In today’s dead-tree edition was a story on new Maryland baseball coach Erik Bakich, a 31-year-old bundle of energy handed the task of turning around one of the least successful power conference programs in the country.
He’s helped revive Vanderbilt, and that was an impressive task on its own. But even there, the Commodores occasionally popped up and made an NCAA tournament appearance.
Maryland, meanwhile, has gone 38 years without a postseason appearance. It missed the last four ACC tournaments, and plays in a cozy facility better suited for Home Run Derby than competitive baseball.
There’s also the sort of comical turf infield and grass outfield, which at least makes it easier to maintain.
And the results of the last 40 years? It’s an example of diminishing returns:
OK, the Aughts were modestly better than the ‘90s. But that’s sort of like saying the Baltimore Orioles are run better as a franchise than the Washington Nationals. The bar was not – and still is not – very high.
And Bakich quite clearly plans to change that.
There were a lot of things left on the cutting-room floor; some are best saved for a future story, and others will be rolled out on the blog in the next day or so.
But needless to say, Bakich is already making Maryland baseball remotely interesting – and that hasn’t happened to the program for a very long time.