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February 1, 2010

PING! Baseball is Back

Baseball practice started last week in Athens.  While I'm not complaining because I love college baseball, there's something weird about baseball practice in January and games in February.  At least cold baseball is coming to rescue me from heartbreaking basketball losses and the swift, clean gravity of the gymnastics program returning to Earth.

So what's the outlook this year?  It's an even year, so you should book a flight to Omaha, right?  Slow down.  This year's team should be long on arms and short on bats.  Perno has acknowledged that we haven't replaced the big bats lost to graduation and the draft last year.  Signee Miles Head was going to be a big bat to replace Massanari, but he opted for the pros.  So, offensively, we'll need fewer Ks (how can we have more than last year?), a higher average, and must produce runs rather than wait for a bomb.  It will be National League baseball, rather than American League whacking.

The rotation sets up well.  Justin Grimm should be the Friday night starter.  Jeff Walters and Michael Palazzone will likely round out the weekend rotation.  Alex McRee will start in the bullpen, perhaps as a set up man for closer Cecil Tanner.  McRee was a weekend starter for most of last year, but had some control issues that forced him back to the pen.  Both of those bullpen guys had their issues last year and location is key for both.  Both, when on, can be filthy. 

Those pitchers should benefit from a fast, athletic outfield that will gobble up some outs.  Johnathan Taylor, Zach Cone, and Peter Verdin might be the best defensive outfield in UGA history.  Taylor was awesome during last year's nonconference schedule, but disappeared during the SEC slate.  He might be the key man at the top to help produce runs with speed.  

The season starts in Waco, Texas on February 19.  The first game at Foley Field is February 24 against Presbyterian.  

Quinton

13 comments:

Andy said...

I'm ready for some baseball, too. PING!

Bulldog in Exile said...

Inspiring, as always.

Knox said...

More like "thud" again, as I hear we're returning to Nike bats. Ugh.

Knox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Q, don't give up on the roundball team. I know we are paying dues this years but if we can keep our group of sophmores together next years look like it will be fun. Since I am in SC I was at the Colonial Life Area Saturady nite for my first look at Coach Fox's team. I was impressed with what I saw. It has been a very long time since we looked this disciplined on both ends of the floor. Morale victory are worthless but this group looks like they are keeping the head up and continuing to play extremely hard in the face of adversity.

Anonymous said...

This will be a fun team to watch offensively. I see a lot of running, bunting, and hit and running. Not guaranteed to be successful but a completely new brand on offense. Perno seems to feel real good about the bullpen but I'm not sure. If Tanner and McCree find thier control though, they are both unhitable.

I really believe this team is capable of anything between a 3rd and 10th place finish in the SEC.

The Watch Dawg said...

If there is a God that wears red and black we will have a winning season, because it's been a bitter stretch for us Dawgs here lately.

Alan said...

Driving up to Waco for the Baylor set.

Quinton McDawg said...

I'm not giving up on basketball by a long shot. I didn't think we'd win many games this season and the team has already surpassed my expectations. At the same time, almost every loss (except UF) has dangled a win in front of our faces and snatched it away at the last minute. That's why it's heartbreaking.

Anonymous said...

Look out for Eric Swegman on the mound this year, kids a beast!

Bernie said...

If I recall correctly, McRee was lights out early in '09, but when he returned from mono he really struggled. I hope he finds that rhythm again early and is able to maintain it. Pitching may have to carry us until we find those bats to replace what left.

Anonymous said...

If Taylor and Cone can live up to expectations, the offense might be ok.

Stanicek said...

Crossing my fingers on a sophomore surge from Davidson and Cone. Otherwise we may be in for a lot of 2-1 duels...which is fine by me, provided we win them all.

 
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