Baseball And Syracuse: Could SU Play Hardball?

I'll be honest, I'm spoiled. At least, I still act a little spoiled. Being the baby of a big family meant I got a lot of 'stuff' that my older brothers and sisters had to 'work' for. It's not that I always got my way, it's just usually things worked themselves out. (Then I grew up, got married, and had a baby. So much for getting....anything.)

So, why does being spoiled matter? Well, I want baseball at Syracuse.

As an Orange fan I have an elite basketball program with a Hall of Fame coach to root for and a football program that, at the very least, is still some what relevant. Add in lacrosse, and it seems pretty selfish to ask for more, right? Like I said, I'm spoiled. The school should have baseball.

Of course Syracuse had baseball, axed in 1972 (more on that in a minute), now offering the club variety. I want more. Prior to Dr. Daryl Gross taking over as Athletic Director rumors had it the administration was trying to bring baseball back. Since Gross' arrival, I've heard from multiple People In The Know who say the idea isn't exactly 'dead.'

I figured, with what looks like a lot of down time from here until basketball starts (sorry Coach Desko), why not take a swing at what's stopping baseball from returning to The Hill. (Of course I asked for your help.)

* Why Did SU Drop The Program? - @theNYSportsguy "Please don't. I hate being reminded I had to go to school on the other side of the country because of title IX" @CapCareyWDT - "be mighty hard in title 9 world to add a team of 30 male athletes"

-- On second thought, let's come back to this one.

* The Weather - @MichaelSaks "I tried playing baseball my 1st year at SU. Too cold. Period. Baseball shouldn't be played in such weather." @Jminer21 Playing in the cold isn't as fun in march as it is October. Has to shovel field up at Oswego before games"

-- If only we had a giant bubble like arena, a dome even, to house a baseball team in the cold late winter early spring months. Oh wait, we do! And guess what, the SU softball team just played a game there this past weekend! It's obviously not the perfect set up (the field of play would need a major overhaul), playing in a football stadium that's really best suited for 30,000 fans and basketball. You can play baseball in the Dome.

If not, take a Le Moyne approach to the schedule and travel early and backload the season with home games (or grin and bear it like the Syracuse Chiefs!). Syracuse had a program for decades, practicing in a barn and playing in the elements. It can be done.

* If SU Has Softball, Why Not Baseball? - @acpregler - "With softball now in Dome, I'd love to see baseball there. It's a great game and would add to SU's Ath Dept in ACC" @MBorkowski "Would LOVE baseball back at SU. Softball has a successful program. Let's get baseball." (Imagine the cool baseball drawings we'd get?)

-- There are plenty of spring sports played at the collegiate level in and around Central New York, this isn't like adding surfing to the sports line up. Of course, this question also has Title IX elements to it. We'll get there.

* Starting A Program Takes Time and A Lot Of Money - @mleagle8 - "Only if Cuse put the necessary $$ into it (like UConn did)"

-- It'll take a good amount of chedda (are the kids still saying that? Did they ever?) to even get a team together, much less a competitive one. Still, I don't think SU is hurting for money. In fact, add in the ACC TV dollars in the coming years and the university should have a good chunk of discretionary income. Syracuse has started and turned out competitive women's sports teams recently, baseball wouldn't be a problem.

* Is There Real Interest? - @orangeskin "I had a friend who played on the team long ago and on campus interest was zero. Need a good place to play." @DaveShreeve "Don't care. Only care about SU Basketball" @RobKrone "I don't think baseball would be viable at SU."

--- OK, so not everyone is on board. Actually, when I threw the question out on Twitter some of the first responses were negative. There is no question a top tier SU baseball team playing at the Dome (or any other facility) wouldn't sell out. Hell, 3,000 fans in the doors may be a reach. (That doesn't stop the Kansas City Royals by the way. Take that midwest baseball fans!) I look at it this way, between old alumni and the baseball loving kids in the area, if SU had a team, they could eventually get some decent 'lacrosse' size crowds.

* Is There Anyone With Pull That Wants Baseball At SU? - @pmanley "would love to see it. My grandfather was given one of the 1st baseball scholarships at SU."

-- A Kin to the man behind Manley Field House and the creator of the Giant Jim Boeheim Head is giving his support!

* OK, Seriously, What About Title IX? - Ultimately, this is the end to the discussion. A lot like that go-cart I never got. No matter how spoiled I was, I couldn't make a cogent enough argument as to why a 12 year old should be allowed to rip around in a gas powered vehicle. I love Syracuse, I love baseball, but bringing the two together means delving into an old and murky issue.

Title IX is a federal law that helped end, or at least slowed down, sex discrimination in education (i.e., more teams created for women). That's a main reason why SU doesn't have baseball (and other sports like wrestling). It's also the reason why SU has sports like softball and women's lacrosse. Could SU add baseball without cutting into other sports? Maybe. Will the school do that? Not likely. It's not about revenue, whereas baseball probably would outdraw some of the 'Olympic' women's sports. It's about equality, or, the perception of equality.

Title IX did more good than anyone can truly quantify, but the good wasn't done without creating some damage. Men's teams, teams that had been around for decades, unfairly got the boot to make a fair way for the women. While I support equality, I wonder if there could have been a different route to it. Women needed change, creating teams was a major step in the right direction. But certain men's teams need to be eliminated to make room? I remember wrestling getting cut at Syracuse and how many people it affected. It was tough to watch.

Four decades later Title IX is too sensitive an issue even today. Bringing back a sport cut by the law would probably be bad pub, and for a school surrounded by bad press lately, I would be more than just a little surprised if baseball and Syracuse are linked in any other way than in the club form. No matter how much I (and some others) want it.

(Thanks for the help. I apologize if your Tweet didn't make it. Keep Tweeting me and we'll make it a regular thing. A TweetBag....a Tweetoff...we'll think of a name)

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