ASU baseball is having one of its worst seasons in recent time, but despite all the struggles, it’s not time to hit the reset button with the program.
ASU baseball is a college baseball mainstay.
Fifty-four consecutive seasons of 30-plus wins and 108 alumni who played in the major leagues.
Sun Devil baseball prides itself on remembering the past and fostering the next wave of talent.
No one has done a better job of honoring the past than head coach Tracy Smith, but for the present Smith’s seat is heating up like the Phoenix summer sun.
This team will not reach the 30-win threshold, five players have been dismissed/left the team and as rival Arizona prepares for another postseason run, fans in maroon and gold remain scratching their heads at another failed season from ASU athletics.
Collegiate baseball isn’t close to football and basketball in popularity or funding.
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But for Arizona State a school that loves to name drop Barry Bonds, Reggie Jackson, Dustin Pedroia etc. baseball is vital.
The program’s current trajectory is trending down, even with a strong core of freshmen you can feel the frustration from the boosters and fans surrounding program struggles.
Recently departed pitcher Zach Dixon’s father, Dan, told azcentral sports “there is a lot of turmoil and conflict,” within the team.
No program ever wants to be described this way, but the interesting part is how close this team was only a season ago.
A strong late-season push included a regional appearance against TCU providing the team with momentum heading into the 2017 campaign.
A good non-conference start was quickly erased in tough losses to powerhouse Oregon State, UCLA and Arizona.
The struggles in the Pac-12 show how far this team is away from competing in the strong conference.
Good young position players have been a highlight but few pitchers aside from Chaz Montoya give hope to a struggling program.
As for next season, Tracy Smith will return to his post as head coach.
One bad season isn’t reason to relieve him from his job especially with the potential he showed the prior two seasons.
Lyle Lin and Hunter Bishop will look to build upon good freshman campaigns and become team leaders for another young squad.
I’ve preached patience with this team for most of this season.
That being said there are real problems surrounding the team.
Are they as bad as Dan Dixon claims? I would say no, but there is a negative perception that Tracy Smith will need to kick to start another historic win stretch.