Here are a few random thoughts on this rainy Wednesday…
• Umps vs. Cancer: Many of you that have attended games this week may have noticed that umpires are not dressed in their normal attire. Often referred to as, “Blue,” due to the color of their shirt, umps will be dressed in pink shirts to raise cancer awareness for the next two weeks surrounding Mother’s Day. According to co-section coordinator Phil DiRuocco, they raised between $5,000-7,000 last year through Section 1, and they’re hoping to come up with even more this season. In order to make a donation, visit the American Cancer Society website, or contact your school.
• Classes AA and B look deep, but Class A…: I sent in my suggestions from Section 1 for the state rankings today, and while the picture seems to be getting clearer in both Classes AA and B, I’m still scratching my head in Class A. I think we have a good idea of who the top five or six contenders in AA and B are at this point, but your guess is probably as good as mine in A. No team looks like the favorite right now, with virtually every team in the class dealing with some form of inconsistency. The Class A playoffs have traditionally been the most unpredictable in recent years, and that seems like it will be the case once again. Pitching and who gets hot at the right time will likely be the biggest factors, so I’d look at the teams that have a few quality arms.
• League titles: With only 12 days left in the regular season, the league title races are heading for the homestretch. In this week’s notebook, which comes out on Friday, I’ll break down the situation in each league.
• Playoff schedule: I’ve received a lot of questions about the playoff schedule in recent days, so here you go. The last day that regular season games can be played is Sunday, May 19, with the seeding meeting scheduled for Monday, May 20. Outbracket games will be played that Tuesday, with the first round on Wednesday and the quarterfinals on Thursday. The semis will be played on Saturday, May 25, which means that teams advancing that far will need to have three starting pitchers ready to go. How teams line them up will be very interesting to see. The section championship games will be held on Tuesday, May 28 and Wednesday, May 29 at Provident Bank Park. Classes B and C will play on Tuesday, with Classes AA and A playing on Wednesday.
• Pitching feature: I’m very excited about a big pitching feature story that I wrote, which will run as our centerpiece in Sunday’s paper. I’m calling it an examination of how pitchers are handled in their high school years, with an emphasis on what causes injuries and injury prevention. Pitching is considered to be the most unnatural act in sports, and I’ve spoken with pro players, college players, high school players, coaches at varying levels, doctors, specialists and state officials to get their opinions. Currently, there are no state regulations as far as pitch count goes, but there are many layers to this discussion. I’m hoping that this piece will be both eye-opening and educational. Be sure to pick up a copy of Sunday’s paper (and of course, I’ll also post the full story on the blog).
NOTE: Most of today’s games have been postponed, but a few teams many still try to get them in. I’ll post later if we receive any results.