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Lee Bowen Column: Notes from around the bases

By: Lee Bowen
Date: February 13, 2003

Lee Bowen Column
When we were on the plane on the five-hour Atlanta to San Francisco leg of our trip to Stanford, one of the flight attendants came up to me and asked if I was one of the coaches. I said no, and pointed out Coach Martin to her. She said she just wanted to tell him that FSU's players were "the best behaved group of young men I'd ever been around." Don't you wish we could read more things like that in the media coverage of FSU sports?

While I'm on the subject, I always chuckle when I read columnists or hear commentators who blast the media's coverage of this or that as if they aren't part of the media. We all may not be part of the problem, but we're still part of the group.

And while all of our flights were on time (this time) and the airport security wasn't a huge hassle (this time), if I ever win one of those huge lottery jackpots, I'm going to donate enough money to allow FSU's baseball and women's softball teams to charter planes rather than go commercial. I'd have to do it for both teams on account of Title IX. And I wouldn't complain. I'm a supporter of the concept of Title IX, although I don't care for some of the hard-line ways it gets implemented sometimes. Title IX was designed to increase opportunity for students to become athletes. Cutting men's teams, which has happened at a lot of schools, is a slap in the face to the spirit of the law. But anyway, chartering saves time, makes it easier to carry all the team's equipment, and keeps players in class longer when used properly. My ultimate goal is to never see the inside of the Atlanta airport again (except when we're playing at Georgia Tech).

Just for comparison's sake, regular unleaded gas around Stanford started at $1.99 per gallon while were out there. The top of the line, full-service premium gas, was selling for $2.45 a gallon at a couple of stations I noticed. And we think Tallahassee-area gas is way too high ($1.65-1.75 range for regular this week)! While reading the newspaper, I spotted an ad for a one-bedroom/one-bathroom home in the Palo Alto area. It could be all yours for $379,000!

Of course, it's not all bad news for San Francisco-area residents, especially ones that have been long-time homeowners. Our bus driver, for example, is preparing to retire after 30 years behind the wheel. We got to talking to him about the housing prices, and he told us that he bought his house 31 years ago for $18,500. He's ready to sell it and move to the mountains. The listed price for his current home: $2.3 million. Oh yes, he'll get something near that, too. A pretty good investment, I'd say.

The bus driver did a nice job as tour guide for all of us who went on a Saturday night tour of San Francisco with him. Although I could've done without his discussion of the partial collapse of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge during the 1989 "World Series" earthquake, which he did while we were driving over the span. It's a long way down to the bay from up there.

Former coach and new Director of Baseball Operations Chip Baker has plenty of work to do in the office during the week and when we're traveling. But he admitted that he was pretty bored just watching the games at Stanford. He says not coaching third base anymore cost him the best seat in the house, in his opinion.

NCAA nonsense part one: A new rule (Section 13-e of the NCAA baseball rulebook) says base coaches can't wear warm-up jackets or pullovers over their uniform jerseys. The umpires enforced the rule in the 49-degree weather during last Saturday night's game. Poor Mike Martin, Junior. The Seminoles' new third-base coach likes to wear his long-sleeve pullover even when it's 95 degrees in the shade out there. The rule does allow warmer clothing to be worn underneath the jersey, as long as the sleeves are the same color as the long-sleeve undershirts worn by the players. Glad to know there aren't any real burning issues keeping the rule-writers up nights, seeing they have time to fool with stuff like this.

NCAA nonsense part two: Saturday and Sunday's games were attended by a contingent of the San Francisco Seminole Booster chapter. They had planned to meet with the team after Saturday's game to pose for a photo with them. Until it was determined that doing that might be some sort of NCAA violation. Just be glad fans are allowed to watch the games at all, I guess. By the way, thanks for bringing me the burger and homemade brownies from your pre-game barbecue, folks.

This week is a pretty big one on the FSU baseball calendar: Wednesday is Coach Martin's (Sr.) birthday, and Assistant Coach Jamey Shouppe and his wife Karen are celebrating their 20th anniversary this week. Do you know that Jamie and Karen's oldest boy, Jake, is in high school already? It doesn't seem that long ago when Karen used to bring toddler Jake to the ballpark, joined not too long later by his little brother and sister. Jake used to spend a lot of time hanging out with the players, shagging flies, maybe getting to field a ground ball or two. He can't do it anymore, since now that he's in the ninth grade and a baseball player, working out with the team would constitute an NCAA recruiting violation (that's NCAA nonsense part three).

I lurk on the FSU baseball message board here on Warchant, and took note of a thread by someone wishing that college baseball could be as popular as college football and men's basketball, with the accompanying media coverage. While I understand his or her point, I'm sometimes afraid giving the sport that kind of attention might ruin it. I like the cozy ballparks, the closeness fans can have with the players, the fact that anyone, not just corporate bigwigs and those with connections can buy a face-value ticket to the College World Series, among other things that would probably go away with such a change.

Finally, there will be, I imagine, some additional inconvenience involved in coming to games at Howser Stadium this year because of the construction. Please don't stay away on account of it. Howser is going to be gorgeous when the work is completed next year.

One other tip: Plan to arrive early for games (especially the "big" ones) or be prepared to park in Timbuktu.

Go 'Noles! 04-cheers
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