RT Staff Note: The following is an excerpt from www.BearTerritory.net. Cal's biggest rival is Stanford. If Cal officials don't wake up from what seems like a Lost Weekend drug and alcohol binge, this could be the last year for this rivalry. Here's his comments:
Esquer's former coach at Stanford, Mark Marquess, lamented the loss of one of the conference's oldest programs at the Bay Area College Baseball Media Day in Palo Alto on Feb. 3, especially in the face of the overall health of the sport at the college level. Marquess launched as close to an invective as the reserved, veteran skipper ever has.
"I've done this a long time," said Marquess -- entering his 35th year at the Stanford helm. "I've seen college baseball, and been doing it for -- this is my 40th year -- and college baseball is as healthy and as strong as it's ever been. It's not even close. There are only two NCAA championships that make money, only two: basketball -- obviously -- and college men's baseball. The only two that come close to making money, and that's gate receipts, that's TV revenue, and the attendance at the College World Series and at the regionals is getting better and better.
"TV coverage, now you have the ACC, the Southeast Conference getting regular season games as part of the contract to be televised, and we all know that television is key to the exposure. It's kind of a secret, how successful college baseball is as a championship. You don't build a $125 million new stadium in Omaha unless you're successful, OK? You don't negotiate new TV contracts unless you're successful. College baseball is very successful. It's the future stars of Major League Baseball. In 2008, we're at the College World Series, and the starting catcher (for Florida State) and also a pitcher was Buster Posey. That was June of 2008. Where is he in June of 2010? Tim Lincecum from the University of Washington, a pretty good pitcher. Two years (after he's drafted), and where is he? Cy Young. Our product is great, but sometimes it's a big secret. It's not a secret to the college fans and it's not a secret to athletic directors who are spending millions of dollars to build new facilities. We're healthy.
"The sad part about that is -- and it's kind of ironic -- that the University of California, which has about 120 years of a rich baseball tradition, and I've done this long enough to remember George Wolfman and Jackie Jenson, and Bob Milano and David Esquer have carried on in that tradition, that's an elite baseball program with a lot -- a lot -- of tradition, not only academically with players graduating, but the success that they've had on the field. It's sad. It's sad that a program of that magnitude, that they will no longer sponsor baseball. It's a real shame. It's a slap in the face to our game of college baseball, especially at a time that we're very, very successful, and will continue to get successful, and California, with all their coaches and players, were a big part of that. That weighs heavily on all of us. We're obviously big rivals with Cal, but there's a lot of respect for the athletes and the coaches and the University. That's what college athletics is all about."