Men’s Baseball: The Curious Split Season Scenario

By: Jesse Schrade

The University of Windsor Lancer men’s baseball team has a peculiar schedule – split in two with months in between the halves.

Head Coach Frank Jeney, enjoys the split season and feels it leads to player development.

“It allows for development all year round,” Jeney explained.  “Most Canadian universities and colleges play a quicker 10-week fall schedule.”

With this split season, the Lancer’s team has the opportunity to play more games, with more rest and have continuous practice. It also allows the team to play a majority of their games in better weather.

Jack Zimmerman, one of the team’s all-star pitchers and captains, finds that the split season lessens player workloads both physically and educationally.

“It’s a major adjustment for the players in terms of skill development, but it helps with scheduling and easing the workload during school,” says Zimmerman.

This split season seems to cater to the needs of the players permitting them to be both a student and an athlete equally.

“A benefit is that most of our games take place on weekends, which allows us to not miss as many classes,” Zimmerman added.

The break not only allows the players more time to focus on their studies, but it also allows them a chance to work on technique halfway through the season in order to better themselves.

“This kind of break would not benefit a professional like it benefits myself,” Chris Rinaldi-Ross, right fielder, and co-captain explained. “I get to try things out in my exhibition games and assess my performance.  A professional knows how they want to be and want to keep a routine and groove for their season I feel.”

The breaks themselves are not the only thing different for professional’s and university athletes, how they use the break is quite different too.

“Most of us are at the point in our baseball career where we are still figuring out playing styles, new techniques, we are just learning much more in general. When they (professionals) are in the offseason I think they are more trying to tweak and fix small things to make themselves better,” Rinaldi-Ross added.

A young player needs time to grow and find themselves, this break allows them constant exposure and practice to help them succeed.

While there are multiple positives for the players due to this break, there still are negatives that come along with it as well. The focus is needed to succeed in any aspect of life and with a four-month break that could be hard to maintain.

“Some negatives are that you might lose focus,” Ross stated. “If you are not working to get better, you are probably getting worse.”

The focus is important, but in sports so is rhythm and momentum. This split season can take away from the cohesiveness of a team.

“Last year we finished the fall very strong, and our momentum was something that definitely would have helped us, but unfortunately we had to bottle that up,” Zimmerman explained. “It (the break), can affect team chemistry as well if there isn’t enough interaction.”

There are positives and negatives to any situation and the Lancer Men’s Baseball schedule is no different. At 7-4 going into the break, they look to stay in shape and prepared for the next half of the season that recommences in March.

“The break certainly favours the team that stays prepared,” Zimmerman concluded.

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