And what tradition is that you might ask? A tradition of mediocrity, my friend. Mediocrity.
Midway through their 55-game season, the Terps are 11-12 (3-6 in ACC). Eight of their eleven wins came against Coppin State, Quinnipiac, JMU, Delaware, Maryland Eastern Shore, and ODU. In short, they haven’t really beaten anyone good, and they still have the brunt of their ACC schedule ahead of them. The team has a three game home stand against Florida State this weekend, and if they loose all three games they can pretty much forget about the post-season.
There was a glimmer of hope for Terps baseball coming into this season. Last year, head coach Terry Rupp got the team to 30 wins for the second time in school history. The team has been around since 1893. 1893! 106 years of Maryland baseball and we’ve had two passable seasons! Their record was 30-26 last season. Otherwise, the Terps have had a .450 record under Rupp in the past eight years, and they don’t look to improve that mark much this year.
Personally, I love baseball. I remember my disappointment the first time I saw action at Shipley Field. I was walking from Elkton across campus on a relatively nice day in March. There were players on the field but nobody in the stands. At first I thought it was practice, but lo and behold it was a live action baseball game. I sat in the stands and watched a few innings, but I couldn’t help feeling uncomfortable that I was the lone fan. I thought that maybe some of the parents should be there. Maybe the team should have increased its on-campus advertising or given something away. I stayed for a couple innings, but I wasn’t into it so I left. The players were visibly not into it either.
Since then, I’ve always wondered, “Why?” Maryland seems like the perfect place to have a good baseball program. The school is in a great baseball conference. The state of Maryland is crazy about baseball. There are now two MLB teams within 30min of campus, and a number of minor league in the region. The school is located closer to major markets for talent than the Florida schools. Don’t tell me that, “Maryland isn’t a year round baseball state.” I came from the northeast and there was plenty of good baseball going on there. We’re not talking about golf.
So what gives with Maryland baseball? Can’t we get Maryland alum Ron Swoboda to come into town and show off his World Series ring to prospects? I want Maryland to be good at everything. When are we going to take baseball seriously? This is America’s pastime we’re talking about. Athletic Director Debbie Yow gets all the hype for our successes in womens’ basketball, soccer, and field hockey, but we have continually failed at the third biggest college sport and there is no mention of it. I just don’t get it.