Tuesday, July 31, 2012

SxSE: Baton Rouge, LA

The South by Southeast road trip rolls into Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the home of LSU Tigers Baseball.

♦ Baton Rouge is the 10th closest SEC town to Columbia, 772 miles away (223 air miles).  LSU is in the SEC West Division. 

♦ There is an active New Orleans-Baton Rouge Chapter of the Mizzou Alumni Association

Fun Facts about Baton Rouge, the home of Louisiana State University
  • 2010 Population: 229,553 (city); metro area: 802,484
    • Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, approximately 200,000 displaced refugees flocked to Baton Rouge.  Many of them have stayed, as indicated by the jump in the metropolitan area population from 602,894 in 2000 to 802,484 in 2010.

  • Baton Rouge is French for red stick, which would be merely odd if the true story wasn't disgustingly gross.
  • On March 17, 1699 Pierre Le Moyne Sieur d'Iberville, while exploring the Lower Mississippi River, saw on a bluff a pole decorated with bleeding heads of animals and fishes. Iberville then wrote “Baton Rouge” on his chart (French for 'red stick'). It is commonly believed that the pole marked a boundary between two Indian tribes, the Houma to the north and the Bayougoula to the south. (Historical Baton Rouge)
  • A deer hunter checked his deer stand camera in the woods near Baton Rouge in 2010 and found a photo of an eerie alien creature.  "The hunter hopes its a vegetarian, if he runs into it in the woods again." (Story and photo at wdtn.com)
James Carville
LSU alum
♦ There are 6 Chik-fil-a locations in Baton Rouge

Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College is the actual official name of the school. For obvious reasons, they generally refer to it as simply Louisiana State University. Or, more often, just LSU.  According to RockMNation's Better Know an Opponent: LSU, "So, right off the bat, we can’t trust LSU. They’re not even forthcoming with their own name. That’d be like if I came up to you and said, "Hey, my name is Walter," only my name is not Walter, and yet here I am, starting our relationship with an untruth. Would you trust anything else that came out of my mouth?"

♦ Not sure what it says about Baton Rouge (or about me) that the most interesting blog I found relating to the city is Abandoned Baton Rouge, full of photos of the parts of "Red Stick" that are, well, abandoned and falling down.  Some great pictures.  The blog is actually itself appropriately abandoned and no longer updated.

♦ Some of you may be much more interested in The BR Beer Scene.
The tap canoe that we put together was probably the biggest hit of the festival, but even with all the taps numbered, the homebrew sign, and the two big signs listing all the beers, the tap handles still confused some (probably drunk) festival goers. At least once I was asked to pour someone a Dos Equis, and I had to explain that it wasn't Dos Equis beer, just a tap handle! And I definitely recall pouring someone a "Blue Moon" that shocked them when it didn't taste at all like the Blue Moon they were used to. Oops! That said, the set up could not have gone better, and the weather was outstanding. I'm already looking forward to next year, we might even need a bigger boat.
♦ Be sure to peruse The SEC Guide to LSU's Home Turf for ideas on where to go and what to do between games:
First, if you are looking for a spot or two close to campus, check out the Chimes on Highland at Dalrymple or WalkOn's at the corner of Burbank and Nicholson (opened by a couple of former LSU basketball walk-ons). Second, if you're in the night before and want to try a great steakhouse, check out Fleming's on Corporate Blvd or Mansur's.Third, if you make it to BR, make sure you head to Mike the Tiger's habitat before the game. Pay homage to one of the most well-cared-for animals in the country (the LSU vet school is on call 24/7 for Mike).
HolyTurf.com's SEC Bucket List:  Baton Rouge
#46 Louie's Cafe:
A Baton Rouge staple since 1941, Louie’s Cafe is a 24/7 diner that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner around the clock. It’s the perfect place for students to find something to eat after late nights studying (and other evening activities) or if they are just looking for a great meal during the day. The old school diner set-up offers a bit of nostalgia of days past, and at times it can get pretty packed late at night with students returning from the bars around campus.

#52 Walk-On's Bistreaux: Walk-Ons Bistreaux and Bar has three locations, but the 3838 Burbank location is just outside Tiger Stadium. Walk-Ons was started by LSU basketball walk-ons Jack Warner and Brandon Landry. The atmosphere at Walk-Ons is second to none with large TVs all over the place, tons of Tiger fans, and attractive waitresses.

Monday, July 30, 2012

2013 Missouri Baseball Recruit: Jake Ring, CF/LHP

@prepbaseball: IL: ** BREAKING** Jake Ring, a LHH OF from Grant HS, commits to Missouri. Ring joins Getzelman in Missouri's class, both top prospects in IL

Jake Ring, OF/LHP
6'0"; 175 lb; L/L
Grant HS (Fox Lake, IL - suburban Chicago)

2012 Stats: .455 BA, 50 R, 46 H, 28 SB, 29 RBI, 9 2B, 4 3B, 1 HR, 39 BB
  • 2012 All North Suburban Conference
  • 2012 All Lake County
  • 2012 Grant HS Team MVP
  • 2012 All Area
  • 2012 All State 3rd Team

Broke the school record with 40 SB in 2011.

I'm told Ring can do a backward flip from the ground.

Prep Baseball Report profile (prepbaseballreport.com)
Ring proved to be one of the top outfielders in the Class of 2013, showing well in all facets of the game. Standing at 6-foot, 175-pounds, Ring is one of the most athletic players in his class, running an event best 6.60 60. Ring continued to show his athletic ability in the field, getting excellent reads off the bat and taking precise routes to the baseball. He showcased an accurate arm (87 mph) from the outfield that showed solid carry and ride. Offensively, Ring has an easy left-handed approach with an active lower half. He has a quiet overall approach, and looks to be a top-level leadoff type hitter. . .

Ranked number 19 in PBR's Illinois rankings for the class of 2013 . . .
Grant's Jake
Ring excels in the art of basestealing (Daily Herald, 3/30/12)
There are a lot of things Jake Ring wants to do in life.

Becoming the best thief in Illinois state history is at the top of his list right now.
. . .
After rolling up 40 stolen bases in about 16 games to break Grant’s single-season steals record last year, he’s looking to take on the IHSA state record book this year.
. . .
“All I have to do is keep getting on (base). Once I’m on, I’m going to get steals,” said Ring, Grant’s super-efficient leadoff hitter. “I’m confident I can steal on anyone.”
Prospectwatch page for Jake Ring

2013 Missouri Baseball Recruit: Cole Bartlett, RHP/SS

Cole Bartlett jumps at the chance to play at MU

Cole Bartlett, RHP/SS
6'2", 170 lb, R/R
Hagerstown HS, IN

@cole_bartlett06: I will be playing my college baseball at the University of Missouri. #tigers

@prepbaseball: IN: Cole Bartlett from Hagerstown made his college choice tonight. The right handed pitcher will be headed to Missouri.

Bartlett led the Tigers to an outright Tri-Eastern Conference title with a school-record 99 strikeouts, while also batting .475 with 35 RBIs. (pal-item.com)

2011 Pitching Stats: 59 IP, 45 H, 25 ER, 84 K, 37 BB, 7-3 W-L, 3.43 ERA
2011 Offense: .474 BA, 25 RBI, 4 HR

Prep Baseball Report profile (prepbaseballreport.com)
Bartlett is a 6’2”, 170 lb. junior. Bartlett shows a very projectable frame. He throws from a high ¾ arm slot with a fastball sitting at 84-87 mph. He shows an 11/5 curveball with late action at 69-71 mph. His changeup shows good movement with arm side run at 72-73 mph. Mid 80s arm also plays SS

2013 Underclass Spotlight: Cole Bartlett (prepbaseballreport.com, 3/26/12)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors & Minors: Fantasy Tiger All-Star Team

I was checking out the progress of our You Make the Call poll over in the left-hand column of this page, seeing who is in the lead as the current Minor League MU Alum most likely to make it to the Show.

Ryan Lollis, Tiger All-Star Outfielder

And it occurred to me how great that list would look all together on a Tigers All-Star roster. Check it out. I've included the Tigers' Major League alums as well.

C: Ben Turner, Trevor Coleman
1B: Aaron Senne
2B: Ian Kinsler, Brock Bond
SS: Eric Garcia, Mike Liberto
3B: Brett Nicholas (inserted at third due to the lack of any 3rd basemen to choose from)
OF: Blake Brown, Evan Frey, Ryan Lollis, Hunter Mense

Starting Rotation:
Max Scherzer
Kyle Gibson
Nick Tepesch
Doug Mathis
Rick Zagone
Tyler Clark
Aaron Crow
Zach Hardoin
Blake Holovach
James Hudelson
Andrew Johnston
Phil McCormick
Closer: Matt Stites

I'll let you build a starting batting order out of that list.

Play Ball!

Evan Frey, Tiger All-Star Outfielder

SEC Fan's Guide to Mizzou Baseball: 1954 National Champions

1954 CWS Champion MU Tigers
Missouri Tiger Baseball in 1954 was quite different from the modern version in many ways.

Most notably, there was no Simmons Field, not to mention Taylor Stadium. Simmons was the name of the Head Coach - John "Hi" Simmons - and his team played their home games at Rollins Field, in the heart of the campus. The field was located, logically, on Rollins Road, near the still-standing Brewer Field House. As is apparent from the photos on this page (taken during the 1954 season), Rollins Field lacked some of the amenities now available at modern Taylor Stadium.

The Tigers played a 20-game regular-season schedule, including 12 games against Big Seven Conference rivals (Iowa State, Kansas State, Colorado, Oklahoma, Nebraska -- MU and Kansas did not meet on the diamond that year, due to a rain-out). They then advanced directly to the College World Series, where they played just six games against five opponents on their way to the national championship.

Norm Stewart
University of Missouri Freshmen did not play on the varsity baseball team in those days. The entire roster listing for the '54 Tigers includes only 20 players, compared to 33 ballplayers in '03.

One of the players on that roster was sophomore pitcher Norm Stewart.  Stormin' Norman is better known as the long-time coach of Missouri Basketball, but back then he was a two-sport player.  HE even threw MU's first no-hitter in

For a detailed retelling of the 1954 College World Series Championship season, check out the day-by-day game-by-game recreation of that season I did here on SimmonsField.com back in 2004, on the 50th anniversary.

SEC Baseball Fan's Guide to
Mizzou Baseball
♦ Former Tigers reflect on 1954 national title. (Columbia Tribune, Wednesday, June 16, 2004)
"Certainly nobody would have ever said this would be the only NCAA championship Missouri would ever win in a true team sport in the history of the university," said [Dick] Dickinson, one of three seniors on the ’54 team. "There were some great teams later on in the ’50s and ’60s, but nobody ever did it again. It’s really incredible."
"Some ballclubs just seem to find out how to win," said [Norm] Stewart, a sophomore pitcher for the ’54 team. "And everything seems to go well for them in critical situations. … Coach Simmons, if he wasn’t the best coach during that time … then he was one of the top two or three coaches in the country. You take the coaching and those unique players, and everything else seemed to fall in place. It was a loose group, and nobody ever thought about losing a game."
George Gleason caught and batted fifth. After a prolific week in Omaha, he was voted the team MVP.
"Our catcher was exceptional at understanding baseball and calling pitches," Stewart said. "He was a very good hitter, too."
"We just had the right blend," [Emil] Kammer said. "We had a couple seniors to keep us in line because we were always doing something crazy. But I think it was just one of those years."
"As they say, a lot of times a person can’t panic if he doesn’t realize his position," Stewart said. "The seniors and some of the older guys, they kept it serious enough. The young guys, we just figured we’ll just go out and play."
"It was a better diamond than Wrigley Field, which I played on as a kid in some all-star games," Dickinson said of Omaha’s Rosenblatt Stadium. "I told the guys on the bus, ‘If we make errors on this diamond, we ought to be thrown off the team.’ I think we made three errors in six games. They ask me what I hit in the College World Series, and I say, ‘Nevermind that. I was 33 for 33 in the field.’ "
Stewart said he doesn’t even remember any of the players’ parents attending the World Series games.
"Heck, my parents didn’t even know I went out for baseball," he said.
The team will be honored again this fall, marking the 50th anniversary, during the football team’s opening weekend Sept. 3. Two players, Bob Schoonmaker and Eldon Morgan have died, but 16 of the remaining 18 players have committed to attending the reunion.
"It’s going to be a great weekend for a lot of great guys," Stewart said.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mizzou Baseball Diaspora: Mathis to Japan

PawSox pitchers Duckworth, Mathis opt to leave team for Japan (Woonsocket Call)
With the countdown at just over five weeks remaining in the 2012 campaign for the Pawtucket Red Sox, pitchers Brandon Duckworth and Doug Mathis decided to set in motion a specific stipulation that allows them to seek employment on the other side of the world in Japan.
. . .
Asked if there was a confluence of factors that led to Duckworth and Mathis packing their bags and heading for Japan, Crockett answered, “I don’t exactly know what the motivation was, but it’s something they wanted to do and were certainly within their rights to do that.”

It’s believed that Duckworth and Mathis asked for their releases independent of one another. Japan’s regular season concludes on Friday, October 5, meaning the two will be afforded an additional month to pitch and collect a paycheck. The International League season concludes on Labor Day with playoffs lasting almost two weeks.

The seeds for the departure of two pitchers who were mainstays in Pawtucket’s rotation were first planted last Friday when the 29-year-old Mathis was placed on the temporary inactive list retroactive to July 18. Duckworth, 36, followed a similar course of action two days after Mathis’ removal from the active roster, his move retroactive to July 21.

Mizzou Baseball Diaspora: Summertime


Dodgers win second straight Metro Collegiates crown (St. Louis Post Dispatch)
Scott Sommerfeld has been on a pretty good run the past couple of months.

The Parkway South graduate helped the Mizzou baseball team win the Big 12 postseason tournament and earn an NCAA Tournament bid in May.

On Monday, he went 4-for-4 at the plate and had the game-winning RBI as the Dodgers beat the Knights 4-3 to claim their second consecutive St. Louis Metro Collegiate Baseball League title. The Dodgers swept the best-of-five series in three games.

“It was pretty exciting to win the Big 12 this year and, then, winning this, was kind of surreal as far as winning two in the same year,” Sommerfeld said. . .

Gems walk off with win, inch closer to first-place Terre Haute (Quincy Herald Whig)
"It's a game late in the season, and we have to gain ground on Terre Haute," Nick Moore said.

Moore, with an assist from Aaron Priestes, sparked Quincy to a 13-12 walk-off win over the Sliders. Moore went 4 for 5 with two home runs and four RBI, and Priestes singled home the winning run with no outs and the bases loaded in the ninth.


Ryan Lollis has moved up from the High-A San Jose giants to the AAA Fresno Grizzlies. He is hitting .295 in 12 games there.


Tigers' Max Scherzer collects himself, earns 10th win of season (Detroit Free Press)
So he fired a 97 m.p.h. fastball for a strike. And another.

And then Scherzer reached back for a 99 m.p.h. heater that caught the corner and left Hafner tossing his bat in frustration.

“I’ve always done that,” he said about keeping some speed in reserve. “My best fastball can come at any time.”

And it came, Hafner went and Scherzer retired the Indians in order in the seventh for good measure.


Alec Rash prepares to head to Missouri (Des Moines Register)
The entire season, the hard-throwing pitcher from ADM has dealt with attention on and off the field.

Rash, a second round draft choice by the Philadelphia Phillies, was the talk of the sport after he turned down an offer from the Phillies in July.

Rash, who has been clocked in the mid 90s, has committed to play baseball at Missouri where he’ll head on August 15.

“He’s grown leaps and bounces from where he was younger,” ADM coach Mitch Krumwiede said. “He’s progressed like h should.” . . .

Thursday, July 26, 2012

SxSE: Texas A&M Aggie Baseball 1894-2012

The Aggies are currently an NCAA Regional program (meaning the program can be expected to at least reach the NCAA Regionals each year, possibly farther).  The Aggies average season record over the past 10 years has been 40-21.

The Aggies have been playing baseball since 1894.

Seventeen different head coaches led A&M baseball from 1904 to 1958, with up and down results.  Prior to 1958 A&M claimed seven Southwest Conference titles, and made their first trip to the College World Series in 1951.

Tom Chandler was the head coach from 1959 to 1984, leading the Aggies to 5 Southwest Conference championships.  He compiled a record of 660-329-10 in 26 years.  Olsen Field was built during his tenure, opening in 1978.

Chandler led the Aggies to the College World Series in 1964 (Mizzou was the runner-up that year).

Mark Johnson coached the Aggies from 1985 to 2005.  He led the Aggies to the College World Series in 1993 and 1999

Rob Childress has been the head coach since 2006.  Childress has led the Aggies to 2 Big 12 championships and to the College World Series in 2011.

Notable Aggie Baseball ballplayers
Aggie Flashback: Reflections from A&M Legend Wally Moon (TexAgs.com)
Moon, who has long resided in Bryan with his wife, didn’t really consider himself as a power hitter. Yet, he blasted legendary, transfixing homers that captured fans’ imaginations and have never been forgotten.

Playing against TCU in 1950, for example, Moon strolled to the plate in the rickety old baseball stadium that once backed up to Kyle Field and launched the most monstrous hit in Aggie memoirs. The ball cleared the outfield fence and kept rising. It cleared the top of the first deck—the only deck of the football stadium at that time—and continued traveling over the seats, crossing the older cinder track.

When it finally came to a rest, former A&M track coach Andy Anderson picked the ball up near midfield of the football playing surface. Not even Moon is sure about the total distance it traveled, and witnesses of the colossal crunch seem leery about estimating, fearing a guess would fail to do it justice. Anderson’s conservative estimate was that it landed at least 470 feet from home plate. Others claim it traveled was at least 500 before “touchdown.”
The 2012 Aggies

Texas A&M posted a 43-18 record, 16-8 in the Big 12.  They hosted a Regional in 2012, which they lost, going 1-2, eliminated by thier Big 12 "replacement", TCU.

Early end to A&M's season is sad for many reasons (TexAgs.com)
Two weeks ago, Texas A&M sat on the edge of the discussion to host a super regional. That seemed like a faraway dream on Sunday afternoon, after it completed a rapid fall from its own regional with a 10-2 loss to TCU, ending the year at 43-18.
. . .
At some point, this Aggie lineup just got broken. There was no danger, no swagger, no threat of coming back from a real deficit. It's a fact made all the more shocking by the way A&M swept Oklahoma State, coming back twice in the ninth inning and scoring a total of 18 runs in three games. It's easy to point to the Missouri game in the Big 12 Tournament, when a mediocre starter named Blake Holovach figured out how to shut the Aggies down with a changeup and a bit of location.
♦ From AgTimes.com message board, June 3, 2012:
Rob's boys deliver the coup de grace . . .on a singularly forgettable year in Aggie sports.

All of the signs of implosion were there for months, and Rob's boys finally put all of the pieces together, in a manner of speaking. They got kicked in the mouth and didn't even bother to look up from the mat.

I know that Aggie sports is known for underachievement and disappointment, but guys, you have to give Big Mike (preseason top 10), Billy K (preseason top 25), and Rob (preaseason top 10) some credit. They delivered the absolute worst year in Aggie men's sports that I can remember in a LONG time.

Not exactly headed to the SEC in a position of strength, that is for sure.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

2013 Mizzou Baseball Recruit: OF Jordan Getzelman

@JordanGetz25: Just made my commitment to the University of Missouri to play baseball #sothankful #blessed #thankstoeveryone!

Jordan Getzelman, OF
Prairie Ridge HS (IL)
6'2", 195 lb, R/R

2012 Stats: .396 BA; 9 HR; 28 RBI; 42 R; 42 H; 12 SB

2011 Stats: .459 BA, 9 2B; 7 HR, 29 RBI

Illinois All-State 2nd Team 2012

Northwest Herald All-Area 1st Team, 2011 & 2012

@prepbaseball (Prep Baseball Report in Twitter): IL: Jordan Getzelman, a 2013 athletic OF from Prairie Ridge HS, commits to Missouri. Getzelman is the No. 3-ranked player in Illinois.

Prairie Ridge’s Getzelman commits to Missouri, left with tough decision (McHenry County Sports)
Getzelman, a two-time Northwest Herald All-Area first-team selection, committed to Missouri on Sunday and will play on a baseball scholarship. The Tigers, under longtime coach Tim Jamieson, are moving to the rugged Southeastern Conference this year.
. . .
“The thing that drew me in most [to Missouri] was I liked the people in the program,” Getzelman said. “It’s a great program and they’re moving to the SEC, which is intriguing as well. Going to places like South Carolina and LSU will be tough, but I look forward to that as a competitor and a person.”
. . .
Former Prairie Ridge left-handed pitcher Rick Zagone, a 2005 graduate, also played for Jamieson at Missouri. Zagone now pitches in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization. . .

Updated and Expanded Class of 2013 Rankings (Prep Baseball Report, 7/10/12)
As is the case every year at this time, there are many prospects who have seen their stocks skyrocket during the chaotic recruiting months. Perhaps the biggest winner during the spring and summer is Prairie Ridge OF Jordan Getzelman, who earned PBR second-team All-State honors in the spring, and followed it up with a big-time June showing. Getzelman, who’s now ranked No. 3 overall in the class, possesses the rare combination of speed (6.6) and power (9 homers in the spring).

SxSE: Texas A&M Coach Rob Childress

♦ Recruiting footprint:  Based on recent rosters, Childress tends to recruit almost exclusively from Texas, with random players from MO and Arizona.

Rob Childress and his baseball philosophy from InsidePitching.com:
  • “I would say that I am pretty simple in my expectations of our staffs and our pitchers. As a staff, I expect us to lead the league in fewest amount of walks per 9 innings. That is our one and only goal. The other stats that people look at and think are sexy will take care of themselves such as wins, strikeouts and ERA if we can focus on our one goal as a staff.”
  • “We will emphasize the fact that we will outcompete the other pitcher and the other staff. Everything we do with our guys from the first day they show up is a competition and I mean everything. . . There is always something on the line in everything we do and there is always a winner and there is always a loser. There is a price to pay for both. We try to teach our guys to hate losing a lot more than they enjoy winning.” 
  • “As a pitching coach, keep things simple and do not over coach the delivery. Keep things simple for the kids and allow them to go out and pitch to their strengths and grow and develop a little on their own. A lot of guys create so many thoughts in pitchers heads that they forget the key to pitching is throwing strikes, changing speeds and competing.” 
Q&A: Chatting with Rob Childress (PerfectGame.org, 4/2012)
One thing you'd change about college baseball ... what is it?

CHILDRESS: It would probably be something to do with the scholarships. The number of scholarships we're allowed to give would be one of them. Another would be to fix some of the grey areas of financial aid around the country. For instance, there are a lot of schools out there not truly dealing with 11.7 scholarships, but essentially more because of different rules in different states. I think all schools should be on equal footing in this regard.

As a coach, which figures in your baseball career have had the greatest impact on your career?

CHILDRESS: You want to talk about inspirations on me as a coach, there are three people: Steve Marrs, my high school coach at Harmony High School (he's now at Pine Tree HS in Longview, Texas) is one. Another is the coach that gave me my first coaching job at this level, and that's Pat Malcheski at Northwood University. Finally, you can put Dave Van Horn (Arkansas) on that list, too.
Coach instills blue-collar mentality (The Battalion)
When you stand by Aggie head baseball coach Rob Childress, there is a silence about him, yet his message is communicated loud and clear.

“His message is to take one game at a time, because you never know when your last game is going to be,” said senior starting pitcher Ross Stripling. “Coach said to us, ‘What if this was your last game? Play with a fire,’ and I think this team has embodied that.”

For a student-athlete going through the grind of a 56-game baseball season, the brevity of a college career is sometimes overlooked, but Childress’ philosophy cements the foundation of hustle and hard work that has built his team.

“I stress effort and attitude and those are the only two things. We’re going to out hustle you and out compete you from when the first pitch is thrown,” Childress said. “If we do that, the scoreboard will take care of itself.”

Childress has been the Aggies’ head ball coach since 2005. He preaches strong pitching, defense and aggressive base running. While other programs recruit flashy student-athletes, Childress said he looks for athletes who will fit his system.

“None of our players were premiere recruits. We recruited kind of in our image, blue collar, hard-nosed guys, and they’re told that on their visit. When you come here, it will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done but it will be the most rewarding,” Childress said.
. . .
“I think with everything, the character of the coach and what the coach stands for comes out through their team, through their play and coach Childress is a prime example of that. The way our guys play, they play hard, they play aggressive, but they are very consistent,” assistant coach Justin Seely said. “His personality comes out through our team and that’s why we continue to plug along and persevere.”

In a society that accepts disingenuous answers as sufficient, Childress still abides by a give-it-to-you-straight, no-nonsense attitude. Childress motivates and pushes his players in order to reach their potential because he’s developed trust in the group.

“When we talk to recruits we always say a couple of things about him. He’s the best man you know. He’s the best man I know. He is the most honest man I know,” said associate head coach Andy Sawyers. “In athletics when you have egos, agendas, people want to play… honesty from the man in charge is a very important trait and that is what I believe sets him apart from everyone else.”

Sunday, July 22, 2012

SEC Fan's Guide to Mizzou Baseball: John "Hi" Simmons and the glory days of MU Baseball

John Hi Simmons
Since 1937, Missouri baseball has had only three coaches:
  • 1937-1973: John "Hi" Simmons (481-294-3; .621)
  • 1974-1994: Gene McArtor (733-430-3; .630)
  • 1995-Present: Tim Jamieson (604-442-2; .576)
Hi Simmons was hired as an assistant football coach by legendary MU Football Coach Don Faurot, and then moved into the job of baseball coach.

Simmons began coaching at a time when college baseball had virtually no standing in the consciousness of sports fans or the media.  The teams of his first decade played in an era when the typical full season's schedule ranged from 12 to 16 games, with no post-season at all.  During that time, Coach Simmons led his teams to four Big Six Conference championships.

From 1947 through 1967, Simmons' teams won seven conference titles in the Big 7 and Big 8, and finished 2nd seven times.  He took the team deep into the post-season six of those years.
  • 1952 College World Series runner-up
  • 1954 College World Series Champions
  • 1958 College World Series runner-up
  • 1962 College World Series 0-2
  • 1963 College World Series 2-2
  • 1964 College World Series runner-up
Simmons' two greatest teams played in 1954 and 1964.  

The 1954 team pitched and hit its way all the way to the College World Series, then fought its way through the losers bracket to win the championship game.

The 1964 fell one victory short of that championship ring, but along the way it distinguished itself by posting what still stands as the all time lowest team ERA in NCAA history:  0.65

SEC Baseball Fan's Guide to
Mizzou Baseball
Beyond the victories, the true legacy of Coach Simmons is his impact on building the Missouri Baseball program and on the development of College Baseball toward national attention.  Much is said about key coaches in the 70s and 80s who brought NCAA Baseball into the modern age and toward greater popularity and exposure.

But those champions of the game were building on the shoulders of men like John Simmons, who slowly dragged the college game out of the shadows of being a glorified club sport into a true intercollegiate sport, from strictly regional schedules of a dozen or so games to a national schedule of 50 and 60+ games.  He helped move the sport from no postseason to the beginnings of a playoff system leading to an annual dynamic College World Series.

Simmons did a turn as president of the American Baseball Coaches Association.  He spoke out and fought for greater respect from the Major Leagues and a more equitable draft and signing system.

The Tigers' ballpark is known as Taylor Stadium at Simmons Field (and thus the name of this blog).

John Hi Simmons passed away in 1995.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mizzou Baseball Diaspora: The Dream


EASports44 (Eric Anderson), 7/18: Big day for me! The arm brace is officially retired! Baby steps to a healthy arm and a chance to contribute in the spring


♦ According to the Braves' website, Eric Garcia was moved from the Danville Braves down to the Gulf Coast League Braves this week.   Also, Zach Hardoin was released this week by the Astros organization.

♦ According to McCovey Chronicles, as of July 14:
With multiple hits in six of his last eight games, plus 6 BB in that time span, he has improved his season line to .345/.427/.414 through 203 AB. After just one steal attempt in his first 59 games, he made two steal attempts last night.

PRIME CUTS: Liberty products Irvine, Mense catch on with T-Bones (Liberty Tribune)
Apparently there’s a connection between living on Nashua Road and becoming a successful baseball player.

Lucas Irvine and Hunter Mense grew up on the same street in Liberty. They both played baseball for Blue Jays. After they graduated from Liberty High School — Mense in 2003 and Irvine in 2007 — both went on to play in college and were eventually selected in the MLB draft. Both tinkered in the minor leagues. And now the two Liberty High School products have found a home playing professionally with the Kansas City T-Bones, a member of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. . .


Deadline Winners & Losers: College Edition (Baseball America)
Rash, who can run his heavy fastball up to 95 mph and his power slider up to 83, figures to be the next great power pitching prospect to come out of Missouri, following in the footsteps of Max Scherzer, Aaron Crow and Kyle Gibson. . .

SxSE: Gig 'em Aggies

Blue Bell Park at Olsen Field
  • Capacity: 7.053
  • Opened: Olsen Field opened 1978; complete renovation named Blue Bell Park opened 2012
  • Named after: Pat Olsen, former Aggie ballplayer, and Blue Bell Creameries, an Ice cream company
Aggie Traiditions
  •  Corp of Cadets: Texas A&M is one of only three schools with a full-time Corps of Cadets program leading to commissions in all branches of military service -- Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. It has a tradition of providing more trained officers to our nation's armed forces than come from any other military school.
  • Gig 'Em:  At a yell practice before the 1930 TCU game, A&M board of regent Pinky Downs '06 shouted, "What are we going to do to those Horned Frogs?" His muse did not fail him as he improvised, borrowing a term from frog hunting. "Gig 'em, Aggies!" he said as he made a fist with his thumb extended straight up. And with that the first hand sign in the Southwest Conference came into being. [trrip note:  I doubt that last sentence]
Raggin': Aggie hecklers find home at Olsen (The Battalion)
"The regulars are considered Raggies," said Stephen Chesney, a senior political science major. "It's not like the Reed Rowdies where there is actual membership. We don't make T-shirts or anything like that."

Chesney said Raggie lore suggests the heckling began in 1980 with a small group that sat on the first row of the student section usually reserved for the oldest Raggie members. Admittance to the front row is considered an honor, Chesney said.

"It's suffocating. (Opposing teams) can say whatever they want, but the Raggies, they create the home field environment for Olsen Field," said Texas A&M Baseball head coach Rob Childress.
Let's get loud (The Battalion)
It is Tuesday night at a Texas A&M baseball game, and the Sam Houston State coach is approaching the pitcher's mound. Suddenly, a resounding yell is heard throughout Olsen Field, "Touch his butt!" 
The Aggie fans are taking part in one of the A&M traditions found at baseball games. The yell continues throughout the conversation on the pitcher's mound, and if the request is not met, it is followed by a resounding "Tease!" 
Video Tour of Blue Bell Park (youtube.com)


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mizzou Baseball Diaspora: Odysseus

Garrett Broshuis, former pitcher / current writer,
with the cunning of Odysseus

♦ Good analysis by former Mizzou Baseball pitcher Garrett Broshuis in Beware MLB, NCAA Joint Venture (Baseball America)
Bud Selig may not have the cunning of Odysseus, but he and his braintrust are not idiots. Baseball's commissioner is entrusted to act "in the best interests of baseball," which really means acting in the best interests of baseball's owners. As a former player and current advocate of minor league players' rights, you can understand my trepidation upon hearing the announcement that MLB is interested in somehow "partnering" with the NCAA to sponsor more college baseball scholarships. . .


Missouri baseball player builds bond with summer host family (Columbia Missourian)
With two full-time baseball players in the house, Richard McGannon splits his free time attending his son’s and Ivory’s games. He said getting to watch Ivory play is one of the most rewarding parts of being a host parent. However, McGannon gets the most enjoyment watching Ivory and Matthew play together.

After watching last week’s MLB Home Run Derby, the McGannons hosted a contest of their own. Richard McGannon pulled out a pitching machine and some yellow Nerf balls. Under the moonlight, Matthew and Ivory spent hours bombing balls over the tall maple trees in their front yard. With the family dogs, Rocky and Kayla, retrieving the balls, they tested each other and competed to see who could hit their ball farthest past the playhouse.

“It’s been a great experience, and I see myself keeping in contact with them for a long time to come,” Ivory said.


Scherzer's Unique Season (Baseball Prospectus)
To date, Scherzer has won eight games, but he has a 4.84 ERA and a 3.80 FIP. And this is despite the fact that his current strikeout rate of 11.0 is well above his career rate of 9.0 and his K/BB of 3.6 is a strong step up from the 3.1 ratio posted last season. It is unknown if (and perhaps unlikely that) Scherzer can maintain these rates across a full season, but if he does, he will join some rather elite company. . .


Former Raven Blake Holovach Off To Fast Start in Pro Career (Coffeyville.edu)
Holovach was assigned to the Mariners rookie league team in Pulaski, Va. In Holovach's first five games, he has not allowed an earned run in eight innings. Holovach has allowed five hits, walked three and has struck out seven in the first three weeks of his pro career.


Mizzou Football, not baseball, but I'll bet Odysseus couldn't do this:

SxSE: College Station, TX

The second stop on our South by Southeast tour of the SEC is College Station, Texas, the home of the Texas A&M Aggies.  This place looks strangely familiar.  Turns out the Tigers have been here before!!!

♦ College Station is the 11th closest SEC town to Columbia, 779 miles away (618 air miles).  Texas A&M is in the SEC West Division. 

Fun facts about College Station, TX:
  • 2010 population: 94.347 (city); College Station/Bryan metro area: 212,268
  • In 1860 the Houston and Texas Central Railway built through the area, stopping just short of Bryan until after the Civil War. In 1871 the site was chosen as the home of the new Texas Agriculture and Mechanical College. Students riding the train would be let off at the "college station" instead of stopping in Bryan. When a post office for the university was opened in 1877 near the tracks, it took the name of College Station. It was not until 1938 that the town was finally incorporated as College Station, Texas. (from Wikipedia, so it must be true)

  • College Station was ranked #54 on the Sporting News Best Sports Cities list.  Columbia is #60.
♦ College Station is the home of Disaster City
Located in College Station, Texas, this 52-acre training facility is situated adjacent to the world-renowned Brayton Fire Training Field and delivers the full array of skills and techniques needed by today’s emergency response professionals.

Created by the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), a member of the Texas A&M System, the mock community features full-scale, collapsible structures designed to simulate various levels of disaster and wreckage which can be customized for the specific training needs of any group.
Lyle Lovett
Famous Aggie
♦ There are 6 chick-fil-a locations in College Station/Bryan

22 must-dos in College Station (22inc.blogspot.com)
#20 Aggie Ally:  Aggie Ally is the perfect place to tailgate and enjoy an A&M baseball game. This place is located behind left field and is so much fun. Who needs to watch the jumbotron when you can sit right next to it with all your friends? People pull up their trucks, listen to music, bring some food and cold beer and enjoy the game.

#16 Ring Dunk: A&M takes much pride in the Aggie Ring. After completing 95 hours at A&M, each student is eligible to receive their long awaited ring. There is much pride that comes along with it, which makes the ring dunk experience very interesting.

Basically, after the honor of receiving the Aggie Ring, people place their golden pride in the bottom of a pitcher of beer and chug. Yes, I said it, chug. Sound ridiculous yet? Well, it is.

#4 Lanes: There is basically only one thing on the menu... Chicken Fingers. You can get the chicken finger basket with cole slaw, french fries, and texas toast (you can replace and add the extras as you please). Sounds like a pretty normal chicken basket until you add THE SPECIAL SAUCE!!!!! Nothing beats it. This basket will change your life. 
Aggie Bucket List (The Battalion)
3. Paint your entire body blue for a free meal at Blue Baker: Going to Blue Baker painted completely blue could lead to getting free food. Exemplifying "sheer blue craziness" is worth a free Big Blue Combo, or a nine-inch pizza. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mizzou Baseball Diaspora: Phil @ ASG, More Rash Words, Minor Showdown & a Panegyric

This is the picture I found when I googled panegyric.
It has nothing to do with Max Scherzer or Mizzou Baseball.


Daily Notes: Largely a Panegyric to Max Scherzer (fangraphs.com)
...It’s possible that the author would take some interest in Scherzer, owing to how he (i.e. Max Scherzer) has posted a 4.72 ERA but only a 3.72 FIP and only a 3.28 xFIP and then only a 3.08 SIERA — that last figure representing the fourth-best such mark among the league’s 97 qualified starters...


♦ The first match up between the Danville Braves of Blake Brown and Eric Garcia vs. the Pulaski Mariners of Blake Holovach turned out to be not so great for all three recently drafted Tigers:

D-Braves Sink Mariners, Sail to 2-1 Win (milb.com)
Entering tonight's game, Pulaski Mariners starter Blake Holovach hadn't allowed an earned run all season. But the D-Braves broke that streak Saturday night. The Braves scored two runs on seven hits to defeat the Mariners 2-1 in the first game of this three game series at American Legion Post 325 Field.
Blake Brown went 0-for-4 in the game; Garcia did not play.

Covering the Bases: Trevor Coleman (tbonesbaseball.com)
T-Bones catcher Trevor Coleman often makes trips to the mound during the game to talk to pitchers. But what do they talk about? In the latest installment of “Covering the Bases,” Coleman explains his three basics for talking to a pitcher during a game.

1. Know the pitcher

“A lot of talking to the pitcher is knowing the pitcher and knowing how he’s going to react to what you’re going to say. There are different personalities within the pitching staff. Some guys might need motivation, some guys need you to calm them down, and some guys may need you to slow them down because the game gets going a little quick for them...


Bradley on ASG: "boarderline overwhelming" (KXL.com)
Former MLB All-Star and current MLB Players Association employee Phil Bradley joined the Bald Faced Truth with John Canzano to share some of his memories of the game. He started his career at the young age of twenty four with the Seattle Mariners. Bradley would go on to be one of only two players in Mariners franchise history to record a career batting average of over .300 (the second player being Ichiro Suzuki). In the first night game ever played at Wrigley Field, Bradley blasted the first home run ever seen in the dark at the Cubs historic venue. The Home Run would later be for nothing as the game got rained out and no winner was decided.

Click HERE for AUDIO of the interview


Top prospect Rash declines MLB contracts, opts for Missouri (The Maneater)
Negotiations between Rash and Philadelphia never panned out, though. According to a report from the Des Moines Register, Rash’s family asked for an $800,000 signing bonus, but the Phillies could only offer $500,000 and $120,000 for college.

“That was way below where we valued his college experience,” Rash’s father, Mike, said in the report.

Alec Rash, out of Adel-Desoto-Minburn High School where he also played football and basketball, stands 6 feet, 5 inches and has a pitch arsenal featuring a fastball that has been marked at 95 miles per hour. Rash’s MLB.com draft profile describes him as “very athletic, but still very raw, more of a project who will have to work on his mechanics and improve his command.”
Signing deadline passes; Rash headed to Missouri (Columbia Tribune)
Mike Rash said the family requested $800,000 during negotiations. He said the Phillies countered with an offer of $500,000 plus $120,000 for college.

"That was way below where we valued his college experience," Rash's father said.

Rash said the family met with officials from the Phillies four times.
Phils officially cut ties with second-round pick (csnphilly.com)
Assistant general manager Marti Wolever said he wasn’t “overly disappointed” about not getting a deal done with Rash, a 6-5 righthander.

“We’ll get an extra second-rounder next year,” he said. “We liked [Rash], but he didn’t pitch well this summer. We made a fair offer. He’s going to school.”

SEC Fan's Guide to Mizzou Baseball: Mizzou Baseball Roots

1891 Missouri State Tigers
"Intercollegiate athletics [at Mizzou] dated back to 1873, when a university team played baseball with Westminster College. The game created wide interest, and each spring thereafter the varsity baseball team challenged teams from nearby towns."  (James and Vera Solson, The University of Missouri: An Illustrated History)

"The baseball game with Westminster was an annual affair; on one occasion the Columbia nine arrived in such hilarious mood that they were held under arrest until they identified themselves. They lost the game.....But the story really begins with the organization of the Missouri university Athletic Association in September, 1886, and the appointments of committees to organize two baseball nines and two football elevens. Any real development belongs to the nineties. It is interesting to note that in 1886 the faculty at studeny request named officially the colors of the University. After really serious consideration the faculty settled on crimson and gold."  (Jonas Viles, The University of Missouri: A Centennial History, 1839-1939)

Finding detailed and accurate information on Missouri Baseball prior to 1900 is difficult. The Columbia Daily Tribune, the primary newspaper in Columbia during the 20th centruy, was not in existence until 1902.

Other newspapers came and went during the prior century, and records for those journals are incomplete and sometimes inaccessible.  I have been able to find some records in a late 19th century campus newspaper titled the MSU Independent. (Note that in those days the school was commonly referred to as Missouri State University).

Advertisement from the
MSU Independent, 1886
Baseball (MSU Independent, 2/8/1886)
On the 30th of January last there was a meeting of quite a number of baseball enthusiasts held in the Engineering building for the purpose of considering what plans should be laid for the coming baseball season. A committee composed of Professor Place, C. E. Dewey, and J. H. Lay was chosen to solicit aid from all University students in order that the baseball team might be fully equipped in the spring.
This year the chances are very favorable for establishing baseball on a firm basis, and if this could once be accomplished those that are in position to know, say, that baseball would then be entirely self-sustaining.

It is very evident that this year the Athletic Association is not able to assist baseball and it is for this reason that it was decided to ask the help of the students by subscription. Something like $100.00 will be needed to fully equip the team.

We must have a team placed in the field early this year and one that is able to meet all comers. Challenges fiom Michigan University. Rush Medical College of Chicago, and from a college in Illinois have already been received, and now that we have an athletic field we probably could get Kansas to attempt to retrieve her shattered fortunes in a contest on the diamond.

It all depends upon the start; it is early now, but not too early for work. Wake up, everybody. Sign your name to the subscription paper when presented for whatever amount you feel able to give, and the success of the baseball season is assured.
Local News (MSU Independent, 4/17/1887)
The Missouri-Kansas baseball match to be played on Rollins field, the afternoon of May 6th will be the star game of the season. Both teams are looking forward to the game as the struggle of the year.

Missouri has a better team on the diamond this spring than has been known for years. The Kansas team ranks in baseball where her football team does in its department. Our boys expect to hold up our end, and we are confident will make an excellent showing.
Since the game is to occur in the afternoon of the day of the interstate contest, the visitors will all have arrived, and. of course, will attend. Society will be out in full force, and with an exciting game in anticipation, the the event will certainly be of unusual interest.
The Athletic Field (MSU Independent, 4/8/1899)
The Board of Curators has ordered that the athletic field be placed in good order; Messrs. Rollins and Rothwell being placed in charge of the work. A new layer of cinders is being placed on the straightaway track, and the same will be done for the one-four- th mile circular track. It is to be hoped that the committee in charge will see that the base ball field is fixed up, as it is the poorest excuse for a diamond that could possibly be found. It needs a layer of soil placed on the infield so as to avoid the uneveness which at present causes water to stand around first and second bases.
SEC Baseball Fan's Guide to
Mizzou Baseball
For anyone who would like to read more about the early years of Mizzou Baseball, there are several posts here at SimmonsField.com on the subject.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Mizzou Baseball Recruit Alec Rash interview: "Done deal"

****  UPDATE 4:30 PM Friday, 7/13 -  The signing deadline has passed and Alec Rash has not signed a contract with the Phillies.  He will be a Missouri Tiger.

Alec Rash was interviewed yesterday on AM 1700 The Champ (ESPN affiliate in Des Moines)  AUDIO HERE
  • Is there still a chance you'll sign with the Phillies?  All the negotiations have come to an end.

  • You like to do the long toss from foul pole to foul pole.  Was that an issue with the Phillies or with Missouri?   Missouri is 100% all in with long toss, and that made my decision easier.

  • Was it about the money?  It's not about the money, but it really is...My number was $800,000 and they knew that from the beginning. I just felt like that was what it would take to take me away from the great college experience and playing in the SEC and all that.

  • What about playing against the higher competition in the SEC?  I made my commitment before they came to the SEC. When I heard that, I was fine with that. The reason I wanted to play for the Big 12 is because that was a great conference and the reason I chose Mizzou is because its close to home. And now that they're going to the SEC its a better conference and I'm going to be playing against better opponents and its just a great opportunity for me to get better.

  • What are some parts of your game you expect to be working on at Mizzou?  I'm going to work on overall conditioning of my arm, more arm strength. And a change up .. I think with a change up I could be a million times more effective.

  • What do you say to people when they ask  how you could turn down all that money?  I tell them that I believe in myself and in what I'm doing and what Missouri's going to do for me, and I'm going to walk away with a lot more money than that in three years

  • You had a couple of losses down the stretch this season.  Were you distracted?  When the draft came along I was really distracted from my training.  I'm a really strict long toss guy and I missed a good two weeks of that.

  • Can we safely say there's a zero per cent chance a surprise is going to come up before the deadline?  Is it a done deal?  Done deal

Mizzou Baseball Diaspora: Gibby Good, Senne Hot

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Righthander Kyle Gibson, on the comeback trail following Tommy John surgery last year, pitched a scoreless inning on Tuesday for the Twins rookie team in the Gulf Coast League. In 15 pitches, he got a groundout, issued a walk then got an inning-ending double play. It was his first game action since July 22 of last year.
Gibson's fastball was measured at 91-94 miles an hour.

Kyle Gibson pitches first inning since surgery (Twin Cities Pioneer Press)
Kyle Gibson, the Minnesota Twins' 2009 first-round draft pick, pitched his first competitive inning Tuesday, July 10, since having ligament replacement surgery and reported feeling well.

"He felt good before, during and after the outing," assistant general manager Rob Antony said in an email.
Right-hander back on track (Greenfield Reporter)
Not since Gibson, 24, began playing tee-ball had he been away from the field for such an extended period.

“Being out of the game for a year, I can’t really say it was nice, because it’s never fun to not be able to do the thing that you love, but I was still being around the guys and being around the game, and that was good,” said Gibson, who threw 15 pitches in his rehab start Tuesday in the Gulf Coast League, facing the minimum three hitters in his one inning of work. “I think being able to do the rehab here at the spring training facility and knowing a lot of the guys that I’m doing rehab with made it go by a lot faster.”
Gibson strong in first post-surgery outing (Columbia Tribune)
Grasshoppers' rally falls short (Greensboro News-Record)
Worth noting: Left fielder Aaron Senne continued his hot hitting, going 2-for-4 with an RBI to raise his average to .316. He is hitting .368 (14-for-38) in his last 10 games.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

SEC Baseball: USC's Ray Tanner moves from Coach to AD

Ray Tanner to become South Carolina AD (AP/SI)
The Gamecocks' two-time national champion baseball coach Ray Tanner will be South Carolina's next athletic director, said a person familiar with the move.
Tanner is expected to be introduced Friday, the person told The Associated Press Thursday on condition of anonymity because the school has not publically announced the hire.

Tanner To Become South Carolina AD; Holbrook To Be Head Coach (Baseball America)
Tanner has long believed that coaching has a shelf life, and his desire to eventually move over to the AD's chair was no secret. When Eric Hyman vacated that seat to become the new AD at Texas A&M, it seemed like a perfect time for Tanner to make the transition. He has already shown a knack for fund-raising and administrative planning, playing a key role in South Carolina's move to a new $36 million ballpark in 2009.

And it helps that South Carolina has the ideal successor waiting in the wings in Holbrook, perhaps college baseball's best recruiter.

2012 MU Baseball Recruit: Breckin Williams, OF/SS/RHP

@BreckinW: It's official I'm goin to Mizzou, with my boys @A_Tribby14 @Sullrich15, ready to be in the SEC. ‪#excited‬ ‪#blessed‬

Breckin Williams
6'1", 185 lb, S/R
Webb City HS (MO)

2012 Offense: .371 BA, 25 R, .526 OBP

2012 Pitching: 6-0, 1.84 ERA, 66 K, 49 IP

♦ 2012 All-Ozarks (Springfield News-Leader)

Breckin Williams (Prep Baseball Report)
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound athletically gifted Williams pounded the ball from both the right and left side of the plate, showing a combination of power and finesse. In the OF, Williams showed quick and athletic movements to the ball, showing off a plus, accurate arm (82mph) with carry. Williams also showed to be a sure handed SS, with soft hands and following the ball into the glove every time, Williams has a quick release and fired 79mph across the diamond. Williams also showed some speed with a 7.12 in the 60.

Class of 2012 Spotlight: Webb City Standout Breckin Williams (Prep Baseball Report)
As one of the top uncommitted seniors in the Class of 2012, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Breckin Williams (ranked No. 10 in the PBR Class of 2012) has established himself as a versatile player, who can make an impact in the outfield, at shortstop, and on the mound; as well as a leader in the middle of the lineup. Williams will be the undisputed leader of the Webb City HS baseball team this spring. He is an athlete in every sense of the word, a standout quarterback, point guard, and player who is makes an difference both on and off the baseball field.

Breckin Williams signs to play baseball at Missouri (Joplin Globe)
Williams signed a letter of intent with the University of Missouri of the Southeastern Conference on Monday night.

“I didn’t have the spring season I really wanted,” Williams said. “It motivated me for the summer.

“The summer has gone really well,” Williams said. “I caught my stride and I’ve been hitting and throwing well.”

SxSE: Arkansas Baseball 1897-2012

The Razorbacks are currently a Super Regional baseball program. They have reached a level where most seasons they are expected to at least reach a Super Regional - and occasionally beyond.  The Gators' average season record over the past 10 seasons is 41-22.

Arkansas has been playing baseball since 1897, and played continuously, with little success, until the baseball program was shut down in 1930.  During that time, the team was usually coached by the Arkansas football coach.

In 1947 the baseball program was revived, coached by Razorback athletic trainer Bill Ferrell.  He only produced 139-149 record during his 16 years, but he built up interest in Razorbacks baseball.

Norm Debryin became head coach in 1970.  Under his direction Arkansas baseball began playing again in the Southwest Conference.  He took them to the NCAA postseason for the first time in 1973, and took them to the College World Series for the first time in 1979, where they finished as the runner-up to the champion Cal State-Fullerton (coached by Augie Garrido).

Debryin went on to a career 1161-650-6 record from 1970 through 2002. He took the team to the NCAA Tournament in 1973, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2002, and to the College World Series in 1979, 1985, 1987 and 1989.  He oversaw the construction of George Cole Field (1975), and then its replacement, Baum Stadium (1996)

Dave Van Horn was hired in 2003.  The Razorbacks have been to the NCAA Tournament 11 straight season, the last 10 of those under Van Horn. He has taken them to the College World Series 2 times, in 2004, 2009 and 2012.

In 2007, the Razorbacks became the first team in NCAA history to average more than 8,000 tickets sold per game. The actual attendance average was 6,007 per game, a school record.

A few notable Razorback alums
♦ Links to Arkansas Baseball history details at HogNation.com

♦ Learn some Arkansas Razorbacks Baseball history and details about Baum Stadium from RexNelsonSouthernFried.com:
When Norm DeBriyn agreed to take charge of the Razorback baseball program in December 1969, few people other than the players paid attention. The stadium was at the old Washington County Fairgrounds. There were rocks in the infield, holes in the outfield and broken boards in the fence.

The team didn’t even have a full-time coach.

DeBriyn moved his squad from that cow pasture to George Cole Field in 1975. With financial assistance from former star players Kevin McReynolds, Johnny Ray and Tim Lollar, lights were added in 1985, making it possible to host the Southwest Conference Tournament for the first time.

The Razorbacks were 567-142-2 at George Cole Field.

With the construction of Baum Stadium in time for the 1996 season, Razorback baseball advanced to the next level. Without Baum Stadium, it’s doubtful that Dave Van Horn would have left his job as head coach at Nebraska to replace DeBriyn at Arkansas.
Razorback Baseball in 2012

♦ Arkansas's 2012 record was 46-22, 16-14 in the SEC.  They made it to the College World Series in 2012, going 2-2.  They were eliminated by 1-2 against South Carolina, 2-1, 0-2, 2-3.

Pitching carries Arkansas back to Omaha (AP/WashingtonExaminer.com)
The right hander, however, is far from the only outstanding option on the mound for coach Dave Van Horn. In fact, Baxendale's 3.18 ERA is actually higher than Arkansas' overall team ERA of 2.90 — the seventh-lowest overall in Division I this season and the best of any of the eight remaining teams. The pitching talent begins with Baxendale and fellow starter Ryne Stanek, but it hardly ends there. Seven regular members of the Razorbacks' bullpen sport sub-3.00 ERAs, and it was the bullpen that threw six scoreless innings in Arkansas' 10-inning, 1-0 win over Baylor in Monday. Colby Suggs finished off the win with two scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 1.22 in 37 innings this season. "There aren't many teams that can bring out guys who haven't thrown all weekend and throw like that, pumping it up there in the mid-90s, in Game 3 of a super regional," Baxendale said.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

2012 Mizzou Baseball Recruit: RHP/IF Jace Rock James


@Jacerock, 7/11:I'm officially a missouri tiger!!! ‪#SEC‬

@BlumbergOTB, 7/11:  #Mizzou baseball picked up a SS/RHP from Oklahoma City today. RT: @Jacerock I'm officially a missouri tiger!!! #SEC

@Jacerock, 7/10: @KayKingsley11 it was awesome! I loved! I'm probably gonna be a tiger!

@KayKingsley11: @Jacerock omg no way!!!! What was your favorite thing?

@Jacerock: @KayKingsley11 probably the whole athletic training complex and how well they treat you! Seems like everyone is one big fam!

Jace Rock James, RHP/3B/SS
6'0", 195 lb, R/R
Hutchison Community College (KS)/ Putnam City North HS (OK)

♦ 2012 Pitching: 4-0; 1.59 ERA; 23 APP; 10 Saves; 28.1 IP; 18 H; 6 R; 5 ER; 6 BB; 39 SO; 2 2B; 0 3B; 1 HR; .171 Opp BA

Perfect Game Player Profile
2010 National Underclass Showcase: Jace James is a 2011 SS/RHP with a 6'0'', 195 lb. frame from Oklahoma City, OK who attends Putnam City North HS. Solid build. Slightly open stance at the plate, flat swing, rotational, low one-handed finish, solid contact in BP. 3B profile in the infield, long arm action, good throws, solid hands. Showed best on the mound this event, quick tempo to delivery, good arm action, late life on fastball, nice 12/6 curveball with good depth. Very good student, Named to Top Prospect team.
♦ Jace James was listed as a Catcher on the 2011 Oklahoma City area baseball all-star roster

♦ "Rock is my middle name.. lol not a nickname." (facebook)

Mizzou Baseball Diaspora: Tigers Past, Present & Future

Blues trying to raise money for trip to National Tournament (KSBY)
Last season the San Luis Obispo Blues tied with the Santa Barbara Foresters for the California Collegiate League championship. That earned both teams a berth in the National Baseball Congress (NBC) World Series tournament in Wichita, Kansas. The Foresters went, the Blues didn't because they couldn't afford it. The Foresters ended up winning the national tournament while the Blues were left wondering, what if.

"It was disappointing not to be in the tournament and then to watch Santa Barbara go undefeated" said Blues head coach Chal Fanning.

This season the Blues are raising money for the World Series after a push from the fan base. "Just running across Blues fans, sponsors and people who followed what happened. They're the ones expressing disappointment and I think it kind of shows that people in San Luis Obispo, they kind of have something to cling to" said Fanning.
VIDEO, featuring Blues coach and former MU pitching coach Chal Fanning.

Mizzou's Patrick Quintanilla is the SLO Blues' catcher.


Ian Kinsler can't get Chipper Jones' grounder (ESPN)
"I wish I could have [made a better play on the ball]," Kinsler said. "Both my hamstrings felt like they were going to explode and that I had lead in my feet. It worked out that it was Chipper Jones hitting it. Said and done it was pretty cool, but I would never just let a guy have a hit.

"It's cool that it worked out that way, no doubt, but there's not a lot of room to run underneath the dugout there, so I wasn't the freshest," Kinsler said.


Breckin Williams signs to play baseball at Missouri (Joplin Globe)
The summer has gone well for Webb City High School graduate Breckin Williams.

Believe it.

Williams signed a letter of intent with the University of Missouri of the Southeastern Conference on Monday night.
. . .
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Williams, an All-Ozarks selection by the Springfield News-Leader, was 6-0 with a 1.84 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 49 innings as a senior for the Cardinals. The all-conference (Central Ozark Conference Large Division) selection hit .371 with 25 runs scored and a 52.6 on-base percentage.


Columbia's Musgrave remembered as one of the best athletes (Columbia Tribune)
Musgrave, who died June 17 at his home in Hoboken, N.J., at the age of 78, was a three-sport standout in football, basketball and baseball at Hickman before playing football and baseball at Missouri.
. . .
"Leo Lewis might have been a better quarterback, and Cecil Estes might have been a better basketball player," Whitesides said, "but all-around athlete, I don't think there was any one person better."
. . .
Musgrave earned a football scholarship to Missouri and played two years for Don Faurot, but he ended up making his mark at MU in baseball. The strong-armed outfielder batted better than .400 for the Tigers team that won the College World Series in '54.

"Bob Musgrave was a terrific athlete," said former Missouri basketball Coach Norm Stewart, a baseball teammate of Musgrave's at MU. "In baseball, he was fantastic. He was a major leaguer."
Full Tribune obituary

SimmonsField.com report on Musgrave's death

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

2013 MU Recruit: Ryan Howard, SS/RHP

Phillies fans beware: Not only did 2nd rounder Alec Rash chose Mizzou over the Phillies, but Ryan Howard just committed to Mizzou as well.

Ryan Howard (#30)
stltoday.com photo

@prepbaseball on twitter: MO: Ryan Howard, a SS from Francis Howell Central, has committed to Mizzou ‪#mopreps‬

Ryan Howard, SS/RHP
Francis Howell Central (StL)
6'1", 165 lb

2012 Offense: .352 BA, .427 OBP, .582 SLG, 91 AB, 24 R, 32 H, 9 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 31 RBI, 10/10 SB

2012 Pitching: 0-0, 3G, 2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1 H

2012 First Team All Gateway Athletic Conference (South)

PrepBaseball.com report:
The 6-foot-1, 165-pound Howard (right) is a legitimate two-way prospect who performed extremely well in all facets of the game. At shortstop, Howard was the top defensive middle infielder at the event, showing fluid and easy actions, to go along with soft hands and the top arm across the infield (88 mph). He demonstrated advanced footwork and played through the ball well. Plus read more on his defense and pitching HERE
Around the Horn with Howell Central's Ryan Howard (Prep Baseball Report, Oct 2011)
I played for the St. Louis Pirates and really enjoyed it all season. It’s a very good program with an outstanding training facility. The main thing I wanted to improve during the summer is my speed; my goal is to run under a 7.0 by high school season.
Howard/Gleason power Pirates to win (Perfect Game)
While Howard showed a projectable bat, he was even more impressive on the mound, running his fastball up to 85 with long, smooth arm action and good command of his fastball, 69 mph curveball and 75 mph changeup.