That headline pique your interest? Good. Well, now that you went to the trouble of opening this article, I should probably tell you that while the headline is true, it might be a little misleading. You see, Cyclone baseball is back, but only in the club variety. D1 baseball at Iowa State is not returning and likely won't any time in the near future.
(You may leave your hate thoughts in the comments section below)
The Iowa State Club Baseball team is back in action, however, and taking on challengers from other club teams around the Midwest. Yesterday, WRNL brought you the Guide to the Offseason, which was full of fun and creative ways to pass the time until football starts again. Continuing on that theme (though on a somewhat more serious note), something you might want to give thought to is catching a club team baseball game. As a lifelong baseball fan, it pains me that ISU doesn't have a men's varsity team. Iowa State does however, have a competitive club team and this group of young men goes out there and plays the game simply because they love it. I can respect that.
I traded emails with club president, Ethan Schroeder and below is our discourse. Check out the team web site and if you're interested in catching a game or donating, you can find information there. It will go to a good cause and a good group of guys that can always use some additional support.
Q: Tell me about yourself. How'd you end up at Iowa State? Why club baseball? Have a favorite MLB team?
I'm a senior here studying mechanical engineering. I attended high school in Muscatine, Iowa where I played baseball for 5 seasons along with basketball and golf. As far as why I chose ISU, there was really no particular reason. A lot of my friends were coming here and when I came for a visit I fell in love with the campus. The reason I got into the club team was because it was a really major decision for me on whether I wanted to continue playing baseball competitively somewhere and when I made the decision to come here, knowing they didn't have a D1 team anymore, this gave me an opportunity to continue playing. I'm a huge Cubbies fan.
Q: Tell me a little about the club. I see there's a lot of good information on your web site about the history and how the club got started, but how about the travel team, member participation, challenges, etc?
Our spring team participates in the Mid American North conference in the National Club Baseball Association. We compete with Iowa, University of Northern Iowa, University of South Dakota, and Mankato State. If we win our division we get a chance to play at Regionals, and then Nationals.
Q: I looked you up on Iowa State's student directory (yeah, I'm creepy like that) and it says you're a mechanical engineering major. I must ask you which pitching machine is superior; the spinning wheel thing where you feed the ball into it or the batting cage arm-flipping contraption?
The spinning wheel is a better machine if you want more randomness in the pitches. Depending on how you feed the ball the seams will catch differently. Also you can set it up to feed you curveballs where as the Iron Mike or the "arm flipping contraption" can only throw one pitch.
Q: Pete Rose was the last player/manager in baseball. Tell me about some of your struggles and some of the benefits of being a player/manager.
Well, being a player manager, which I am, definitely has its ups and downs. I think the biggest thing for me is that being the manager I'm always really hard on myself as a player, and more lenient with other players. I feel more of an obligation to take myself out of a game if I'm struggling than I would with another player.
Q: Let's say I'm in a major slump at the plate. I'm chasing breaking balls in the dirt, getting out in front of change ups and fouling off fastballs down the middle. I'm just struggling. I am however, throwing a major party next weekend and you don't want to jeopardize your spot on the guest list. Do you bench me?
I would definitely bench of them. As a baseball player they should understand the move and respect it. As far as the guest list, being the avid partier I am they know they can't afford to not have me attend.
Q: Do any former ISU baseball players or club baseball players come watch you guys or help out with the club?
We do have several players that have come back to watch games or even attend practices when they are in town or if they are around.
Q: Are you guys ever scouted by other schools who are looking for baseball talent? For instance, a school that's looking for a guy that would maybe transfer?
I can't say that we get any amount of scouts, but we have had several guys that have transferred to schools like DMACC and Simpson to play.
Q: Any sabermetricians on the team? Do you know you're defensive range factor (RF) or your 2nd basemen's Wins Above Replacement (WAR) value? How in depth do you guys get with stats? Any Strasburgs on the team where you have a strict innings/pitch count?
No we don't have much of that. We do keep track of our pitchers stats. Nobody is really on a strict count or anything but we do keep track if someone is getting high on a pitch count for a game we will pull them to preserve the arms and try to prevent any kind of an injury for the future.
Q: How many guys on your team or do you face that you believe could be playing D1 ball?
I've seen some really solid players that could possibly be at that level. I'd say the position where you see the most talent is at pitcher. You'll see a lot of guys throwing in the mid to high 80's range with some pretty good control which is right on par with some pretty decent D1 pitchers.
Q: If Wide Right & Natty Lite wanted to buy patches for you guys to sew to your uniforms, would you wear them, or does that break some type of amateur competition rule?
I'd have to look into that but unfortunately I don't think it is allowed by the NCBA to put anything on our uniforms that is not school or NCBA affiliated.
Q: I went to a few club games when I was in school and nobody ever hassled us about bringing beer. Please tell me this is still cool. Also, what's the best heckling you've heard?
As far as I know, I don't think there are any rules against it. I think as long as you are of age and not causing too much ruckus, I can't see any problems arising, and there have been fans who have done that in the past. We had a group of guys a couple years ago making nicknames for opposing players and critiquing their swings and stuff from the sidelines. It was pretty entertaining.
There you have it loyal readers of WRNL. You may never see these guys on ESPN playing in Omaha, but it's still competitive baseball and there are a lot worse ways that you could spend a day than being outside in the spring, beer in hand, and on campus watching a good game of baseball.