Tuesday, June 1, 1999

Baseball Goes 1-2 in NCAA Tournament

Tech sports are officially over now for the season, as the baseball team went 1-2 and was eliminated from the NCAA regional in Winston-Salem, NC.

The Winston-Salem regional ran true to the seeds, as almost every game was won by the higher-seeded team.  Richmond, seeded #2, opened by beating #3-seed Tech 5-3, while #1 Wake Forest dropped #4 Siena.  In the loser's bracket, Tech eliminated Siena 11-5, while Wake defeated Richmond in the winner's bracket.

The Spiders dropped down to the loser's bracket and eliminated Tech 11-8, and then, in the championship, Richmond managed to beat the Demon Deacons once before Wake finished them off and won the regional.

So that's it.  It's been a great year for Tech sports, but now it's over.

The next two months will provide a welcome breather, but then things will pick up in early August, when the Tech football freshmen report for freshman drills.  The summer is when I get to flex my creative muscles a little bit by doing site redesigns and tweaks to prepare HokieCentral for the next season.

The slow days of summer also provide an opportunity for me to try to fill the gap with interesting and informative articles.  Two years ago, in August of 1997, I broke new ground with the Bill Roth interview, and last summer, in July of 1998, I published an article on Lane Stadium expansion that brought a simmering topic to the forefront of every Hokie fan's mind.

This summer, we'll see what I have up my sleeve.  But this will not be a slow summer, news-wise, so there may not be any gaps I have to fill.

One matter that will play itself out over the next month or two is the issue of Virginia Tech's Big East membership.  Whether the president's vote goes yay or nay, it will be the topic of much discussion and debate.  I've already told you in last week's Special Feature what I'm going to think if the presidents don't vote us in, and in a future Special Feature, I'll give you my thoughts if we do make it in.

The other topic that will be in the forefront of Hokie fans' minds is Lane Stadium expansion.  Late last year, Jim Weaver put together a committee to study the issue of stadium expansion and to make recommendations for how the Hokies should renovate and expand Lane Stadium.  That study was original slated to be released in June of this year, which means ... this month.

I am not connected with anyone who is on the committee, but I did ask a Tech official a week or so ago if the committee's report was going to be on time, and he told me that it would be.  What form that study will take is not clear to me.  Will the report include detailed stadium expansion plans, including drawings, artists concepts, cost estimates, and funding proposals?  Or will it merely be a preliminary study that Jim Weaver and company will use to firm up expansion plans over the next year?

One things for sure:  Jim Weaver wants to get started yesterday, and Hokie fans do, too.  As long ago as last fall, a Hokie Club official told me, "I've got people shoving $50,000 checks in my hand for stadium expansion, and I can't take them, because stadium expansion isn't an official project yet."

And I've been hearing reports of architects and contractors doing detailed studies of the stadium's current configuration, layout, and construction.   I've got to figure that they have specific concepts in mind that they're working on and estimating for Jim Weaver what they're going to cost.

I took a day trip to Charlottesville over the weekend, and while I was there, I stopped by and took a look at the Scott Stadium expansion project, and UVa's new Jumbotron, which was installed about a year ago and saw action last season.   I came away with one impression:  it's no wonder stadium expansion projects cost in the tens of millions of dollars, because they are huge projects.   What UVa is doing to their stadium is a big-time construction project, and it's exciting, and yes, it made me jealous and anxious to get started on Lane Stadium expansion.

So it should be an exciting summer.  Hopefully, when it's over, we'll have a new all-sports home, and there will be an architect's model of an expanded Lane Stadium residing in Jim Weaver's office, along with a thick booklet detailing building plans and fund-raising plans for the 65,000-seat Lane Stadium of the future.

Hang on, Hokie fans, the future is coming towards us at light speed!


Tech Notes and HokieCentral Notes

  • Virginia Tech has posted information about next season's student season tickets (see their information site).  Full-time students will be able to purchase a season ticket for $42 and sit in the same reserved seat all season long.  It's a great move, one that I applaud, and if you think about it, this is going to create a lot of additional work for Tech's ticket office, so Tech should be commended for taking this step.
  • I promised an interesting survey this week on HC, and I haven't forgotten.  I will post the survey before the week is out, so look for it.   It's a survey that attempts to quantify HokieCentral's value to Virginia Tech and the athletic department by putting a dollar figure on the support and enthusiasm that HokieCentral generates for Tech sports.  That's a daunting task, but I'm going to give it a shot.


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