Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Three Hoosiers Drafted On Day One

Indiana University's Eric Arnett, Josh Phegley and Matt Bashore were all selected on Day One of the Major League Baseball Draft. Arnett went in the first round, twenty-sixth overall, to Milwaukee. Phegley went thirth-eighth overall to the Chicago White Sox and Bashore went forty-sixth to Minnesota.

Dickerson, Pettersen Honored

The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association has named their Freshmen All-America Team. Two first-year Big Ten standouts have been selected. Indiana's Alex Dickerson was tabbed as the first-team designated hitter and Minnesota's AJ Pettersen garnered a first-team nod at shortstop.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

OSU's Hale Is Stopper Award Finalist

The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association has announced the five finalists for the Stopper of the Year Award. Jake Hale, of Ohio State, is one of the honorees. The other four are San Diego State's Addison Reed, Kyle Bellamy of Miami (FL), Matty Ott of Louisiana State and UC Irvine's Eric Pettis.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Freshmen All-Americans

Collegiate Baseball and Louisville Slugger have issued their Freshmen All-America Team. A number of first-year Big Ten stars have made the squad. Nick O'Shea (Minnesota), Eric Charles (Purdue), AJ Pettersen (Minnesota), Justin Gominsky (Minnesota), Willie Argo (Illinois) and Alex Dickerson (Indiana) were all honored.

Yes, I was disappointed that several names weren't on the list. Penn State's Jordan Steranka and Illinois' Josh Parr would top my list of oversights, but it was good to see a strong representation from the Big Ten.

A Couple Of Requests

In surfing the college baseball spectrum, I've come across a couple of requests. The first is from Eric Sorenson. Seems his former employers at CBS asked Eric if he would provide some material wrapping up the regionals. Eric obliged and now requests some assistance from us. He would like you to click on the link to his column.

The basic premise here is that we are trying to show the gurus at CBS that someone besides Big E cares about college baseball. Let's face it, the mainstream sports media avoid college baseball like the plague. (As such, you get stuck with hacks like me trying to fill in the blanks.) If Eric's column at CBS can generate enough traffic, perhaps, just perhaps, they might devote more space to the sport. And, if they move forward, maybe other .com's might follow.

At minimum, Eric might be able to reclaim a paycheck from CBS (or someone else) and I think that's a concept we can all appreciate right now. So, let's help him, and college baseball, out. Go to his site. Here's the link. Once at E's internet home, click on the link in the column. Spend a few minutes reading his work at CBS (yes, even if you read it originally at his site) and go about your day. Or, better yet, you can help out another college baseball fan.

The Big Ten's Valerie Todryk-Krebs is asking you what your favorite moment of the Big Ten baseball season was. Here's another opporunity to show some decision makers that people are passionate about college baseball. In this case, it's right in our own backyard. You can overflow Valerie's inbox with your favorite moments and she can show her supervisors at the Big Ten your overwhelming response. If they get the notion that there's a hungry fanbase out there, who knows where it might lead?

Her request appears in a post dated June 1 at the Big Ten's baseball blog. The email address she wants you to use is vtodryk@bigten.org.

We can complain all we want about the inequities in college baseball. From the lack of media coverage to the imbalance in scheduling to the NCAA Tournament selection process. Yet, at some point, we have to do our part. We have to give the powers-that-be a reason to care about college baseball. That begins by demonstrating our support for the game. Eric and Valerie have given us an opportunity to do just that. I encourage you to participate in their requests.

Heading For The Cape

As the season is over for all but sixteen college teams, it's time to turn our attention to the summer leagues. The annual wood bats circuits are where college players not only get to continue to develop their skills in the "off-season", but often get a chance to perform in front of Major League scouts.

The most noted of the summer leagues is, as you probably know, the Cape Cod League. Brought to the mainstream's attention in books and a bad movie, the Cape invites the top college talent in the country to compete in a setting without the ping of metal bats.

This season, ten players from the Big Ten Conference have been invited to play on the Cape. The list is made up of Alex Wimmers of Ohio State (Bourne), Seth Rosin of Minnesota (Hyannis), Ohio State's Dan Burkhart (Hyannis), Blake Monar, Alex Dickerson and Kipp Schutz of Indiana (Wareham), Michigan's Ryan LaMarre (Wareham), the Northwestern duo of Jake Goebbert and Eric Jokisch (Harwich) and Tyler Burgoon of Michigan (Yarmouth-Dennis).

Now, this is just the list I've been able to compile. If you are aware of any other players heading to the heart of Red Sox Nation, please note them in the comments or drop me an email. I'll be happy to update the list. (And, yes, I'm attempting to assemble lists for all the summer leagues, so if you know where a player will spend his summer, you can send me an email.)

You can take this opportunity to follow your favorite players all summer long. And not just the Cape Cod League, either. Nearly each summer circuit has a website and I've got a healthy list of links in the sidebar. You might even be able to watch a game or two right from you computer. Imagine how impressed your friends will be when you are able to spit out summer league stats this winter.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

NU's Avila Wins Ashe Award

Northwestern's Kenneth Avila has won the 2009 Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar Award. Avila beat out ten other male finalists, including Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford of Oklahoma. Avila reached the final ten candidates by triumphing over a field that originally included 600 athletes.

Avila captured the award not only based on his academic and athletic success, but his committment to the community. Here's a link highlighting some of Mr. Avila's off-the-field service.

The Wildcats double major will spend his summer working on Wall Street as an intern with JPMorgan. (Where we presume he will straighten out the economy before he has to return to Evanston for fall classes.) We congratulate Kenneth Avila on winning this prestigous award.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Putting A Bow On It

I didn't want to leave all of yesterday's negativity atop the blog, so how about we take a couple of minutes and share some of the positives from the 2009 season? Here are just a few highlights.

  • Three teams -- Indiana, Minnesota and Ohio State -- make the NCAA Tournament field.
  • Indiana's romp through the Big Ten Tournament.
  • The entertaining race for the regular season crown that came down to the final day of the season before OSU claimed it.
  • Minnesota's road wins at places like TCU and Dallas Baptist.
  • Illinois' series win at Louisiana State.
  • Ohio State's win at Miami (FL).
  • No-hitters from Ohio State's Alex Wimmers and Michigan State's Nolan Moody.
  • MSU opening a renovated McLane Stadium.
  • Indiana's Eric Arnett amongst the finalists for National Pitcher of the Year.
  • Two Big Ten catchers -- Indiana's Josh Phegley and Ohio State's Dan Burkhart -- vying for the Johnny Bench Award.
  • Derek McCallum, of Minnesota, in the running for the Dick Howser Trophy.

This season also featured one of the better crop of freshmen I can recall. Alex Dickerson (Indiana), Willie Argo (Illinois), Jordan Steranka (Penn State), AJ Pettersen (Minnesota), Eric Charles (Purdue) and Tony Bucciferro (Michigan State) were just a few of the first-year players making an immediate impact.

Yes, the season came to an abrupt and rather painful conclusion, but the year overall was far from a disappointment. In looking at the success of both teams and individuals, one could argue that it was one of the better baseball seasons around the Big Ten in recent history. Let's not lose sight of that after a weekend of lopsided defeats.