Monday, October 31, 2011

Conference Hokey-Pokey™: #RealignmentCostume

A popular hashtag on Twitter in the past 24 hours has been #RealignmentCostume, with some hilarious suggestions:

  • @KegsNEggs: For Halloween, I think I'll dress up as the state of Missouri and choose NOT to go to anyone's party. #RealignmentCostume
  • @trripleplay: Go as Truman the Tiger & ignore the mouthy guy in the Jayhawk costume & bad toupee who keeps telling you what to do #realignmentcostume
  • @Tiger2Be: Go as Nebraska, leave the party first because you know the cops are about to show up and the party is gonna fall apart #RealignmentCostume
  • @TheUpsetBlog: Go as Colorado. Do nothing, but somehow still get asked home by the hottest girl in the neighborhood. #RealignmentCostume
  • @SG_Mizzou15: Go as the Big East. Play basketball with a few friends while everyone else gets bored and leaves your party. #RealignmentCostume
  • @Tiger2Be: Go as WVU, and pick up the girl right as her boyfriend dumps her for a hot southeastern girl. #RealignmentCostume
  • @TheUpsetBlog: Dress up as a pony. Write a letter to the cow who is throwing the biggest party and plead to be invited. #SMU #RealignmentCostume
  • @BlockU: Go as Notre Dame. Come in an uninspiring costume, sit around doing nothing & watch everyone say how great you are. #RealignmentCostume
  • @Trripleplay: Go as Tigerboard - leave your J-School or Business School grad costume at home and instead go as Gossip Girl #realignmentcostume

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Tip of the Cap

A Tip of the Cap to former Mizzou student / World Series MVP
David Freese and the 2011 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals

NCAA Rules Changes & Baseball

DI Board adopts Sweeping Changes in College Sports (collegebaseballdaily.com)
The NCAA D1 Board of Directors announced some major changes to collegiate athletics on yesterday afternoon. The changes toughen academic standards and provide increased academic and economic support to student-athletes.
. . .
Our NCAA compliance director thinks this will make a major difference in college baseball especially with programs that use transfers extensively from the JUCO ranks. He stated “The JC transfer rules will probably have a bigger impact on baseball than any other sport. A jump from 2.0 to 2.5 will be a significant hurdle and non qualifiers who had to go to junior college have an additional science requirement.”
. . .
“With an extra $2000 available to full scholarship players, it will be harder for coaches to give top prospects 80-90% scholarships, since they will be giving up much more. That will impact depth in top programs and mean most of the top pitchers and position players will be on full scholarships.

The multi-year scholarships might cause more top prospects to not sign and enter college. They get the security of three to five year scholarships that colleges could not guarantee them before.

There is much, much more. Read the details at http://www.collegebaseballdaily.com/2011/10/28/di-board-adopts-sweeping-changes-in-college-sports/

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

Twins prospect Gibson talks elbow surgery (foxsportsnorth.com)
Gibson is beginning a lengthy rehab process as he aims to get back on the mound. Recovery from the ligament replacement surgery can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months. Gibson can't start throwing again until January, but he's doing everything he can before then to make sure the 2012 season isn't a complete loss.

"Any time you have surgery and when you're not able to play baseball, the game that we all love to play, it takes a lot of gut checks and really figuring out who you are and making sure that mentally you're in the spot that you need to be," Gibson said. "I think my faith and having family that's so supportive and teammates that are so supportive, it really helps. It makes it easy to realize that I've got to go every day and work hard, and I'm not working for tomorrow or the next day but I'm working for six months down the road."

9 things to like about Big Ten Baseball

Don't panic: we're not
really joining the
 Big Ten.

In honor of the crazy jump-the-gun MU to the SEC post last night, I thought I'd share this post that I've had queued up in the bullpen for over a year.  But look quickly - I'm liable to take it back down any moment and blame Blogger for this:


Anyone who's been reading this blog for long knows I was not in favor of MU going to the Big Ten. But now it's happened and here we are. So I've been learning everything I can about Big Ten Baseball. Surely, I thought, there's got to be some upsides to this for MU Baseball.

So let's shift gears and find 9 things to like about Big Ten (now popularly being referred to as B1G) Baseball.
  1. The Big Ten Network produced over 100 Big Ten Baseball and Softball games for TV broadcast and for streaming at BigTenNetwork.com in 2011. Also, archived broadcasts of Big Ten Baseball games are available online. A lot of that content is not free, but it's more than the Big 12 ever provided for Baseball and Softball.

  2. History: As a student of MU Baseball History, I know all about the storied history of the Big 12:
    From the 1907 formation of the original Missouri Valley Conference (MU, KU, NU and Washington U (StL), to the Big 6, Big 7, Big 8 and finally the Big 12 - with Missouri a member of the conference from the very beginning through to the end of the Big 12. Baseball was one of the original sports played by the conference, along with Football.
    It saddens me to see the end of that history.

    But the Big Ten has an equally impressive and storied lineage:
    Founded in 1895 by the presidents of 7 universities (Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin, Chicago) as the "Intercollegiate conference of Faculty Representatives". Indiana and Iowa were added in 1899, Ohio State in 1912, Michigan State in 1949. U of Chicago dropped out in 1945. Penn State became the 11th member in 1990.

    Football and baseball were the popular sports prior to 1900. Wisconsin won the first two football championships and Chicago claimed the first three baseball titles.
  3. The fan experience at a B1G baseball game is very similar to a typical Mizzou game, according to Ten Reasons Why I like College Baseball (and the Illini), at TheBaseballZealot.com:
    Just try to show me a better time!

    For my money, there’s not a better time. Whether I’m hanging with my buddies, taking my family or just taking in a game by myself, it’s a lot of fun. The baseball program at the University of Illinois have done a fantastic job putting a quality product on the field not to mention a fun time all round (yes, they do promotions… the days when the players play wiffleball with the kids after a game are a big hit, so to speak).
  4. There are a lot of good people in B1G Baseball who believe in their sport and their conference, and are working hard to increase the level of competition and even the national playing field. People like Michigan Coach Rich Maloney (collegebaseballtoday.com):
    So I’ll start with what you would probably think is a dumb question, can you win a national championship at Michigan?

    Coach Maloney: Here’s how big of a feat I think it would be, I think it would be a Sports Illustrated cover. (laughs). I believe in possibilities, not impossibilities. And I’m a dreamer.

    But if you would’ve asked me a couple of years ago, I would’ve just talked about making regionals and maybe going to Omaha. But then, when we went down and played Vanderbilt at their place and beat them fair and square, that changed everything. Then on top of that we went out to play Oregon State and quite honestly, if we win game one there (a 1-0, 10-inning loss), we probably would’ve gone to Omaha. And of course, OSU won it all that year. So in my mind, all the sudden my thought process went from dreaming of Omaha to ‘Hey we CAN win this thing.’

    So to answer your question, the answer is yes, I do believe it can happen. I’ve been close enough to realize we’ve beaten some teams that are of that caliber.
    . . .
    There are a lot of new coaches in the Big 10 and a lot of new energy and guys that really want to be on the national level. Our goal is to see more teams getting into the NCAA tournament.
  5. The annual Big Ten/Big East Challenge: Hosted by the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission, 2012 will be the 5th year for this tournament matching teams from the Big Wast and the Big Ten at sites in the St. Petersburg, Florida area during the final weekend of February. What form this tournament will take with the new conference realignments is anyone's guess. But it sounds like a great early challenge on the annual schedule.
  6. If you're one of those Mizzou fans who nurtures a Rodney Dangerfield "We Don't Get No Respect" complex, you're gonna love B1G Baseball.

    Big Ten Baseball Proves its Worth (MichiganDaily.com)
    And just in case the Wolverines needed further proof the Big Ten is lightly regarded in baseball, CSTV.com also criticized Michigan's seeding before this weekend's play.

    "CSTV said that they didn't send a real No. 2 (seed) to the Vanderbilt Regional," Michigan coach Rich Maloney said. "All the guys knew. We did read it to the team and we did talk about it, but in the actual playing of the game, it's all about making pitches and getting the timely hits. If you play the No. 1 team, you're always going to have a tighter focus, especially in front of a hostile crowd."
    . . .
    The strong showing from the three Big Ten teams in this weekend's Regionals justifies the selection of the two at-large bids, though it will probably have little immediate impact on the Southern perception of Midwestern baseball as largely inferior - a fact Ohio State coach Bob Todd said effected the number of Big Ten teams that make the NCAA Tournament.

    "There is too much negativism from the warm-weather schools," Todd said. "They still believe, which I do not, that the sixth-place team in some of the warm-weather conferences is better than the third- or fourth-place team in the Big Ten. And I truly disagree with that, especially when you look at how successful some of our programs have been when we play those people in May (in the NCAA Tournament)."
  7. For those parents of recruits who e-mail me every year complaining that Tim Jamieson and his staff over-recruit and end up cutting players and pulling the scholarships of some upperclassmen (a practice that happens at nearly all schools in the elite conferences), here's something you'll love about the Big Ten:

    Q&A with Indiana’s Coach Tracy Smith (College Baseball360.com)
    Now, I do believe the Big Ten recognized this as a huge disadvantage for our league and instituted a rule change this year that allows schools to over sign up to one scholarship spread over two players.

    It does help, but when other schools are over signing by 6-8 scholarships, the playing field is not even close to being even. The part that drives me nuts is nobody talks about this issue. Everyone wants to talk about weather, and huge stadiums, etc., as being the things the hold our conference back, but it’s not. The issue of over-signing is the real problem.

    My friends who coach at southern schools laugh when I tell them that we can’t over-sign kids until our underclassmen physically sign a contact. They are like, “how in the heck do you guys recruit?” I have my response down to a science now, I put my hands behind my back and say, “like this.”

    That said, I am not saying I agree with over-signing to the level most southern do it, because it can create some ugly scenarios where kids are “run off.” Again, too many reasons and not enough time to respond. But what I would like to see is some consistency with regard to the issue of over-signing.

    I like the limits our conference has put on over-signing. Now, if we could get the rest of the country to buy into the Big Ten Conference’s rules, wouldn’t if be great? However, I say again, why would they? They are at too much of a competitive advantage under the current system to want to change.

    As someone who is trying win every game I play, I guess I understand their position. But if the NCAA wants to do what is “right,” it will address the issue of over-signing, and adopt legislation that truly benefits our student-athletes all the while creating a more competitive environment for all of college baseball, not just some of it.
    Also check out this analysis by Michigan Coach Rich Maloney

    While recruiting elite athletes as a Big Ten school will be tougher than recruiting as a Big 12 school, this limit on over-recruiting can actually help the process in attracting certain players who are looking for a more certain guarantee of actually playing for the team they've signed with.
  8. Natural rivalries
    ♦ MU vs. Nebraska: There have been a lot of great matchups between the Tigers and Huskers over the years, and now that both are in the Big Ten, that tradition will continue. And as a bonus, it will continue without Mike Anderson.

    ♦ MU vs. Illinois: We've matched up with the Illini on a sporadic basis over the years, sometimes at neutral sites like Busch Stadium or at T.R. Hughes in O'Fallon. Now there will be an annual weekend matchup between the two teams.

    ♦ MU vs. Iowa: Another natural geographic rivalry, although the Hawkeyes have not been a major force in baseball. The Joplin Relief series October 8-9 gives us all preview of this inter-state rivalry.
  9. 5 or 10 years from now, when people think of B1G Baseball, they should immediately think of Missouri.

    OK, so it's a given that Big Ten Baseball is not at the same level competitively as the Big 12 or the other top baseball conferences. Yes, occasionally a Big 10 team rises up and competes on a national level, but the conference as a whole is just not at that level.

    This program can easily settle into being one of the better teams in the B1G, sharing the upper levels of the conference with teams like Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio State.

    Or Mizzou can take a cue from a school like Wichita State during its glory days, and put the money and effort into dominating a mid-major conference (which, in baseball, describes the Big 10), win conference championships more often than not, and be a perennial participant in the NCAA Tournament. That puts the Tigers into position to be ready to catch lightning in a bottle when that exceptional set of recruits pans out and the luck is with us.

    Two things are necessary to make that happen:

    First, Mike Alden needs to recognize that moving to the B1G is potentially most damaging to Baseball among all the Mizzou sports. And he should compensate for that undeniable fact by sending some of that fabled B1G revenue windfall toward making Mizzou Baseball the most most attractive baseball program in the B1G.

    Second, Tim Jamieson and his staff need to rely on their experience competing in an elite baseball conference and put that hard-earned knowledge to use in out-recruiting, out-scheduling, and out-playing the rest of the B1G.

    Some of that new money should go to the baseball travel budget, so Evan Pratte can afford to schedule the Tigers to play more Top 25 teams in the non-conference schedule. This will be necessary to build the RPI, to prepare for the B1G schedule by playing against teams that are better than the in-conference rivals, and to be able to entice recruits with opportunity to still play against top teams.

    Missouri will have one built-in recruiting advantage in the B1G. The Tigers will be among the southernmost of the B1G schools. Ironically, Mizzou is now the "warm weather" option for recruits considering the B1G Conference.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mizzou in Majors: Ian Kinsler in the World Series

Fan at Mizzou Fall World Series
Grouse Hunt:  The inside story of how Ian Kinsler became a Ranger (frontburner.dmagazine.com)
Editor’s Note: Since today’s a travel day during the 2011 World Series, and you have to wait a whole extra day to watch the Texas Rangers finish off the St. Louis Cardinals, we thought we’d share some classic content from the dearly departed Inside Corner. We recently received a request that we repost the following story by Mike Hindman from June 2009. Enjoy.
. . .
Once at Mizzou, it didn’t take long for Kinsler to make an impression on his ballclub, or on Grouse. But it was his makeup and approach more than his skills that heightened Grouse’s interest in Kinsler at that point. “He came into that situation in Missouri and he sort of took that club over,” recalled Grouse who relied on inside information to find out more about the vagabond shortstop. “I had scouted a couple of kids on that club in high school and talked to them about Ian. They all said the same things — he was a leader and a really hard worker and a winner. He just decided they were going to win that year and they did [36-22 with their first trip to the NCAA Regionals in seven years].”
. . .
“Ian was a player that I thought once the game speeded up, he’d be able to speed up with it.” Above all, Kinsler was clearly a “big makeup guy. That’s a huge deal with me,” Grouse explained. “A lot of guys say they want it but when it comes to working for it they don’t have what it takes. It was pretty clear that wasn’t a question with Ian. There was a sense of urgency with him to get better and move up.”

Read the rest at http://frontburner.dmagazine.com/2011/10/25/grouse-hunt-the-inside-story-of-how-ian-kinsler-became-a-ranger/
Kinsler Recaps World Series Game 5 (youtube)
video

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Conference Hokey-Pokey™: West Virginia to Big 12

♦ The West Virginia Mountaineers baseball program isn't going to make a big splash in Big 12 baseball.
  • 12 NCAA Regional Appearances (0 regional championships): '48, ,55, '61, '62, '63, '64, '67, '82, '85, '87, '94, '96

  • 2011 record:  28-27

  • 2011 RPI ranking (BoydsWordl.com):  154th

  • Most well-known Mountaineer in MLB:  Steve Kline, pitcher, 97-07, for several tams including the St. Louis Cardinals

  • Photo of West Virginia's baseball facilities (kind of reminds me of Simmons Field before Taylor Stadium)
West Virginia close to leaving Big East for Big 12 (New York Times)
West Virginia is headed to the Big 12, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation, a move that leaves the Big East with five football programs and an uncertain future. The person said Tuesday that the Mountaineers had “applied and are accepted,” leaving only legal entanglements from making the move official. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been formally announced.
Move to Big 12 not perfect, but necessary (wvmetronews.com)
Finally, it appears to be happening. It has been clear for several weeks now that West Virginia has had one foot out of the door with its athletic program in the Big East Conference. Today, the Mountaineers seem close to jumping out totally. .

Multiple reports are indicating that WVU will be moving from the Big East to the Big 12 Conference . Make no mistake about it. This is not a perfect scenario for West Virginia. But, it will do...for now.

Here are some of the positives and negatives from a possible move to the Big 12. . .

Conference Hokey-Pokey™: KFRU interview with Chancellor Brady Deaton

♦ In case you missed it, you'll want to listen to this archived interview on KFRU.com.  David Lile interviews Brady Deaton:  LINK

Southern Exposure: Getting to know SEC Baseball

Southern Exposure
Aggies frozen out by Texas? (mysanantonio.com)
In other sports, A&M baseball coach Rob Childress said Monday that he and UT counterpart Augie Garrido had yet to discuss whether to continue playing as nonconference foes. Childress added that, while he's respectful of playing a last round in the Big 12, the future should be exciting in a strong baseball conference.

“The SEC is a great league, just like the Big 12,” Childress said. “We've got a group of seniors who will never play in the SEC, so our focus is on the Big 12. But as you look to the future, the competitor in you knows it's going to be a great challenge because it's a great baseball conference. We look forward to that challenge.”

Vanderbilt tops Baseball America's Recruiting Class Rankings (SECdigitalnetwork.com)
Vanderbilt topped Baseball America's annual recruiting class rankings for the first time since 2005, when Pedro Alvarez, Ryan Flaherty and Brett Jacobson headlined a hallmark class.

The Commodores landed the nation's top recruit in unsigned first-round pick Tyler Beede, a bona fide ace with premium stuff, command and makeup. The early enrollment of power-hitting catcher Chris Harvey gives Vanderbilt a second marquee recruit. Athletic outfielder John Norwood and high-upside pitchers Adam Ravenelle and Philip Pfeifer join Beede and Harvey as the core of a very deep class.

Texas brought in the No. 2 class, its eighth top-10 class since the BA recruiting rankings started in the fall of 2000. Southern Mississippi welcomed its best class ever, landing in the recruiting rankings for the first time at No. 3. North Carolina State checks in at No. 4, surpassing its previous high ranking of 11th in 2009. Mississippi rounds out the top five with its highest-ranked class ever, marking the Rebels' seventh appearance in the 12-year history of the recruiting rankings.

The Southeastern Conference placed eight teams in the Top 25 for the second year in a row, leading all conferences once again. The Pacific-12 Conference followed with four teams in the Top 25, and the Atlantic Coast Conference produced three ranked classes. Nine different conferences appeared in the rankings.
MSU fall baseball update: High hopes for youngsters(NEMS360.com)
This fall has a different feel to it for Mississippi State's baseball team.

The Bulldogs, who are in the midst of their regular autumn work, are becoming the sort of team John Cohen envisioned when he took over as head coach in the summer of 2008.

There is a sense of starting over, as seven starting position players were lost off last year's team, but Cohen has a bevy of young talent from which he expects much.

"In terms of sheer talent, we have upgraded talent and skill," he said Tuesday. "But experience is hard to make up for in the short term. That'll be a challenge for us."
Nine innings: Checking for prom dates (sebaseball.com)
First Inning: 2012 schedules are trickling in - always interesting discussion fodder for the Fall. The proposed RPI changes for 2013 could affect scheduling practices as road games are rewarded and home games penalized. I'm still reluctant to believe this makes much of an impact. Sure, the ninth place SEC is going to have trouble making a Regional but most years they are bubbling anyway. Teams from the cold weather states will still be left out in the cold on Selection Day. The only teams that may benefit from the change are strong mid-majors that win road games. Other than that, color me skeptical.
. . .
Fourth Inning: Last season Auburn was a cupcake away from a Regional berth. Certainly the Tigers did not finish the way they would have liked, but one more win or one fewer loss would have had them postseason-eligible. This Spring's schedule may be just as tough (or tougher). Auburn hosts Missouri (maybe a future conference game preview?) for three before a desert trip to Arizona. Auburn hosts Purdue, Charleston Southern, and Southern Miss a game each before wrapping up the pre-conference with Belmont. This is a challenging road that could put the Tigers in a similar spot as last season come postseason invitation time.

Monday, October 24, 2011

MU Alum Gets Start for Game 1 of Championship Series

Samsung, SK clash in Korean Series for second straight year (mcot.net)
With the Samsung Lions and SK Wyverns set to square off in this year's Korean Series, it will be deja vu during the championship round for the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO).

The top-seeded Lions will host the defending champion Wyverns at 6 p.m. Tuesday here in Daegu, about 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, to kick off the best-of-seven series. The two clubs also met in the Korean Series last year, and the Wyverns swept the Lions in four games to claim their third title in four years.

Right-hander Doug Mathis, a former Major League Baseball pitcher, will start the first game for the Lions. The Wyverns will counter with lefty Ko Hyo-jun on the mound.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mizzou in the Majors: Havoc-Wreaker

Havoc-Wreaker (StLToday.com)
When word drifted from the desert to his office in Columbia, Mo., that a nimble shortstop wanted a new place to play, University of Missouri baseball coach Tim Jamieson flew to Arizona to scout for himself.

He watched Ian Kinsler handle three ground balls and knew he had spotted the infielder who would change his program. It didn't take much longer to realize he had found a personality that would, too.
...
Said Jamieson: "He's that same catalyst now that he was for us. He was always aggressive, but it's a line he learned from making all those aggressive moves. He's a more refined version of what he was here."

Mizzou in the Majors: Kinsler the Catalyst

Kinsler sparks Rangers' rally in 9th (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
Kinsler, though, spoiled Garcia's outing and kept the Rangers from losing the first two games of the World Series for a second consecutive year.

"It wasn't a series-saving rally, but it was huge," he said. "We're just happy that the series is tied up and we're going back to Texas."
Former MU Base Cadet Ian Kinsler
World Series Game 2: The Fleeting Nature Of Baseball Genius (mlb.sbnation.com)
Enter Ron Washington. You might have expected a bunt from Elvis Andrus, who led the league with 17 sacrifice bunts last year and laid down 16 more this year. Washington flashed a signal to third-base coach Dave Anderson, who relayed the secret to Andrus.

Kinsler had something else in mind.
Key stat: Kinsler's hitting .571 (espn.com)
Ian Kinsler is doing everything you want from your leadoff hitter.

In two games he has five hits, a walk, a stolen base and has scored a run. And he usually struggles on the road, which bodes well for him returning to Rangers Ballpark.
Podcast: Ian Kinsler is better than you think (espn.com)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Word on the Tweet: Ian Kinsler in the World Series

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic
@KyleBarbs: Kinsler is bad. #Mizzou

@TheRealBrettS: Ian Kinsler #takingover

@Beguilingorbit: DMN: Kinsler dodges a bullet, literally http://bit.ly/qLxjI2 #texasrangers

@BBTiA: Ian Kinsler shoulder status: Brushed off
http://twitpic.com/73buf4

@MatthewHLeach: Pretty sure I'd buy a ticket to watch Andrus and Kinsler take ground balls before a game.

@KAtkinson7: Bare handed double play by Kinsler =Amazing.

@kchilders: Dear #stlcards bats, please wake up! Also, stop hitting the ball to either Andrus or Kinsler. #worldseries

@RYRACK: That play was AMAZING. As if I needed another reason to marry Ian Kinsler

@WaddleandSilvy: Andrus and Kinsler have been nasty up the middle tonight. Yes, Im watching and enjoying baseball

@RonFlatter: #WorldSeries Kinsler & Andrus only #Rangers who have not struck out tonight.

@t_marlow13: Kinsler has his money on the cards.

@jseverni: Oh Kinsler, if only you married me we could have practiced grounders together and that wouldn't have happened. #errors

@SteveBartmanMVP: There you go Ian Kinsler, "hit it where they ain't."

@EmilyBeth23: Kinsler is a G at stealing bases from the outside #smoothcriminal

@TeamMassMayhem: I freaking love pitchers' duels!!!!! Go #Kinsler!!! #Rangers #Cardinals #WorldSeries #MLB

@fmxogr: にしても、Kinslerの盗塁とそれを刺そうとしたMolinaの送球は見応えがあった。

@broshuis:  It's so cold in St. Louis that it feels like July in San Francisco. #WorldSeries

Conference Hokey-Pokey™: Slow Train Coming

Fascinating article behind the scenes of Texas A&M's move to the SEC. Missouri didn't start this game.

Movers and Shakers (12thmanfoundation.com)
Go forward to the April (2010) timeframe…I got a call from (Pac-10 commissioner) Larry Scott indicating he wanted to come see me. Scott shows up here, and we have a meeting. Basically they had been working for months, and he had schedules of not just football but, basketball, soccer and baseball, and they had been working hard on this thing. He did a presentation for us on here’s how we are going to do this. I obviously began discussing this privately with the Board of Regents, and the basic direction I got from them was, “Look, we’ll probably get an offer from the Pac-10 to go join them along with five other schools in the Big 12.” The chairman of the board said to me, “One option is no option. You better figure out what things A&M could do besides follow Texas and other schools to the Pac-10.”
. . .
Clearly we weren’t driving the train. We were passengers at best, and that was a concern. You don’t want to have your destiny usurped by someone else. . .

College Recruiting Classes

College
Recruiting Notebook: A region-by-region look at the nation's best hauls (Baseball America)
Missouri brought in one of the top classes in the Midwest, anchored by unsigned 13th-round pick Brandon Platts. A 6-foot-4, 210-pound Iowan, Platts attacks hitters with a fastball that reaches 92 and a hammer curveball. . .

Mizzou Baseball: EA #85

Top 100 Countdown: 85. Eric Anderson (CollegeBaseballDaily.com)
We continue the countdown today at number 85 with Missouri junior righthanded pitcher Eric Anderson. The Highlands Ranch, Colorado native attended Mountain Vista High School where he was a perfect 10-0 with an ERA of 1.71 and 89 strikeouts as a senior. In his high school career, he went 15-1 with an era of 2.80 while striking out 122 batters.
CollegeBaseballDaily is also reporting on the Mizzou Fall World Series.

Mizzou Recruit Ryan Phillips interview

Around the horn with Mizzou commit Ryan Phillips from Rock Bridge HS (prepbaseballreport.com)
PBR: What were the reasons that you ultimately chose Mizzou?

Phillips: I couldn’t see myself dog piling in Omaha, in anything other than a Missouri Tiger uniform.

PBR: What was the relationship you had with Coach Jamieson and Coach Jackson in the recruitment process?

Phillips: Great, we were honest with each other during the process, with communication open at all times, and on all levels.

PBR: As one of Missouri’s top two-way talents, has the Mizzou coaching staff indicated whether they would like to use you as strictly a position player or pitcher? Or do they seem open to a two-way role?

Phillips: They specifically indicated to me that they were recruiting me as a infielder, as well as a relief pitcher, knowing of course, that all positions will be earned.
Read more at PrepBaseballReport.com

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors: Ian Kinsler vs. the Cardinals

♦ The "cutest" Texas Ranger? Ian Kinsler, according to Lone Star Ball.

Key stat:  Kinsler sees 3.94 pitches per AB (espn.com)
Ian Kinsler ranked 22nd in the AL in pitches seen per at-bat with a team-high 3.94 per game.

He has no intention of changing his approach just because the Rangers are facing an opponent they haven't played in years. Traditionally, part of the leadoff hitter's job is to give his teammates a good look at what the opposing pitcher is throwing, so they can have a better idea when they get to the plate. . .
♦ And this has next to nothing to do with Ian Kinsler, but thanks to VivaElBirdos.com for unearthing this gem:
video

Word on the Tweet

@cblineup: Mizzou in SEC east? Not geogrpahically correct, but still better than NYIT and NJIT being in the "Great West Confence" for baseball.

@Greg_Schaum: Not a big deal to some, but SEC baseball is great- draws big crowds. Mizzou has a nice program that could get much better now. More revenue

@valleyshook: MIZZOU as a baseball add: decent program, but facilities are sub par. And they have a snow problem....

@CoachMMoeller: I agree about football, obviously. Baseball it would be a good fit. The SEC has great baseball, as does Mizzou.

@DGSports: Mizzou would get killed in football in the SEC, they can compete in baseball and basketball but not football.

@Boomsy72: @aaronfitt @PeteThamelNYT Mizzou will get destroyed in the SEC in football and baseball....especially baseball

Mizzou in the Majors: David Freese' Year Off @ MU

Stepping away helped Freese reach apex (mlb.com)
The itch resurfaced sometime during his freshman year at the University of Missouri, though David Freese didn't take it all that seriously at the time.

After so many years of having baseball dictate his social schedule -- or deplete it all together -- he was content to embrace life as a student. That meant attending classes and parties and sporting events as a fan. It meant shedding an identity that had been formed for him, when Freese was a standout infielder at Lafayette High School in the St. Louis suburb of Wildwood.
. . .
Freese explains now that his reasoning lay in the negativity that he felt surrounded the game. Having been defined by the sport for so long, he just lost all desire to continue.

"It's pretty simple and kind of boring," Freese said, "but I just didn't want to play anymore."

After his epiphany the following summer, Freese began his journey back by placing a call to the head coach at Meramec Community College. He asked if there was a vacant roster spot. There was. After a stop there, Freese headed to South Alabama, where he put up impressive numbers during his senior year.
Freese didn't always see the majors in his future (komu.com)
"When I quit baseball out of high school, Darin had Ryan talk to me for about 45 minutes one day outside Lafayette. We hit together one day. Ryan kind of talked to me, am I making the right decision." said David Freese.

Even Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard couldn't convince Freese to stay in the game. "I guess I didn't listen to him too much, cuz I went to Mizzou just as a student." said Freese.

However his run as a Tiger didn't last long.
David Freese: Back to the game he loves (St. Louis Post Dispatch)
Freese went to Mizzou, but declined to play ball. His friends bet him he'd go back. The Tigers' coaches called halfway through the freshman year to see if Freese had reconsidered. He replied, "No, thank you." Baseball was forgotten. Freese had found extracurricular interests in college life, not all of which were productive. He said there was a time he "just wanted to be a kid." He agreed that another term for it would be "adrift." It was a different, less-disciplined road that he wandered.

Baseball was in his rearview mirror.

"I didn't miss it," he said.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Conference Hokey-Pokey™: "You don’t fix something that ain’t broke."

Stay true to Midwest roots, Ol' Mizzou (Columbia Tribune)
I first attended a football game in 1948 when Mizzou upset Southern Methodist University and Doak Walker. Ageless John Kadlec was a Tiger lineman — one of the greatest to wear the black and gold.

I recall wooing a pretty Kansas City girl in the early 1950s by taking her to the Big 6 preseason basketball tournament in Municipal Auditorium.

She wasn’t a basketball fan, but I was. One love affair ended, and another was born — hating the Jayhawks.
. . .
I treasure my friendship with baseball Coach John “Hi” Simmons and his successor, Gene McArtor, and have no shame in admitting I helped MU find players that made MU better.

I hated to see the Big 12 come into being. We were fine as the Big Eight. We didn’t need the state of Texas; the state of Texas needed the Big 8.
. . .
Read the rest at http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2011/oct/17/stay-true-to-midwest-roots-ol-mizzou/

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mizzou Fall World Series

Tigers open Fall World Series Tuesday (mutigers.com)
The Mizzou baseball team will wrap up its fall practice schedule by playing the Fall World Series over the next two weeks, beginning tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Taylor Stadium. The Tigers will split their team into a Black Team and a Gold Team over the two-week event as they will play four games this week.

In addition to Tuesday's game, the two teams will face off on Wednesday (Oct. 19) and Thursday (Oct. 20) with both games slated for a 6 p.m. start. The teams will have an off day on Friday and Saturday and game four of the Fall World Series will be played on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Fall World Series will then conclude next week with three games, beginning Tuesday (Oct. 25) at 6 p.m. The teams will then play on Wednesday (Oct. 26) at 6 p.m. and the finale will be contested on Friday (Oct. 28) at 2:30 p.m.

As mentioned above, Mizzou head coach Tim Jamieson has split the team into two separate teams for the Fall World Series. The Gold Team will be managed by assistant coach Kerrick Jackson while graduate assistant Travis Wendte will serve as the team's pitching coach. Volunteer assistant Hunter Mense will be an assistant coach with the Gold Team. . .

Friday, October 14, 2011

2011 Mizzou Recruit: Michael McGraw, SS/RHP

Michael McGraw, SS/RHP
Michael McGraw, SS/RHP
6'3", 195 lb, R/R
Bossier Parish Community College, LA
Newnan HS (GA)

2009 HS Stats:  .547 BA , 55 AB, 9 HR, 37 RBI, 22 SB, .640 OB%. 1.018% Slg

2010 HS Stats:  .516 BA, 10 HRs

2011 College stats:  .323 BA, 50 G, 161 AB, 11 2B, 2 3B, 39 R, 43 RBI

2009-2010 Georgia Academy Travel Team – Peachtree City, GA

♦ Honors and Evaluations
  • Perfect Game’s (PG) Rating: 9
  • Tier "A" Player – Top D1 Prospect (Under Armour)
  • Under Armour All-American 2008 2009
  • All-State 2007 2008 2009
  • All-Region 2007 2008 2009
  • All-County 2007 2008 2009 2010
  • Baseball Factory 3 Time Selection as "Top Prospect" & "Player of the Week"
  • 2007  Community Service Award
  • McGraw 2008 & 2009 Slugger Award
♦ Pro Scouting Reports:
  • 1/15/ 2010 - World Showcase Perfect Game - Michael McGraw Newnan Georgia MIF/RHP, 6'3', 185 lb. McGraw has a tall athletic build frame with very good bat speed, ball jumps off the bat hard, good balance at contact, shows strength/lift in swing, shows power potential, leverage in swing, plus raw hitting tools. - Perfect Game

  • 10/25/2009 – “McGraw shows as a top prospect at the next level and was the best player at the event. Outstanding arm strength, his throw displays life, carry, and accuracy across the diamond as he makes all the throws from all angles. Hands are smooth, soft, and clean in making all the plays with his hands and feet working well together through the fielding and throwing process. At the plate, bat speed is present through a level swing path as he shows a feel for the barrel with baseball jumping off his bat. Projects best at SS where he has the makings to be a special type player. – Under Armour Scouts. “Michael is tall and athletic; he shows best at SS with great range and has future projection with above average tools. Defensive abilities are outstanding and will play quickly at the next level. At the plate, hitting abilities continue to shine with above average ability”. – Baseball Factory

  • 10/22/2008 - Arizona Junior Fall Classic – “McGraw has the makings to be a special type player at the collegiate level” – Under Armour Scouts

  • 7/5/2008 – Michael McGraw is a solid Top Prospect with some two-way potential at the college level. – Baseball Factory

  • 7/ 8/2008 - Michael McGraw is an athletic middle infielder with soft hands, who plays through the ball. He turns the double play and gets the slow roller with little effort. Everything works in the infield. “He is a talented young player and he should impress a lot of people”. - “Team One South”

MU in the Majors: Mizzou proud of Kinsler, Scherzer

Mizzou coach proud of Kinsler, Scherzer (mlb.com)
Tim Jamieson's feelings won't match the internal tug-of-war Yvonne and Manny Upton were in position for this offseason -- that parental confusion that BJ and Justin Upton's mother and father were in store for if both their children had made the World Series.

But for Jamieson, to see two of his former players compete for a chance to play on baseball's biggest stage, one at the plate and the other on the mound, the emotion can't be too disparate.

Jamieson, the long-time head coach at the University of Missouri, was there when Max Scherzer's fastball first transformed into the upper-90s weapon that allowed him to once-upon-a-time out-pitch a collegiate Joba Chamberlain, the fastball that's helped carry him and the Tigers to the American League Championship Series. He was there, too, when the Rangers' Ian Kinsler launched a mammoth home run over the Left Field Lounge -- a tailgate area that sits beyond the fence at Mississippi State -- proof positive for the critics that Kinsler didn't lack for power, even if his frame lacked in size.

Max Scherzer, Doug Fister might give Tigers edge in dramatic ALCS (detroitsportssite.com)
In case you are a Tigers fan looking for something to make you feel better about your team’s chances in Games 6 and 7 at Texas, this might help: Derek Holland and Colby Lewis, the Rangers’ probable starters in those games, were worse — far worse — at home than they were on the road in 2011.

If there was one spot where Detroit looked to have a possible edge in this increasingly-tight ALCS series, it was in the starting rotation. It’s that slight advantage that has to give the Tigers some hope heading into this weekend.

Holland, you might remember, made it just 2 2/3 innings against Detroit in Game 2 of this series — a game that just happened to be at Rangers Ballpark — and was yanked down 3-2, after a Ryan Raburn home run. His opponent in Game 2, Max Scherzer, turned in a quality start that day, going six innings.
Unsung hero: Kinsler makes ace work (espn.com)
A couple of Ian Kinsler at-bats had something to do with the Rangers’ win over the Tigers rolling over into Sunday.

Kinsler set a tough tone for Tigers ace Justin Verlander, the assumed Cy Young winner, by battling for eight pitches to draw a walk as the leadoff man in the bottom of the first. The 30-30 man took the first five pitches, fouled off a couple of 97-mph fastball and watched Verlander finally miss with another heater.
Kinsler personifies the way Rangers roll (nationalpost.com)
“Yes, we’re capable of hitting the long ball,” Kinsler said. “But we’re also capable of stealing bases, moving guys around, bunting, doing a lot of things. Basically, any way there is to score runs, we’re capable of it. And as far as pitching goes, we’re completely different than we were in the past.”

All of which means they are better than the team that went to the World Series a year ago, Kinsler believes.

Mizzou Baseball raises $12,496 for Joplin Little League

Mizzou Baseball Raises $12,496 for Joplin Little Leagues (komu.com)
Mizzou baseball raised $12,496 for the Joplin, Missouri Little Leagues with its Joplin Relief Games against Iowa over the weekend. The baseball program partnered with Daniel Boone Little League, the Diamond Council, BC Baseball and The Callaway Bank to create a welcoming atmosphere for fans at Taylor Stadium. Large crowds packed the stands and helped raise the money, which will go directly to helping Joplin Little League rebuild its fields, which were ravaged by a tornado on May 22, 2011.
Missouri Baseball steals win over Iowa (Columbia Missourian)
Brown helped lead the Tigers in their 9-1 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday, but more importantly he tested out a new style of base running.

His new technique is entertaining.

He shuffles back and forth, sharp on his toes, gracefully yet playfully moving on every pitch.

"People ask me, 'What are you doing out there? Are you dancing?'" Brown said, laughing at his own depiction. "My teammates are just all over me about it."

But there’s a reason for Brown’s new dance.
MU, Iowa pitch in for Joplin (Columbia Tribune)
“It means a lot just to go out there and do something that’s really outside of ourselves,” senior catcher Ben Turner said. “Most of us don’t even know anybody from down there … but it’s something that we want to be able to do just to help them out. The devastation, it left you speechless looking at it.”
Missouri baseball Superfan likes to be heard (Columbia Missourian)
During games, Wyatt likes to stick with the basic chants. He makes fun of certain situations and sometimes picks on individual players. He claims that each year, on the fly, he will come up with a special one-liner that cracks the stadium up.

“For the most part, I feel like I know everything that he’s going to say,” Turner laughs. “Maybe if he breaks out some new material, I might lose it a little bit. But I think for the most part we all know what to expect from him.”

Some of Wyatt’s chants are cheesy, while others are creative, but you can always guarantee they will not be offensive.

“I know where the lines are. I’m loud, and I fully admit it. I’m one of the loudest people around,” Wyatt said.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mizzou in the Minors: 2011 in Review

Brett Nicholas, Spokane Indians
CLASS AAA

♦ Brock Bond (06-07): Fresno Grizzlies (Pacific Coast League) San Francisco Giants organization
  • Brock suffered a concussion in a Grizzlies game in early May and was on the disabled list the rest of the season.
♦ Evan Frey (05-07) Reno Aces (AAA Pacific Coast League) Arizona Diamondbacks organization
Frey was promoted from AA Mobile on 5/4.  
♦ Kyle Gibson (07-09: Rochester Red Wings (Independent League) Minnesota Twins organization
Gibson's last game was July 22nd.  He underwent Tommy John surgery in September
Andrew Johnston
Colorado SkySox
♦ Andrew Johnston (05): Colorado Springs SkySox (Pacific Coast League) Colorado Rockies organization.
Johnston was placed on the Reserved list for 10 days in June.  He struggled in 2011, posting a 8.29 ERA
CLASS AA

♦ Justin James (02-03): AAA Nashville Sounds (International League) Milwaukee Brewers organization
James was moved down from Nashville to the GCL Brewers (rookie Gulf Coast League) on 8/13, then up to the AA Huntsville Stars on 8/21, and finally back up to AAA Nashville at the beginning of September.
♦ Ryan Lollis (06-09) Richmond Flying Squirrels (Eastern League) San Francisco Giants organization
Lollis played for the High-A San Jose Giants for 14 games early in the season, then spent most of the year with the Augusta GreenJackets (South Atlantic League); promoted to Double-A on September 1st. 
 Lollis was named the GreenJackets' Player of the Month for June.

CLASS A

♦ Tyler Clark (08-10): West Michigan Whitecaps (Midwest League) Detroit Tigers organization
Promoted from the Gulf Coast League Tigers (Gulf Coast League) on 8/19.  His ERA improved from 3.71 in the Rookie League to 2.89 in the Low-A Midwest League.
 ♦ Trevor Coleman (07-09): High Desert Mavericks (California League) Seattle Mariners organization
Coleman was briefly promoted to the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers (Pacific League) for a couple of weeks at the beginning of July to fill an organizational need for a catcher.
♦ Zach Hardoin (10-11) Gulf Coast League Astros (Gulf Coast League) Houston Astros organization
Hardoin had a 4.70 ERA in 15-1/3 innings of middle relief.
♦ Mike Liberto (09-10) Wilmington Blue Rocks (Carolina League) Kansas City Royals organization
Liberto played 15 games with the Low-A Kane County Cougars at the beginning of the season, then played 26 games with the Rookie League Idaho Falls Chukars (Pioneer League) until he was promoted August 8th to Wilmington.  Liberto led the Chukars in playing five different defensive positions, including second base, shortstop, third base, first base and even an inning on the mound as a pitcher.
♦ Phil McCormick (08-11) Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (Northwest League) SF Giants organization
McCormick spent the summer pitching middle and set-up relief, a role he had become quite familiar with at Mizzou.  He continued his success, posting a 1.23 ERA in 19-1/3 innings pitched - good enough to get him a brief end-of-the-season promotion to the Augusta Greenjackets.
• Phil McCormick, added to the Augusta roster a day earlier, celebrated his 23rd birthday by stranding the runners with a strikeout and a line-drive double play to kill the threat.

“I figured they sent me to Augusta for a reason,” said McCormick, who arrived too late to make the regular season roster and wasn’t sure if he would actually see any playing time until the GreenJackets clinched a playoff spot on the final day.

“I was prepared for this type of situation. That was my role in college, and I know how to come in and settle things down.” (Augusta Chronicle, 9/7)
♦ Brett Nicholas (10) Spokane Indians (Northwest League) Seattle Mariners organization
Nicholas was a leader on the Indians team this season (Nicholas knows How to Lead, MLB.com), posting a .277 BA and .451 Slugging %.  He's almost certain to be moved up in 2012 - whether to Hickory or High-A Myrtle Beach remains to be seen.  A good catcher is always valued by an organization.    Video of Brett Nicholas HR
♦ Aaron Senne (07-10) spent the 2011 season on the disabled list (Elbow surgery impedes progress of Senne, Columbia Tribune).  He was listed on the roster of the Jamestown Jammers (New York-Penn League) Florida Marlins organization, but never played a game.

Matt Stites (11) Eugene Emeralds (Northwest League) San Diego Padres organization
"While Rea was great and Quackenbush is only slightly against the rules, Stites deserves some attention for the dominant year he had out of the pen. A 17th-round pick out of Mizzou, the righty allowed only 23 runners in 32.2 innings of work for a better WHIP than Quackenbush. The move to the pen also led to a 36:8 strikeout-to-walk ratio, a better K-rate than he had shown in college." (madfriars.com)
Nick Tepesch
Hickory Crawdads
♦ Nick Tepesch (08-10) Hickory Crawdads (Southern Atlantic League) Texas Rangers organization
Tepesch had a good year with Hickory: 7-5 4.03 ERA.  At times he was spectacular on the mound, grabbing a lot of attention.  He'll almost certainly move up to High-A Myrtle Beach for 2012, where he'll have to prove he can continue to be productive and occasionally spectacular at the next highest level.  If he shines at High-A, he could even find himself at AA Frisco at some point in 2012.
♦ Rick Zagone (06-08): Frederick Keys (High-A Carolina League) Baltimore Orioles organization
After 19  appearances with the AA Bowie Bay Sox (4-6, 4.84 ERA), on August 5th Zagone was moved back down to the High-A Frederick Keys (4-2, 2.97 ERA), a team he has spent parts of the past three seasons with.  At the end of his 4th season in the minor leagues, even Rick has to be wondering if he's become a minor league fixture, just waiting for the Orioles organization to decide they need his spot for someone else.  The best thing that could happen for him now would be a trade or a release and then to be picked up by a different organization, where he can make a last try at breaking out of that mold.

INDEPENDENT LEAGUES


♦ Brad Buehler (08-11) Gateway Grizzlies (Frontier League) 
Buehler was released from the Grizzlies on 6/25
♦ Andy Shipman (03) Kansas City T-Bones (American Association)
32 games, 31-1/3 innings, 11 saves
♦ Doug Mathis (05): Joined the Samsung Lions in Korea in mid-July.


MINOR LEAGUE COACHING

♦ Landon Brandes (2000): Minor League Strength and Conditioning Coordinator, Washington Nationals

♦ Torre Tyson (95-98): Minor League Defensive Coordinator, NY Yankees

♦ Jayce Tingler (00-03) Texas Rangers' Director of Instruction for the Dominican and Arizona Leagues.


If you have further information about any of these players, or corrections to my info, please e-mail me at simmonsfield@hotmail.com

Friday, October 7, 2011

Joplin Relief Games

Supporting Joplin (espn.com)
Iowa and Missouri are playing a pair of scrimmage games Oct. 8 and 9 with all the proceeds going to support the rebuilding of the little league program in Joplin, Mo. Joplin was ripped in May by a powerful EF5 tornado, which had estimated winds of more than 200 mph. For those who can't make it out to the games, you can make donations to the Missouri Disaster Relief here.
MU Baseball hosts Iowas for Joplin fundraiser (lostfriendlypaer.wordpress.com)
While fans will see a pair of regular nine-inning games, the two contests against Iowa have added significance to the Tiger players and coaches. Mizzou’s athletes want to reward the crowd with a special experience, since the fans’ money will go toward disaster relief. The message Jamieson and his squad want to send is that while the national media may have reduced its coverage of Joplin, the Tigers understand that the rebuilding process is far from over.

“The people of Joplin have been through a lot since May,” Jamieson said. “We want to let them know that we are still keeping their relief efforts in our thoughts.”
Missouri baseball team holds exhibition for Joplin relief (Columbia Missourian)
The first fundraiser game is at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. The second is set for 1 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $5 with all proceeds going to the Joplin Little League. A raffle and auction are also planned
Mizzou Baseball Joplin benefit update (diamoncouncil.net)
Diamond Council’s Columbia Kaos 9u Boys competitive team, coached by Joshua Hill, will represent DC at the MU/IA game. Come out and support the Tigers and Joplin Little League! Hope to see you at the game.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tim Jamieson talks about Joplin Fund Raiser games

Tim Jamieson was on KFRU's "The Closers" this afternoon to talk about this weekend's series with Iowa.

Some details:
  • Because this is an actual inter-collegiate series, they have to be careful who plays. An appearance in these games would eliminate eligibility to "red-shirt".

  • On the other hand, while these games do count against the total 56 allowed games, the stats and win-loss record do NOT count against the 2012 season

  • There will be lots of additional activities going on at the ballpark before and during the games

  • These will be wood bat games
And one last detail, reported by the radio hosts:
 There will be beer available at these games.

Conference Hokey-Pokey™: TCU jumps to Big 12

TCU headed to Big 12; Implications for Mizzou unclear (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Reflecting the fluid dynamics of realignment, Texas Christian on Thursday is poised to join the Big 12 before it ever made good on a commitment to leave the Mountain West for the Big East next year.

A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed it Thursday, and multiple news reports indicated Big 12 chancellors and presidents voted in the morning to accept TCU and that the deal would be finalized shortly.
This news doesn't really surprise me.  The Big 12 has been scrambling to add teams, and probably hopes the timing of this move will lure MU back into the fold.


Whatever happens, here's a repeat of my post from a few weeks ago about how TCU fits into the Big 12 in terms of Baseball:

♦ Texas Christian University has been mentioned frequently as a possible candidate for Big 12 membership. It's location (Forth Worth, TX) in the heart of Big 12 country makes it seem a natural, and yet that also means they don't really bring much to the table in terms of additional marketplace footprint.

TCU Asst. Coach
Tony Vitello
TCU has been doing well in football, winning conference championships 5 times since 200 - in three different conferences. Yes, TCU has been a serious conference-hopper over the last couple of decades. They've given people every reason to believe they're not averse to jumping to a better deal when it comes along.

But what we care about here at SimmonsField.com is baseball.
  • The Horned Frogs have been a consistent contender during the 200s, and have been getting even better over the past few years. Ranked 127th in RPI (boydsworld.com) in 200, they were 20th in 2011; resulting in atruly impressive average RPI ranking of 22nd over the past 12 years.
    2011 20th
    2010 17th
    2009 13th
    2008 34th
    2007 34th
    2006 76th
    2005 32nd
    2004 40th
    2003 69th
    2002 47th
    2001 92nd
    2000 127th
  • TCU currently has former Tiger player and assistant coach Tony Vitello on their coaching staff, which would be interesting. Of course, that would be only a short-lived friendly rivalry, since Tony V is likely to move on to a head coaching position somewhere within a few short years.
Boone Pickens wants TCU (NewOK.com)
“If I was running the conference, I'd quickly go to TCU,” Pickens told The Oklahoman. The Oklahoma State benefactor, who has deep ties to the state of Texas, worked to keep A&M in the conference but failed.

TCU, which last season went 13-0 and won the Rose Bowl, is leaving the Mountain West Conference and will join the Big East next season.

The Horned Frogs naturally would prefer to be in the Big 12, but Pickens said, “I don't think OU or Texas either one wants 'em.”

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Conference Hokey-Pokey™: SEC Baseball vs. Big 12 Baseball

A few statistics to make you think.

Also, cast your meaningless vote on the poll at left.

♦ 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.
  • The Big 12 has sent 15 teams to the College World Series since 1997.  Texas has been to Omaha 7 times (since '96), Nebraska 3 times, Texas A&M 2 times, and Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State once each.
♦ 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.
  • Big 12 teams have won 2 national championships of the last 15 national championships, both by Texas (2002, 2005)
♦ 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 Big 12 has sent 5 of its 10 baseball-participating schools to the College World Series since 1997 - Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas A&M

♦ The SEC has had an NCAA-high 11 different teams compete in the 58-year history of the College World Series. In those appearances, the conference has registered a 111-112 record, a 49.8 winning percentage.

  • The Big 12 has had 9 different teams compete in the 58-year history of the College World Series:    Texas (35), Oklahoma State (19), Oklahoma (10), Missouri (6), Texas A&M (6), Nebraska (3), Baylor (3), Iowa State (2), Kansas (1), 

♦ Since 1990, 28 SEC squads have posted 50+ wins, while 107 have won 40+ games in a season, including seven in 2010.

  • Since 1997, 12 Big 12 squads have posted 50+ wins, while 54 have posted 40+ games in a season.

♦ Sources:

Conference Hokey-Pokey™: What About Kansas ? (re-post)

This is a rerun: Bumped up to the top of the page because it bears repeating:

In all the hoopla and hypotheticals and hysteria over the impending doom of conference realignment, one thing that keeps getting shoved to the side is the relationship between Mizzou and Kansas.

The Border War. The Border Showdown. The Border Hoe-Down. Whatever they're calling it these days.

The MU-KU rivalry ranks right up there with the other great sports rivalries. UND-Duke. Michigan-Ohio State. Yankees-Red Sox. Cards-Cubs. Kewpies-Jays. (I threw that last one in for Larry.)

In all this conference realignment talk, some scenarios have KU going with the Pac-16 while MU goes with the SEC or Big Ten. Nobody seems to think the Big Ten or SEC would want Kansas. KU's football program seems to be the drawback to their attractiveness to a potential new conference, even though they have one of the premier basketball draws in the NCAA (as much as it pains me to admit it).

Mizzou fans' reactions to the possibility of MU and KU being split to different conferences have tended to run along two lines, with a minority third:

  • "I hate Kansas! I hope they get left out in the cold!"

    This is an understandable reaction. MU fans hatred for the Jayhawks can be pretty extreme sometimes. But I think we'd miss having them to around to despise.
  • "We can still schedule plenty of non-conference games with KU!"

    This is true, although logistically something will get in the way eventually. If the Jayhawk football program doesn't improve, scheduling them as a non-conference game won't help MU's ranking any. And I'm not sure how long the home-ad-away series would continue for basketball. And if you skip one year, the next year it's easier to skip. And so on.
  • "We have to stay with Kansas".

    I haven't heard this one much. It's surprising to me, since every time you read a mention of what Oklahoma plans to do, there's always another sentence tacked on: And wherever OU goes, they'll take OSU with them. I suppose MU doesn't have the clout of OU to make something like that happen. It certainly makes no sense to risk Mizzou's future by making any deal dependent on letting KU tag along. (Jayhawk fans would be incensed to think they need the Tigers to give them any help in this.)

Of course, here at SimmonsField.com, we always look at every question from the most important perspective: How will this affect MU Baseball?

Kansas is not currently and doesn't look like its's going to be a big powerhouse in NCAA Baseball. Adding them as a non-conference opponent each year is not going to drag down the RPI, and it's not going to help the RPI much.

But the annual MU-KU match at Kauffman Stadium and the every-other-year home-and away weekend series are both among the best audience draws both teams get each year. Continuing to schedule both of those annual match-ups as non-conference rivals would still be a good idea - much better than another midweek game against SIU-Edwardsville or a weekend series vs. another East Podunk State.

I'd have to put myself somewhere between response 2 and 3 above. Bringing along KU with us to a new conference cannot be a deal breaker. There are ways to maintain that rivalry out of conference. Other rivalries manage to do that (e.g., Notre Dame-USC).

But it would be a shame to not do what we can to keep the rivalry in conference. It adds an extra level of importance to the rivalry, beyond the need to destroy the hated Jayhawks.

Even if we end up in the Baseball Hell of the Big Ten, taking Kansas there with us would make it a little more bearable.

Mizzou in the Majors: Kinsler & Rangers win ALDS

♦ Quotes from mlb.com:
Ian Kinsler also hit a home run on the second pitch of the game from Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. They led the rest of the way and are returning to the ALCS for the second straight year.

"It's unbelievable," Kinsler said. "We've fought all year. To get back to the ALCS, get a chance to defend our title and go back to the World Series, that's what we wanted all year."
. . .
The Rangers, after winning three of four from the Rays, now await the winner of the other ALDS between the Tigers and the Yankees. The Yankees won, 10-1, on Tuesday night to force Game 5 in New York on Thursday night. If the Tigers [with former MU Tiger Max Scherzer] win the series, the Rangers will host them for Game 1 of the ALCS on Saturday night in Arlington with C.J. Wilson expected to be on the mound. If the Yankees win, Game 1 will be at Yankee Stadium.

The Rangers will be in New York on Saturday if the Yankees come back to beat the Tigers. The Rangers beat the Yankees in six games in the ALCS last season.

"Anybody you play in the playoffs is going to be tough," Kinsler said.
♦ Kinsler was 4-for-16 (.250 BA) with 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI in the ALDS.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mizzou Baseball: Word on the Tweet

♦ You MUST check out this new Twitter feed:  https://twitter.com/#!/TJsKnee

♦ @MUTigerBaseball: Check out the auction items available for this weekend's @MUTigerBaseball Joplin Relief Games. Proceeds go to Joplin. >> http://mutigers.cstvauctions.com/gallery.cfm?cat_id=1

Mizzou in the Majors: Post-Season

♦ From Twitter:

@Ian_OConnor: Bigger upset? Max Scherzer no-hitting the Yankees in the new place or Max Schmeling beating Joe Louis in the old place (1st fight)?

Max Scherzer relaxes - then takes it to the max (Detroit Free Press)
Scherzer had a strategy.

"You can't really focus on the ballpark, per se," he said. "I was more focused on the quality of their hitters and making sure I was executing pitches throughout the whole night."

He was so locked in that he didn't give up a hit until the sixth, when Robinson Cano struck a one-out flare into shallow leftfield. Asked whether he was aware of his no-hit performance to that point, Scherzer said, "Yeah. I think once you get through the third inning, that's when ... you can see there's a zero in that spot. That's the fun part of baseball and the fun part of pitching."
Max Scherzer's no-hit bid gives Tigers a lift (Detroit News)
Nobody could've imagined this — not with Scherzer being forced to pitch on the road rather than at home, where this season his ERA was nearly a run-and-a-half better.

Scherzer mixed his pitches nicely and moved in and out, up and down, to near-perfection.

The biggest out he got, no doubt, came in the first inning. After getting the first two Yankees, he walked Robinson Cano on four pitches, then Alex Rodriguez on five, then started 3-0 to Mark Teixeira. It could've been a disaster from the get-go for Scherzer, but two pitches later he got Teixeira to pop up weakly to second and cruised from there.
Ian Kinsler sets the table for Rangers (espn.com)
"What are those people saying now?" Washington said late last week. "Look at all the runs he's scored. Look at the production. That's why I never moved him out of the No. 1 spot. Nobody could convince me to move him out of the No. 1 spot. And nobody will convince me to move him out of the No. 1 spot. You see what he's doing. He's been tremendous for us in that leadoff role."

And he's already had an impact in the ALDS. Kinsler, who worked out with his teammates at Tropicana Field on Sunday as preparation for Monday's Game 3 in a series that is even through two games, provided a critical hit late in Saturday's Game 2. The Rangers led 5-3 in the sixth inning when Kinsler delivered two insurance runs. He went the other way for a double and steamed into second base, loudly clapping his hands.

"Any time you can get a hit like that and give our pitchers some breathing room, you're going to be excited," Kinsler said shortly after the game.

Online Auction for Mizzou Baseball Benefit for Joplin Little League

Have you checked out the online auction going on for this weekend's Joplin Little League Benefit? There are several very interesting and unique opportunities

You can bid on the opportunity to actively participate in this weekend's games:

  • Pre-Game Line-up Exchange
  • Join the Ground Crew for Field Prep
  • Reserve the Press-Box level suite
  • Guest Public Address Announcer/ KTGR Color Analyst !!!
  • Bat Boy/Bat Girl