Will Baseball fall classic lead to a summer series for the Longhorns?
A believer in the traditions that make Texas Baseball special, coach Augie Garrido looks forward to the annual Fall World Series, a tradition that serves as the conclusion to fall baseball practice.
This year’s affair is set for Oct. 26-27 and will be played at Dell Diamond in Round Rock as renovations of UFCU Disch-Falk Field continue.
Garrido said assistants Tommy Harmon and Skip Johnson each will pick team captains and then the captains will hold a player draft, picking the squads for the Orange-White scrimmage that will be open to the public.
Johnson, who was hired to replace Tom Holliday when he left for North Carolina State in July, brings an impressive resume to UT after 13 years as head coach at Navarro College in Corsicana.
“Skip Johnson brings leadership skills not only in the area of pitching mechanics and techniques,” Garrido began, “but also in the area of total team development. He is regarded by the most knowledgeable baseball people in the state as the best teacher of pitching skills.
“Coach Johnson will have a leadership role on our team that is the equivalent of a defensive coordinator in football.”
Johnson guided Navarro College to the National Junior College Athletic Association Regional Tournament four times and guided the Bulldogs to eight of the past 12 Texas Eastern Athletic Conference Championships.
As far as the Fall World Series, Garrido points to his UT predecessor, Cliff Gustafson, as the creator of the concept.
“I’m just keeping it going,” Garrido said.
Of course, Garrido has done much more than just keep it going since becoming the headman in 1996.
Last year marked the first time since 2001 that Garrido and his team didn’t spend June in Omaha. His Horns captured the national championship in 2002 and 2005 and wound up second and third, respectively, in 2004 and 2003.
Garrido welcomes back a solid corps of veterans, including outfielders Jordan Danks and Kyle Russell, first baseman Chance Wheeless, catcher Preston Clark, and infielders Nick Peoples, Chais Fuller and Bradley Suttle. .
Kainer was the second leading hitter a year ago, and he, Russell and Suttle were among the top RBI contributors.
The pitching staff returns almost intact, but veteran right-hander Kenn Kasparek will sit out the fall following arm surgery. Randy Boone and Adrian Alaniz, two of the veterans who were part of the National Championship season of 2005, should be the leaders of the staff.
And while Garrido lost a Stubbs in Drew, he gained a Stubbs in Clint, a freshman with fine credentials -- not to mention a great bloodline.
The Longhorns’ skipper is not quite sure what the mood of the returnees will be in light of the disappointing end to the 2005 campaign.
“I don’t deal in expectations,” Garrido said. “I try to structure things the way I think they need to be structured. I don’t deal with perceptions.
“It is up to the players to willingly accept their responsibility.”
Seeing if they will begins in October.