Lost in the Spin Cycle
Any time NDSU is allowed to play the University of Minnesota, in any of the sports that the schools have in common, I'll try to be in attendance and rooting for the team donning Green. Baseball is a few notches from the top on any list of men's athletics but is a great past time for Spring and Summer viewing. Even though the weather may not always be exactly what I or most people would desire when it comes to sitting outside.
Thus was the case on Tuesday night on the North side of Fargo. The high of the day seemed like a the exact sort of weather that anyone would ask for on a game day but the peak didn't last long and soon enough the temperature dipped. Not to a regrettably low level but noticeably below what it had been. With that realization and the consideration of Baseball not being a premiere sport, I figured the crowd would be sparse. I wasn't totally wrong, there were definitely more open seats then filled ones but there were more fans in the stands then I thought would be. So kudos to you, Bison nation! Unfortunately the play on the field didn't do much to reward everyone who made their way out to Newman.
NDSU was likely at some level of disadvantage in terms of the talent player to player. As many of the other athletics departments have displayed over the years, that talent gap can be eliminated through other means. The fundamentals of Baseball aid in the reduction of the gap further then hard work and determination even can. But the Gophers had a unique edge - a long lay off. Whether fortuitous or unfortunate depends on perspective but the Crimson (?) clad ball players had from the fourth of April to the eleventh due to a weekend series that was cancelled.
Due to the cancellation and likely in an effort to keep his pitchers ready, the coach for the TC tossers used 8 different pitchers over the nine innings of play. That could have posed an issue if any one of them had not been ready to go when called upon but they had likely been briefed on the plan and thus were able to give their all for three outs with no concern of how that would affect their production innings later. Genius and risky. Sometimes those things go hand in hand.
The dressing on that salad could have been some down right sloppy play while playing defense. There were only two errors distinctly called as such but there were several more mistakes made by the home team. Yet after six innings the differential was a single run and the Bison continued to challenge every pitcher that ran out of the pen.
Then with a 1/3 of the contest remaining the wheels fell off. Two runs in each the seventh and the ninth innings by the Gophers sealed the game with little to show for it during the same stretch by the Bison.
Playing in the shadows of Football and Basketball as they do, the attention and subsequent pressure from the public is infinitesimally less for the Baseballers, which can be a good thing.
Less pressure also means that if they want some of that attention and adoration, it will require more from them then their Fall and Winter counterparts have to give. The other side of the coin, as it were. Being able to play Minnesota will always draw in some additional eyes, but from there it's on the players and the coaching staff to prove to those fans that they should continue to invest their time, money and attention in the Baseball program.
The next best chance that they'll have to show their stuff will come a few weeks for now when ORU comes to town. For what it's worth, this blogger hopes they're able to represent a little better. The every inning rotation by the Gophers was unique but it's up to the Bison to show what they can do, no matter what is thrown at them.