Eric Peterson, Published March 16 2011
Peterson: Concordia baseball eager to get back on the field
The Cobbers are slated to play two doubleheaders against Dakota Wesleyan in Mitchell, S.D., on Saturday and Sunday. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, Burgau already has a backup plan.
“If not Mitchell, we’re going as far south as we need to go,” said Burgau, who is starting his 33rd season as Cobbers coach.
Burgau said he already has a field reserved in Lincoln, Neb., if the field in Mitchell is unplayable. Burgau is also working on trying to reserve a field in Sioux City, Iowa, and that could be another option as the Cobbers hope to hit the field for the first time this spring.
Concordia has already had seven games canceled the past two weekends. The Cobbers had what they thought were 12 solid games scheduled for this spring; that is until the Metrodome roof collapsed in December.
“That is bad luck for all of us,” Burgau said.
In the past the Cobbers had made trips to warm weather states to play early season games, until last season. Concordia decided to use the Metrodome games as spring training.
The plan worked great.
“We could go play four games and come back and practice and play four games and come back and practice,” Burgau said. “It was a nice progressive way to play games.”
Then the roof fell in on that plan.
Burgau said the team went away from traveling south to play games due to Concordia’s early spring break, which falls during the final week in February.
“You would come back and sit inside for a month of practice,” Burgau said. “You lose everything that you gain.”
The Cobbers started practice at the start of April and have not been outside yet for games or practice.
“The only time we have been outside is walking to our car and back,” Burgau cracked. “We have been doing the best we can with being inside. I give our kids credit.”
But there is only so much evaluation Burgau can do inside. There is no substitute for evaluating players on the baseball field. Burgau said its hardest on the players who are slated to be at backups at this point. Inside practices don’t give those players a chance to show they are ready for a starting job.
“You need to see it with your eyes. You need to see it on a baseball field. That is what were not being able to see right now,” Burgau said. “Sparky Anderson always used to say, ‘Trust your eyes’ and my eyes can’t help me right now because there is nothing for me to see.”
Burgau said once the snow does melt, having a new artificial turf infield will help his team get on the diamond immediately.
While Burgau and his team are eager to get on the field, it’s only been a minor inconvenience.
“We’re not missing any school,” Burgau said. “Kids are in school. We are eventually going to play baseball. It’s hard, but it’s not hard.”
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