You might have noticed a large green clock counting down in the middle of our College page. The clock is counting down toward the first pitch of the college baseball season–specifically, the first pitch of the 12:01 a.m. game between Central Michigan and Florida Gulf Coast on Feb. 20. By rule, that’s the earliest a Division I game can start in 2009.
Chippewas coach Steve Jaksa hatched the midnight madness idea as a way to build excitement for the start of the season.
"Coach Jaksa wanted to do something a little bit different," said Central Michigan assistant coach Mike Villano. "We brought it up to Florida Gulf Coast, and they were all for it too. We have a lot of alumni support in Florida, and there should be quite a few that want to come out for that game. And I’m sure their fans will be outstanding–kids love Thursday nights."
The two teams will play again at 8 p.m. on Friday, but Villano said there’s plenty of time to regroup in between.
"We’ve got time to go home at 3:30 and get eight hours of sleep," he said. "Plus if you’re not excited for the first game of the year, then you’ve got a problem."
No other midnight games are scheduled for Feb. 20, but Cal State Fullerton is planning a midnight practice on Feb. 1, the earliest that D-I teams are allowed to practice. The event will be open to all family, friends and fans who "want to compete with the Titans’ stamina," according to a release.
"We want to be the first team to practice and the last team to play," Titans coach Dave Serrano said, referencing the College World Series Finals in June.
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