Kansas baseball’s first official practice leads into weekend’s alumni game
LAWRENCE, Kan. – After six weeks of grinding through individual workouts, the Kansas baseball team officially started its fall slate of team practice, Friday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.
The fall formula starts the same time school starts, and consists of six weeks of group drills. Then once the 45-day window hits, the groups combine for team session.
“The one thing that takes place when you have been doing individuals for six weeks – the players are ready for the start of team segment and the coaches are ready for the start of team segment,” head coach Ritch Price said. “When that time comes, it is awesome. You can just feel the energy with how excited the players are to be out here all together.”
That first practice excitement began with batting practice, transitioned into defensive drills and then finished with an abbreviated intrasquad game.
The most important aspect of that first structured practice is that it sets the tone for the fall to encourage progress.
“Those first six weeks are critical for any team,” Price said. “We want to see progress from everyone. From the young pitching staff to our position players, the goal during the fall is progress.”
The squad will have a chance to showcase that progress in front of fans earlier than usual, as the sixth-annual Floyd Temple Alumni Game is slated for Saturday, Oct. 7, at Hoglund Ballpark.
Temple, one of KU’s legendary coaches, passed away in 2012, and since then, the game has been named in his honor. As the skipper of Kansas baseball for 28 seasons (1954-81), Temple amassed 438 victories to supplement a .524 winning percentage. After coaching, Temple served as an assistant athletic director from 1981-92.
This is one of the key events of the fall Price looks forward to for his team.
“The longer you coach at one place – the alumni events just keep getting more special,” Price said. “I am so proud of the successes our players of the past have enjoyed, not just on the field, but in the classroom and in life. To see all those guys come back with their families and successful careers, and the pride they show for being a Jayhawk – it makes this weekend special to be the head coach.”
The weekend may be special for Price, but the important takeaway he wants his squad to achieve is to show the appreciation for the men before them who paved the way for what they have now.
“It is about respect,” Price said. “It is about respecting the guys that are in the other dugout. They have laid the foundation for what my players get to enjoy today. It is a day for my guys to say thank you. We are all in this thing together; we are all Jayhawks for life.”
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