Friday, February 9, 2007

The final Classic?

As some of you know, the 2007 college baseball season will be the last one for the forseeable futuer that began before March. And with today's weather here in Shreveport-Bossier City, a balmy 50 or so degrees with a biting wind, that would seem to make sense.

However, look four hours southwest of here down U.S. Highway 59 and you'll see one of the biggest reasons the later start will hurt college baseball. It's called the Houstoon College Classic.

Since it began earlier this decade (2002 I believe was the first year), it has hosted the best teams in Texas and from around the region. This year, SEC member Vanderbilt is in the fold as is Arizona State. The Commodores and Sun Devils join the usual Lone Star fare (Houston, Rice, Baylor and Texas A&M) in an event that makes fans, players and especially scouts happy.

It's played at Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston, giving the collegians a three-day preview of big league amenities and has produced great games in its time. Now it is in jeopardy with the earlier start time. The compressed schedule means fewer oppportunities will exist for tournaments like this. And with a sport that is still trying to cultivate a truly national following, that's a change college baseball could have done without.


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