All Big 10
10 Year Member
Baseball has ups and downs, every team does. You can choose to look at the series’ we lose that we shouldn’t. Or look at the Baylor, Michigan, Arizona State series’ we win that we shouldn’t. Further, why do we get mad at an 8th or 10th place finish once every three years but fail to recognize 1st or 2nd twice every three years and regional births. The only answer I get is “because we should, it’s the B1G”.And that resulted in Mike Riley, no? Only the availability of a once-in-forever legacy player-cum-coach, and his willingness to come home to take over the crown jewel of the athletic program, has delivered the fan base to a relatively optimistic and contented state. And thus far a 4-8 win-loss record.
Regarding “...stretches of horrid baseball...Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Creighton and Northwestern”, what I don’t get is why there is an assumption that we should dominate those teams without fail. (And also, how close losses constitute “horrid”.) Sure, I get frustrated and would hope for better game outcomes, but to expect that? If that’s the take and there’s only “winning and misery” (to quote Pat Riley), why bother? Do people really think that we’re naturally gonna fill a sport on fractional scholarships (and I’m in no way referring to SSO’s B10 limitations) and build rosters that will be superior to Minnesota’s, Illinois’ or even Creighton’s at all positions and that those teams won’t even bother to compete with us? Just for a moment, put yourself in the shoes of a Minnesota or Illinois fan. Bigger population bases, more history (in the case of Minnesota, 1973, Dave Winfield), maybe today they’re wondering how they’re even sharing third place with us. I hear references to what we spend, but I have no idea if that’s (1) true, (2) the relative figures, and (3) how it’s supposed to translate unless you’re actually paying players, I.e., if it even matters (surely Cal State Fullerton spends less).
The best MLB teams lose 60 or 70 games a season and the worst win 55 to 60 (shockingly with sweeps against far better-performing teams, see Royals-Indians, April 2019). To view baseball through the prism of football losses as “catastrophic” (or “horrid”) means you’ll likely be disappointed more than not. Sharing frustrations is fair, lamenting offensive execution, pitching toughness (without calling out 18 and 19 year-olds) and recruiting misses, but hyperbole won’t win you many converts from what appears to me to be an avid and committed fan base here. And not one content with meh results, just a bit more circumspect about the nature of competition in the D1 landscape. Stay with us, though.
It’s baseball like you said, not football, and I think that’s where our fans are so skewed. We look at a Northwestern series loss like losing to Northern Illinois in football, and they are completely different.