The regular season for UMaine has wrapped up. Social media warriors and clueless online message board commenters have had plenty to say about this program.
Many of these morons have never even see a game. Because other than some parents and a few hundred people, not enough people bother to go see the team play and they simply rely on the win-loss record to form their uninformed opinions.
Even our own esteemed leader of the Chowdah, the Head Chef if you will, Jeff Solari wrote a blog regarding the past season lamenting their recent lack of sucess.
Sure, the record isn't what we would like. Nobody is disputing that. But if you really dissect what is going on, you see that the program is better than the record suggests.
There are 299 D-I college baseball teams. Maine baseball finished with a non conference Strenghth of Schedule rated 18th by WarrenNolan.com, a reputable college baseball website. The days of major opponents coming to Orono for games is, sadly, over for the most part. The 1980's aren't walking through that door. So Maine hits the road and bravely places the big boys.
Baseball at Maine is poorly funded. It has to rely on major opponents on the road to generate some paychecks. Football fans get excited to see Maine go get huge paydays and play the likes of Nebraska, Central Michigan and Syracuse. But when baseball does the same thing, they get criticized for not winning enough. You can't have it both ways.
People in the Bangor metro don't support the program with a revenue generating attendance, so Coach Nick Derba and company are forced to hit the road against big time opponents to help keep the program going. That results in a poor win loss record but also some cash in the bank and some great experiences for the players.
The Black Bears complete in the America East, which while described as weak and mediocre by some, came in this year ranked 20th in the country in RPI according to WarrenNolan. The conference is competitive and has actually had a representative in the College World Series recently ( Stonybrook 2012). Despite public opinion, or misconception, there is some good baseball played in the conference.
I would recommend that people dig a little deeper into why the win-loss record for baseball isn't what we would all like it to be and understand the details behind that.
For a region that is so baseball centric with the Red Sox and Sea Dogs, it's truly a shame that this discussion even has to take place, especially considering that many of the players on the Maine roster are Maine kids. Everyone needs to start taking some pride in our baseball program, regardless of record.