Cold Climate Baseball

Can anyone share their experiences regarding their son moving from year-round baseball in a warm climate (CA, FL, TX) to play at a college with a real winter? Was it a big adjustment? How does it differ? Is it helpful from an academic standpoint (assuming less baseball, but could be wrong about that)?

Having this discussion with my son and I'd like to base it on real experiences/information rather than simply counter his points with "you're thinking like a 16 year old". We're admittedly quite spoiled here in CA and I'm hoping to broaden his thoughts on where he can find the right mix of academics and baseball.

Any details would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

Original Post

One thing to consider academically.  Cold climate schools have to travel. Often times for the first month of the season.  Whereas many southern or warm climate schools spend the first month or so at home playing northern schools that come to them.  Has to be hard to be on the road that much early in season 

It really depends on how good the indoor facilities are.  Here in Wisconsin three different travel organizations have built indoor facilities with full size infields and ceilings high enough that they can scrimmage indoors.  A 4th one is being built and it is really only a matter of time before colleges follow suit.

Having said that, even with trips to warmer climates in Feb/March, home games in late March & April can be brutal.  Lots of games with temps in the 40's.  Lots of games cancelled due to weather.  If the home field isn't turf or at least has a turf infield the likelihood of getting games in decreases a lot.

Culture shock is very real.  People in northern climates drink alcohol to levels that would shock even the average frat boy in a warm weather climate.  When you are hit with a foot of snow and high temps in the teens or lower and you aren't used to it, it seems completely crazy.

Having said that, there are some great D3's in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota.  The Big Ten is indeed bigtime, and the Big Ten network gets games on TV.  There are plenty of great opportunities.

3and2Fastball posted:

 

Culture shock is very real.  People in northern climates drink alcohol to levels that would shock even the average frat boy in a warm weather climate.  

Glad to hear that!! I just thought it was either me or Iowans in general!

 

BU4ICK,

So, I hate to be the messenger but your son is probably going to have to compromise in some areas of his college selection.   There are always going to be pros and cons.   The question is how much does weather really matter to one of the biggest decisions of your son's life?  To some it is huge and others it is....meh, not so much in the grand scheme of things.   My son was the latter and fairly practical with his choices.  He wanted the best education possible and a job after college.   He did compromise on weather to attend a great academic school and play college baseball.   He's lived his whole life in Virginia, and made the decision to attend college in the northeast.  He had many Californians and Left Coasters on his college team (between 50%-66% depending on the year), and they did just fine adapting (eventually) to the cold northeast.   His practice facilities were indoors during the late Fall, Winter and early Spring.  He knew the practice facilities were pretty awesome, so that helped soften the decision a little bit.  

My son's freshman roomate & teammate (SoCal) had a box of clothes shipped from home to his dorm room.  My wife and I watched him unpack his clothes boxes and his various tank tops, short sleeve shirts, surfer garb, swimming gear, and shorts.  My guess is all those clothes came in "really handy" for the first two weeks of school.    We visited a month and a half later for Parents' weekend and he was ordering winter clothes online.....smart kid!  

I'm not going to lie to you, it is an adjustment both as an athlete and a spectator (hint...bring sleeping bags and many layers of clothes to the early spring games).  It was the one thing my son said he wished he could have changed about his 4 years, but he'd do it again in a heartbeat.   As always, JMO.  I hope that helps you.

I agree 100% with Fenway.  Weather is one of many many things to consider.

We live in California. Weather didn't matter to my oldest initially out of high school. But when he transferred colleges earlier this year he would only look at schools in the South, Southwest, and in California. 

My 2016 decided between schools in the Midwest, northeast, and south.  And he went South too. 

Both guys practiced indoors only once this past Spring and both teams played every scheduled game. Zero weather impacts and no need for an early season filled with road trips. 

 

A quote in a newspaper from my son:

"I'd been through the recruiting process before and I'd kind of gotten burned," Domecus said. "At xxxx, they told me I'd be competing with two other catchers for a job. Then they brought in eight catchers. So I left. Coming out of junior college, I said, 'I don't care about facilities; don't care about the school name.' I just wanted to go some place I'd get a chance to play, get a degree, and most of all, where I could trust the coaches."

The message, if he will listen: Its not about the weather.

Buying new clothes is not a problem.

 

There are so many things you have to factor in.  As with anything in life, the better you are the less compromises you have to make.

When was the last time a top prospect Baseball player from a warm weather climate turned down LSU or Florida or Arizona to play for a northern school?

At the same time, many people have posted about how difficult it is to make a D3 roster in California.  It is much easier to play for a D3 in Wisconsin or Minnesota.

The Ivy schools and high academic schools in the north are special places though. For those so inclined the compromises are well worth it.  My older son went the high academic route (didn't play a sport, just focused on his studies) and doesn't regret it for a minute.  He is pretty much set for life and had a dream job lined up before even finishing grad school.

life is a series of compromises, for most of us...

fenwaysouth posted:

 

BU4ICK,

So, I hate to be the messenger but your son is probably going to have to compromise in some areas of his college selection.   There are always going to be pros and cons.   The question is how much does weather really matter to one of the biggest decisions of your son's life?  To some it is huge and others it is....meh, not so much in the grand scheme of things.   My son was the latter and fairly practical with his choices.  He wanted the best education possible and a job after college.   He did compromise on weather to attend a great academic school and play college baseball.   He's lived his whole life in Virginia, and made the decision to attend college in the northeast.  He had many Californians and Left Coasters on his college team (between 50%-66% depending on the year), and they did just fine adapting (eventually) to the cold northeast.   His practice facilities were indoors during the late Fall, Winter and early Spring.  He knew the practice facilities were pretty awesome, so that helped soften the decision a little bit.  

My son's freshman roomate & teammate (SoCal) had a box of clothes shipped from home to his dorm room.  My wife and I watched him unpack his clothes boxes and his various tank tops, short sleeve shirts, surfer garb, swimming gear, and shorts.  My guess is all those clothes came in "really handy" for the first two weeks of school.    We visited a month and a half later for Parents' weekend and he was ordering winter clothes online.....smart kid!  

I'm not going to lie to you, it is an adjustment both as an athlete and a spectator (hint...bring sleeping bags and many layers of clothes to the early spring games).  It was the one thing my son said he wished he could have changed about his 4 years, but he'd do it again in a heartbeat.   As always, JMO.  I hope that helps you.

Northeast? Upstate New York is North Northeast.

Has any watched a game at Boston College in March or April? The wind blows in off the reservoir. It's a right handed hitters nightmare between the cold, wind and 394 to the gap. 

One time I was watching BC play a DH against Georgia Tech. The wind chill made it 20. That is was sunny made it acceptable. Someone asked me if the Georgia people were cold. I explained while watching baseball in March with the wind blowing everyone is cold.

BC's baseball field was laid to rest after last season. The new stadium, which was supposed to be ready ten years ago is finally opening. 

Southern Maine doesn't play home games until April. It's still cold.

Son grew up in Ohio.  Plays at a mid-major D1 in Ohio now.  Nice indoor facility and the turf football field for long toss/etc, but field isn't turf, so that causes issues.  Last year, opened at an SEC school.  We had taken BP outside twice, but no outdoor practice/scrimmages.  Tough to face 7000 fans and a team that plays outside all year round when you have only been indoors.  It didn't go well     Fall practice/scrimmage weather is great....low-mid 70's.  Spring is tough.  First 4 or 5 weekends are on the round.  Take next season

1st weekend....10 hour bus ride 1-way for 3 game series at UAB

2nd weekend....9 hour ride 1 way for 4 games at SE Miss St

Spring Trip...leave Weds AM...4 hours....1 game at EKU, drive 5 hours to LakePoint...play 5 days....then 5 hours back to WKU for 3 games before 4 hour drive back home on Sunday night, school Monday AM

Home Game scheduled on Tuesday March 13th.... (never gonna happen)...it will be snowing

Next Weekend....3 games at Michigan.  They have turf, so even if it snows, they'll play....only and hour and a half, but they'll drive it each day....no hotel

Finally 2 home series the last 2 weekends in March, league games, so they'll play as long as they don't have to shovel between innings.

Keep in mind, this is a mid major.  Son's friend plays at Ohio State....basically the same except they'll fly (including a 3-day trip to FL to practice the weekend before the season starts)

We may see a home series in the 50's by early/mid April if we're lucky

 

I attended a D3 game in early April between St Norbert (an excellent school in the Green Bay Area) vs Beloit College (high academic in southern WI).  It was a beautiful day of sunshine, mid 60's, and St Norbert has a turf infield so the field was in great shape.  Just a great day of Baseball.

The next weekend it snowed.

Fenway: My son's freshman roomate & teammate (SoCal) had a box of clothes shipped from home to his dorm room.  My wife and I watched him unpack his clothes boxes and his various tank tops, short sleeve shirts, surfer garb, swimming gear, and shorts.  My guess is all those clothes came in "really handy" for the first two weeks of school.    We visited a month and a half later for Parents' weekend and he was ordering winter clothes online.....smart kid!  

So that's what's going to happen to all of son's board shorts, slippers (i.e. flip flops), and swag tank tops?  No wonder everyone stared when they saw the "sled" he brought.  They thought he meant a Flexible Flyer.

3and2Fastball posted:

Culture shock is very real.  People in northern climates drink alcohol to levels that would shock even the average frat boy in a warm weather climate.  When you are hit with a foot of snow and high temps in the teens or lower and you aren't used to it, it seems completely crazy.

I grew up and attended college in the NJ/PA area, and I have lived in GA for about 15 years now....people drink plenty in both places and I hazard to say more down here.  On some days I swear every pick up driver I see has a beer in their hand WHILE driving! 

Just want to let folks know that travel for everyone  for non conference games sometimes has to do with RPI and how much you are paid to play on their fiels.

The weather should not matter. Where you will get the best education and beSt chance to play is what is important.

 

We are from So. Calif and faced much the same situation. My older son now a Jr at a  Midwest D3 was one of those warm weather kids who only wore long pants and closed toe shoes on Easter Sunday and weddings. Shorts and flip flops for every occasion. When push came to shove and reality hit, he turned down Southern California schools where he had limited opportunities to play and went to where he had the best chance to accomplish his academic &  athletics goals. Get a STEM degree from an academic school and have the best chance to get play time.  He has played in 32 degrees in April. snow in mid May. etc. Late fall they practice in an indoor facility that rivals many larger schools,  and in regards to class. "Just put your coat on and get to class as fast as you can"  When the dream is big and the desire to play still strong a kid will go wherever he can. 

BTW This past summer he couldn't wait to get back to school  to rejoin his teammates and friends.  

Son grew up playing in Connecticut and then high school in Northern CA.  So he has s sense of what is in store as He is now a freshman in Iowa.  They have a huge indoor field house for the winter months with multiple bullpens, cages and a makeshift field set up I think.  

That said — the first months outside will be a reminder of what its like when someone hits a comebacker off a shin or the palm of his glove and its 45 degrees out side.

But  its about fit, feeling loved, and getting a great education.  Those trade-offs outweighed leaving California.  

This is the second or third time it's been said recently in a thread that kids at cold weather schools drink more. Since I'm from a cold weather state and my feathers get ruffled whenever I see that, I did a little digging  (link below) and it does appear that the majority of schools with the very highest alcohol arrests are in the "North" with the exception of South Carolina, West Virginia and Kentucky, but there are plenty of Southern schools in that next tier.  And Southern schools (and a few in the West) appear to have higher increases in both drug and alcohol use more recently.  Complicated, right?  

Bottom line: teach your kids now (and hopefully well before now) that alcohol and drugs aren't ok  - they're athletes for God's sake, and minors.  Support their self confidence and self esteem so they don't need to be blind sheep following the idiots who drink and take drugs and ruin their lives.  And then have them do what many others here have said: pick the school that is the right fit for them and where they'll be happiest, snow, rain or shine. 

https://www.usnews.com/news/bl...hol-and-drug-arrests

to quote John Kruk one of my alltime favorites...while smoking a cigarette at spring training one day a mother approaches him and says to stop he is an athlete...Krucker looks at her with half a hangover and says "ma'am I ain't an athlete I am a ball player"

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