Fall Report: Oregon StateFall Report
CORVALLIS, Ore. — Change is inevitable in all facets of college baseball.
Obviously, you have players coming and going every four years, exhausting their eligibility, turning pro as juniors, transferring, etc. Also, coaches come and go, especially the assistants as they jockey for better pay and better opportunities in this sport which offers just two paid assistants per team.
But it could be argued that no program in the country has gone through more changes since last season than the national champion Oregon State Beavers. From their one-through-nine batting order they will have to go forward without three first round talents, a fifth-round talent and a 10th-round talent. That’s over half the batting order as high-round draftees going off to play professional baseball. They also lost their Friday night ace and another pitcher who was taken in the sixth round of the draft.
For some programs that’s as much high-altitude talent as they lose in 10 years, much less one fell swoop like the Beavers did.
Oh, before we get too far along, the Beavers also lost their long-time Hall Of Fame head coach Pat Casey. Maybe you heard about that? Well of course that changes everything about this program because coach Casey was the architect of a baseball revolution in these parts, turning a completely irrelevant school tucked way up in the Pacific Northwest with nearly zero history and turned it into a national power that won three national titles and played in six June Classics over his career. Remarkable. I equate what Casey did with what Bill Snyder did for Kansas State football… except Casey won the big brass ring three different times.
Well now the Beavers are spending the fall dealing with the loss of those difference-making players on the infield, some flyers in the outfield, a key arm or two and new leadership on the practice field. Needless to say, there is a lot to shake out in this fall session in Corvallis. But one thing has remained… the hard work, the desire to be the best and the effort level has not changed. When I asked interim head coach Pat Bailey about if the players have shown up this fall with a purpose and with a good work ethic, he stated flatly, “They don’t have a choice.”
“I tell our guys every time they pass through that gate and enter Goss Stadium, I want you to be a laser beam, not a flood light,” Coach Bailey said. “So nothing has changed about that.”
I was able to stop into Corvallis to take in a Beavers practice last week and to talk to coach Bailey and pitching coach Nate Yeskie and also get a pulse on what is going on with the program as they move forward. Here is how things break down for the Beavers in their fall practices.
Pat Bailey, the right hand man to former head coach Pat Casey, takes over the head coaching reigns of the defending national champions. Although the “interim” tag is in play here, not a lot will change on the day-to-day operations of how things are done for the Beavers, especially in these fall practice days.
“I was in charge of our recruiting,” Bailey said. “I was also in charge of practice planning, although Casey and I would often plan them together sometimes. But if he was unavailable or in meetings then I would do them myself. So I’m basically do a lot of the same stuff on a day-to-day basis but now I’m the one going to a lot of meetings too.”