Thanks to the Wildcard and the Wild West the final weekend of the season brought drama that only baseball can provide. The Padres gave an awesome effort, but in the end the hole they had to climb out of was just too deep. Congrat's to the Giants and the Braves for being the final two entries into the playoffs. As I said before, it came down to the final weekend and what a weekend it was.
I'm looking forward to the playoffs, but there's something else on my mind. I'm not affiliated with the University of California at Berkeley, but being a Californian and a resident of the Bay Area I'm in a state of shock that they have eliminated all of those sports, namely baseball! I know that times are very difficult economically right now, but how do you justify the elimination of such storied programs in the blink of an eye? Well, being on the outside looking in, I do have my suspicions. And let's just say the Cal/Stanford rivalry may have just reached a level never seen before.
There are two things that go into making a program successful: 1) support and 2) winning. And usually they go hand in hand. Particularly, in baseball and basketball, the Cal athletic department decided to hire Stanford guys in each of those head coaching post. Nothing against either Coach Esker or Coach Montgomery, but these moves couldn't have exactly excited the alumni or any Cal enthusiast. I happen to know a few grads that actually took that as a bit of a slap in the face. Lets just say that didn’t help in the support department. And what about the winning? Cal Baseball hasn’t exactly lived up to the programs standards since the elimination of names like Zuber (Cal Hall of Fame) and Milano (3 College World Series appearances). The winning way of Cal baseball has been all but lost and as a witness to the players that have come and gone, it’s not because of the talent. Guys still get drafted out of the program. Three losing appearances in the NCAA regional over the past 11 years is simply unacceptable for a program of their stature. Looking at these moves from the surface the Cardinal have seemingly infiltrated the athletic program at Cal Trojan horse style (I may be a bit dramatic here, but I think I make my point).
These are strong comments, but the elimination of the sports they’ve eliminated is a stronger statement – economics not withstanding. In the age of the Trillion-dollar bailout it’s hard for me to believe a university with the stature of a Cal is in a position to lose historical programs over a few million dollars. Disturbing… My beloved home state of California has seemingly had its politics seep over into its university system. When you elect/hire people to the wrong positions over time, states and universities begin to go into the tank. This is just another example of that. It’s unbelievable to me how a university can completely lose focus of it’s own identity so quickly and alienate so many of it’s supporters at the cost of student-athletics.
Till next time,