Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fitt Projects NCAA Field

In a daring move, Aaron Fitt of Baseball America takes an educated guess at this year's NCAA Tournament field. Yep, he predicts all 64 teams and regional sites almost a month before the first pitch of the season.

Here's the question I presume you are pondering "Who makes the field from the Big Ten?". Well, I'm happy to report that Mr. Fitt predicts two teams from the conference making The Dance. Indiana, who is tabbed as the automatic berth from the Big Ten, and Michigan, as an at-large team, are in.

If the Big Ten can land two teams into this year's tournament, it will be a banner season. I'm leery about the RPI-quality of Indiana's schedule and Michigan has plenty of holes to fill. Nonetheless, I think we should all embrace Mr. Fitt's optimism.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rogers Previews Big 10

Rivals/Yahoo college baseball editor Kendall Rogers offers up his preview of the 2009 Big Ten baseball campaign.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Midnight Madness: Baseball Style

Central Michigan head coach Steve Jaska decided to use a basketball marketing idea in baseball. CMU and Florida Gulf Coast will begin the new baseball season at 12:01 a.m., yes, one minute past midnight, on February 20. According to the blog post from Aaron Fitt at Baseball America,
"... Jaska hatched the midnight madness idea as a way to build excitement for the start of the season."

Technically, the two programs will play a split doubleheader on that day as both sides meet again at 8:00 p.m.

It's a bit crazy, but I kind of like it. A tip of the cap to Coach Jaska, the Chips and FGC for giving it a shot.

Captains Announced

Indiana has named three captains for the 2009 season. Chris Hervey, Joe Vicini and Matt Bashore are the Hoosiers' tri-captains.

Back in the fall, Michigan announced they would have tri-captains this season. Kevin Cislo, Chris Fetter and Tim Kalczynski were selected by their teammates as '09 captains.

Michigan State maintained the trio of captains pattern. The three Spartans selected were Eric Roof, AJ Dunn and Nolan Moody.

Justin Miller, perhaps the most underrated player in the conference, is Ohio State's lone captain in 2009. Miller was a co-captain last year.

The Dinner (Or Lunch) Circuit

Another sure sign that Opening Day is right around corner is the announcement of various team meet-and-greets. The names and formats of these events vary between each program, but they are all just a warm-up for the new season. (And, often, a helpful fundraiser.)

Illinois has a Hot Stove Banquet scheduled for February 6. The special guest is former big leaguer Andy Benes.

MLB umpire Tim McClelland headlines Iowa's Lead-Off Dinner. The date is February 17.

Former Spartan Steve Garvey will be the keynote speaker at MSU's First Pitch Dinner on February 8. The former Los Angeles Dodgers star will receive the 2009 MSU Baseball Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Ohio State's annual Meet The Team Luncheon is scheduled for February 14.

I believe Northwestern usually has an annual event, although I haven't found any details for such an occurrence this year. I know Michigan does have a casual gathering shortly before each season begins, but, here again, no details have been posted. Keep your eye on each university's website or even this space for updates.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

All-Ping! Picks

The gang over at Ping! Baseball have submitted their annual All-Ping! Pre-season Teams. Four Big Ten players made their way onto one of Ping's list. Indiana's Josh Phegley is the first team catcher. Michigan's Chris Fetter was a second team All-Ping nominee. Iowa's Justin Toole made the third team at shortstop and Dan Black, of Purdue, was a "For Your Consideration" choice at thirdbase.

Michigan # 30 In Writers' Poll

The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association has released their pre-season poll. While the University of North Carolina claimed the top spot, one Big Ten program did make the Top 35. The University of Michigan begins the year number thirty in the writers poll.

Rich Maloney's team continues to garner an unusual amount of respect from the national media this pre-season. Historically, the voters ignore northern programs (Notre Dame being the lone exception). To see Michigan still slide into the polls, albeit barely, after losing a significant portion of their team to the pros, is a refreshing change.

The only other Big Ten program that got a sniff from the voters was Ohio State. The Buckeyes fell into the "others receiving votes" bundle.

Rounding out the NCBWA Top 10 are LSU, Rice, Texas A&M, Georgia, Florida State, Arizona State, Texas, Stanford and Cal St. Fullerton.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Lists And More Lists

The pre-season lists continue to fill-up the internet and my inbox. Today, I share Rivals rankings of the top seniors and juniors in the land. For those just wanting the Big 10 perspective, Michigan's Chris Fetter was named as one of the top seniors while Minnesota's Matt Nohlety showed up on "The Next Five" heading. Indiana's Josh Phegley was chosen as one of the nation's top juniors.

In addition to Kendall Rogers' lists, Brian Foley at the College Baseball Blog recently cranked out CBB's Top 50 players. Brian doesn't have any Big 10ers amongst his top fifty.