banner
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

This blogpost is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Hokies94 Jun 11, 6:30 p.m.

    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, 2:00 p.m.

    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, 9:41 a.m.

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

  • BattlingBishop 5 Jun 8, 9:00 a.m.

    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.

  • Hokies94 Jun 7, 8:15 p.m.

    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, 7:31 p.m.

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

  • cjw6105 Jun 7, 7:17 p.m.

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

  • NFL: San Diego at San Francisco

    Tonight at 8:25 on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Panthers vs. Cleveland

    Monday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NHL: Canes vs. NY Rangers

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: NC State at West Virginia

    Tonight at 9:30 on WRAL-FM

Scoreboard
Local
Final
UNC 82
OSU 74
1st
MVSU 13
NCCU 26
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNCW
ECU
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
NYR
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
UTA
9:30pm Tonight
WVU
NCSU
Final
NYK 90
PHO 99
7:00pm Tonight
NOP
POR
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
UTA
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
ATL
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
SAN
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
IND
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
MIL
Final
LALAF 16
NEV 3
3rd
UTEP 3
UTST 14
 
2nd
COLST 10
UTAH 21
 
5:45pm Tonight
AFA
WMICH
9:15pm Tonight
BGU
SALABAMA
Final
GEOR 81
CHAR 78
Final
WKENT 67
LOU 76
Final
MICH 51
SMU 62
Final
CIN 47
VCU 68
Final
BSU 77
ABCHRIST 33
 
Final
PROV 85
UMASS 65
Final
AMER 46
MNTER 45
 
Final
UNC 82
OSU 74
Final
IUPUI 71
SALA 65
 
Final
VILL 82
SYR 77
Final
VT 64
CITA 61
Final
DUQ 79
MLOWELL 63
 
Final
FAIR 61
BEL 73
 
Final
YALE 60
GTDNS 64
 
Final
FD 76
DEL 74
 
Final
PSU 73
DREX 68
 
Final
UNCG 64
ELON 71
 
Final
ILL 62
MIZZ 59
Final
CAMP 90
MONT 64
 
Final
LONG 106
PSUBEAVER 74
 
Final
HOU 63
SCST 71
 
Final
FSU 75
SFLA 62
 
Final
BING 51
BONA 69
 
Final
RUTG 68
RFLSH 73
 
Final
MCNST 69
TOL 83
 
Final
JVU 84
TRUETT 55
 
Final
GT 65
VANDY 60
Final
INDST 56
EILL 60
 
2nd
BUT 73
IND 82
 
2nd
STEPH 81
ARTCH 45
 
2nd
OREG 63
DELST 49
 
2nd
Terriers 48
FATL 42
 
2nd
TXARL 68
HPYN 41
 
2nd
KU 87
LAF 62
 
2nd
ARKST 49
MARS 44
 
2nd
MEM 54
ORU 44
 
2nd
KNST 51
UMBC 58
 
2nd
NW 50
WMICH 45
 
2nd
MIZST 49
EMICH 55
 
2nd
CHIST 43
STJOE 29
 
Half
KENT 41
UCLA 7
 
1st
COC 16
DAVID 29
 
1st
RIU 23
DET 20
 
1st
UCR 20
HOUB 16
 
1st
MURST 2
ILLST 4
 
1st
NWST 34
LALAF 33
 
1st
WAGN 18
MON 20
 
1st
MVSU 13
NCCU 26
 
1st
PITT 19
OU 24
 
1st
TENNM 25
PBY 17
 
1st
WYO 19
SOUTH 15
 
1st
AFA 19
UCD 19
 
1st
MSST 15
USCU 19
 
5:00pm Tonight
JMU
HIGH
 
5:00pm Tonight
TXST
HTILL
 
5:00pm Tonight
DRAK
ISU
5:00pm Tonight
SHU
UNH
 
5:00pm Tonight
SCU
NE
 
5:00pm Tonight
MSU
TXSOU
5:00pm Tonight
UF
WAKE
5:15pm Tonight
ND
PURD
5:30pm Tonight
SHSU
PVU
 
6:00pm Tonight
AUB
XAV
7:00pm Tonight
AKR
BLUFFTON
 
7:00pm Tonight
DAY
BU
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNCW
ECU
7:00pm Tonight
CLMB
HOF
 
7:00pm Tonight
GMAS
IONA
7:00pm Tonight
TOWS
LAS
7:00pm Tonight
MAN
MRGST
 
7:00pm Tonight
CCST
YALE
 
7:00pm Tonight
PEPP
RICH
7:00pm Tonight
MAR
STJOE
7:00pm Tonight
KYST
TEXAM
7:00pm Tonight
MAST
VALPO
 
7:05pm Tonight
UMKC
INCWORD
 
7:30pm Tonight
IDST
CALST
 
7:30pm Tonight
NIOWA
IOWA
7:30pm Tonight
SIUE
UWMIL
 
8:00pm Tonight
TEX
LBSU
8:00pm Tonight
TCU
TXSA
8:30pm Tonight
ARK
SEMIZ
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
JVST
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARST
LEH
 
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
NMU
 
9:00pm Tonight
WASH
OKLA
9:00pm Tonight
GRCN
STED
 
9:00pm Tonight
WEBER
WLVRN
 
9:30pm Tonight
WVU
NCSU
10:00pm Tonight
SDST
BST
10:00pm Tonight
GONZ
CPSL
10:00pm Tonight
PAC
FRES
10:00pm Tonight
PORT
MNTST
 
10:00pm Tonight
CSNO
TAMCC
 
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
SDKST
 
11:00pm Tonight
BYU
STAN
11:30pm Tonight
UNLV
UTAH
1st
LOS 0
ARI 0
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
CHI
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
COL
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
FLA
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
NYR
7:00pm Tonight
MON
OTT
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
PHI
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
TAM
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
WAS
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
NAS
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
CAL
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
STL
1st
WAS 0
PHI 0
 
8:25pm Tonight
SFX
SDC