Baseball is playing well and that's great. Over at BCI Dan Rubin led off his recap of the weekend with a reminder how vocal the "drop baseball" crowd was a year ago and how it might have been shortsighted. I never advocated dropping baseball, but the current success doesn't validate anything and doesn't stop Brad Bates from asking the tough questions about which sports BC should support. Those who questioned BC's baseball future weren't trying to kill a program just to kill it or to make room for lacrosse. They were also looking at the big picture and where BC baseball fits.
The challenges with baseball
Some of BC baseball issues are fixable. Some are not.
The lack of depth among local recruits is probably overstated. You can deliver a consistent winner with players from the northeast.
Any coaching issue is fixable. I am not sold on Gambino being the long-term solution. But the uncertainty over BC's baseball future indirectly led to him getting more time. Hats off if he uses the time to prove he's an ACC-caliber coach. But BC is not a deadend job (see Aoki, see Hughes). If Gambino cannot sustain success, other qualified coaches will gladly take the job if there is a program.
You cannot change the New England weather. It will always make early season games a huge scheduling challenge. It will also make recruiting players from warmer regions a challenge. But BC can address this challenge with a permanent baseball facility that minimizes the impact of many of the weather issues (snow removal, drainage, synthetic fields, etc.).
Playing in a deep baseball conference is a challenge that BC cannot change. But the silver lining of ACC Baseball is that if BC competes in this conference, we can compete with any team in the country.
While many of the obstacles related to the baseball field are due to local objections, BC's support for the program is still critical. Not only are funds needed for the permanent field, but paying the players remains a looming budget issue. Football and Basketball are the sports most associated with paying athletes, but baseball will be part of the second wave (if it is not part of the first).
Lacrosse vs Baseball
Despite the ongoing debate over which is more viable at BC, the more likely outcome is neither as a varsity sport. If BC ever kills baseball over competitive and or financial reasons, I don't see them making Men's Lacrosse a funded, varsity sport.
But I don't think even the most diehard BC Baseball fan would argue that a well-funded BC Lacrosse team would be more likely to have national success than BC Baseball.
What does BC want out of Sports
Even with our grandstanding votes against paying athletes, I don't think BC will walk away from college sports. Football and, to a lessor extent basketball, are too valuable as marketing tools. The women's sports are safe as long as Title IX is law. Hockey is safe. So then it comes down to the non-revenue men's sports. Baseball is not untouchable. Bates and Father Leahy will have to decide what is important and what sports best promote and fulfill the school's mission. One hot streak in April is not going to answer that question.