Ball State Students to Report from MLB Camps in Florida

The following is a release from Ball State University:

Instead of hitting the beach and soaking up rays over spring break, 13 Ball State students will immerse themselves in professional baseball by producing stories of interest to residents of Indiana and surrounding areas.

Ball State Spring Training will be led March 2-9 by telecommunications professors Suzy Smith and Tim Underhill. Students will report from spring training — an annual event that helps Major League Baseball (MLB) players prepare for the upcoming season and gives minor league players a chance to move up to “The Big Show.”

Students will be responsible for contacting teams and setting up access, organizing and confirming travel, interviewing sources, and producing stories.

“This is an opportunity for our students to work as professional journalists,” Smith said. “Every student will have an opportunity to file a story from a major or minor league baseball training site.”

Students will visit spring training sites of the Houston Astros, New York Mets, Washington Nationals, Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins. MLB has 12 teams near the coastlines and three in the center of Florida playing in the Grapefruit League.

“We know that the Midwest has a great deal of interest in pro baseball with the popularity of MLB teams in Chicago, St. Louis and Cincinnati as well as minor league team scattered around,” she said. “At the same time, we have former college and high school players now in the training camps as well as lots of (Midwest) retirees who make their winter homes in Florida. So, there are a lot of great stories out there.”

The team will fill its website and several social media channels with various stories and infographics. Follow Ball State Spring Training at, on Facebook at Ball State Spring Training; Twitter, @BallState_ST: and Instagram, BSU_ST.

Life is Like a Team Sport

I admittedly have little knowledge about the game of soccer. I participated in a league for elementary students for a few years, but my experience mainly consisted of talking to teammates on the sidelines and partaking of the snacks before going home. I’m not even sure my foot ever made contact with the ball during a match.

In light of the recent World Cup matches, I came across an article posing the question: Is life more like baseball or soccer? The conclusion was that life mimics the team-oriented sport of soccer rather than the more-individualistic baseball. And while baseball is another sport that evades my complete comprehension, I found the argument compelling.

At Hanover College, where I’ll be a senior in the fall, we’re assigned to at least one group project in each of our business classes. During the first business class I took in college (and many of the subsequent ones I’ve completed), I received a speech on the team-oriented nature of business. Those of us who preferred individual work would have to adjust, because the success of an organization hinges on the collaboration of the individuals working within it.

The article is interesting because it asserts that even decisions we would consider purely personal—such as what career path to take, whom to socialize with and what values to hold—are actually influenced by the people around us, which makes sense. Our norms are determined by those we’re surrounded by.

Now, considering my lack of sports’ knowledge, I can’t truly comment on the soccer versus baseball argument, nor on Brazil’s loss to Germany (which seems to have inspired the article), but I appreciated the perspective on the team aspect of life and how influential our networks are. I think it’s something important to keep in mind, whether at work, school or simply with friends. Who we surround ourselves with and who we work with can play a major role in our lives.

The (Unscientific) Science of a Ceremonial First Pitch

Ah, finally it’s summer. That means that it’s time for pool parties and backyard barbecues and for the always-inevitable experience of people trying to make me watch baseball.

I’m not a baseball fan. I find the sport to be mind-numbingly boring most of the time. (And this is coming from someone who plays golf.) No offense if you’re a fan, I just can’t get into it. I enjoy the atmosphere at a ball park and always have a great time at the Chamber’s annual Indians outing, but actually sitting and paying attention to the game is … not my thing.

But something has caught my interest about baseball. This amazing graph from a Washington Post blog shows (non-scientifically) how well athletes, celebrities, politicians and fictional figures have fared in throwing out first pitches.

This comes on the heels of what many are calling the worst first pitch of all time by rapper 50 Cent. But, by looking at this chart, you can see it’s not just 50 Cent that has a terrible throwing arm: Carly Rae Jepsen (pop singer), T-Rex (apparently the tiny arms aren’t conducive to America’s favorite sport), and even President Barack Obama threw out just awful first pitches that were nowhere near their intended target.

Who has nailed it over the years, you might ask? George W. Bush threw one right down the middle and rapper Snoop Dogg and actor Matthew McConaughey also got theirs pretty close to the middle. Bill Clinton and Sonia Sotomayor ended up in the strike zone.

How did the writers at the blog come up with this interesting little chart? They simply watched videos of all of these first pitches and logged them as close as possible to where they landed. So, no, it’s not the most scientific of data collection, but it makes the odd tradition of a ceremonial first pitch a little more interesting.

As long as you’re not Nolan Ryan. Wasn’t that guy a major league pitcher?

Indiana Steps Up to Plate for Baseball Winter Meetings

Indianapolis Indians Chairman Max Schumacher had an interesting conversation with Bill Benner for Inside INdiana Business regarding his efforts in making Indiana a destination for Major and Minor League Baseball’s Winter Meetings. Though it was an arduous effort for years to convince baseball’s decision makers to meet in a "cold weather" city, they agreed to make Indiana the heart of the baseball world for this week (meetings began Monday).

Watch the video here.