Thursday, June 14, 2012

Big 12 Orientation: Tech Baseball

Tech baseball at-a-glance:
-Program founded: 1926
-0 College World Series appearances
-9 NCAA Tournament appearances (most recent: 2004)
-2 conference championships (one Big 12)

History with TCU:  The Red Raiders and Frogs have met 148 times on the diamond, with TCU holding an advantage of 79-68-1 in those games.  Since Jim Schlossnagle took over in Fort Worth in 2004, the Frogs are 14-3 against the Red Raiders, including a current 10-game winning streak that dates back to 2007.  It's also worth noting that Schlossnagle's predecessor at TCU, Lance Brown, joined the Tech coaching staff as an assistant for a few years after he left Fort Worth.

Notable former Red Raiders:
  • Dallas Braden: This lefty threw a perfect game for the A's in 2010 and led the AL in strikeouts that year.  

  • Keith Ginter: A two-time All-American at Tech, Ginter spent six years in the big leagues with the Astros, Brewers and A's.  He was also once tied up and robbed at gunpoint in his hotel room during spring training.  Whoa.
  •  Stubby Clapp: He played  23 games with the Cardinals late in the 2001 season, and his name sounds like something you might catch in Lubbock.

Recent History:  Larry Hays was a legend on the South Plains, winning over 800 games in his stint as Red Raiders head coach from 1987 until 2008 after having previously won an NAIA national title at Lubbock Christian, where he had been head coach for 16 years.  Hays won both of Tech's conference championships ('95 SWC, '97 Big 12) and the Red Raiders made all nine of the program's trips to the NCAA Tournament. In 2007, the year before Hays retired, Tech hired Oregon State assistant Dan Spencer (who had just won two national titles with the Beavers) as their head coach in waiting- and he took over as head coach prior to the 2009 season.  He was relieved of his duties at the end of the 2012 season after compiling a record of 115-112 in four seasons with no postseason appearances. 

Outlook for next year:  The Tim Tadlock era of Tech baseball begins in 2013, as the former OU assistant and more recent Tech assistant under Spencer has been promoted to take his former boss' job.  Says Schlossnagle on his hiring:

"Tim has worked diligently throughout every level of college baseball to earn this opportunity. I'm sure that he will represent Texas Tech successfully on the field and with the highest amount of class and integrity in the community."

Despite their modest record, this was actually a pretty good squad in 2012.  They had eight players drafted, including six that have the option to return if they want to.  If they can get a few of those guys to come back to Lubbock for another year, they already have some talented younger players that could combine to make the Red Raiders a bit of a sleeper team in the Big 12.

Miscellaneous: Prior to recent renovations, Tech's home stadium- Dan Law Field- had artificial turf in the infield and a grass outfield.   Never mind that artificial surfaces have no place in baseball- at least be consistent!  Having two different playing surfaces makes for an extremely awkward-looking field and gives off the impression that you just have lazy groundskeepers.

Daily Discussion: Who's on the cover of Dave Campbell's?

There are three days in the year that I like to call "Football Christmas": the day of the first game, signing day, and the day you get your hands on a fresh copy of Dave Campbell's Texas Football.  People often say that football preview magazines are like crack, but this one is like bath salts- and I can't wait to read it right before chewing your face off.  The "bible of Texas football" is about to hit store shelves again, and we'll find out who graces this year's cover on FSN tonight at 11:30 after the Rangers' game. 

The good folks at DCTF have liked putting purple on the front of the magazine in recent years, with Coach Patterson hoisting the Rose Bowl trophy on the 2011 winter edition cover and guys like Andy Dalton, Tommy Blake, Marvin Goldbolt and Casey Printers featured on summer edition covers.  But the Frogs haven't had the front of that summer edition to themselves since Jim Wacker and Kenneth Davis were featured on the cover of the 1985 issue.  I'm sure they'll end up hyping A&M's entry into the SEC or putting some overrated player wearing burnt orange on the cover in order to sell more copies, but maybe some day if TCU has 80,000 T-shirt fans the Frogs will have the same appeal to Wal-Mart shoppers across the state like the big schools.  Who (or what) do you think we'll see on this year's cover?

Not that they're ignoring TCU, though.  Our friends over at Frogs O' War (I call them friends because I follow them on twitter) recently caught up with DCTF editor Greg Tepper for a Q&A session that's well worth a read. I'm sure Tech fans will be scoffing at his opinion of how ready TCU is for the transition to the Big 12.

Morning Dump


Horned Frogs jumping to the big time Fox News

Mansfield Summit's Bryson Henderson commits to TCU ESPN

Athletic Department:

Chris Del Conte's Notes on a Scorecard

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