MGoBaseball Question

Submitted by MGoPietrowski on April 4th, 2012 at 4:39 PM

Hey there fellow MGoBloggers,

I have been a Michigan football fan for about 25 years now, and over the course of my childhood and highschool/college years have followed an increasing number of UM athletic teams. Besides the big 3, (Football, Hockey and Basketball) I have recently hopped on the LAX bandwagon, and have also decided to spend my first offseason following Michigan baseball closely. I love sports, by the way. 

Here are my question for you MGoBaseball Fans...

What is a good way to gauge how well the season is going? I know the W-L thing is good, and the Big Ten Standings are good, but nationally, are teams ranked?

How many teams make the regional/super-regional tournaments, and how are these competitions formatted?

Does every team make the post-season tournament? Is there a selection committee?

Any and all help would be nice. I don't want to be one of those fans (of any sport or team) that doesn't really know what's going on all year, or have a full grasp on the criterion for a celebratory worthy season, then act like I know everything whenever my favorite team performs well. 

 

Thanks,

MGoPietrowski

(Formerly hailtothe)

Comments

LIhockey24

April 4th, 2012 at 4:49 PM ^

The big ten is essentially a 1 bid mid-major in baseball, even the MAC is better at baseball than us...Although Purdue is having a great start to the season and has split with powerhouse Wichita State and is ranked 19th in the country which is unheard of in B1G baseball.This is because our many recruiting disadvantages due to cold weather, lack of many home games due to that, and starting the first 20 or so games of the season in florida or california essentially on month long roadtrips.

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

April 4th, 2012 at 4:57 PM ^

OK, here's your baseball primer.

The NCAA tournament is an even 64 teams.  There are 16 regionals of four teams each, usually hosted by the regional 1 seed, but occasionally by the 2 seed, which happens when the NCAA wants to give it to a northern school.  Each regional is a mini double-elimination tournament.  The winners of each go to the super-regionals, which are a best-two-of-three series hosted by the higher-seeded regional winner of the two regions that are matched up.  There are eight national seeds, so theoretically they will win their region and host a super against a nonseeded regional winner.

After the super regionals, there are eight teams, and that comprises the College World Series, in Omaha.  They're divided up into two groups of four, and essentially the process is just repeated: two double-elimination tournaments to eliminate all but two teams, and those teams play a best-of-three for the championship.  The only difference is that the games are more spread out, so instead of playing Thu-Fri-Sat-Sun, you have a day (at least) in between games.

There is a selection committee that makes the decisions.  Once you get past the top eight seeds, the next eight regional hosts, and maybe some of the 2 seeds, the placement is then entirely geographic.  There is not much ordering of 2 seeds and none at all of 3 and 4 seeds.

The Big Ten tournament is a six-team double elimination.  The bottom five teams do not make the tournament.  This is typical of conference tourneys and there are like dozens of different formats.  Wisconsin has no team.

The Big Ten is decidedly a mid-major in baseball.  Its teams are routinely bad, relative to the national scene, because northern teams face a huge disadvantage: it's still snowing in February when the season begins.  Northern teams always spend the first four to six weeks of the season on the road.  Even getting a single team into the top 25 rankings (and by the way there are five polls) is considered an accomplishment for the Big Ten.  This year that team is Purdue.  The Big Ten sends one, occasionally two teams to the tournament, and usually the Big Ten autobid winner is a 3 seed.

Here are my four go-to sites for reading about college baseball:

http://www.d1baseball.com/ 

http://www.boydsworld.com/ (primarily useful for the RPI)

http://www.perfectgame.org/

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/

These last two tend to have a southern bias, because that's where all the power in college baseball is concentrated.

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

April 4th, 2012 at 5:13 PM ^

Primer part 2 (I wanted to split this up into two posts):

The college schedule is a little different from the pros.  Instead of constantly playing game after game, with breaks only once in a while, college schedules are broken up into weekend games and weekday games.  Weekend games are usually a Fri-Sat-Sun three-game series against a conference opponent, or early on in the OOC schedule, a semi-marquee opponent or a mini-"tournament."  Pretty much every team plays in a "tournament" or "classic" or two in February and March, although the OOC schedule can also be kind of nebulous and doesn't always follow the pattern.  Once you settle into the conference schedule, typically it's conference games on Fri-Sat-Sun and then, during the weekdays, you bring in (or travel to) a local opponent for one or two games, usually Tuesday and/or Wednesday.

This means that rosters, specifically the pitching, is set up differently.  College teams typically (and ideally) have a Friday starter, a Saturday starter, a Sunday starter, and a weekday starter.  The best college coaches are the ones that can best manage a pitching staff, both in the regular season and then in postseason play when all your regular season techniques get turned upside down.

The college game differs from the pros in a lot of other ways too: strategy (way more bunting), positional flexibility (as extreme as moving your backup catcher to starting center fielder, which is what UVA did last year), metal bats (but they're much deader than they used to be - they go clank instead of ping now).

Baseball players can be drafted several times: right out of high school, or any time after three years of college.  HS players that don't go pro, go to college, and if they're good, college has them for three years.  Leaving as a junior is routine.  The good players - not even just the best ones, but most of the good ones - do so, because that's when they have leverage to sign a contract.

If you really want to hardcore follow your players, you can do so during the summer too; college players typically play in collegiate summer leagues such as the Cape Cod League or the NECBL.  There are a lot of these leagues around, although none in Michigan that I'm aware of.  They're sometimes called the wood-bat leagues for obvious reasons.

wolverinebandit

April 4th, 2012 at 9:29 PM ^

In order to make the B1G tournament you need to finish in the top 6 in the league. Michigan finshed 2011 in 10th (Last, Wisconsin doesn't have a baseball team) place.  In 2012, UM is presently in 11th place (Last) in the B1G.  However, it is still early.  MSU series this weekend looms large.  I am not optimistic for the series this weekend.  UM even making the B1G tournament would be an unlikely turnaround.

If Maloney is not on the hot seat, he should be.  Given the shove out the door Brandon just gave Borseth, I would think Maloney would be next on his list. Frankly, I think Jake Boss owns Rich Maloney which is unbelieveably frustrating.