I didn't like gorilla ball, but this is too little

Rick Cleveland 2007.jpg

As we prepare for Game 2 of the College World Series Championship Series, now seems as good a time as any to discuss where college baseball has been and where it is now. I’m talking about the style of play.

With the deadened bats, we have gone from Gorilla Ball to Marshmellow Ball. I didn’t like the former and I don’t like the latter. We need to find a happy medium.

I was sitting at old Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha back in 1998 when the LSU Tigers launched eight home runs in their first game against Southern Cal and then six home runs in their second game against Mississippi State. Geaux-rilla ball, they called it.

That’s right: 14 home runs in two games. Folks, we aren’t talking about home runs that went into the first or second rows. We are talking about home runs that cleared the bleachers. We’re talking about some home runs that were breathtaking in their magnificence. We’re talking about shots that were Ruthian.

And I remember thinking: Some pitcher is going to get killed. The balls just jumped off the bats back then. It was a bastardized version of baseball. Home runs were a nickel a dozen. Something had to be done.
Now here we are 15 years later and there have been three home runs, total, in the College World Series. Three. Balls that would have been long gone 15 years ago are long outs now. It has reached the point where bloopers are more effective than line drives.

Don’t get me wrong: I love a 2-1 pitcher’s duel as much as the next guy, but I don’t like to watch that in every game. And I simply cannot believe that a college baseball team hitting .248 is one victory away from winning the College World Series.

All over college baseball, there’s talk of bringing in the fences, of juicing the bats a little bit or of at least adopting a harder baseball like the ones used in professional baseball.

I’ve got a better idea. Yes, change the ball to the professional version because most these guys at this level are hoping to get to pro ball anyway.

But I’d also take it a step further.

I’d change the bats.

To wood.

Call me a heretic.

Of course, I’d also make the pitchers hit.

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3 thoughts on “I didn't like gorilla ball, but this is too little”

  1. The worst sound in sports is the “ping” of an aluminum bat hitting a baseball. Yes, wooden bats are expensive and break, but with small ball, the NCAA is going to turn off — and away — the fans. Rick’s right, as usual. Bring back wooden bats.

  2. College baseball became as popular as it did because of the aluminum bat. Change the bats to wood and make the game like MLB then you will watch that popularity wane. Book it! College baseball does NOT need wooden bats…terrible idea!

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