I'd heard rumors that Towson University's men's baseball and soccer programs were going to end up on the chopping block due to budget issues, but I told myself they were little more than that. When I read the article in the sports section of The Sun's October 3 issue confirming that indeed these two sports are being targeted for elimination ("Baseball, men's soccer target of cuts"), the confirmation hit me like a blow to the gut. As sources in the article bemoaned the effect that these cuts will have on alumni, my heart went out to players on the other side of the spectrum.
My 10-year-old son, a baseball nut, has his sights on playing Division I baseball someday. This summer, he had an incredible experience at a baseball hitting camp at Towson University. Sure, he reveled in the chance to smack a ball and run the bases for three hours straight during a hot summer week in July. But he was equally taken with the Towson University baseball players/counselors at the camp, who quickly learned the campers' names and eagerly showed them how the game is played. Now, as we routinely pass Towson University when running errands around town, inevitably my son's head swivels as the university's baseball diamond comes into view. I suppose soon, he will look only wistfully at the diamond, which I'm guessing will remain empty all year if the baseball program at Towson University is cut.
Tyler Austin, a graduate of Towson University and a four-year pitcher for the school, responded aptly to the news. "It's ridiculous. Baseball is America's pastime." And yet, even as the Orioles vie for a spot in the post-season for the first time in 15 years, it suddenly feels like the sport's future isn't so clear.
Elizabeth Heubeck, TowsonCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun