Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Max Scherzer 4•14•12

There's a new video on the Mizzou Network page of former Tiger Max Scherzer reacting to a sneak peek at the upcoming 2013 new Nike-designed Baseball unis.

A couple of quick screen shots:



March Madness: 19 games in 27 days @ Taylor Stadium

@JimShorts923 (James Abey, new Taylor Stadium PA Announcer):
Gettin Ready for @MUTigerBaseball I am ready for an insane March time for fun and baseball a whole bunch of it
March 2012 North Central U.S. Extended Forecast (Farmers Almanac)
  • 1st-3rd. Wet Northern, Central Plains.
  • 4th-7th. Stormy across Kansas, Nebraska, Dakotas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, then fair weather.
  • 8th-11th. Fair initially, then unsettled.
  • 12th-15th. Fair, windy.
  • 16th-19th. Stormy weather spreads east across Northern, Central Plains.
  • 20th-23rd. Mostly fair yet cold. Turning unsettled Northern, Central Rockies by the 23rd.
  • 24th-27th. Light rain Montana, Wyoming, Colorado. Windy, showery elsewhere. Then clearing.
  • 28th-31st. Stormy weather spreads in from west; heavy thunderstorms Kansas.

MARCH 2-4:  3 GAMES VS. BALL STATE
The Cardinals began their season going 1-4, including a 10-1 loss to the "powerhouse" University of South Carolina-Upstate Spartans, a game in which Ball State managed a total of 3 hits.  In their second weekend they were swept by Alabama-Birmingham.  Ball State's team batting average of  .191 makes Mizzou's .209 look pretty good.  (Well, not really).  Their team ERA, though, is a somewhat respectable 4.26.

MARCH 6:  1 GAME VS. NEBRASKA-OMAHA
UN-O is 1-7 so far in 2012 (through this past weekend)

2012 is the Mavericks' first season in the Division I ranks.  Their schedule includes 42 games on the road, and the few games they play in Omaha are not at their home stadium (they don't have one).  UN-O had built a solid Division II program that had a string of seven straight trips to the national tournament snapped after a 35-20 finish last year. The Mavs reached the Division II World Series in 2007.

Their roster is made up almost entirely of players who were originally recruited to play D-II Baseball.  But these were players who were attracted to a highly successful D-II program.  The Mavs do return the top four hitters, in terms of batting average, from last season, in shortstop Brady Hohl (.408, five homers, 35 RBIs, 15 stolen bases), second baseman Caleb Palensky (.366, four homers, 36 RBIs) and outfielders Mark Waldron (.364, 32 RBIs) and Connor McCrite (.359). Hohl (Alaska Baseball League All-Star) and Palensky (All-Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League) are among the Mavs who had standout seasons on the summer circuit.
MARCH 9-11:  4 GAMES VS. CHARLOTTE 
Charlotte began the season with a 5-2 record.  The 49ers were picked to repeat as conference champions by the Atlantic 10 Coaches Poll.  The team returns its entire starting rotation, consisting of a Collegiate Baseball News All-American (Andrew Smith) and three former freshmen All-Americans (Joe Yermal, Corey Roberts, and Tyler Barnette).
MARCH 13-14:  2 GAMES VS. NORTH DAKOTA
Yes, former Mizzou catcher J.C. Field is still an assistant coach with UND.  And yes, they are still going by the name of the Fighting Sioux, a controversy that has seen more ups and downs than J.C. Field's batting average.

The Fighting Lawsiouxts began their season a week later than everyone else by being swept 4-0 by Wichita State. In those game the Fighting Sioux were outscored 3-62.  No, that's not a typo.  Their team batting average after that weekend stands at .133, their ERA 16.20.  Amazingly, Wichita State only hit 2 home runs in the midst of that offensive onslaught.
They will have played St. Louis U and Kansas by the time they arrive at Taylor Stadium.
MARCH 16-18:  3 GAMES VS. HIGH POINT
While some may have looked at this weekend series series against High Point as a "low point" in the schedule, the Panthers slugged their way to a 6-2 record in the opening weeks of the season, averaging 8.875 runs per game.  That includes a 12-5 win over Charlotte.
MARCH 21:  1 GAME VS. INDIANA STATE
The Sycamores have some legitimate talent this season and entered the season as a team expected to take a step forward. Well, they’ve already taken a step back by getting swept at Southeastern Louisiana last weekend. (PerfectGame.org
The Sycamores were picked to finish 4th in the Missouri Valley Conference.  They were swept 0-3 by Southeastern Louisiana in their opening weekend, then proceeded to sweep the field 4-0 in the Bulldog Classic this past weekend.
MARCH 23-25:  3 GAMES VS. OKLAHOMA STATE
It's starting to look like a down year for OSU.  The Cowboys began their season getting absolutely walloped by Cal Poly SLO . (Cal Poly appears to be a real contender in 2012).  But then they rattled off 5 straight wins against Dallas Baptist, St. Gregory's, and Bowling Green State.   25 of Frank Anderson's 35 Cowboys are newcomers to OSU.

MARCH 27-28:  2 GAMES VS. CENTRAL ARKANSAS
The Bears were picked to finish dead last (12th) in the Southland Conference this season.  They began the season by getting swept at home by the Creighton Bluejays, then followed that up by sweeping SIU-Edwardsville this past weekend. 
Totally unrelated trivia:  Did you know the Central Arkansas Women's Basketball team is known as the Sugar Bears?

Monday, February 27, 2012

HI NOTES: I left my slump in San Francisco

Mario Mendoza
Lifetime .215 hitter
1974-1982
♦ From the Stat Sheet:
  • Team batting average: .209
  • Team OB%: .295
  • Team Slg%: .286
  • Team ERA: 4.50
Mizzou Baseball Links (RockMNation)
For the weekend in San Francisco, Mizzou catcher Ben Turner went 3-for-11, and left fielder Scott Sommerfeld went 3-for-6 with a walk. The rest of the team went 8-for-73 with four walks, an on-base percentage of .156. That … probably isn't going to cut it.
Branded for life with "The Mendoza Line" (St. Louis Post Dispatch)
While the term Mendoza Line has come to symbolize the .200 mark in baseball parlance, the phrase has also crossed over into America's pop culture lexicon and is frequently used to describe almost any type of sub-par performance, from the performance of stocks and mutual funds to bad grades and to quotas for salespeople.

No other athlete in professional sports, save perhaps Vinko Bogataj, of ABC's "Agony of Defeat" fame, is more closely associated with failure than poor Mario Mendoza. "It did bother me, at the beginning, to be honest," Mendoza said. " Because people would come up to me, like making fun of me, so it used to make me mad, but now I don't care anymore."
Honorable mentions (College Baseball Today)
Once again, watch out for San Francisco this season. The Dons just got done sweeping three games from Missouri with today’s 6-0 win. USF allowed just two runs, 13 hits and committed just two errors all weekend. USF is now 5-2 on the season.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

HI NOTES: Key Stats

I expected a lot of nothing in the media about the current series, since the local CoMo media rarely pays any attention to baseball away games, and the San Francisco media seems unaware that USF Baseball exists. But as it turns out, the Stitch-Head-in-Chief, Eric Sorenson, was at Friday's game and posted a report, including a few photos and a brief interview with Tim Jamieson.

The Campaign to Stop Bay-Area Bullying (College Baseball Today)
KEY STAT: 4 hits, but only 2 walks.

The Dons giving up just four singles and walking just two was huge. But the better part of that is that none of them happened back-to-back and Mizzou was never able to string together any kind of big rally. A walk and a plunking led to UM’s only run, which tied the score. But the Tigers could score no more due to some mostly suffocating mound work and error-free defense.
♦ The most interesting story about Mizzou Baseball can be read HERE.  5 of the 8 players who have started all 5 games are hitting .250 or worse.  4 of those are .200 or worse.  And 2 of those are under .100

Missouri baseball loses to San Francisco to start weekend series (Columbia Missourian)

Missouri baseball falls 3-1 to San Francisco (The Maneater)

Missouri baseball drops second game of series against University of San Francsico (Columbia Missourian)

USF Vs. Missouri: Kyle Zimmer Continues Early Scoreless Streak (SBNation)

QUOTES
"I set records that will never be equaled. In fact, I hope 90% of them don't even get printed."

"I led the league in "Go get 'em next time."

Bob Eucker

Friday, February 24, 2012

HI NOTES: Dons' Ace on a Leash

MIZZOU @ SAN FRANCISCO

♦ REMINDER: free streaming video of all three games this weekend is available HERE

Ten Series to Watch (Perfect Game)
#43 Missouri at #39 San Francisco: There’s a lot of buzz about the Dons these days, as ace pitcher Kyle Zimmer dazzled observers last weekend with a fastball that touched 98 mph. Oh yeah, the Dons also happen to be a solid overall club, capturing a series win over San Jose State last weekend. Meanwhile, the Tigers played extremely well in a road series at Auburn, setting the stage for what should be a very well played three-game set. PG Pick: San Francisco
San Francisco’s Kyle Zimmer Generates Early Draft Buzz (Baseball America)
A converted corner infielder, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Zimmer threw 92 innings last spring, capped by a four-hit, 11-strikeout shutout of UCLA in regionals to beat Gerrit Cole. Then Zimmer threw 48 more innings in the Cape Cod League, where he ranked as the No. 8 prospect.

So the Dons shut him down for almost the entire fall, and they are slowly building him up this spring. He was on a 40-pitch limit in his season debut, but because he threw so many strikes he was able to go four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and no walks while striking out three. The Dons did not let him throw his slider in that one, and he'll throw just a few against Missouri tomorrow, when his pitch count will increase to the 60-65 range.
♦ And apparently the above article wasn't enough to express BA's man-crush on Zimmer:  Kyle Zimmer's Rise Evokes Memories Of Jesse Foppert (Baseball America)

Missouri Baseball heads to San Francisco for three games (Columbia Missourian)
If Missouri hopes to have more success than San Jose did against Zimmer, it might need to bring the same bats it slugged 24 hits with against Auburn last weekend. It could also help if the Tigers' own ace, Eric Anderson (0-1), duplicates his six inning two earned-run performance.
WORD ON THE TWEET
@kylez9113 (Kyle Zimmer): Let's go get one #GoDons #AttackOnEveryPitch

@DatOthaDudeBP11: Awesome view of Alcatraz right outside the hotel. Right next to pier 39 http://pic.twitter.com/v0DDCj4o

@Hunter_Mense: Perfect place to start my street luging career...http://t.co/TPAzm6b2

@jemens20: Not a bad view to wake up to #sanfran #backtowork #MIZ http://t.co/rPNLOujA

MU @ San Francisco Dons: Not the Giants

The USF Don
WEEKEND SCHEDULE

  • Friday 4 PM CT
  • Saturday 3 PM CT
  • Sunday 3 PM CT

Why are all the games in the early afternoon (2PM and 1PM PT)?

Apparently, Benedetti Diamond at Max Ulrich Field has no lights.

Looking at the Dons' website, there appears to be free streaming video of all three games this weekend, available HERE
Benedetti  Diamond at
Max Ulrich Field


THE DONS IN 2012

USFDons.com Weekly Media Release

The USF Dons began their season last weekend taking two of three from San Jose State.  Then they followed it up with a loss to the Wolfpack of Nevada in a mid-week game.

Game 1:  USF 4, SJSU 0
Junior right-hander Kyle Zimmer, senior lefty Jordan Remer, and senior righty Cameron Love combined to two-hit the Spartans.

Zimmer threw four innings of shutout baseball and looked to be in midseason form early on, striking out two Spartans in the first frame. The preseason second team All-American led San Francisco (1-0) past San Jose (0-1) in his first outing of the 2012 campaign. Zimmer was painting with the fastball and mixed in a curve and slider to confuse the Spartan hitters. The junior from La Jolla, CA retired all but one Spartan that he faced.
Game 2: USF 5, SJSU 1
Redshirt sophomore Abe Bobb was masterful in his second collegiate start as he led San Francisco past San Jose State, 5-1, Saturday afternoon at Blethen Field. Bobb went seven strong innings striking out four, and walking only one. The Denver, Colorado native settled in nicely in the later stages of the game, mixing location well, and getting first pitch strikes all afternoon.
Game 3: SJSU 7, USF 3
The Spartans scored in the top of the first on an RBI single off the bat of Anthony Bona. Dons freshman starter Christian Cecilio surrendered three more runs in the top of the second, as the Spartans collected seven hits in the first two innings to match their entire hit total over the first two games of the series.
. . .
Alex Balog came on in relief of Cecilio and the Spartan bats came alive again in the sixth. Four hits in the inning and a couple wild pitches plated three more San Jose State runs to push their lead to six, 7-1.
SAN FRANCISCO WEATHER
FRI 67° Sunny
SAT 63° Sunny
SUN 57° Sunny
And then the Dons lost 3-1 to Nevada on Tuesday, putting them at 2-2 on the young season.

THE DONS PAST & PRESENT

The Dons have made it to the NCAA Regionals only twice in their entire history.  They posted a 1-2 showing in the 2006 Regional.  And last year, 2011, the Dons won the WCC Tournament as a #4 seed and proceeded to beat #1 seed UCLA in the opening game.  They then lost to UC-Irvine and then to UCLA in a rematch.

USF has ben picked to finish 3rd in the West Coast Conference in the 2012 preseason WCC Coaches Poll.

The Dons are not usually a bad team.  They also aren't generally a good team.  Just sort of average.  In the middle.  2011 was a good year for them.

Their recent season records (all games /West Coast Conference games)

2011: 32-25/16-5
2010: 28-28/10-11
2009: 28-28/12-9
2008: 31-26/12-9
2007: 27-28/9-12
2006: 39-23/15-6
2005: 38-18/20-10
2004: 27-32/14-16
2003: 25-31/17-13
2002: 18-38/9-21
2001: 28-26/14-16
2000: 26-33/10-20

The big question is whether the Dons can continue the success they had in 2011, or whether they will slide back to their mediocre comfort zone.

The Dons finished the season with a .985 fielding percentage, which tied an NCAA record set by West Virginia in 1971.

The 2011 Dons' baseball team made its way into the program record book in seven different categories. USF totaled a program-record 437 strikeouts this year and were second in saves in a season with 14. The team was fourth in wins (32), team ERA (3.76) and in innings pitched (510.1). USF finished the season with 116 doubles, which was the fifth best in school history, along with 16 conference wins.

Five different players turned in single-season totals that put them in the top 10 in program history. Bernatz totaled 14 sacrifice bunts, which was a school record. Nik Balog recorded 502 puts, which was the most in school history. Lavin's 20 doubles was tied for the third best season, his 82 hits were fifth best and 238 at bats were tied for fifth best. Higgs' 19 doubles put him in a tie for sixth most and sophomore Kyle Zimmer's 89 strikeouts was tied for the eighth-best total in Dons' history.

The Dons say good-bye to nine seniors: Matt Hiserman, Garrett Luippold, Matt Lujan, Stephen Yarrow, Sean Burns, Abramson, Bernatz, Higgs and Lavin.

"We are one step closer to what we want to do in this program and that's to make it to the Super Regionals and the College World Series," Giarratano said. "We need to catch the momentum from this year and use it going forward." (usfdons.com)
Note: Except for Kyle Zimmer, every one of those record-setting players is no longer at USF.

The 2011-12 Dons have distinguished themselves in another way: Diamond Dons Turn In Near Record-Setting Performance With Collective 3.25 Team GPA (usfdons.com)

KYLE ZIMMER
@AaronFitt (Aaron Fitt of Baseball America): Starting to hear some No. 1 pick chatter from scouts about USF's Kyle Zimmer. He was up to 99 on Friday with killer curve, tons of strikes.

@CoachPietro (MU Coach Dan Pietroburgo): Challenge accepted RT @aaronfitt: Starting to hear some No. 1 pick chatter from scouts about USF's Kyle Zimmer. He was up to 99 on Friday.
Junior RHP Kyle Zimmer was named a 2nd team Preseason All-American by Baseball America.

Zim-Sanity in San Francisco for Dons' Pitcher (College Baseball Insider)
Those were the cheers coach Nino Giarratano heard as he merged from the dugout at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Los Angeles. His University of San Francisco squad had just upset No. 12 UCLA 3-0 in UCLA’s regional.

They had just beaten the future No. 1 pick in the MLB Draft in Gerrit Cole. Giarratano emerged to see the small army of 600 gold jerseys and shirts in a sea of powder blue proudly chanting USF. Giarratano and USF weren’t supposed to have this moment. They were the underdogs, but junior right-hander Kyle Zimmer had other plans.

“I felt it in the bullpen,” Zimmer said. “My stuff felt pretty good, but around the second inning I think my stuff started settling in and I felt like my stuff was starting to click.”

Cole’s fastball consistently hits the upper 90s and comes back with a power slider and change-up. He was supposed to dominate the Dons, but it didn’t happen. The 6’4 Zimmer sports a low 90s fastball with a good change-up and curveball. He retired the first 11 batters he faced until he gave up a single. He came right back and retired the next 14
♦ Nino Giarratano, San Francisco Dons Head Coach:
“We have the unique position of having a pair of good brother tandems. We’ve got Nik and Alex Balog, with Nik as our starting 1st baseman and Alex will be our Sunday starter on the mound. And then we also have Kyle and Brad Zimmer, Kyle is our Friday starter who beat (UCLA’s) Gerrit Cole 3-1 in the opening game of the Regionals last year. And Brad Zimmer is a freshman outfielder who we are very excited about.” (collegebaseballtoday.com)
Matt Hobbs, USF Dons
THE HOBBS CONNECTION

Current MU Pitching Coach Matt Hobbs spent the 2010 season as the Dons' pitching coach before coming to Mizzou last season. His 2010 pitching staff at USF ranked fourth in the West Coast Conference in ERA and was second in the league in fewest walks per nine innings. (mutigers.com)

Hobbs was hired as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator by Nino Giarratano, who is still the head coach of the Dons.

WORD ON THE TWEET
@CoachG32,  Dons Coach Nino Giarratano: @DonsAthletics @usfdonsbaseball Attack On Every Pitch #goldsunday starts now #godons

@BBProspectReprt: Kyle Zimmer 94-95 ez gas Friday; touched 98, long way since I first saw him in Feb 2011, raw as could be. #MLBdraft bbprospectreport.com

@KendallRogersPG: Now here's an #MLBDraft note for you. #SanFrancisco staff member told me RHP Kyle Zimmer was 95-98 with his FB tonight. #MLB #WCC #Dons

@DonsAthletics (last Friday): Diamond Dons lead 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning. Mason Morioka 2-for-3 with 2 RBI. Kyle Zimmer exits after four shutout frames.
MIZZOUTUBE

♦ Here's a video of the head coach speaking at that same event (if you can hear him past the snorer/heavy-breather):


And then there's this:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

HI NOTES: M, USF

There's a new Twitter group called @SaveThe_M, dedicated to preserving the use of the traditional block-M logo on MU Football helmets
@SaveThe_M:  "Proudly displayed on Tiger football helmets since 1971 and hoping to stay there in the tradition rich #SEC"
I sympathize , but I can't get too excited about those minor MU sports
@trripleplay:  @SaveThe_M Here's the M I care about saving: dugouthats.com/shop/images/mi… @mizbaseball

@SaveThe_M:  @trripleplay @mizbaseball Sorry, that's gotta go too. An 'M' doesn't represent the the Univ. of #Mizzou. Needs a swoosh. signed, #MikeAlden

Media Notes for this weekend's series against the San Francisco Dons are now available at mutigers.com.
  • Starting rotation still listed as Anderson, Zastryzny, Cline

  • This weekend’s trip out west marks the Tigers’ second straight season in which they will play in California after playing in last year’s season-opening tournament at USC. Prior to this stretch, Mizzou had not played in California since 2008, when they played in a tournament hosted by San Diego. Since 2006, Mizzou is 8-6 in games played in California, but has lost two of its last three contests. In all, Mizzou is 16-19 overall against teams from California and the Tigers are 14-17 against West Coast Conference opponents

HI NOTES: #47, #43, 1500, 5336


GREAT DANE


Big 12 Player of the Week (big12sports.com)
Opel hit .500 (6-for-12) with four RBI, two home runs,12 total bases and a pair of runs as Mizzou won its season-opening series at Auburn over the weekend. The junior opened the series by posting two hits in four at-bats on Friday. He followed that performance by going 3-for-4 with four RBI and two home runs in a 6-4 win in the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday. With the pair of home runs, he became the first Tiger since Eric Garcia to hit two long balls in a game (March 30, 2010). Opel also drove in four runs in the contest, scored twice and drew a walk, reaching base safely in four of his five plate appearances. He closed out his weekend with a base knock in MU's 5-4 win in game two.

POLLS & RANKINGS

Mizzou is ranked 43rd in the Perfect Game Top 25

♦ Mizzou gets a mention in ESPN.com's Weekend Wrap-up/Rankings:
Biggest disappointment: State of Alabama

Not only did Alabama lose all three games at home to Florida Atlantic (more on that below), but future SEC member Missouri took two of three games at Auburn . . .
MIZZOUTUBE


Tim Jamieson is on the Mizzou Network , talking about the Tigers' series win against Auburn.
  • "We won 2 out of 3 at an SEC school and we played far from out best baseball, so there's room for improvement."
  • "The University of San Francisco has a #1 pitcher who's going to be a first round pick in the draft."
BIG 129


Whole new ballgame (Charleston Gazette)
On Monday, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck visited Charleston, home to one of the nation's finest small baseball parks.

And he revealed he's working on getting one of those parks for WVU and Morgantown.

"We have a number of challenges [moving to the Big 12]," Luck told a rather large Rotary Club of Charleston gathering. "There are some very good sports in the Big 12 and one of the sports we have to massively upgrade is baseball.

"We've had a relatively modest record of success with our baseball program. I don't need to tell baseball fans how good Big 12 baseball is. We have to massively upgrade our baseball program and that includes our infrastructure."
WVU wants to use tax increment plan for new baseball stadium (Charleston Daily Mail)
Hawley Field currently seats about 1,500 people. The field also does not have locker rooms and the visiting teams typically have to suit up at the hotel, Luck said. This is not the first impression Mountaineers are hoping to make on Big 12 baseball teams visiting the Mountain State for the first time, he said.

Therefore, the developer of the property is hoping to raise funds through the creation of both a sales tax increment financing district set up at the University Town Center complex and a property tax increment financing district, said Jason Donahue, owner of FEOH Reality.
SOUTHERN EXPOSURE

Nine Innings:  Gators and Titans (sebaseball.rivals.com)
Folks, Friday evening the Florida fans did their baseball program proud. They drew 5,336 decked in blue and orange - and unlike other large crowds that were packed with fans from nearby opponents or football rivals, this was all Gators. While the crowds dwindled as the weekend continued, Florida drew a respectable three-day attendance of 14,389.

Fans in Columbia, Fayetteville, or Baton Rouge may scoff, but the number one ranked Gators finally had a crowd worthy of a top-ranked club.

There is a baseball buzz in Gainesville this Spring. Many long-time observers say they have not seen anything similar. Maybe it was last season's postseason run or all the preseason pub. Others deadpanned it was all the money the fans saved ignoring a football bowl trip.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Big 12 Player of the Week: Dane Opel

Opel Named Big 12 Player of the Week (mutigers.com)
Mizzou junior outfielder Dane Opel was named Big 12 Player of the Week, as announced by the conference office on Monday (Feb. 20). Opel earns the weekly conference award after hitting .500 (6-of-12) with four RBI and two home runs while slugging 1.000 with an on-base percentage of .538 in the Tigers' three-game series win at Auburn.

The award for Opel is the first Big 12 weekly honor in his career and he is the first Tiger to take home the award since May 9 of last season when Jonah Schmidt was honored. In all, Mizzou has won three of the last six Big 12 Player of the Week awards dating back to April 26 last season when Conner Mach was honored.
Missouri outfielder Opel wins Big 12 Player of the Week (Columbia Missourian)
It's the kind of start that should help junior outfielder Dane Opel forget about last season.
. . .
Last year, Opel hit .209 in 35 games, starting 32, with a home run and eight RBIs.

HI NOTES: Tiger-Hawks, War Eagles, Crow

Garrison McLagan
MIZZOU BASEBALL ALUMNI

Garrison McLagan  and Jeff Lusardi have transferred to San Diego Christian College.  McLagan currently leads SDCC Hawks in AB, H, 2B, 3B, HR, Slg%, playing First Base and occasionally pitchng in relief.  Lusardi is playing the outfield

HONORS

Mizzou Baseball Players of the Week: Week One (mutigers.com):
Player of the Week:  OF Dane Opel

Jeff Lusardi
Newcomer of the Week: LHP Jake Walsh

Pitcher of the Week: Jeff Emens
GAME DAY

College Splits lists Dane Opel among Sunday's Top Batters

D1 Baseball Week 1 Attendance (College Baseball 360)
MU @ Auburn ranked 18th:  8,581 total for the series
Rogers' Weekly Chat (Perfect Game)
Thoughts on Missouri taking two from Auburn?

As I wrote in my Sunday analysis piece, that is a road series win that really could be huge at the end of the year from an NCAA at-large standpoint. Missouri's starting pitching left a little to be desired against the Tigers, but I really liked the fact Jeff Emens and Dusty Ross stepped up out of the bullpen. Missouri was ready to play, which is no surprise with Tim Jamieson leading the way.

Mizzou Baseball Links (RockMNation)
For all intents and purposes, one bad inning prevented Mizzou from potentially pulling off a thrilling road sweep of Auburn to begin the 2012 season.
♦ A passing nod from Stitch-Head Eric Sorenson at CollegeBaseballToday.com:
Okay guys, so here’s the deal. I’m not going to have a “Three Up” and a “Three Down” for this week (though I hear your protestations out there Florida Atlantic – which went into Tuscaloosa and gave Alabama a three-game beatdown – and Cal Poly – which blew out Oklahoma State at home in three straight.. oh and before I forget, I see you Missouri, having just beaten Auburn twice on the plains today) but that’s gonna have to be the way it is for now.
Looking Ahead (sebaseball.rivals.com)
Missouri, who will join the SEC next year in all sports, swept a doubleheader from Auburn at Plainsman Park today ? The Tigers won the opener 6-4 as Dane Opel hit two home runs and drove in four runs ... Missouri scored three runs in the seventh inning of the nightcap to claim a 4-3 win as the game was stopped after seven innings due to Missouri's travel schedule ? The teams had agreed before the game that no inning could begin at 4:45 p.m. (CT)

Video recap of Game 3

d

MU IN THE MAJORS

Understanding Crow (Kings of Kauffman)
In the first half, Crow walked that fine line between too wild and just wild enough. His walk rate (4.15 BB/9) was low enough to not hurt him, while his monthly BABIP ranged form .208 to .270, all pretty good. These numbers tell me he would occasionally nibble but was pretty good at staying out of the heart of the plate and got weak contact as a reward. In August and September that BABIP ballooned to .500 and .471 respectively. These are from small sample sizes, but those sample sizes are small because he was getting rocked, and the Royals called his number less and less. He also walked nine hitters in 11 innings over that stretch. When he was missing it wasn’t by a nibble it was by chunks, and that caused walks and middle of the plate fastballs.

Monday, February 20, 2012

HI NOTES: MU takes 2 of 3 from Auburn

WORD ON THE TWEET
Kendall Rogers @KendallRogersPG: #Mizzou takes both ends of a doubleheader at #Auburn to win that series today. Tim Jamieson always has his #tigers ready to play. #Big12

Rob Zastryzny @Robbyball_Z: Didn't hear an "SEC" chant after today's games. Great team effort and great wins. #wontheseries

Nick Moore @nickmo0001: Big series win. Now time to head back to columbia. #MIZbaseball

Jeff Emens @jemens20: Big time sweep today! #MIZbaseball #happyflight

Conner Mach @C_Mach28: Huge start to the year.. Took both games in the double header today, and the series over Auburn!

Blake Brown @BSQUARED: Comin home 2-1 feels good! Great opening weekend. #lovemyteammates #mizzoubaseball

Brandon Platts @DatOthaDudeBP11 : Huge sweep on Sunday! Won the series 2-1 against Auburn! #Mizzou #Warwhat?

Shawn Davis @ShawnDizzle77: #Mizzou now 4-1 all-time against future SEC rival Auburn and owns a winning overall record against current SEC schools.

Dan Pietroburgo @CoachPietro: Play of the day for me: @salbelf22 perfect drag bunt that changed the whole complexion of the game. #gamer #execution

Mizzou Recruit Bralin Jackson @BralinJ2012: Mizzou won 2 out of 3 against Auburn this weekend! GO TIGERS!!

Kelly Fick @kfick21: Heck of a comeback on this Sunday afternoon by @MUTigerBaseball. Sweep the dh and take the series at auburn. Good work fellas.

GAME DAY

Tigers give up late lead, suffer doubleheader sweep to Missouri (oanow.com)
Auburn, with the clock ticking down on a shortened Game 2 of a Sunday doubleheader against Missouri, ostensibly had three outs to get and a two-run cushion with which to work.

Instead, the home Tigers coughed up the lead while giving up only one hit.
. . .
“We had opportunities to win games,” Pawlowski said. “That first game, we had 20 baserunners. Just one hit short there. But (Missouri) played well and certainly deserved the win.”

Dane Opel went 3-for-4 with two home runs and four RBIs for Missouri in its Game 1 win, and Champagne logged two-hit games in both ends of the doubleheader.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tip of the Cap to LHP Jake Walsh

3 Games, 3 Appearances, 2 Saves in 1 Double-Header.  From 2011 Simmons Savage to 2012 Closer.  Here's to you, Mr. Walsh

HI NOTES: Tiger vs Tiger Double-Header

Double Header 11:00 AM
QUOTE


"It's a great day for a ballgame; Let's play two!"

Ernie Banks


GAME DAY

♦ Due to inclement weather, the Mizzou baseball game at Auburn on Saturday was postponed. The Tigers will play a doubleheader Sunday at Plainsman Park beginning at 11 AM. Pre-game show on KTGR AM 1580 (ktgr.com) begins at 10:30 AM

SEC Notebook (sebaseball.com)
Pitcher of the Night: Auburn right-hander Derek Varnadore turned in a solid performance in his 2012 debut ... He limited Missouri to one run on five hits in seven innings, with 11 strikeouts and one walk.
♦ Derek Varnadore's Friday night performance is listed in the top 10 of February 17 Top Pitchers (College Baseball Splits)

Season opens with a bang (Perfect Game)
There were plenty of under-the-radar games that had results that piqued my interest. First and foremost, Auburn taking a 5-2 decision over Missouri was a solid win from my point of view. But even more impressive was the 11-strikeout performance AU veteran Derek Varnadore put together. The Tigers are in business if he can put together outings like that most weekends
Missouri baseball channels lasting memories for one more swing (The Maneater)
“Mentally, I think about it when I’m working out, and if I’m tired on the last lap, I think about the Big 12 Tournament and how we lost by one run,” Zastryzny said. “Maybe 10 more reps in the weight room, we would have won or something.”
. . .
“Go out big,” Brown listed as his goal for a final season in the Big 12. “Try to leave them with a sour taste in their mouth. Try to win that championship and make sure they can’t take that away from us.”
MCC-Maple Woods alum named starting pitcher for Mizzou (MCC Insider)
Jeff Cline, a native of Platte City, Mo. who pitched for MCC-Maple Woods for two years, has transferred to the University of Missouri and will enter the starting pitcher rotation this season.

While at Maple Woods, Cline had a 6-3 record and a 2.3 ERA, recording 58 strikeouts. He also excelled academically as a member of Phi Theta Kappa (honor society for two year institutions) and demonstrated Superior Academic Excellence according to the NJCAA.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saturday Game Postponed

Saturday's game has been postponed.  Double-header Sunday beginning at 11:00 AM

HI NOTES: Tigers win, Tigers lose

QUOTE
"A good friend of mine used to say, 'This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.' Think about that for a while. "

Ebby Calvin "Nuke" Laloosh
GAME DAY

♦ Mizzou Baseball plays Auburn again Saturday at 2:00 PM CT . . . maybe. Two details should be noted:
  1. KTGR AM 1580 (ktgr.com) will begin broadcasting the baseball game only upon the completion of the Mizzou Women's Basketball game vs. Kansas, which is scheduled at 1:00 PM.  So if the baseball game begins on time, the first couple of hours may not be broadcast.  However . . .

  2. Expect a rain-out.   According to weather.com, there is a strong chance of rain in Auburn, AL, tomorrow, with a 40% chance at 11 AM, increasing to 90% by game time and growing to 100%, lasting throughout the evening.
Varnadore spots pitches, baffles Missouri hitters in opener (oanow.com)
Varnadore gave up a run on five hits and struck out 11 over seven innings in Auburn’s season-opening, 5-2 win over Missouri on Friday.

The senior threw mainly fastballs — routinely pacing them in the low-90s — and made his living on the outside corner, getting six of his strikeouts looking.
. . .
Holovach got another strikeout, then was replaced by Brett Graves, who loaded the bases on a hit batsman, then gave up RBI walks to Cullen Wacker and Creede Simpson.

Auburn had scored three runs in an inning in which it only put the ball in play three times.

“We call it ‘speed pressure,’” said Simpson, who finished 2-for-3 with a double. “You’re running a lot, you’re moving the ball around and it’s working. That’s a good team we just played, and we have to do that kind of stuff to put ourselves in a position to win. We did it well.”
Derek Varnadore leads Auburn to win over Missouri on Opening Day (al/com)
"He had some innings where he just kept dotting (the corner with) his fastball," said Auburn coach John Pawlowski. "When a guy can do that with that type of velo(city), it makes it tough."
Auburn bunted frequently, playing small-ball with mixed success, in a patchwork lineup that included only one returning starter from last year. But early glimpses of newcomers were encouraging.

Junior college transfer Ryan Tella had a single and RBI double in his first two at-bats. Third baseman Jarred Smith had an RBI single and two walks. Catcher Blake Austin rapped a solid double.

"Our guys have to understand that we've got to do some little things -- maybe some things a little unorthodox, a little different -- to put some pressure on the defense," Pawlowski said.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Opening Day Lineup

  1. Blake Brown RF
  2. Brannon Champagne CF
  3. Conner Mach 3B
  4. Eric Garcia SS
  5. Ben Turner C
  6. Dane Opel LF
  7. Scott Sommerfeld DH
  8. Gavin Stark 1B
  9. Dillon Everett 2B
Eric Anderson P
Auburn Tigers info

HI NOTES: Recruit Wows 'Em, Game Day Arrives, Coaches in Speedos

♦ Check out 2012 Missouri Baseball: Previewing The Season With trripleplay at RockMNation.com


RECRUITING

♦ You'll want to click the link and read this whole article about one of MU's Fall 2012 signeesRash quiets crowd at PG Indoor (Perfect Game)
“A bit of a hush fell across the crowd as RHP Alec Rash took the mound,” PG scouting coordinator/blogger Ben Collman wrote after Rash’s pitching session Sunday. “Video cameras popped up behind home plate as the top-ranked pitcher in Iowa” made his appearance.

Rash’s fastball had reached 92 mph at previous Perfect Game events and it set at 92-93 during his outing Sunday. The 93 mph velocity tied Minnesota right-hander Mitchell Brown as quickest at the showcase and fell just short of the event record of 94 mph shared by four hurlers.
. . .
Rash committed to the University of Missouri early in his high school career and has signed his national letter of intent. And, of course, the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft is coming up in early June.

“I’m looking forward to it. College baseball would be fun,” Rash said of his commitment to Mizzou. “We pay attention to (the draft) and we talk to a lot of people about it and they’ve said I’ll get more of an indication (of where he might slot-in) when spring rolls around.”
QUOTE
No looking back now. 
  MU Coach Dan Pietroburgo
GAME DAY

Auburn opens 2012 baseball season today against Missouri (AL.COM)
During Auburn's last trip to the NCAA tournament in 2010, the lineup had veteran sluggers who tattooed so many baseballs that it was dangerous to park outside the right-field wall at Plainsman Park. When the Tigers open the 2012 baseball season today against Missouri, the emphasis -- by necessity -- will be different. Auburn will have new starters at almost every position. Players accounting for 34 of last year's 39 homers are gone. Only three players who hit a home run last year will be on the roster. If the Tigers are to defy preseason projections and claw their way back into the postseason, they will do so not with power but with speed, defense and pitching.
COLLEGE BASEBALL 

♦ Follow College Baseball on Twitter:  I've compiled a College Baseball Twitter List that follows 30+ bloggers, journalists and other self-proclaimed experts and commentators on NCAA Baseball.  It's a good way to keep up with what's going on during any College Baseball Game Day.  https://twitter.com/#!/trripleplay/college-baseball

♦ Stitch-Head-in-Chief Eric Sorenson has some good suggestions for the improvement of College Baseball in The Night-Before Proposals (College Baseball Today)
4- I propose a livelier bat. Not crazy-livelier. Not back to where 98-pound weaklings hit bombs off the handle. It’s just that last year’s deadened bats mighta gone just a tad too far. How about this; How about if we give ‘em enough pop so that Arkansas won’t feel compelled to move the right field fence in 10 feet so other programs can’t use that lame excuse to recruit against them. Deal?

14- I propose letting head coaches wear pants, polo shirts, suits, whatever, etc. For the longest time I’ve advocated a change of culture in baseball to not require coaches to wear the team uniforms during games. Mainly because there are some coaches out there you just don’t want to see in the tight pants and relatively tight jerseys. Let them do as they do in football, basketball and hockey… let ‘em wear whatever the hell they want. They’ll look better and outfielders won’t mistake coaches in the coaching box for baserunners. I mean really, what if Olympic swim coaches had to wear what the swimmers wore? Ummmm… Ew.
Baseball season starts Friday - *College Baseball (faniq.com)
Several factors have held baseball back from the promised land where college football and basketball reside.
. . .
Third, college baseball is invisible in much of the country. For years the South East, Texas, and the West Coast have dominated the sport. Since 1966 only one school from the rest of the country has won a title, Wichita State in 1989. Most of the country doesn't pay attention because their teams don't compete. A Big-10 championship in football or basketball earns a player superhero status on campus. A Big-10 championship in baseball earns them a four seed in a four team regional playoff.

Despite these factors, college baseball may have better days ahead. The advent of Conference TV networks will put more games on the air. Omaha just built a spectacular new facility for the College World Series. Players like MIke Leake, Drew Storen, and Stephen Strasburg are jumping straight from the college game into the Bigs. Maybe baseball fans across the country will start to take notice, but maybe not.

MU @ Auburn Tigers: SEC prequel

FRI 3:00 SAT 3:00 SUN 1:00
Listen at KTGR.com
Mizzou opens their final Big 12 season by playing one of their future SEC rivals, the Auburn Tigers.  Toward the end of this season, Mizzou will also play a 2-game set against another SEC rival, Arkansas.

Ironically, neither Auburn nor Arkansas is in the SEC East, Mizzou's designated Division.  So it's entirely possible that neither will be on M"U's schedule next year.

In 2010, Missouri beat Auburn 11-7 in a single game in the Auburn Classic.   Prior to that, the only game between the teams was a Mizzou 5-4 win in 1996.

Auburn will be starting the season still trying to establish who the starters will be at most positions, which could be a good thing for Mizzou's season-opening series, since MU has a starting lineup heavy with returning veterans.

On the other hand, Auburn returns an experienced pitching staff.

Auburn Weather:
FRI 67° Rain 20%
SAT 57° Rain 70%
SUN 51° Rain 30%
These first two weekends of the season, against Auburn and the San Francisco Dons, will be a good test for Missouri's Tigers.  Both of these opponents are pretty much in the same boat as Mizzou as 2012 gets underway - they have plenty of good players but are going to have to prove that they are better than mediocre.  If MU can do well - at least 2-1 each weekend - they'll put everyone on notice that they will be better than the preseason prognosticators predict.

It appears from the Auburn Baseball Schedule that Sunday's game will be available on live streaming video on their All Access channel ($9.95 1-month subscription)

SEC Opening Week Q&A:  Auburn's John Pawlowski (SEBaseball.com)
“They [Mizzou] came down a couple of years ago and played in our tournament. We discussed if they ever wanted to play again, they said ‘sure’ and it happened to be this year. I can’t tell you how many times I was asked if this game counted in the SEC this year. They’ve got a great program and a great tradition. It will be a good test for our club. We’ve got new faces; I’m not really sure how our guys will respond, but I’m anxious to see how they respond to playing somebody different.”
Auburn Baseball Preview (sebaseball.com)
The Tigers return 19 wins, 13 saves and 395 of its 518 innings pitched off last year's staff. On offense, AU lost seven of its top nine hitters, which combined to hit .296 with 39 home runs and 311 RBI in 2011. . . . "One of the things is we have a lot of unknowns going into the season when you look at the turnover that we have had in our program the last two years, especially after last year," Pawlowski said. "We have a lot of positions that are really up for grabs and that's exciting on one end because it drives guys in practice. The competition has been extremely competitive, guys are competing for jobs."
Read more HERE

Baseball finds youth to move forward (The Plainsman)
When asked about the Tigers rotation, Pawlowski said Varnadore would be the No. 1 pitcher, while junior Slade Smith will take the No. 2 spot, senior Jon Luke Jacobs will get the third starting spot and incoming freshman Daniel Koger will start fourth.
♦ CollegeBaseballDaily.com has a good 2-part interview with John Pawloski, Auburn's head coach thatprovides a lot of good information about what to expect from this team.  (Part 1 / Part 2)
Senior right-handed pitcher Derek Varnadore ... was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 17th round of the 2011 MLB Draft, but chose to return to Auburn to finish his senior year. Varnadore was the team’s most reliable pitcher in the 2011 season, so Pawlowski expects him to be a leader in the pitching staff.

With so few returning players that have extended experience on the field, the Tigers are going to be relying a lot on the new players and returning players that didn’t get much playing time in the past.
Auburn's Creede Simpson on the move from outfield to second base (al.com)
The only returning everyday player in Auburn's lineup will be starting the 2012 season at a new position. Senior Creede Simpson will be moving from the outfield to second base, Auburn baseball coach John Pawlowski confirmed Thursday. The move will open up an extra outfield spot at a position where the Tigers have plenty of depth, while shoring up the middle infield with a veteran presence.
Read more - and a video of Coach John Pawlowksi - HERE

Tiger pitchers ready to lead (Auburn Undercover)
Varnadore (6-3, 3.68) was chosen by the Florida Marlins in the 17th round of the major league baseball draft, but he chose to return for his senior season. "Obviously, we were excited," said Auburn coach John Pawlowski, going into his fourth season. "He felt like he had more he wanted to accomplish at Auburn. Your program can certainly benefit when you have guys come back that can help you win games. He certainly can do that." Varnadore, who transferred to Auburn from Chattahoochee Valley Community College, quickly established himself as the top man on the staff last season. But he battled shoulder problems and took the fall off from throwing. He's eager and ready now.
New look Tigers ready to play (Auburn Undecover)

Pawlowski's fourth Auburn team is built for speed. Gone are the days of swinging for the fences. Deadened bats have changed things dramatically since the 2010 Tigers led the nation in home runs. "The culture of the game has changed on the offensive side of it," Pawlowski said. "What we've done is go out to get guys who fit in to the style we are trying to create."
Follow @AUTigerBaseball on Twitter

Thursday, February 16, 2012

HI NOTES: Hitter, Twitter, Hither and Yon

MU HALL OF FAME

Mizzou Network video of Max Scherzer's induction into the MU Athletics Hall of Fame
Max: "If you din't know it, my first hit was off Randy Johnson.  So that made me a good hitter. Which brings me to Coach J.  I'm a good hitter.  I told you every day I could hit.  I know I can pitch, but man could I hit, but you never let me hit.  That, and a .220 average in 2009 . . . I think that exemplifies what I could have done, but I'll let it slide." 
WORD ON THE TWEET
@kgib44: Good day all around down here in FL. Threw 50' for 20 throws & chipped & putted for the first time! Golf game is officially getting better!

@Max_Scherzer: Wow!!! just trying to figure out all the things with twitter. I can't stop laughing at the @thefakeespn!!!!!

@CoachPietro: They sure do love their Tigers down here in Auburn! http://t.co/ipydxEHg

@salbelf22: Getting dirty looks by people in downtown auburn. Reppin mizzou

BIG 12 9

♦ The Big 12 9 is so excited about out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new that they've forgotten they are the conference that holds back as much information about Baseball as possible. The 2013 Big 12 Baseball Conference Schedule has been released is now on Big12Sports.com.  The Red Raiders have to be looking forward to that March 22nd 1,500 mile bus ride from Lubbock to Morgantown, WV.  (MU's longest SEC trip will be a mere 1,000 miles to Gainesville, FL)

QUOTE
"It is a grueling position (catching). My knees will tell you that. I've had nine knee surgeries. I've had a couple of broken thumbs, one on each hand. I can look back at it and say it's worth it to be enshrined in Cooperstown. I don't have any pain in my knees right now."

Gary Carter, 1954-2012

HI NOTES: Enforcement, Warmongering, Stealing & Bad Seeds

Former MU Coach Gene McArtor
NCAA National Coordinator
of Baseball Umpires
UMPIRES


Among plenty of other information at the official NCAA Umpires page is a link to this interesting pdf document:

NCAA 2012 Preseason College Baseball Umpires Guide (NCAA Baseball)
  • It doesn’t matter if it’s the first batter in the game or with a 3-2 count with bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. The batter is not guaranteed to have time granted just as the pitcher comes set. . . Batters have been lax on this rule and umpires have been lax in its enforcement. . . For 2012, every umpire should use a hand motion that all can see and verbally encourage and ask batters for their compliance and cooperation. If the problem continues, then penalize. . . That is the reason the rules committee wants specific emphasis, improvement and enforcement by all teams and umpires.

  • The baseball rules committee reviewed a lot of information related to some inappropriate, disrespectful, vulgar and lengthy communication between coaches and umpires and placed responsibility for improvement upon all parties. Continued monitoring will occur which could lead to additional actions in the future.

  • Gene McArtor, NCAA National Coordinator of Baseball Umpires: "The rules committee and I continue to stress the need for civil and professional conduct between studentathletes, coaches and umpires. Each group is under greater stress for results. Each group has a few members who harm the game and its image by their unsportsmanlike actions, conduct and language on the field. In addition to the rules committee, more and more institutions and conferences are paying attention and addressing these items. It is not the same game as it was even a few years ago and we all must recognize and do our part to adjust. Unsportsmanlike or out of control conduct has no rational justification in today’s game.

  • The half swing is to be called a strike if the barrel head of the bat passes the batter’s front hip. The position of the batter’s hands is not part of this definition.

  • There's lots of other interesting information at this link, including a Test Your Rules Knowledge quiz.  
MEDIA NOTES


♦ The first official 2012 Media Notes are available at mutigers.com.  A few of the high notes:
  • Heading into this weekend’s series with Auburn, redshirt sophomore Jeff Cline has claimed [the Sunday starting pitching] spot. Cline, who transferred to Mizzou from Maplewoods Community College, boasted a 6-3 record and a 2.30 ERA last season.

  • As a team, the 94 steals [in 2011] were a school record, topping the previous mark of 83 stolen bases, which was set on two separate occasions.

  • Video webcast for all Missouri Baseball home games in 2012 is available at mutigers.com as part of Mizzou All-Access. All-Access is the Tiger fans home for live and archived games for Mizzou Athletics, along with coaches’ shows, press conferences and much more. 
"You may dispose of me very easily.
I am nearly disposed of now.
But this question is still to be settled"
~ John Brown

WAR: WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?


Both MU and KU benefit from the attendance and revenue boost of the Border War games.  Check out Poor attendance plagues baseball team (kansan.com)
In 2011, Kansas did not finish in the top 44 in average attendance, and that’s as far as schools are ranked. The Jayhawks averaged 1,105 people for home games last season, leaving them just below the last school that made the rankings, South Alabama, which averaged 1,214 people per game. 
. . . In the middle of the season, Kansas played No. 4 Texas, in Hoglund Ballpark. The team had been playing well of late, sitting one game over .500 on the season and in conference play. Heck, if the series had gone well, the team would have been in a position to make the NCAA Tournament. Instead, on a Thursday game at 6 p.m., 904 people showed up to cheer on the Jayhawks. And that number is inflated, as season ticket holders are automatically counted into the attendance figures.
By the way, that average 1,214 attendance is greater than the largest crowd at Taylor Stadium in 2011 (1,176, April 30th vs. Texas A&M)

Tigers eager for final go-around (Columbia Tribune)
Jamieson said he might get some advice from football Coach Gary Pinkel and basketball Coach Frank Haith on what to expect when his Tigers stop in hostile territory.

“I'm curious to see how, when we go to Kansas the last weekend of our season, when we go to Texas Tech, when we go to Oklahoma, how are we going to be treated?” Jamieson said.
POLLS, RANKINGS & OTHER GUN-JUMPING

♦ The preseason polls are interesting, just so you can get an idea what the full-time fans expect from the season.  But I draw the line at the detailed bracketology before a single game has been played.   On the other hand, Our Pre-Season Projection Of The Field Of 64 (Baseball America) does have at least one thing in its favor:  Their 3rd seed in a very interesting Fayettevile Regional.

QUOTE
"The base paths belonged to me, the runner. The rules gave me the right. I always went into a bag full speed, feet first. I had sharp spikes on my shoes. If the baseman stood where he had no business to be and got hurt, that was his fault." 
Ty Cobb

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

HI NOTES: Big 9, Records, Auburn Awaits, High Noon

WORD ON THE TWEET
@KendallRogersPG:  The #Big12 has already released its 2013 conf schedule. #WVU opens league at #Kstate, #TCU opens league hosting #Kansas.

@GavinStark30:  To all the people who watched me push my car off stadium today in traffic. You suck. 
@FredKatz:  @philanthropy27 Prediction for the series at Auburn? 
@philanthropy27 (Phil McCormick):   @FredKatz I think the tigers will take the series to be honest. I've seen a few practices and the pitching is much more solid than last year 
@BGSmooth07 (Brett Graves): After this test.. its time for auburn!
BIG 12 9

2012 Big 12 Baseball Weekly Release for Feb. 14 (Big12Sports.com)
Big 12 Career Watch/Active Statistical Leaders list includes: 
  • APPEARANCES: Jeff Emens has 71, just 34 away from 10th ranked Huston Street (UT) 
  • INNINGS PITCHED: Jeff Emens, 111.1, quite a bit away from TJ Walz's (KU)328.1 
  • WALKS: Blake Brown (59), Eric Garcia (53)are 50+ behind Adam Muenster (NU) at 122.
Big 12 Coaches Preseason Teleconference AUDIO archive

QUOTE
“You say to yourself, ‘Why is it that baseball attracts so many people, as opposed to other sports?’ The reason is simple, if you’ve ever watched High Noon with Gary Cooper. Here he is, standing alone in the street. The odds are against him, and he comes out to be the hero. There’s a similarity in baseball. It’s the only game where it’s only you that can win. You’re up there alone. And there are nine other gunmen out in the field to get you. And you’re Gary Cooper.” 
Marshall Fogel, baseball fan, as quoted by David Cataneo in Hornsby Hit One Over My Head

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Big 12 Pre-Season Coaches Poll

Missouri was picked 5th in the 2012 Big 12 Preseason Coaches Poll.

Rank/Team/1st place votes/total score
1. Texas A&M (8) 64
2. Texas (1) 56
3. Oklahoma 48
4. Baylor 42
5. Missouri 30
6. Oklahoma State 28
7. Texas Tech 27
8. Kansas State 20
9. Kansas 9
That 9 after Kansaswould appear to indicate that every coach picked KU to finished last.  Even KU's Ritch Price

How Do I Love Thee?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height  

Of the strike zone's reach, when failing umpire's sight 

Is rendered moot by the THWOCK of the ideal BBCOR swing.

I love thee to the level of every game's 

Most hushed moments, by sun and stadium-lights. 

I love thee freely, as men strive for the extra base; 

I love thee purely, as they turn from third. 

I love thee with a passion put to use 

In old rivalries, and with my childhood's faith. 

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose 

With my lost heroes, I love thee with the breath, 

Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.


 (Shamelessly adapted from How Do I Love Thee, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Monday, February 13, 2012

HI NOTES: Big 9, SEC, Recruiting & Silliness

Coach Gene McArtor &
Coach John "Hi" Simmons
With the baseball season upon us, the links are piling up faster than Jayhawk losses.  So it's time to switch gears here at SimmonsField.com and start scoring runs in bunches rather than base-to-base blogging.


BIG 12 9
♦ The Big 12 9 Pre-Season Coaches Teleconference is scheduled for Tuesday morning, February 14th, beginning at 9:50 AM CT.   Streaming audio is available at Big129Sports.com

♦ The Big  12 9 Baseball Media Guide is now available online at Big129Sports.com

♦ The 2012 College Baseball Daily Preseason Preview Live Chat didn't have much good to say about MU or the Big 12 9:
Brian Foley: I don't think the Big 12 will be competitive honestly this year besides Texas A&M and Oklahoma...Baylor might be able to break in but Baylor needs to step up their games honestly.
MIZZOU RECRUITING

Expectations surround Williams (Perfect Game)
After his workout, in which his fastball sat between 87-89 mph and touched 90, a PG scout/blogger wrote: 
“Lean and loose are the first two words that come to mind when taking a look at Devin Williams.… He has very good tempo in his delivery and loose, easy arm action. The ball comes out well and shows some late life. … It is easy to dream on Williams adding 4-5 ticks to his fastball as his body fills and matures.” 
. . . Williams said he chose Missouri because of the coaching staff led by head coach Tim Jamieson and pitching coach Matt Hobbs. And Williams has done some background work on the staff. 
“They’ve got a real good history with pitchers,” he said. “They’ve had (a few) first round picks in the last couple of years, so hopefully one day that will be me.”
Read more HERE

SEC

South Carolina Coach Ray Tanner gets a raise (myrtlebeachonline.com)
Tanner, whose team won a second consecutive national championship, received a $140,000 raise and a one-year contract extension to 2016 for a deal that now pays him $650,000 a year.
♦ Vanderbilt Facilities Tour:
.
 


♦ Mississippi State's student group, "The Dudes":



COLLEGE BASEBALL

The 2012 All-Name Team (CollegeBaseballToday.com)
The only one on the Tigers' schedule is RHP Bo Stitch, of Central Arkansas
♦ And yes, it really is too early for Field of Dreamers – Our look at the potential Field of 64 (College Baseball Insider)
For the first time in our 10-year history, we are posting a preseason Field of Dreamers, those 64 we think will hear their names called on Selection Monday, just more than three months away.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Hall of Fame Inductions

For Hall of Famer Scherzer, things are coming up aces (columbiatribune.com)
“For me, my time at Mizzou was so memorable and so precious, to be recognized among all the athletes that have gone through this school, it’s such an honor,” he said, “because I know I’ve seen and watched a lot of these people come through and the success they’ve had. To say these are my peers, that’s such an honor.”
Read more HERE

MU enshrines six in 2011 Athletics Hall of Fame (The Maneater)
The night continued with starting pitcher Tom Heckman’s enshrinement. Heckman graduated in 1981 with the most innings pitched in school history. He won 10 games per season during his final three years on the team. He held the Missouri record for career wins with 36. “Part of the reason I won as many games as I did is because of the defense we had,” Heckman said. "Why do they give wins to the pitcher? It’s a team win."
Read more HERE

Video from komu.com of Max Scherzer and Ben Askren
  

2012 Crystal Ball

Gaze deeply with me into the know-it-all crystal ball.  Tell us, great stitched orb, what 2012 holds in store for Mizzou Baseball.  Whither the Tigers?

9 Predictions for 2012:
  1. MU Diamond sports will surge in awareness and popularity among students and fans, as both the Softball and Baseball teams have exciting and successful seasons in their final run through the Big 12.
  2. Mizzou's pitching will surprise a lot of people in 2012.  Eric Anderson will be a dominant force in the Big 12 and nationally, and will lead a very good starting rotation.
  3. Newcomers - Freshmen and JuCo transfers - will be a major factor in the success of the pitching staff, providing depth to the weekend and mid-week starting staff, and providing quality innings in the bullpen.
  4. The lineup may change more often than Mitt Romney's opinions (or Newt's wives).  With an embarrassment of riches at nearly every position - both infield and outfield - there will be healthy competition that will drive the Tigers to excel.
  5. Depth in both pitching and the daily lineup can give the team staying power in the late season and into the post-season.  Giving playing time to "the bench" provides the luxury of keeping the entire roster rested and fresh.
  6. MU's Final Big 12 Tournament will see the Tigers in the top half of the seedings, but MU won't need to win the championship game in order to get a bid to an NCAA Regional.
  7. A Super Regional will feature Missouri matched head-to-head with one of their future SEC rivals.  Game Three will be decided with a dramatic finish in the 9th inning.  The crystal baseball is cloudy on the question of whether the Tigers advance to Omaha.
  8.  Tim Jamieson will be named Big 12 Coach of the Year in his final season in the Big 12.
  9. 2012 Draft Day could have a big impact on Mizzou, with as many as 6 to 10 Tiger players picked.  One or two of those may choose to return to the Tigers for 2013.  One of MU's draftees will go in the first or second round.
There you have it.  The future looks bright for Mizzou Baseball in 2012.

Of course, if these predictions turn out to be all wrong, don't blame me. Blame the Crystal Baseball.