By William Qualkinbush.
By William Qualkinbush
With winter weather squeezing the workweek down to a fraction of itself all over the East Coast, Clemson baseball may find itself in a collateral damage situation.
The Tigers plan to open the season on Friday against Eastern Michigan in the first of a three-game series. However, there are some questions about the readiness of the field and surrounding areas for play.
The massive snowstorm that swept through Pickens County this week has disrupted preparations for the season. Couple that with a relatively minor snow dusting from two weeks ago that caused some minor adjustments, and the preseason practice regimen for the Tigers has been anything but normal.
Bad weather, especially of the unexpected variety, is a nuisance to Head Coach Jack Leggett. He is a fan of the schedule whose stated desire is to get every game played when it is supposed to be played, regardless of circumstances. It is a philosophy that trickles down to his team from his head coach.
“You can’t let it get in your mind,” Leggett said of the weather. “We’ve got some work to do. We’ve got a job on our minds, and you have to put the elements out of it.”
As of Thursday afternoon, there were no plans to alter any times or dates related to the baseball schedule. Sunshine and warmer temperatures should help thaw the field, and enhancements to the drainage system at Doug Kingsmore Stadium will get an early test.
Also tested will be the Clemson players, who have had to alter their own personal schedules this week due to class cancellations and slick roads for travel. Still, Leggett feels his team will be ready due to the sense of accountability they feel to one another.
“They work extremely hard,” he said. “They’re very dedicated to each other, very loyal to each other. We’ve got a good feeling about it.”
In general, the start of any season is about testing the waters to find which pieces fit together best. Such a philosophy will certainly be employed by Leggett and his staff this weekend, as there may be fewer answers available to the questions that persist on the roster.
“We’ve got more depth,” Leggett said. “We’ve got more guys that can run. We’ve got more interchangeable parts.”
Drive and determination are not weaknesses on this team, according to the coaching staff. No matter what curveballs outside circumstances lay before them, the players tend to respond well.
Because of the objectives on the table, each game is important for the Tigers. If they are to achieve their goals, they will need to play in a superior way—regardless of the conditions at game time.
“These guys have a vision,” assistant Bradley LeCroy said. “They know what the goal is here at Clemson, and we’re very confident that, once February 14th comes, these guys will still be focused and hungry for what we need to achieve.”