Monday, April 20, 2015

Why the "Drop Baseball" debate can't be settled by one series or one season

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.

Funding
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.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Baseball sweeps GT and other links

Baseball completed its sweep of Georgia Tech. They are riding a huge wave of momentum into their Beanpot game with UMass. Softball won their series with Georgia Tech too.

The Notre Dame game at Fenway will kick off at 7:30. With the weather and home aspect of the game, I think that helps BC.

Lacrosse improved to 14-2 with their win over UNH.

A Patriots blogger broke down Andy Gallik as a prospect and potential draft pick for New England.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Baseball beats Georgia Tech on ALS Day

The Baseball team is playing its best baseball and doing it just in time to honor Pete Frates. Saturday they upset No. 24 Georgia Tech in the ALS Awareness game. The win was their second in a row against the Yellow Jackets and clinched the series. The team has now won four in a row overall and keeps the team above .500.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ireland update? and other links

BCI put two and two together and think that Georgia Tech clearing up their 2016 schedule means that BC and the Yellow Jackets are Ireland bound. Bates keeps denying it publicly, but the maneuvering does make sense. The logistics or the game require plenty of time and plenty of marketing to our fanbase so it will have to be announced soon if it is to happen in 2016.

An EO poster dug up this link to a recent BC tax filing. Page 46 lists Addazio's total comp as $2.5M.

Eric Hoffses reported that Basketball brought in a preferred walk-on. Now we just need some impact players.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Magarity gone too

Will Magarity is the latest basketball player to depart. According to Goodman, BC released him from his scholarship. While Magarity showed some flashes, he was never going to be great fit for what Christian is trying to do. Having him around for some depth would have been nice, but his extended absence last season due to lingering effects from a concussion showed that the team could get by without him. Good luck to him and good luck to the staff in finding some more big men.

Athlon's ACC experts don't think much of the BC job

It is that time of year. The preview magazines hit the shelves and post all sorts of lists. Athlon asked a panel of ACC experts to rank the conference coaching jobs based on potential and difficulty of the job. BC came in 12th out of 14. Although this list don't mean much (is Addazio going to quit tomorrow because we are not higher up?), I still take issue a bit with the ranking.

Is it easier to win at some schools than others? Absolutely. However, when ranking jobs, fit is too often overlooked. Take TOB as an example. He left BC for NC State (ranked 8th). Is NC State a better job? Maybe on paper. Maybe the budgets are a little higher and the admissions a little more friendly. But TOB could never make it work there. He wasn't the right fit. BC in general has done a good job finding guys who can work within our culture and thrive within our region. We will never be Florida State, so it doesn't make sense to try to be Florida State. If the experts slight the job at BC or view it as too difficult, does it really matter? There will always be coaches who can win at BC. We just need to find them.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Why Christian needs transfers

With or without Hanlan, next season was probably going to be a rebuilding effort. The team is going to be young and lacking enough depth to be consistently competitive in ACC play. Christian has three respected recruits committed and will likely pick up at least one more this month. However, if he wants long-term success and stability, Christian should use his remaining scholarships to find a few transfers.

As with football, transfers allow BC to add depth that is older and physically more mature. While the long-term upside is limited with transfers, it buys Christian time without bottoming out. Plus, transfers ease roster balance. BC Basketball is in a bad cycle of megaclasses. If a megaclass doesn't pan out, you are stuck with four years of underachievement. Megaclasses are also a challenge with player development (spreading minutes) and recruiting cycles.

Ideally BC would have three impact recruits coming in every year to provide the right mix of new energy, but plenty of depth and stability.

Christian used transfers well last year on relatively short notice. This season had more planning, so I expect one or two of these guys to end up at BC. Position is not critical (although a defensive big man and a true point guard would be nice). What is critical is getting experience to this young roster.