Quick trivia question: Which stadium is oldest:
a) Lambeau Field (Green Bay)
b) Dodger Stadium
c) Beaver Stadium (Penn State)
d) Sewell-Thomas Stadium
You know where this is going right? Harry S. Truman was President, Bear Bryant was coaching Kentucky, and the University of Alabama opened their brand new baseball stadium. It was 1948. (For the record: Lambeau - 1957, Dodger - 1962, Beaver - 1960)
At a time when SEC baseball is thriving (three straight National Champs: SC, SC, LSU), the Tide is going in the opposite direction finishing 21-34 (9-21), only nine conference wins! The Tide began the season by getting swept at home by Florida Atlantic. Team batting average was only .259 with 20 total home runs. Brandon Miller of Samford hit 20 by himself. The pitching ERA was a robust 5.07 - 214th in the nation. The SEC tournament was expanded from 8 teams to 10 and the Tide still did not make it. With #8-ranked Texas A&M and Missouri coming in, it will not get easier.
"The Joe" is an old man and sadly needs major upgrades or a total replacement. With all the SEC TV money flying around and the revenue generated by UA sports, there has to be some money to get these facilities up to speed. Foster (women's hoops & volleyball), Coleman (men's hoops & Gymnastics), Rhoads (softball) and Bryant-Denny have all been given facelifts and all are impressive modern facilities. For Pete's sake even the Women's Soccer Complex is better than what the baseball team has. The 2012 average home attendance (3,458) dropped below 4,000 for the first time since 1998.
How far they have fallen? The 2010 team thrilled us after beating Georgia Tech in the regional and then coming within one swing of beating Clemson in the Super regional. Mitch Gaspard managed that team in his first season but the players were all recruited by former longtime manager Jim Wells, and many are gone. This year's roster will be losing several more key players to graduation including four of the top 5 hitters, most prominently, Taylor Dugas. The MLB draft could possibly take a few too.
So who is to blame? The facilities? The managing? The recruiting? All of the Above?
I think the answer might again be 'D'.