June 30, 2010

DECADE OF DOMINATION: VCU BASEBALL REIGNS OVER CAA IN 2000s

By: Scott Day

Shows like Mike & Mike in the Morning, Pardon the Interruption or Around the Horn have become mainstays on ESPN in recent years because of the ability to debate any sports topic known to mankind.

Debating sports topic has been known to end friendships, start fistfights and in the worst case scenario cause deaths when you including the crazy soccer hooligans around the world.

Winning Percentages from 2001-10:
(only the nine schools that played nine or more years of those years in the CAA)
1. UNC Wilmington
Overall: 368-224-1 (.621)
CAA: 161-78-1 (.673)
2. VCU
Overall: 332-232-1 (.588)
CAA: 138-101-1 (.577)
3. James Madison
Overall: 316-245 (,563)
CAA: 137-106 (.564)
4. George Mason
Overall: 301-238 (.558)
CAA: 135-103 (.567)
5. William & Mary
Overall: 301-237 (.559)
CAA: 118-123 (.490)
6. Delaware
Overall: 255-231 (.525)
CAA: 105-113 (.481)
7. Old Dominion
Overall: 256-273 (.484)
CAA: 114-130 (.467)
8. Towson
Overall: 220-264-1 (.454)
CAA: 95-131 (.420)
9. Hofstra
Overall: 156-276-1 (.360)
CAA: 65-161 (.288)

Don't worry though, this article won't cause any fights because there really isn't any debate when it comes to the past decade of CAA baseball.

In the past 10 years, 14 different schools have participated in CAA baseball with the current 11 teams and one year from East Carolina and Richmond (before they departed) and two years of Drexel baseball (before it disbanded).

Over the past decade, those 14 schools have combined for 16 NCAA Tournament wins, including two regional finals thanks to East Carolina and VCU back in 2001.

The players have been just as good as the teams in the conference with the 14 schools producing over 20 major leaguers led by current stars like Justin Verlander (Tigers – ODU), Sean Marshall (Cubs – VCU) and Brendan Harris (Twins – William & Mary).

So let's make it clear, it isn't easy to reign supreme when it comes to CAA Baseball, but Head Coach Paul Keyes and his program have done just that.

After winning the conference title last month, Coach Keyes talked about this year being the sweetest because it really caps the Rams off as the program of the decade in the CAA. His comments lit a fuse with some faithful followers of UNC Wilmington baseball and even some JMU and ODU fans.

But honestly, it's not even close when it comes to the Black & Gold's reign over their conference brethren.

In the past 10 years (2001-10), the Rams have won five conference titles, appeared in the NCAA Tournament six times and have won nearly 60 percent of their games. The only opponent that comes close is UNCW, who has a better winning percentage than VCU, but only two CAA titles and four NCAA Tournament appearances.

Out of the last 10 titles that have been handed out, VCU has won five and no other team has won more than two.

Thus begins the debate over the old adage of wins or championships. Ask Charles Barkley, Jim Kelly or Dan Marino if they would trade all their wins or individual honors for a championship.

Any athlete, whether you're seven years old or 33 years old, wants to be able to stand on that podium and hoist that trophy with their team. When it comes down to hoisting the trophy, VCU Baseball has that down pat.

And thus ends any debate about who is the "Team of the Decade" in CAA Baseball because as has been the case over the past 10 years, Coach Keyes and the Rams will take that title home to Richmond.

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