Strike IX Strikes A Chord For College Baseball Fans

January 4, 2010

New Book Chronicles 1999 Providence Baseball Season

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There are not a lot of books about college baseball, but I have come across a new one that’s worth a read by every college baseball fan.  In Strike IX author Paul Lonardo details the final season of baseball at Providence College.

Have you ever had something you love taken away from you?  That’s what happened to the PC Friars in the fall of 1998 when they were told that the season they were preparing for would be the last at Providence.  The reason?  Title IX (get the title now?), which on its face prohibits educational discrimination on the basis of sex.  However, Title IX has also brought the ax down on many male collegiate sports teams, and that’s what happened at Providence.

In Strike IX Lonardo does a great job of detailing exactly what Title IX is and well as what it’s supposed to be.  For example, did you know there is a three-pronged test for assessing compliance in intercollegiate ahtletics?  Here they are:

Prong One:  Providing athletic opportunities that are substantially proportionate to the student enrollment.

Prong Two:  Demonstrate a continual expansion of athletic opportunities for the underrepresented sex.

Prong Three:  Full and effective accomodations of the interest and ability of underrepresented sex.

However, most schools do not even both considering prongs two or three, because prong one, known as “proportionality” is the easiest and most cost effective.  (I won’t go into more here, you’ll have to check out the book.)

1999 Providence baseball players with Florida State fans.

While Lonardo deftly explains Title IX he also does a good job of detailing Providence’s 1999 season as well as life as a college baseball player.  Anyone who’s seen the movie Major League can appreciate the black t-shirts that the Friars wore under their uniforms in ’99 that read:  “THERE’S ONLY ONE THING LEFT TO DO…” on the front and “WIN THE WHOLE %@!()& THING” on the back.

Ultimately, Providence didn’t win the whole thing, but they had a great run by winning the 1999 Big East Tournament and then going to the Tallahassee Regional finals before falling to eventual College World Series runner-up Florida State.  The Friars even earned the respect and praise of FSU fans, who cheered “Friars!, Friars!” durring the final inning of Providence baseball history.

It’s January, but if you’re looking for something to get you ready for the arrival of college baseball next month Strike IX could be the way to go.

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