Friday, October 30, 2009

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.

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 pitching, from the University of Arkansas, Cliff Lee." How exciting is it for the students and alumni of this Fayetteville, Arkansas university 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.

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