somehow we're only 124th
big ten baseball should GTFO
The new logos are here! The new logos are maize! The new logo's maize will have nothing to do with the color of the athletic uniforms! The logo:
Modification of this in any way is punishable by death. They also invented a new font for this, which is called "Steve." Steve the font.
Watch it before the
NSA T3Media finds you. 50 interceptions:
Entrance of the Lambs. Good news for the baseball team, as Jackson Lamb (P/Civil War general) has reportedly turned down a third-round offer from MLB and will matriculate this fall. Lamb eventually went in the 20th round to Texas, so unless Texas ends up with a ton of extra money by not signing their top picks—baseball got serious about their slotting regulations recently—Lamb will anchor Erik Bakich's first recruiting class.
Over the weekend, Lamb led his Bedford team to a regional title. I'll let Ryan Autullo take it from here:
In exhausting both his pitch count and a mouthy opposing lineup, Jackson Lamb lifted the Kicking Mules to a 3-1 regional semifinal win over Taylor Kennedy. …
Lamb encountered control issues for the second game in a row, walking six batters and wracking up a whopping 146 pitches — exactly twice as many as Kuhr’s 73. Nevertheless, he didn’t allow a run until the bottom of the seventh, at which time Bedford was in front 3-0. An antagonistic Kennedy dugout made a point early and often to try to rattle Michigan’s Gatorade player of the year, mocking Lamb’s failure to locate his fastball and breaking into vociferous chatter typically seen in softball.
Well, I never.
Three more recruits went late and shouldn't be a threat to sign, but junior Michael O'Neill (Yes That O'Neill) got drafted by the Yankees in the third and is probably out the door.
If you get in, you see this. Despite featuring lot of non-regulation Ms, this business tugged a heart string or two:
Bring a fan to orientation. Trust me.
This changes nothing. Indiana made the College World Series, marking the first time since Michigan did it that a Big Ten team has made it to Omaha. This is what a cell phone looked like back then:
on the left, probably
It was 1984.
Meanwhile it has been perfect baseball weather in Ann Arbor for much of the past month, and Fisher sits empty when it could be selling me hot dogs and giving the BTN something other than Bret Bielema fishing tips to televise. The history of NCAA baseball has been Southern teams flipping the northern bits of the country off, and since that's never going to change the Big Ten should just play their own game with 25 scholarships and wood bats. Cheese 'em off real good, that would.
I mean, they could use the money cannon for something cool for once.
Ana-what-now? Apparently Trey Burke's pending, minor draft fall is being driven by data-conscious NBA teams:
"Sources say a number of teams that rely heavily on analytics have Carter-Williams rated higher than Burke," Ford wrote. "While both players look good in the various analytical approaches teams employ, Carter-Williams is coming up at No. 1 and No. 2 overall on several teams' reports. For teams that value analytics, that's a big deal.
"Finally, teams are always looking for upside in the lottery. Carter-Williams has extraordinary size for his position. He is a terrific athlete. He sees the floor as well as any point guard in the draft. His weaknesses -- primarily his shaky jumper -- are the only thing holding him back from being a top-5 pick right now."
Those numbers must be pretty advanced to be able to rank Carter-Williams over Burke, who finished second in the kPOY rankings because he was a huge-usage, huge-assist-rate, low-TO, high-eFG guard. IE: he did everything you could do well. Carter-Williams didn't even finish in the top 500(!) in ORtg because there aren't any barns in upstate New York he hasn't flung a ball past, shooting 44%/29% despite putting up only 20% of Syracuse shots while he's on the court.
Can any defensive ability top that massive gap? I get the upside thing—if MCW learns to shoot he will probably be a better NBA player than Burke despite their college numbers—but isn't that a huge leap to make? How many rhetorical questions can I stuff in a single paragraph? Four?
Trey is just like well, like, that's your opinion, man.
Old school, and OLD SCHOOL. Dooley catches up with a guy who uses "aught-three" to mean 1903:
“My dad played football at [M.A.C.] in the class of aught three,” Drake told me. “It wasn’t intercollegiate football; it was class team football. They beat each other up without headgear on the banks of the Red Cedar.”
Yeah, he went to State, but he was in town over the weekend for the Fantasy Camp. Here's Gerald Drake meeting Hoke:
Okay, Bleacher Report, okay. Even though you still pop up an exhortation for me to subscribe to your newsletter on literally every misbegotten visit to your website, I will link you for this from Miami commit KC McDermott:
AK: What's the Urban Meyer story?
KM: The Urban Meyer thing was just funny to me. He came to my school a week after I told his assistant that I wasn't even interested in them. I told him no to his face, and it's got to be one of the top five reactions of someone ever. His facial expression was just so funny. My coach was tearing up and had to go in his office to laugh.
AK: Talk more about coach Meyer's face when you told him no. Was he mad, upset?
KM: More like the state of shock where the guy has literally never been told no in his life. It literally looked like a kid the first time you tell him 'no, you can't do something.' It looked like he was a baby about to cry. It was so funny.
If you find a recruit willing to describe Dantonio as "about as personable as a rock, and not a shiny rock you'd find in a river, but like, a boring rock, like some limestone or something" I will link you again, Bleacher Report.
Etc.: My mom would get along with Laura Hoke. The sad status quo for ND-M. Michigan is a dog versus both MSU and OSU early. What Johns Hopkins means for B10 lax. Hype video. Surprise: the Big Ten won't go DIII if O'Bannon wins. Goodbye, Denard.
Barry Larkin isn't walking through that door.
The AP published a fascinating article yesterday about Big Ten baseball's next move after years of thwarted attempts to level the playing field that has me wondering about what the point of a baseball national championship is, anyway.
The Big Ten is essentially a mid-major in baseball for structural reasons: the season starts in February, the Big Ten plays virtually its entire nonconference season on the road, and recruits gravitate towards places that don't force them to spend a month of time when they're hypothetically in school hanging out in Florida.
The obvious solution in this era of year-round schooling for virtually all athletes is to push the season back, but the teams who like the current North-screwing setup outnumber those screwed. They like getting a ton of home games by default and not having to compete against major athletic departments in the North. Surprise!
So the Big Ten is rumbling about radical departures—literally:
Minnesota's John Anderson, the winningest baseball coach in Big Ten history, is pushing for his conference to break away from the NCAA's traditional February-to-June schedule and play when the weather in the north is more favorable. In short, the Big Ten's boys of summer would be on the field in summer.
Such a move would cost the Big Ten schools any shot at playing in the NCAA tournament. That doesn't bother Anderson.
"There were four SEC teams in the College World Series last year. We're never going to catch those people," he said. "The system works for them, and they're not going to want to change it. People are going to criticize this idea, but we need to get people talking about it."
No Big Ten team has made the CWS since Michigan in 1984, so it's not like they'd be giving up much. Players headed to the Big Ten are not doing so because they're banking on NCAA tourney appearances anyway. Meanwhile, the Big Ten Network is hurting for content in the summer. It might not hurt recruiting much if Big Ten teams could promise a ton of televised games and a format specifically designed to appeal to pro teams—wood bats, maybe, the conference can afford it.
Short of that the Big Ten is working on a weird proposal to allow up to 14 non-conference games in the fall that would count for the spring/winter season as well. Purdue coach Doug Schreiber came up with that idea when he wasn't busy emailing Corn Nation about Big Ten schedule strength misconceptions. That email spells out how deeply screwed the Big Ten is by the current system:
So, according to your rationale, Big Ten teams need to play a murderous, non-conference schedule prior to their conference season when 95% of these games will be on the road. It may help with improving the RPI's a little, but probably not the overall winning percentages, which will cancel out the tough schedules being played.
The choice here is between a lot more home games and something to do in the summer and the dream of reaching the CWS after a drought approaching 30 years. I'm with Anderson: withdraw from the current system, set yourselves up as pro-friendly as possible, use the Big Ten Network as a club, try to get other Northern schools to join you, and raise your profile regionally by being interesting when nothing else is going on (August). It's not like things can get worse.
Let's get even more radical, in fact. BYU's soccer team is not a part of the NCAA. They play in the PDL, "the top-level U23 men’s league in North America," alongside a vast menagerie of local club teams and MLS youth sides. [More on the transition here. It's really interesting.] If the Big Ten baseball is going to forgo the NCAA tournament in favor of a summer-based schedule they might as well go whole-hog with it and leave the NCAA entirely.
They could then use their huge pots of money to their advantage by offering 18, 20, 22 scholarships instead of the 11.7 (IIRC) teams are currently limited to. Leaving the NCAA might also allow them to tailor their schedule to something more MLB-friendly, or even join a relevant minor league so they could compete for a championship bigger than the Big Ten. Players could sign with pro teams and still maintain their eligibility. It could serve as a giant middle finger to the Southern teams. Hearing them complain about the lack of a level playing field would be delicious.
Even if that's judged too radical, it's time to stop working with the current NCAA system.