By - Ira D. Combs
Tri State Sports Service Inc.
If the BCS was a screwed up system then please somebody tell me what system our friends up in Indianapolis are using for college baseball's post season .
UK baseball coach Gary Henderson just finished off the school's best ever baseball regular season with a 43 - 16 record having been ranked # 1 in college baseball for several weeks and in the top 5 or 10 for most of April and May by several reputable college baseball publications . The Wildcats also swept a three game series from two time defending NCAA baseball champion South Carolina early in the season and followed that up with a 10 - 5 mark against top 10 teams as they worked their way thru the regular season and set another school record by winning 7 of 10 weekend series against SEC competition which put eight teams into this years NCAA Div. 1 - A baseball tournament .
Evidently none of that impressed our friends up in Indianapolis at NCAA headquarters who oversee college baseball and establish the seeds , host sites , and pairings of the post season tournament that starts everyone on the road to Omaha , Nebraska for the 2012 College Baseball World Series .
UK got a bid and invite to this years tournament but they must travel to the cold north and then more than likely to the far west coast to earn a spot in Omaha .
Sixteen college baseball programs impressed the college baseball hiarchy or gurus at NCAA headquarters more than UK's resume , go figure .
Henderson and his players have to be crushed to have put up the numbers they did and not be rewarded for their efforts . Hopefully , after a day or so of reflection Henderson's crew will use this as a motivational tool and prove those responsible terribly wrong if not embarrassingly irresponsible by earning that first ever trip to Omaha for UK thru Gary , Indiana and then more than likely Oregon .
Monday afternoon after the host sites were announced in an interview with a few statewide media members Henderson was very blunt and forward with his comments on the NCAA selection process , " we got screwed " , said Henderson as he stood on Cliff Hagan Field preparing his team for a late afternoon practice .
The NCAA chairman of the selection process said on ESPNU after the pairings were announced monday at noon that a few schools ( yet he only mentioned UK ) were knocked out of the host sites because of their non conference strength of schedule . With that rationale one must think the two Louisville losses were the reason but weren't they one of the 64 teams invited to this special baseball prom , how damaging can that be , surely losing only two games to Louisville after winning 21 straight non conference games in a row couldn't knock the Cats out of a host site . Maybe it was the lone loss to Murray State , no please tell me one poorly played underachieving game out of 59 can't justify taking a host site from a very deserving group of players .
Somebody please help me figure this one out because in my eyes it's a real head scratcher .
Maybe they're trying to save what seems to be a slowly sinking ACC by giving them five host sites .
Maybe NCAA insiders are just plain jealous of the SEC and how it has become the dominant conference in most college sports . Oh yes , just hang on Missouri & Texas A & M will raise the bar for SEC men's basketball .
Maybe it's that old philosophy of the NCAA is so mad at the UT football team they're going to put the basketball team on probation . Don't laugh UK is the only SEC school to never play in the college baseball World Series and it's quite obvious the NCAA can't catch John Calipari with his hand in the cookie jar , so maybe it was a let's see who we can make miserable down in the Bluegrass scenario . Again , don't laugh or make a snide remark because I've had both personal knowledge and working relationships with some of the most revenge minded individuals in both high school and college athletics in my past professional life as a high school coach and A.D. , believe me there are high ranking people who thrive on getting even with those who contest them in both high school and college athletics .
Maybe it was because of a reason most NCAA decisions are made on ( seating capacity and / or THE GLUT of money ) nope couldn't be that because the region UK was placed in at Purdue couldn't use their own stadium due to it's limitations for hosting an NCAA baseball site so Purdue moved it to a semi pro field in Gary , Indiana which I'm sure is a real field of dreams .
One thing is for sure , college baseball either has an inept system of declaring post season seeds and host sites or inept people in utilizing the system it has .
Regardless of the reason UK was hosed my suggestion to Gary Henderson and Mitch Barnhart is to figure out a way to beat Louisville & Murray State and to be on the safe side cut a deal with the Lexington Legends over at Whitaker Bank Ball Park and clear the calendar dates for the first weekend of the NCAA baseball playoffs in 2013 .
Then we'll all hold our breath on the next reason the NCAA comes up with .
Reds Look To Improve Lead In Central Division Before All Star Break
The Cincinnati Reds have finally overcome there manager's head scratching decisions at times to take the Central Division lead of the NL just as the end of May approaches but don't order your MLB playoff ticket's yet because the recent four game sweep of the formerly highly regarded Atlanta Braves which placed the Reds in the lead may have been a classic case of fools gold .
Why you ask ?
Because the Braves played the entire four game series without Chipper Jones and Brian McCann . History shows both were arguably the toughest outs in the Braves lineup over the past few years when the Reds played them home or away and they were sorely missed in the Braves lineup during the recent four game series
As the old left hander (Joe Nuxhall) used to say quite regularly on the radio , " the MLB season is a marathon folks not a sprint " , be patient because baseball has it's own way of the cream coming to the top by season's end . With that being said the Central division of the NL is looking more and more each day like a two horse race between the Reds and Cardinals .
Oddly enough it appears to be a Reds better starting pitching staff versus a Cardinals better overall lineup scenario . In the off season when the Cardinals let Albert Puhols slip thru the free agent market to Anaheim many thought it would be just the opposite Cards pitching versus Reds offense . That's what concerns me . I'd bet more money on the Cards everyday lineup making the long haul than the Reds starting pitching rotation .
Coming up in the month of June are two different weekend series with AL teams that both have a special promotional angle on all three weekend dates . The Detroit Tigers come to GABP on June 8th , 9th , and 10th for a big weekend series with the first 20,000 folks on saturday getting a Reds grilling set for cookouts then the first 8,000 kids 14 and under on sunday getting a Drew Stubbs toy car diecast . On the Reds annual Hall of Fame weekend of June 22nd , 23rd , and 24th the Reds will entertain the Minnesota Twins and also have promotional items lined up as well . On friday June 22nd the first 20,000 fans will receive an MLB backpack courtesy of the MLB TV network then the following night when the Reds will induct their class of 2012 the first 20,000 fans will receive a Sean Casey bobble head . On sunday June 24th the Reds will give away Joey Votto batting gloves to the first 8,000 kids 14 and under .
Also , all Reds friday night home games have a 30 minute post game fireworks display that lights up the skies over the Ohio river and is accompanied by a special musical soundtrack over the GABP sound system . Something the entire family can enjoy .
You can go online to www.reds.com and pull up the ticket tab and order tickets for any of these games and see your actual seat location by navigating the Reds internet system .
Next week an update on Joker Phillips and UK football along with an update on Gary Henderson's Bat Cats