The top program from the Northeast over the last couple of seasons with wins and losses has been the Bryant University Bulldogs. But are they really the top program in the Northeast?
This past season, Boston College advanced to the Super Regionals and took the University of Miami right to the brink in the Coral Gables Super Regional, losing in Game 3. Featuring a first round pick this season in Justin Dunn (19th overall), the Eagles had multiple other players selected. This was the second straight season with a first round pick, after Chris Shaw was the 31st overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft.
If you look at the BC program from the outside, they play in the highly competitive ACC while being in an area of the country which hasn’t had a team make Omaha since 1986 when Maine made the trek. But the Eagles have become a respectable program, finishing with a 35-22 overall record and 13-15 in the highly competitive ACC in addition to the Super Regional appearance.
So is Boston College head coach Mike Gambino doing a good job at Boston College? In the beginning of his coaching tenure, there was some rough seasons going 37-66 in the first two seasons. But things got worse, as they had an abysmal 2013 season going 12-40 as the team took their licks with underclassmen playing every day. It worked out, going on a steady rise since going 22-33 in 2014 and 27-27 in 2015, before heading back to the NCAA Tournament this season for the first time since 2009 with a 35-22 record. The key part of this 2016 squad was the upperclassmen who took their licks during the 2013 season to develop into excellent players.
The Eagles winning the Ole Miss Regional as a three seed is interesting thing to look at. If the Eagles would have won a couple of more regular season games or gotten to the ACC Championship game, they could have been in position to host an NCAA Regional or Super Regional. If Long Beach State had won the Coral Gables Regional, you would of had two teams with identical seeds trying to host the regional. Boston College couldn’t host based on their facility.
As of right now, the team plays on a field with has a large parking deck on the first base line, no lights, and bleacher style seating which holds 1,000 people according to BC’s site. During the fall, the outfield doubles as a parking lot for Eagles football games, which means the team does not have the outfield walls up for fall games. They also do not have any indoor batting cages, helpful for player development during the harsh Boston winters.
How do they make things better? Build a better facility to support the team!
In the fall of 2015, BC announced that they were putting aside $200 million dollars to improve the athletic facilities including new baseball and softball stadiums. According to a BC Alumni magazine, the new baseball stadium is supposed to have 1,500 seats which would put it second to last in the ACC in capacity behind Pittsburgh. I have not seen the plans, but the pictures that were included in the Boston College alumni magazine (LINK) do not show batting cages and an indoor facility for either the baseball or softball programs.
This isn’t the first time we have heard about BC trying to build a new facility which has been rumored for the last ten plus seasons. If they are going to build one, they should make sure it can host an NCAA Regional. This means having batting cages, locker rooms, lights, and 3,000 seats, plus a press box with the ability to stream or broadcast your games. BC is currently the only team in the ACC that does not have a live video stream of home games.
My question is, “If you are going to put a shovel into the ground, why not make the facility the best as possible?” Is Boston College going to become a powerhouse program nationally year in and year out, like Louisville who plays in a very similar climate and in the ACC? We don’t know but why hinder them with a facility that isn’t up to par with the rest of the conference and the country?
If this facility isn’t up to caliber, you will see likely more unsettled times of the BC program having a good year and then crashing back down as it is tough to sustain an ACC program having a facility which isn’t even good enough for some Division 3 schools. So Boston College has a choice right now to either support the baseball program to support their school motto of “Ever to Excel” or continue to see little bursts of success.