Sunday, January 17, 2010

One Last At Bat

Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of Big Ten Hardball. Today, 979 posts later, I bring BTH to a close.

This decision has not been an easy one. Nor is it one that I have come to quickly. As some of you can attest, I have wrestled with future of the site for the last several years. While no single reason has brought Big Ten Hardball to an end, one central theme binds all the issues together -- change.

It is clear to me that it’s time for change for both the blog and myself. For the blog, the growing media coverage of Big Ten baseball programs -- from the institutions themselves to the Big Ten Network to an expanding force of national media and local bloggers -- has made it evident that Big Ten Hardball needs to evolve.

What is equally clear, and here’s where the change I need personally jumps in, is that some of the passion I had to pursue this game on a daily basis has faded. After five years of being, in effect, a beat writer for ten teams, I could use a break.

I explored a number of options before deciding to close up shop. I considered everything from writing less frequently to asking some of my blogging allies to join BTH and bring new perspective, energy and carry some of the workload. During those discussions, we pondered merging this blog with another or having me leave this site and write elsewhere. Occasionally, I contemplated starting an entirely new blog.

However, I found it difficult to commit to any of the alternatives. I realized any decision I would make would be a half-hearted one. That wouldn’t be fair to anyone. Instead, the best option, although the hardest one for me, is to close the doors at Big Ten Hardball.

While I am bringing BTH to an end, I’m not shutting the door on the college baseball world. You will still see me around the ballpark. I’m also going to continue to check my email, so you can always contact me there. Who knows? If the right circumstances arise, I might be back writing about college baseball someday. (A few who were forewarned of my decision are already trying to push me back in.)

It’s been a tremendous five years. This experience has been far greater than I could have ever imagined. Much, if not all, of that is because of you -- those who have interacted in some way with Big Ten Hardball and it’s author. I thank you all.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Four Named All-America By Ping

Ohio State's Alex Wimmers headlines four Big Ten Conference players to be named preseason All-Americans by Ping! Baseball. The Buckeyes righthander was the lone Big Ten star tabbed as a first-team selection.

Ohio State catcher Dan Burkhart, the conference's defending Player of the Year, collected a second-team choice as did Minnesota closer Scott Matyas. Indiana sophomore Alex Dickerson was named to Ping's third-team as a designated hitter.