College baseball needs later season

April 24, 2014 

MercerBaseball

Mercer junior Eric Nyquist and the Bears are one game behind Florida Gulf Coast in the A-Sun standings.

JASON VORHEES — jvorhees@macon.com Buy Photo

Try to attend Mercer’s home baseball game Tuesday against Georgia Tech?

Too bad rain got in the way.

Had Mercer and Georgia Tech played, it would have been the biggest home game of the season for the Bears. Their two-game, home-and-home series against the Yellow Jackets, a matchup that has trended Mercer’s way in recent years, has become the second biggest in-state series in Division I collegiate baseball behind the annual three-game set between Georgia and Georgia Tech.

In an ideal world, Georgia Tech and Mercer would have found an ideal time for the Yellow Jackets to return to Macon. Not only would have a return trip provided Mercer fans to see a good ballgame at home, it would have also provided local Georgia Tech fans a chance to see their team without heading to Atlanta.

Georgia Tech and Mercer, however, couldn’t make the return trip to Macon happen following Tuesday’s rainfall. The schedules were just too tight the rest of the way for Georgia Tech to head back down Interstate 75. So the teams did the next best thing, scheduling a game on short notice in Atlanta on Wednesday prior to both teams traveling to weekend conference series.

Mercer won that meeting 4-3 in 10 innings to sweep the season series.

Here’s the question: Would these kind of scheduling issues be a problem if the college baseball season ran later into the year? Say, an extra month or so?

Let’s face it: Weather in this part of the country, and in much of the Midwest and East Coast, is a gamble from day to day. April storms are an inherent part of living around here. In the past decade alone, we’ve had a tornado strike downtown Atlanta during the SEC basketball tournament in early March and another tornado rip through the south side of Macon on Mother’s Day morning. There are going to be a certain number of unplayable days in March, April and May, and there is no way around that.

Adding an extra month to the season, however, would allow for more makeup dates to be scheduled. Schedule only weekend conference series in May and early June, and that will create some built-in makeup days early in the week during the final six weeks of the season.

Too much time on campus during the summer without anything educational going on? Have baseball players (and softball players, for that matter) take a couple of summer school classes as part of their scholarship package. A lot of students take summer classes for one reason or another, and not necessarily to make up a failed class. In some places, in fact, degree programs are set up in such a way that summer classes are mandatory. So why not treat the summer semester more like the traditional fall and spring semesters?

College baseball isn’t at the top of the fan interest ladder, but it’s the biggest thing out there once you get past football and men’s basketball. The exposure an extra month would bring certainly wouldn’t hurt. And if helps to solve some of the scheduling issues caused by rainouts, all the better.

Contact Ron Seibel at 744-4222 or rseibel@macon.com.

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