For a myriad of reasons, I have not been able to make it to Tuscaloosa to an Alabama baseball game in a couple of years. However, if you haven’t ever had the pleasure, it’s a great experience on a warm spring afternoon. When I was in school it was a great reason to cut class on those rare weekday games. And the view isn’t bad either with several co-ed cleat chasers taking in the game as well. But atmosphere aside, I ask you, is Alabama baseball keeping up with the rest of the athletic department?
I remember when the coaches of the big three sports on campus were Gene Stallings, David Hobbs and Jim Wells.
I remember when those coaches were Mike Dubose, Mark Gottfried and Jim Wells.
And when it was Dennis Franchione, Mark Gottfried and Jim Wells.
And Mike Shula, Mark Gottfried and Jim Wells.
Then Nick Saban, Mark Gottfried and Jim Wells.
And now Nick Saban, Anthony Grant and, well…Jim Wells.
My point is this, if you watch the evolution of Bama’s football program, we’ve gone from the mountain top with Gene Stallings, d-e-e-p into the valley with Dubose through Shula, and now find ourselves perched nicely with Nick Saban. Basketball’s progression has been a slow climb, but all would agree we’re moving in the right direction since the departure of Wimp Sanderson. So what is baseball doing at the Capstone? Dropping a series the final weekend against the barn that would’ve won the regular season championship and then bowing out in two at the Met. Is that the kind of excellence we should expect?
One could argue Wells is the winningest coach in Tide history, but coaching a sport that logs at least 70 games a season, stay in the same spot long enough and you will bag enough wins to have the same distinction, almost by default.
What role should baseball play at the University? Afterall, football is and will always be the bell cow, right? That is true, but shouldn’t other sports carry their weight amid their respective fields of competition? Our softball team is a force. Tennis and golf are respectable. And let’s face it; swimming and diving doesn’t matter, though Sheldon Haygood will lead with an Auburn swimming story on his sportscast every opportunity he gets. But, I digress. Women’s basketball is subpar, and you don’t hear much about track and field unless the words “textbook scandal” is mentioned. But those aren’t in the big three that garner the most attention from a national perspective while generating the most revenue.
So what do you think? Is Alabama’s baseball program moving forward?