Wednesday, June 13, 2012

College Football: Navy Football 2012 Schedule

Navy's 2012 football schedule includes traditional rivals Army, Air Force, and Notre Dame, and a pair of Big Ten additions: Penn State and Indiana. The Mids will open the campaign across the pond against the Fighting Irish in Dublin. Home games are in bold and unless otherwise noted will be played in Annapolis.

9/01/12 vs. Notre Dame (Dublin, Ireland)

9/15/12 @ Penn State

9/22/12 vs. VMI

9/29/12 vs. San Jose State

10/06/12 @ Air Force

10/12/12 @ Central Michigan

10/20/12 vs. Indiana

10/27/12 @ East Carolina

11/03/12 vs. Florida Atlantic

11/10/12 @ Troy

11/17/12 vs. Texas State

12/08/12 vs. Army (Philadelphia, PA)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Books: The Last Best League

The Last Best League (Photo courtesy / Da Capo Press)

This article first appeared in August, 2010 at fieldmagazine.blogspot.com

My copy of The Last Best League is fairly dinged up now that I'm through with it. That, for me, is typically a good sign that I liked a book enough to lug it along to book-unfriendly places. Jim Collins's 2004 story of a summer spent following a team in the elite Cape Cod League certainly earned the travel. It's a straightforward look at a baseball circuit that regularly spawns major league prospects. The team he zeroes in on is the 2002 version of the Chatham A's.

The Cape Cod League provides for a unique team environment. Each player is pursing his individual dream of professional baseball; the team coalesces for roughly two months and quickly dissolves at season's end as players return to their respective colleges. The short-life span of each year's team further heightens the player-centric nature of the club. Collins moves the overall narrative along compellingly and deftly handles the precarious balance between ample and excessive game accounts.

Chatham is often a league power, but it's their on-field struggles in 2002 that make for some of the books most compelling reading. Collins also spends plenty of time off the field with the A's and effectively weaves in the backstory of the team's prominent players. It's here where The Last Best League stalls at times, through no fault of  the author. The A's as a group are not to be confused with a gritty, endearing bunch of ballplayers. Therein lies the book's challenge; it's often hard to care whether they're successful in chasing their major league dreams. Still, as a detailed portrait of a time & place the book makes a compelling case that baseball's last best league indeed resides on Cape Cod. - TF

Sunday, June 10, 2012

College Baseball: Home Again - A Grays team in DC

 
DC's Grays will play at Hoy Field on the campus of Galludet (Photo / dcgrays.com)

"First in war, first in peace, and last in the American League," was the phrase fittingly draped on Washington's AL entries for many years. In its entire history in the junior circuit, Washington won the World Series only once, in 1924. The current Washington Nationals, although greatly improved in 2012, are still longshots to end the season with an NL pennant in hand.

Despite the lack of success at the major league level, the city's  Homestead Grays of the Negro Leagues seldom experienced a losing campaign and at one point strung together nine consecutive Negro National League crowns. The franchise's home base was initially the Homestead suburb of Pittsburgh, but through the 1930's and 40's the team increasingly scheduled home games in Washington, in addition to their games in Pittsburgh.

The Grays disbanded in 1950, and earlier in this decade an incarnation honoring the Homestead clubs and dubbed the DC Grays played in the collegiate Clark Griffith League. In 2010 the Clark Griffith League disbanded and with it, the Grays. This spring the team re-formed as members of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League.

This DC squad will play its home games at refurbished Hoy Field on the campus of Galludet University in the District.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

College Baseball: Army Departs Tourney

 
Army's Kevin McKague (Photo / goarmysports.com)

Army usually only gets coverage in FIELD as the team trying to undo Navy's best laid plans, but this year's Black Knights' baseball squad certainly rates mention of its own merits. Although bowing out on Sunday from the NCAA tourney via a 2-1 extra-inning loss to Oklahoma, Army racked up a program record 41 wins against just 15 losses on the season. They handily captured the 2012 Patriot League regular season and tournament crowns in the process.

Ace righty Chris Rowley went 11-1, while striking out 80 batters. Lefty Logan Lee posted an 8-2 mark and fanned 64 batters in 92 innings. Elsewhere on the diamond, first baseman Kevin McKague led the team with a .379 batting average, while driving in 45 runs. McKague also excelled on the hill, posting a 1.46 ERA in 11 relief appearances.

Another Western State Adds Varsity Lacrosse

For several years I've contributed lacrosse articles to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).  This week I w...