Growing Northern College Baseball

I spent last week discussing the proposed April to August season in Division I, focusing on the drawbacks of something I think would be a net negative for the game. Today, I’ll take a slightly different approach, asking: how can we grow college baseball in the North, specifically in New England? A summer season is one idea, but I’ll offer some others as well. As always, feel free to respond below in the comments, on twitter (@NECollegeBsbl), or via email (necollegebsbl@aol.com), and let me know what you think.

The scene is Yale Field in New Haven. A throng of 14,000 fans crowds around the baseball diamond for the biggest game of the year, Harvard vs. Yale. The spectacle attracts so much attention that a presidential candidate is in attendance to garner headlines for his campaign. The Nashua Telegraph’s correspondent gushes about the atmosphere, anticipating “the greatest game of baseball ever played in New Haven.”  “The grand stands,” he reports, “cannot begin to hold the purchasers of tickets.” Nearly every student at the university, along with thousands of alumni and fans, pack the stands, heckling the rival Crimson. Yale, reeling from a 5-1 loss in Cambridge the week before, pulls out an upset 3-0 victory behind a shutout from ace Charles Van Vleck, a top recruit from New Jersey. Settling a winner of the season series is so important that the two teams play a rubber match in New York City, which Harvard wins 9-5. Everyone agrees the games were the high point of the season in college baseball.

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Coach Mazey’s Proposal, Point-by-Point

D1Baseball.com, the fantastic new website that’s been helping spark discussion of the summer season, posted several items of interest yesterday. One was a piece from Randy Mazey, the West Virginia head coach who’s crafted a proposal in support of an April to August calendar. Aaron Fitt and Kendall Rogers, the site’s top two writers, also posted a podcast on which Mazey, who seems like an awesome guy (he’s on twitter), expands on what he wrote. They also started a forum thread for anyone interested in discussing with other fans.

In this post, I’ll try to respond to Mazey’s points. I won’t get to everything, but I’ll cover as much of what he says in the piece and on the podcast as I can, starting with the ideas I think make the most sense. He’s spent several years coming up with a comprehensive proposal, and it’s worth some in-depth consideration. I’ll put his points in bold and mostly paraphrase him, since I don’t want to copy and paste from another site, even one that I’m linking to. I encourage you to read the original and let me know if I’ve misrepresented him.

When I think Mazey makes a good point, I’ll say so. If I think he’s wrong, I won’t hold back. I’d expect nothing less from him if he was responding to something that I wrote. I encourage you all to do the same in the comments, on twitter, or via email. As Mazey and many others have said in the past week, this proposal deserves nothing less than a spirited debate. So let’s get started.

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