With the sun in his eyes, he’s not really sure if he can see the ball. The hitter chokes up on his bat. Swinging with all his strength, he makes contact with the ball. The ball soars out over the outfield and over the fence. The massive crowd would be cheering… if there was indeed a mass of Pioneer students cheering for the batter.
What once was America’s favorite pastime is being hindered by several factors for Pioneer baseball players.
“The biggest deterrent for baseball is that they are playing on a field that is off campus,” said Charlie Grimes, director of athletics.
Thurman Munson Stadium is located about 6 miles away from campus and is not really easy to find. The stadium is located on Allen Avenue and is a nice place for students to actually gather together for events like baseball.
“I remember back when baseball was on campus,” said Mark Bankert, associate athletic director/sports information director. “If it was cold, you might not have as many people out to watch the game, but on the April days when it was warmer, you would have people out to see the games.”
Weather does have a large impact on students when it comes to attending outside events such as baseball and softball, which both start in the late winter and early spring.
Students don’t want to sit or stand in the cold. As the season continues on, though, the games gradually get warmer, and more students begin to show up. The weather also affects any delays or reschedules. Reschedules can become confusing, and sometimes students don’t hear about the rescheduled games. Better word of mouth could help advertise games and rescheduled events.
The problem with a lack of student support at games is the morale of the athletes.
“I think it is always nice when student athletes see their colleges supporting them,” said Bankert. “When students are there cheering, it helps with the team’s energy level and gets them excited. It is always nice to have crowd support.”
These obstacles can be overcome. Now that the lingering winter has passed, students can begin to come together and make plans to carpool to the upcoming home games for baseball.
What the whole thing boils down to, in the end, is interest among students and staff to attend sports. Remember how much the athletes appreciate and want the support of their fellow students, and come out to a game before the season ends.
Lawrence Hines is a contributing writer for The Aviso AVW.