WAC to expand series length
The Western Athletic Conference baseball coaches voted this week to play four games in each series against league competition instead of three beginning in 2008.
Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said the vote was unanimous and it was spurred by the NCAA's new rule starting in 2008 that teams can't start their seasons before March 1.
The WAC schools would play 32 games each against conference competition instead of 24. The maximum total games per season is 56.
"We're all in the same boat," Trapasso said. "For college baseball, the mandatory start-date change is huge."
Is it good or bad?
"It depends on who you talk to," Trapasso said. "Obviously the coaches in the cold-weather conferences are thinking it's good for college baseball, it can create more parity. I think we're kidding ourselves if we really think that's going to happen."
The proposal goes to the WAC's competition committee, which meets Sept. 18, and with its approval, to the league's athletic directors in November.
Trapasso said the new start date creates a further scheduling problem unique to UH because mainland teams can play midweek games against neighboring schools. Even with a 32-game conference schedule for 2008, Trapasso said he has only 49 games scheduled using all available weekends.
"If I'm 7 games short, how can I fill? I can't play them at home because we can't get people to come out for just two games in the middle of the week," he said. "We might have to stay on the road longer and miss more classes and spend more money."
A four-game conference series would usually mean a single game on Friday, a doubleheader on Saturday and a single game on Sunday, Trapasso said. Four single games, Thursday through Sunday, could be played through mutual agreement.
"It means you're going to have to recruit more arms. Instead of adding depth in certain positions, you have to add more depth on the mound," he said.
Spiers transfers: Infielder Joe Spiers, who was second-team All-WAC as a freshman in 2005 but wasn't starting by the end of last season, has transferred to San Diego State.
"Joe wanted to be closer to home. His mother is sick," said his father, Mike Spiers.
Spiers played in every game and batted .307 in 2005 and led the Rainbows in runs, triples and steals. He fell off to .250 in 2006, and junior Eli Christensen took over the starting shortstop position. Spiers played some at second base, but Jonathan Hee was the starter there.
"Joe's not coming back and it's the best thing for Joe," Trapasso said. "It's mutual agreement. We wish him the best."
New surface delayed: The Rainbows will probably play one more season on the current artificial surface at Les Murakami Stadium.
"We were hoping for (the new FieldTurf surface) this season," Trapasso said. "But there's not enough time."
Fall practice, which starts Sept. 25, and Hawaii Winter Baseball using the stadium for games this year, preclude resurfacing for the 2007 season.
Nevada to host: Nevada will host the 2007 WAC tournament, pending approval by the WAC administration. Hawaii put in a bid.
In future years, the tournament might be rotated throughout the conference rather than put through a bid process.