Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Minor Leagues play major role in NCAA baseball tourney

The field of 64 for the NCAA baseball tournament was revealed today and most of the big name collegiate powers are there. The first round will be played at 16 different sites. Two of those places are worth noting.

The University of Texas is a No. 1 seed, but they aren't really playing at home. They're playing in the Austin suburb of Round Rock, Texas - home of the Triple-A Round Rock Express.

Coastal Carolina is also hosting a first round tournament, playing at the home of the Class A Myrtle Beach Pelicans. This partnership is particularly worth noting because of the unlikelihood that the small-school Chanticleers could have persuaded the NCAA to allow them to host the tourney at their home ballpark.

These are two wonderful examples of how minor league baseball clubs can help their community.

The Myrtle Beach Web site quotes Coastal Carolina coach Gary Gilmore as saying:

“Without the Pelicans helping out throughout the regional bid process this would not have happened, regardless of our talent on the field. The Pelicans boast a venue that gives us a chance to host a regional because we don’t have that type of facility on our campus. Coastal Federal Field is one of the top venues in the country and we are proud to host the regional there.”

The Dugout hopes this becomes a trend, allowing more small colleges a fair chance at advancing to the College World Series.

Dark FSL: How tough is it to get people to attend Florida State League games? The FSL didn't even schedule games on Memorial Day. The league has learned from past years that Florida baseball fans simply have better things to do on their holiday. And it's not just Memorial Day. The League also didn’t play on Mother’s Day. July 4, however, is one of the biggest days of the year for most clubs.

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