We recently posted three different polls here on Collegebaseball360.com to get your feedback on a handful of questions. Here’s a look at how they came out with some thoughts on each:
The first poll question deals with a potential change to the postseason NCAA Baseball Tournament. The current format is a four-team Regional that is played in double-elimination format. The winners advance to a two-team best-two-of-three Super Regional. A total of 35% of those who voted favor keeping that current format.
One format recently discussed by the NCAA would flip-flop those formats, starting with a two-team best-two-of-three Regional followed by a four-team double-elimination Super Regional. That format is favored by 21% of those who voted.
The greatest benefit to this format would be the fact that 32 different schools would get the chance to host Regionals rather than the current 16. Eight teams would then host Super Regionals, with the winners qualifying for Omaha. That means there is a potential for 40 different host sites in the first two rounds.
The other format calls for three best-two-of-three series, which is favored by 39% of those who cast their votes. This format would allow 32 teams to host a first-round Regional, 16 teams would host in the second round and eight teams would host third round series, with the winners advancing to the College World Series. There are potentially 56 host sites under this format.
Like those who voted, we favor the third option. It would add an extra week to the postseason, but it does a couple other things that would be good for college baseball.
First, it gives more teams the chance to host postseason games. One seeds would host four seeds and two seeds would host three seeds. It would be pretty exciting to have college baseball in 32 locations around the country to open the postseason.
Second, it’s a format that better duplicates the way the game is played during the regular season when teams play weekend three-game series (as pointed out by the NCAA in its proposal). With the exception of the final “if necessary” games, the format is also more television friendly, because game times are all predetermined. In a double-elimination format the time a team plays on day two and day three is determined by a win or a loss on day one.
Multiple games every day would be eliminated, which makes dealing with weather a lot easier too. As we saw last year in the Coral Gables Regional, weather is a TV nightmare. (Click here to see more details on this subject).
Regular Season Poll
The second poll question is an idea floated by Oklahoma head coach Sunny Golloway. The Sooner skipper would like to see the college baseball season shift so that it is played more in the summer than late winter and spring.
“I think in the fall…should be like our summer. That’s where our athletes should take three or six (credit) hours, be able to relax more and have some down time. And then let’s start in the spring, getting going,” Golloway recently told us.
Golloway argues that college baseball currently gets lost in the large shadow of the popularity of college basketball and “March Madness“. He also thinks that college baseball stadiums around the country would have a better chance to be filled by starting later in the spring when temperatures are warmer.
Golloway says the shift in the season would also allow for a better opportunity at a national television contract that would give fans the chance to “fall in love” with college baseball the way they have with college hoops and college football.
All the points Golloway makes are valid. However, it would be a pretty radical shift for college presidents around the country to shift their academic calenders to accommodate college baseball (even if student-athletes in other sports were still in school during the traditional academic calender). There would likely have to be a large TV revenue guarantee to give it a chance to happen.
Press “Play” above to listen to Golloway’s comments.
A shift to a summer slate would do a few other things as well:
1. It would shift the way college coaches recruit and actually see recruits. A good chunk of this is currently done in the summer months when the college season is over. If the start of the college season was pushed to even April (when high school seasons are starting) instead of late February it would make it tougher for many college coaches to ever see a recruit play in a real game setting.
2. It would virtually eliminate the college summer leagues. Cape Cod, Alaska and other points around the country might no longer be destinations of college players once their college regular seasons end. There might be a way to make it happen in August and September, but it would be tougher. The summer leagues are important not only to the highly touted college prospects, but probably even more to players lower on college depth charts who need summer leagues for the chance to get real playing experience.
3. It would tax support staffs. Even at bigger schools like Oklahoma, people who work in media relations/sports information departments and on athletic training staffs work more than just one sport. At smaller schools these behind the scenes, but very important, staffers are working two, three and even four sports. Unlike the baseball players themselves, most of these staffers would not have the luxury of time off in the fall, because they would be busy working another sport.
One thing is for sure though, there’s a new flexible landing spot in Omaha if the college schedule were to go to a summer schedule. Unlike Rosenblatt Stadium, the new TD Ameritrade Park doesn’t have to share its field with a minor league baseball team, so the CWS could take place there anytime from virtually May through October. Which takes us to…
The Stadium Poll
College Baseball 360 blogger (and Omaha native) Paul Fiarkoski recently answered the question “What happened to Rosenblatt Stadium?”. He also asked the question “Do you agree with the decision to replace Rosenblatt?”. The answer is a resounding “No”.
A whopping 83% of those who voted say they do not agree with the decision to replace the historic facility. Only 15% say they do agree, while 2% say they are not sure.
It is an understandable response, especially for those like Paul who grew-up in the shadow of Rosenblatt. Nostalgia is a big part of the American psyche and change can be hard to accept. While I agree with Paul and the 83%, the question is now moot.
TD Ameritrade Park is just three months away from hosting its first game when Creighton and Nebraska break-in the new facility on April 19. The Blue Jays will play their remaining 11 home contests at TDAP after that first game and then the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament gets the final tune-up from May 24-29 before the first College World Series first pitch in downtown Omaha on June 18.
Time marches on.