Cal Poly will welcome America’s favorite pastime to its arsenal of club sports in the coming school year.
The baseball club team, which will be hosting tryouts all fall quarter, got approved by Cal Poly Sport Club Council two weeks ago. The club team has gone from idea to actuality in a little over a year.
“Last year in the dorms there was three or four of us … we all played baseball in high school and we just missed it, so we just wanted to get something going that (was) more serious,” said economics sophomore Ryan Dion.
The founders have been talking to the Sport Club Council and the club league that they will be joining and despite being recently approved, they still have a lot of paperwork left to do.
“We’re still not close to being done,” Dion said.
The buzz has been reverberating around campus already as more than 60 students showed up to the clubs first informative meeting.
“I thought I was going to be done playing baseball,” said business sophomore Dixon Mann. “But now I have the opportunity to play serious competitive baseball again and it’s exciting.”
The club officers hired Anthony Pannone, a former player in the San Francisco Giants minor league system, to be the head coach for the team. Pannone played for six years in the Giant’s system and is now enrolled as a student at Cal Poly.
Team activities will begin in the fall with a couple of practices a week. With no field secured yet for team use, the officers do not know where these practices will be held. Instead of doing a short week of tryouts, coach Pannone as well as the club officers decide it would be best to evaluate talent over all of fall quarter.
“We basically decided that (a week long tryout) wasn’t really fair to a lot of these guys who haven’t played since high school,” business sophomore and club president Jake McCollum said. “… So what we decided was to use fall quarter as an extended tryout … just to get a better look at the players in general.”
The final roster will be set by the end of November and the season will begin in January. McCollum acknowledged that the cuts will be tough with so many guys but for now there will only be an “A” team. After the program has been functioning, there is a serious possibility of the club adding more teams so more players can play.
During the season the team will play a series on the weekends against other teams in the Southern Pacific South Conference, which consists of teams such as UCSB and UCLA, as well as any other exhibitions that the team schedules. A series will consist of two seven-inning games on Saturday followed by a full nine-inning game on Sunday.
“We’re guaranteed to play 25-30 games a year,” McCollum said.
At the end of the season the top two teams in the conference will play in a tournament against top-finishers in other conferences in the region for a chance to go to the national championship in Florida.
“We think there’s no reason next year we can’t compete in our league,” Dion said. “There’s a ton of athletes here that we can draw from.”
Despite competitive aspirations, the team hopes to find an equilibrium between enjoyment and winning ways.
“We definitely want to find a balance,” McCollum. “…But we’re competitors and our goal is to definitely win as much as anyone else.”