Editor’s Commentary: Baseball America Shows Bias against Razorbacks


Fayetteville, Ark. – The “no respect” card made famous by comedian Rodney Dangerfield and now notoriously continued on in spirit by the University of Arkansas athletic program has grown from a ground swell of questionable calls Razorback fans grumble about among each other to an undeniable national bias played out by referees, umpires, and the media game after game, sport after sport, year after year.

Razorback fans will be happy to know that they can add another national publication (website) to the list of Razorback haters… Baseball America.

Baseball America has shown a strong penchant throughout the 2012 college baseball season to react like a petulant child to wins and losses by teams they had rated in their Top 25. Arkansas was often a poster child to their overreaction to wins and losses by a team they once rated as high as No. 3 in the nation (March 26) and was ranked as their preseason No. 4.

The demise of Arkansas’ talent and abilities in the eyes of Baseball America began after the Hogs lost a tough road series to LSU the weekend of March 30 dropping Arkansas from No. 3 to No. 13, the first of many dramatic swings for the Razorbacks’ rankings posted weekly by Baseball America.

A home series loss to then No. 2 Kentucky by a total of two runs dropped Arkansas six spots in Baseball America’s April 16 poll from No. 11 to No. 17.

The dramatic drops should be equaled out by overly dramatic upswings with major series wins, right? Wrong. When Arkansas took two out of three against then No. 1 Florida in Gainesville, Arkansas jumped three whole spots from No. 21 to No. 18 but the Gators magically remained No. 1.

Does Baseball America compile their Top 25 rankings with a non-bias, objective, and/or journalistic approach for college baseball fans? One could only wish.

The latest crime against Arkansas by a national media outlet came in Baseball America’s final poll published Tuesday, June 26.

Regardless of the fact that the Hogs were one of four college baseball teams remaining in the College World Series and were within one game of advancing to the Championship Series to play University of Arizona for the national championship, the questionable baseball minds behind Baseball America picked Arkansas as the sixth best team in the nation for their end of the season poll.

For those that are not aware, Baseball America, the logic of having a 64-team Division-I NCAA baseball tournament is to resolve which teams are the best on the field not in your office.

The purpose of a tournament is to allow the best of the best to play each other thus resolving the need for personal opinion most commonly found in college football thus the upcoming change from the Bowl Championship Series and bowl system to a four-team playoff.

The NCAA’s approach to an end of the season tournament that allows each of the 64 teams participating in the College World Series two games before being eliminated was lost on Baseball America and their writers.

Despite the thought of favorable post season matchups for certain teams, traveling vs. hosting or hosting vs. traveling, and conference alignments each team in the 64-team field is given a minimum of two chances to advance in each of the four rounds of the CWS. What each team does with those opportunities once they make the post season is up to them and the home plate umpire squeezing balls and strikes out of their least favorite teams.

From an objective viewpoint Arkansas’ offense was average at best throughout the season and during their run through post season play. That average offensive lineup was talented enough to win 46 games while playing in arguably the toughest conference in Division-I baseball. That average offense was part of a system set up by Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn.

It is hard to argue against the thought that Arkansas had one of if not the best pitching staff in the nation as evident by their play throughout the season especially when the chips were on the table.

Arkansas’ pitching staff posted a season ERA of 2.83 and a CWS ERA of 1.92.

Van Horn’s system places more emphasis on pitching and defense than offensive firepower. While not sexy, Van Horn’s system advanced Arkansas into the Final Four of college baseball in 2012 in a similar style to South Carolina’s head coach Ray Tanner.

Everyone is allowed their opinion and perhaps there are five teams, or more, with better talent on their respective rosters than Arkansas’? If the other teams are more talented then that means Van Horn is a better coach because he got more out of his roster than the other coaches.

No matter how one dissects the season in totality the run in the post season is what counts. At worst Arkansas should be rated the fourth best team in the nation or at best ranked No. 3 as found by Collegiate Baseball’s rankings.

The atrocity of demoting the accomplishments made by Arkansas’ coaching staff and players in the 2012 College World Series is a senseless crime that should not be forgotten by not only Razorback fans by college baseball fans of “smaller” schools that are not in the warm graces of Baseball America and their writers.

Baseball America’s Top 10

No. 1 Arizona

No. 2 South Carolina

No. 3 Florida

No. 4 Florida State

No. 5 UCLA

No. 6 Arkansas

No. 7 Stony Brook

No. 8 Kent State

No. 9 LSU

No. 10 Baylor

Five teams finished in Baseball America’s Top 25 rankings that were not ranked before the CWS began: Arkansas, Kent State, No. 14 Oklahoma, No. 15 St. John’s, and No. 16 TCU.

Three teams in Baseball America’s previous Top 10 almost fell out of their Top 20: then No. 6 UNC now No. 17, then No. 8 Rice now No. 18, and then No. 9 Texas A&M now No. 19.

Results of Baseball America’s Top 10 in Omaha

Stony Brook and Florida, 0-2

UCLA and Kent State, 1-2

Florida State, 2-2

Arkansas, 3-2

South Carolina, 3-3

Arizona, 5-0

Arkansas’ season record against Baseball America’s current Top 8

Vs. No. 2 South Carolina 2-4

Vs. No. 4 Florida 2-1

Vs. No. 8 Kent State 1-0

Arkansas had a combined 2-4 record against LSU (0-3) and Baylor (2-1).

Collegiate Baseball’s Top 10

No. 1 Arizona

No. 2 South Carolina

No. 3 Arkansas

No. 4 Florida State

No. 5 UCLA

No. 6 Kent State

No. 7 Florida

No. 8 Stony Brook

No. 9 LSU

No. 10 Baylor