Terminated Sports: Stay or Play?

Like many (several?) of you, I've been wondering what athletes in the terminated programs have been thinking as they chew on their Thanksgiving meals and surely endure questions from every family member they see at a holiday gathering.

"We're all so proud of you, with your athletic talent and going to such a great university.  And then we heard your sport was cut.  What will you do? What WILL YOU DO?"  I envision it like all the senior year "what are you doing after graduation" conversations, except in this case it's with 18-20 year old kids who thought they had a few years to play their sport and go to school before having to face those questions, and in the case of freshmen not very long after they finished choosing among scholarship offers.

Googling a couple of weeks ago only yielded a story with Tony Renda (sophomore 3B) in which he said he thought most/all his teammates would stick it out, and a nascent alumni effort to raise enough money to buy another year for the sports.  Anyway, Ron Kroichick of the Chronicle asked the question around campus, and this is what he learned about the various sports.  With respect to the baseball program:

At least two baseball players, freshman pitcher Eric Jaffe (from Bishop O'Dowd High in Oakland) and sophomore infielder Brett Bishop, already have decided to leave. Jaffe plans to transfer to UC Extension, Southern Campus at the end of this semester, and Bishop will head to Fresno City College [really, SBN? Autolinking to FCC? Is there a "Rams Ritings" blog I don't know about?].

Most of Cal's baseball players plan to stay through the end of the school year. [Freshman C Andrew, the focus of the article and a 2nd-generation baseBear] Knapp will take recruiting trips to "a couple of Pac-10 schools" and expects to make his decision in January or February, just as he starts his freshman season at Cal.

Kroichick also discusses the different analyses players of sports without significant pro opportunities have to make to decide whether to stay or go. I don't have much to add with respect to the baseball players except that I was mistaken for Brett Bishop's dad at one game last year, when another player's dad came to commiserate over Esquer's insistence on bunting with the 3 and 4 hitters with men in scoring position (oh, the good old days of grumbling over baseball instead of budgets).  I don't know whether Bishop had a scholarship (I suspect from transferring to FCC the answer was no), but he only had 10 AB all season, all in pinch-hitting appearances, and one appearance as a defensive replacement or PR.  So we'll never know what he might have done at Cal, sadly. Jaffe was highly regarded at Bishop O'Dowd but didn't even get on the field in the blue and gold, and now will be back in the powder blue and yellow of the UC Extension Cubs.   Phenom lefty freshman starter (and occasional closer) Justin Jones is also quoted in the article:

"The fact we have to leave is kind of heartbreaking, but I think everyone is going to play ball somewhere."

Cal's strength last year and hope for next year was its trio of young ace starters (Jones, Dixon Anderson and Erik Johnson) and slugging C Chadd Krist (.344/.422/.609 in his sophomore season).  If any of these guys move it will be tough or impossible for the remaining Bears to avoid disaster in 2011 even if the program itself survives.  I can't imagine recruiting is going to yield much this year if as of January there's not even a program or scholarships to hand out. The three starters often had to pitch in relief on their off days as it was last season.  With no pitching help on the horizon, it's going to be tough sledding even if everything stays the same until February.

Good luck to all these scholar-athletes.  For the remaining Cal baseball players, I hope you'll wait until January to see whether the Barbour-ransom (see the last few paragraphs of the article) is successful to get the sport back. But I understand why you'd choose to leave (such as having to find $12,461.50 to attend school next year as a resident) and wish you the best in the upcoming season wherever you land.

The opinions expressed in a FanPost are, in every way, reflective of the opinions of every California Golden Blogs Marshawnthusiast. Moreover, they are reflective of every employee of SBNation, including Tyler "Blez" Bleszinski.

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