It is 28 degrees right now in Lawrence, Kansas. About one inch of snow covers the ground, underneath it a second inch of stubborn ice. Shockingly, this is Opening Day for the KU baseball team.
At 11:00PM CST KU starting pitcher Zach Ashwood will deliver his first pitch vs. the University of Hawaii-Hilo. Two games will follow on Friday and than one each on Saturday and Sunday.
While the Hawaii-Hilo series is not one of the key weekends of the season these games are the first entries on a new resume which will hopefully carry the Jayhawks back into the NCAA tournament in June.
Four of the five starting pitchers the Jayhawks send to the mound this weekend are new to the team. Nick Czyz, the game two starter is the only holdover from 2006. He will be followed by Wally Marciel, Andy Marks and finally Andres Esquibel.
Sadly, KLWN has not sent the radio broadcast team to Hawaii and UHH does not provide a webcast of their games, so the only way for the good fans of Lawrence to follow the Jayhawks this weekend will be through Gametracker. It appears there is a pay service attached to Gametracker with might provide a radio broadcast of the game, but it costs $9.95 per month to subscribe. You can link to Gametracker through the KU baseball schedule. Since the game tonight will be broadcast so late I will not be tempted to shell out the money for the webcast just yet, but I might break down and do so for Friday's and Saturday's games.
I had hoped to get the final two chapters of the season previews posted before this series, but life got more busy than I expected. I'll get the starting pitcher and bullpen chapters posted soon. If you'd like to read up on the KU catchers, infielders and outfielders you can find them here.
So, as you settle down this cold Kansas evening, your head full of Jon Stewart and your belly hopefully full of something warm, direct a few positive thoughts out West where the Jayhawks are bringing baseball back to life. Opening day means spring. Hope. Perfection untarnished. Maybe we'll wake up tomorrow, log on to the team's homepage, and read about Ashwood's perfect game and a 7-0 victory. I hope so.