Page One

By . Posted on July 24th, 2013 in Apples, Fuji Comments: 1

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Page Two

By . Posted on July 24th, 2013 in Apples, Fuji Comments: 0

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Page Two

By . Posted on July 24th, 2013 in Apples, Delicious Comments: 1

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Page One

By . Posted on July 24th, 2013 in Apples, Delicious Comments: 0

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20 Mondays – The14 O’Clock P.M. Edition

By . Posted on July 16th, 2013 in Uncategorized Comments: 1

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Nam libero tempore, cum soluta nobis est eligendi optio cumque nihil impedit quo minus id quod maxime placeat facere possimus, omnis voluptas assumenda est, omnis dolor repellendus. Temporibus autem quibusdam et aut officiis debitis aut rerum necessitatibus saepe eveniet ut et voluptates repudiandae sint et molestiae non recusandae.

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Nam libero tempore, cum soluta nobis est eligendi optio cumque nihil impedit quo minus id quod maxime placeat facere possimus, omnis voluptas assumenda est, omnis dolor repellendus. Temporibus autem quibusdam et aut officiis debitis aut rerum necessitatibus saepe eveniet ut et voluptates repudiandae sint et molestiae non recusandae.

 
 

Weekend Preview – With a Little New York Review First

By . Posted on July 16th, 2013 in Uncategorized Comments: 2

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Off and running

By Kyle Peterson . Posted on February 25th, 2011 in Uncategorized Comments: 1

We’re off, and it really seems early to me. It was 11 below here in Omaha about two weeks ago, then shot up to 67 last week. Welcome to the ever-changing climate of the Midwest. With streaks like that though, it makes the mandatory start date even more important. Teams like Creighton have a little advantage because of the turf, although the snow just melted off late last week. Many teams ventured south without ever taking a ground ball outside.

Let’s start by sending my thoughts and prayers to Cory Hahn for a full recovery. Hahn was injured in a collision this past Sunday and is still hospitalized in Arizona.

I want to start the year by writing something that I never thought I would…I am cheering for Cal. The whole rivalry thing gets thrown way out of whack and I am exaggerating some, but I will absolutely be pulling for Dave Esquer and the Bears this season. What the University did to the program is embarrassing. Dave Esquer is a friend, and a great coach. He was an assistant coach when I was a player at Stanford and was universally respected by all. He can coach, he can recruit and I firmly believe that he can win. That is, if he’s truly given a chance. Think about this, Cal is the only program that I know of in the Pac-10, SEC, Big 12 or ACC that does not have lights. That’s a microcosm of the challenges that Esquer and the program have faced. Yet, they have made regionals two of the past three years and were ranked in the preseason top 25 in many polls this year. All of this while having to compete with inferior facilities and an administration that was simply not willing to put money into the program.

Any good business model includes opportunity spending, the money that is utilized to help better a business with the hopes and intent of increasing revenues. This never happened at Cal. The frustrating thing is that it has happened in numerous places around the country, and with great success. Take Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, TCU, Virginia and numerous others. Over the past ten years or so, a dedicated effort has been made to better the facilities at each of these schools. Two of the above have made their first ever trips to Omaha in this timeframe. They have literally built a program by putting the right coach in place, and giving him and his staff the necessary resources to win. Cal has half of this already, but they have never been willing to provide the needed support. You have a phenomenal learning institution, in one of the country’s largest metropolitan areas, that plays in one of the best conferences in the country. All you need to do is look north to Eugene to see what can happen when a program is given a chance. Here’s hoping that former Bears Doug Nickle, Sam Petke and the rest of the Save Cal Baseball crew reach their end goal of restoring this proud program.

Now to the first weekend. I was in Miami to cover the FIU-Southeastern Louisiana game as Garrett Wittels chased Robin Ventura’s record. It’s clearly been a long wait for Garrett, and it showed in his Friday at bats. He was aggressive outside of the zone and really looked to be pressing. The last at bat of the night was his best, and a great play by Jonathan Pace prevented a late inning hit that would have kept the streak alive. Wittels did show plenty of class when he went out of his way to congratulate Pace after the play. Aside from his actual at bats, Wittels handled the spotlight well this past weekend. I will be interested to see what his season looks like from here on out.

The one thing that I took out of the weekend was the growth of Southeastern Louisiana baseball. Jay Artigues has a pretty good club, and it is loaded with guys that were instrumental in last year’s success. Eight of the nine starters were regulars last year on a team that ended the season in the discussion for an at large bid. Southeastern will be tested early, but a 3-1 start including a thumping of Tulane this week bodes well for the remainder of the year. They are tough and experienced, and they have a Friday guy in Efferson that has the chance to be pretty good.

Across the rest of the country, Florida jumps off the page. Kevin O’Sullivan was pretty excited to have Karsten Whitson on campus, now we all know why. Five innings, nine punchouts, one hit allowed in his debut as UF swept USF. The Gators did everything well this past weekend and looked the part as the top team in the nation. They are loaded on the mound and return seven of their regular position players from last year. The Gators should make a serious run at the title this year.

UCLA has now played four games and given up one run, it makes sense that they started 4-0. North Carolina’s trip out west was a fruitful 4-0 as well, and Stetson’s sweep of Georgia this past weekend has the Hatters on the national radar already.

I’ll get into my take on the bat regulations next post, I do really think they are going to change the way that the game is played at some schools. The ball still travels if you center it, but if it just misses the barrel it does not go anywhere. More on that and the pitchclock/speed of game later this weekend.

One last thing, I drove by TD Ameritrade a few nights ago and the lights were all on. The new joint is going to be spectacular. Different, but still spectacular. It really should make for a great 2011 Series setting. Enjoy your matchups this weekend.

KP

 
 

That’s all she wrote

By Kyle Peterson . Posted on July 1st, 2010 in Uncategorized Comments: 0

That is the way it is supposed to go out. The extra inning walk off single by Whit Merrifield gave South Carolina their first national title and turned out the lights at Rosenblatt Stadium. After losing their first game of the CWS, the Gamecocks rode an underappreciated pitching staff through the rest of the tourney. One of the greatest things about the CWS every year is the unexpected performances that come about. There was no need to start Michael Roth during the regular season, he was much more effective as a reliever. When Ray Tanner called his number for his first start of the year though, Roth was better than anyone could have expected. Relievers are conditioned differently than starters. More sprints, less distance, so the fact that Roth went the distance in his first start is even more impressive.

Omaha is also a place where legitimate stars are introduced to the entire country. College baseball fans knew who Jackie Bradley Jr. was, now the nation knows who Jackie is. I had a chance to spend some time with him over the past two weeks and I could not be more impressed. He can really play, but the way that he handled the attention and exposure was more telling to me. That ability is what sets guys apart as they move forward in their careers. The farther you go in this game, the more eyes that are on you. Jackie seems like he is perfectly suited for the ride that is almost certain to follow. The at bats were advanced, almost like he was looking for a specific pitch every at bat. He is not a burner, but the jumps are outstanding in center. He was a pleasure to watch in Omaha.

I was also very happy to see Ray Tanner hoist the trophy. He is a true professional, and I have always enjoyed covering his teams. This year’s South Carolina crew was a little different than the previous teams that Tanner had brought to Omaha. They could still hit, but the power numbers were not as gaudy as in years past. What was gaudier was the depth of the pitching staff and the ability to defend. This year in Omaha held true to what most of the previous ten years have established…pitching and defense win in Omaha now.

The reality of the CWS final is that someone has to lose, and too often that team’s run is entirely forgotten. John Savage and his staff put together one helluva squad. The pitching is obvious, but some of their position players can really play the game too. I really like Amaral and Regis, they can be anchors in a lineup for the next two years. Their staff was as advertised too. Cole can be electric, Bauer is quirky but he can really pitch, and Rasmussen is very polished and could head through the minir leagues pretty quickly. In the pen, I would bet that Klein is turned into a starter in pro ball because the secondary pitchers are so could and he can throw three for a strike. Rodriguez is a guy that was really overlooked the entire year. Somebody needs to catch these guys, and Rodriguez was solid behind the dish. Losing Rahmatulla was a giant loss, defensively and offensively. They get him back next year as well, and Savage will have one of the top teams in the country to start the season next year too.

Enjoy your summer, go catch a few summer league games if you have any that are close. I am sad to see Rosenblatt go, but cannot wait to get inside TD Ameritrade next June…

 
 

Let the games begin

By Kyle Peterson . Posted on June 20th, 2010 in Uncategorized Comments: 0

Away we go…the final year at Rosenblatt is now underway and it started with two impressive pitching performances. Start with Matt Purke, the super frosh who was all that was advertised in TCU’s first ever appearance at the CWS.

I wrote earlier this year that I thought TCU was deserving of a national seed. After missing out on a national seed, the Frogs rolled through a home regional and then beat a Texas team on the road that was my pick to win it all. They did it today thanks to solid fundamental baseball and the left arm of Matt Purke. This kid is really good, and he headlines a group of arms in Omaha this year that is really impressive. His stuff is outstanding, but that is just the tip of the story. He allows a run in the first, then puches out the side. After that, Florida State got two more hits, and one was an infield single. FSU is a very good club, they did not take many comfortable swings. Purke has now gone 14 2/3 innings against Texas and Florida State in the postseason and allowed a grand total of one earned run. He also set the tone today in the first inning and his offense responded with 5 runs in the bottom of the first. Great start for the Frogs,
and they are dangerous.

Now to the Bruins, who have the deepest pitching staff here in Omaha. John Savage liked the matchup of Trevor Bauer against the Gators tonight and it paid off. The Bruins now have Gerritt Cole and Rob Rasmussen ready for the next two games, and they are in a very good spot right now. The Tyler Rahmatulla injury was one of the toughest for a team heading to Omaha that I can remember. He literally was the reason that they were still standing. At the Bruins’ practice at Rosenblatt on Friday, they let Rahmatulla take two swings, with one hand, at the end of BP. Pretty cool touch by Rick Vanderhook. Solid start for the Bruins and the Cole v. TCU matchup in the winner’s bracket on Monday should be really good.

The Bracket One team that starts 2-0 can throw their ace again on Friday if they want. It would be on 5 days rest. If you are three starters deep, which TCU and UCLA both are, you have a clear advantage given the schedule.

Day two should be just as good, with OU and South Carolina getting things started at 2 Eastern. Enjoy.

 
 

The Road to Omaha Begins…

By Kyle Peterson . Posted on June 3rd, 2010 in Uncategorized Comments: 0

I thought it might be interesting to some of you to hear what happens in preparation for the airing of the selection show.

Selection Monday is one of my favorite days of the year. This year’s edition was different than before though, and the beauties of live television reared their heads this past weekend.

I was due to broadcast the SEC Championship game from Hoover and had a blast doing it. The venue a good one and the crowds, especially when Auburn or Alabama were playing, were pretty impressive. The amount of RV’s was sick, there had to be over 150 of them parked side by side with flags flying high. The plan was to do the game at 1:00, then head to the airport afterwards for a 6:45 flight to Hartford. I was to land about midnight, make the trek to Bristol the next morning and post up ready to read the bracket by about 9 on Memorial Day. Sounds like plenty of time…unless it rained.

When we started on time I thought I was home free, but a rain delay in the 5th inning was the first hiccup. We were back underway at about 3:30, and to the 9th inning by 4:45…still looking good. Then came the lighting, and with it my chances for making the last flight that would get me to Hartford in time for the show the following day. ESPN Regional Television has studios in Charlotte, so I booked a flight for the following morning and we would then do the show from two different sites. Of course my bags were gone, why wouldn’t they be, and with the missing bags was my suit. The hits just keep on coming. The good folks at Delta ran down the bag in about an hour, and I was to the studio at about 10:15 with just over two hours to go before air.

We usually get the brackets at about 9 AM Eastern time on Monday, and we had them a little earlier this year. I had the bracket in hand while still at the airport, and then banged away when I got the studio to get ready for the show. The show itself is just ½ hour, but the leadup takes a lot longer than that. I had been in touch with my producer Paul Palmer for the past few weeks, discussing story lines and working together to make sure that the supporting video was pulled together. On the morning of the show, we go over the exact breakdown of the show and the format is scheduled to the minute. The reality is that I end up talking too much and Paul’s best laid plans are revised mid show. Ryan Burr was the play by play guy and we went through the brackets as well mid Monday morning. After a few hours of prep and one rehearsal we were off.

The toughest thing about the show is the time…it is tough to really break things down. I will say this about the committee; I think they nailed it this year. They have a very tough job. Try comparing the resumes of the last 5 teams in, and the last 5 teams out this year. In reality, many played themselves out of the tourney in the past few weeks. I also thought that the national seeds were well put together as well. Many have talked about Coastal getting a higher national seed than UVA. I agree, but it really does not make any difference at all. That is the same with 2 and 3 seeds. In essence, they are the same. My only two issues are with TCU missing out on a national seed and the continued regionalization of the Super Regionals.

My argument for TCU revolves around the RPI, which I think is a crutch sometimes in the selection process. TCU was severely penalized for two losses to Air Force, games that they should have absolutely won. Air Force had an RPI near 250 and those two losses literally cost the Frogs a shot at a national seed. I just don’t think that two games should overshadow an entire year. They were the only team to go the distance without losing a weekend series. They also took 2 of 3 at Fullerton and were 7-3 against the Big 12. I think that should overshadow the two bad losses. This is one piece of the selection process that deserves another look.

The second piece is the Super Regional matchups. It is time to seed the top 16 teams and let the tournament play the rest out. The game has grown to that point. I understand wanting to keep teams within a regional closer to home, I don’t think that we will get past that for a long time. We do need to get past the next step though, and I hope that is one change that happens over the next few years.

A few quick plugs. I attended the premiere of a documentary on Rosenblatt Stadium tonight in Omaha called The Long Home Run. The NCAA and Creative Street Studios have combined to make a film that really captures the essence of the stadium and its journey over the past 60 years. I am a little biased as my son made his film debut, but the project was outstanding and will appear tomorrow night on ESPNU as we lead into the postseason. Lastly, I am fired up to welcome Eric Byrnes to ESPN this weekend as we head to Miami to call the regionals. It will be a blast working with a guy that I really respected as a player. His take on the game will be refreshing and it should be a really good listen.

Enjoy the weekend, I will check in sometime throughout to update the action. The Road to Omaha officially begins on Friday at noon eastern on ESPNU…have a blast.

KP