Mandy Mitchell

College baseball just getting to its prime

Posted June 7, 2013

Current South Carolina head baseball coach Chad Holbrook remembers life playing in Chapel Hill well.

"When I played there, the cages were all dirt," he said laughing. "Coach (Mike Roberts) would run us, and it was so dusty, we would spit up dirt. It would come through my nose."

A fine illustration of what college baseball used to be back in the day. Way back in 1990, that is, when Holbrook played for the Heels. Not that long ago by normal standards, but it is a different world for the sport these days.

"I went to a regional my freshman year and we played on a football field. In a regional," Holbrook said.

Now every regional game is broadcast online and many on TV. Most coaches are very quick to thank ESPN for the growth of college baseball. The network certainly deserves a bulk of the credit, but I think it goes way deeper than that.

Take Boshamer stadium for example. UNC spent a bunch of money in 2008 to renovate. The capacity is now up to 5,000. The park includes a suite level. It has a lot of the comforts of a major league park. The players have access to a state-of-the-art clubhouse. They have indoor batting cages and a player's lounge. Needless to say, these guys won't be telling stories of coughing up dirt when they reflect on their glory days in 20 years.

The sport also owes some of the boom the last few years to the change in bats. The NCAA changed to a more "wood-like" bat in 2011. Some thought this would hurt popularity at the time of the change, but it's made the game much more watchable. You see fewer 16-14 games and more strategy. You see more high-level pitchers giving the sport a try thanks to the new bats. They know their development will be more like the minor leagues. That wasn't the case in the "ping-era".

"It's made a lot of big strides and improvements," said UNC head coach Mike Fox. "Just sitting (in front of a bunch of media) is new. It's exciting."

And it just continues to get bigger. It's one sport where the "good ol' days" may be now.
 



7 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • VT1994Hokie Jun 11, 2013

    Mandy. You certainly picked the best topic of all other writers in this one. To have two teams next door going to the Super deal is really awesome. I'm kinda close to UNC because of my son, but, I wouldn't bet a dime on this one. Rodon is still the best in my humble opinion. Pitching most times decides all of our close games, but when the bats get hot, then it goes on and on...

  • StunGunn Jun 9, 2013

    Basketball may be King in these parts, but it is good to see baseball get some recognition. Having State and Carolina with such good teams helps, and the ACC has a lot of excellent teams. Hope an ACC team wins the CWS this year.

  • Alex25 Jun 8, 2013

    How pervasive is the UNC-CH NCAA cheating scandal with the baseball team..?

  • BattlingBishop 5 Jun 8, 2013

    Glad to see baseball get the recognition it deserves. Get rid of the silly agendas, do the right thing, let CU in next time 'round, and all will be well in Baseball Land.

  • VT1994Hokie Jun 7, 2013

    I'm really proud of the Heels and the PAck to make it to this point. Either team has the potential to go deep.

  • Toddler10-21 Jun 7, 2013

    Still feel for Cambell. Gonna be a great next few days in the triangle!! GO PACK, GO HEELS!!

  • cjw6105 Jun 7, 2013

    These are the good ole days? Not in Buies Creek.

  • CBB: Texas A&M at LSU

    Saturday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CIAA: Winston Salem State @ Fayetteville State

    Saturday at 4:00 pm on METV 50.2

  • Nascar Sprint Cup Series: Sprint Unlimited

    Saturday at 8:00 pm on FOX50

  • Nascar Sprint Cup Series: Daytona 500 Qualifying

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on FOX50

  • CBB: UNC vs. Pittsburgh

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: Oregon at Cal

    Tomorrow at 9:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: NC State vs. Wake Forest

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-FM

Men's College Basketball
14
6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 北京时间7:00 MST9:00 EST
Preview
 
15
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
 
6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 北京时间7:00 MST9:00 EST
Preview
16
 
20
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
 
21
5:15 PT6:15 MT7:15 CT8:15 ET1:15 GMT9:15 北京时间6:15 MST8:15 EST
Preview
 
NBA Scoreboard
Charlotte 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0019:00 ET6:00 CT22:00
Preview
Indiana 
 
San Antonio 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0019:00 ET6:00 CT22:00
Preview
Orlando 
 
Sacramento 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0019:00 ET6:00 CT22:00
Preview
Philadelphia 
 
LA Clippers 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST7:30 EST4:30 UAE (+1)01:3019:30 ET6:30 CT22:30
Preview
Boston 
 
Denver 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST7:30 EST4:30 UAE (+1)01:3019:30 ET6:30 CT22:30
Preview
Detroit 
 
Memphis 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST7:30 EST4:30 UAE (+1)01:3019:30 ET6:30 CT22:30
Preview
Brooklyn 
 
Utah 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 CT23:00
Preview
New Orleans 
 
Atlanta 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 CT23:00
Preview
Chicago 
 
LA Lakers 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 CT23:00
Preview
Cleveland 
 
Toronto 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 CT23:00
Preview
Minnesota 
 
Golden State 6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 MST9:00 EST6:00 UAE (+1)03:0021:00 ET8:00 CT0:00
Preview
Phoenix 
 
Houston 7:30 PT8:30 MT9:30 CT10:30 ET3:30 GMT11:30 8:30 MST10:30 EST7:30 UAE (+1)04:3022:30 ET9:30 CT1:30
Preview
Portland 
 
NHL Scoreboard
Ottawa 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET
Preview
Detroit 
 
NY Rangers 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ET
Preview
Pittsburgh 
 
Vancouver 6:30 PT7:30 MT8:30 CT9:30 ET2:30 GMT10:30 北京时间7:30 MST9:30 EST6:30 UAE (+1)21:30 ET
Preview
Arizona 
 
ATP Scoreboard
Wednesday, Feb. 10
Memphis Open (ATP)
 
World Tennis Tournament (ATP)
First Round
(6) R. Bautista A77 1 6   
J. Sousa64 6 3   
J. Chardy69 6 710   
E. Donskoy711 4 68   
(8) V. Troicki4 77 6   
A. Kuznetsov6 62 3   
V. Pospisil5 2    
A. Zverev7 6    
(3) G. Simon77 6    
R. Haase65 1    
Second Round
P. Kohlschrei6 6    
I. Dodig4 2    
(2) M. Cilic77 79    
G. Muller62 67    
(5) G. Monfils 
B. Coric 
 
Argentina Open (ATP)
Second Round
F. Delbonis3 6 4   
N. Almagro6 4 6   
(5) D. Thiem3 1    
G. Elias6 2    
(4) J. Isner 
D. Lajovic 
(3) J. Tsonga 
L. Mayer 
 
WTA Scoreboard
Wednesday, Feb. 10
St. Petersburg Ladies (WTA)
First Round
(7) K. Mladenovic6 5 1   
L. Siegemund1 7 6   
A. Beck4 6 7   
L. Hradecka6 4 5   
E. Vesnina3 6 6   
P. Tig6 3 1   
D. Cibulkova6 6    
E. Rodina3 0    
K. Flipkens4 7 4   
D. Kasatkina6 5 6   
Second Round
(4) A. Ivanovic7 6    
M. Gasparyan5 2    
(2) R. Vinci6 77    
Y. Wickmayer2 62    
 
Taiwan Open (WTA)
First Round
(1) V. Williams6 6    
P. Lee3 2    
Second Round
A. Sevastova7 2 7   
D. Vekic5 6 5   
(7) K. Nara6 4 6   
Y. Zhang2 6 3   
(5) S. Zheng 
S. Voegele