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Berry Tramel


Big 12 baseball: Too many teams?

by Berry Tramel Modified: May 24, 2013 at 12:50 am •  Published: May 23, 2013

It’s 10:30 p.m., I’m finishing up a little work and watching the OSU-TCU baseball game in the Big 12 Tournament. It’s in the fourth inning. And it’s remarkable they’re that far along.

Heavy rain deluged the Oklahoma City metro area on Thursday morning, and the Big 12 Tournament started 31/2 hours late. That’s disastrous when you’ve got four games a day scheduled. But the teams got in a hurry, played some solid and quick ball, and the tournament’s first day — already delayed by the Moore tornado tragedy — has a chance to end before midnight.

But still, this is a tournament that’s daring the fates. The Big 12 has tried bracket play, and pool play, and then went back to bracket play only to resort back to pool play with the change in schedule this week. But it’s not the format that’s the problem. It’s the field. The number of teams.

Eight teams is pushing the boundaries. Four games a day is pushing the boundaries. One misstep with weather, and it’s difficult to get back on track.

The Big 12 Baseball Tournament started out with six teams, back when the league had 11 baseball-playing schools. Then the tournament expanded to eight teams. Maybe it’s time to go back to six.

Then the tournament could breathe a little. It would need 10 or 11 games to crown a champion, depending on the format.

I know every school wants to be included. But every school is not included now. The ninth-place team (this year Texas) is omitted. If you can keep out one, you can keep out three.

Somehow, groundskeepers and tournament organizers and quick-moving ballplayers got the first day’s action finished in decent shape. But this had disaster written all over it. OSU-TCU is a game that easily could have started at 11 p.m. They’re trying to play too much baseball in too short a time.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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