The initial Big East/Big Ten Challenge is over. It's safe to call the first foray a success. It might be easier for me to come to that conclusion, as the conference I spend 99% of my time covering prevailed. Yet, that's not the reason I'd classify it as a success.
The event generated more media exposure than nearly anything else the conferences could have done independently. Let's be honest, if Ohio State had gone 3-0 over the weekend playing anyone else not in the top 30, would they have been ranked today? Not a chance. That's not a slap at the Buckeyes performance, which was terrific, but it's indicative of the respect and media attention the challenge created.
It was also a boon for MLB scouts. To assemble the two cold weather conferences together in a single region for three days allowed scouts to get an extended look at players that they might not take a second look at. In that sense, the Big East/Big Ten Challenge was a success for the players, MLB and the event organizers.
Now, do we need to see the entire Big East participate? Absolutely. (I'm thinking Louisville would have preferred this event over their weekend plans.) Do we need some television coverage? Do I really need to ask? I understand money is the answer, but how the Big Ten Network doesn't provide some kind of coverage remains mind-numbing.
All in all, though, it was a solid opening act for the event. The organizers deserve plenty of credit. Hopefully, Year Two will be even better.
LINE OF THE TOURNEY
My favorite stat line of the weekend comes courtesy of Purdue's Dan Black. The All-Big Ten 3B posted this line against Notre Dame: 0 AB, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 RBI, 5 BB. Yep, five walks. (Check it out.) Either the Irish really respect the Boiler's power-hitter or they had some serious trouble finding the plate when he strolled up there.
The good folks at collegebaseball360.com have released the official Big East/Big Ten Challenge All-Tournament Team. Here's their list.
BTH ALL-WEEKEND TEAM
As yesterday drew to a close, I began rehashing the boxscores looking to select an all-tournament side made up of just Big Ten players. Surprise! My list and the "official" one, don't quite mesh. Not only do we have a different players, but I actually selected a firstbaseman and secondbaseman. I'm all in favor of expanding the list of honorees to include anyone deemed worthy, but come on. You can't have a baseball team without a right side of the infield.
It won't make-up for those guys ignored, but I present the very first (and possibly last) All-Weekend Team of 2009.
C - Josh Phegley, Indiana (6 for 11/3 R/3 RBI/BB)
1B - Jerrud Sabourin, Indiana (7 for 14/2B/2 R/RBI)
2B - Derek McCallum, Minnesota (4 for 12/2 RBI/2 BB/SB)
SS - Brandon Wikoff, Illinois (5 for 12/HR/6 R/2 RBI/5 BB)
3B - Dominic Altobelli, Illinois (5 for 13/3B/3 R/6 RBI/2 BB/HBP)
3B - Brian DeLucia, Ohio State (3 for 11/2 HR/3 R/6 RBI)
OF - Mike Kvasnicka, Minnesota (5 for 12/3 2B/HR/4 R/4 RBI/BB)
OF - Nick Urban, Michigan (9 for 19/R/4 RBI)
OF - Kenny Fellows, Michigan (7 for 14/R/2 RBI)
DH - Jake McLouth, Michigan (7 for 17/3B/HR/R/4 RBI)
DH - Alex Dickerson, Indiana (5 for 14/2B/HR/4 R/5 RBI)
UT - Mike Deese, Penn State (7 for 12/2B/4 R/3 RBI/3 BB)
SP - Alex Wimmers, Ohio State (6.0 IP/4 H/0 R/0 ER/3 BB/7 K; Win)
SP - Eric Jokisch, Northwestern (9.0 IP/10 H/3 R/1 ER/2 BB/9 K; CG, Win)
SP - T.J. Macy, Penn State (7.0 IP/2 H/1 R/1 ER/2 BB/8 K; ND)
BP - Andrew Armstrong, Ohio State (6.2 IP/3 H/0 R/0 ER/2 BB/5 K; Win)
RP - Drew Rucinski, Ohio State (6.1 IP/3 H/0 R/0 ER/1 BB/6 K; Save, Win)
RP - Tyler Burgoon, Michigan (5.0 IP/4 H/0 R/0 ER/0 BB/4 K; Two Wins)
BN - Chris Roberts, Michigan State (5 for 12/2B/3 R/RBI/2 SB)
BN - Brandon Haveman, Purdue (7 for 19/2B/3 R/4 RBI/BB/SB)
BN - Eric Decker, Minnesota (7 for 13/2B/3 R/BB/SB)
BN - Aaron Johnson, Illinois (4 for 12/3 R/4 RBI/BB/HBP)
BN - Wes Freie, Iowa (2 for 8/HR/4 R/2 RBI/5.0 IP/6 H/1 R/1 ER/2 BB/7 K; Win)
BP - Nolan Moody, Michigan State (7.0 IP/7 H/2 R/2 ER/BB/K; Win)
BP - Eric Katzman, Michigan (7.0 IP/7 H/1 R/1 ER/BB/4 K; Win)
BP - Eric Arnett, Indiana (6.0 IP/4 H/2 R/2 ER/2 BB/8 K; Win)
Per usual, I probably omitted somebody that deserved the honor. Presuming, of course, you think making my All-Weekend Team is an honor. If you want to point out my oversight, stupidity, whatever, drop me an email and make the case for your player. I'm not opposed to making changes. Just be advised that I might not concur with you.