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

Please to add a comment.

Newest First
View all
  • cjw6105 Jun 7, 2013

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

  • Toddler10-21 Jun 7, 2013

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Alex25 Jun 8, 2013

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

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • CBB: Georgetown at St. John's

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: UNC at Miami

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Arkansas at Kentucky

    Saturday at 4:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NASCAR: Folds of Honor 500 in Atlanta

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on FOX50

  • NBA: Golden State at Cleveland

    Tonight at 8:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NHL: Carolina Hurricanes vs Washington Capitols

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • ACC: NC State at Boston College

    Saturday at 6:00 pm on WRAL-FM

Scoreboard
NBA
8:00pm Tonight
CLE
GSW
10:30pm Tonight
PHO
OKC
Final
KNST 53
NKENTUCKY 78
 
6:00pm Tonight
CITA
ETST
 
7:00pm Tonight
GWEBB
CSOU
 
7:00pm Tonight
VMI
CHAT
 
7:00pm Tonight
BRY
CCST
 
7:00pm Tonight
PBY
CCAR
 
7:00pm Tonight
DREX
DEL
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNCA
HIGH
 
7:00pm Tonight
TEMPL
HOU
7:00pm Tonight
EKENT
JVST
 
7:00pm Tonight
WRST
UWMIL
 
7:00pm Tonight
MSU
MINN
7:00pm Tonight
RFLSH
MNTER
 
7:00pm Tonight
OSU
NEB
7:00pm Tonight
MAST
NEOM
 
7:00pm Tonight
ELON
NE
 
7:00pm Tonight
LIB
RAD
 
7:00pm Tonight
FD
SHU
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNCG
SAMF
 
7:00pm Tonight
LIU
Terriers
 
7:00pm Tonight
TENN
VANDY
7:00pm Tonight
RMU
WAGN
 
7:00pm Tonight
FUR
WCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
IUPUI
WILL
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAMP
WINT
 
7:00pm Tonight
MERC
WOFF
 
7:30pm Tonight
APP
GSOUT
 
8:00pm Tonight
UNT
CHAR
8:00pm Tonight
MURST
EILL
 
8:00pm Tonight
MARS
FIU
8:00pm Tonight
WKENT
FATL
8:00pm Tonight
ILLCH
UWGB
 
8:00pm Tonight
ORU
NDST
 
8:00pm Tonight
NDAK
NARZ
 
8:00pm Tonight
RICE
ODU
8:00pm Tonight
MON
RIDE
 
8:00pm Tonight
PEAY
SIUE
 
8:00pm Tonight
LATU
UTEP
8:00pm Tonight
SMISS
TXSA
8:00pm Tonight
TENST
TENNM
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHIST
GRCN
 
8:05pm Tonight
SALA
LAMON
 
8:05pm Tonight
UMKC
WLVRN
 
8:30pm Tonight
ARKLR
UGST
 
8:30pm Tonight
ARKST
TXARL
 
8:30pm Tonight
TXST
TROY
 
9:00pm Tonight
COL
ARZ
9:00pm Tonight
PURD
RUTG
9:00pm Tonight
MEM
SMU
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
SUTAH
 
9:00pm Tonight
MORE
TENT
 
9:05pm Tonight
EWASH
MNTST
 
10:00pm Tonight
PORT
BYU
 
10:00pm Tonight
CSNO
CSFU
 
10:00pm Tonight
IDAHO
MONT
 
10:00pm Tonight
SCU
PAC
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCSB
UCD
 
10:00pm Tonight
CPSL
UCI
 
10:30pm Tonight
UTAH
ARST
11:00pm Tonight
STAN
ORST
11:00pm Tonight
GONZ
SDU
11:00pm Tonight
USF
GAELS
 
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
LBSU
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
ARI
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
MON
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
VAN
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
CHI
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
PHI
8:00pm Tonight
WIN
STL
8:30pm Tonight
NAS
MIN
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
DET
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
OTT