Mississippi State coach John Cohen called this afternoon to say the school has launched a "Do It For Duffy" campaign to raise funds for former Bulldogs catcher Ryan Duffy, who was paralyzed from the neck down after diving off a dock in Key West, Fla., last month.
MSU is selling maroon wristbands for $5, but supporters are of course welcome to donate as much as they like. Cohen said the goal is to raise $100,000 to send Duffy to a premier recovery center in Atlanta. To purchase a wristband, just make checks out to the Ryan Duffy Recovery fund and send them to:
Mississippi State Baseball Office
PO Box 5327
Mississippi State, MS 39762
Cohen also weighed in on the new BBCOR-certified bats, which we wrote about Tuesday. He said the Bulldogs—who play in one of the most spacious fields in the Southeastern Conference—have hit just two home runs in batting practice and scrimmages since starting workouts on Aug. 21.
"And we have some guys with real power," he said. "Guys are killing balls, they just don't go. Nobody's going to hit balls out of our ballpark—I'm serious.
"I think it helps us, because we have really been on to runners and arm strength, and we have a huge area to cover in our outfield. We've really gone to guys who can run balls down. So I like it. If i was still at Kentucky (whose park is built for the long ball), I would not like it at all."
Even so, he expressed reservations about the inevitable power outage coming to college baseball in 2011 thanks to the new bat standards.
"There's no chance of having the dramatic ninth-inning walk off home run in certain ballparks—I think it's going to really change what we're doing," Cohen said. "Major league parks are built—Yankee Stadium is built so a guy can hit a 350-foot fly ball late in a game to win a game. It adds that excitement. At certain ballparks, that's not going to be available."
FInally, Cohen raved about freshman two-way talent Hunter Refroe, whose huge raw tools were described in a John Manuel column (subscribers only) in May.
"He might be the most under-the-radar guy I've ever come across," Cohen said. "He pitched in an intrasquad yesterday, and the first pitch he threw was 94. He went up to 96, and he's throwing 1.9(-second pop times) behind the plate. And it's an explosive bat—real power there.
"He's going to play right away for us."
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