— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 25, 2014
*tink* *tink* *tink*
The sound of aluminum bats gives the College World Series an aura all its own. And tonight, as Virginia and Vanderbilt play the final game of the series, they may be ushering out an age of run scoring sanity. Starting in 2011 the NCAA introduced less lively bats and moved the World Series from Rosenblatt Stadium to TD Ameritrade Park, and with those moves, took the offense out of the game. In 2010, there were 32 HRs in the CWS. In the four years since, there have only been 24 total. But wait, is offense important?
Back in the 1960’s MLB lowered the mound when it appeared pitchers had the upper hand. Then in the 1990’s they looked the other way while players shot up with PEDs, brought in fences, and put teams in high-altitude, dry climates. Some even claim they screwed around with the baseball. So yeah, it’s important to the powers that be (and apparently some fans).
I hate everything about this game. #CWS2014
— Bryan McGrath (@ConsWahoo) June 26, 2014
So the NCAA is going to try to do something about it by, well, screwing around with the baseball. The ball on the right is the current one, and the one on the left will replace it next year.
Note that the ball on the right has higher stitches, and the idea is that lower stitches means less wind resistance and more carry. It’s the same physics that makes curve balls less effective at Coors Field. Will it work? The real question is “Is it needed?”
The CWS has been entertaining this year, and Virginia and Vanderbilt are well matched. With less chance of the long ball, the series has become a chess match tournament with every at-bat important. Remember when pitching, defense and speed were more important than the three-run homer? Well that’s what Omaha gives us. But what’s the irony in all this?
Buddy just hit a freak dick slapping dinger!! Top of the 8 vandy leads by 1!!! #CWS2014
— Chase Ellison (@chaseellison729) June 26, 2014
In the 8th inning of a tight 2-2 game, OF John Norwood hit an up-and-in 97 mph fastball 340 feet over the left field fence to break the tie. It was Vanderbilt’s first HR since May 16 and would prove to be the winning run.
Anchor Down, Commodores!
David Young has been a columnist for ESPN and Sports Illustrated and is now a columnist for SportsGrid.com.