Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

Elbow surgery impedes progress of Senne (Columbia Tribune)
Senne, a 10th-round draft pick in 2010, is in the early stages of rehab after ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction — the procedure more commonly known as Tommy John surgery — and will miss the entire 2011 season.
. . .
Another six-week downtime was suggested, but Senne decided that wasn’t in his best interest. He already was going to miss a good portion of this season, and if the injury hadn’t healed or even tore completely he would still need the operation.

So Senne opted for the surgery and the long, grueling rehab . . .

A stop with the T-Bones can be part of a long baseball journey (Kansas City Times)
“You almost think that your life is over,” James said.

So on the brink of peeling off his jersey for good, he decided to give it another go. He turned to one of the few places he could play, the independent leagues, and signed with the T-Bones, a team close to his Oklahoma roots.

That season, he watched other teammates and independent leaguers question how they had wound up at this point in their careers.

“You really can’t think like that,” James said. “When you’re in independent ball, really everybody is the same. It’s the last straw, and that’s why independent ball is so great.”

James showed up at the ballpark every day, thankful . . .

200 Days Until Opening Day 2012 !!!!

Upcoming dates:
  • 8/15/2011 - Signing deadline (at midnight) for players selected in the June 2011 MLB Draft: Matt Stites, Zach Hardoin and Jeff Soptic (recruit) have already signed; Conner Mach and recruits Brandon Platts and Brett Graves are still eligible to sign up to the deadline.

  • 8/22/2011 - Fall semester begins (Division 1 teams are allowed to begin fall practice no sooner than September 1st, and are allowed 45 days of practice in the fall session

  • 11/10 - 11/17 - Early National Letter of Intent signing period for Baseball recruits. Several recruits have already made verbal commitments to Mizzou

  • 12/16/2011 - Fall semester ends

  • 1/17/2011 - Winter semester begins

  • 2/17/2011 - 2012 Division 1 Baseball season begins. Check out our very tentative 2012 Roster and an early pieced-together version of the 2012 Schedule

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mizzou Baseball Quotes & Notes

Proving there is no off-season for college baseball, lots of news and notes today:

■ MU Recruit Brandon Platts and the Mason City Mohawks are headed to the Iowa State Championship game, according to the Des Moines Register. Game time is 8 PM tonight.
“It’s crazy,” Mason City senior Brandon Platts said. “Ever since we were kids, we said we were going to make it to the state championship game and we’re going to win a state championship game.”

■ Mizzou Catcher Ben Turner's brother, Jacob Turner, is being called up today to the Detroit Tigers, according to the Detroit Free Press. I'm sure he'll get a warm welcome as a teammate by former Tiger Max Scherzer, both from the St. Louis area.
Congratulations to @Jacob_Turner22 making his big league debut today against the #angels couldn't be more proud of my lil brother. #Tigers (@B_Turner18 on Twitter)
Jarred Cosart, a Mizzou signee who jumped to the pros ant the 11th hour, was traded to his home town Houston Astros (sbn.com)
Wow, @jarredcosart was the main piece in the #Pence trade. Imagine how good we could have been if that guy came to school! 550k, seriously?! (@CoachPietro on Twitter)

■ In Summer Ball, Designated hitter Dane Opel went 2-for-4 with a home run, a double, two RBI and three runs scored last night for the Danbury Westerners (Greenwich Time) and Sal Belfonte hit a home run in his game for the SLO Blues (sanluisobispo.com).

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mizzou on the Air

Shawn Davis, MU Media Relations Assistant Director for Baseball (as well as Volleyball and Track & Field) , is slated to be a guest on the SportsWire talk show this Saturday morning on KTGR in Columbia during the 8:00 AM hour. Listen live online at KTGR.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @ShawnDizzle77

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors

Players I Love (espn.com, Matthew Berry)

Max Scherzer, P, Tigers: I am not rational when it comes to Max Scherzer. Let's just move along. (He does have a 1.66 ERA over his past three, though. Just saying.)

Kinsler, Henderson and the "Ideal Leadoff Man" (fangraphs.com)
While Kinsler has a higher career ISO than Henderson (Kinsler is in a a more power-friendly environment, and those numbers include Rickey’s decline years), Henderson did have several seasons with isolated power over .200. So much for that aspect of the ideal.

Ian Kinsler has been the Ranger most valuable player according to WAR so far this season. He’s also been an excellent leadoff man, and Rangers manager Ron Washington is to be commended for hitting him there most of the season after last season’s curious Elvis Andrus obsession. Kinsler may not be Rickey Henderson . . .

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

Twins Daily (1500ESPN.com)
RHP Kyle Gibson missed his scheduled start for Rochester on Wednesday night due to soreness in the flexor muscle near his right elbow. Gibson and the Twins downplayed the soreness, but Gibson's poor performance as of late, coupled with the elbow issue, is cause for concern.
Ex-Giant Butler rising as manager in Giants organization (Sacramento Bee)
Meanwhile, Brett Butler has the Aces atop the Pacific Coast League's Pacific North Division.

The Aces feature a deep outfield. Leadoff hitter Evan Frey is the most like Butler with a 5-11, 175-pound frame. The left fielder is hitting .288 with 14 stolen bases.
. . .
"He'll give me tips, like things that he did (when he played)," Frey said of Butler. "He always says, 'If it helps you, great. If not, it's just a suggestion.' He helps me and Collin with bunting or getting a good jump and stealing bases."

NCAA Rules Changes: Analysis and Opinions

More changes for college baseball (Baseball America)
  • Instant Replay: "If we can use it without complicating things and slowing the game down to a snail's pace, it's a good tool to have in some cases," said Minnesota coach John Anderson, an outgoing member of the D-I Baseball Committee. "There's a lot of calls you can conference on as umpires, but you can't use instant replay for all of them, that's for sure. You've got to look at it, go slow, make changes as you go along. The game still has humans and umpires, there's going to be some human error—I don't think you can ever come up with a system to take that element out of it. It's part of the game."

  • RPI: "If the home team wins 62 percent of the time, is that because of the facility or because you're on the bottom of the scoreboard and have the last at-bat?" Anderson said. "If UCLA and somebody else go play at Dodger Stadium, is that a home game or a neutral-site game? Right now there's a lot of discrepancy there, and that has to be cleaned up before the (Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet) approves it. We have a working document that we'll send out to coaches to get feedback.

Big changes on the horizon (PerfectGame.org)
  • RPI: “I’m all about balance and things being 50-50. I’m in that world of playing home-and-homes with people, so I’m all about equality. I don’t want to see teams play the first 22 games of their season at home,” Louisville coach Dan McDonnell said. “But I’m a little concerned because it seems like if you don’t sweep an inferior team at home, it’s almost like a bad weekend with how much they benefit from one win and you benefit from two wins. It’s hard to sweep anyone in college baseball and I’m not sure if this change wasn’t a little steep.”

  • Instant Replay: It’s worth noting the instant replay review would have to occur before the next pitch or play. Should it occur on a game-ending play, it must be called before umpires leave the field.

RPI adjusted to reward road teams (Fox Sports Houston)
  • RPI: "Anything you can do to encourage people to challenge themselves (is beneficial)," said Rice coach Wayne Graham, whose Owls contested road series at Long Beach State, Cal Poly, Stanford, San Diego and Arizona over the last four seasons. "There's all kinds of reasons a person might schedule a ton of home games, but I think any pressure you can put to encourage teams to play a reasonable amount of road games helps the game because it brings other people into play.

RPI changes proposed (SEBaseball.com)
  • RPI: With this proposed change still a year away, there is time for schedules to adjust. The question is how will coaches weight the RPI-savvy road games versus the financial and competitive advantage of home games? For programs like LSU, this is another shot across the bow.

Mizzou Baseball Recruits

Brandon Platts: To Pitch or Not to Pitch (Des Moines Register)
The Mason City pitcher owned a 4-2 record with a 1.65 ERA before missing most of the second half of the season with an injury.

Rood said the pitcher has been suffering from tendinitis in his right elbow. It didn’t keep him from hitting in Wednesday’s game when he went 1-for-4 as Mason City’s designated hitter.

The word that Platts may not be pitching in the state tournament was the buzz throughout Principal Park.

The Mohawks are being very careful with Platts, a 27th round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, who signed a letter of intent to play for Missouri.

@BPlatts05 on Twitter, 7/26:
Another great workout. Getting healthy

9 Reasons to Follow College Baseball: Rivalries

This is part 7 of our weekly series on 9 reasons to follow College Baseball.

Rivalries

Baseball knows rivalries. Cardinals - Cubs. Yankees - Red Sox. Dodgers - Giants.

But no Major League rivalry can hold a candle to college rivalries for history, tradition and fierce enthusiasm. Duke-UNC; Michigan-Ohio State; UCLA-USC; Army-Navy.

College Baseball has all those rivalries, plus a few unique to to the sport. For example, Nebraska-Creighton is bigger deal in baseball than in other sports.

Rivals.com had a feature on some of the best College Baseball rivalries a few years ago (Rivals Five: College Baseball Rivalries) that included Tice vs. Texas, a rivalry pretty much exclusive to baseball, plus other baseball rivalries like Long Beach State-Cal State Fullerton, LSU-Tulane and Georgia-Georgia Tech.

Mizzou Baseball has its own set of rivalries, some of which are shared by other MU sports, and some of which are more specific to Baseball:
  • KU Still Sucks. The MU-KU rivalry is one of the biggest and fiercest college rivalries in the country, stretching back to its roots in the Civil War. And its no different for Baseball.

    MU-KU Baseball has spawned its own stories and legends and villains. Ritch Price leading his team in subbing the traditional post-game handshakes. Brock Bond and Ryne Price colliding and fighting at third base. The Simmons Savages talking trash with the famous father of former Jayhawk A.J. Van Slyke.

    I've mentioned on more than one occasion the midweek game that clued my young son into the severity of the MU-KU rivalry. Tiger pitcher Jay Bell pitched a quick (barely over 2 hours) shutout against the Jayhawks in one of those "non-conference" games against KU at Simmons Field. After the game fans were laughing and trading high fives. And the father of one of Bell's team-mates told his son to go invite the pitcher to go with them to dinner, because he had just earned "the biggest, best steak he ever had".

    My son, who was about 10 at the time, asked men "What's the big deal? I thought you said this one doesn't even count in the conference?" And so I had the traditional father-son "facts of life" conversation - the facts about the evil birds from Lawrence and the necessity of always affirming the eternal truth that "KU Sucks".

    The football and basketball rivalries get more press, but the baseball rivalry is no less intense.

  • Texas is a rival of the Tigers in all sports, simply because everyone at UT from the lowliest fan up to their store-bought conference commissioner thinks the Longhorns are God's gift to college athletics. They're the BMOC and they don't care who knows it or who gets knocked aside when they throw their weight around.

    In Baseball, a great rivalry has developed since UT was grafted into the Big 12. Texas has a well deserved reputation for success in baseball over the years, with a long historic tradition. And as with everything else, they act like they own college baseball, the Big 12 and even Taylor Stadium. No other team hijacks the stadiums they visit by standing in front of their fans before and after every game and singing their silly school song. No one wants to hear "I've Been Working on the Railroad" from the visiting team.

    But what makes this rivalry especially good is that, while Texas has certainly thumped the Tigers decisively many times, Mizzou has done more than its expected share of roping and branding the Longhorns, too.

    And there's nothing quite so special as seeing UT Coach Augie Garrido dressed up in 23 layers, turtle neck pulled up and ski mask pulled down, shivering in the far corner of their dugout, wishing his boys would stop giving up so many runs to the Tigers and delaying his chance to get in out of the cold of Simmons Field and go have his bedtime drinks.

  • Missouri State: The Bears don't warrant much attention from most Mizzou fans. Their football team is non-existent and their basketball team is only worthy of attention if the ladies are playing. But in baseball, the Tigers and Bears meet each year in a home-and-away series, which is always a hard fought pair of games. MSU is not the force it once was in baseball, back before it stole Mizzou's name and one bad-seed player, and actually went to the World Series. But there's still enough equity between the teams - especially for mid-week games - to provide strong competition, a good game, and some in-state enmity.

  • Wichita State: MU and WSU haven't played head-to-head since 2004, in spite of the fact that their head coach is a former Mizzou Tiger player. Or is it because he's the head coach? There's definitely some bad blood between the two programs. Personally, I'd love to see a home-and-away series renewed. The Shockers are usually a decent team competitively, although they're not what they used to be. And the opportunity to heckle Gene Stephenson (who also isn't what he used to be) would make for some entertaining mid-week evenings.

  • Coaches we loved to bait: There are still some great coaches who provide ample opportunity for barbs and arrows - Augie Garrido, Ritch Price, Rob Childress - but regular fans miss the ones who have slipped away. Tom Holliday, who was once the OSU head coach and then the UT pitching coach, was by far the most heckle-able coach ever to set foot in Taylor Stadium. His insistence that we not make fun of his boys by heckling them may have been a bit counter-productive on his part, and his legendary temper providied at least one good show every time the Cowboys came to town. And now we'll be missing Mike Anderson, whose Huskers not only left for the Big 10 but left without him. Not too many coaches were sunglasses during night games. Not too many look like a yipping hyena when they go after an umpire. And not too many trot to third base like they're wearing a girdle one size too small.

  • Rival fans: I've already mentioned the Texas fans and their "Eyes of Texas" bluster. But there are other schools whose fans have provided great entertainment and rivalry at Simmons Field over the years.

    Nebraska fans travel in hordes like their football fans and they wear those ridiculous red outfits. Nothing makes me laugh harder than seeing a bunch of red-clad Cornhusker fans stand up in unison at a baseball game and act like they're at a football game, shouting out, "GO BIG RED!"
And then there's the guy from Kansas State, their own obsessive Super Fan who makes our loveable Larry seem like a calm and placid young man.

If it's a spirited rivalry that gets your blood going; if you're a True Son of Ol' Mizzou, the ballpark is the place for you.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

NCAA Rules Changes

The NCAA Rules Committee met recently and has made some interesting changes (link to details):
  • Instant Replay: Umpires at the 2012 Men’s College World Series will be able to use instant replay to review specified calls under an experimental rule developed by the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee.

  • RPI Formula: In other action at the Division I Baseball Committee’s meeting, members recommended changes to the Rating Percentage Index calculation that will be applied beginning with the 2013 season.

    The revised RPI formula will value each road victory as 1.3 instead of 1.0. Each home win will be valued at 0.7 instead of 1.0. Conversely, each home loss will count 1.3 against at team’s RPI and each road loss will count 0.7 against a team.

  • BBCOR Bats: The baseball committee also reviewed final data in college baseball for the 2011 season that show significant changes in power and run production in the wake of new bat specifications that took effect this year. A detailed NCAA report on the bats is available HERE. or HERE
For more details on the instant replay plan and on the revised RPI math, see NCAA.org Latest News

Conference Hokey-Pokey: Mizzou to SEC? Big 10? Pac 10?

Conference expansion rumors (Big12hoops.com)
What remains clear is the current Big 12 (with ten teams) is not a longterm solution. Texas enjoys far too much freedom (with the least revenue sharing and its own network), and only having ten teams isn't a recipe for stability.
. . .
In my opinion, the most attractive members of the poachable conferences (i.e. the Big 12, ACC and Big East) are: Missouri, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Maryland, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Syracuse and Louisville.
. . .
The obvious choices for the Big 10 are Missouri (who they already passed up, which makes me skeptical that a deal will ever happen), Maryland and Syracuse. I'm still baffled why they didn't pick up Missouri when they could (I suspect they were waiting on Notre Dame).
. . .
I could easily see Missouri winding up with the Pac 12: two large TV markets (Kansas City and Saint Louis) and strong academics make the Tigers a valuable choice. I think Kansas is a sleeper for the Pac 12, and won't be left out in the cold like people thought last year.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

NCAA Analysis of BBCOR Bats in 2011

The NCAA finally crunches the numbers and draws (or jumps to) some conclusions.

New bats are a hit, for some (NCAA.com)
Division I batting average, scoring and home runs per game in 2011 resemble the wood-bat 1970s more than they do recent years. Division I teams in 2011 averaged 5.58 runs per game, well off the record 7.12 in 1998 and below 6 for the first time since 1977 (5.83), which was just the fourth season of the aluminum bat in college baseball.

Home runs left parks at an average of .52 per team per game in 2011 compared with .94 last year and 1.06 in 1998 (also the peak year for that category). That resembles wood-bat days, too (.42 in the last year of wood in 1973, and .49, .50 and .55 in the first three years of metal).

Batting average in 2011 was .282, the lowest since 1976. Earned-run average, on the other hand, was its best (4.70) since 1980 (4.59).
. . .
Games in the 2011 Division I championship (the only part of the season in which the NCAA statistics staff can practically track game times) took about 20 minutes less on average to complete than in 2010. The fastest game in the regionals last year in fact was 2:19, but in the 2011 regionals, 16 of the 101 games were completed in that time or quicker (including two games played in under two hours).

Online Resources: The Business of Sports

SportsAgentBlog.com

This site is run and written by people with experience as agents and sports law. It's an interesting blog that not only curates various stories and other online content related to sport agents, but delves into the business of sports as a whole. Lots of baseball-related stories. Plus some other great features:
  • Sports Agent Twitter List : Want to follow the twitter accounts of a bunch of sports agents? The folks at Sports gent Blog have created a list of 188 movers and shakers in the sports agent world.

  • Comprehensive List of Agencies, sorted alphabetically, by sport or by state.

  • One-on-One Interviews with top agents

  • Shabbat Shalom: Friday Wrap-up is a weekly compilation of trending stories and content from the week past. Even if you don't follow SAB daily, its worth checking out this weekly wrap-up. You'll pick up some interesting obscure content that just might give you a little edge in your knowledge of where the world of sports is heading.
Sports Law Blog

This blog is managed and written by college professors in the fields of sports law and business. Rather than just compiling and curating content from the web (which they do), most of the content on this blog is original written material pertaining to current and historical events and issues related to sports law. Recent post topics included the George Brett Pine Tar Bat incident from 1983 and Curt Flood's legacy, plus coverage of current topics like the Roger Clemens trial, the NFL labor dispute and the Dodgers' financial woes.

An intriguing recent piece looked at the tax consequences for the fan who caught Derek Jeter's historic home run ball:
I suggest there are other results possible. Among these other results, it could be asserted that the ball constituted an accession to wealth (i.e., gross income) to Lopez, to the extent of its fair market value. Lopez’s subsequent transfer of the ball to Jeter, coupled with his receipt of items from the Yankees, could be construed as a sale to the Yankees, perhaps at a loss. As the ball did not belong to Jeter prior to the hit, Jeter’s receipt of the ball from Lopez could be seen as compensation from the Yankees, which allowed the ball to pass to Jeter.
FindLaw Sports
For the nuts and bolts of Sports Law, the Sports section at FindLaw.com delivers the goods. A compilation of links to current stories, plus a more detailed database of information for those who want to dig deep

Monday, July 25, 2011

2011 Mizzou Recruit: Landon Lucansky, IF

Landon Lucansky, IF
5'11', 170, R/R
Blue Valley HS (KC area)
  • 2011 Offense: .507 BA, 13 2B, 25 R, 12 SB, 97 PA, 18 BB,
  • 2011 All-State (KABC)
  • 2011 KC Star All-Metro 2nd Team

2012 Schedule Update

Central Arkansas has published their 2012 schedule now, which shows a 2-game Tuesday-Wednesday set against Missouri at Taylor Stadium on March 27 & 28.

We're compiling a 2012 schedule from bits and pieces of information gleaned from various sources, including the published schedules of other teams. Our findings so far:

Feb 17,18,19 - @ Auburn Tigers (Auburn, AL)

Feb 24, 25, 26 - @ San Francisco Dons (San Francisco, CA)

March 27, 29 - Central Arkansas Bears (Simmons Field)

If you hear some 2012 Schedule news, drop me a line at simmonsfield@hotmail.com

And if you're one of those people who at some point get an actual tentative copy that you're not supposed to share, you're welcome to send me an e-mail also. We have a generous Witness Protection Program here at SimmonsField.com.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Summer Ball

■ Ryan Clubb threw his second consecutive complete game shut out today in game one of the St. Louis Metro Collegiate Baseball League championship series, winning 7-0 against the three time champion Alton Indians. Clubb scattered 6 hits and had 6 strikeouts in a 102 pitch outing.

His YTD stats are currently: 5-1, 57 innings, 11 total runs, 6 earned, 0.95 ERA. If they when the series they advance to the NABF World Series in Ohio.

Metro championship - Game One (stlcollegebaseball.com)

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

Sanford strong on mound for Jackets (augusta.com)

Ryan Lollis had three hits and drove in two runs for the GreenJackets, who kept pace with the Savannah Sand Gnats in the Southern Division.
Concern over Gibson could impact trades (Minneapolis Start Tribune)
There was a thought that top prospect Kyle Gibson would be ready by now, but the 2009 first-round draft pick is showing signs of fatigue at Rochester, and is 3-8 with a 4.81 ERA.

On Friday, Gibson threw just 47 of his 94 pitches for strikes in Indianapolis, walking five and striking out one in five innings.

Gibson, 23, leads the Red Wings with 95 1/3 innings pitched after throwing 152 last year on his climb from Class A to AAA. The Twins had Gibson rest from June 30 to July 17, and there is talk now of curtailing his innings again, with insiders doubting that he will pitch in the majors this year.

Friday, July 22, 2011

2012 Mizzou Recruit: Aaron Schnurbusch, LHP/OF

Aaron Schnurbusch, LHP/OF
6'4", 190 lb, L/L
Eureka, MO

  • 2011 Offense: .387 Avg (29-for-75), .471 OB%, .493 Slug%, 6 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 21 RBI, 9 BB, 13 K, 3 HBP, 8/13 SB

  • 2011 Pitching: 3-1, 1.62 ERA, 8 G, 7 GS, 2 CG, 43.3 IP, 0 Sv, 18 R, 10 ER, 32 H, 2 2B, 2 3B, 0 HR, 53 K, 1.22 WHIP, .186 Opp Avg, .326 OB%, .221 Slug%, 4 WP, 3 HB

  • 2011 Suburban West All-Conference pitcher & OF

  • Schnurbusch with 4 RBI as Eureka wins 2011 District Title

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

Nicholas knows how to lead (milb.com)
If he were not playing baseball, Spokane Indians catcher Brett Nicholas said he would pursue a career as a firefighter. So it's certainly fitting that he's been extending a helping hand to his teammates all season.

Nicholas has built this season on lessons he learned last year, when he struggled with his transition from college to the pros. His less-than-average numbers slowly crept into his head, setting off a psychological war within himself that took a toll on his entire season. A year later, the 23-year-old is not only off to a great start with the Indians, but has also taken on a mentor role to ensure his teammates don't fall into the same trap.

"Last year we had a lot of first-year guys . . .

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

Tepesch finds groove in minors (Columbia Daily Tribune)
“As the year went on, they gave me a little more leeway with the pitch count,” said Tepesch, who hasn’t lost since May 28. “I got stronger and stronger.”

Tepesch has since continued scorching his way through the league. Last night he got a no-decision after giving up four runs and striking out nine in six innings of a 5-4 victory. Tepesch is 2-0 with a 3.96 ERA in four starts in July. For the season, he is 5-3 with a 3.47 ERA.

A lot of Tepesch’s success in Hickory . . .

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

Gibson homecoming set for Friday night (Greenfield Daily Reporter)
Kyle Gibson comes home Friday night.

The 2006 Greenfield-Central graduate and budding Major League prospect will take the mound Friday evening as his Rochester Red Wings open a four-game series against the Indianapolis Indians at Victory Field.

“I’m pretty excited about it, and it sounds like its getting pretty close to a sellout,” Gibson said Thursday. “I’ve been hearing that there’s going to be a lot of people from Greenfield there, and I’m really thankful for all of their support.”

The Longhorn Network and Baseball

■ Check out this Audio of a radio interview on KZNX AM (ESPN radio in Austin, TX) with the VP of Programming for the new Longhorn Network. At 12:40 on the counter, a baseball fan calls in to ask about coverage of college baseball, including UT road games. The answer is that the first year coverage may be limited to Longhorn home games, but they would like to look into covering some road games as well as Big 12 Championship games and early round NCAA Tournament games involving UT. Also see this discussion of the topic on TexAgs.com.

Summer Ball

Brian Carr pitched 9 scoreless innings in relief for the Casa Grande Cotton Kings in the Arizona Summer Collegiate League Championship game last sunday. The Cotton Kings won the game 3-2 in 18 innings. The Cotton Kings will now move on to Wichita, Kansas for the NBC Naitonals.

Opel's walk-off blast lifts Westerners over Gulls (newstimes.com)
The home runs were flying out of Rogers Park on Wednesday night, and Dane Opel hit perhaps the biggest home run of the season for the Danbury Westerners.

With two outs in the 10th inning, Opel drove the first pitch he saw onto Memorial Drive beyond the right-field fence to lift the Westerners to a much-needed 5-4 victory over the Newport Gulls in a battle between two of the top teams in the New England Collegiate Baseball League.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer Ball

Navs walk off with victory (Navigatorsblog.wordpress.com)
Centerfielder Saulyer Saxon (Oklahoma State) was the hero in Wednesday’s 10-9 walk-off victory over the Mystic Schooners, going 4-for-6 with four RBI while delivering both the game-tying hit in the ninth and the game-winner in the 10th.
. . .
Saxon was actually one of two Navigators to have a four-hit night, as third baseman Conner Mach (Missouri) went 4-for-5 with two runs scored.

Commodores can't handle Hyannis (patch.com)
Falmouth fought back in the bottom of the sixth, an inning which seemed to promise more than the single run the Commodores eventually scored. Eric Garcia reached on an infield single to begin the inning, then went first to third on a single to left by Barrett Barnes. Barnes was caught stealing during the next at bat, though, so there was only one man on when Jake Rodriguez singled to right, bringing in Garcia. Jeremy Baltz and Max White both flied out to end the inning, and finish the scoring for the game.
. . .
Eric Garcia (Missouri) went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

Mizzou in the Minors


The Washington Nationals recently promoted their top prospect, outfielder Bryce Harper, from low-Class A Hagerstown to Class AA Harrisburg, so next week's three-game series is the first chance for Washington, D.C.-area fans to get a look at the Nationals' future.

Harper, the No. 1 pick in last year's Major League Baseball amateur draft, was hitting .318 with 14 home runs and 46 RBIs in 72 games in Hagerstown, but is off to an inauspicious start at the Class AA level, hitting .171 in his first 10 games with Harrisburg.
. . .
Baysox pitcher Rick Zagone (3-6), who has been temporarily bumped from the rotation while Zach Britton is on a minor league rehab assignment from the Orioles, is expected to start on Monday. Zagone said he is eager to face Harper.

"One thing I've learned coming out of the pen is how to be more aggressive attacking the hitters," Zagone said. "You're only going to get one or two innings, so you have to be more aggressive. It's a completely different mindset. But I'm looking forward to getting back into the rotation. I'm looking forward to seeing [Harper]. It's going to be a really good series."

Summer Ball

Not Mizzou related but a good story about summer ball:

High school coach has hand in Cards' success (foxsportsmidwest.com)
Frank Leo had a big hand in shaping the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals, even though you probably have never heard of him. No matter, Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman know him well.

Leo, a baseball lifer, not only coached both players at a key moment in their development — when they were on the cusp of their professional careers — but he also brought both into his home.
. . .
Leo, the coach of Hays High School for the past 28 years, has spent 30 summers coaching the Hays Larks in the Jayhawk Summer Collegiate League, one of the top summer college baseball leagues in the country.

9 Reasons to Follow College Baseball: The Little Things

This is part 6 of our weekly series on 9 reasons to follow College Baseball.

The Little Things = Big Fun

Little cost: A single season ticket for a great reserved seat is $60. That would get you a mediocre seat for a single MU football game. For only $5 you can walk up to the ticket booth 30 seconds before the first pitch of any game and buy yourself a ticket that will get you seated at whatever the best spot is you can nab.

Little travel to the game: The last time you went to see the Cardinals or Royals you spent two hours on the road, fighting traffic to get close to the stadium. Then you paid for parking. It takes me less than 15 minutes to get to Taylor Stadium, and the parking is free.

Little kids: It's great to watch kids having fun at the ballpark. Whether they're making a madcap dash to find a foul ball, or playing catch down by the pavilion, or giggling with their buddies about the bat girls.

Small Ball: The big story of 2011 was the new BBCOR bats. No more aluminum-propelled jackrabbit home runs. The new bats forced college teams to play a new game. Or is it an old game? It's been called "small ball", "inside baseball", and "manufacturing runs", but it's the kind of baseball played by John McGraw's NY Giants back in the early 1900's, and the kind of ball played by Whitey Herzog's Cardinals in the 80's. Chicks may dig the long ball, but the heart of what makes baseball a great game is the bat control and base running and skillful pitching demanded by small ball.

Short games: Between the new bats and some new rules designed to cut down on lolly-gagging, the average time of games in 2011 was significantly down from previous years. Personally, I like nothing better than a double header with two extra-inning 4-1/2 hour games. But your average fan will say baseball is too slow, and the college game has stepped up to the plate and provided a quicker game.

Short season: Some sports fans may think I'm crazy on this one. But I appreciate that the college baseball regular season starts and finishes within the span of about 15 weeks. For people who have lives outside the world of fandom, trying to devote attention to the major league baseball season for 6 or 7 months is difficult. For me, 3-1/2 months feeds my passion, while leaving me plenty of time for the truly important things in life. Of course, I'd be delighted if the Tigers were to add an extra month onto that season each year.

And one Big thing:

The Big 12 (9/12ths): In this small park just a short trip from home, fans can sit through short games and watch small ball played between the Missouri Tigers and the teams representing a conference on the short list of the best in the nation. No matter which conference team is on the weekend schedule, the games are sure to be hard fought and exciting, and the opposing roster is almost guaranteed to include future Major Leaguers. The worst Big 12 team in any given year is still going to be a formidable opponent.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mizzou Baseball Recruits

Rock Bridge's Miles, Phillips make All-State (Columbia Tribune)
Miles, a Missouri signee, established himself as the ace of the Rock Bridge staff by posting a 6-0 record and 1.14 ERA despite facing many of the toughest opponents. Besides his team-leading ERA, Miles also led Rock Bridge in innings pitched (43) and strikeouts (61) while walking only seven.
. . .
Phillips actually led the Bruins with a 7-0 pitching mark to improve his school-record win total to 21, but he was equally valuable in the field as a shortstop and at the plate as a leadoff batter. He collected a school-record 43 hits to top the Bruins with a .473 average. Perhaps the most impressive statistic posted by the Missouri commitment was that he struck out only twice in 108 plate appearances.

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

■ RHP Justin James goes back on the DL for the 3rd time this season. (@BrewerfanToby on Twitter)

■ Bloomberg Sports Rookie Report: Kyle Gibson discussion begins around 5:30 on the counter (youtube.com)

video

Mizzou Baseball Recruits

Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters 2011 All-State Baseball Team
MU Recruits on the list:
  • John Miles, Pitcher, Class 4 1st team (2011)
  • Case Munson, IF, Class 4 1st team (2011)
  • Brett Graves, UT, Class 4 1st team (2011)
  • Ryan Phillips, UT, Class 4 1st team (2012)
  • Jake Ivory, OF, Clss 4 2nd team (2011)
  • Corbin Berkstresser, UT, Class 4 2nd team (2011 MU football)
  • Brett Thomas, P, Class 1 1st team (2011)

Summer Ball

Dane Opel has been named to the New England Collegiate Baseball League All-Star team (West Division)

On July 27, 2011 the NECBL will hold its 18th annual All-Star Game at Fraser Field Lynn, MA. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 PM. Please join the crowd and watch the best players from the East and West Divisions compete. Come early to watch the exciting pre-game events and batting practice. For those that cannot attend in person, please watch or listen-in on TeamLine on www.necbl.com
Good photo of Dillon Everett with the Danbury Westerners

■ Video of Brannon Champagne, San Luis Obispo Blues:

video

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors

Could Crow make conversion to starting pitcher? (cbs.com)
GM Dayton Moore told Jim Bowden of ESPN that Aaron Crow will be moved into the rotation for 2012. Not only will that bolster the Royals' starting pitching depth -- which, despite no shortage of pitching prospects in the minors, is always in demand -- but it seemingly keeps Joakim Soria a valuable part of the Royals, as there was speculation Soria could be traded with Crow becoming the new closer.

Is there some use to Crow becoming a starter? Well, as Baseball Prospectus displayed earlier today in discussing Orioles reliever Jim Johnson being shifted to the rotation, you can apply a rule of 17 to relief pitchers to see how well they would fare as a starter.

2012 Recruits

The early signing period for National Letter of Intent is not until November 10th - 17th. But a few players have already expressed a verbal commitment to Mizzou. Verbal commitments are not binding until the NLI is signed.

Our running list of Fall 2012 verbal commits:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Ball

Ryan Clubb threw a 9 inning complete game shut out today (1-0 win) in the first game of the semifinals of the best-3-of-5 playoff series in the St. Louis Metro Collegiate. Ryan's stats for the year are now 4-1, 48 IP, 11 runs, 6 earned, 1.12 ERA

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

It's never over . . (The Spokesman-Review)
Spokane Indians designated hitter Brett Nicholas had never seen anything like it. The Indians, down by four in the bottom of the ninth inning, staged an improbable five-run rally to overtake the Boise Hawks 8-7 in front of 3,273 Monday at Avista Stadium.
. . .
“I’ve never been part of a game like that,” said Nicholas, whose two-run single tied it at 7. “We looked pretty bad for eight innings. To be able to get a big win like that, you can’t ask for anything more. They gave me a fastball and I was able to find a hole and help the team out.”

Summer Ball

Mach's two homers lead Navs to win (nsnavs.com)
In desperate need of a victory, the North Shore Navigators got just that last night in a 9-5 win over the Keene Swamp Bats, who currently own the best record in the NECBL. Third baseman Conner Mach (Missouri) had two home runs and five RBI as the Navs pounded out thirteen hits in the ballgame.

SimmonsField.com: Under the Hood


Being of semi-advanced years and semi-limited technology, it took me awhile, but in the course of this past season I've gone from not paying any attention at all to the modern phenomenon known as Twitter to valuing Twitter as a tweasure twove of up-to-the-moment information about all sorts of things, not the least of which is Mizzou Baseball. (I've spent so much time on twitter that I can tell without counting that my opening sentence here is longer than 140 characters).

Twitter delivers to my desktop (and my smarty-pants phone) the latest thoughts of national college baseball writers, current, former and future Tiger ballplayers, local sports media people, coaches, MU radio broadcasters (well, just 1 - I can't picture Tex messaging on Twitter any time soon), and even the MU Tiger Crew (@mutigercrew).

If you'd like to see my list of Mizzou Baseball-related tweeters, I've compiled them all into a custom list on Twitter: @trripleplay/mizzou baseball

You can pick and choose people from the list to follow (some are more interesting than others) or you can choose to follow the whole list.

Oh, and you can follow my own tweets (including a tweet alerting you each time there's a new post here on SimmonsField.com), by following me @trripleplay.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Luke Cassis and the 2011 Trinity Trojans


Former Mizzou player and Baseball Director of Operations Luke Cassis left the Tigers last summer to enroll in seminary at Trinity International University in Chicago. Upon arrival he took on the role of Graduate Assistant Coach for the Trinity baseball team.

Then the Head Coach of the Trojans stepped down from the position and Cassis was named the interim Head Coach in January.

TIU plays in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, part of the NAIA.

The Trojans finished the 2011 season with a 20-25 overall record, 12-15 in the CCAC, finishing in 3rd place in the southern division.

The highlight of the season for Cassis' team came in the CCAC conference tournament

In their first game they jumped out to a 6-1 lead against St. Francis, the top seed in the north division, only to finally lose, 10-9.

But then, "showing signs of whit and grit", they fought back through the losers' bracket to win three straight games, putting them in the Conference Championship game, again facing St. Francis, coming up just short in their bid for the championship:
With three consecutive wins, TIU was in the championship game against USF. Trinity was looking for revenge for the first game they let slip, but were also playing for it all and a trip to NAIA Nationals.

In the title game, Trinity jumped ahead 4-1 in the first three innings and just like in their first meeting on Tuesday, USF rallied from behind to catch and pass TIU.

The Saints came back from a 6-1 deficit to win 10-9 on Tuesday, TIU's only tournament loss until the title game and eventually rallied with three runs in the sixth and three more in the ninth to win again on Friday. (tiutrojans.com)
Here's a tip of the cap to the head coach who wouldn't let the underdogs quit.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

Former Tiger's success isn't by the numbers (Columbia Tribune)
“There have been times where I felt I’ve been throwing the ball better than I did last year and just haven’t gotten the results,” Gibson said.

“In the month of June, I had almost 4½ groundballs per flyout. My ERA was worse, and I was getting more groundballs than I probably ever got last year — base hits and outs. It was just one of those times where the results weren’t showing how well I was throwing.”

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mizzou Baseball in . . . Korea ?!?!


Former Tiger Doug Mathis is now apparently a member of the Samsung Lions. In Korea.

New foreign faces (koreabaseball.blogspot.com)
Teams have added a few new imports to their rosters in recent weeks. SK canned Jim Magrane and brought in righty Brian Gordon, the Lions ditched struggling slugger Ryan Garko and joined the other KBO teams by bringing in another foreign arm with Doug Mathis, and former part time Angels/Pirates reliever Chris Bootcheck was brought in to replace Brian Corey in Busan with the Lotte Giants.

■ From @mykbo on twitter (July 13): It's official, Samsung has waived Ryan Garko and signed Doug Mathis. Remember, you heard it here first! ;-)

■ More about the Samsung Lions:

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

Transactions:
  • 7/14: Colorado Springs Sky Sox placed RHP Andrew Johnston on the temporarily inactive list.

  • 7/14: Sacramento River Cats released RHP Doug Mathis.
Blue Springs grad honored by Texas Rangers (examiner.net)
Nick Tepesch, who led Blue Springs High School and the Blue Springs Rod’s Sports Athletics American Legion team to state championships his senior year, was named the June Pitcher of the Month for the Texas Rangers organization.

“It’s a pretty cool honor,” Tepesch, 22, said by phone Wednesday afternoon as his Hickory Crawdads minor league baseball team prepared for a game in West Virginia. “The minors are pretty much what I expected – a lot of good competition and long bus rides. But getting this honor is really special, especially when you consider it includes all their minor league teams.”
Gibson climbing the ladder with help from former Tigers (komu.com)
Gibson also looks to Crow for more than just the difference between Double-A and Triple-A.

"Whether it's something as easy as being a professional or acting a certain way around the locker room, or advice on the field, it's nice to have a guy that has been there and done that," he said.
Frey elevates his game at Reno (bnd.com)
Since June 21, Evan Frey's average has jumped from .279 to .316. After a relatively cool May that saw him post a .257 average, the 25-year-old left fielder heated up in June and July by hitting .350 with 16 RBIs and 10 extra-base hits.

"Once I moved up to Triple A, it was a fresh start for me," said Frey, a former standout at Edwardsville High and the University of Missouri selected by Arizona in the 10th round of the 2007 draft. "I'd been struggling in Double A and once I got around some new parks and some new scenery it really helped me out."

Summer Ball

Mach powers Navigators to victory (navigatorsblog.wordpress.com)
The North Shore Navigators snapped a four-game losing streak on Friday with a 9-5 win over the Keene Swamp Bats, who currently own the best record in the NECBL. Third baseman Conner Mach (Missouri) had two home runs and five RBI as the Navs pounded out thirteen hits in the ballgame.

Friday, July 15, 2011

2012 Mizzou Recruit: CF Sean Ullrich

Sean Ullrich, CF
6'3", 180 lb, R/R
Marquette HS (St. Louis)
  • 2011 Stats (Junior): .351 BA(33-for-94)6 2B, 3 3B, 18 RBI, 21 R, 12 SB, .419 OBP

  • 2010 Stats (Sophomore): .286 BA (22-for-77), 3 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 13 RBI, 12 R, .389 OBP

  • 2009 Stats (Freshman): .266 BA (17-for-64), 2 2B, 1 HR, 18 RBI, 13 R, .299 OBP

  • 2011 All Suburban West 2nd Team; 2011 All District 4
@sullrich15 on twitter: Officially a Mizzou Tiger! Lets go to work! @BGraves05 @casemunson @JakeIvory

Marquette's Ullrich gives a commitment to Missouri (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Sean Ullrich made the most of a trip to the University of Missouri with his Rawlings Prospects 18U baseball team last month and, on Tuesday, made a verbal commitment to continue his career with the Tigers.

The Marquette center fielder, who will begin his senior year this fall, turned in a strong performance in a tournament in Columbia over the June 10-12 weekend, which impressed the University of Missouri coaches and helped him earn a scholarship offer.
. . .
Ullrich found Mizzou to be a perfect fit for him.

"I definitely loved Missouri State, Kansas State," he said. "I got a call from Tulane on July 1 as well. I was looking at SLU, St. Louis University. ... I got e-mails from Southern Miss and talked to Coach (Tony) Vitello at TCU."
YouTube video of Sean Ullrich hitting and throwing at the Devine Pavilion at Mizzou:


MizzouTube: Summer Ball

Another video of Blake Brown hitting for the Santa Barbra Foresters this summer, including a nice home run:
video

Thursday, July 14, 2011

MU Recruit Soptic signs with Sox

Sox sign first seven draft picks (Chicago Tribune)
The Chicago White Sox have signed their first seven picks from the June amateur draft and eight of their first 10 selections.

The latest signee is third-round pick Jeff Soptic, a 6-foot-6 pitcher from Johnson County Community College in Kansas. Baseball America is reporting Soptic's signing bonus at $320,000.

■ From @JimCallisBA on Twitter: #WhiteSox sign 3rd-rder Jeff Soptic for $320k ($40.1k over slot). Johnson County (Kan.) RHP hit 100 mph this spring, still raw. #mlbdraft

Summer Ball

Broncos shell Kansas Cannons 13-2 (El Dorado Times)
First baseman Scott Sommerfeld made his debut as a Bronco. The University of Missouri product got two hits, including a triple and drove in two runs.
. . .
Ryan Gebhart, the Jayhawk League's top hitter, picked up ground on the No. 2 hitter, Sean Wilson of Hays. Gebhart went 5 for 11 while Wilson was 3 for 11
Westerners muscle past Steeplecats (iberkshires.com)
But the lead would not last as Westerners right fielder Dane Opel blasted Copping’s first pitch of the home fourth for a game-tying home run.

Another win over Bends leaves Black Bears alone in second place (tdn.com)
Cowlitz reliever Ian Ekery pitched around a two-out single in the bottom of the inning to preserve the win. He also escaped a jam in the ninth — with runners on the corners and two outs — with a game-extending strikeout

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

Rangers announce June minor league awards (espn.com)
The Rangers have announced the club's minor league award winners for June: RHP Nick Tepesch was pitcher of the month, infielder Tommy Mendonca was player of the month, infielder Guilder Rodriguez was defender of the month and RHP Ryan Rodebaugh was named reliever of the month.

Tepesch, 22, was 3-0 with a 2.23 ERA (9 ER/36.1 IP) and 37 strikeouts against 9 walks, while holding opposing South Atlantic League batters to a .211 average (28-133) over 6 games/starts and one complete game with Low-A Hickory. The Blue Springs, Missouri product held SAL hitters to the 9th-lowest average and was the only pitcher on the circuit to record a complete game during the month of June. The 6-foot-4 right-hander out of the University of Missouri earned South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week honors for June 6-12 following a 10-strikeout performance on June 7 vs. Lakewood. Overall, Tepesch has gone 5-3 with a 3.12 ERA and 71 strikeouts against 19 walks in 20 games/14 starts this season. Tepesch was selected in the 14th round of the 2010 June draft and signed by Dustin Smith.

Coleman back from Triple-A with more knowledge (vvdailypress.com)
When the Seattle Mariners called up Triple-A catchers Josh Bard and Jose Yepez on June 29 to compensate for injuries at the major league level, it sent vibrations throughout their minor league system as catchers were shuffled around the various levels.

Caught up in the shuffle was the Mavericks Trevor Coleman, who was promoted directly to Triple-A Tacoma on June 30.

Coleman spent just 10 days in Tacoma, playing in three games and garnering one hit in six at-bats. He was sent back down to High Desert on July 11, in part because three Mavericks catchers — Angel Salome, Steven Baron and Andrew Giobbi — were injured after Coleman left.

Despite the limited playing time, Coleman said it was a valuable experience.

“It was a good time,” Coleman said. “I had fun and learned a lot about the game and how those older guys go about it. It set a good example for me, gives more motivation to continue to work hard to get back to get level.”

9 Reasons to Follow College Baseball: Friday Night Lights

This is part 5 of our weekly series on 9 reasons to follow College Baseball.

Friday Night Lights: Best Game of the Week

Saturday is the big tailgating day. Sunday's crowd tends to be sleepy, soaking in the relaxed atmosphere of the ballpark. Mid-week means people trickling into the park throughout the first few innings, coming from work or class or a quick supper.

But Friday night is the night to be at a college baseball game.
  • Unlike the big leagues, where the staff ace throws every 5th day no matter what day it falls on, in college ball you can almost always be sure the #1 pitcher is going to be on the mound on Friday night. And the opponents' #1 guy is also going to be throwing on Friday.

  • Some of the most explosive offensive games I've ever seen have taken place on Friday nights at Simmons Field. The atmosphere seems to pump up the hitters and when they start getting on a roll, anything can happen.

  • Friday is the night the students come out to the ballpark. They're loud, they're ready to release pent-up energy from the week, they heckle, they stomp their feet, they do stupid student stuff. And the ballpark gets to rocking. The show in the stands matches the show on the field.

  • Baseball under the lights takes on a whole different feeling. It's like every player and pitcher, every play and every swing, every heckler is performing under a spotlight. And there's a point in every night game, when the sky has stealthily switched from twilight to night, that I look out onto that field under the lights and a chill goes through me.
Some of the greatest games I've ever seen happened at Taylor Stadium on a Friday night:
  • April 20, 1996: Missouri welcomed Oklahoma State into pre-Taylor-Stadium Simmons Field on a windy Friday night toward the end of the final Big 8 season. Missouir trailed 9-0 after 1-1/2 innings. By the end of 6 innings, MU led 20-11. Going into the bottom of the 9th, the Tigers trailed 23-19. But the Tigers scored 4 in the bottom of the 9th and won the game, 24-23.

  • April 30, 2004: A huge crowd came to Taylor Stadium to see former Helias star Sam Lecure pitch for the Texas Longhorns against Mizzou. Lecure, who had not yet lost a game in his college career, was supposed to pitch the Saturday game, but got the Friday start when XXX was a late scratch. And MU pitcher Danny Hill went to the mound for the Tigers and battled pitch for pitch, handing LeCure his first loss. Cody Ehlers hit a timely 2-run homer off Lecure and Mark Alexander, "The Barbarian", came in and shut down the Longhorns in front of a rowdy and loud Friday night crowd to close out the win.

  • April 1, 2005: Max Scherzer and Michael Cole combined for a no-hitter, while the Tiger offense exploded for a 25-0 trouncing of Texas Tech. The Red Raiders coach blamed the lights.

  • April 12, 2008: The Friday crowd was pumped up, eager to see Aaron Crow set a new D-1 record for consecutive shutout innings pitched. Instead, they watched an epic meltdown on the mound as Crow surrendered 9 quick runs to the Texas hitters. The crowd was quiet, stunned. And then the Mizzou offense came alive, led by Jake Priday, and battered the Longhorns to their worst loss ever, 31-12. Priday himself hit 4 home runs and drove in 9 runs.
If it's a Friday night in March, April or May, there's no better place to be than at a college ballpark. Bring some friends, buy some hot dogs and Cokes, settle into a great seat. And get ready for baseball at its best.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors: All-Star Aaron Crow

Baseball is a tie that binds Kevin and Aaron Crow (kansascity.com)
Less than two weeks ago Aaron made what might be the happiest call of his life to his father. He made the All-Star team, for crying out loud, and even now Aaron says with a smile that the news is the first time he can remember his father “finally shut up.”

This happened on a Sunday, exactly one week after that afternoon Kevin watched his son pitch the eighth inning on a TV in that funeral home. Aaron can’t remember how long the line went silent, only how it ended.

“All that hard work paid off, son,” Kevin said.

For those who know both Aaron and his family, this is a must read article. Read the rest HERE

USA National Team

Team USA wraps up short, sweet summer (Baseball America)
"That's how the trip was—Mother Nature did not help us out," Jamieson said. "And I think we all felt the trials are beneficial. There's a transition time to wood. There's a transition time from the college season to summer ball. It was difficult to gauge the conditioning level, especially for pitchers. Some guys are worn out, and some guys are moving in the other direction. The trials help you evaluate—who's struggling, who's healthy, who's not?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors: All-Star Aaron Crow

Crow Tweets (twitter.com):
@royalsbuzztap: Kansas City Star >> Crow battling illness, unlikely to pitch in All-Star Game http://buzztap.com/-E15bYe

@ShawnDizzle77: How cool was it to see @MUTigerBaseball alum Aaron Crow just introduced at the All-Star game. #Mizzou

@JetForce5: I'll get a nice feeling watching Aaron Crow tip his cap and look nervous during his first introduction as a Major League All-Star. #Mizzou

@TheDanMeyers: I'd like to thank the 5 fans in the crowd that just cheered for Aaron Crow #royals
@CheapSeatFan: I would have liked to see Aaron Crow get in the game though. #MIZZOU
@ryankatsairec: Aaron Crow is MVP right?
@trripleplay: Here's a tip of the cap to former Tiger Aaron Crow, who didn't get into the game (and forgot to tip his cap) #mizzou #TipoftheCap

@kellyjohnson94: Aaron Crow. . . what a hottie! #allstargame
Crow battling illness, unlikely to pitch in All-Star Game (kansascity.com)
Royals rookie reliever Aaron Crow is unlikely to pitch in tonight’s All-Star Game as he recovers from an illness.

Crow told The Star on Tuesday afternoon that he began feeling ill on Sunday night after he arrived in Arizona. He saw a doctor on Monday and received some antibiotics.

“It’s either (strep throat) or a sinus infection,” Crow said. “(The doctor) gave me some medicine and I’m feeling a lot better.”

Still, Crow will be relegated to emergency duty against the National League in the 82nd annual All-Star Game at Chase Field.

Mizzou Recruits

■ from GlobeGazette.com (7/12):
Brandon Platts’ right elbow is one of the storylines of the season around here and around the state.

It not only could determine how far the top-ranked Mohawks advance but could determine his future.

The Missouri signee and Pittsburgh Pirates draft pick had an MRI on Friday.

Platts said Monday there is no tear — which is good news — but beyond that he doesn’t know much more.

Will he be able to pitch this postseason? Stay tuned.

How hot is it?

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors: All-Star Aaron Crow

Aaron Crow flies to Arizona in style (ksnt.com)
video

Crow is just trying to take it all in as a first-time All-Star (kansascity.com)
Just last night he was flying on a private plane that Verlander chartered to Arizona. Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera was on the flight. So was catcher Alex Avila.

Pretty sweet little plane. Only fit 11 people or so.

“The epitome of luxury,” Crow says.

They even left the door to the cockpit open so the guys could see out the front.

Crow pauses.

“I don’t know if I should share that,” he says.

You Make the Call: Making the Show


Our latest "You Make the Call" poll is up (see the left-hand column). The question this time of year is:
Which MU Alum currently in the Minor Leagues has the best shot at making it to the Major Leagues?
The current details on former Tigers in the Minor Leagues can be found HERE. I've left Justin James and Doug Mathis off the poll - both are currently in Triple-A, but both have already made it to the Show. I've also left off any Tigers in the independent leagues.

Vote early. Vote often.

MU in the Minors: Back to the Futures

Kyle Gibson pitched an inning and a third in the Futures Game on Sunday. After Gibson put in his timed, he was followed on the mound by Jarred Cosart. Cosart was a Mizzou signee who signed with the Phillies literally at the 11th hour at the deadline. He was supposed to be the next pitcher in the Pitchers U string of Scherzer - Crow - Gibson - Tepesch- cosart -Anderson - Zastryzny - ???

Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer Ball

Local players propel college all-star game (The Patch)
Top area college baseball players, including Wildwood and Eureka standouts, gathered for the St. Louis Metro Collegiate All-Star Game at the Ballwin Athletic Association.
. . .
The South's Ryan Clubb, of Wildwood, pitched in the first inning. Clubb went to Eureka High School.

Clubb's team, the Wildwood Dodgers, has qualified for the post season playoffs, with a shot to make it to the NABF World Series. He is currently 3-1, 36 IP, 10 runs, 5 earned runs, 1.25 ERA. His best outing was a 9 inning, two hit, no decision (the team lost 2-1 in 10 innings) where he had 20 ground ball outs.

Mizzou Athletics

Time of the Tigers? (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Moreover, Mizzou is one of just 22 schools whose athletics department is in the black. While that operating revenue is well behind Texas and Oklahoma State, each with budgets of over $100 million, MU's budget last year was only a few million behind fifth-place Kansas.

At a time when NCAA president Mark Emmert is expressing concern that the gap in revenue between the haves and have-nots is redefining "competitive equity," Mizzou is firmly among the haves, finishing 41st in the recently released Learfield Director's Cup Standings for all sports, or sixth among returning Big 12 schools - far behind Texas A&M (eighth), Oklahoma (10th) and Texas (12th) but closer to Oklahoma State (32nd) and Baylor (35th).


Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/college/mizzou/article_05938da7-a2bf-532b-8fa0-67dfffc01903.html#ixzz1RniuYP6E

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors: All-Star Aaron Crow

Aaron Crow's career has seen twists, turns (kansascity.com)
Aaron Crow shouldn’t be here, and that’s not meant in the way you might think. This is not about a middle reliever’s place in this week’s All-Star Game, or about a rookie making the team, or even about Crow being selected over Alex Gordon.

No, this is about a man getting raked by minor leaguers one year and then being one of the major leagues’ best pitchers the very next year.

This is about a man pitching so badly in Class AA that he is demoted by an organization that gave him $3 million, about that man then struggling even worse in Class A and setting off a minor spread of panic.


Calls delightful in Crow household (cjonline.com)
These days, Crow is obviously separated even more from his home. Gone are the days when the family could time visits based on starting appearances. Weekday trips into Kaufmann Stadium make the clock strike quickly for Kevin and Julie the next day, though the proximity of KC remains nice.

“If it’s the weekends, or a big game, they’ll come and fight through any tiredness the next day,” Aaron said. “They don’t come to too many games. Either way, my dad would rather sit on the couch at home and watch it. It’s just as easy to do that and see every game.”

No sofa, however, will suffice for the All-Star Game. Kevin and Julie are headed to Phoenix. And why not?

“We’re not missing it. It’s one of those things you don’t want to miss,” Kevin said. “You want to be there when your child takes his first step, you want to be there when he speaks his first word and this is one of those milestones. He’s worked his life for this honor and we’d just like to be there with him.”

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Ball

Black Bears roar back in 8th inning (tdn.com)
Clayton was relieved with one out in the sixth by Ian Ekery, who inherited runners on the corners. Ekery induced two fly balls to escape the jam, and threw 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief to record the win.

Closer Andrew Lines earned the save with a perfect top of the ninth.

"My job was to come in, keep the ball down," Ekery said. "My ideal job was to get an inning-ending double play, but as long as we got out of there without any runs, that's just the main job. To get out of there with no more damage."

Mizzou Recruit: Brett Thomas

Southeast Missourian baseball player of the year: Oak Ridge senior Brett Thomas dominated the opposition on the mound (semissourian.com)
His competitiveness is his trademark. Most people like to win, but he's one of those people who is disgusted by the thought of losing.

"I know kids that it drives me crazy that they're not more competitive than they are," Thomas said. "They just go with the flow. If they lose, yeah, they're mad, but they'll live to see another day. I think I was just born like that. I always wanted to win, even playing Monopoly against my sister. I still want to win."
. . .
In about a month's time Thomas will leave for Missouri and enter an environment unlike any he's ever been in.

"It's a lot different because as a baseball player, as a pitcher especially, I've been reasonably successful most of my years I've pitched," Thomas said. "I've never really had to struggle, and I'm going into a situation where they all know I'm not good enough to pitch at that level yet, that I have to get better."

He one day may excel at Missouri. Or he may not. That is impossible to say today. But he's not going to be left wondering what could have been.

"I could've probably went smaller and been the successful pitcher at a smaller school as I am now, but at Mizzou there's so many resources there as far as lifting and coaching and trainers and diets and all that kind of stuff that when I go there, I'm going to come out of there as the best ballplayer I possibly could be," he said.


Great article - read the rest HERE

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors: Ian Kinsler

Ian Kinsler: Will the Texas Rangers ever rediscover his offensive potential? (bleacherreprot.com)
He is becoming a better situational player.

Now don't get me wrong, he is not playing the same ball as he was playing in 2008, but he is definitely becoming a better leadoff hitter.

An easy proof of this is his patience at the plate. You want a leadoff guy that will take pitches, make the pitcher work and put up a high on-base percentage. Through 85 games, Kinsler has done just that by drawing 56 walks, which puts him on pace for right around 100 through a full season. In 2008, he had 45 walks in 121 games, and in 2009 he had 59 in 144 games. This has led to an on-base percentage that is the second highest among all second basemen despite having a batting average in the .250s.

Sports Century

This is not a new video. But well worth watching again.

video

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mizzou Baseball Recruits

From GlobeGazette.com (7/8):
The Mohawks (30-8) are hoping to have his bat in the lineup starting Monday in their regular-season finale at West Des Moines Dowling.

That’s when Rood is hoping to have Brandon Platts back in the mix as well.

The Missouri commit and Pittsburgh Pirates draftee hasn’t played since a June 27 win over Fort Dodge.

He’ll have an MRI on his elbow this week.

“We need Brandon back and we need Aaron in the lineup to do what we want to do,” Rood said.

As for Platts, Rood added, “I think he is making progress, there’s no question in my mind. I expect to have him in our lineup Monday.”
Hi-Toms win 'strange game' (the-dispatch.com)
“It was a strange game tonight,” Thomasville coach Jeff Steele said. “We'll take the win.”

The game totaled eight runs but featured just four RBIs. Four balks were called, though one was overturned.

Martinsville (2-2) took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first off Kyle Barbeck, though neither run was earned. Leadoff hitter Anthony Nunziato walked, then took second on Barbeck's balk. John Faircloth's grounder then induced an error from shortstop Stephen Carmon, allowing Nunziato to score from second and Faircloth to reach second. Three batters later, Eli Hynes hit an RBI single.

Barbeck faced a bases-loaded jam in the third inning but escaped with a strikeout. He left after five innings having given up three hits and three walks with six strikeouts and no earned runs.

“I was extremely proud. He was a little shaky, but he came out in the second inning and kind of settled down,” Steele said. “We needed five or six innings out of him tonight and he was able to give it to us.

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors: Rookies

Latest lines for the two newest Tigers in the Northwest League:

Phil McCormick, Salem-Keizer Volcanoes:
0-0, 1.08 ERA, 0 Sv, 5 G, 8.1 IP, 7 H, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, 1.20 WHIP
Matt Stites, Eugene Emeralds
1-0, 2.53 ERA, 9 G, 10.2 IP, 6 H, 1 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 9 K, 0.93 WHIP

Stites was named the Northwest League Pitcher of the Week this past week

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer Ball

Spangenberg, Stites named players of the week (milb.com)
Matthew Stites has been named the Northwest League's Pitcher of the Week. Stites has a recorded record of 1-0 on the season with a 2.53 ERA. Pitching 10.2 innings he has struck out 9 batters.


Broncos take two over weekend (El Dorado Times)
Ryan Gebhart continues to pile up impressive numbers for the El Dorado Broncos.

First, he's hit safely in seven straight games.

Second, he's reached base via hit, walk and/or hit-by-pitch in 13 straight games.

Third, by going 1 for 2 Sunday, he reached the magic figure of .400. Should he finish at that figure, he would be the seventh leading hitter ever for the Broncos and fourth in wood-bat records for the Broncos.

Gebhart hit a long three-run homer Friday night to highlight a nine-run sixth inning for the Broncos in their 12-2 victory over the Park City Rangers.

He also made a diving-tumbling catch in center to rob Park City's Mike Williams of extra bases.