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College baseball programs are disappearing

This is not good for the future of the sport, in any way.

Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

In a bit of surprising news a week ago Friday, Bowling Green State University has cancelled its baseball program, effective immediately. They're the first college to permanently shutter baseball in the wake of COVID-19, but probably won't be the last. While it seems a bit anecdotal, and without much Cubs reference, it's not good.

Of the MLB players from BGSU, none played with the Cubs. However, most fans that mind the game beyond the Cubs should be familiar with Nolan Reimold, Roger McDowell and/or Orel Hershiser. All played at BGSU. Not a powerhouse by any stretch, they won the Mid-American Conference title eight times. This boils to fewer opportunities for fewer players to get enough at-bats or innings over a three- or four-year period.

In addition to BGSU’s bad news, Chicago State might be axing baseball, and Furman already has. Baseball costs just enough to run a program that it tends to get considered more than money-making sports like football and basketball.

That's the informative portion of the article. Is the loss of baseball programs unfortunate enough to make any difference? If it seems a bad thing, is there anything we can do to slow the tide? What’s the lesson to be learned?

Many baseball fans tend to have one team, and only one team, they care about. If you're reading this, said team may be the Chicago Cubs. If that describes you, and that best makes your life flow swimmingly, so be it.

I've gotten to the point where the evil isn't the Cardinals, Brewers, and/or White Sox, but fewer chances for qualified players to play baseball. The evil is the quality baseball player opting for college (or high school) football or basketball. In neighborhoods, people go to prep basketball games without thinking about it, more so on college campuses. Baseball? The roots are routinely ignored.

Baseball is best when baseball programs are healthy. Does your local youth baseball have a home? Do you know where it is? Have you been there in a decade? Tom Ricketts, despite his protestations, doesn't need your money. That's part of why I have no qualms spending almost no money per year on any sources that feed MLB. If youth baseball is developing talent, MLB will be fine. Are we supporting high school and college baseball? If not, perhaps we deserve any falloff in the sport. Here's to supporting college programs in your area.

On a Facebook group recently, someone trotted out the tired question: "Can you be a Cubs fan and a White Sox fan?" Of course you can. You can like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, as well. Closed-mindedness isn't a thing to take pride in, anymore. More baseball seems better than less baseball, if you like baseball. Look for bad news to continue.