Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Big 12 Championship Rings Ceremony


2013 Recruit: LHP Jared Fosdick

Jared Fosdick, LHP
6'0", 170 lb, L/L
Hazelwood West HS, StL area

♦ 2012 Stats: 6-3, 2.35 ERA, 10 GS, 12 G, 62.2 IP, 48 H, 91 SO, 22 BB, .194 Opp BA

♦ 2011 Stats: 3-2, 4.53 ERA, 34 IP

♦ 2012 First Team All Suburban North Conference

Hazelwood West pitcher Fosdick makes commitment to Mizzou (St. Louis Post Dispatch)
Fosdick said the Tigers have been following him for a few years.

“They’ve always kind of had their eye on me, ever since I was a freshman and I went to one of their camps,” he said. “The middle of the summer, they saw me pitch in Georgia, and have I been in contact with them since.”

The 6-foot, 170-pound lefty pitched at a camp at Mizzou a few weeks ago, in which he said he struck out four batters in two innings of work. His performance at the camp, along with the coaching staff’s previous viewings of him, helped Fosdick earn the opportunity with the Tigers.
. . .
Fosdick joins Hazelwood West teammate Devin Williams, a senior right-handed pitcher, as a Mizzou commitment. Fosdick and Williams will be joined in Columbia by Jack Klages, a catcher from Vianney, and Francis Howell Central shortstop Ryan Howard. Fosdick, Williams, Klages and Howard all competed for the St. Louis Pirates organization this summer.
Fosdick Cousins Lead Hazelwood West to the Top of Suburban North Conference (Hazelwood Patch.com)
But this year, he's in the lineup whether he's pitching or not, and has a scorching .385 batting average and leads West in runs batted in.

"He's really been working on his hitting," McClellan said. "The whole team has, but Jared's really improved his stroke.

"He had some good at-bats, and he's really got some confidence in himself now."

And that confidence really showed back on April 3, when Jared Fosdick had three hits and drove in four runs, as West came back from a 4-0 deficit to defeat archrival Hazelwood Central and star pitcher Jonathan Harris, 9-4, in a critical early-season Suburban North game.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mizzou to meet Illinois again at Busch in 2013

Illinois has released their 2013 Baseball Schedule, and Mizzou is on it.
Brett Graves at Busch in 2012
In what is becoming an annual spotlight game, Illinois will face 2012 NCAA Tournament participant Missouri at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo., on April 2, before traveling to Indiana the following weekend.
The full schedule shows the game on April 2nd at Busch, but leaves the game time as to-be-announce.

We've been piecing together the 2013 schedule. We've got 46 of the maximum 56 game schedule, as listed below. For more details about the schedule, see 2013 Schedule Update

♦ 2013 tentative schedule:
2/15-2/17 - @ Southern Mississippi
2/22-2/24 - @ Memphis
3/1/-3/3 - Northwestern
3/8-3/10 - San Francisco
3/15-3/17 South Carolina at Missouri
3/22-3/24 Missouri at Tennessee
3/29-3/31 LSU at Missouri
4/2 Missouri vs. Illinois at Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO
4/5-4/7 Missouri at Georgia
4/9 Missouri at Missouri State
4/12-4/14 Missouri at Vanderbilt
4/17 Missouri State at Missouri
4/19-4/21 Florida at Missouri
4/26-4/28 Auburn at Missouri
4/30 Southeast Missouri at Missouri
5/3-5/5 Missouri at Texas A&M
5/10-5/12 Missouri at Alabama
5/16-5/18 Kentucky at Missouri 
5/21-5/26 SEC Tournament

SxSE: Coach David Perno's Bulldogs

♦ Recruiting footprint:  Based on recent recruiting classes, Perno tends to recruit heavily from Georgia, plus Tennessee, Virginia and random players from PA, FL and NC.

♦ Georgia's 2012 schedule included 37 home games out of 56 (66%), tying them with LSU for the most home games in the SEC.

Perno will return as baseball coach (macon.com, 5/24/12)
David Perno's boss has squelched any more speculation about his future as Georgia head baseball coach.

Perno will return to coach the team in 2013, athletics director Greg McGarity said on Thursday.

"Dave will be back next year," McGarity said, during a break from the UGA athletic board meetings at Lake Oconee.

Notably, McGarrity didn't even need to be asked directly whether Perno was coming back. The A.D. simply volunteered it after I asked him an open-ended question about his feelings on the baseball program.

"It's not even an issue. If you take SEC records over the last two years, and you give credit to South Carolina, Florida and Vandy, and do some research about where the rest of us are ... Over that two-year span we're one game over .500. Arkansas, Ole Miss, LSU, you've got a lot of schools that are right where we are as far as SEC standings.

Georgia hopes to rebuild as David Perno era begins (chronicle.augusta.com, 2/19/02)
In 1991, Athens native David Perno wrote a goal on a piece of paper and tucked it in his wallet: "To be the head baseball coach at Georgia by age 35."

Perno got his wish and even beat his goal by a year - but the team he inherits will be a mere shadow of last season's powerhouse.

The entire infield and most of the starting rotation are gone from the 2001 team, which won its first Southeastern Conference championship in 47 years and went to the College World Series for the first time since its 1990 national championship.

"I don't think you can expect us to do as much," said Perno, whose Bulldogs open the season Friday against North Carolina in the Savannah Shootout. "That's why we were picked 66th in the country. But I think you will see an exciting club."

Perno almost never got his chance.

A backup infielder on Georgia's 1990 championship team, Perno had been the Bulldogs' hitting coach since 1997. But when coaching legend Ron Polk resigned to return to Mississippi State after two seasons, athletic director Vince Dooley offered the job to more experienced coaches - Tulane's Rick Jones and Baylor's Steve Smith.

Both Jones and Smith turned down the offer, opening the door for Perno. Now that he has the job, Perno has to find ways to fill the holes created by departing players.
Perno's philosophy changes after pair of tragic injuries (onlineathens.com)

Although he can be blunt in his criticism of performance, Perno is an optimist at heart. He believes good results come from good habits and when anybody goes about business the correct way, rewards follow.
"We think the world of coach Perno," Todd Veazey said. "He is a very optimistic about things and very positive and very upbeat about things. I can't ever remember seeing him down. Now that might have just been his game face in front of us. But the fact that he's been so encouraging has meant everything for us because there were times when we really needed it."
. . .
David Perno, Mixed Emotions, and the NCAA Corvallis Regional (dawgsports.com, 6/1/11)
David Perno presents a special challenge for me, as I go back and forth about the head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs’ oldest varsity sport to an extent I simply do not with other coaches. Where Coach Perno is concerned, I frequently find myself torn; I am conflicted about the Red and Black baseball skipper to an almost unprecedented degree.

Four years ago, I wondered whether Coach Perno was getting the job done with the Diamond Dogs; three years ago, I defended him as the right man for the job. When I suggested possible replacements for Brady Wiederhold as Georgia’s pitching coach, Coach Perno instead hired himself, and the result was that ugly trends on the mound were reversed: 61 games into the 2011 campaign, the Classic City Canines have posted a 4.99 team ERA, conceded a cumulative .293 batting average, and surrendered 342 runs. In last year’s 53-game season, the Bulldog staff collectively carded an 8.51 earned run average, allowed opposing batters to hit .333, and gave up 478 runs. This year’s Georgia team ERA is comparable to the 5.05 posted by the Red and Black in their 2008 run to the College World Series finals.
. . .
This year’s turnaround, in which the Red and Black overcame the country’s toughest schedule and a second straight season marred by a career-ending player injury, is emblematic of what has made the David Perno era so maddening. The spring was salvaged by back-to-back wins over top three teams in the SEC Tournament, but such a late resurgence was required only because of inexplicable losses to Furman, Kennesaw State, and Mercer. Coach Perno has been a part of the Bulldogs’ greatest successes, but he also presided over the worst season in school history.

The Case for Replacing David Perno as the Head Coach of the Georgia Bulldogs Baseball Team (dawgsports.com, 5.1.2012)
Three College World Series appearances in a five-year span offered some hope that Coach Perno’s program was on the rise, but those three 45-win seasons in 2004, 2006, and 2008 are offset by three years in which the Red and Black could not get out of the NCAA Regional (2002, 2009, and 2011), four in which the Classic City Canines did not make it into the 64-team field at all (2003, 2005, 2007, and 2010), and several spent either below .500 (23-33 in 2007 and 16-37 in 2010) or near it (32-29 in 2002, 29-26 in 2003, 30-25 in 2005, and 33-32 in 2011). Mark Richt has seven ten-win seasons and one losing campaign in eleven years, making it pretty clear which is the aberrational trend; Coach Perno has seven seasons out of ten without an NCAA Super Regional appearance, which suggests that trips to Omaha are the exception, rather than the rule.
. . .
As I noted before, I personally bear Coach Perno no ill will, but it appears that bad decisions are being made all over the place, from game-day management to assistant coach hiring and retention, from which players to pursue to which players to keep, and the Georgia baseball program is suffering the consequences. Players who ought to be on the Diamond Dogs’ roster right now would rather be playing for Armstrong State, High Point, and Valdosta State than for David Perno.

I’ve thought about that for more than a minute, and I am forced to conclude that the time has come to put a coach in charge of the oldest varsity sport at the nation’s oldest state-chartered university who at least is able to persuade promising prospects that Athens is a more attractive option than a junior college or a Division II school. That doesn’t seem like a lot to ask, does it?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Max Scherzer in the World Series: Grace & Courage

Max Scherzer
Detroit Free Press
Max Scherzer gave Tigers chance to win Game 4 (Detroit Free Press)
It was the fastball that deserted Max Scherzer on the final night of his breakthrough 2012 season.

The command and late explosion weren’t quite there, and neither was the victory Scherzer needed to help his Detroit Tigers avoid a World Series sweep at the hands of the San Francisco Giants.

“Honestly, I don’t know why,” Scherzer said after Sunday’s 4-3 loss in Game 4 at Comerica Park. “My arm felt good, I just didn’t have my best fastball.

“I pitched well. I pitched good. But I didn’t pitch my best, and that’s what burns.”
Tigers' Max Scherzer copes with heartache, arm-ache (Detroit News)
They don't have a Guttiest Tigers Award.

But if they want to throw some kind of trophy together, woven from barbed wire and rose thorns, they should give it to Max Scherzer, who started for the Tigers in Sunday's World Series grand finale at Comerica Park, and who pitched more than sturdily (6.1 innings, seven hits, three runs, eight strikeouts) in the Giants' 4-3 victory that won for San Francisco a world championship.

Scherzer's answer to anguish and to strife during the 2012 season was to meet it with grace and courage. On the mound, in the clubhouse, in his conversations, in any facet of his life, a 28-year-old right-hander excelled even as he dealt with heartache.
Grading the Tigers: Detroit's offense improved, but far from satisfactory in Game 4 loss to Giants (mlive.com)
Working on nine days' rest, Scherzer's velocity wasn't up to full speed Sunday as his fastball could break out of the low 90s. A cause for concern? Maybe. But he'll have the offseason to rest a strain near his right shoulder that has plagued him the past month.

Rarely did his fastball crack 92 mph Sunday, which hurt him in the second when Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt belted back-to-back extra-base hits to score the game's first run. Still, he gave a gritty performance with temperatures falling below 40 degrees.
Tigers learn tough lesson from sweep (Fox Sports)
“Everybody in baseball knows that’s what you have to do,” Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer said. “It’s a three-phase game — pitching, offense and defense. You go back and look at all the World Series winners, they all do that. I don’t think that’s a lesson we learned. I think that’s a fact within baseball.”

Well, if it’s a fact, then it’s a fact that the Tigers at least partly ignored. The team still had a hugely successful season, winning the AL Central, beating the Athletics and Yankees in the playoffs, reaching the World Series. But let the Tigers’ final memory of 2012 serve as a springboard to a better future.

Who's on First: Out-State Missourians

Keaton Steele
♦ Junior RHP/INF Keaton Steele, St. Joseph, MO (by way of Iowa Westerm Community College, College Bluffs, IA)
  • 2012 Pitching: 0-0, 1 Sv, 8.38 ERA, 9.2 IP, 14 K, 3 BB, 9 R, 9 ER, 13 H
  • 2012 Offense: .438 BA, 110 AB, 40 R, 48 H, 12 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 30 RBI, 2/2 SB, 7 HMB, .476 OBP

John Miles
♦ Sophomore RHP John Miles, Rock Bridge HS, Columbia, MO

  • 2012: 4-2, 5.11 RA, 25 APP, 4 Starts, 49.1 IP, 49 H, 32 R, 28 ER, 22 BB, 25 SO, 7 2B, 3 3B, 5 HR, .265 OPP BA
  • Miles will be expected to step up and possibly fill one of the weekend starter jobs in 2013 after a good showing in his freshman season

Ryan Phillps (and a former Mizzou student)
♦ Freshman RHP/INF Ryan Phillips, Rock Bridge HS, Columbia, MO

  • Phillips was a high school teammate of MU sophomore John Miles
  • 2012 Offense: .394 (39-for-99), 27 R
  • 2012 Pitching: 7-3, 1.72 ERA, 2 Saves, 6 complete games

Breckin Williams
♦ Freshman RHP/INF Breckin Williams, Webb City HS, Oronogo, MO
  • 2012 Offense: .371 BA, 25 R, .526 OBP
    2012 Pitching: 6-0, 1.84 ERA, 66 K, 49 IP

Austin Tribby
♦ Freshman LHP Austin Tribby, Catholic HS, Springfield, MO

  • Comes from the same high school as former Missouri pitcher, current Detroit Tigers frmhand Tyler Clark
  • His junior year, Austin Tribby tried to strike everyone out. The results were good, but they could have been better, so he adjusted.

    He worked in the offseason to develop his control and pitch more to contact. The numbers speak for themselves; the future Missouri Tiger was 10-0 with 104 strikeouts and a .155 opponents' batting average in 632/3 innings.

    "Having him as a weapon to use is a luxury," Catholic coach Jason Daugherty said. "He can keep you in any ballgame you throw him in." (USA Today High School Sports, 6/22/12)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Max Scherzer in the World Series

Max Scherzer (ASAP Sports)
Q. The weather is obviously something you can't control, but when it's this cold, how do you change what you wear or what you do or anything like that?

MAX SCHERZER: Yeah, I haven't worn sleeves the whole year fortunately but that's going to change. I'm going back to all the tricks I did in college, numerous 40‑degree games there. It'll be just a challenge just like what everybody has to do to battle this cold weather.

Q. Tricks like that?

MAX SCHERZER: Wearing shorts underneath your pants, finding the right long sleeves, warming up extra long, anything you can do to keep your body warm.
Tigers' Max Scherzer and Giants' Matt Cain will face each other in Game 4, must tackle cold weather (Detroit Free Press)
When Max Scherzer and Matt Cain take the mound tonight for their teams in Game 4, it could be the best pitching matchup of the World Series. Scherzer would be the ace on many teams. Cain is the ace for the Giants.
Detroit Tigers' Max Scherzer has fought through worse than 3-0 deficit (Detroit News)
You can talk about the pressure all you want. You can wonder how Max Scherzer will handle his emotions Sunday night when he makes his World Series debut, starting Game 4 with the Tigers suddenly — stunningly — facing elimination against the San Francisco Giants.

But you should know that Scherzer, the Tigers' hard-throwing right-hander, has dealt with a situation far more trying than this on the mound.

Back on June 23, he allowed three runs on three hits and a walk in six innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Yet the strength of that start certainly wasn't measured in the numbers. Scherzer fought through unimaginable grief that afternoon at PNC Park, just two days after the death of his younger brother, Alex.

"He did something that I couldn't have done," said Jeff Jones, the Tigers' pitching coach. "To have that happen and then come back a couple days later and pitch, I really don't know how he managed."

SEC Fan's Guide to Mizzou Baseball: Fashion Police

To really understand the importance of game day attire in the SEC, it's essential that you spend the next half hour scrolling through this 20+ page message board thread at SECRant.com, titled Now that they're in the SEC, are Mizzou fans going to make an attempt to not dress like douchebags?  Or you can just read some snippets here, along with my answers:

OBReb6: I went to the Mizzou-Colorado game in 2010 and I've never seen so many jerseys in my life. Even the fraternity guys were wearing them. It was disgusting.

Worse than that is that the women didn't even look like they made an attempt to look somewhat attractive. Hoodies, t-shirts, jeans, flatbills, etc. Have some respect for yourselves women of missouri.

Is there going to be some sort of movement to conform to the style of other SEC schools? Or are y'all going to continue to look like white trash?
Trrip: Yes, Reb, we're going to continue to look like white trash. That is certainly better than taking fashion advice from someone at Ground Zero for White Trash.
OBReb6 (again): I'm not talking about wearing a bowtie and blazer, just have a little respect for yourself and wear a collared shirt. There's nothing more sad than a grown man wearing the jersey of a college kid.
Trrip: At Mizzou Baseball games we wear whatever we want to wear. Usually it comes in layers, so we can be prepared for the weather to go from icebox to suntans between the 1st and 9th inning.  And if we wear a jersey, we don't steal it from a college kid.  We buy it ourselves.
Numberwang: Spend 99 cents on a can of starch and spend 3 minutes ironing a shirt
Trrip: I've never touched a can of starch in my life, let alone used one. And my KU SUCKS t-shirt is wash-and-wear.  I'm sure my R-KANSAS SUCKS t-shirt will be as well.
MasterofSinanju: I'm not a fashion model, but there are some rules you have to follow to wear a jersey properly.
  1. Always tuck, and of course make sure the jersey is clean.
  2. Wear a real jersey, not one of those Walmart specials with big arse logos on the sleeve.
  3. SEWN numbers. GTFO with that screen printed shite.
  4. If you're traveling with the team, yes wear your road whites.
  5. Names on the back are okay, as long as it's not YOUR name.
  6. If you wear a throwback, make sure it's era appropriate - no names if the oldtimer didn't have it back then.
  7. Watch what you wear underneath - remember that it shows through.
  8. Wear the right size - it's supposed to hang a bit loose, not constrict your breathing.
Trrip: You lost me at #1. You tuck in your jersey? Are you 80?
There is no traditional way to dress for a Mizzou Baseball game. The very idea of a traditional dress code seems absurd to most Mizzou fans.

Come to a game at Taylor Stadium and you will see all of the following:
  • Well-to-do alumni / team dads dressed in upscale Mizzou polos and khakis
  • Their wives will most often not be in dresses.  They will be in appropriately expensive outfits that are both stylish and warm
  • Most adult (non-student) fans will show up in whatever they pulled out of the closet that day, which will likely be jeans or khakis, MU t-shirts and hoodies, or whatever they want to wear
  • An astonishing number of male college students show up in shorts and t-shirt, hoodie or jersey, even when the temperature is low enough to freeze your knees.
  • The college girls will do what nearly all college girls do - show up to a baseball game in full make-up and their best most flattering t-shirt or jersey.  Occasionally you'll see a coed in a dress if they're coming from or going to some other event
  • No bow ties.  Unless you're 80.
Actually, that list pretty well describes what people wear to church on Sunday morning in CoMo, too.  The preacher at my church announced once that "next week will be dress-down Sunday".  I looked at my friend next to me, a man in his early 30's with a wife and 4 kids, who was dressed in a t-shirt he picked up off the floor and cargo shorts and flip flops.  I told him, "You're going to have to come naked."

By the way, he's one of the ministers.

In other words, we don't care what fans in the rest of the SEC wear.  In CoMo, we wear whatever we want to.

Oh, and I saw this photo somewhere in that message board thread.  I know those guys.  The one with "I" on his chest and a hand print on his face is now an electrical engineer for a major company in Kansas City. He does not dress like that when he comes to church.  Well, not often.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Southern Exposure: A rose by any other name

South Carolina is considering referring to themselves as . . . wait for it, this is huge . . . South Carolina.

Gamecocks’ success leads to identity crisis for the University of South Carolina (Rock Hill Herald)
Outside of the state’s borders, a pair of common nicknames for the University of South Carolina often are confused with other colleges. Say “Carolina” and fans outside the state think of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Say “USC” and that conjures up the University of Southern California.

A top university leader thinks it may be time for the school to adopt a nickname that avoids confusion – “South Carolina” – and debut licensed products with the new moniker in 2014.
. . .
Roth, the former pitcher, said anything is better than how TV networks now abbreviate the school’s name to avoid any USC/Carolina confusion. ESPN, for example, abbreviates South Carolina’s name as “SCAR.”

“When I see SCAR, I think of ‘The Lion King,’ ” Roth said, referring to the name of the villain in the Disney animated movie.

“We’ve been pretty successful in sports lately,” he said. “Maybe, we’ll get better than the other USC, and then we’ll be seen as the real USC.”
Tennessee Baseball Report:  Versatility Means Options (utsports.com)

2012 Big 12 Championship Rings

The MU Baseball Tigers received their 2012 Big 12 Championship rings yesterday. Several showed off their new bling on Twitter:




Former Tigers Blake Brown and Eric Garcia

Congratulations to the 2012 Big Champs!!




Friday, October 26, 2012

202 Days Until Mizzou Baseball vs. Kentucky Baseball

May 16-18 @ Simmons Field


Wildcat Excitement

Mizzou Baseball ranks high in recruiting and academics

Baseball Recruiting Class Ranked 24th by Baseball America (mutigers.com)
As the Mizzou baseball team transitions to the SEC this season, it will be bolstered by a 2012 recruiting that ranks 24th nationally according to Aaron Fitt at BaseballAmerica.com. The Tigers ranked one spot ahead of defending NCAA National Champion Arizona, the same team that eliminated Mizzou from the NCAA Tournament last year. The class, put together by the Mizzou coaching staff includes 19 student-athletes.

Headlining the class is Baseball America's No. 72 overall recruit Alec Rash, a right-handed pitcher from Adel, Iowa. Rash was drafted in the second round of the MLB Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies but elected to enroll at Mizzou rather than take a big payday from the Phillies, making him the highest-drafted player to enroll in school this year. Fitt said this of Rash: `Long and lean, Rash works downhill with a 91-95 mph fastball with heavy life at his best, and he flashes a wipeout power slider, but he's still learning to repeat his delivery and command his stuff consistently.'

Fitt goes on to describe the rest of the Tiger signing class as a group `gritty, heady ballplayers' that should help make an immediate impact for the Tigers during their first season as members of the SEC. Fitt singles out utility man Keeton Steele, a 29th-round selection by the Tampa Bay Days in the MLB Draft, as another headliner. A utility infielder and right-handed pitcher, Steele could help the Tigers in a variety of ways this season. Fitt was also very high on Hutchinson Community College product Jace James, a 5-11 righty that, according to Fitt, could earn a spot as a starter for the Tigers this season.

Fitt identifies Kendal Keeton, an infielder from Walters State Junior College, as a potential starter up the middle and was high on Middle Georgia Community College catcher Dylan Kelly. He also listed Ryan Phillips of Columbia's own Rock Bridge High School as a potential utility player for the Tigers in the infield or a `fearless' pitcher that `attacks the zone with an 85-87 fastball and a slider.'

Shane Segovia, a third baseman from Northeast Texas Community College, was identified by Fitt as someone who could figure into the mix at third base for the Tigers while he predicted that Logan Pearson from Crowder Community College could make a huge impact for the Tigers in the outfield. Fitt was also high on Peter Fairbanks of Webster Groves, Mo., as someone who `works downhill with an 89-91 fastball and promising slider.'
Missouri Fares Very Well in New NCAA Academic Report (mutigers.com)
The University of Missouri has a graduation success rate (GSR) of 84% for all sports, as announced today by the NCAA, up from 81% a year ago. That rate ranks Mizzou third in the Southeastern Conference, behind only Vanderbilt (1st – 91%) and Alabama (2nd – 85%).

Missouri led the SEC in five different sports, including men’s golf (100%), women’s golf (100%), women’s swimming & diving (100%), tennis (100%), and wrestling (67%). Mizzou’s football team had a 73% rate, while the men’s basketball team came in at 67%, both of which ranked as fifth-best in the SEC. This is the sixth consecutive year that MU’s overall GSR rate has increased, and it also marks the third straight year in which Mizzou had at least four programs with a perfect GSR.

“We are very pleased with our numbers in the latest report,” said Associate Athletic Director for Academic Services Dr. Joe Scogin. “We take great pride in the academic experience we provide to our student-athletes at Mizzou. They are expected to perform at a very high level in the classroom, just as they are in their sport, and the numbers show that they are doing exactly that,” he said.

The overall GSR standings for SEC schools includes: 1. Vanderbilt (91%), 2. Alabama (85%), 3. Mizzou (84%), 4. Florida (82%), 5. Georgia (81%), 6. Mississippi State (80%), 6. LSU (80%), 8. Kentucky (79%), 9. South Carolina (78%), 10. Ole Miss (76%), 11. Texas A&M (74%), 12. Auburn (74%), 13. Tennessee (73%), 14. Arkansas (72%).

Specific GSR rates/SEC rankings for each of Mizzou’s sports include:

Baseball – 71% (6th)

Max Scherzer in the World Series: Inspiring


Scherzer inspires Tigers (St. Louis Post Dispatch)
“I have a strong family,” Scherzer told Detroit reporters after eliminating the Yankees in ALCS Game 4. “When that happened, you learn to enjoy the best things in life. You live to be happy. For me, baseball puts a smile on my face, baseball puts a smile on my family's faces, and to be able to go out there and have a moment like this and see them after the game, there's nothing better to be able to share experiences with your family.”

Scherzer’s teammates were fired up by watching him rise above the difficult circumstances.

“Just a fierce competitor,” said Tigers catcher Gerald Laird, who was Yadier Molina’s backup last season in St. Louis. “He’s just a great teammate, and I'm just happy for him that everything's worked out for him. Whatever he's doing, he deserves. He works his tail off, he's always had the great stuff, and now it's all coming together for him. I couldn't be happier for a guy like that, for him.”
Game 4 start allows Scherzer to build strength (mlb.com)
On one hand, team officials downplay the injury. When right shoulder soreness scratched Scherzer from one start after two innings and erased his assignment from another with a week to go in the regular season, he was diagnosed with deltoid soreness, not tendinitis.

"I know everybody keeps talking about that [as a shoulder injury], but it was definitely muscular," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said last week. "They identified it quickly, so it was really more a matter of making sure he got it where it was rested again.

"Like [doctors] said, it's just like a person that's tired. But I was concerned, as far as getting it up and going again."

Even so, shoulder fatigue is enough for the Tigers to use caution. It's not the injury itself, but the chance that trying to push too hard to pitch through it could lead to something else.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

SxSE: Sic 'em Dawgs

Foley Field
Photo by UGA College of Ag flickr.com
Foley Field:
  • Opened: 1966
  • Capacity: 3,291
  • Named after: Judge Frank Foley, former ballplayer and donor
♦ The bulldogs' ballpark, Foley Field, is commonly referred to as Kudzu Hill, which is actually a hill past the outfield wall, where people gather to watch the game and that can get very rowdy.  The area used to be considered off-campus, which led to the liberal application of alcohol among the rowdy fans there.  The university has since declared Kudzu Hill to be university property, with no alcohol allowed, much to the consternation of some long-time fans.
The last couple of years during the Kudzu Hill glory days were some of my favorite times of my life. NOTHING beat skipping afternoon classes, taking bongs rips, heading up to Jimbo's for a 12 pack of High Life, and then sitting out there and listening to the brilliant Mack Williams heckle merciously. Those were the days(GeorgiaSports.blogspot.com)

Long before major leaguer Albert Belle sent some mischievous trick-or-treaters scurrying for cover outside his Ohio home, he was chasing fans up Kudzu Hill.

True story.

The year was 1987 and Belle, Joey as he was known back then, was playing right field for LSU in the SEC Championships being hosted by Georgia at Foley Field.

Beyond the fence, high atop the grassy-laden hill, a handful of rowdies began chanting the Tiger star's name. Belle took exception, and in the middle of the game, hopped the fence to seek his tormentors out.

He didn't catch them.

Other visiting players have received similar ''welcomes'' by the faithful on Kudzu Hill, home to Georgia's version of the Bleacher Bums who inhabit the left-field stands at Chicago's Wrigley Field. (Athens Online)
The View from a Fan (Online Athens)
Foley Field was not always the fine structure of concrete and steel it is today. It used to be a glorified sandlot. There were no lights. The concession stand was exactly that - a stand. The home fans sat on a compilation of bent steel, splintered wood and paint that chipped on your shorts so that you carried part of Foley home with you - and that was the good side of the stadium. The visitors' stands were half the size and a quarter of the quality.

I loved that old field, though. Every weekend featured a doubleheader. Between games, my friends and I would congregate underneath those rickety stands and we'd choose sides for a raucous game of cup ball. A crumpled red Coca-Cola cup and paper plates for bases were not too far from what the Bulldogs used, at least in our minds. Before we knew it, Game 2 would begin and we would trudge back to our seats and watch our heroes like Carter, Miller, Carpenter and Lilliquist work their magic.

In 1990, Foley Field was upgraded to what we see today. Looking back, I find it strange that the greatest team in school history battled through the SEC schedule in an empty stadium, as the construction lingered into the season. But my dad and I still watched. Perched high atop Kudzu Hill, we watched legends like Payne, Rebhan, Fleming and Showalter lead the Bulldogs to Omaha.
♦ Georgia is one of two SEC teams known as the Bulldogs (Mississippi State being the other). But hardly anyone calls them that. They are popularly known as the Dawgs.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tiger Bullpen Golf Scramble this Friday


Mizzou Baseball Releases 2012 Bullpen Scramble Details (mutigers.com)
The Mizzou baseball program will host the 18th annual Tiger Bullpen Scramble on Friday, Oct. 26, at A.L. Gustin Golf Course. The scramble benefits the Mizzou baseball program, which will be in perpetrations for its inaugural season as members of the Southeastern Conference next season.

The scramble will begin at noon with registration while the actual golf will commence with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. The cost for the four-person scramble is $105 per person or $400 per team, a $20 saving for a team of four. Food and awards will be provided post-tournament. Mizzou baseball alumni are invited to join the action free of charge. Also, baseball supporters can sign up for package deals that include hole sponsorship, 2012 season tickets, special recognition and a variety of other great Mizzou baseball opportunities. For a complete rundown of the entry fees and package deals, be sure to click the link to the registration form.

MU Fall World Series: November 2-11

Mizzou Baseball Sets Fall World Series Dates (mutigers.com)
The Mizzou baseball program will hold its annual Fall World Series from Nov. 2 through Nov. 11 at Taylor Stadium. The annual competition splits the baseball Tigers into two separate squads that will play a best-of-seven game series to round out the fall practice period. Every game is free and open to the public for fans that want to check out the defending Big 12 Champions as they enter their inaugural season as members of the SEC, which is widely regarded at the top baseball conference nationally. Below is a complete look at the Fall World Series schedule.

Game 1- Friday, Nov. 2 - 5:30 p.m.
Game 2 - Saturday, Nov. 3 - 1 p.m.
Game 3 - Monday, Nov. 5 - 3:30 p.m.
Game 4 - Wednesday, Nov. 7 - 6:30 p.m.
Game 5 - Thursday, Nov. 8 - 5:30 p.m.
Game 6 - Saturday, Nov. 10 - 1 p.m.
Game 7 - Sunday, Nov. 11 - 1 p.m.

College Baseball: Nice stadium,

Distillers' Dozen: The "Hey, Nice stadium" edition (College Baseball Today)
An Ole Miss fan sent a twitter Q to me asking which stadiums would be in my Top 10, regardless of size. Well, that’s tough to quantify. Especially in this day and age where new stadiums and massive improvements are happening everywhere. So that led to this latest installment of the Distillers’ Dozen.

Let’s take a look at the best facilities, starting with the small stadiums… and yes, thank you again Erika. You shook me out of my non-baseball writing funk.
And as for #13, oh yes I do want one of those t-shirts.

♦ Yet another reason to be glad we've left the Big Texas Conference

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Max Scherzer in the World Series: A Part of Something Special

Max Scherzer
Building Tigers was a year by year process (SFGate.com)
Then Dombrowski took a bit of a risk by trading fan favorite Curtis Granderson and pitcher Edwin Jackson as part of a three-team deal with the New York Yankees and Arizona. In return, the Tigers acquired Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson, Phil Coke and Daniel Schlereth.

The trade certainly paid dividends this year. Scherzer was terrific down the stretch in the regular season, finishing second in the majors behind Verlander in strikeouts. Jackson also had an impressive year in center field — Granderson's old position. Coke came through with a couple saves in the AL championship series.

"There's a lot of people in that trade, so it's hard to keep up with everybody," Scherzer said. "Really, once I got traded over to Detroit, it has been a great home for me. ... And to be a part of something special here is great."
World Series Position by Position Preview (Fox Sports Detroit)
Detroit's rotation simply has been incredible in the postseason, setting records for ERA and consecutive shutout innings. Verlander has been the star, but he's gotten plenty of support from Sanchez, Scherzer and Fister. If the Tigers get the same kind of starts they got against Oakland and the Yankees, they will win the World Series with ease.

EDGE: The Tigers came into the postseason with a better rotation, and are entering the World Series with the hottest foursome in playoff history. The Giants know they have to find a way to break up Detroit's performances in a hurry if they want to have any shot at the title.
Giving Scherzer an eye exam (Detroit News)
It should be noted that Scherzer is not self-conscious about his eyes. When the Tigers gave out a Max Scherzer bobblehead in 2011, it was optically correct, and when the players strapped on goggles for the traditional spraying of Champagne after they swept the heathen New York Yankees last week, Scherzer's had mismatched lenses.
"Most likely," says Paul Edwards, chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at Henry Ford Health System, the condition "was simply inherited."

SxSE: Athens, GA


Photo by Josh Hallett flickr.com
Our next stop on our South by Southeast virtual road trip is Athens, Georgia, the home of the Georgia Bulldogs.

♦ Athens is the 9th closest SEC town to Columbia, 734 miles away (606 air miles).  Georgia is in the SEC East Division.

♦ There is an active Atlanta/Georgia Chapter of the Mizzou Alumni Association

Fun Facts about Athens, GA:
♦ A person from CoMo wandering around Athens, GA, may excused if they jump to the conclusion that everyone at UGA loves Sparky's Ice Cream.    Alas, no, but they do love their Uga.

♦ The SEC Guide to Georgia's Home Turf provides an overview of the best food and fun spots in Athens:
You have to go ring the Chapel Bell. Walk by and take a picture by the Arch, but DO NOT walk under it. Only UGA Alumni get that privilege. Walk on the bridge on Sanford Drive right in front of the stadium. BEAUTIFUL sight of the stadium. Go enjoy a drink at Broad Street Bar and grab some pizza at Your Pie. It is THE best. Walk up and down Milledge Avenue (Greek Row). Some of the nicest Greek houses you'll see in the country (especially the KD house, it is HUGE). If you like tennis, hit up the Dan Magill Tennis Complex for Bulldog match and explore the NCAA Tennis Hall of Fame! The Butts-Mehre building is also extremely nice.

R.E.M.
Distinguished UGA alums
♦ There are 5 Chik-fil-a locations in Athens

HolyTurf.com's SEC Bucket List: Athens
# 46 Downtown Athens: On the other side of the legendary Arch is Downtown Athens. “DT,” as many students refer to downtown, represents lots of things for lots of people.

There are plenty of coffee shops for the morning route to class or work. Restaurants are at every turn for a great lunch. And, of course, there is a nightlife which includes 96 bars and a few great music venues. Music and art are coddled and bred on the streets of downtown Athens. The B52s, REM, and Widespread Panic all got their starts in Athens. The 40 Watt and the newly rebuilt Georgia Theatre are probably the two most famous music venues in Athens.

#61 Georgia Arch: Located on the University of Georgia’s historic North Campus is one of the most recognizable symbolic figures and literal landmarks in the state of Georgia. The UGA Arch is located on Broad Street and is the main entrance to the campus. The iron structure helps separate campus and downtown Athens. It was installed in the 1850′s when the front of campus was enclosed with an iron fence. Meaning, the Arch was initially installed with two iron gates within it, but those were removed shortly thereafter.

Legend has it that if a freshman walks directly under the Arch, they will never graduate from the University. That phobia to this day still haunts undergraduates. After graduation, there is always a line from the Arch of new alumni seeking to finally walk under the hallowed structure. The stairs around the Arch are indicative of students’ fear to walk under it. The stairs under the Arch are pristine and appear in incredible condition. However, the stairs to the outside are trodden and worn from generations of students navigating around the Arch to avoid prevention from graduating.
Georgia Arch
Photo by Jonathan Hinkle flickr.com




Monday, October 22, 2012

Who's on First: B1G Men on Campus

The 2012 Fall Roster includes five players plucked from Big Ten Country:

Dane Opel
♦ Senior OF Dane Opel, Edwardsville, Illinois
  • 2012 Stats: .283 BA, 204 AB, 39 R, 58 H, 12 2B, 2 3B, 11 HR, 46 RBI, .522 SLG, 23 BB, 8 HBP, 58 SO, .372 OB%, 2/5 SB
  • Opel is expected to be one of the key leaders in the middle of the Tiger offense in 2013.
  • Opel will join Brannon Champagne as senior veterans in the outfield.

Brandon Platts
♦ Sophomore RHP Brandon Platts, Mason City, Iowa
  • 2012 Stats: 12.27 ERA, 0-1, 5 APP, 2 Starts, 7.1 IP, 13 H, 12 R, 10 ER, 4 BB, 5 SO, 4 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, .382 Opp BA
  • Platts saw limited game time in 2012.  The Tigers will be looking to see a return to the great numbers he put up in his prep career so he can be a productive member of the pitching staff.

Nick Moore
♦ Sophomore INF Nick Moore, Benet Academy, Downers Grove, Illinois
  • 2012 Stats: .182 BA, 11 AB, 0 R, 2 H, 1 2B, 0 HR, .273 SLG, 2 BB, 5 SO
  • Moore will be trying to increase his offensive consistency in order to earn more playing time in the middle infield
  • Spent the summer playing with the Quincy Gems

Tyler House
♦ Freshman (redshirt) LHP Tyler House, Mt. Carmel HS, Richton Park, Illinois
  • Tyler House has been nagged by injuries during his time at Mizzou and will be working toward a healthy season and a chance to contribute on the pitching staff.

Alec Rash
♦ Freshman RHP Alec Rash, Adel, Iowa
  • Alec Rash was drafted late in the 2nd round by the Phillies this past June, but chose to come to Mizzou instead
  • The Tigers have delayed putting Rash on the mound in fall practice, giving him a chance to rest his arm after the Iowa prep baseball season, which continued well into the summer.
  • Rash has a lot of expectations riding on his shoulders, as the highest drafted recruit to play for MU in a long time.  His rolle - starter or closer - will be determined by how quickly he develops and adapts to D-1 college ball.
  • 2012 Stats: 1.70 ERA, 5-3, 10 Starts, 12 APP, 57.2 IP, 14 ER, 22 BB, 103 SO, 14 HBP, .146 Opp BA


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mizzou in the Majors: Max slated for Game 4

News reports Sunday say that Jim Leyland plans to stick with his usual pitching rotation, with Max Scherzer pitching 4th in the order.  This would mean Max will not pitch in his home town of St. Louis, whether or not the Cardinals make it to the World Series.  Because the National League won the All Star Game, the NL team will have home field advantage, hosting, games 1 and 2, then 6 and 7, if needed.  Game 4 will be in Detroit.

Fister, Sanchez, Scherzer to follow Verlander (mlb.com)
Tigers manager Jim Leyland was asked Sunday if the National League pennant winner would influence how he ordered his rotation. He responded by putting his rotation in order.

"There's no secret to my rotation. My rotation is going to be [Justin] Verlander, [Doug] Fister, [Anibal] Sanchez and [Max] Scherzer," Leyland said. "There's no secret to that, unless they're scouting this simulated game."

It's the same order the Tigers used in their American League Division Series against Oakland, and a similar setup to what they used in the AL Championship Series to watch the innings on Scherzer after his shoulder scare last month. Once again, Scherzer would be the only one of the four guaranteed not to get a second start.

If that order sticks, a potential Game 7 start would fall to Sanchez, who would be eligible for free agency just a few days later.

Verlander, whose rough inning in the All-Star Game has been blamed by many for the NL having home-field advantage, will start Game 1 in the National League city and potentially Game 5 in Detroit.

SEC Fan's Guide to Mizzou Baseball: CoMo Culture

♦ The We Always Swing Jazz Series is the brainchild of Jon Poses, an enthusiastic fan of both Jazz and Baseball, a twin love he expresses in the name of his corporation:  National Pastimes Productions.  The Series has brought dozens of internationally known jazz artists to CoMo's performance venues.

Columbia also has a year-round jazz scene, centered on a great restaurant called Murry's.

♦ Columbia also has a a taste for the Blues . . . and barbecue.  Local blues bands like Chump Change, along with national and internationally known blues acts can often be heard at CoMo venues like MoJo's and The Blue Note.

Richard King, the owner of both MoJo's and the Blue Note, is the power behind Thumper Entertainment, which puts on the occasional 9th Street SummerFest concert series and the annual Roots n Blues n BBQ festival every Fall in downtown CoMo.  The festival is two days of acts from blues to rhythm & blues to bluegrass.  The Blind Boys of Alabama, Ana Popovic and Fitz & the Tantrums entertain tens of thousands annually.

At the west end of the festival is Barbecue Alley, where the annual BBQ Contest takes place.
“The Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival continues to be one of the finest events anywhere in the world. If you like music and barbecue put this one on the top of your list to attend”
—Mike McMillen, Kansas City Barbeque Society
RNBNBBQ is not the only time Columbians love their barbecue, though.  Being just down the road from the capital of barbecue, Kansas City, CoMo has developed a barbecue tradition of its own.  Buckingham's BBQ and Smokin' Chick's can compete with any big city BBQ stand for great taste and great atmosphere.

♦ CoMo has several other music venues in town, including The Bridge.

♦ The Ragtag Cinema is a locally owned and operated "art house" theater, with a cafeteria included in the package.

The same people who operate Ragtag host the annual True/False Film Festival. The
For four days, downtown Columbia, Missouri is transformed into a small-town Midwestern utopia. Most films come freshly discovered from Sundance, Toronto and other festivals, others appear mysteriously before their official premieres elsewhere. Sandwiched between the nonstop movies, we throw parties, host debates and field trips, and challenge local filmmakers to reimagine the possibilities of nonfiction filmmaking.
True/False has received accolades from national media, including South by Midwest: Dispatching True/False and SXSW (cinemascope.com, March 2011)
This being my first trip to True/False and Columbia, I was impressed by the enthusiasm for film in a small town two hours from both St. Louis and Kansas City. At the centre of Columbia’s film culture is the Ragtag Cinema, a fully functioning cafĂ©, bar, and two-screen theatre that projects arthouse fare year-round. What started as a peripatetic film society is now a brick-and-mortar institution, but jammed as it is into an old Coca-Cola bottling factory, and with its small screening room filled with mismatched, well-worn couches and sitting chairs, it still retains an ad hoc spirit. Before every screening at the Ragtag, as well as at other venues like the two-tiered, sticky-floored Blue Note (one-time home for the Ragtag) and the aforementioned, majestic Missouri, local young folk musicians played earnest half-hour sets as cinemagoers found their seats. Contrast that pre-show programming with the eclectic montage of vintage music videos, low-rent institutional propaganda and sketch-comedy skits before screenings at Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse, a movie theatre/pub franchise that started the same year as the Ragtag (1997), and you can see the cultural shift from True/False to SXSW—two festivals that are separated by three days, 800 miles, and a vast difference in scale and focus.
♦ Check out The CoMo Collective to get a taste of life in Columbia.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mizzou in the Majors: Max Scherzer leads Tigers to World Series

That's a headline I've been wanting to post for a long time.
Max Scherzer celebrates
Detroit News
Scherzer makes Tigers Series favorite (ESPN)
Against the Yankees, Scherzer said he "really had my changeup and slider going. When I can combine that with my fastball, that’s what really make me effective."

Scherzer reminds me of a pitcher from the 1930s, the way his cap fits on his head and that three-quarters, slingshot delivery. He gets great movement on his fastball but still manages to keep his walks under control. And the stuff is electric; he was second to Verlander in strikeouts in the AL and first in the league in strikeouts per nine innings.

To me, Scherzer is a big reason the Tigers will be World Series favorite, no matter which team comes out of the National League. Whether or not he slots in as the No. 3 or 4 starter, he's pitching like an ace right now.
Grading the Tigers: Max Scherzer takes no-hitter into sixth inning, helps send Tigers into World Series (MLive)
STARTING PITCHING: A

Max Scherzer took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and held New York to one run over 5 2/3 innings. It was another dominating start for Scherzer, who was in complete control of his slider and a four-seamer that were used to strike out 10. He only walked two, but his pitch count was an issue early as Yankees batters did a solid job of grinding out at-bats.

Truthfully, even if Scherzer didn't give up the leadoff triple to Eduardo Nunez in the sixth, it would've been very unlikely he could've pulled off the no-no, simply because his pitch count was too high. He entered the sixth having already tossed 84 pitches.

Is it possible Scherzer started to fatigue in the sixth inning? Possibly. Three of the five batters he faced reached base and he wasn't able to spot his fastball as efficiently. That said, his velocity never -- at any point -- fell below 93 mph.
Terrific Scherzer caps rotation's ALCS brilliance (MLB.com)
It was Max Scherzer on the hill last year in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series, when the Tigers were ultimately sent home by Texas just two wins shy of the World Series.

So it was only fitting this year, with the Tigers needing one win to sweep the Yankees and reach the World Series for the first time since 2006, that Scherzer was back out there battling to help Detroit earn its 11th AL pennant.

"I just used that as motivation," said Scherzer of the loss to the Rangers, when he got pegged for six runs in 2 1/3 innings. "If I ever had a shot to pitch in the ALCS again, I would do it and win. And sure enough, I was able to do it, and we're going to the World Series."

Scherzer not only pitched well, he dominated. He fanned 10 over 5 2/3 innings, allowing just two hits, as the Tigers completed the sweep with an 8-1 victory in Game 4 of the ALCS on Thursday. And for five of those innings, Scherzer held the Yankees hitless.
Fevered pitching carries Tigers to World Series (Detroit News)
"He's enjoying it, and it's fun watching him," Brad Scherzer said, smiling at the scene and talking about his son's stellar performance down the stretch — 14-5 with a 2.54 ERA since the end of June.

"He just took off on his own," his father added. "He went and did his thing. I always kept saying, 'Max, do your thing.' And that's what he did. He got it in that zone and kept going."
A resounding sweep by the Tigers (Detroit Free Press)
Sweeping Beauty.

How about Scherzer? Pitching after Justin Verlander easily can leave you overlooked. But Max's strikeout ability is fantastic (he had 10 on Thursday in 5⅔ innings) and he certainly seems over whatever health hiccups he had late in the year. He took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. And he exited to a standing ovation.

Scherzer was one of so many heroes from this short-but-sweep series. There were other obvious stars, like Young, with two homers, six RBIs and a .353 average (the series MVP) and Verlander, who took a two-hit shutout into the ninth in Game 3.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mizzou Baseball in the MLB Playoffs: Max Waits

Rain? Really? Tigers will go for sweep vs. Yankees today (Detroit Free Press)
Max Scherzer stood in the Tigers' locker room, looking all-too refreshed. He was supposed to pitch Game 4 on Wednesday night at Comerica Park. Now he was pulling on a sweatshirt. His dream deferred, he was going home -- even though he was yet to see a raindrop.

"Have you ever been rained out of a game when it didn't rain?" someone asked him

"Yeah. Last year in the ALCS, actually. We were in Texas. They called it at 3 o'clock. It never rained."

He smirked.

"And I was supposed to pitch."
Pitchers will be unchanged for Tigers-Yankees Game 4 (Detroit News)
The starters — Scherzer for the Tigers and CC Sabathia for the Yankees — remain the same.

Scherzer said the postponement will have "absolutely no impact" on him. He didn't even warm up Wednesday.

"We all wanted to play, but MLB wanted to cancel it, so it is what it is," he said. "The forecast was rain and it never came. That's the weather for you.

"We have a chance to go to the World Series tomorrow. That's the exciting part."

SxSE: Florida Gators Baseball, 1912-2012

Florida has very clearly become a College World Series program, one that everyone expects to reach Omaha every year.  They are not yet a CWS Finals program, like South Carolina.  Most of all, though, they've become a program with an obsession that labels anything short of a championship as Failure.  Some people will applaud that approach, but to my mind it's an obsession that does not tolerate patience and will inevitably undermine the program.  Florida's average W-L record over the past 10 years has been 45-23.

Florida fielded its first intercollegiate baseball team in 1912.

The Gators had 14 different head coaches from 1912 through 1947, and saw little success during those 36 seasons.

Dave Fuller took over in 1948 and stayed on the job for 28  years.   the Gators baseball team for twenty-eight seasons. Fuller won SEC championships in 1952, 1956 and 1962, and made appearances in the NCAA tournament in 1958, 1960 and 1962.

Jay Bergman continued that level of success from 1976-1981. His teams reached the NCAA Regionals in 1977, 1979 and 1981.

Joe Arnold led the team from 1984 to 1994 and advanced the progress of the program another step. He made the NCAA Regionals in 7 of those 11 seasons and took the Gators to the College World Series for the first time in 1988 and again in 1991.

Andy Lopez took over the program in 1995. From '95 through 2000, Lopez took the Gators to 4 Regionals, and, in 1996, the Gators won 50 games and went all the way to the CWS semi-finals. By this time, though, the expectations for Florida Baseball had grown along with the program, and he was let go after the 2000 season, having compiled a record of 278–159–1 (.636) during his tenure at Florida. This is the same Andy Lopez who had won the College World Series with Pepperdine in 1992 and whose Arizona Wildcats won the 2012 College World Series.  Not good enough for the Gators.

Pat McMahon had been the head coach at Mississippi State prior to coming to Florida in 2001. In 2003 and 2004 the team made the NCAA Regionals, and then in 2005 the Gators had their best season ever, losing to Texas in the College World Series final.

The Gators missed the NCAA Regionals in both 2006 and 2007, after which McMahon was fired with an overall record of 202–113–1 (.641), and a trip to the championship game in Omaha.

You should be seeing a trend here.

Kevin O'Sullivan took over the job in 2008, and is still there (last time I checked). In 2008 his team had a 34–24 record and made it to an NCAA Regional. In 2009 they were 42–22 and made it to a Super Regional. In 2010 they had a 47–17 record and made it to the College World Series. In 2011 they were 41–15 and lost to South Carolina in the CWS final.

In 2012 the Gators were the consensus preseason #1 pick, and were 40–16 before going 2-and-Q at Omaha.

Based on Florida's history, don't be surprised if they fire Kevin O'Sullivan if he fails to win it all in 2013. After which they'll hire some other top coach and O'Sullivan will go on to win the CWS with some other school.

Notable Florida Gator ballplayers

Florida Gators Baseball in 2012

In 2012 the Florida Gators were a consensus #1 preseason pick by nearly every college baseball poll and pundit.  They were projected to not only repeat in the College World Series finals, but to win it all.  They finished with a 47-20 record, 18-12 in the SEC.  They won their Regional, they won their Super Regional, and went on to the College World Series, where they fell flat on their face, going 0-2 vs.o South Carolina and Kent State.

O'Sullivan: 'We're not going anywhere' (GatorSports.com)
For this year's team, the expectation level was a burden. For next year's team, it will be about living up to the legacy left behind.

“They've been great players, but more importantly, they've been a great representation of what we want in this program,” O'Sullivan said. “I think they've done the right thing both on and off the field. I've been awfully proud of the way they've played and the way they've represented our program. They've set a standard that following teams will have to live up to.

I'm awfully proud of what they've been able to do.”
. . .
“We're going to be different,” he said. “But we're not going anywhere.”
The Silver Lining: “Failure” is not a dirty word (OnlyGators.com)
It appears to be difficult for some to say these words but considering they are neither profane nor mendacious, they will be published right here: Florida baseball failed.

It really is as simple as that.

“Failure” is not a dirty word or an insult to effort. It is a factual result.

When someone or something does not meet a set objective – in the Gators’ case that was bringing home the program’s first national championship (read: title or bust) – they failed in their mission. That’s what happened on Monday – whether you like it or not.

“Failure” a word you use to describe a circumstance such as when the most talented and consensus No. 1-ranked team in the country for the preseason, much of the regular season and heading into the postseason not only gets swept out of the College World Series in two games but also falls short of capturing either their conference regular season or tournament crowns in the same year.

It is how you characterize a season that was supposed to change the shape of the program forever (making national titles an expectation, not an aspiration) but instead provided yet another depressing memory on the sport’s biggest stage.

Gator Baseball: A Look Inside (Inside the Gators)
. . . In the past, this section would highlight some of Kevin O'Sullivan's prized signees. This year, O'Sullivan was unable to lure his higher-grade signees to Gainesville. Many of his coveted recruits that were primed for immediate impact at the college level, like Lance McCullers, Jesse Winker and Lewis Brinson, decided to begin their professional careers.

With only two returning outfielders, and holes to fill in the infield, there could be freshman starters on opening night 2013, but the likelihood of that took a significant blow as signee after signee inked minor-league contracts.

For the first time since the start of the 2010 season, Florida will not have the target on its back. O'Sullivan has recruited well, but no team can lose nine players to the MLB draft and expect to pickup where it left off. If the season were to start tomorrow, seven of nine spots in the batting order could be accounted for. The heir to Preston Tucker in right field and the designated hitter situation will likely be solved in fall and winter practice.

With Crawford and Whitson back in the rotation, the Gators can stay competitive in the SEC, but nobody's making reservations for Omaha just yet.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors: Arizona Fall League

Gibson causing giddiness (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
The former first-round draft pick, ranked by Baseball America as the game's 34th-best prospect before a 2011 season that saw him tear his UCL, turned in another sterling performance in the Arizona Fall League on Tuesday, allowing just one run on six hits over five innings while striking out eight and walking none. In two starts for the Peoria Javelinas, the right-hander is now 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA and 16-to-0 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 10 innings. Those are fantastic numbers in a traditionally hitter-friendly league.

Combining his AFL performance with his three-level minor-league rehab stint that stretched from July to September this season, Gibson has tallied 49 strikeouts and six walks in 38 1/3 innings since returning to pitching competitively about nine months after surgery.
Top prospect Kyle Gibson continues to dominate Fall League (ESPN 1500)
Per Pitch F/X data, Gibson's fastball sat mostly between 93 and 95 miles per hour. Seven of his eight strikeouts came via off-speed pitches.

According to one baseball person in attendance, "His off-speed worked for him today when he kept it down in the zone, and plenty of hitters were chasing balls in the dirt. Another decent outing against, in my opinion, one of the better hitting clubs in the league this year."
Tyler Clark gets shelled (Motor City Bengals)
Tyler Clark (1.0 IP, 27.00 ERA, 8 TBF, 25 K%, 38 BB%, 0 HR%)

Clark was the first reliever out of the pen for Mesa, but he didn’t have a good outing. He did strike out two hitters, but also allowed three runs on two hits and three walks.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tiger Crew 2012-2013

The new Tiger Crew

Mizzou Baseball in the MLB Postseason: Max rested, Brock audio

Former Tiger Brock Bond talks to the Sports Zone on AM 1380 in StL about the Cardinals vs. the Giants (RobRains.com)
Audio Archive
Scherzer to be well rested for Game 4 (mlb.com)
Max Scherzer says he feels fine after his five-plus innings last Wednesday in Game 4 of the American League Division Series against the A's. He could have pitched Game 3 if needed. The Tigers' decision to move him back was more about having Justin Verlander pitch twice than having Scherzer pitch just once.

That said, manager Jim Leyland believes the rest could be a benefit. Scherzer will have two extra days of rest before he starts Game 4 of the AL Championship Series on Wednesday at Comerica Park.

"Max Scherzer, more than any of them, is always honest about how he feels," Leyland said. "He came out of [his last start] good, some normal soreness."

SxSE: Coach Kevin O'Sullivan's Florida Gator


Recruiting footprint:  Based on recent rosters, O'Sullivan recruits heavily from Florida, plus Georgia, and reandom players from NJ, PA, KY and NC.

♦ State Of The Gators (Baseball America, May 4, 2012)
That includes Florida, a team that entered the season as the clear-cut favorite to win the College World Series and reinforced that position by dominating its first-half schedule. But injuries (especially on the mound) and a midseason offensive slump joined forces to cause the Gators to lose three of their last five weekend series, two of them at home against LSU and Arkansas. Florida looks considerably more mortal now than it did a month ago
. . .
"What we haven't done is we haven't done a good job of maintaining innings, getting innings started," O'Sullivan said. "We rely on the big inning too much. We need to do a better job applying pressure each inning and not relying on the three-run homer. We need to get the leadoff man on and do a better job situational hitting. You've got to be able to manufacture runs, get on base, handle the bat. . . . We just haven't really clicked offensively for a while, but I know we'll get back to it, hopefully this weekend."

Coaches who have faced the Gators walk way saying the bottom half of the lineup is not as imposing as it was a year ago, but O'Sullivan said that part of the lineup has done exactly what the Gators needed it to do. The key is getting the top five hitters all swinging the bat well at the same time.

2011 College Coach Of The Year: Florida's Kevin O'Sullivan (baseballamerica.com)
In four years at the helm, O'Sullivan has transformed the Gators into a college baseball powerhouse. After missing regionals in 2006 and '07, Florida exceeded expectations to make a regional in O'Sullivan's first season in 2008. The next year, the Gators won a regional. The year after that, they made it to Omaha. And this year, they earned a preseason No. 1 ranking, ended the regular season atop the rankings and advanced all the way to the CWS Finals. For constructing a model program with a rock-solid foundation, O'Sullivan is Baseball America's College Coach of the Year.
. . .
O'Sullivan made sure to make ample use of all his options over the course of the season. From the start of the spring all the way through the College World Series, O'Sullivan managed his team with an eye toward the biggest prizes: winning a national championship this year, and competing for a championship every year. He used midweek games as an opportunity to get innings for all of his pitchers, and if the Gators took a few more midweek losses, so be it. At least all of the key arms would be fresh—and none would be inexperienced.

It was a winning formula. And while Tanner's Gamecocks might have denied O'Sullivan's Gators a championship this year, both Tanner and O'Sullivan said they expect Florida to be back soon, and often. . .
Two bits: Kevin O'Sullivan (onlygators.com)
Florida Gators head baseball coach Kevin O’Sullivan touched at the two hottest topics surrounding his team on Wednesday. Addressing Florida going 4-4 in their last eight games (all on the road), O’Sullivan noted that he was not worried one bit because, simply put, these things happen. “Every year every team goes through something like this. Every single year. It doesn’t matter how talented you are or how much experience you have,” he said. “This game is a humbling game and you’re not going to go 50-6 through the regular season. You’re going to have some stretches where you’re not going to play your best. The key to this whole thing is not to have this stretch at the need of the year as you go through tournament play. That’s the key. This will make our team better. It is frustrating and sometimes you don’t want to go through this obviously but ultimately it does build character and puts you in a better position at the end of the year.”
Florida Gators' Kevin O'Sullivan isn't happy just being at College World Series; he plans on winning it (palmbeachpost.com)
Kevin O'Sullivan is making it look easy. 
It's not, of course, because it's baseball, which is intricate and complicated in ways both silly and wonderful. And it's baseball in the College World Series, which means those intricacies and complications have to be handled by young men frequently not prepared for the mix of a welcoming embrace from America's Heartland and the steaming pressure they find there in Omaha, Neb.

"It's not easy, and nobody here thinks it is," said O'Sullivan, who is in his fourth season as head coach at the University of Florida and has the Gators back in college baseball's big show for a second consecutive year. "The thing is getting everybody to understand that just being here isn't the ultimate goal. That's a cliche, but it's important,"
. . .
"We hadn't achieved any consistency until Sully got here," he said. "We'd be in and out every year or every couple of years. Our goal was to be like Miami and Florida State, who have set a standard by having a chance to go to Omaha every year. We wanted to be considered one of those teams expected to challenge for a championship all the time.

"I wouldn't have told you we'd be 2-0 at the College World Series four years in, but I knew Sully would have a big impact."
Florida Gators' Kevin O'Sullivan is close with Vandy's Tim Corbin, but focus is on getting to finals (palmbeachpost.com)
Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan and Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin worked together as assistants at Clemson. They developed a friendship that is strong today.

"Me and Tim go back and awfully long way. I care about him deeply," O'Sullivan said. " Our families know each other. It goes well beyond the baseball side of things."
. . .
What the heck was that, Florida!!! (Message Board thread at Rivals.com)
LHSNaughts: That's the last thing those guys needed. They are in borderline meltdown mode right now. A few details.....

After the series loss last weekend, the pitching staff had to run on Monday until they vomited. Then on Tuesday, they lost 10-5 to UNF. After the game, Sully called four of that night's pitchers in front of the team and told them they were the sorriest mother f--kers he has ever seen, and that none of them would be playing for Florida next year. To top it off, he told Preston Tucker in front of everyone that he was the most arrogant s.o.b. in baseball and that he wouldn't do sh-t at the next level.

So I can only imagine what kind of wrath will come from that 9th inning tonight.
. . .
As for the players who told me, one is already set on getting the hell out of there, while the other thinks Sully should be in the hall of fame. It takes the right kind of kid to play up there.