Thursday, October 30, 2008
Improving Collegiate and Pro Baseball Relations
For the past several weeks, we have been suggesting that it would be in College Baseballs best interest to have a synergistic relationship with Major League Baseball. More and more top college players are spending less time in the minors and are often on a fast track to the Bigs. We have stated many times that college provides a controlled, disciplined environment that is governed by professors, teachers assistants, tutors, strength and conditioning coaches, baseball coaches and involves incredible time management skills. Combined with the excellent brand of coaching available in colleges today, you can start to see why many pro scouts are beginning to put their emphasis on college stars.
Now it seems that the NCAA has started to recognize that such a synergy can indeed exist and has begun to take the necessary steps to explore such a relationship. The following story is from CBS College Sports...
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The University of San Diego head baseball coach Rich Hill has been selected as one of 11 collegiate coaches to participate in a meeting between Major League Baseball and the NCAA baseball coaches to help improve the relations between the two. Hill will be joined on this committee by the legendary head coach at the University of Texas, Augie Garrido, Pate Casey from Oregon State and Ray Tanner from South Carolina, among others.
This years meeting will take place in Las Vegas, Nev. On December 10th, and the meeting will consist of all the MLB Scouting Directors and their assistants, MLB Operations people (Joe Garagiola, Jr., Roy Krasik and Brian Porter), other selected MLB personal and the 12 college coaches.
The two Sides will come together to discuss ways to improve the relationship between college baseball and professional baseball and is put on by the American Baseball Coaches Association.
The one obvious change should be for all baseball players to be introduced as products of their college alma mater like they do in football and basketball. Every college, student, fan and alumni likes to hear their alma mater mentioned in a national or regional broadcast. Everyone knows that Tom Brady went to Michigan or Shaq went to LSU. Imagine the smooth Jon Miller announcing on an ESPN broadcast..."Now batting, from Illinois Central University, Jim Thome." How exciting is it for the students and alumni of this small midwestern college to hear that on a national broadcast?
Another change is limiting the players drafted out of high school to hardship cases...but only if the NCAA increases the scholarship limits to 20. High school players need to experience college. They also need to be able to afford college...and that means more scholarships...And, College Baseball will benefit greatly from those top blue chippers attending their schools. Networks will benefit as well, because colleges have a broader base of customers (present student body, plus decades of alumni) that will grow as more and more blue chip athletes infiltrate the college ranks.
Major League Baseball also benefits from the blue chips going to college by making the MLB draft the type of spectacle that football and basketball enjoy. There's school pride at stake when you involve College players to be a part of a pro sport's future.
The only downside is that more high school players going to college will decrease the need for the plethora of minor league teams. Do we really need an instructional league, rookie league, High A, Low A, AA, AAA. Can't that be pared in half? A college player that has had three years of grueling everyday practices, 56+ games a year, combined with a 40-60 game wood bat summer league experience, will be a bit ahead of the curve and might be a bit over qualified for an instructional league assignment.
We love the College game. We want to see it grow for today's fans and tomorrows future stars. We hope that this meeting of college coaches and MLB officials will be productive to bring this game to new and exciting heights. The way we see it, December 10th can't come soon enough.