Thursday, June 03, 2010

Why are the scores so high in the JUCO World Series?

Swinging away in Grand Junction, CO:

Temple College's Korey Wacker -
Centerfielder, Pitcher, Lead Off Hitter, pride of Harker Heights, TX, and pride of the grandmother who raised him - and who traveled to his games to watch and to feel her chest swell with joy. Korey is now headed to Angelo State Univ. in San Angelo, TX.

Photo credit Chris Tomlinson/Special to the Temple Daily Telegram

Temple College Eliminated
Temple College played bravely. They lost their 1st game, then fought to consecutive valiant and close victories in their 2nd and 3rd games. Their 4th game was tied 2-2 in the 8th before Temple lost 4-2. All in all, a solid performance, of which they may be justifiably proud. Bravo.

Video highlights of Temple College's 2nd game. Facing elimination, and down 8-1 in the 6th inning, Temple rallied for an 11-8 victory. Southern Brother can be seen coaching 1B during Korey Wacker's single to RF.

In other news from the World Series: scores have been high from day 1, as typified by a thrilling 19-18 victory in which Crowder College (in southwestern Missouri) eliminated Faulkner State (southern Alabama). So, people went to a baseball world series and a slow pitch softball tournament broke out. Why?

A confluence of reasons:

1. Pitching is at a premium. Fewer players are born with the ability to develop a 90 mph fastball than with the ability to develop into a good hitter. This, combined with the high incidence of injury amongst pitchers, means professional baseball clubs put heavy emphasis on drafting a high volume of pitching prospects. Thus, colleges have a greater volume of good hitting prospects from which to choose, and have a reduced volume of good pitching prospects. Evidence of the disparity may be seen on scoreboards across America.

2. Aluminum bats are amazing weapons. They scare me. College baseball is the sound of pinging and the sight of crooked numbers.

3. Time of year: by the time a world series arrives, batters have had 60+ games to get into a groove, and they are READY. Any batters who are not in a groove have already been eliminated from competition. A world series amounts to a convention of red hot batters who are salivating for another chance at the plate.

Re Grand Junction, CO:

The elevation is 4593 feet. Therefore, baseballs fly a bit further, and - in the thin air - breaking pitches and tailing pitches do not bite as decisively: curves are less sharp and more softly rounded; sliders are more flat; tailing pitches are more straight.

The climate is hot and arid - both conditions are conducive to baseballs flying further. Arid conditions also lessen the sharpness of breaking pitches.

A comparison may be made between batting in Grand Junction and batting in professional spring training in Arizona. The hitters have advantage in both places, and for the same reasons.

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