Please excuse us for the lack of content lately. Not only is it May, a traditionally slow time of the year for Cal sports (at least for those who only follow football and basketball), but we’ve finally(!) been handed the keys to our new Sports Blog Nation site, which should be up and running shortly. We’re very excited, and honestly spending way too much time working on it right now. Anyway, to tide you over until then, I give you…
Golden Bear Diamond Notes
First off, a note of congratulations to our women’s softball team (which BTW gets exactly zero coverage around here), who have qualified for their 23rd consecutive NCAA tournament. 23rd! That’s just crazy. I’ll bet there isn’t a single player on the Bears’ roster who is even 23 years old!
Anyway, the Bears will face off against San Diego State on Friday in the Fresno regional. Fresno State and Sacramento State will be the other teams in the double-elimination regional. Something to note is that host Fresno State is only the 16th national seed, meaning that they’re the weakest of the hosting teams. The Bears will have a tough road to hoe (they already lost to San Diego State earlier this season), but I think they’ve still got a pretty decent chance of advancing to the super-regional.
Now, I don’t want to go off on a rant here…but the next time someone decides to use the excuse of football players missing too much class as an argument against having a playoff, please point out that the Bears’ softball team, in participating in the NCAA tournament, will be missing finals on Friday and Saturday. In fact, given the double-elimination format of the regionals, the softball team might be in Fresno until next Tuesday (an unkind fate, to be sure). Of course, they’ll still get studying done on the road, and get their teachers to give them makeup finals; it’s not like these girls are getting out of their academic responsibilities. If major college football decided to host a playoff, I’m sure that all the football players would have to do the same thing.
From sustained success to ending a long dry spell, my next congratulations goes to the Cal baseball team, which accomplished something this weekend that they haven’t done in 30(!) years; with a 5-2 win on Saturday, the Bears took the season series vs. Stanford. Even with a loss on Sunday, the Bears still went 3-1-1 vs. the Cardinal this year, an impressive accomplishment against a team that was ranked in the top 10 last week by Baseball America.
Despite having won 5 of their 7 Pac-10 series this year, the Bears sit at just 11-10 in the Pac-10, 4 games in the loss column behind ASU, and have basically no shot at winning the league this year. Still, their overall record of 32-16-2 is quite impressive, and should almost guarantee that they don’t get snubbed by the NCAA tournament selection committee for a third year in a row.
Finally, I thought I’d comment on the draft prospects of two of our Golden Bear stars. I already talked a little about Friday starter Tyson Ross this year. Keith Law of ESPN isn’t such a big fan. Not only did he leave him off his list of top 60 prospects for the upcoming draft, but he had this to say about him in a chat last week:
Vern (SF): Going to a bonus baby double heder tomorrow. USF/USD to see Matusz v Frederickson and then down to Stanford to see my Cardinal pount Tyson Ross and Cal Teddy Bears. I know your thoughts about Matusz…what are your thoughts about Frederickson and Ross?
Keith Law: Frederickson’s results are lousy for a guy with good stuff in a bad conference. Some arm strength, but not first-round stuff. Ross’ delivery is awful and his stuff isn’t that special. Neither is a top-two-rounds guy for me.
11) Tyson Ross, RHP, University of California: 7-2, 4.47 ERA with 51/24 K/BB in 56.1 innings, 56 hits allowed. He’s winning games but command has been an issue for him and his component marks aren’t outstanding. Big guy at 6-6, but delivery looks funny (stiff and upright) and that hurts his stock a bit. Can hit 95 MPH.
From what I’ve seen, that sounds like a fair assessment. He’ll definitely draw interest from some teams, because while you can teach someone a breaking ball, you can’t teach him how to throw 95 MPH.
However, Keith Law did include one Golden Bear on his list, placing 1B David Cooper at #20. While Law is careful to note that his list is a ranking and not a mock draft, that sort of interest, should MLB baseball teams share it, could put Cooper into the first round of the June Draft.
Sickels also likes Cooper. While he didn’t include him on his Top College Hitters of the 2008 draft (he named 10), Cooper was the first name mentioned in his list of Other Interesting College Hitters for the 2008 Draft, implying that he thinks Cooper could go towards the end of round 1.
Anyway, we’ll have more coverage of our Golden Bear draft prospects as June approaches, although I’m hoping I’m too busy obsessing over a Golden Bear run to the College World Series. Stay tuned!