Sunday, April 20th, 2014

FSU Baseball Opening Day Is Tomorrow!

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Last weekend, I was a happy man. FSU Softball is back in action for 2011. This week, I’m happy too, because FSU Baseball opens their 2011 season against VMI tomorrow at 4PM down at Dick Howser Stadium. I’ve been going to baseball for years, and there’s not a better value for a ticket in town. As a baseball fan, you get a high level team each year and a chance to root on your Noles. Even non-sports fans can enjoy a day at Dick Howser though between the food, music, beautiful weather and the friendly fans around. Either way, FSU baseball is back for us, the fans and it should be another successful season, but there are a few new things to keep in mind.

The Bats

A change to all bats at the NCAA level is potentially the biggest change of the season. Gone are the gorilla-ball bats that turned end-of-the-bat mis-hits into 340 foot home runs. The new bats are “dead” comparatively and should behave more like their MLB wood counterparts. The benefit? Hopefully the exit speed of the baseball will be lower, potentially providing a fraction of a second more for a pitcher to get a glove up and not be killed by a line drive up the middle. What’s questionable is whether or not the college game will turn from the high scoring fest its been for years into something that resembles a more traditional 4-3 type of game. As a fan of baseball, I’m all for that. The games will speed up and teams won’t be able to rely on the “big inning” but I’m not sure that the masses will enjoy that. We shall see.

The “Pitch Clock”

It’s not an actual clock that any of us can see, but the 1B Umpire will be keeping track of how long pitchers take between pitches in an attempt to speed the game up. Take too long when there’s no need to be and you’ll be penalized with a ball being added to the count. Don’t fear though fans, if a batter steps out of the box with less than 5 seconds on the clock then he can be penalized with a strike.

How all of this is not out in the open for the fans to see, I’m not sure and that’s one part I don’t like. I’m also a traditionalist with baseball and I’ve always loved that it’s not timed even if I’m for getting rid some of the in-out of the box / walk around the mound 7 times garbage that goes on.

Mike Martin

No, there’s nothing REALLY new here. I just want to go on record saying that he’s a winner. He drives us all nuts sometimes when he doesn’t pull a pitcher when we think he should or something funny goes on with a bunt or a hit-and-run. Ultimately, at the end of the day Noles get to watch a lot of winning baseball. And maybe, just maybe, with Rosenblatt out of the picture and the new stadium hosting the CWS this year, maybe the ghosts and the curses are gone for FSU Baseball and Mike Martin. Maybe.

That’s really all I have other than excitement. Sean Gilmartin should be the Opening Day starter. Mike McGee slides over to CF to replace Tyler Holt. Tapley’s in LF now, which I think might be a better option than a lot of fans seem to think right now, especially if he hits the ball well. I’m not a stats guy generally, so I won’t waste time talking about it. Ultimately the Noles are good, will compete for an ACC Title again and after that we’ll see how far they go depending on how well the pitching holds up.

Baseball is one of those sports that brings feelings of hope to me. Why? Probably because it’s the beginning of spring and the warm weather and sun are coming back to Tallahassee. Because I’ve witnessed crazy things happen in baseball, and I understand a lot of what goes on with the game within a game. It’s fun and there’s a lot going on if you pay attention. It’s has always been the perfect sport for me. Go Noles!

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