Last Modified: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 10:21 AM
OK, just this one more time and then I promise I’ll shut up.
But the white flag you see waving from way out yonder at the warning track of Omaha’s TD Ameritrade Park is college baseball officially surrendering.
The game has cried “uncle.”
You win, TD Ameritrade.
College baseball isn’t big enough for you.
Invite all your seamhead, purist friends over and have a big tickle-giggle bash.
You got the last laugh.
You have brought college baseball to its knees. The home run is deader than disco. The double in the gap is on the endangered list.
Revenge of the Horsehide Nerds.
The old game can’t compete with you, so take a bow already.
Now, can we move on?
Can we play baseball again?
I’m not sure what they’ve been doing up there the last two weeks.
It might even be technical baseball. I even heard one dreamy seamhead refer to it as “baseball as an art form.”
Well, I got news for you, pal: baseball is not art. Baseball is a sport, and it’s supposed to be exciting. This stuff isn’t. This has reduced everything to pure chance and happenstance. They might as well cross over into Iowa and hit the craps tables.
Maybe that’s why the College World Series ended up with two teams in the finals that had never before won the baseball national championship.
Mississippi State has never won a national championship in anything that didn’t involve a cow chip.
The NCAA even backed down and let the Mississippi State fans bring their cowbells out in public — perhaps the awful clanging helps keep everybody awake.
UCLA has overall won 108 national championships, mostly in curious off-brand sports, but none in baseball.
There’s a reason UCLA had never won a baseball championship before: the Bruins can’t hit. Not a lick.
They hit .251 during the season and, going into Tuesday night, turning it down a notch, were blistering (unbeaten) through the CWS at a .187 clip.
The Bruins couldn’t hit a home run at the old Rosenblatt Stadium (whose ceremonial fence is now maybe 70 feet from home plate).
That used to be a deal-killer for winning the sport’s supreme championship.
Not anymore. Not at TD Ameritrade.
I’ve seen small ball. It’s often watchable. The Bruins are nothing but pesky gremlins who smile way too much for a team that can’t hit.
No honest baseball team worth its pine tar should be bunting in the first inning.
Just about every team in the CWS has gone home now, and not one of the vanquished believes they wouldn’t still be there if not for the game-changing ballpark.
So ban the bunt?
Move the fences in at TD Ameritrade?
That would be easy ways out. But do that and the gremlins win.
Instead, they could address college baseball’s mounting Coefficient of Restitution problem.
Cohabitate of who, you ask?
It’s complicated. It involves, somehow, the ball and the bat and higher math.
I don’t know how either, but simple baseball coaches toss the term “Ball-Bat Coefficient of Restitution” around without tripping over their tongues.
I looked it up, and, put simply, a coefficient is a “multiplicative factor in some term of an expression (or of a series).”
“It is usually a number, but in any case, does not involve any variable in the expression.”
Mainly, though, these days it almost never involves a home run.
As for “restitution,” it’s a lawyer word often used on late-night television commercials promising something you may be entitled to and …
Wait, there’s a math definition, too, possibly even physics, which defines it as “the return to an original physical condition, especially after elastic deformation.”
Yeah, I agree. I don’t like the sound of elastic deformation, either.
Anyway, the baseball formula goes something like this:
(Coefficient (Mushy ball X prevailing wind)) <=/ (Restitution (Anemic bat/Grand Canyon ballpark)) =< Warning Track Power and/or baseball’s long-awaited cure for insomnia.
In short, it has something to do with bounciness.
In layman’s terms, what this means is that it all just comes down to who gets the timely bloop single or swings late and dinks one down the line.
Line drives need not apply.
That’s what championship college baseball has been reduced to.
This overreaction dates to the 1998 CWS, when LSU hit eight home runs in its first game, six in its second, and yet wasn’t even around for the finals when Southern Cal beat Arizona State 21-14 for the title.
The coefficients were really flying around those two weeks, probably too far for the good of the game.
It has gone too far the other way now, especially with the sport’s showcase at that huge ballpark.
They not only neutered the aluminum (would that be the coefficient?) but also it turns out the ball (restitution?) isn’t as hard as those used in the minor and major leagues.
This year’s CWS has a chance to set the alarms off the other way.
This could the epiphany of 1999 in reverse.
Either give them some decent aluminum to swing or put some bounce back in the ball. Preferably both.
• • •
Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted By: darrell On: 6/26/2013
Title: ucla fitting champion
You need to read that article in your own paper to understand ncaa doesn't owe anything to cws