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Baseball ’09

All of the recent talk about the upcoming 150th anniversary of collegiate baseball (which will be celebrated on May 3rd in nearby Pittsfield), inspired me to take a look at the baseball schedule. Lo and behold, the first conference game takes place at noon today with Middlebury, in sunny Phoenix, Arizona. (I hope our snowbirds are donning sunscreen). Tomorrow’s schedule  features a double-header.

From the look of said schedule, it looks like training got off to a rough start with the first few games, but they seem to have turned the tide, winning the last three.

Fingers crossed. Go Ephs!

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#1 Comment By sophmom On March 27, 2009 @ 11:31 am

Here is the 09 season outlook from Coach Bill Barrale.

#2 Comment By Parent ’12 On March 27, 2009 @ 3:05 pm

Not one to follow the ins & outs of a sports season, etc… I’m going to play dumb-

Could someone explain why Arizona? No snow, but is there any other reason…

I assume its Spring Training, but then why would there be conference games? Do all the teams in the same conference have Spring Training in the same place?

To all you fans, please bear with me.

#3 Comment By JeffZ On March 27, 2009 @ 3:39 pm

What I assume: basically, the weather in New England this time of year does not accomodate baseball, so NESCAC teams spend their spring breaks packing in as many warm weather games as possible; it would be nearly impossible to play a full schedule up north given that there is not consistent baseball weather in this region until late April. Williams has the advantage of a two week spring break, so they can pack a ton of games in. Same goes for the other outdoor weather-contingent spring sports, softball and men’s and women’s tennis.

#4 Comment By Baseball Parent On March 27, 2009 @ 5:18 pm

Phoenix is perfect for a number of reasons. The pros, the minor leagues and many colleges go there for spring training and thus the infrastructure to accommodate their needs is firmly in place. The baseball facilities are numerous and terrific, there are lots of affordable hotels and restaurants, along with the companies who organize the tournaments and scrimmages. And, of course, the weather is perfect. It’s one-stop shopping.

#5 Comment By sophmom On March 27, 2009 @ 5:28 pm

Jeff:

Where do the other weather-contingent sports teams go for their spring training? Surely Florida is a popular destination?

#6 Comment By Parent ’12 On March 27, 2009 @ 5:50 pm

Thanks, Jeff & BBParent.

I, too, wondered about SophM’s Q. I also thought Spring Training was done in other sunny places besides Phoenix.

And, for other sports, is Winter Study used to squeeze in games? I would think having conference games during both breaks would help the players academically so that they’re not on the road as much during the semester.

#7 Comment By sophmom On March 27, 2009 @ 6:35 pm

Looks like the Ephs won their first conference game, beating Middlebury 11-6

Congratulations to the team for a great start to the season!

#8 Comment By sophmom On March 27, 2009 @ 6:49 pm

And womens softball pulled a mercy rule victory of 12-0 over Middlebury with five shut-out innings. What a great performance by Sophomore pitcher Mary Beth Daub.

(And P’12, it looks like they are in California.)

#9 Comment By nuts On March 27, 2009 @ 9:50 pm

Men’s Lax dropped a game at Roanoke, VA. two days ago (so we know they travel to warm, sunny VA on break.)

Wasn’t there a recent post about some Amherst softball player crying about not having enough coaches to have one of them tie her shoelaces? If I recall correctly, that team rolled back it’s spring break travel costs.

I can tell you from first hand experience. It is hard to run a lax practice with one coach.

How come nobody ever thought to host a chess tournament during a lax tournament? Is it because nobody would watch?

#10 Comment By Ronit On March 28, 2009 @ 11:55 am

sm @5- South Carolina is another popular, and reasonably-priced destination. In previous years, teams would regularly go to places like the Caribbean islands, Spain, or Brazil, for their spring training (I thought this was kind of insane). I suspect that will be cut down this year.

#11 Comment By sophmom On March 28, 2009 @ 7:58 pm

Men’s Baseball won both games against Middlebury today, 11-6, and 9-2, which puts them at 6 wins in a row, 3 of which were League games.

Pretty impressive start to the season!

#12 Comment By frank uible On March 28, 2009 @ 9:53 pm

The NESCAC games are the ones that count. Throw out the others.

#13 Comment By sophmom On March 29, 2009 @ 1:43 am

Frank:

Practice makes perfect.

#14 Comment By sophmom On March 30, 2009 @ 10:02 pm

Well, it wasn’t a League game (Frank!) , but men’s Baseball had their seventh straight victory today with a 17-2 win over Thomas.

IMO, it’s all good prep for the big anniversary game.

#15 Comment By frank uible On March 30, 2009 @ 10:29 pm

Williams needs to win the NESCAC West Division to get favorable seeding in the most favorable venue (this year the playoff venue being the home base of the West Division winner) for the NESCAC playoffs. Consequently all NESCAC West games are important for Williams – there are 12 NESCAC West Division games scheduled for each West Division participant (Williams, Amherst, Wesleyan, Middlebury, Hamilton – with each team playing every other 3 times). Williams currently stands 3-0 (3 wins against Middlebury). A West Division record of 9-3 would certainly assure Williams of winning the West and consequently having the playoffs at Williams. 8-4 would probably assure, etc. The playoffs are comprised of 4 teams, the first and second place teams from both the West Division and the East Division (the East Division being Colby, Bates, Bowdoin, Tufts, Trinity). The first round of the playoffs seeds the first place team from the West against the second place team from the East and vice-versa.

#16 Comment By sophmom On March 30, 2009 @ 10:47 pm

Frank:

Thanks so much for the explanation. It helps a lot.

Someone else would be much more qualified to handle these posts, and hopefully, as we get closer to the Anniversary game, that someone will step up to the plate. Until then, I will attempt to keep a record of the team’s progress…and whatever help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

#17 Comment By frank uible On March 30, 2009 @ 10:59 pm

P.S. The winner of the NESCAC playoffs automatically qualifies for the NCAA D3 playoffs. It is possible for a NESCAC team which is not the winner of the NESCAC playoffs to receive an at large berth in the NCAA playoffs – but very unlikely.

#18 Comment By sophmom On April 6, 2009 @ 10:45 am

I moved this comment of Frank’s from “Speak Up” to here because it brings us up-to-date on men’s baseball much better than I could.

In the meanwhile, the Ephs have continued their winning streak with a 10-9 victory over Babson yesterday. They play Fordham tomorrow. There seems to be a buzz about that game even though it’s non-league. Is it because Fordham is a D-I school?

(BTW, thank you Frank!)

sophmom: Each of the other (Amherst, Wesleyan, Middlebury, Hamilton) baseball members of NESCAC West Division split doubleheaders within the Division over the weekend. Williams was idle within the Division, consequently holding onto its 3-0 Divisional record. Middlebury at 1-4 is virtually cooked for the Divisional championship. Amherst at 2-3 is barely breathing and needs to sweep Williams in their two games at Williams this coming weekend and to finish the remainder of its West Division schedule (7 games) without further defeat or with one more loss at the most. It appears at this juncture Wesleyan (3-2) or Hamilton (1-1) or both will be Williams’ competition for the West Division championship and its resulting advantages in the NESCAC playoffs at the end of the regular season. Nonetheless Williams should aspire to defeat Amherst each time they meet (3 regularly scheduled games, 2 this weekend at Williams and one at Pittsfield in early May). All the NESCAC West baseball news and speculation that’s fit to print!

#19 Comment By frank uible On April 6, 2009 @ 11:35 am

There is a buzz about the Fordham game not only because Fordham is D1 but also because 2009 is the 150th anniversary of the commencement of baseball for both Fordham and Williams, and Fordham is beating the drum in that regard. Fifty years ago Williams commonly played teams which today are classified as D1 and also played a couple home games every year during alumni reunion week (then alumni reunion week immediately preceded commencement week). At that time a student could go shopping at Cal King’s (now West’s) package store while walking down Spring Street on his way to Weston Field, sit in that old grandstand in Weston Field among a bunch of alums, consume his six pack of Bud or Schlitz (beer and Weston Field don’t go together today) and watch his fraternity brothers and other pals play Yale or its like. Now one of you young bucks go ahead and tell me with a straight face that today absolutely everything is preferable to then!

#20 Comment By sophmom On April 6, 2009 @ 11:43 am

Sounds pretty good Frank…especially if they beat Yale.

It’s interesting how much has changed since then. But as for size and character, and recruiting standards, if you compare Williams to schools like Fordham and Yale, it seems to have changed the least.

#21 Comment By sophmom On April 6, 2009 @ 12:11 pm

Total coincidence, but I just opened up the New York Times and found this article about the 150th Anniversary. I would have posted it on the front page, except that the writer mistakenly centered the piece on Fordham!!??

Nonetheless, there are some great mentions about Williams role in all of this:

As an ode to Fordham’s first game on Nov. 3, 1859, the Rams will play Williams College, which also played its first game 150 years ago, on Tuesday. The Rev. Joseph M. McShane, Fordham’s president and the man who conceived the idea for the game, will toss out the first pitch on the Rose Hill campus in the Bronx. Fordham was trying to entice Hal Steinbrenner, a co-chairman of the Yankees and a graduate of Williams, to throw a second pitch.

And this:

To commemorate the anniversary, Fordham tried to schedule games against Williams and Amherst College. Those two Division III universities played the first college game, on July 1, 1859. But Williams and Amherst played under “the Massachusetts rules,” a much more wide-open style than today’s game. According to the Baseball Almanac, the teams used 10 to 14 players in the field, there was no foul territory and there was one out per half inning. Williams won, 73-32.

When St. John’s College, Fordham’s original name, opposed St. Francis Xavier College a few months later, they played the first college game featuring nine-man teams. The Rose Hills, as Fordham was known, won, 33-11. Fordham and Amherst will not play; Fordham is meeting Williams for the third time ever.

“It’s very cool to be part of that history,” pitcher J. P. Mack said.

Very cool, indeed. Go Ephs! (Consider it all a warm-up for Amherst.)

#22 Comment By Parent ’12 On April 6, 2009 @ 12:24 pm

Here’s an article in today’s NYT-

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/06/sports/baseball/06fordham.html?_r=1&ref=baseball

At a glance it seems to focus on Fordham with a couple references to Williams.

Anyone know what time the game is? I have to be in the Bronx tomorrow. (I’d hate to get caught in traffic. =/)

#23 Comment By frank uible On April 6, 2009 @ 12:33 pm

4:00 pm

#24 Comment By sophmom On April 6, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

P ’12:

We posted the same article.

Here is the Williams schedule which shows the Fordham game at 4 pm.

Wish I could go…

#25 Comment By Parent ’12 On April 6, 2009 @ 1:02 pm

SM- How funny. We cross-posted as I was trying to find the link on-line.

If anyone connected to the team knows whether they’ll have time to eat near Fordham, please pass on that they’re right near the “Little Italy” of the Bronx. It’s actually better than the one in Manhattan.

They would go to Arthur Avenue. The neighborhood is Belmont. Someone at Fordham could direct them.

#26 Comment By sophmom On April 6, 2009 @ 2:47 pm

Looks like the Fordham game will be aired. After linking to Athletics, click on the WFUV link in the ANNOUNCEMENTS box on the right hand side of the page.

#27 Comment By frank uible On April 6, 2009 @ 4:41 pm

Parent ’12: My choice for repast in the Bronx would be a place of the type where The Godfather double murder took place – the joint reminds of Little Italy in my native town.

#28 Comment By nuts On April 6, 2009 @ 10:20 pm

frank, was the double murder scene in The Godfather filmed at a joint on Arthur Ave? If so, which one?

#29 Comment By frank uible On April 6, 2009 @ 11:07 pm

Don’t know.

#30 Comment By sophmom On April 7, 2009 @ 4:04 pm

A reminder that the Fordham game is being aired, and just started. (see comment #26)

#31 Comment By sophmom On April 7, 2009 @ 4:36 pm

Benz is pitching for Williams and doing quite well. Especially satisfying when he struck out the Fordham batter immediately following a rather disparaging remark from the commentator about the inferiority of D3 pitchers vs D1…

Score is 1-0 Williams and we’re at the top of the third!

#32 Comment By sophmom On April 7, 2009 @ 4:57 pm

Apparently 1894 was the last time these two teams played each other. A game scheduled in 1933 fell through.

It is very cold and gray in the Bronx, and Williams is on their second pitcher, Burgdorf. The commentator just said that “the Williams pitchers are pitching up to the schools academic reputation, that is they are pitching smart”.

Score is still 1-0 Williams, top of the fourth…

#33 Comment By Larry George On April 7, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

Go Ephs!

#34 Comment By Larry George On April 7, 2009 @ 5:14 pm

The Fordham athletic director is joining the broadcast. With Williams ahead, he keeps talking about how strong Williams athletics are. The Ephs may be D3, in other words, “but they are really, really good.”

#35 Comment By sophmom On April 7, 2009 @ 5:20 pm

Fordham pitcher in trouble, bases loaded with Ephs, they change out the pitcher, manage a double play, tagging our 3rd base guy.

There’s a guest commentator in the box (I believe he’s the athletic director for Fordham), proclaiming Williams “an athletic power”, says that they may be “called D3, but that it’s just a label”…he also commented on the crowd of Williams alumni that made it out despite the cold, remarking that the cold miserable weather is just a typical day in Williamstown.

Burgdorf does well, and we are still 1-0 at the top of the fifth.

#36 Comment By sophmom On April 7, 2009 @ 5:22 pm

Oh, hey Larry! We cross-posted! Nice to share this with you. Pretty exciting, bases loaded with Ephs and no outs!

#37 Comment By sophmom On April 7, 2009 @ 5:39 pm

We brought in one, so it’s 2-0 , going into the bottom of the 5th.

We are doing well at bat, the commentator was just remarking on the strength of the Williams “hitting team”. Williams now on our 3rd pitcher… a freshman lefty…uh, oh, Eph catcher has some trouble and Fordham scores…

2-1…

#38 Comment By sophmom On April 7, 2009 @ 5:57 pm

Commentator is mispronouncing Eph, calling the team the F’s….aaargh….

Still 2-1…top of the eighth…

#39 Comment By Parent ’12 On April 7, 2009 @ 6:09 pm

Who’s the freshman lefty? Or, if name unknown, what’s his number?

And, I’m sitting at home warm.

What if there’s a tie?

#40 Comment By sophmom On April 7, 2009 @ 6:14 pm

Fordham pitchers are really struggling, we are now 4-1!

The commentator just remarked that this is probably very unexpected for Fordham, to be losing in the eighth to a D3…

Fordham changing pitchers again…

#41 Comment By Larry George On April 7, 2009 @ 6:16 pm

Williams scores again and the announcer says “I’m sure this is not what Fordham had in mind when they called Williams up to play — a D3 team.” He then talks about how a community college baseball team beat a professional team in spring training last week.
Call us “Fs” and compare us to a community college all you like, sir. We will take the 4-1.

#42 Comment By sophmom On April 7, 2009 @ 6:20 pm

P ’12:

I think the freshman lefty was Harry Marino, and I believe Dan Grossman is pitching now.

#43 Comment By Larry George On April 7, 2009 @ 6:27 pm

Now at the top of the eighth, it is 4-2, after an extended “animated discussion” amongst the officials.

#44 Comment By Larry George On April 7, 2009 @ 6:27 pm

Top of the ninth. Sorry.

#45 Comment By sophmom On April 7, 2009 @ 6:28 pm

Fordham brought one in, so it’s 4-2, top of the ninth.

There was a controversy over a catch in the outfield…did you catch the details of that, Larry?

#46 Comment By Larry George On April 7, 2009 @ 6:35 pm

It seemed as though the fielder was turned sideways so that two officials thought they saw different things. I wasn’t great on the details but I think it got resolved because a third official actually had a clear (but distant) view.

And it’s 5-2 on the fourth Fordham error.

#47 Comment By Larry George On April 7, 2009 @ 6:43 pm

The announcers are something else. They are saying that “what was supposed to be a celebration of Fordham baseball has turned sour….” I had sort of thought that, especially because it was a special 150th anniversary game, it was supposed to be a celebration of collegiate baseball. They just said that Williams will be “really jacked up to have beaten a Division 1 team” — such condescension. I think their athletic director had it better when he complimented Williams and spoke of the school’s athletic power.

#48 Comment By sophmom On April 7, 2009 @ 6:51 pm

I agree Larry, The director was pretty classy, but the announcer was a (potty language deleted)…um…condescending know-it-all.

5-2 Williams wins!!! Great performance by Williams. Strong hitting, strong pitching, and strong defense. Looks to be an exciting season.

(Now the announcer is saying that the game “was a nice little pick-me-up for Williams”. Excuse me? They have had 11 straight wins and he’s calling this a pick-me-up? Sheesh…)

#49 Comment By Parent ’12 On April 7, 2009 @ 7:04 pm

Congratulations!!! and, where’s Fordham in the Director’s Cup standings.. or is that just Div III?

To Frank & Nuts (@ 28 & 29)–

Out of curiosity I did a search to answer the question of where the Godfather scene was shot…

It looks as if it was a restaurant called the Luna on White Plains Road, near Gun Hill, which is north-east of the baseball game. My guess is that by car it’s 5-10 minutes from Arthur Ave. btw, it was referred to as the Old Luna, so it’s probably no longer there.

#50 Comment By rory On April 7, 2009 @ 7:13 pm

i’d bet the announcer is a fordham student doing this on the side…let’s cut the kid some slack for being ignorant.

#51 Comment By sophmom On April 7, 2009 @ 8:08 pm

I think the announcer was just very surprised. When our first Eph got up to pitch, he said something along the lines of how once the Fordham batters got warmed up, they would easily be able to recognize and hit what was being thrown to them as it was D3 stuff. Right after that, Benz struck out the next batter.

And then the announcer kind of continued in that vein, until the Fordham Athletic Director came on and talked effusively of the Williams athletic record. By the end of it, the main announcer was pretty chagrined with the Fordham errors. I think he just couldn’t quite believe little ole Williams won.

But we had a couple of errors I believe, and we went through a lot of pitchers. I guess the weather could be one reason for that. I would be curious to hear what a few of you more sports-minded bloggers would say about strategy. Would there be more pressure to win today’s game over a D1 (good morale booster and PR), or more pressure on the Amherst games this weekend? Although they count, Amherst hasn’t been doing so well, so which games would take precedence, if that applies?

#52 Comment By Dick Swart On April 7, 2009 @ 8:19 pm

Fordham just can’t get it together. What a string of losses to the Ephs!

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9E02E2D91E39E633A25753C1A9629C946596D6CF

#53 Comment By sophmom On April 7, 2009 @ 11:01 pm

Dick,
Your link seems to indicate that the Fordham announcer was wrong re the information that the last game between Williams and Fordham took place in 1894…(see comment #32)

#54 Comment By Dick Swart On April 7, 2009 @ 11:34 pm

The Fordham announcer, even allowing for his being a student, didn’t seem as though he had done his homework for ‘colour’.

April 10, 1914 is the date of the game and the Fordham loss to Williams. And of course, Phinney (Baxter) and the Class of ’14 must have gotten a kick out of the win in their senior year.

This was the class that graduated into the Great War, although America didn’t enter until 6 April, 1917.

#55 Comment By frank uible On April 8, 2009 @ 3:55 am

Any one of the Amherst games emphasized over Fordham – no question – not a close call.

#56 Comment By Larry George On April 8, 2009 @ 7:38 am

Even if it didn’t “count” for anything, beating Amherst is always the first priority.

And, in any case, Williams meets D1 teams in a number of sports. The gulf isn’t nearly as big as some (like the Fordham announcer) might think.

#57 Comment By sophmom On April 11, 2009 @ 8:09 pm

Been gone all day and came home to find this very disappointing news.

Hard to believe, 11 straight wins, one of them over a D1 team, and now this.

:-(

#58 Comment By frank uible On April 14, 2009 @ 5:02 am

The developments of the past weekend have created a four team (Wesleyan, Williams, Amherst, Hamilton in order of winning percentage in the Division) scramble for the championship of the NESCAC West Division. Wesleyan is 5-3 in the Division and has the current percentage lead (over the weekend Wesleyan went 2-1 against Hamilton – if it had gone 3-0, it could have established a very strong, perhaps practically prohibitive, lead). On the weekend Williams lost 2 to Amherst to lodge a 3-2 overall Division record, keeping itself viable and in the hunt – if it could have at least split with Amherst, it would have effectively snuffed Amherst’s chances for the Division championship and maintained Williams’ Divisional lead. By winning the doubleheader against Williams this weekend Amherst remains alive for the Division championship. Hamilton has a 3-3 overall Division record and has a chance. Whichever team of the four gets the hottest in the next 3 weeks will acquire the Divisional championship with the remaining 3 teams vieing for a place in the NESCAC tournament. Probably an 8-4 Divisional record will be good enough to win the West Division title and in the NESCAC tournament home field advantage and a favorable seed. The 3 game Williams/Wesleyan series in 2 weekends could become critical – providing both teams continue to win.

#59 Comment By frank uible On April 14, 2009 @ 5:11 am

Correction – Hamilton is currently 2-3 overall in the Division.

#60 Comment By sophmom On April 14, 2009 @ 11:32 am

Frank:

Thanks so much for clarifying. I remembered you saying that Amherst would need a sweep to be in contention, so I thought their double win last weekend probably changed everything. But wouldn’t that make Amherst now 4-3, and Williams 3-2?

It is all so close, a real nail-biter. I think it’s Williams/ Hamilton this weekend.

Go, go, go Ephs!

#61 Comment By frank uible On April 14, 2009 @ 12:16 pm

Yes, that gives Williams a current W/L percentage of .600, and Amherst .571. At the end of the day comparative W/L percentages are the first determiner of the Divisional title. If W/L percentages should be the same, then one goes to head-to-head competition.

#62 Comment By sophmom On April 18, 2009 @ 6:09 pm

Baseball update:

Williams has won all three games against Hamilton. They haven’t posted the story yet, but I am pretty sure this puts them in the NESCAC lead at 6-2!

Details to come.

#63 Comment By Parent ’12 On April 24, 2009 @ 1:56 pm

Here’s this week’s Record article on baseball.

And, does anyone know whether that special tribute game in Pittsfield will actually be broadcast. Some where I read that the station was backing out.

http://record.williams.edu/record/articles/seek/3306/

#64 Comment By Soph Mom On April 24, 2009 @ 2:55 pm

Nice article, P’12, good summary of the last several games. They are doing so well.

As for the Pittsfield broadcast, I got an email invitation to an event in which local alumni have aranged for the game to be televised in a bar (in a city not too far from where I live). I am on that email list from having attended a Williams event last year. So far, I haven’t gotten an email saying it would not happen, so no news is good news, I guess.

#65 Comment By frank uible On April 24, 2009 @ 3:06 pm

The jewel being sought is the NESCAC West Division championship since, as said before, it gives the winner both the advantageos position of being the host team of the NESCAC playoffs and also one of the two favorable seeds in those playoffs – the winner of them automatically going to the NCAAs. Amherst, Wesleyan and Williams are all in the running for that jewel. Amherst has 2 Division games remaining (Hamilton and Williams), Wesleyan 4 (3 against Williams and one against Middlebury) and Williams 4 (3 against Wesleyan and one against Amherst). Both Wesleyan and Williams are in charge of their respective destinies. If Wesleyan wins all 4 of its remaining Division games, it is the NESCAC West champion. If Williams wins at least two out of 3 of its remaining games with Wesleyan and also beats Amherst in the remaining game between them, Williams is the champion. Amherst needs help to become champion – namely, it needs to win its remaining games against both Hamilton and Williams and to have Williams beat Wesleyan in at least one of the 3 remaining games between them. There are other combinations of wins and losses, but they are remote in likelihood. The smart money says that by a small margin of likelihood Amherst will be the Division champion. This weekend Williams and Wesleyan have 3 games between each other (2 on Saturday in Middletown and one on Sunday in Williamstown). Amherst is idle this weekend within the Division.

#66 Comment By Baseball Parent On April 25, 2009 @ 12:09 pm

Please tune in and watch Williams play Wesleyan Sunday at 1 pm.

#67 Comment By frank uible On April 25, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

If you’re in Williamstown, walk or drive down to Cole Field and watch it live. First pitch at 1:00. If Williams has split its doubleheader today at Wesleyan, then tomorrow’s game will be critical.

#68 Comment By Baseball Parent On April 25, 2009 @ 10:46 pm

“Ephs sweep doubleheader to clinch spot in NESCAC tournament.”