Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Big 12 Orientation: West Virginia Baseball

Yes, that is really their baseball stadium

WVU At-A-Glance: 
-Program founded: 1892
-All time record: 1,955-1,358-18 (as of the end of 2011)
-12 NCAA Tournament appearances
-11 All-Americans
-20 MLB players

History with TCU: The Mountaineers and Horned Frogs have never met on the baseball diamond, so the Frogs' first trip to play WVU at Hawley Field just might be their first-ever trip to The Mountain State- although I'm not sure.  TCU's website claims the Frogs are 2-0 all-time against Marshall with no mention of where the games were played, although Marshall's site has no mention of the Thundering Herd ever having played TCU.  Trust me- if you think reading this paragraph wasted your time, just remember that I spent time trying to research this crap.

Recent History: In 2011, Mountaineer head coach Greg Van Zant won his 500th career game, with all of them coming at West Virginia.  While that is a great milestone to have achieved, the fact that it came in his 17th season says quite a bit about the state of Mountaineer baseball.  The most games they've won in a season under Van Zant is 37, twice: in 1998 and 2009.  That '09 squad actually finished 3rd in the Big East, but failed to garner an at-large NCAA berth due to their RPI of nearly 100.  Their lone NCAA Tournament appearance came when they won the Big East tournament in 1996, after which they made a decent run in the Atlantic Regional hosted by Clemson.  Van Zant has coached two 2nd Team All-Americans in his time at the helm in Morgantown: pitcher Chris Enochs in 1997 and shortstop Jedd Gyorko in 2010.  Gyorko, who is playing for the Double-A San Antonio Missions in the Padres' organization, is one of five former Mountaineers playing professionally right now.  David Carpenter, a right-handed reliever for the Astros, is the lone WVU alum currently in the big leagues.

Outlook for entering the Big 12: As noted by a columnist from the area, West Virginia baseball's entry into the Big 12 is going to make TCU basketball seem like a natural fit in the league.   The Mountaineers are 17-24 overall this year and just 5-10 in the Big East, which is not exactly known as a baseball hotbed.  As you can see by the photo of Hawley Field above, their facilities have a long way to go to even be considered "bad" by Big 12 standards.  Their most recent three-game home series, against arch-rival Pittsburgh, drew a TOTAL of 1,633 fans.  WVU AD Oliver Luck, a former Texas resident who knows how big baseball is in these parts and how big an uphill climb this program faces, has eased some scholarship limitations that some feel have held the Mountaineers back in recent years.  Their overall team ERA of 6.57 this year doesn't bode well for next year, but it should be noted that their entire starting batting order (including three guys hitting above .300) are eligible to return.

Horned Frog work breaks

The only halfway decent national host that ESPN Radio has to offer, Scott Van Pelt, will have TCU's own Andy Dalton on his show today live at 1:30pm Texas time.  You can listen online by clicking here.  SVP's usual schtick is to casually mention a popular hangout from a college town to act cool, so you have to wonder if he's reading about The Cellar or The Oui via the google right now in preparation for the interview.

Also, Chris Del Conte is hosting another of his live chats today at 3:00pm.  You can take part in it at that time or just submit your question now by clicking here.  If you can sift through the ceaseless complaining of our fanbase over the new seating arrangement at football games and get CDC to mention Spit Blood, well, that'd just be super.

I've got meetings most of this afternoon, so if you listen to the Dalton interview or read the Del Conte live chat, let the rest of us know what we missed in the comments section.

Thomas named one of the NBA's dirtiest

Get your blood pressure medication and excuses for being late to work ready: it's just about NBA Playoff time.  Since you're sure to develop a deep-seated hatred for at least one player in the coming weeks, the folks at thought they'd give you a glimpse at who might be the most likely target of your unhealthy resentment by releasing a list of the dirtiest players in the NBA- as voted on by the players themselves. 

Coming in at #8 on the list is TCU's own Kurt Thomas, who unfortunately will not be punctuating his 17th NBA season with a trip to the playoffs as the Portland Trailblazers have had quite the disappointing season after being everyone's pick to upset the eventual champs last spring.

Be on the lookout for more NBA Playoff fun here on Spit Blood as the tournament begins and TNT slowly melts your brain by playing the exact same promo for the same soon-to-be-canceled drama 1,000 times per game.  We'll have plenty of daily discussions as the playoffs progress, and we can at least temporarily forget our common ground as Frog fans as we ruin friendships over our arbitrary allegiances to separate groupings of selfish, entitled millionaire mercenaries.

Big 12 Orientation: West Virginia Basketball Continued...

Sir Wesley briefly mentioned the "Pittsnogle Era" in his earlier post, but I think we'd be doing a disservice to our readers if we didn't give you a couple of lovely photos to remind you just exactly how tacky, disgusting and back-woodsy that hillbilly really was.  After all, it's Spitblood, and there's nothing I like to do more than insult our opponents in any way, shape or form possible.  So here are a few disgusting Pittsnogle nuggets for your viewing (dis)pleasure...

Pittsnogle Dumb-face.  Notice the beady eyes that seem abnormally close together.  That's what happens when your mother is your aunt and your father is also both your nephew and your great uncle.  

Squinty, smiley, and still very, very ugly.  Does everyone look this goofy when they're happy, or is it strictly an inbred West Virginia phenomenon?  Also, it's his dentures that cause his mouth to take that shape when attempting to smile.  Most likely a result of years of meth abuse with the White Family.  

After college, he went on the the D-League in you guessed it...Albuquerque.  Remember what I said about meth earlier?  Well, how long do you think it took before he got on the phone with these 2 guys? 

But really, none of these pictures do much justice for Mr. Pittsnogle and I don't think they're really a fair portrayal of who the guy really is.  These are all basketball photos, and we know how people can be when they are in the heat of battle and the camera might catch them at the wrong time.  So let's be fair.  Here are a look at some of his wedding photos...

With the bride...

Don't know who that is, but lovely mustache...

Family photo.

So there you have it.  The REAL face of West Virginia Basketball.