Friday, August 31, 2012

Missouri Baseball in the Minors: Pre-September Shuffles

James Hudelson was promoted from the Bristol White Sox to the Winston-Salem Dash (Class A Advanced) of the Chicago White Sox organization.

Rick Zagone was moved from the Bowie Baysox to the AAA Norfolk Tides on August 26th

Blake Holovach was moved from the Pulaski Meriners to the Short Season A Everett AquaSox

Eric Garcia was sent back up to the Danville Braves from the GCL Braves.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

SxSE: Hail State

Dudy Noble Field, Polk-Dement Stadium:
  • Opened: 1967, at its present location; frequent remodeling and upgrades since
  • Capacity: Approximately 7,200, although the all-time record crowd is listed as 14,991
  • Named after: Former MSU Baseball Coach C.R. "Dudy" Noble; former MSU Coach Ron Polk; longtime MSU Baseball fan and supporter Gordon Dement 

♦ Bulldog fans ring cowbells during games at Dudy Noble Field (and at other Bulldogs sports events).  They're apparently not supposed to, according to SEC noise-maker rules, but they do anyway.  It's tradition.  It's been a huge debate between MSU and the SEC.  A big deal.  There's even a website called RespectTheBell.com

Sources: Fences at Dudy Noble Will Be Moved In (Maroon and White Nation)
We were told today by a very knowledgeable source close to the baseball program that right field at Dudy Noble will be moved in 16 feet. The fence will connect in right center at the 374 mark.

I think this is a very strange move especially after the outstanding performance of our young pitching staff this year and the underwhelming power hitting but this has been a topic of discussion for awhile now. The Dude has never been a hitters ball park with center field at 390 ft. One thing is for sure, this will favor left hand hitters with the right field fence at 310′ compared to 326′ as it is now. Left field will remain at 330 ft in the corner.
This fence-moving actually got underway in August.

Take Me Out to the Ballpark, John Grisham's ode to Mississippi State baseball.
The following year State hired Ron Polk, and Dudy Noble snapped back to life. He won, as he always has and always will, and suddenly the stands were full, the crowds were loud, the trucks and trailers appeared in left field, the Lounge was open for business, and the clouds of barbecue smoke became a symbol of baseball success at Mississippi State. We outgrew the old park, and he convinced us to build a new one. . .
♦ "Mississippi State invented what is now normal in SEC baseball - people caring about the program, people showing up in the stands, people really buying into the sport," Cohen said. "That was a norm at Mississippi State when it wasn't a norm at any other program in the Southeastern Conference."
. . .
"I really loved last year's recruiting class, and I fully expect this program to remain among the top half of the SEC," said Aaron Fitt, who covers college baseball for Baseball America. "But I don't think they will ever return to their dominance of the 1980s - I don't think any program will be able to sustain that kind of consistent top-of-the-SEC performance in today's SEC, which is just so much deeper and more competitive."(Clarion Ledger)

Dudy Gras is an annual parade and celebration signifying the start of Mississippi State University's baseball season. Read about the 2012 Dudy Gras HERE. And read more details about the event in a write-up about the 2011 Dudy Gras.

MSU's student organization, "The Dudes":



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Missouri Baseball in the Minors: Arizona Fall League

♦ The rosters for the MLB Arizona Fall League were released today.
The Arizona Fall League will be commemorating its 20th anniversary thoughout this fall's campaign, and once again, the elite finishing school for prospects has assembled an impressive collection of Minor League talent to celebrate in style.
The Mesa Solar Sox roster includes Mizzou alum RHP Tyler Clark, currently pitching in the Detroit Tigers organization. Interesting note: one of Clark's teammates on the Solar Sox will be Jarred Cossart, who was once a signee for Mizzou but was drafted and signed by the Phillies.

The Peoria Javelinas roster includes Kyle Gibson, who has been rehabbing in the Twins' minor leagues this season, after Tommy John surgery a year ago.

Matt Stites is also on the Javelinas roster. Stites is currently working his way through the Padres farm system.

Recovered from concussion issues, Grizzlies infielder Bond is seeing success (Fresno Bee)
Count Giants minor-league hitting coordinator Steve Decker as another Bond fan.
"I use him as an example constantly with a lot of our younger hitters about how to get on base," said Decker, who has managed Bond at multiple stops in the Giants farm system.
. . .
It may not happen for him this September -- Bond is not on the Giants' 40-man roster -- but both Decker and Mariano believe opportunity eventually will knock.
"When you hit .330 in the upper minors and have a career on-base percentage over .400, those skills don't just come along every day," Decker said. "Someone is going to give him a chance."

Read the rest of the article at FresnoBee.com

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rise and Grind: AM Conditioning Workouts

Tyler Looney, MU Assistant Director of Strength and Condition (@LooneyTyler) has the Baseball Tigers up early nearly every morning for strength and conditioning workouts.





Twitter posts and photos from @MUTigerBaseball and @AshleyArp92

SxSE: Starkville, Mississippi

Rolling right along in our South by Southeast road trip through the SEC, we've arrived at Starkville, MS, the home of Mississippi State Baseball.
"Starkville is an Indian word for 'trailer park'."
    - Skip Bertman, long time coach of  LSU Baseball.

♦ Starkville is the 5th closest SEC town to Columbia, 576 miles away (428 air miles).  Mississippi State is in the SEC West Division.

Fun facts about Starkville, MS
  • 2010 population:  23,888.  That's an amazingly small number, considering the student body of Mississippi State runs around 21,000.

  • Starkville makes no apologies whatsoever about being mostly about Mississippi State.  The Starkville Convention & Visitors Bureau website features their logo and slogan:  Historic Starkville:  Mississippi's College Town.

  • The original name of the town was Boardtown, because a local lumber mill made boards.  Later they changed the name to the much more inspiring Starkville, after General John Stark.

  • Starkville is the birthplace of legendary baseball player Cool Papa Bell.

  • Notorious criminal Machine Gun Kelley was a student at Mississippi State for two years, enrolling in 1917.

  • Check out this article at StarkvilleNow.com for a look at some of the history of Starkville.
John Grisham
Mississippi St alum
♦ There is only  1 Chik-fil-a location in Starkville

♦ Starkville is locally referred to occasionally as StarkVegas.
  • UrbanDictionary.com has this definition:
    • StarkVegas (n.) Slang for Starkville, MS. There, people keep it real by drinking, smoking, and throwing away their future. Its liberal by biblebelt standards but freakishly conservative by standards set by the freethinking world.
          Johnny: Where's the party at?
          Ronnie: Starkvegas you idiot.
           Johnny: I knew i was just testing you.
  • Why is Starkville called StarkVegas? (Message board thread at TigerDroppings.com)
    • "because what happens in starksville....never gets heard about...bc there is nothing to do...?"
    • "Because it's trashy, but without the glitz."
    • "Because for the longest time the only place where there was anything (shopping, restaraunts, hotels, etc.) was on Hwy 12. Someone called it the Starkville version of the Strip in Las Vegas...therefore Starkvegas"
Holy Turf.com's SEC Bucket List:  Mississippi State
# 62 Bulldog Bathrooms: At Mississippi State the men’s bathrooms are odd. There are a couple of stalls, but there are no urinals. You simply urinate on the wall. It runs down into a trough at the bottom of the wall. (Insert snaky comment about Starkville here)

I first went to the bathroom on the wall several years ago (think 2002) when in Starkville for a game. I returned in 2006 to watch Arkansas clinch the SEC West assuming by now the Bulldogs have more typical bathroom accommodations. You know what happens when you assume. After a four year hiatus, I returned to Starkville twice during the 2010 season. Once to watch Auburn and later to watch Arkansas. It is 2010 by now. I mean our parents are on Facebook, sending a Tweet is a cool thing, and surely Mississippi State has somewhere for men to urinate besides the wall, right? Wrong!
♦ Click HERE to listen a pair of podcasts on RodkMNation from The Closers on KFRU, discussing Starkville and MSU" traditions with a pair of Mississippi sports writers.

♦ If want to know the best places to eat in Starkville, check out The SEC Guide to MSU's Home Turf (espn.com):
Tucked away between a bridge and the fire station on University Drive is a dilapidated building next to an empty gas station. From the outside, the place looks abandoned like in an episode of Scooby-Doo with its outdoor dining area consisting of lawn chairs. Beneath the shabby exterior, however, is the vibrant and, might I mention, always packed Stromboli's of Starkville, Mississippi. Stromboli's is considered the go-to pizza place of Starkvegas.
In Starkville, boring is in the eye of the beholder (Columbia Missourian)
The exit sign for Starkville (people there say the "k" like a "t") had been unremarkable enough that it was nearly missed. The car screeched sideways through the first turn of what felt like a 720-degree exit ramp before sanity and proper speed were restored.

Five hundred seventy-five miles, nine hours and one near-death experience.

And for what?

To see if what everyone said was true.

To see if, out of the 14 U.S. cities that have Southeastern Conference Schools, this town really was the most boring.
Read the rest at the Columbia Missourian



Sunday, August 26, 2012

Word on the Tweet: It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a frog!


Dan Pietroburgo: 1 thing will never change: We will always be the underdog. We wouldn't want it any other way. It defines us & motivates us everyday! #MIZ

Brandon Weiss: Big things coming from @MUTigersOnDeck this year. Trust me. #EmbraceTheUnderdog #WeReady

@MUTigerBaseball: A+ camp this weekend at Simmons! Elite talent, great attitudes, & a bunch of guys who love to work! Future is bright for the Tigers! #MIZ

Jordan Getzelman: Can't wait to be a tiger! Had a great time at the Zou this weekend. #MIZ

Eric Blumberg: Former #Mizzou RHP Max Scherzer continues his roll... Now 14-6 after 7 IP, 1 ER, 9 Ks for #Detroit. Leads MLB with 195 Ks.

Satchel Price: Nearly a year after Tommy John surgery, Kyle Gibson was stellar in his return to Triple-A on Saturday.

SEC Fan's Guide to Mizzou Baseball: The Typical Jamieson Team

Nine random thoughts on the typical Tim Jamieson team:
  1. Mizzou recruits heavily from the state of Missouri and areas not far across the border into Kansas, Iowa and Illinois.  The "close the borders" recruiting approach has become even more pronounced since Assistant Coach Kerrick Jackson took over as recruiting coordinator.

    The Tigers have, though, shown they have contacts and resources in Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, California, Louisiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Chicago area, among other places.  The current freshman class includes a player from Georgia.


  2. If Tim Jamieson believes in a player he has shown he will be very patient with him, even though everyone around him is wondering why he doesn't bench him in favor of someone else.  The same holds true for a strategy or long-term plan.  If he believes in it, he will not easily be turned aside from it.  Patience is key to understanding Tim Jamieson.

  3. Tim Jamieson schools his hitters in being patient at the plate, knowing that the average college pitcher has trouble getting ahead on the count and staying ahead.    Long time Tiger watchers will tell you that sometimes the Tigers can be too patient, watching too many strikes go by.

  4. The flip side of the patient hitting is that Jamieson's pitchers are drilled in the importance of getting ahead in the count and staying ahead.  "Fill the strike zone".

  5. As the season begins to wind down, the bullpen gets smaller.  No, not shorter, smaller. By mid to late April, those pitchers that have not met TJ's expectations of reliability simply disappear.  By the post-season, he has shown time and again that he would rather bring back a weekend starter on short rest to pitch an inning or two of late relief than resort to bringing in one of the relievers sitting at the far end of the bench.

  6. Speaking of getting smaller, in the past, Tim Jamieson's rosters tended toward being somewhat smaller in stature.  Jamieson is himself short-statured, and he quite clearly values the undersized player who is scrappy and productive.  However, after comparing the average height on MU's 2012 roster with that of a handful of other SEC squads, it turns out the Tigers are actually trending toward being taller than their opponents.

  7. In the era of the BBCOR bats, Jamieson and his assistants are focused on teaching batters to hit with the new bats and also on teaching the pitchers to pitch to the new bats.  An increased emphasis on fielding, butting and base running are all aimed at the philosophy of offensively playing to get one run in an inning (and take more if you can), and defensively limiting the other team to that one run (or less if possible).  Many of the struggles of the past two seasons are due to the coaches and players readjusting their approach to the game as defined by the new bats.

  8. Over the past few years, Tim Jamieson's teams have learned the secret to preparing for and being motivated to play in the conference tournament.  They played in the championship game of the Big 12 Tournament in 3 of the past 4 years, finally winning it in 2012.  They made it to the championship game in 2011 in spite of hitting only .249 as a team.  This learning experience could be a major step toward becoming a team that can regularly go deeper into the post-season.

  9. MU baseball coaches urge players to let pitch hit them (Columbia Missourian, April 2009)
It’s a philosophy that permeates through the Missouri baseball team from the coaches to the players, even down through the trainers: Take one for the team— let yourself get hit by a pitch.

“We really preach it. We talk about it all the time, and it’s something that’s important to our offense to be able to get on base,” said Tim Jamieson, coach of the MU baseball team.

Jamieson isn’t talking about taking extra batting practice or being patient at the plate. He’s talking about staying in the batter’s box when an inside fastball is thrown a little too inside, when it’s rocketing straight toward your thigh, or maybe your ribs.

He’s talking about taking one for the team — about letting players get hit by a pitch.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Missouri Baseball in the Minors: KBG to ROC

Gibson to start Saturday for Triple-A Rochester (mlb.com)
The buzz around the Twins on Thursday came on the Minor League front, where right-hander Kyle Gibson will start Saturday for Triple-A Rochester. He is expected to throw 60 to 65 pitches.

Gibson, the Twins' first-round pick in 2009, will pitch at his highest level since having Tommy John surgery in September. He has made nine starts this summer between the Twins' Rookie League team and Class A Fort Myers, putting together a 2.49 ERA in 21 2/3 innings.

The plan is for Gibson to pitch for the Red Wings for the last two weeks of the season, and then potentially the playoffs. After that, the hope is for him to throw in the Florida Instructional League and then the Arizona Fall League.

"We want to try to get him as many innings as we can," said Twins assistant general manager Ron Antony.

Antony said Gibson, not currently on the 40-man roster, is a candidate to pitch in Major League camp in Spring Training next year, if all goes well with his progress.

"We're going to be looking for pitching," Antony said.

Word on the Tweet: #RiseAndGrind

  • Jeff Oracion: 6am workout tomorrow, just the start of my new team and season!!! #Mizzou

  • Sal Belfonte: Man 6AM running tomorrow can't wait! #lovethisteam #grind #sophomoreclass

  • Ryan Phillips: @MUTigerBaseball out to prove everyone wrong. #RiseAndGrind #MIZSEC

  • Austin: #RiseAndGrind

  • Jake Ivory: Rise and Grind #MIZ

  • Breckin Wiliams: I live for this, it ain't just a hobby

  • Dylan Kelly: Time to get better

  • Griff Goodrich: What a good morning, conditioning at 6, class at 8. And my new best bud @D_Kelly5 is sweating his tail off. #stadiumstoclass

  • Jace Rock James: 6am stadium workout.. check

  • Mike McGraw: I better have a six pack in 5 weeks

  • Eric Anderson: @BigGrizz3 if you're referring to your stomach= good tweet, if you're talking about beer= bad tweet

  • Nick Moore: @BigGrizz3 We are gonna look like US olympic athletes by the time fall is done.

  • Breckin Williams: @MUTigerBaseball taking the #SEC by storm, all day everyday grind

  • Eric Kroupa: Got better this morning. Getting back after it this afternoon. #MIZSEC #telluswecant

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mission of Mercy


From former Tiger Kyle Gibson on Twitter:
My wife & I are blessed to go to the D.R. each year on a mission trip to visit kids in a city/school that my agent & Garrett Anderson helped start. It opened in 2009 & we go every year to re-paint facilities, clean up the ball field and add new things to the project. If you are able to give $, sponsor a child, or want to keep up with the progress of the project, please visit this site. I will be auctioning off game used items on Ebay to help raise funds for our project in the D.R. cause they need electricity ASAP! More information will be coming when I know when & what I will be auctioning off! Thanks for the support!
https://www.missionofmercy.org/BaseballProject

SxSE: Ole Miss Baseball 1893-2012

Ole Miss is historically a good but underachieving program.  Currently I would rank them as an NCAA Regional program.  They can be expected to qualify for the Regionals nearly every year, but they can also be expected to usually not make it any farther.  The Rebels' average season record for the past 10 years has been 40-24.

Mississippi began playing baseball in 1893.  They were led by 14 different coaches in their first 55 years, up through 1947

Future Yankees and Mets manager Casey Stengel was the head coach at Ole Miss for one year, in 1914, and led them to a 13-9 record. It was at Ole Miss he first picked up the nickname, "The old Perfesser".

Tom Swayze was the Rebels' coach during their "glory days" from 1951-1971.  During Swayze's tenure, the Rebels won 4 SEC Championships and made it to the College World Series twice. He compiled a 361-201-2 record during his tenure.

Jake Gibbs coached the team from 1972-1990, compiling a  485-389-8 record.  The former major leaguer led the team to the College World Series in his first year on the job, the last time they've been there.

Don Kessinger, another former major leaguer, coached from 1991-2000

Mike Bianco has been coaching the Rebels since 2000.  His teams have been to the NCAA Regionals in every season except 2000 and 2011, but have not advanced from there.

Ole Miss has won 6 SEC Conference championships, in 1959, 1960, 1964, 1969, 1972, 1977, 2009.  They have been to the NCAA Tournament 17 times, and have advanced to the College World Series 4 times, 1956, 1964, 1969, 1972, but have never won the national championship.

Notable Ole Miss Ballplayers
The 2012 Ole Miss Rebels

The 2012 Rebels compiled a 37-26 record, 14-16 in the SEC.  They went to the College Station Regional, but were eliminated by TCU after going 2-2.

What Dave Van Horn's Success Teaches Us About Mike Bianco's Failure (Red Cup Rebellion)
With their programs' infrastructure and support being as similar as they are, one would expect parity in Bianco and Van Horn's game day production. For the most part, there is. Remarkably so. In the ten seasons Van Horn has been in Fayetteville, he has compiled an overall record of 398-220 (.644) with a 159-139 (.534) conference mark. In that same span,** Bianco has gone 395-236 (.626) overall and 164-136 (.547) in the SEC. The pair's overall and conference winning percentages are separated by a mere 1 and 2%, respectfully. As far as postseason play goes, Van Horn has reached the NCAA tournament every year since his arrival in 2003. Bianco's squads have qualified in nine of those ten seasons. Both coaches have reached a Super Regional four times apiece.
. . .
There is, of course, the one paramount difference between the two coaches' programs; the one cardinal statistic that distinguishes and defines each man's tenure. Dave Van Horn has three College World Series appearances. Mike Bianco, as we're all painfully aware, has zero.

As I've illustrated above, both coaches are encompassed within equivalent programs that provide them with similar resources. In regular season and early stages of postseason play this has resulted in nearly identical results. In high pressure, late season situations the fates of the two teams diverge. Faced with these clutch situations, Van Horn's teams have usually played their best baseball, going 3 for 4 in Super Regionals. Bianco's teams have collapsed, going 0-4.

I realize the equation for a successful baseball team is much more complicated than the list of general factors I've explored above. The comparisons I've made are far from comprehensive or exhaustive. Luck and timing many times play as big a factor in the outcome of a game as skill and coaching prowess. A blown game-ending double play followed by two bases-loaded hit-by-pitches allowed the Razorbacks to avoid elimination in game two of the Baylor Super Regional. The Diamond Rebs have typically been on the wrong side of such breaks. The fact of the matter remains, though: for whatever reasons, Van Horn has repeatedly taken his team to Omaha and Bianco has not. Under reasonably similar circumstances, Bianco has failed where Van Horn has succeeded.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Missouri Baseball in the Minors & Majors: Outstanding on Their Fields




MU IN THE MAJORS


Detroit 5, Toronto 3: Tigers' Max Scherzer passes Verlander in K's, wins (Detroit Free Press)
The race for strikeout supremacy in the American League continued Tuesday night between teammates Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.

Scherzer took the AL lead with eight strikeouts, giving him a career-high 186 this season in the Tigers' 5-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night before 39,499 at Comerica Park.

Scherzer, who leads Verlander by six K's, also took the team lead in victories with 13 as the Tigers (65-57) kept pace with the Central-leading White Sox with 40 games left. They are two games behind Chicago, which beat New York.

MU IN THE MINORS

Tepesch, Mendonca named Texas League players of the week (Lonestar Dugout)
A pair of Frisco RoughRiders swept the Texas League's weekly awards for the period of August 13-19. On Monday, the circuit announced that right-hander Nick Tepesch was its pitcher of the week and third baseman Tom Mendonca was the player of the week.

Tepesch, 23, hurled seven innings of two-hit shutout ball in his only start last week, walking one and striking out five. The University of Missouri product has a 3.57 earned-run average in 13 appearances (11 starts) at Double-A Frisco. Between the High- and Double-A levels this season, he has a 3.24 ERA in 147.1 innings.

Bond, Peguero among candidates for Sept. call-up (Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area)
Prior to 2011's season-ending injury, Bond posted solid numbers at each minor league level. In 2010, he split time between Triple-A Fresno and Double-A Richmond, knocking in a combined 39 runs, with 27 doubles and five triples in 129 games. This season is no exception for the utility infielder; he is currently batting .343 (97-for-283) with 11 doubles, two triples and 28 RBI in 90 games.

“This season I have learned to be more consistent,” Bond said. “Not playing everyday and sitting the bench for a while and then going in randomly, I feel like I have been ready.”

He has played second base, third base and left field but spent the majority of his time being the designated hitter. As a pinch hitter he is hitting .421 (8-for-19) with a double and an RBI. Bond would be a great bat off the bench for the San Francisco Giants; the only problem is that he is not on the 40-man roster.

“I have always wanted to play in the big leagues,” Bond said. “It’s been on my mind since I was a little kid. That is my goal and if it happened I would be really excited.”

Walters, Gibson show progress in rehab outings (mlb.com)
Gibson, meanwhile, made his second rehab start with Class A Advanced Fort Myers. The right-hander, who is coming off Tommy John surgery last September, gave up just one run on three hits over four innings.

He's now pitched in nine games in the Minors this season, posting a 2.49 ERA with 23 strikeouts and five walks in 21 2/3 innings.

Texas Rangers Minor League Player To Watch: Brett Nicholas (Not Quite Ready Rangers)
2012 saw him begin the season with Myrtle Beach. It has been a season of his being almost completely a 1st baseman. In 97 games that he has played in, 86 have been at 1st base, 8 at catcher and 3 at the DH. This has been a big change for him as not being a bat off the bench but an everyday player. He has made the most of this change and it hitting .284/.339/.404 which is good for the highest batting average of any current Pelican. He has surpassed the 100 hit mark and is at 50 RBI.

Had it not been for the decision of Andrew Clark to retire after the 2nd game of the year, Nicholas may not have been given the playing time he has been. But Nicholas made the most of it, and has successfully made a point that he needs to be considered for promotion to Frisco.

Who is Ryan Lollis? (forums.mlb.com)
I saw him at S-K. All I seem to remember he unloaded a couple missiles from RF, but could have been someone else.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

SxSE: Coach Mike Bianco's Ole Miss Rebels


Recruiting footprint:  Based on recent rosters, Bianco tends to recruit from Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, California, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia, Texas, plus random players from TN, PA, AR, IL,and OH.

Rebels’ Bianco reflects: ‘Sunday hurt a lot’ (djjournal.com, 6/15/09)
How would you assess your coaching philosophy, and has that changed through the years?

The philosophy in general is we want to score runs. Personnel changes from year to year. As a coach you try to coach to players’ talents and what they can do. There are years that we’ll hit more home runs. There are years that we’ll bunt better. This team probably hit as well with runners in scoring position and were able to put innings together better than teams that I can remember in the past. The 2006 team was very good at that. Even though we didn’t hit the home runs as we did in 2005, they were able to score more runs than the 2005 team. It just depends from year to year.

On the 2005 team, we were fortunate that we had three guys in the middle of the lineup that were older, that were having really good years. When you look at that team it was Stephen Head, Brian Pettway, Mark Wright, three guys in the middle who hit double-digit home runs and all had terrific years. Two of them were high draft picks. Then you had guys sprinkled in that hit five or six. They hit the most home runs we’ve ever hit here, but they only hit 74.

My days at LSU, we hit a lot of home runs, but so did everybody else. That was back in those years with the minus-5 and bigger barrel bats. In 1997 we hit 188 home runs, Alabama hit 150-something and Florida hit 130-something. Everybody hit more home runs back then.

Another thing, when you look at the park we play in, it’s not real conducive to home runs. We want to hit more. I’d like to hit more than we hit this year. But last year we hit the second-most that we’ve ever hit here, and nobody talked about that.
. . .
A (somewhat) level-headed look at Mike Bianco, Ole Miss baseball (bleacherreport.com, 6/8/09)
Bianco’s teams are now 0-6 in home games that would send them to Omaha. Whatever approach he is taking to loosen guys up is obviously not working.

This team—with all their antics and carefree attitude—played tight yesterday, even with an early lead.

Bianco’s typical stubbornness with starting pitchers cost the Rebels yesterday as he stuck with Nathan Baker far too long.

Baker wasn’t pitching poorly, but his painfully slow delivery plus UVA’s speed on the basepaths and Kyle Henson’s “arm” was a recipe for disaster.

UVA’s starter was pulled early because he was struggling. Bianco should’ve taken the hint and pulled Baker as well.

The small ball he tried this season doesn’t work well unless the players are skilled at sacrifice bunting.

It’s tougher than looks—keeping the head of the bat up, coming back at just the right time to deaden the ball, and placing it just right—but practice makes perfect. Something needs to improve in that skill-set or the small ball just won’t work.

They say once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, and three times is a trend. It’s hard to not feel that way watching another Oxford Super Regional go the way of the visitors.

Next year’s Rebels will be another top 10 quality team and will have a legitimate shot at another Super Regional. Will it finally be the year Bianco and his Rebels break through? Or will be just another disappointment for Rebel fans?
♦ A less friendly look at Mike Bianco's coaching, from a fan at RedCupRebellion.com:
Q: What do you expect to see from this baseball team, not from a record standpoint, but in style of play, etc?

astaylo1: Bianco is still the coach, So I expect us to continue to not have a clue what our style is and for it to change inning to inning. I fully expect to see us bunting after 2 walks to lead off a game and then to have Matt Snyder trying to straight steal second in the 9 th when we are down 2 runs. I expect to see us make pitchers throw 22 pitches to get a 1-2-3 inning and the next throw 6 to do the same. I expect to see pitchers get up and sit down in the bullpen no fewer than 4 times in a game. I expect us to shift our defence to play a hitter to pull and then have the catcher call a fastball on the outer half. Why do I expect these things? Because I have watched MB do them all for the last 8 years. Because, while amazing at many things, Bianca is a below average on field game day coach. I hope I am wrong and we win despite these things. Here’s to hope, and it continuing to spring eternal.
@CoachMikeBianoc on Twitter

♦ And a quick (and odd) look at Assistant Coach Cliff Godwin:




Monday, August 20, 2012

Recruiting: Important Advice

Important Advice for Recruits (Informed Athlete) , written by former Tiger Ryan Allen
Hello Everyone – I hope you’ve had a great summer!

While I usually tend to speak on the athlete preparation and approach side, I’d like to take this time to offer advice for all prospective student-athletes and parents, based on some experiences that I’ve had working with initial eligibility in a college athletics compliance department.

In my current job as the Recruiting and Education Graduate Assistant at the University of Missouri Athletics Department, my main focus is making sure that all prospective student-athletes are on pace to qualify academically for both university admissions and for NCAA eligibility.
Read the rest at InformedAthlete.com

♦ 2012 Early Signing Dates for Baseball Recruits: November 14 to November 21

2012-2013 MU School Year Begins Today


Missouri's fall semester begins officially today.

Here are some important dates and details for the 2012-2013 Baseball season:
  • Official practice can begin no earlier than September 1st, per NCAA rules
    • Fall practice cannot last longer than 45 consecutive days following the beginning of official practice
  • Spring semester practice cannot begin prior to January 25th, 2013,  per NCAA rules
  • The official opening day for the 2013 playing season is February 15, 2013 (187 days away)
Unofficial and incomplete 2013 Schedule

WORD ON THE TWEET

Fresh Tiger Blood:
Veteran Tigers Roar:
  • Brett Graves: There's not one person who thinks we can. Time to earn some respect.
  • Dillon Everett: "The best way to predict your future is to create it." Cant wait to start the grind. #Mizzoubaseball2013
  • Jake Ivory: Champions are made in the morning when the enemy is alseep #earlymorning #grind #MIZ
  • Dane Opel: Good times running summits with @BChampagne6 @salbelf22 #gettingready

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Missouri Baseball in the Minors: Up the middle with Tepesch, Lollis, and Bond

Tepesch two-hits Drillers for seven (milb.com)
Rangers prospect has yielded six runs over past five outings

Nick Tepesch has a philosophy that sounds simple enough. Enacting it is more complex.

"Make pitches on my terms," he said. "Not on the hitter's."
. . .
Ryan Lollis was not chosen to move up to Giants in San Francisco to replace Melky Cabrerra (no one really thought he would). But Lollis continues to have the best season of his minor league career. His .327 BA at Triple-A Fresno is the best he's posted among all the many stops along his minor league travels.

Brock Bond is also at AAA Fresno, and, like Lollis, he is putting up the best numbers there that he has ever put up in his minor league career, with a .343 average. His path to the majors is blocked by a surplus of infielders on the Giants' roster.

SEC Fan's Guide to Mizzou Baseball: Tim Jamieson


Tim Jamieson enters his 19th season as the head coach of the Tigers in the 2012-2013 season. That makes the Jamieson the senior baseball coach in the SEC in terms of longevity at his current job.  Jamieson is the last remaining coach in Mizzou Athletics who was hired by former MU AD Joe Castiglione (now at Oklahoma) prior to the arrival of current AD Mike Alden.  Jamieson's current contract extends only through 2013.

According to an article in the Columbia Tribune on June 4, 1994, the other finalists for the Mizzou Baseball job included Former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher John Fulgham, now the coach at Rollins College in Florida, Maine assistant Michael Coutts, and coach Quincey Noble of University of the Pacific in California.

The second-winningest coach in Mizzou Baseball history, Jamieson will begin the 2012 campaign with a career record of 604-442-2. In 2009, he passed legendary head coach John "Hi" Simmons on that list and trails only Gene McArtor's 733 victories.

Tim Jamieson grew up in Columbia, MO. His father was an assistant coach with the Mizzou Football team under head coach Al Onofrio.

SEC Baseball Fan's Guide
to Mizzou Baseball
Tim Jamieson was a catcher during his playing days. He also played football during his prep days at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, MO.  He was the back-up quarterback to Tim Wolfe, who is now the President of the University of Missouri.

He played his college ball at the University of New Orleans under Head Coach Ron Maestri. His teammates included current LSU coach Paul Mainieri, former Chicago Cubs manager Mike Quade, former UNO coach Randy Bush, and former Southern Illinois University coach Dan Callahan, who died in 2010.

Jamieson spent six seasons on the UNO coaching staff before returning to Columbia in 1988, where he was an assistant coach under Gene McArtor for six seasons before becoming head coach following the 1994 season.

So, Jamieson is a member of both the Ron Maestri and John "Hi" Simmons coaching trees.

Jamieson was the head coach of the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team in the summer of 2011. Among his assistant coaches was Arkansas' Dave Van Horn.

From 1992 to 2997 John Cohen, current Mississippi State head coach, served as assistant coach on Jamieson's staff at Mizzou.

Jamieson is not the Lou Pinella type, always blowing his stack and yelling, although he can certainly lose his cool at times.  He's also not the Tommy Lasorda type, the glad-hander and publicity hog.  He's a fairly private person.

During a game he's generally calm and quiet but intensely focused on the game and on its details.

In his early years at MU, he coached 3rd base, then turned that job over to assistant coach Evan Pratte.  After Pratte shifted over to the role of Operations Director for Baseball, Jamieson soon resumed coaching at third and has continued to do so for the past two seasons.

Jamieson after losing to
Texas A&M in 2011 Big
12 Championship game
There were rumors that his job was on the line after the 2002 season, due to failing to qualify for the Big 12 Tournament or the NCAA Regionals for a few consecutive years.  Jamieson did make it to both post-season tournaments in 2003 and went on to do so for 7 consecutive years.

After a two year absence from the NCAA Regionals, Jamieson took the team back to the post-season in 2012, after winning Mizzou's final Big 12 Tournament.

Four seasons stand out to me as high points in Tim Jamieson's tenure at Mizzou

  1. In 1996, Tim Jamieson's second season, he led the Tigers to a regular season Big 8 Championship in the final year of the Big 8

  2. In 2006, Tim Jamieson led the Tigers to their first ever NCAA Regional win, in Malibu, and went on to the Fullerton Super Regional.

  3. In 2007, Tim Jamieson's Tigers hosted Mizzou's first ever Regional at Taylor Stadium.

  4. In 2012, Tim Jamieson's Tigers, after an up-and-down season, tore through their final Big 12 Tournament with 4 straight wins, run-ruling the hated Kansas Jayhawks in Game 3 and defeating the Sooners in the championship game.
Tom Jamieson argues with an ump
 at the 2007 Columbia Regional
Garrett Broshuis (former Mizzou and SF Giants minor league pitcher: Congrats to Coach J on the well-deserved title! He's as classy and persistent of a manager as you will find! #mizzou

Saturday, August 18, 2012

2012 Mizzou Recruit: Jeff Oracion, RHP


Jeff Oracion, RHP
5'8", 155 lb; R/R
Paris Junior College (TX) / Wakeland HS (Frisco, TX)

2012 Stats:  1-2; 9.00 ERA; 12 IP; 10 G;  12 R; 12 ER; 10 H; 10 SO; 13 BB; 2 SV

2011 Stats:  0-0; 3.19 ERA; 31 IP; 15 G; 19 R; 11 ER; 24 H; 20 SO; 12 BB; 2 SV

Word is he pitches in the low 90s, has hit 96.


Mizzou Baseball Diaspora: Mense Mentality

Mense looking toward next career (tbonesbaseball.com)
The sports psychologist with whom Mense talked was Richard McGuire. A professor at the University of Missouri who spent more than 25 years as the track coach there, McGuire is now in charge of the school’s sports psychology program. After visiting with McGuire, Mense played well for the remainder of that season. Perhaps more importantly, after the visit he decided he wanted to get a degree in sports psychology. Appreciative of the time McGuire spent helping him, Mense wants to have a similar impact going forward.
. . .
Though he is still a player at the moment, Mense’s future lies in being a coach. Before the end of the season, he will return to the University of Missouri as a graduate assistant to the baseball team while he works on getting his master’s degree in sports psychology.

Houston Christian HS grad Ryan Lollis roars for Grizzlies (ultimatememorial.com)
Houston Christian High School graduate Ryan Lollis helped the Fresno Grizzlies defeat the New Orleans Zephyrs in a Triple-A Pacific Coast League game Aug. 13.

Lollis went 1-for-2, with two walks and a run scored in the Grizzlies' victory. Fresno is the Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. On the season for Fresno, Lollis is batting .327 with two home runs and 15 RBIs.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Word on the Tweet: Mizzou Baseball & Softball in Joplin

Mizzou Baseball Jersey recovered
after the Joplin tornado

Dan Pietroburgo: On the road to Joplin with a full squad. Excited to get to work! Will have photos once we get going... #MIZforJoplin

Patrick Quintanilla: Habitat for humanity in Joplin today #OneMizzou

Dylan Kelley: Up early to make people smile! I don't mind

Breckin Williams: Rise and shine for habitat for.humanity in joplin, coming back down to paint and finish some houses

Brannon Champagne: heading to joplin for the day to help rebuild down there. #forthekids

Corrin Genovese (softball): Rise n shine Joplin we on our way

Dane Opel: Upset I am missing a day of shark week but no good deed goes unpunished..Joplin for the day #MIZforJoplin @MUTigerBaseball

Griffin Goodrich: If baseball doesn't work, def going into the painting business

@MUTigerBaseball: Lunch break at 2615 Virginia Ave. Joplin, MO. Guys are hard at work. Lots of painting! #MIZforJoplin

(PHOTOS)

Mizzou players return to help Joplin Habitat (kix1025.com)
The University of Missouri Baseball and Softball teams visited Joplin today in the school's fourth visit as part of the Habitat for Humanity's "Governor's Joplin Challenge." Assistant Baseball Coach Dan Pietroburgo tells News Talk KZRG the May 2011 tornado hits close to home for at least one member of the team.

"One of our incoming players, Brecken Williams, is from Webb City. So, not too far away, so they felt it a little bit. Everyone's kind of rallied around this, and we're just excited to be here to help any way we can."

The players painted eight homes that have been built in the tornado zone by fellow Tigers, as well as members of the St. Louis Rams and Kansas Chiefs.

Missouri Baseball in the Majors: Strikeout Kings


Tigers' Verlander, Scherzer could make strikeout history (USA Today)
Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer could become the best single-season strikeout duo in Detroit Tigers history.

Verlander and Scherzer rank first and second in the American League in strikeouts. If each maintains his current pace, they could strike out at least 240 apiece.

According to research done through Baseball-Reference.com, the Tigers have never had two pitchers fan at least 240 hitters in the same season. . .

WORD ON THE TWEET

Bernie Miklasz: Shout-out to Detroit's @Max_Scherzer Last 16 starts is 10-3 with 3.64 ERA and K rate of 11.8. Leads majors with 178 Ks

Thursday, August 16, 2012

SxSE: Ole Miss

Oxford-University Stadium at Swayze Field:
  • Capacity:  Listed variably as 6,000+ to 8,500
  • Reported 2011 Average Attendance:  8,156
    • That average attendance is pretty amazing, considering the total population of Oxford (residents + students) is listed as around 35,000.  That means that almost one fourth of the population goes to the average ballgame.  That proportion of attendance would translate to an average attendance over 30,000 at Mizzou Baseball games.
  • Named for:  Tom Swayze, former Ole Miss player and coach

Why is the school known as "Ole Miss"?  According to Wikipedia (so it must be true):
The student yearbook was published for the first time in 1897. As a way to find a name for the book, a contest was held to solicit any suggestions from the student body. Elma Meek, a student at the time, submitted the winning entry of Ole Miss. This sobriquet was chosen not only for the yearbook, but also became the name by which the University is now known. Ole Miss is defined as the school's intangible spirit, which is separate from the tangible aspects of the university. Meek's source for the term is unknown. Some historians theorize she either made a simple diminutive of "Ole Mississippi" or derived it from "ol' missus", African American eye dialect for a plantation's "old mistress."
Is Ole Miss inordinately pretentious?  Their school colors are officially Yale Blue and Harvard Crimson.

♦ Without a doubt, the most famous alumnus of Ole Miss has to be one Leonard "Bones" McCoy, M.D.
McCoy was attending the University of Mississippi during the mid-2240s when he met the joined Trill Emony Dax, who was visiting Earth to judge a gymnastics competition. While Jadzia did not go into detail regarding the exact nature of their relationship, much may be inferred from her statement that "he had the hands of a surgeon".
♦ The Ole Miss School Cheer:  Hotty Toddy, an understated and dignified cheer


Are you ready?
Hell yeah! Damn Right!
Hotty Toddy, Gosh almighty
Who the hell are we, Hey!
Flim Flam, Bim Bam
OLE MISS BY DAMN!

The rivalry betweeen Ole Miss and Mississippi State is considered by many to be the greatest rivalry between two SEC Baseball teams.
When it comes to passionate fan bases these two schools have it covered, great attendance numbers and game day atmospheres are a staple for baseball games when your in Oxford or Starkville. Just make sure you have the right colors on when visiting those two towns as they do not have a liking for the other. This is one of the most heated rivalries in the country with the first meeting taking place in 1893 against then Mississippi A&M ( now Mississippi St) since then they have put a twist a unique twist on this rivalry, every year the two play a 3 game series which counts toward their SEC records while also playing one non conference game. The non conference game starting in 1980 had the two teams play for the Mayor’s trophy, the game was held in Jackson MS. In 2007 they changed the name of the trophy to the Governor’s cup and the game is now held in Pearl MS at the Braves double A facility. Ole Miss holds the edge in the Mayor’s trophy with 14 wins to Miss St. 13, while Miss St. hold the edge in Governor’s cup game with 3 wins to Ole Miss 2. These two teams can’t even agree on the record of the all time series, Miss St states they have an all time lead of (239-195-5) while Ole Miss states it is only (231-196-5). (recruitingcycle.com)
♦ Ole Miss Tradition
The Rebels are chained to their past. The on-campus speed limit is 18 mph, because that was quarterback Archie Manning's uniform number with Ole Miss. Manning was the second player picked in the 1971 NFL draft, and sons Peyton and Eli are current NFL quarterbacks. (St. Louis Post Dispatch)

♦ The Ole Miss Mascot

For decades, the official Ole Miss mascot was Colonel Reb, a "southern gentleman" who reminded many people of a "southern plantation owner", and was thus offensive to some.  In 2010 the administration held a new mascot selection vote.

After a lengthy process of collecting suggestions (including Star Wars' Admiral Ackbar - see VIDEO), the mascot choices were narrowed to three choices:  the Rebel Land Shark, the Rebel Black Bear and Hotty Toddy.  Full descriptions and graphic representations HERE.

They of course chose the most original and "rebellious" option:  a bear

♦ To a get a feeling for the ballpark atmosphere at Ole Miss, check out Ole Miss Baseball: This Is How Revolutions Die, On Terraced Outfield Boxes (thebastardsonsofvirgilcaine.blogspot.com)
As with all Ole Miss athletic events...and perhaps life in general, the key is to attract the casual follower into a sport is to create something that is more cocktail than competition. That finally took hold during these formative years. It was the debters, ramblers and second sons of the Grove empire exiled to fight out their own space in the wilderness. Right Field at Swayze was the Australia to the Grove's Great Britain-- a rough penal colony imitation of the establishment.

Once the dingos were fought off, the Indian attacks died down and some basic supply lines were established, the pioneer women arrive. Without the pretensions and pearls of settled society, frontier women are little more rough and tumble-- and lot more practical. Gone are the cocktail dresses and heels of football weekends. Mom and Dad probably aren't in town, and Sorority initiation is long over. Baseball was all flip-flops, short shorts and the occasional bikini top. . .
♦ Students pack right field to support diamond Rebs (thedmonline.com)
When at home, students set up tents a la The Grove and bring coolers, grills and even couches to watch the Rebels play — a unique spectacle that brings students out rain or shine.

Senior marketing major Bo Rainey said he loves supporting Ole Miss from right field.

“It’s really fun,” Rainey said. “Not enough kids come out here, and more need to. It’s awesome.”

Because of the number of students that choose to sit in the spot, Ole Miss added space in right field prior to the 2007 season to accommodate a greater number of students.
The Top 10 College Baseball Stadiums (recruitingcycle.com)
2. Swayze Field – Ole Miss: Hotty Toddy is the term used in Oxford and it is used often at Swayze Field. One of the best gameday atmospheres in all of college baseball provides many traditions that make it a unique place to take in a game. A capacity of 8,500 helped Ole Miss rank second in the country in attendance last year. With a left and right field terrace lined with students, Ole Miss gives fans the close- to- the- action feel they are looking for. Between each inning after warmups the Ole Miss RF throws a ball into the stands, and the students write a message on it and throw it back to him the next inning. Beer showers after walk off home runs and of course a good heckling of the opposing outfielders create a rowdy home field advantage. The amenities are first class and give fans a great place to watch a game. If you are a baseball fan and get the opportunity take a trip to Oxford, make sure to catch a game at Swayze field.

Oxford-University Stadium (collegebaseballtoday.com)
When God created college baseball, he made programs both big and small. He made stadiums both big and small. All are special in their own way. All are blessed. And then God made Ole Miss’ stadium.

This has to be THE perfect college baseball environment. Located in a college town, shrouded in trees and enough room to hold 10,000 people. It’s also perfectly tucked inside a hillside, making for a perfect pitch for the fans to get good sight lines. And there is plenty of shade to be found on hot days, even if you just have to duck into the trees for a few minutes.

A look at the atmosphere of an Ole Miss Baseball game (youtube.com):



Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mizzou Diaspora: Jake and Max

Jake Ring at Area Code Games

Grant's Ring commits to playing at Missouri next year (Chicago Tribune)
Jake Ring's months of consistent excellence paid off over the past couple of weeks, as he accepted a scholarship to the University of Missouri and was added to this week's prestigious Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif. The 5-foot-11 rising senior is one of four Illinois players representing the White Sox in the national all-star tournament.

He received the invitation after going 3-for-3 with four stolen bases in the Midwest Scouts Association Top 50 showcase at the Kansas City Royals' Kaufmann Stadium on July 23.

"It is amazing," said Ring, who had a combined 68 stolen bases the last two springs. "It is a blessing. It shows all my hard work, all the blood, sweat and tears paid off for me."

Ring is the second local outfielder to commit to Missouri this summer, in part because of the encouragement he received from the first one.

Ring said summer teammate Jordan Getzelman of Prairie Ridge was pushing him to join Getzelman in Columbia, Mo., even though it could mean a competition for playing time early in their careers.

"Whatever happens, happens," Ring said. "He is going to push me to work harder, and I'm going to push him. It honestly doesn't matter to me where in the outfield I play."
Scherzer still trying to find consistency (Columbia Tribune)
During the Tigers' recent series in Arlington, fellow MU product Ian Kinsler was the Rangers' starting second baseman, one of three former Missouri players currently in the AL.

"Yeah, I keep tabs on them, the former Tigers. It was obviously a great school to be part of," he said. "I always keep Mizzou in my heart."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

SxSE: Oxford, Mississippi

The University of Mississippi is almost never called that.  They insist on being referred to as Ole Miss.  The home of the Rebels is located in what has to be one of the two most high-falutin' named towns in the SEC:  Oxford.


♦ Oxford is the 4th closest SEC town to Columbia, 477 miles away (352 air miles).  Ole Miss is in the SEC West Division.

Fun facts about Oxford, MS:
  • Oxford is even smaller than it's Mississippi rival college town of Starkville.  Oxford's 2010 population is listed as 18,916.  The student population runs greater than 16,000.

  • The town was built on land  "ceded " by the Chickasaw in an 1832 treaty.  The founders named it Oxford in hopes of establishing a center of learning.

  • In 1861 the entire student body of Ole Miss left school to join the Confederate Army
Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy
Distinguished future Ole Miss alum
♦ There are 2 Chik-fil-a locations in Oxford

Oxpatch (GCS Prank is Here)
Every character needs a stage. For GCSPrank, that stage was a tiny village, wrapped in its myth of literary and historical pedigree. Dropped amidst the emptiness of northern Mississippi, Oxford was irreverently and accurately called Oxpatch, a moniker that framed its attitude and size quite well.
. . .
From oddness to odd comfort to odd distaste, Oxford mutated in my mind. A blanket in the dark, an aquarium during the day; playground in the summer and prison in the winter. I was unimpressed at first sight and unsentimental at the last. Oxford holds its own place in my mind, a curiosity that no longer inspires the need for examination, collecting dust on a mental shelf tucked deep.
♦ Mississippi was the jumping off place for many well known writers, including William Faulker, John Grisham, Willie Morris, Larry Hannah and Larry Brown.  Oxford hosts the annual Oxford Conference for the Book in March, which attracts leading authors from around the world.

♦ The people of Oxford seem to make an inordinately big deal about the fact that they call their town square "The Square".  Which is pretty much what every town calls their square.  It is the center of commercial activity in the town.

Some places to visit before you leave the Ol' 'Oxpatch' (thedmonline.com)
Shots on Faulkner’s Grave.

Pretty self-explanatory.

The rule is go to Faulkner’s grave and pour a shot in a shot glass and toast to good ol’ Faulkner and leave. I don’t know where exactly it originated from but it’s a fun thing to do on a Friday or Saturday.

But warning - now that this article is out, have a DD. I am sure the cops will be looking out for this.
♦ Residents of Oxford and fans of Ole Miss have been accused of having an elitist attitude, comparing themselves to other SEC towns and schools. A few quotes gleaned from the interwebs:
"Ole Miss; Harvard of the South"

"Ole Miss; Where we redshirt Miss Americas"

"Culture versus Agriculture"

"We drive BMW's / You drive tractors"

"We wear polo's / You wear camo"




Monday, August 13, 2012

MU in the Minors

Lollis makes most of time with Grizzlies (Columbia Tribune)
Lollis said the bigger difference from Single-A to Triple-A wasn't the talent — the pitchers in the California League have plenty of that — but the consistency. For a hitter, it's more of a mind game at the higher level.

"If" Triple-A pitchers "want to try to get you to hit that groundball, they can do it pretty much whenever they want," Lollis said. "It's kind of cool to watch. It's a little tough trying to get that hit. You've got to be smart as a hitter."

Sunday, August 12, 2012

SEC Fan's Guide to Mizzou Baseball: Gene McArtor

Gene McArtor 1961
Gene McArtor was a scrappy first baseman for John "Hi" Simmons Tigers from 1961-1964.

After his playing years were finished, he stuck around as an assistant coach to Coach Simmons.  When the legendary Simmons retired after the 1973 season, the task of filling his cleats after 37 years was a daunting one.

Coach Mac took the helm of the Tiger Nine at a time when the playing season was growing and the game was changing.  The 1954 National Champion Tigers played a total of 26 games from the season opener through the championship game of the College World Series.  The record-setting 1964 team played all of 32 games.  McArtor's first team played 42 games (without going into the post-season).  Two years later the Tigers played a 62-game schedule.

The pace of the game and the popularity of the college game were also on the rise.  This was the era when first Ron Polk and then Skip Bertman were dragging the sleepy Southeastern Conference into a new age as a hotbed of college baseball.  Cliff Gustafson had the Longhorns rolling like a juggernaut and Gary Ward was about to turn the Oklahoma State Cowboys into the dominant team in the Big 8.

Gene McArtor and
John "Hi" Simmons
McArtor's Tigers never made it to the College World Series, but they did make appearances in the NCAA Regionals 6 out of his 21 seasons.  They won the Big 8 only three times during a period when the Big was dominated by Gary Ward's Cowboys.

McArtor still holds the record for most wins by a Mizzou Baseball coach, compiling a 733-430-3.  That averages out to about a 35-20 record over the 21 seasons of his career.

He was inducted into the American Baseball Coach's Association Hall of Fame in 1993. He also received the organization's highest honor in 1997, the Lefty Gomez Award. This award is given to an individual who has distinguished himself among his peers and contributed significantly to the game of baseball locally, nationally, and internationally. His number was retired in 1994 and adorns the left field wall at Taylor Stadium.

SEC Baseball Fan's Guide to
Mizzou Baseball
Upon retiring from coaching, McArtor spent several years as a Senior Associate Athletic Director at MU.  He is now the NCAA National Coordinator of Baseball Umpires

Columbia Daily Tribune on McArtor leaving the MU Coaching job, May 8, 1994
Like most MU coaches, McArtor spent most of the '80s trying to compete under a shrinking budget.

``To give in to that means you have no chance,'' he said. ``To just give in and throw up your hands, you have no chance. We tried to make the best of it that we could and in many cases succeeded above the funding level of the program.''

McArtor has had only one losing season. That was in his second year, 1975, when finances were flush in comparison. McArtor played a lot of freshmen that year. The next season, the Tigers won the Big Eight.

McArtor, too, grew into the job. Born and raised in Missouri, he played first base for the Tigers under John ``Hi'' Simmons in the early '60s. After six years of teaching and coaching at St. Louis-area high schools, he returned to MU to achieve a Ph.D in education and assist Simmons. Their combined tenure goes back to 1937.

``I had a clear-cut goal out there in front of me, and that was probably Enos Semore at the University of Oklahoma, who'd won a number of Big Eight Conference championships in a row,'' McArtor said.

``Oklahoma had a very, very successful program within the conference. And along with that, they had five or six key players that were from the state of Missouri. Some out of St. Louis, some out of Springfield.

``So when I took over, that was the goal that we were shooting for. We had to keep Missouri players in Missouri, and Oklahoma was the team that we were trying to catch.''

McArtor played on two College World Series teams but has not made it back as a coach, although six of his teams have made the NCAA playoffs.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

2012 Mizzou Recruit: Dylan Kelly, C


Dylan Kelly, C
6'0", 200 lb, L/R
Middle Georgia College; Centennial HS (Roswell, GA)

2012 JuCo Stats: .283 (54-for-191), 27 R, 14 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 30 RBI, .387 SLG, .347 OBP, 14 BB, 7 HBP, 20 SO, 0/2 SB

2011 JuCo Stats: .429 (54-for-126), 33 RBI, 22 R, 12 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR




College Baseball Numerology

Expected Runs Tables for NCAA Division I (boydsworld.com)
The tables below were created from analysis of play-by-play data for roughly 93% of all D1 games from 2005 to 2008. An update was then done for the 2011 and 2012 seasons to measure the impact of the new bats.
♦ And some explanation and discussion of the statistics at Rivals.com College Baseball Message Board
...The results are predictable overall, but some of the details are surprising (in particular, I'm open to suggestions for an explanation for the increase in scoring with only a runner on third).
PLUS60 Performance Testing Results (Prep Baseball Report, 6/11/2012)
Today, the Prep Baseball Report hosted its first PLUS60 Performance Testing. The event was a combine event that featured the 60 plus Shuttle Run, Broad Jump, Vertical Jump, Med Ball Toss, Exit Velocities, and Throwing Velocities. As we progress into the new-era of BBCOR bats, the face of recruiting has changed and college coaches have started focusing on recruiting all-around athletes. BBCOR bats have significantly decreased the trampoline effect of aluminum; essentially it’s like hitting with a deadened bat with a smaller sweet spot. The college game, once buoyed by the long ball, has turned more to speed and athleticism.

Because of the heightened premium placed on athleticism, PLUS60 Performance Testing gives college coaches quantifiable measureables beyond the basic - and somewhat archaic - 60-yard dash. PLUS60 Performance Testing is designed to give recruiters a more in-depth look at prospects,
providing a standardized baseline for athleticism.

The event was highlighted by a handful of individuals.

Jake Ring, Grant HS, Class of 2013, who ran a 6.69, 4.44 shuttle run. [Trrip Note: Ring has made a verbal commitment to Mizzou]

Friday, August 10, 2012

Mizzou Baseball Diaspora: Movin' on up

Minor Details (Star Tribune)
Righthander Kyle Gibson is just moving down the street, but it's a sign of progress in his return from Tommy John surgery.

Gibson, the Twins' first-round pick in 2009, is joining Class A Fort Myers this week as he continues to work his way back. In nine games (seven starts) for the Twins' rookie team in the Gulf Coast League, Gibson posted a 2.45 ERA with four walks and 16 strikeouts in 142/3 innings.

He will follow Carl Pavano on Sunday and throw around 50 pitches.

"He's thrown the ball well," said Jim Rantz, the Twins director of minor leagues. "He's even throwing a little harder than he did before he was hurt."

Mizzou Baseball Diaspora: PoM

MU IN THE MINORS

Clark earns another award from Tigers (GoErie.com)
New Erie SeaWolves pitcher Tyler Clark has been named the Detroit Tigers Minor League Pitcher of the Month for July. Clark, who was also the top Detroit minor league pitcher in May, shares the award with Toledo pitcher Adam Wilk. In July, Clark went 2-1 with a 0.00 ERA and picked up six saves. He allowed five hits and struck out 21 in 12 1/3 innings.

Clark was called up to Erie on Monday and did not appear in Tuesday’s 6-4 loss to New Hampshire.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

SxSE: LSU Baseball 1893-2012

LSU Baseball is currently a Super Regional program.  They have the history and reputation to be expected to at least make it to a Super Regional each year.  Paul Mainieri's challenge, after a short tenure that has swung from twice failing to reach the NCAA Regionals all the way up to winning the national championship, is to make sure the program stays at that level or moves up to a perennial CWS program,  rather than falling back.  The Tigers' average season record over the past 10 years has been 42-21.

LSU began playing baseball in 1893.  They had 15 different coaches in the first 30 years.

Harry Rabenhorst was the head coach from 1925 through 1956.  Rabenhorst was also the basketball coach during that time.  He accumulated a baseball record of 220-226-3.  

Skip Bertman was the head coach from 1983-2001, and turned LSU from a good-to-average program into a national powerhouse.  The Tigers made 11 appearances in the College World Series during Bertman's 18 years as coach. His teams won the national championship 5 times,in 1991, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 2000.

In a Baseball America poll published in 1999, Bertman was voted the second greatest college baseball coach of the 20th century, trailing Rod Dedeaux of Southern California.

Smoke Laval was the head coach from 2002-2006.  While Laval posted a 210-109-1 record at LSU, and took the team to the College World Series twice, he could never live up to the expectations set by Skip Bertman's career at LSU.

Paul Mainieri has been the head coach since 2006.  In 5 years he has taken the Tigers to the College World Series twice, and won the national championship in 2009.

All in all, LSU has won 15 SEC Championships, has made 25 NCAA Regional appearances, has made 15 College World Series appearances (1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009), and has won 6 national championships (1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, and 2009)

LSU Baseball Historical Video (youtube.com)


    Notable LSU ballplayers
    The 2012 LSU Tigers

    The 2012 Tigers finished with a 47-18 record, 19-11 in the SEC, won the NCAA Regional they hosted and went on to host a Super Regional, in which they were beaten by Cinderella team Stony Brook

    LSU's baseball team is knocked cold vs. Stony Brook (nola.com)
    LSU beefed up its pitching, but the everyday lineup still showed a lack of hitting talent from poor recruiting. The Tigers top two hitters -- Katz and Raph Rhymes -- will return, but the lineup lacks power and athleticism. Partly because of injuries, Mainieri tinkered with it all season and still was doing so in the super regional.
    The Tigers spent the season scratching for runs with bunts and hit-and-run plays and got by with strong pitching and defense. Mainieri admitted that "in a lot of ways we overachieved."

    Aside from losing Gausman and probably Goody, the biggest hole to fill will be defensively. Austin Nola performed as perhaps LSU's best fielding shortstop since former coach Skip Bertman arrived in town. Second baseman JaCoby Jones might move over to that spot or incoming freshman Alex Bregman could wind up there.

    Also gone is senior third baseman Tyler Hanover and designated hitter Grant Dozar, but the rest of the players return. The Tigers could get a boost if center fielder Chris Sciambra recovers from a neck injury suffered during the second Southeastern Conference weekend.

    The Tigers must also find a No. 1 starter. At the beginning of the season, Mainieri foresaw Ryan Eades sliding into that role, but he was struggling by the end of the season and was knocked out in the third inning Sunday night after allowing four runs.
    Nola's brother, Aaron, who walked seven in 89 2/3 innings, might have surpassed Eades for the Friday starter slot.

    "He's got room for improvement, obviously," Mainieri said. "He's got to get better with his off-speed pitches. He doesn't have anything he can go to behind in the count with great command and change of pace."

    Even with the sour finish, it beat back-to-back seasons where the Tigers didn't host and then didn't make the NCAA Tournament. LSU won 47 games and an SEC title, which earned it a top eight national seed.

    Rhymes had 100 hits and set a school record with a .431 batting average. Gausman went 12-2 with a 2.77 ERA.

    The Tigers simply couldn't finish.