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Baseball Notes: Price to coach Team USA, Allman honored, Thoma, and the Black-out.

In brief

  • Ritch Price named assistant coach of Team USA.
  • John Allman on Brooks Wallace watch list.
  • Incoming Freshman Zach Thoma invited to summer league.
  • African Americans and NCAA baseball.
  • NCAA rule changes, even transfers who walk-on must now sit a year.
Full stories under the fold.

Ritch Price selected as coach for national team
Ritch Price received the huge honor this week of being named as one of the three assistant coaches for 2008 Team USA.  Team USA will announce a 32 player roster on June 24th and then begin international competition.  They will play series vs. Taiwan, Holland and then the Czech Republic before competing in the FISU World Collegiate Championship in the Czech Republic in mid-July.

Most likely this picture of Price was taken during last year's KU-MU rainout at Kauffman Stadium.  The Jayhawks and Tigers will try to play in the big league stadium again this year on April 29th.  Photo courtesy of www.big12sports.com

The selection is not only an honor to Price and the job he has done at KU, but also can only help recruiting efforts.

Allman on Brooks Wallace Player of the Year watchlist:
Each year the College Baseball Foundation awards The Brooks Wallace Award to the most outstanding college baseball player.  The foundation released their pre-season watch list this week and KU outfielder John Allman was named.

Along with being named to the All-American team,  awarded the Dick Howser or Golden Spikes, the Wallace is one of the highest honors given to college baseball players.  Big congratulations to Allman for making this list.  John was one of the quiet leaders of the team last year and I fully expect he will go out with great numbers in 2008.  Allman is a pure hitter.  He looks like he was born in a batters box.

This will be the fifth Brooks Wallace Award.  Previous winners:

  1. Kurt Suzuki (Cal State Fullerton)
  2. Alex Gordon (Nebraska)
  3. Brad Lincoln (Houston)
  4. David Price (Vanderbilt)
The College Baseball Foundation is the organization which opened (at least in a virtual sense) the College Baseball Hall of Fame three years ago.  The Hall of Fame does not have an actual building yet but holds its ceremonies in Lubbock, Texas.

A link should you care for a virtual visit to the CBHOF.

Additional Notes
Incoming freshman Zach Thoma received an invitation to play in the New York Collegiate Baseball League, one of the summer wood bat leagues.  This struck me as a bit uncommon.  The summer league rosters are normally filled out with college players who have professional potential.  To have a freshman invited before he has played a single NCAA game seems a rare opportunity and a positive sign that Price might have brought in a good catch here.

Thoma is an infielder from Omaha.  He was named Nebraska all-state honorable mention twice.  Last year he hit .375 and stole eight bases his senior year.  Hopefully we will be able to post more complete information on all ten incoming freshmen at Rock Chalk Talk in January.

Shawn Shroyer of the UDK wrote an editorial worth reading regarding the "black out" - the somewhat surprising decline of African Americans in the major leagues over the last two decades. This is an issue discussed here and here before.  The declining number of African Americans in professional baseball is very much a college baseball issue.  Of the many good arguments to increase the number of baseball scholarships (currently limited to 11.7 by the NCAA) I think none is more compelling than the one linked to this issue.  Absent more institutional support college baseball will remain much more a "sport of privilege" than football and basketball.

The good folks at Rivals.com College Baseball Clubhouse are none to happy about many aspects of the new NCAA regulations.  The thread linked regards the new rule that transfer players must sit out a year before competing, even if they come to their new team as unsupported walk-ons.

On the one hand, I do understand the logic of this rule.  I believe the spirit here is to discourage big programs from robbing talent from smaller programs.  On the other hand, I think the commentators at Rivals have it right.  The NCAA should put the best interest of the athletes first.  The new rule seems to make life a bit harder for college baseball players in the interest of making more NCAA teams competitive.  Talent distribution is a fine goal but competition should take a back seat to what's best for the student athletes themselves.  To me the priorities seem off here.