Sunday's loss - likely coupled with USM's unlikely victory on the same day - ignited quite the debate regarding the future of our baseball program (and probably torpedoed that exclusive interview RCR was going to get with Bianco). Shouting at each leaves one with a more satisfied feeling than good toilet paper, but there's still doo-doo everywhere. In an effort to clean up this mess - and bring a little closure and organization to our petitioning - a compendium of (mostly) annotated thoughts on the future of Ole Miss Baseball follows after the jump.
And, yes, this is the end of the discussion.
I asked The Ghost of Jay Cutler, JUCO All-American, and Brian Walker's Elbow to offer a synopsis of their thoughts on the future of the program.
Ghost made an-oft used comparison:
People who think we should let Bianco go--and yes, they do exist--are no better than Arkansas fans at the end of the 2007-2008 football season. Mike Bianco, like the Razorback version of our very own Houston Nutt, has consistently put into postseason play a program which, before his arrival, was struggling to earn respectability.
What's your retort to that B-Dub?
I AM NOT ADVOCATING THAT WE FIRE BIANCO, I am only saying that he needs to make some changes to be successful.
And everyone had some suggested changes. JUCO:
I don't think that hiring proven assistants who excel at their craft is too much to ask. I know that's what we thought we were getting with Reinstetle, and I think that he has helped our team in terms of batting average, but a recruiter he is not. We need to bring in an ace recruiter; someone who has proven themselves at a legitimate school. I don't follow college baseball closely enough on a wide scale to have any suggestions, but I know there are great recruiters out there. Let's get the best one that money can buy. If we had classes with multiple Jordan Henry-caliber athletes every year, we would be sitting pretty.
I'm also going to get my biggest problem with Mike Bianco out there. I know that lefty-righty stuff is statistically important to watch. However, Tim Ferguson batted .361 on the season but saw limited action due to the dominant hand with which he bats. I'm sorry, but David Phillips had no business batting over Tim Ferguson. Sure, he plays outfield and Ferguson doesn't, but I will never believe that Ferguson wouldn't be a better outfielder than David Phillips. Hell, start Jeremy Travis. He can slap the ball and is a natural outfielder.
It's simple; we need to amplify our recruiting. We have no reason to continue along the same path of "get two or three all-American types and surround them with junior college transfers." If we amend our ways, we could avoid having teams which somehow have Drew Pomeranz type players in the same dugout as David Phillips type players.
His risky decisions that may pay off in March are too abundant and poorly made in June. Also, he needs to step up recruiting and hire different assistants instead of promoting former players to just be his talking heads.
So, once again - and loud enough that Langston Rogers can hear you - what's the verdict on firing Mike Bianco?
Keep Bianco. Keep Reinstetle. Let Lafferty go, and bring in someone who can be asked to recruit and follow Bianco's orders when it comes to coaching. Bianco, put the best players on the field, and let them play.
We simply cannot let Bianco go. Not only is this because of how he has built a nationally-respected program out of next-to-nothing, but also because, if we ever were to do something so foolish, we would end up with a Gene Chizik at Auburn type situation.
Despite my negativity over the last couple of years, I do understand that Mike Bianco is the reason that Ole Miss Baseball is what it is. Honestly, I probably wouldn't even care about OM Baseball if it weren't for him.
For what it's worth, this is what I think:
Mike Bianco deserves our loyalty because he built the program. Nevertheless, some holes in the foundation of our "elite" program are glaringly obvious in the light of our most recent Super Regional loss. Perhaps our worst and most easily correctable deficiency is our fielding. Whether we are talking about Button and Ferguson at Second Base or Henson and Basham at Catcher, we find ourselves balancing between big batters and poor fielders - and largely bereft of players who can do both. Bianco needs to find and hire the assistant(s) necessary to fix this problem.
So, there you go - the compiled feelings of RCR. It's good stuff. It's closure. It's football season. So, offer your final thoughts below, but, before you do, go to your happy place (I just imagine Jerrell Powe on a motor-scooter) and keep it pleasant.