Saturday, September 27, 2008

Early Scheduling Update

Three Big Ten programs have released their 2009 baseball schedule. Indiana, Iowa and Michigan have announced their '09 opponents (the inevitable alterations notwithstanding, of course). Kudos to all three for getting this information out so early. I'll probably be reviewing these in greater depth at some point down the road, so click on the links and get a look at what the Hoosiers, Hawkeyes and Wolverines face in the coming year.

I should also note that the long-awaited Big Ten/Big East baseball challenge has been finalized and will begin play next year. While this will never be as big as the ACC/Big Ten basketball challenge, I love the concept of this baseball tournament.

The reason for my interest is that I believe that the Big East gets the traditional "east coast media bias" even in college baseball. This format provides the Big Ten with the opportunity to display how they stack up against their fellow (mostly) northern foes. (With or without global warming, USF isn't going to be in the snowbelt anytime soon.)

Yet, this series probably could not come at a worse time for the Big Ten, as one would expect the conference to take another step backwards this year. I'm not sure how the Big East stacks up in '09, but I'm not expecting the Big Ten to provide more than one NCAA tournament team next year. (The good news is that I'm often wrong. The other piece of good news is that it's only September. I've got plenty of time to retract my prediction.)

I haven't heard if there will be any television coverage, but it would seem like an ideal situation for the Big Ten Network. Although, that would require the conference to commit money to baseball, which they are generally opposed to.

Here's the tournament schedule:

February 20-22, 2009

Day 1 - Friday, February 20

Ohio State vs. Notre Dame
Penn State vs. St. John's
Illinois vs. Iowa
Michigan State vs. Connecticut
Michigan vs. South Florida
Northwestern vs. Georgetown
Minnesota vs. Seton Hall
Indiana vs. West Virginia
Purdue vs. Cincinnati

Day 2 - Saturday, February 21
Michigan vs. Cincinnati
Purdue vs. South Florida
Penn State vs. Northwestern
Ohio State vs. Connecticut
Indiana vs. Georgetown
Illinois vs. Notre Dame
Minnesota vs. West Virginia
Michigan State vs. Seton Hall
Iowa vs. St. John's

Day 3 - Sunday, February 22
Michigan vs. St. John's
Ohio State vs. Cincinnati
Minnesota vs. Michigan State
Northwestern vs. Connecticut
Indiana vs. South Florida
Iowa vs. Georgetown
Purdue vs. Notre Dame
Penn State vs. Seton Hall
Illinois vs. West Virginia

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Summer Notes

Here's a brief list of just some this summer news courtesy of each university's website. At some point, I might attempt to do a bit more research on summer league action, but for now I'll use this as a review for both of us.

I'll work in reverse alphabetical order, giving Purdue the the leadoff spot.

Coach Schreiber has two new coaches. Ryan Sowers joins the Boilers staff as pitching coach and ex-Boilers star Chadd Blasko returns in the role of volunteer assistant.

Ohio State hurler Eric Best had a strong summer in Alaska. Best was named as his team's pitcher of the year. Fellow Buckeyes Drew Rucinski and Zach Hurley both grabbed some recognition this summer.

Kenneth Avila, of Northwestern, was named the starting secondbaseman for the Hawaii Summer League All-Star Game. NU's Eric Jokisch blogged for the university's official website from his summer league stint in New England.

Minnesota's Derek McCallum and Nick O'Shea both made the Northwoods League All-Star Game. Kyle Knudson and AJ Pettersen were also having good years in the Northwoods.

The Gophers also added Sam Ryan to their list of recruits eligible in 2009.

Michigan State's AJ Shindler also made the Northwoods League All-Star team. New Spartans' head coach Jake Boss, Jr. named Mark Van Ameyde and Billy Gernon to his staff.

Rich Maloney, of Michigan, claimed his second straight ABCA Division I Mideast regional coach of the year.

Iowa named Chris Maliszewski as their new pitching coach. Maliszewski is an Iowa alum.

A number of Indiana players had strong summers. Evan Crawford, Matt Bashore and Kipp Schutz all played in the high profile Cape Cod League. In addition, Matt Carr was named an All-Star in the Great Lakes League and Joey O'Gara went 5-0 in the GLL. Jerrud Sabourin hit well in San Diego.

IU also announced three late signings. JUCO SS Jake Dunning may move into the starting lineup. Righty Wyatt Hoff and left-hander Matt Igel join a recruiting class that included five signings in November.

Illinois' website chronicles nearly all their players summer league seasons. The university's sports information department also has blog-like posts from several Illini players. Former Illinois catcher Chris Robinson represented Canada in the Summer Olympics.

A September Post

For the first time in years, I actually went an entire month without posting something here. I believe the last time that happened was the autumn of 2005. It wasn't, however, from a lack of material. I just chose to take a break.

After this self-imposed layoff, I'm back today and I'll start by sharing a couple of items out of my email inbox. First, Tom at The Baseball Zealot attended Illinois' first practice of the new school year. He took a few photos, as well.

When you are attending fall practice, it's official -- you've got college baseball fever. That's some diehard dedication. (Not that I'm above that, mind you.) Tom, if I'm partly to blame for your zeal, I apologize.

Patrick Ebert, of Perfect Game, drops me a note about this year's Dairy Queen Classic field. The 2009 DQ Classic will feature Notre Dame, Washington and Hawaii in addition to the host, Minnesota.

Let's be honest. This isn't the strongest field in DQ history. All three programs the Gophers have invited can play, but they lack the marquee appeal of some previous DQ opponents. I'm also not sure how much any of the four programs will be helped, RPI wise.

Thanks to both Tom and Patrick for dropping me a line.