Baseball club preps for its first season
November 9, 2006
Like men’s soccer, men’s baseball at UWRF is having to build a team from the ground up. Unlike the soccer team, which is brand new to UWRF, the new baseball team is replacing the original team which was cut after the 2001-2002 season because of Title IX and budget cuts.
Title IX is a law that passed in 1972 that says there have to be the same number of women’s sports teams as there are men’s. Women’s gymnastics was also cut. Women’s golf and men’s indoor track were added to replace them as cheaper alternatives.
The team was started last spring by sophomore Alan Knaeble, and has since made major strides to become official.
Recreational Leadership Coordinator Kurran Sagan said the team had to fill out a packet to be recognized as an official student organization. He said it’s a very simple procedure.
There has been a lot of interest so far this year. Tryouts were held last month and about 30 players showed up. After cuts were made, the team’s roster stands at about 18.
At this time it will not be varsity, but instead, part of the National Club Baseball Association (NCBA).
The NCBA is a private organization that gives smaller universities baseball teams. Some bigger schools have them too, as an alternative to the varsity team. The UWRF team will be in the Great Lakes West Conference, along with UW-Madison, Marquette, UW-Whitewater, UW-Eau Claire, Northwestern University, UW-Milwaukee and Columbia College.
Because the NCBA isn’t affiliated with any school, the UWRF team won’t be able to use the name “Falcons,” unless given permission by the school.
Getting into the NCBA was a big step, but other problems remain. Money is needed to pay for uniforms, equipment, buses and league fees, which each team has to pay to the NCBA.
New players are charged a fee of $25 and each year the team gets a certain amount of money from the University, but it is trying to come up with other fundraisers. Sagan said they can apply for funding up to $500 every year.
Sophomore Eric Resch, who is running the team this year, said the club team is trying to get sponsors and are also looking into a T-shirt sale.
The team doesn’t have a coach, but because of the money involved in getting one, the players will be coaching themselves.
The team is also without a field. The field that the original UWRF team played on was bulldozed and replaced by tennis courts.
The scoreboard is still standing next to the courts as a reminder of the old field.
The team has been practicing on fields that are terribly inadequate.
“We have tried many different options around campus, and it’s pretty sad to say that the intramural softball fields have been our best bet,” Resch said. “It’s pretty hard to field a ground ball on those infields.”
The team has a schedule for next year set up. It will play five teams, three games apiece, with a week to play each team. To play though, it will need to find a regulation sized field on which to hold the games.
Resch said the team will probably have to play at a local town’s field and maybe pay to use it.
Even though it’s in the early stages, senior Luke Meier is optimistic about the upcoming season
“Hopefully by spring there should be a team that people can come to watch,” he said.