The Importance of Attending College Games

One of the consistent pieces of advice we see on here is to take your high school kid who aspires to play in college to lots of college games of all levels.

Yesterday I took my  HS Soph son to a Rutgers vs Iowa game in Iowa City & sat in the 3rd Row.  He was able to see up close just how big those players are, how fast they are and how fast the game is, and saw that most of the pitchers were throwing in the low 90's with absolutely filthy secondary stuff.

He also took a lot of interest in the stat sheet in the game program, looking up how many at bats each of the bench players had on the season, and counting up the JUCO transfers on the roster (13 on Iowa).

Personally, I thought it was a great atmosphere for Baseball.  Fantastic stadium.   My kid left very impressed with the level of play and also inspired as he saw up close just how much he needs to keep improving in the weight room, with hitting mechanics, and with his foot speed.

We've previously attended a D3 game and my plan is to take him to a mid majors D1 & a JUCO game this spring as well...  

Original Post

Went to a Holy Cross, who is really struggling this year, game last weekend.  Their pitchers were throwing hard and the hitters put good swings on the ball.  They’ve been losing a lot of close games, but the talent level appears to be greater than their record.  

We lived about five miles from Villanova’s field. When my son was thirteen I took him to watch Jeff Smardzjia and Jeff Manship pitch for Notre Dame. A lot of people probably don’t remember Manship. He was the top pitching recruit out of high school. He shocked the baseball world selecting Notre Dame over Texas. He hurt his arm. He still got to the majors. 

Another time my son and I were out biking. We stopped to watch a D3 game. All D3 games are not created equal. After two innings he begged to leave. “Our high school team could kick their ass.”

I took my kid to HS games when he was in middle school to show him the next level. We are planning games to a local D1 and Ivy over the next 2 weeks to again give him a sense of the next level play and also he is very interested in attending the ivy so I plan to give him a campus tour as well

FWIW, I think it is important to support college programs when you can.  A lot of these programs are run on shoestring budgets, and community support--a $5 ticket and $10 at the concession stand--go a long way towards keeping the teams on the AD's radar.  We live a few miles from a mid-major D1 and get season tickets (which are a whopping $35 each) every year and attend as many games as we can.  The games are fun and easy to get to, parking is free, and the baseball is pretty good (but not so good that it's boring!).  I live between, probably equidistant from, an MLB park and this college park, and I would rather see the college kids play ANY day.  Plus, I can see an entire season of college ball for the cost of a hot dog at the MLB park!

3and2Fastball posted:

One of the consistent pieces of advice we see on here is to take your high school kid who aspires to play in college to lots of college games of all levels.

Yesterday I took my  HS Soph son to a Rutgers vs Iowa game in Iowa City & sat in the 3rd Row.  He was able to see up close just how big those players are, how fast they are and how fast the game is, and saw that most of the pitchers were throwing in the low 90's with absolutely filthy secondary stuff.

He also took a lot of interest in the stat sheet in the game program, looking up how many at bats each of the bench players had on the season, and counting up the JUCO transfers on the roster (13 on Iowa).

Personally, I thought it was a great atmosphere for Baseball.  Fantastic stadium.   My kid left very impressed with the level of play and also inspired as he saw up close just how much he needs to keep improving in the weight room, with hitting mechanics, and with his foot speed.

We've previously attended a D3 game and my plan is to take him to a mid majors D1 & a JUCO game this spring as well...  

Were you at the first game or second? My son came in in relief during the second, although the entire game was a bit of a fiasco from the Iowa side. 

We were at the 2nd Game, IowaMom... It was fun to see him pitch!  We were really impressed with the whole atmosphere & the stadium.   I would have let you know we were going but it was a last minute realization that we'd be able to check out a game when my son's Spring League games got finished early.

My youngest son was blessed to have an older brother 8 years older who played D1.  When we would go to games, they always let him take BP in cages and field balls during BP on field.  He was also their batboy so that was special.  He gained a unique perspective at a very young age.  I will never forget the coaches who went out of their way to make a little brother feel special.  They still keep up with him even though they are not there anymore.  It is also unique that some of the guys who recruited my middle son also recruited my youngest son 7 years later.  Can't wait til next year to be back at college games every weekend.  Trying to become a fan of my son's future teammates by watching every game I can this year.

3and2Fastball posted:

We were at the 2nd Game, IowaMom... It was fun to see him pitch!  We were really impressed with the whole atmosphere & the stadium.   I would have let you know we were going but it was a last minute realization that we'd be able to check out a game when my son's Spring League games got finished early.

It wasn't one of their better games, but it is usually a fun atmosphere. And I agree, it's great to go to college games. While I enjoy seeing him play, I miss the days of him sitting with me at games and explaining what was happening. That would have come in handy Saturday night, because a lot happened — most of it not very good.

Found going to college games very beneficial in son's recruiting process. I remember going to one game with son where two of the schools that had recruited him were against one another. He saw the speed of the game and pitching, and size of the players. He also saw a few plays he thought he could have made had he "been in there." We were both excited to watch a pre-season "tourney " game in which a team bunted three or four hitters in a row, as the opposition struggled to field bunts. He paid extra attention to the hitters who hit at the top of the batting order, and the positions he played in HS. My 2015 also watched another game played among teams in the conference where he would land. He said to me afterward, " I can play at this level." Fortunately for him, he was given the chance.  

I highly recommend attending  Cape Cod League games in the summer if you can.  The best college players from around the country come each summer to play.  There are several teams all within a 30 minute radius of each other.  The games are free to the public and the baseball talent on display is second to none.  You get an up close look at what it takes to be one of the best in the game.   A great many MLB stars have played on a Cape team.  The atmosphere is pure Americana.  It makes for a great vacation the whole family can enjoy.  Some of the best beaches on the East Coast are at your doorstep.  Boston, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard are great day trips from there as well.

It makes total commonsense that players should attend games at the next level that they aspire to.

But it's rare, as evidenced by how few youngsters attend HS baseball games.

I mean rare in general.  Not that rare among people who post on this forum, who are a self-selected sample of exceptionally diligent baseball parents. 

game7 posted:

It makes total commonsense that players should attend games at the next level that they aspire to.

But it's rare, as evidenced by how few youngsters attend HS baseball games.

I mean rare in general.  Not that rare among people who post on this forum, who are a self-selected sample of exceptionally diligent baseball parents. 

Yeah, I've always been surprised at how few kids, particularly those who claim to love the game, attend next level games or really any games for that matter.  I've heard all the rationale but if you really enjoy playing the game as a youth and want to be competitive, I can't imagine not wanting to watch higher levels once in a while. 

When my son was fourteen we went when Louisville was in town. My son asked what the two players with a gun and a clipboard were doing behind the backstop. I suggested he go over and ask. They let him sit with him the entire game. Guess where my son wanted to play. 

Also, given that he hadn’t grown yet (5’4” in spring of 8th grade) he loved watching “short”stop Chris Cates.

https://youtu.be/OAvTKUDzE6c

Not collage!

Its sad! The high school our son will attend (he’s 11) had a youth day! They invited all the kids from all the league, select, middle school, elementary school in the town! Local Businesses donated gift cards, food, etc! It was heavy advertisement to promote the varsity game! $1.00 hot dog, $3.00 for a hot dog, bottle soda and chips! Entry fee $2.00 adult kids under 16  free! Huge high school 6A! 2 varsity games back to back! Kids can win sitting in the dugout etc! Email send out, reminder emails! 

So the weather was chances of drizzle! Light rain! 

Game day rolls around and 7 kids showed up! A family with 4 small kids, my son, 1 kids who brother is on the varsity team and 1 kid on my son team! 

My son won mostly everything only 3 kids place the names in the hat! 

We ended up giving back all the gift cards! So they can hand it out to players! Son sat in the dugout most of the game! He kept a t-shirt and gave the other kids the extra merchandise! 

The game was so much fun for my son! He loved it and made me take him out of school the next week just so he can watch the game and maybe throw a few balls with the coach! (Since the coach told him to come back anytime and he will let him warm up with the team) ♥️

Broke my soul!

Our travel team organization has around 25 teams with 10 kids averaging per team!

Sad they all have “dreams to play higher” but didn’t have the drive to come out to watch a game! 

Heartbreaking to see! 

 

 

 

3and2Fastball,

Great topic (and reminder) for a recruiting thread.  Everybody is busy during the season (especially junior year), so making the time is a great investment and fact finding mission for any recruit.   So, we learned very quickly what the talent differences and skill requirements were between a Power5 school and Mid-Major for a 6'1" RHP just by watching a handful of games.  Our area is a fabric of ACC, A-10, and CAA schools. 

What provided the most value is my son was able to see these schools play early in the season in non-conference games which extended his ability to understand what other schools he might be interested in.  I recall seeing Dartmouth play UVA fairly close in 2007 or 2008, and my son thinking that was very interesting.   Little did he know in a few years he'd get his first college appearance (as a freshmen) against UVA in mop up duty.      

3and2Fastball posted:

One of the consistent pieces of advice we see on here is to take your high school kid who aspires to play in college to lots of college games of all levels.

Yesterday I took my  HS Soph son to a Rutgers vs Iowa game in Iowa City & sat in the 3rd Row.  He was able to see up close just how big those players are, how fast they are and how fast the game is, and saw that most of the pitchers were throwing in the low 90's with absolutely filthy secondary stuff.

He also took a lot of interest in the stat sheet in the game program, looking up how many at bats each of the bench players had on the season, and counting up the JUCO transfers on the roster (13 on Iowa).

Personally, I thought it was a great atmosphere for Baseball.  Fantastic stadium.   My kid left very impressed with the level of play and also inspired as he saw up close just how much he needs to keep improving in the weight room, with hitting mechanics, and with his foot speed.

We've previously attended a D3 game and my plan is to take him to a mid majors D1 & a JUCO game this spring as well...  

When a coach of a D2 JuCo was interested in our son, he invited us to a double header on a Saturday.  Son was in his senior year.  It gave him a good feel on whether he could compete at that level.  Towards the end of the season he committed to the school.  He went on to earn a starting spot (DH) his freshman year and was a solid starter (1B) and team leader his sophomore year.

Our local LL sponsors a "Little League Night" where any LL'er gets into the HS varsity BB or SB game that night for free so long as they wear their LL shirt.  I can't recall if there were any goodies handed out, but it didn't seem to bring as many as expected out.  It doesn't help it was a weeknight and most varsity games don't start until 7 pm or so.  But they were at least trying to keep interest in the sport as the kids approached HS.

We do a night for the youngest guys, t-ball and coach pitch, then a night for older guys where each player is recognized and runs out on the field with the varsity guys to their positions.  Every player shows up and so do their parents and grandparents.  Great for them and great for our program.  Would love to see colleges do something where high school players get in free to games but have never seen it.

Dominik85 posted:

Live at the field good baseball looks so much faster than on tv.

D1 in tv looks like shit to me compared to mlb but if you see it at the field it probably is super fast. On tv you underestimate that.

Yes the game is much much faster in person than on TV.  And it is much faster up close than it is sitting far away.  

My son actually has zero interest in MLB since he'd rather play the game than watch 3 hours of it,  but really enjoys college games for the reasons noted above.  I think it's interesting for him to assess where he might fit and that all the guys on the field are just a few years older and relatable in a lot of respects. I think it has also helped him have a mature approach in high school so far and understand he's not a D1 but very happily a potential D3 HA (hopefully) and that the game is still interesting and competitive at that level with its own appeal. 

We loved going to college games. Back in '95 we lived in Phoenix and went to a number of ASU Sun Devil games. Five year-old son loved to play catch in the parking lot where an errant throw broke the side mirror on a 'Vette. (Not sure if we ever located the owner to pay for the damage, but we did try.) He also liked to "pitch" to me behind the dugout during games. His mechanics were rudimentary but still garnered a few positive looks. 

We went there not just at game time, but also other times to see players hitting off tees and in the cages, catchers catching pop-ups shot straight up out of a pitching machine, stretching and other preparations and bullpen work.

His favorite memory was going between the outfield wall and the outer fence and retrieving dozens of BP and game balls. My favorite (aside from enjoying the experiences with him) was sitting a few rows behind Yogi Berra and his pal, Joe Garagiola. I made a big deal of those two to son, but he no longer remembers.

Later we moved to Virginia and spent a lot of time at Old Dominion University Monarch games and camps when we were not at Tides games. That Coach Tony Guzzo recognized and singled out potential in an eight year-old kid still amazes me.

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