The inaugural Pac-12 Baseball Tournament is nearing its end on Sunday afternoon, ending a week of some of the most chaotic, memorable competition in the game.
And it wouldn’t have happened.
UCLA baseball was the center of all the chaos, becoming the poster child for the madness that took place in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Bruins opened things up Wednesday with a game against Cal that started at 10:15 p.m. and ended at 1:26 p.m., then had to play a game less than 12 hours later against in Washington.
After winning that match to stay in the hunt, UCLA returned to rematch Cal and won that second showdown in more innings. The Bruins ’next game was their most memorable, as they bounced back from nine runs in the bottom of the ninth to force more innings and eventually beat Oregon State 25-22.
That win forced a doubleheader, and even if UCLA returned to take the lead later, Oregon State finally walked away to advance to the championship game on Sunday.
Despite all the drama, intrigue and viral moments, the most notable was that baseball was played away from world class, and the whole trial was as thoughtful.
The Bruins bats were virtually silenced in the all-night opener against the Golden Bears, and then they went on to score 55 runs in the next four games against low and/or gassed opposing staff. UCLA pitchers, on the other hand, allow 49 runs throughout the week – well at almost 10 per game.
Injuries certainly have something to do with the Bruins ’inability to keep opponents off the scoreboard – Max Rajcic, Thatcher Hurd, Gage Jump, Jared Karros and Jake Brooks are all left out, robbed coach John Savage of his top -five starting pitchers – but this is an issue that almost every team faces. New shortstop Cody Schrier and new outfielder Malakhi Knight are also absent, putting blue and gold on two of their upcoming stars.
Many of the key contributors to the hill and the plate are players who barely show up, if at all, this season, and UCLA is still able to make it a few outs from playing the title game no matter what. . That’s all well and good, and certainly causes optimism heading into the NCAA Regionals, but in terms of the tangible value offered by the tournament, the improvements don’t seem to be superior to the opponents.
Reports of the Pac-12 adding a conference tournament first surfaced a few years ago, but it won’t be official until the summer of 2021. The first interpretation of the event is chaos, from a field system leading to countless delayed start hours until the Scottsdale climate resulted in game -time temperatures hitting 100 degrees.
The average reported attendance for five UCLA games is 2,688, but on TV, the stands look even more empty than that. Scottsdale Stadium seats 12,000, and not a single game nearly reaches that level of attendance.
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Broadcasting of all Pac-12 Networks games is also limited to viewers from afar, with many parts of the country and even the West Coast notorious for not being able to subscribe to the channel. Even if they have access to it, the ratings for games that take place after midnight aren’t really good.
Forcing these games to be played at unreasonable times with insulting short break periods feels like the conference is just checking the boxes to finish the weekend. Things should have been chaotic the first time, but it was a faulty system from the start.
Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff boasted of poor pitching, too many runs and overuse of players ahead of Sunday’s championship game, and had someone who could spin his same exact statistic to make it an argument that the activity was a failure.
It’s too late for the Pac -12 to come back now – the cat isn’t in the bag, Pandora’s Box is opened, and so on. In absolute honesty, the conference didn’t have many options to start with, considering every other conference power and even most mid-mayors had already installed tournaments before them.
From financial and general related standpoints, the Pac-12 is-as usual-left in the dust. It just so happens that in their quest to play catch up, they stumble first on one of the most flawed, useless systems of college games.
All of this is just to exchange some automatic bids, and supposedly improve the RPI of power conference teams. Well, the Bruins are up 51 to 46 after their five games, but playing a three -game series against a conference opponent could lead to the same result.
The NCAA and its conferences started these tournaments as an additional revenue stream, but until the exact numbers come out for the Pac-12, the jury is still not sure if they’ve successfully done so. That thoughtless profit -making isn’t good for the players, the coaches or the quality of the games played, and while it can result in some weekend -related alligators, it doesn’t seem worth it. in general.
While eliminating these conference tournaments is nearly impossible, changing the format is the least that can be done by higher officials and administrators. Instead of eight teams in the bracket, maybe six; consider ditching double-elimination; perhaps choose a city with two nearby stadiums to alleviate scheduling worries and delays, or one that is unrecognizable due to the sweltering heat.
In an ideal world, there wouldn’t be any conference tournaments, but since that won’t happen anytime soon, it’s up to Kliavkoff and his peers to put their heads together and create a better version. forward.
Read more UCLA stories: UCLA Bruins at Sports Illustrated
Read more UCLA baseball stories: UCLA Baseball at Sports Illustrated