Sports Editor’s Playbook, May 3, 2013

Patrick Newell

Congratulations to Greene varsity baseball coach Steve Burghardt, who won his 300th career game last weekend against Whitney Point. Burghardt is in his second stint with the Trojans. In his first go-around, he won multiple Susquenango Association championships, and to my knowledge, at least three Section IV titles. Burghardt was his typical understated self when asked about his achievement earlier this week. “I’m 60 years old, so what’s that, five wins a year? No big deal,” Burghardt said.

The baseball and softball regular seasons are drawing to a close within the next week-plus. And it’s a darn shame as we’re now approaching the best weather of the spring. Thursday was a sunny 80 degrees with a light breeze, and Wednesday was carbon-copy weather. Since the beginning of April, local clubs have taken to the diamond in chilly, windy, and usually inclement weather conditions. One coach told me that his team played half of its season over the previous two weeks, and his regular season will end next week. For schools whose record does not qualify for the postseason, their 2013 baseball/softball season will be over before May 10. Total length of season for those clubs, according to my records: Five weeks.
The first baseball and softball games reported in The Evening Sun this spring were played on April 4. Along the way we have seen numerous postponements and rescheduled games due to poor weather. Figuring in rescheduled games, we’re 28 days removed from those first games, and the season is nearly over. Does that feel like a real varsity sports season? Especially in comparison to the length of the fall and winter sports seasons? The season is shoved down our throats as if it is a sprint to the finish line. Meanwhile, only the best teams get to enjoy some of the better weather that is heading our way the next few weeks. Let’s analyze this year’s spring sports season: Practice began in early March – indoors every day – running nearly four weeks until the start of the regular season. The regular season lasts five weeks, and the postseason (league, sectional, and state playoffs) will last approximately another four weeks. Over those 12 or so weeks, one-third of the time kids are not even practicing outdoors, and in the final third, most of teams are either ineligible to play based on record or are eliminated from the postseason in the first week. In the end, baseball and softball players are getting short-changed in the spring sports season.

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