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May 07, 1983 - Image 16

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1983-05-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

4

SPORTS
pg. 16 Saturday, May 7, 1963 The Michigan Daily
'M' nine concerns Spartan coach

By PAUL HELGREN
Eighth-ranked Michigan, sporting a
31-6 record and nine wins in its laat 10
games, faces Michigan State (16-19) in
a four-game home and home
aeriea thia weekend. Is first-year Spar-
tan coach Tom Smith concerned about
the prospects of facing a club with a .321
team batting average and 72 steals in 37
games? Was Poland concerned about
Germany in 1939?
"They're like a baseball blitzkrieg,"
said Smith, slightly in awe of his chief
rival. "They come at you from so many
different directions. They can pitch, hit,
run, hit and run, - you name it.
They're just a great baseball team."
INDEED, it would appear that
Michigan State, despite its 8-2 Big Ten
record, will have all kinds of trouble
with the Wolverines, 6-1 in conference
play. First of all, Michigan has hitters.
Lots of hitters. Only one regular, Dale

'They're like a baseball blitzkrieg. They
come at you from so many different directions.
They can pitch, hit, run, hit and run - you
name it. They're just a great baseball team.'
-Michigan State coach Tom Smith
on the Wolverines.

Sklar, is hitting under .300 and he has 10
extra base hits, fourth on the team.
More importantly, the Wolverines have
something State doesn't have - a fine
pitching staff.
Despite the loss of its top pitcher,
Rich Stoll, to a hand injury, Michigan
should still be more than enough for the
Spartans to handle. Head coach Bud
Middaugh will send Dave Kopf (7-0, 2.29
ERA) and Bill Shuta (3-0, 4.68) to the
mound at East Lansing on Saturday
and will follow up on Sunday with Gary
Wayne (5-1, 1.91) and Scott
Kamieniecki (1-0, 2.89).
"I was planning on throwing Stoll all
four games," Middaugh cracked. "But
I have confidence in the pitchers I'm
going with."
SMITH AGREED that Stoll's absence
will not make his team's job any easier.
"It's not gonna affect (Michigan) at all.
They'll find somebody to throw against
us."
Smith will counter with senior Mike
Patterson (3-3, 2.95) and Brian James

(2-2, 4.36) on Saturday, and Hugh Bayer
(2-2, 4.21) and John Leister (4-1, 4.06) in
the rematch. Leister also played quar-
terback this past season for the Spar-
tans.
Michigan State's strength, though, is
its hitting. Led by sophomore right-
fielder Andy Krause (.392 average, 19
RBI's), and seniors Steve Barnes (.324,
17 RBIs) and Bruno Petrella (.338), the
Spartans should put runs on the board.
Unless of course they hit a slump like the
one they had two weeks ago when they
scored only one run in three games
against Aquinas and Indiana - teams
that Michigan manhandled. "We might
not hit squat against Michigan," coach
Smith said.
NO MATTER HOW his team does
against Michigan, Smith has to be
pleased with his team's performance in
the Big Ten this season. The Spartans,
not expected to be a factor in this year's
Big Ten East Division, are currently in
second place behind Michigan and have
an excellent chance to reach the con-

ference playoffs. If State takes one
game from Michigan, Purdue would
have to sweep four games from Indiana
this weekend and then take three of four
from Michigan on the following
weekend, not a likely occurance. The
top two teams from the East and West
divisions of the Big Ten will meet for
the championship on May 20-22 at the
East champ's home field, which in all
likelihood will be Michigan.
"Nobody picked us to do anything,"
Smith said, "and all of a sudden we're
in a good chance to make the playoffs.
Both Saturday's game at East Lan-
sing and Sunday's game at Fisher
Stadium start at 1:00 p.m.
Kopf
.-.- starts opener against MSU

4

4

KERRSE WORDS.
BY JOHN KERR

Change those dates NCAA,
Mother Nature's too tough

4

T'S VERY DIFFICULT for any team to battle
two opponents at the same time, but for many
college baseball teams it is a common occurrence.
Every year college ball teams in the northern
United States have the same problem. They must
play two games at once-one against their op-
ponents, and one against Mother Nature.
Sometimes it's more frustrating to lose to Mother
Nature than to another team.
Let's face it, playing baseball in the north in late
March or April, whether it be in Michigan, Maine,
or Minnesota, is downright illogical. The weather
simply does not cooperate. It still occassionally
snows in April in the north, and it often rains.
Besides, it doesn't really stay warm consistently
until early May.
Yet here these teams are opening their seasons
in late March or early April, playing games in 30
degree temperatures, and praying the rain or
snow holds off long enough to allow them to get
their games in.
The whole situation is ridiculous and could be
remedied with one simple adjustment. The NCAA
should move the dates of the College World Series
from the first week in June to the first week in
July.
Get those games in
The reason why a change would help is simple.
Most of the schools in cold weather climates have
no choice but to open their home seasons in late
March or early April because of the dates of the
College World Series. Michigan, and the whole big

Ten, is a good example. In order to play enough
league games, including the Big Ten tournament,
and get in enough contests to help tune up for the
conference schedule, the Wolverines must start
their home season in late March. By moving the
World Series back four or five weeks, the NCAA
would make it possible for Michigan, the entire
Big. Ten and other conferences like.it, to start the
season one month later when the weather would be
less of a factor.
This would mean more to college baseball than
just a decrease in the number of cancellations due
to poor weather. It would allow colleges in cold
weather climates to better promote their
programs, and compete at a more even level with
the Arizona States and Miamis, thus heightening
the overall popularity of the game.
Look at Michigan for example. In the past four
or five seasons, the Wolverines have been the most
successful northern team in the country. Con-
sistently ranked among the top teams in the
nation, Michigan still has trouble promoting its
program. The reason? 40 degree temperatures in
mid-April don't help. Sure, there are 20-30 people
who attend every Wolverine home game no matter
what the weather, but for some games those
diehards are the only people in the stands. In May,
however, with the help of a little sunshine and a
few promotional gimmicks like Oldtimers Day,
Michigan doesn't have too much difficulty getting
fans to turn out at Fisher Stadium. If they started
the season in May instead of April, the Wolverines
and other teams in the same predicament, might

be able to better promote and sell their programs.
Fun and sun or rain?
By setting the World Series back a month, the
NCAA could also increase the competition in
college baseball and save some programs from
biting the dust. The Pac-10 conference has six of
its members located in warm weather climates.
The other four, Washington, Washington State,
Oregon, and Oregon State, are situated in the cool,
damp northwest: How the heck are these schools
supposed to compete with Arizona State, USC and
UCLA? There is just no way with the present
system., No kid is going to turn down sunny
SouthernCalifornia to play baseball in the rain for
half a season in Seattle. Consequently, baseball is
all but dead at these schools. Let them start the
season later and play their games in decent
weather, and maybe they would be able to draw
better talent and have an easier time competing
with the rest of the conference. It wouldn't cure all
their problems, but it would be a start.
For too long college baseball teams in the nor-
thern part of the country have suffered because of
their location. By pushing the College World
Series back to the beginning of July, the NCAA
would not be hurting the schools in the warmer
regions of the country, only helping those who
have to play in the cold. If the NCAA is serious
about college baseball, and it should be because
the game is becoming more popular each year, it
had better do something to give northern colleges
a fair shake.

I

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