecocksonline.com)
The South Carolina Baseball team received their 2011 SEC Champions and National Champions rings tonight at their annual banquet.

Friday, November 11, 2011

2012 Mizzou Recruit: Bralin Jackson, OF

Bralin Jackson
Bralin Jackson, OF
6'1", 186 lb, R/L
Raytown South HS (KC)

@MUTigerBaseball on Twitter:
Congrats to Bralin Jackson (OF) from Raytown South in KC

2010 Baseball Factory PVP & Under Armour Baseball Factory Top Prospect

Notes From Area Code Games BP (baeballamerica.com, 8/6/2011)
Outfielder Bralin Jackson comes from Raytown South High in Raytown, Mo. and is one of the rare players that bats righthanded and throws lefthanded. Listed at 6 feet and 178 pounds, Jackson has a wiry build with long legs. He showed a whippy swing with a lot of bat speed that produced lots of hard contact and a big BP home run.
White Sox Team Report (Midwest): Area Code Games (prospectwire.com, 8/12/2011)
In a previous report I mentioned outfielder Bralin Jackson as a player of interest. To me he looked like he could really run with the way he was moving on the bases. Now, his times to 1st base weren't great but I think that is more of a reflection of how he gets out of the box. I really think he is going to hit and hit with impact results. He is not a big kid, listed 6'0" 178 but his hands and his swing are those of a heavy hitter. He made a lot of hard, lively barrel contact and I love how he drives his hands inside and through contact, resulting in the ability to drive the baseball in the middle of the field. He has that backwards R/L profile but it seemed to have worked for Rickey Henderson! Ok, he doesn't compare to Henderson but others in the bigs are Ryan Ludwick and Cody Ross.
Area Code Games presented by New Balance: Report #1 (prospectwire.com, 8/7/2011)
The other player I liked was Bralin Jackson (6'0" 178, R/L, Raytown, MO). Jackson looks like he is a flier and he showed me lively hitting hands too. I am looking forward to bearing down on him some more tomorrow.

Mizzou Recruits signed this week

A round of applause for the new Tigers.
And for MU Baseball for announcing these signings.
The planets aligned and the fog of mystery dissipated on this auspicious and unprecedented day of 11/11/11, and the wholly unexpected came to pass:

Today on Twitter (a public forum), posted by @MUTigerBaseball:

  • Still waiting on a couple NLI's but we would like to proudly welcome the 8 newest #Tigers to our family... #MIZ
  • Congrats to Gerrion Grim(RHP) from Fort Zumwalt South HS in StL & Peter Fairbanks(RHP) from Webster Groves HS in StL (@peterfairbanks)! #MIZ
  • Congrats to Hunter Haynes (LHP) from Mexico HS in Mexico, MO & Alec Rash (RHP) from ADM HS in Adel, IA! Welcome fellas! #MIZ
  • Congrats to Paxton De La Garza (@Paxton5) from Coronado HS in Lubbock, TX & Griffin Goodrich (@itsGriff_Good) from Kirkwood HS in StL! #MIZ
  • Congrats to Bralin Jackson (OF) from Raytown South in KC & Sean Ullrich (OF) from Marquette HS in StL (@sullrich15)! #MIZ
  • That's all for now #Tiger fans but as mentioned before we are expecting two more NLI's by the end of the day today!
We have information about all but one of those recruits already on SimmonsField.com.  We'll have more on Bralin Jackson this weekend.

2012 Mizzou Recruits: Peter Fairbanks signs

High School Senior Inks Deal to Play Baseball at MIZZOU (webstergroves.patch.com)
Statesmen pitcher Peter Fairbanks has signed a letter of intent to play baseball for the University of Missouri at Columbia. Fairbanks, a senior at Webster Groves High School, plans to major in economics at the university.

Last spring, Webster Groves Coach Steve Mazzola called Fairbanks a great athlete and said a few colleges were looking at him at the time.

11/11/11 @ 11:11:11 AM

No, the world has not ended. 

There are still 98 days until Mizzou baseball begins. . .

. . . and KU still sucks.

SEC Dixie-nary: B is for Ballparks

B is for Ballparks

There's been much said that Mizzou's Taylor Stadium won't compare well to the other SEC ballparks.  While there are some huge and impressive baseball stadiums in the SEC, don't be fooled into thinking that playing in the SEC is like playing at Yankee Stadium every weekend.

East Division

Florida Gators: McKethan Stadium
  • Opened 1988
  • Capacity 5,500
  • In addition to the entertaining brand of college baseball, fans enjoy spacious seating close to the field in the beautiful Florida sun. They are treated to theatre-like field-level seating, quality conĂ‚­cession areas, an outstanding scoreboard featuring up-to-date player statistics, clean restrooms and abundant parking, along with a first-class press box for media covering the Gator program.

    Always looking to improve its facilities, McKethan Stadium underwent a $350,000 plaza development project in 1996 that produced a new main entrance and created a plaza/courtyard atmosphere for fans surrounding the main grandstand. Construction over the previous summer had added 1,000 seats to the main grandstand to replace seating lost through prior construction and press box expansion. (gatorzone.com)

Georgia Bulldogs: Foley Field
  • Opened: 1996
  • Capacity: 3,291
  • Video tour of Foley Field
  • The stadium's capacity of 3,291 includes all chairback seating. From 1990-2010, the seating area was a mix of chairback and bleachers, however new green chairbacks were installed throughout the stadium for the 2011 season.

    The grandstand area is covered by a partial roof with both concession stands and rest rooms located in the stadium. A new playing surface and drainage system was installed in the summer of 2003. There are indoor and outdoor bullpens and indoor hitting cages. The lower portion of the stadium includes a spacious locker room, players lounge, a coaches office, an equipment room plus exercise and athletic training facilities.

Kentucky Wildcats: Cliff Hagan Stadium
  • Opened: 1969
  • Remodeled: 2002
  • Capacity: 3000
  • The renovations in 2002 were divided into three categories. The stadium now has 2,000 chair-back seats and a state-of-the-art press box. Featuring radio and television broadcast booths, the new media facility is among the best in the SEC, complete with elevators and restrooms for working press and game management personnel. Able to accommodate a capacity crowd of 3,000, Cliff Hagan Stadium also has two luxury skyboxes that are available for private parties.

    Phase two added the construction of traditional, old-style brick walls, reminiscent of classic American ball parks. Extending down both the left and right field lines, the walls meet a freshly painted hunter green outfield fence that replaced the older blue fence. Updated logos and advertisements were also placed on the structure that continues its 340-365-390-350-310 dimensions. (ukathletics.com)

South Carolina Gamecocks:  Carolina Stadium 
  • Opened: 2009
  • Capacity:  8,242 (6,600 seated)
  • Among the numerous amenities for fans, there are five luxury suites and two club-level seating areas with lounges, a Gamecock store just inside the main entrance in the outfield plaza, along with a picnic terrace that accommodates around 120 people down the left-field line. The scoreboard towers 86 feet (26 m) over the left field wall and features a 28-by-16 foot video screen.
Tennessee Volunteers:  Lindsey Nelson Stadium
  • Opened: 1993
  • Remodeled: 2009-10
  • Capacity: 3,712
  • Phase I was completed in time for the 2009 baseball season. This phase included $400,000 improvements to the field and expanded seating down the first base line.

    A new team locker room, club area, weight room, and training room were also constructed to enhance the facilities used by players to prepare for games. Phase I also included new coach and administrative offices and a plaza above the right field line seating to provide an easy gathering space for fans and additional concessions and restrooms.

    Phase II renovations were completed for the 2010 season. This phase included the construction of 370 MVP Field Level seats, which are designed to bring fans closer to the game than ever before while also providing a meaningful contribution to the Campaign for Tennessee Baseball.

    Located directly behind home plate, these seats feature chairback seating with cup holders and access to an interior club room where fans can enjoy refreshments prior to and during the game. New batting cages will be constructed along the right field line with a playground above the cages for children to enjoy during the game. This phase also includes improvements to the visiting team locker room and a brick facade on the field interior. (utsports.com)

Vanderbilt Commodores: Hawkins Field
  • Opened: 2002
  • Renovated: 06,07,09
  • Capacity: 3,700
  • Hawkins Field serves as the home of the Vanderbilt Commodores and with recently completed facilities it stands as one of the top college baseball parks in the country. Now in its ninth season of existence, Hawkins Field greets all fans with chairback seats close to the field of play, a 35-foot wall in left field that promises unique opportunities for excitement and a first-rate field that prevents bad hops and promotes dazzling defensive gems from the infielders and outfielders alike.

    With a brick and rod-iron fence design, Hawkins Field features a classic baseball park atmosphere coupled with a modern design that includes more than 2,400 chairback seats and a state-of-the-art press box. (vucommodores.com)

West Division

Alabama Crimson Tide:  Sewell-Thomas Stadium
  • Opened: 1948
  • Renovated: 1996, 2001
  • Capacity: 6,571
  • The stadium is commonly referred to as "The Joe".

    Currently referred to by many as "The Joe", Sewell-Thomas Stadium has been the home of Alabama's baseball team for 62 years, but has undergone many changes. The complex has undergone two major renovations in 1996 and again in 2001. A video board was added in 2007.

    The most recent additions came during the 2010 season as the Crimson Tide clubhouse, meetings rooms, coaches locker rooms and team room were completely renovated, giving Alabama one of the finest clubhouses in college baseball. In addition to the expanded clubhouse, meeting rooms and team rooms, the hallways and walls are lined with murals, depicting the deep history of Crimson Tide baseball.(rolltide.com)

Auburn Tigers: Samford Stadium – Hitchcock Field at Plainsman Park
  • Opened: 1950
  • Renovated: 1006, 2002
  • Capacity: 4,096
  • The park's signature is its 37-foot (11 m) high left field fence, which is 315 feet (96 m) from home plate. The home team bullpen is located behind the left field fence, forcing media in the press box to use monitors to determine who is warming up.

    Plainsman Park was first used as a baseball facility in 1950. In 1996, Auburn significantly renovated Plainsman Park, drawing inspiration from ballparks such as Camden Yards in their design for the park. In 1997, it was renamed Hitchcock Field at Plainsman Park in honor of brothers Jimmy and Billy Hitchcock. In 2003, the facility was renamed Samford Stadium – Hitchcock Field at Plainsman Park in honor of longtime trustee Jimmy Samford.

Arkansas Razorbacks: Baum Stadium at George Cole Field
  • Opened: 1996
  • Renovated: 03,04,06,07
  • Capacity: 10,737
  • Additional chairback seats were added for the 2003 season and the 2004 season saw 12 new luxury boxes and permanent coaches' offices added to the upper level. Two of the new luxury boxes and coaches' offices were made possible by contributions from the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation, Bob and Marilyn Bogle, the Pagnozzi Charities, John Tyson and Stan Ley.

    Adding to the character of the park, a new state-of-the-art scoreboard complete with video board, message center and a traditional hand clock was built in right field. The scoreboard stands 39 feet high and is 76 feet wide and features four classic brick pillars.

    Perhaps the most treasured addition to the 2004 renovations was the addition of a natural grass field. A rye grass was initially used for the 2004 season, but was replaced by a hybrid bermuda grass in 2005.

    Baum Stadium underwent renovations prior to the 2003 season as 2,600 chairback seats were added with 1,300 going down each foul line. In addition, the hitting and pitching cages were enclosed so Razorback players would have access to the facility year-round.

    Perhaps the only thing that makes as big an impression on first-time visitors as the facility itself is the game day atmosphere within it. Between innings, fans are treated to the RBI Girls' performances atop the dugouts, interactive contests and prizes from UA baseball sponsors.

    Fans can also enjoy a cookout at one of the many permanent barbeque grills provided in the picnic area beyond the left field fence in the Hog Pen. (hogwired.com)

LSU Tigers: Alex Box Stadium
  • Opened: 2009
  • Capacity: 10,326
  • Video: Behind the scenes at Alex Box Stadium
  • The Alex Box Stadium experience is a unique one, created by the greatest and most loyal fans in all of college baseball, combined with an enduring legacy of championships.

    In February 2009, the LSU Baseball program moved into a new home, and all of the traditions, memories and excitement that make Tiger baseball truly special live on in the New Alex Box Stadium.

    Now the LSU baseball legacy has moved 200 yards to the south into a state-of-the-art facility, designed to provide the resources necessary to sustain LSU's tradition of excellence while also accommodating in comfort the record-setting crowds that set Tiger Baseball apart from the rest of America

    In the New Box, the Tiger baseball team enjoys 6,000 additional square-feet of locker and meeting room space, new batting cages and all the amenities necessary to field a consistent winner. (lsusports.net)
LSU's Alex Box Stadium
Mississippi Rebels:  Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field
  • Opened: 1948
  • Renovation: 03,09
  • Capacity: 8,500 (6,100 seats)
  • Right Field Terrace: The hill beyond the right field wall was equipped with a seating area in 1993 that sits comfortably between the field and eight tennis courts. This has historically been a section for students. Since the 2000 season the area has undergone many improvements. What began as a gathering place for about one hundred students has grown into an area of about 1,000 students per game during conference season, and on big weekends between 3,000 and 4,000 students. Students routinely show up 2 or 3 hours before game time to wait on the first pitch. In the past few years, the students have started making t-shirts including ones that say: "Ole Miss - The best collegiate baseball atmosphere in America." Because of this atmosphere news crews from different college sports channels routinely show up to the right field student section.

    Left Field Terrace: For many years there was nothing but trees and a parking lot beyond the left field wall. In 2006, the left field area, known as Oakes Pavilion, was renovated with a new scoreboard equipped with a large video board and the seating areas were upgraded with grills, picnic tables, and a play area for children. The left field area can hold around 2,500 fans and has become one of the more popular areas of the field. It's mainly reserved for the families and non-students. (wikipedia)

Mississippi State: Dudy Noble Field/Polk-Dement Stadium
  • Opened: 1967
  • Capacity: 15,000 (7,200 seats)
  • The aura of Mississippi State baseball at Dudy Noble Field is certainly not confined to the loyal legions in the impressive grandstand, pro-style luxury sky suites and bleachers.

    In fact, some of the more highly-prized seats at Bulldog Baseball games are found beyond the outfield fence in the "Left Field Lounge". Waiting lists greet those seeking to purchase one of nearly 75 renewable season parking passes for an assigned position in one of three rows beyond the outfield fence. There, a colorful assortment of pickup trucks, motor homes, and trailers - most equipped with barbecue grills - line the outfield fence, completing a circle of humanity at Dudy Noble Field.

    What began in the late 1960s as a popular gathering spot for baseball-loving MSU students now forms college baseball's largest tailgate party. A 10-foot wide boardwalk has since been added to the area between the outfield fence and the first row of outfield terrace parking
Texas AM Aggies: Olsen Field
  • Opened: 1978
  • Renovated: 2011-12
  • Capacity: 7,053
  • The dimensions of the field are 330 feet down the foul lines, 375 to the power alleys and 400 feet to centerfield. The wooden fences around the outfield measure eight feet in height with the exception of centerfield, where the height is 20 feet. Beneath the grandstands are dressing facilities for both teams, a separate dressing room for the umpires, a modern training room and a groundskeeper's storage room.

    A new indoor hitting facility was built down the left-field line that features batting cages and bullpens for the Aggie baseball and softball teams to workout in inclement weather.

    A new state-of-the-art scoreboard, featuring a LED video board was unveiled in 2000. The scoreboard was the first on-campus, college-baseball scoreboard of its type in the United States.

    To make attending games more convenient for the fans, a trailer park with water, electricity hookups and a dump station has been built. There are 40 hookups for recreational vehicles. The park complex was dedicated on October 3, 1982. The park honors Mr. Olsen's wife, Elsie Duncan Olsen.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Signing Day: Recruit likes SEC move

Area recruits react to Mizzou's upcoming switch to the SEC (stltoday.com)
But for Griff Goodrich, the developing story hit closer to home. A senior pitcher at Kirkwood, had committed to continue his baseball career at Missouri before the move to the Southeastern Conference was announced.
. . .
"When I got the news Sunday morning, I woke up and right away it was pure excitement," he said. "It was awesome. The Big 12 is a great, prestigious conference, but to move down to the SEC for baseball, that's baseball country down there. You've got the top teams fighting for a trip to Omaha every year out of that conference. It's great competition."
Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/high-school/recruiting/area-recruits-react-to-mizzou-s-upcoming-switch-to-the/article_d6c38f24-0aec-11e1-a77c-0019bb30f31a.html#ixzz1dJL7VvKK

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Word on the Tweet: NLI Signing Day

Tweets today  from new Missouri Tigers:

@sullrich15 (Sean Ullrich, CF; Marquette HS, StL):
Just got my national letter of intent! Its about that time. #MIZ maybe ill get to sign it with @RyRos44 (Ryan Ross, MU Basketball signee)if Im lucky

@RyCPhil22 (Ryan Phillips, RHP/SS, Rockbridge HS, Columbia):
Signing my Letter of Intent to play Mizzou Baseball tomorrow! Thanks to everyone who has made it all possible.

@peterfairbanks (Peter Fairbanks, RHP; Webster Groves HS )
Officially a Missouri Tiger!!!

Peter Fairbanks signs to be a Tiger

100 Days until 2012 Opening Day

2012 Tentative Schedule
2011 Fall Roster (unofficial)

National Letter of Intent Early Signing Period: 11/9 - 11/16

Brannon Champagne signs
Letter of Intent
Believe it or not, there is news this week that rivals the MIZ-SEC move in terms of importance to Missouri Baseball.  In fact, that official SEC announcement couldn't have come at a better time for MU's recruits that are still on the fence.

Today is the opening day for the Early Signing Period for National Letter of Intent.

We'll be tracking and report signings as the next week progresses.  Take a look at the verbal commitments we've already reported on.

If you have knowledge of a signee that we miss, please drop us a line at simmonsfield@hotmail.com.

National Letter of Intent (ncaa.org)
NLI Signing Dates for Prospective Student-Athletes Enrolling 2012-2013:  Baseball, November 9-16
National Letter of Intent reminders (InformedAthlete.com)
Coaches are not permitted to deliver the National Letter of Intent in person. Also, coaches are not permitted to be present when the prospect signs the NLI. The family of a prospect will sometimes ask if the coach can be present so they can get a picture together when their son or daughter signs the NLI. This is ok for Junior Colleges or NAIA schools, but not for NCAA coaches.
Read more at http://www.informedathlete.com/national-letter-of-intent-reminders

History of the National Letter of Intent (ncaa.org)
The program was created in 1964 by a group of seven conferences, chaired by J. William Davis, a retired professor and faculty athletics representative at Texas Tech. The original intention was to curb recruiting excesses that began when college sports became a national endeavor with the increased television exposure of the late 1940s and early 1950s. Stories of schools luring away a football player even after he was enrolled on another campus paint a picture of the intensity of recruiting in this period.

To stop such behavior, some conferences formed a plan to issue “letters of intent,” documents recognized only within a conference that would keep other conference coaches from recruiting a student-athlete once he declared his intent to participate at a specific school. The plan worked well within the conferences that adopted the policy, but the effect was limited because it was not national in scope. Several attempts to codify the letter of intent nationally through the NCAA failed.

The Collegiate Commissioners Association developed a voluntary inter-conference letter of intent program, operated through conference offices. The “National Letter of Intent” certified that a student-athlete would attend an institution for one academic year. The form was signed by the prospect and his parent or guardian. The institution was required to offer an award of athletics financial aid to make the letter of intent valid. Recruits were informed of the recruiting rules from that point on and told that if they didn’t hold up their end of the deal, their athletics eligibility would be limited.
Read more at http://www.ncaa.com/news/ncaa/2011-02-02/history-national-letter-intent

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

SEC Baseball Meetings

Annual Southeastern Conference Baseball Coaches Meetings are taking place this week at the SEC offices in Birmingham, AL.  Meetings take place Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, so coaches can maximize their time away from their home campuses, with just one night away.

MU's Tim Jamieson is participating via teleconference.  Texas A&M's Rob Childress is in attendance.


2012 Mizzou Recruit: Dane Gronewald, LHP

Dane Gronewald, LHP
6'6", 215 lb, L/L
Jefferson College (StL)
Winfield HS

♦ Dane Gronewald, a LHP origionally from Winfield HS, will be transferring to University of Missouri. (prepbaseballreport.com 11/7/11)

♦ 2011 stats (Jefferson College): 6-2; 2.79 ERA; 63 K; 15 BB; 68 2/3 IP

♦ 2010 stats (Winfield HS):  10-2; 1 Sv; 1.46 ERA; 94 K; 18 BB; . 67 1/3 IP;

♦ Threw back-to-back no-hitters against Elsberry and Bowling Green in April, 2010

♦ Drafted in the June 2011 draft by the Atlanta Braves (1,436th pick, 43rd round)

♦ Has played for Rawlings Prospects

♦ Led Jefferson College to the NJCAA World Series in 2011

♦ The most successful team in Missouri this spring was Jefferson College, which earned a berth in the Junior College World Series. The Vikings (43-20) may also have the best arm in the state, college or high school, in 6-foot-6, 215-pound freshman lefthander Dane Gronewald, who contributed a 6-2, 2.79 record to Jefferson’s drive to a national-tournament berth.

At athletic southpaw with a loose, deceptive arm, Gronewald can flash above-average velocity to righthanded hitters while neutralizing lefthanders with his off-speed stuff. (perfectgame.org, 5/27/11)

♦ Played for the Duluth Huskies in the Northwest League this past summer

Gronewald pitches Winfield to semi-final win (St. Louis Post Dispatch, 6/4/2010)
Dane Gronewald dominated the Pembroke Hill bats in their Class 3 semifinal on Friday afternoon at Meador Park in Springfield. 
Gronewald allowed just two hits and struck out seven in a complete-game shutout as the Warriors defeated Pembroke Hill to clinch a spot in Saturday’s championship game. 
“Dane woke up ready to pitch today,” coach Trent Crenshaw said. “He knew that we were going to ride him. He’s given it to us all year. He’s definitely one of those kids you hate to lose. This was his last high school start. I’m proud of him for what he did.”

SEC Dixie-nary: A is for Atmosphere

A is for Atmosphere

The atmosphere at many SEC stadiums is unlike anything you've experienced at Taylor Stadium. Large crowds, including rowdy college students, consider SEC Baseball a participation sport. Mizzou fans have seen some of this kind of enthusiasm at some of the Big 12's Texas ballparks, but the SEC tops them all.  

Read, for example, Top 25 NCAA Division I Ultimate College Baseball Experiences and Take Me Out to the Ballpark.

In a CollegeBaseballInsider poll of 111 D-I coaches on the "best atmosphere in college baseball", 6 of the top 8 were SEC schools (LSU got 56% of the vote).  The other two of the top 8 were Texas and Texas A&M, one of which is soon going to be in the SEC.

Several of the SEC ballparks have special sections or areas for students and other rowdy fans.  These areas can foster a frenzied fan base (and can also foster some less desirable activities from over-lubricated fans - see Classic move by Van Horn at 5NewsOnline.com about Baum Stadium's Hog Pen.)

Part of the SEC atmosphere is SEC attendance. For the first time, the SEC drew over 2 million in total attendance in 2011. See the 2011 D-I Attendance details and rankings HERE

The best thing the MU Athletic Department could do is to offer some big promotions for the students to make some road trips to some early MU away games in the SEC. Get the student body excited about what a crazy college baseball atmosphere can be like.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Southern Exposure: Getting to know the SEC

University of Missouri to join Southeastern Conference (mutigers.com)
The Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors, acting unanimously, announced today that the University of Missouri will join the Southeastern Conference effective July 1, 2012, with competition to begin in all sports for the 2012-13 academic year.
And so it's official:  Mizzou will be switching from the Big 12 to the SEC on July 1st 2012.

Whether you think this is a good thing, a bad thing, or a questionable thing, Mizzou to the SEC is now a true thing.

There's going to be a steep learning curve to get to know our new conference and our new rivals.  Many of us have spent years - even decades - learning all about Big 12 Baseball and the intricate details of each of our Big 12 rival schools.  

I can tell you which Big 12 coach was shorter than Tim Jamieson.  I can tell you which Big 12 star player - now major leaguer - got so mad about a Friday night at Simmons Field that he got belligerently drunk at Columbia's Holiday Inn later that night.  I can tell you how well the fans of each Big 12 team travel to games in Columbia, and how they act when they get here.  I can tell you the strike zones and odd behaviors of Big 12 umpires.

I don't know hardly anything about SEC Baseball or the SEC teams, other than the general info most people know.

Between now and the beginning of the 2013 season, our goal at SimmonsField.com is to help with the learning curve.
  •  We've already begun a series titled Southern Exposure, featuring links to articles about the various SEC teams, following what they're doing, who they've signed, what the coaches are saying.  We hope to learn as we go, picking up small pieces of information along the way, fitting them into the puzzle that is SEC Baseball.

  • Over the next couple of months we're going to run a series titled Dixie-nary:  The ABCs of SEC Baseball.  We hope to highlight some of the key things we need to know about life in the SEC.

  • During the 2012 season, we'll shift our focus back to the Big 12, since we still have one more season to play against our historic rivals.  We'll take a look back at Mizzou's history with each of the Big 12 teams.  We'll continue the Southern Exposure link posts, but otherwise we'll focus on the season at hand.

  • Beginning in July, after the change officially takes place, our plan is to work our way through two series of posts:    
  • The SEC Fan's Guide to Mizzou Baseball:  They need to get to know us just as much as we need to get to know them.  
  • A series of Southern Exposure posts with details about each of our new SEC rivals, including traditions, oddities, and links to websites, blogs, forums and local media
The learning curve is going to be steep, but we have 15 months before Mizzou actually begins playing in the SEC.

If any SimmonsField.com followers have information or suggestions about details to include in our SEC curriculum, drop me a line at simmonsfield@hotmail.com

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Southern Exposure: SEC Baseball in the News

Tanner wraps fall practice (southcarolina.rivals.com)
Of course the question had to be asked.

"Do you see a national championship team from what you saw in fall practice?"

"I don't know about all that, but I never felt like in the other two years, it was that case either," South Carolina coach Ray Tanner said on Tuesday. "College baseball is very, very good. The SEC is the best. There are so many teams that could be national champions at the end.

"I know how difficult it is. You have to be very special as a team to have a chance, and that's all we're trying to do."
No. 1 LSU receiver Randle likely a difference maker in matchup at No. 2 Alabama (sportsnola.com)
Following a stellar prep career at Bastrop High School that included three years as a starter, the Rams posted a 41-2 overall record while Rueben earned first-team Parade All-American accolades. Rueben had some tough decisions to make concerning his future. That future could have meant a college career in Tuscaloosa.

Randle excelled in both football and baseball and modeled his diamond skills after New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter. The Rockies, Angels and Phillies all showed interest in selecting him in the Major League Baseball Draft. He was also rated as the number two prep receiver in the nation, drawing attention from every major football power in the land.
Ryan Theriot Adds to LSU World Series Legacy (sportsnola.com)
Former LSU star Ryan Theriot earned a World Series ring Friday night when the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Texas Rangers, 6-2, in Game 7 at Busch Stadium.

Theriot, a second baseman with the World Champions who played at LSU from 1999-2001, batted .271 in 132 games for the Cardinals during the regular season with 26 doubles, one triple, one homer, 47 RBI and 46 runs scored.

The Baton Rouge native appeared in 12 postseason games, including five in the World Series. He delivered a crucial RBI Thursday night during the Cardinals’ dramatic 10th-inning rally in Game 6.

LSU has had former players win World Series titles in each of the past two seasons. Relief ace Brian Wilson and infielder Mike Fontenot helped lead the San Francisco Giants to the 2010 championship in five games over the Rangers.

Seven other former LSU Tigers have played for World Series championship teams, beginning in 1954 when infielder Alvin Dark helped lead the New York Giants to the title. Twenty years later, Dark managed the Oakland Athletics to the ’74 World Series championship. . .

Friday, November 4, 2011

WVU to Big 12

This quote from a West Virginia sportswriter tells you a lot about the respect WVU baseball gets:

What Excites Fans the Most About the Big 12 (wvmetronews.com)
9. TEXAS BASEBALL---Can't wait for Texas baseball coaching legend Augie Garrido to bring his Longhorns baseball team to Morgantown to play. I can hear the snickers from Longhorn players now when they walk into Hawley Field for the first time. Someone, no doubt, will say "okay this is a good place for batting practice but where do we actually play the game?'

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors: Kinsler All Post-Season

All Post-Season Performers Team (mlb.com)
The 2011 MLB.com All-Postseason Performers presented by Intel were announced after the Cardinals outlasted the Rangers in a thrilling seven-game World Series, and not surprisingly the list is dominated by players from a Series that will go down in history as one of the best.

Albert Pujols of the Cardinals is at first base; Texas' Ian Kinsler is at second, and his double-play partner, Elvis Andrus, is at shortstop; World Series MVP David Freese of the Cardinals is at third; Mike Napoli of the Rangers is behind the plate; Michael Young of the Rangers is designated hitter; and the outfield is comprised of Ryan Braun of the Brewers in left, Chris Young of the D-backs in center and Nelson Cruz of the Rangers in right.
. . .
Second base: Kinsler. Chase Utley batted .438 in the shocking NLDS for the Phillies, and finished with the fourth-best postseason-combined OPS (1.259). Robinson Cano drove in nine runs for the Yankees with a pair of homers in their early exit. But Kinsler carried over the magic of his 30-30 season, batting .308 (20-for-65) with 10 runs, 14 walks and 11 RBIs, one of the easiest picks on this team.