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For What it's Worth: Thursday at the MVC Baseball Tourney

Bruce Haertl

For What It's Worth

10:57 AM EDT, May 23, 2013

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The funniest thing I’ve seen at the Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Tournament: The grounds crew using old couch cushions to soak up the water in the outfield. Talk about necessity being the mother of invention.

People watching---

Wichita State Athletic Director Eric Sexton has been a constant at this event (as he is at most Shocker events); one can’t help but wonder what his agenda is relative to Shocker Baseball. In what is a testimony to the stability in his department—how to handle Gene Stephenson is the first major personnel issue that he’s had to deal with.

Former WSU President and First Lady Shirley Beggs have been in attendance here. The pair retired up in the Bloomington-Normal area and are having a blast. Don says they spend most of their time traveling and being with family, I can’t think of two people who deserve it more. I’m hard pressed to think of any more influential people in the evolution at Wichita State, the amount of time, energy and enthusiasm that both put into running WSU has left an enduring legacy.

It was good to catch up with Gregg Brummett yesterday. The former big leaguer and Shocker great is in town to watch his son pitch for WSU today. Gregg continues to coach up at Cloud County Community College, where he says he enjoys the challenge of dealing with athletes in a quick two year window. It’s so hard for me to believe that it’s been 24 years since Wichita State’s National Championship produced the most recognized moment in Shocker sports history: Brummett being foisted in the air by catcher (now Seattle Mariners Manager) Eric Wedge.

Long shot---

After looking like a team that was ready for summer vacation on Tuesday, I was impressed with the way the Shockers battled yesterday. Maybe it was just playing Creighton one more time before they set out for the Big East, or maybe there’s a little more pride in that locker room than we thought. To stay in this thing Wichita State would have to beat Southern Illinois this morning, then Indiana State this afternoon. If they can answer that very tall order it would put them in a Friday matchup with Indiana State for a chance to advance to Saturday’s final. Even if they can accomplish that they’d have the likely challenge of Illinois State awaiting them, to this point the Redbirds have been the unquestioned class of this gathering.

Uh-oh---

The Royals have lost 12 of their last 16 to fall under .500; the problem continues to be lack of run support. The haters are starting to be heard with their calls to fire manager Ned Yost and I understand their frustration. Losing two of three at Houston hasn’t helped, but people have to stay patient. The fact is that Kansas City does have good enough pitching to win in the big leagues—that’s something they haven’t been able to say since 1985. Hitters generally warm up with the weather and while Kansas City is always going to have trouble scoring runs in bunches they should get more productive. Even with their swoon the Royals are only four games out—hang in there.