North Texas Daily

Column: Where is baseball at North Texas?

Column: Where is baseball at North Texas?

Column: Where is baseball at North Texas?
January 23
18:35 2019

There is no official NCAA baseball team for North Texas, and that is a shame. Some of the greatest baseball players ever are from the great state of Texas, including Hall-of-Famers Rogers Hornsby, “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks, Nolan Ryan and Greg Maddux.

By now you might be aware that North Texas’ athletic department is in debt, upward of $60 million. So you’re probably wondering, how could the Mean Green afford to produce a baseball team at this time?

What I find a tad odd is that the athletics department is in so much debt, yet they’re building a $16 million indoor practice facility for football. Add that onto the fact that the football program was the highest contributing team to the athletic department’s debt, and something does not add up.

Football is king in Texas, there is no doubt. However, instead of putting $16 million more into a program that hasn’t come close to breaking even, North Texas should consider installing a baseball team. If UNT wants to be a Division I university that can compete with anyone in the nation, why not implement the sport most dual-sport athletes combine with football? This could attract local baseball players who’d otherwise take their talents to different schools.

Texas is a hub for baseball, just like it is with football. High school baseball is one of the most popular sports in the Lone Star State, and yet the largest university in North Texas doesn’t field a team. The Mean Green could even find a way to partner with the Rangers, similar to what the school does with the Cowboys.

I want one thing to be abundantly clear—I fully understand how much of an impact football has on North Texas and its surrounding community. Saturdays in Denton operate on the football program. After a Mean Green win, Fry Street businesses boom and students, faculty and alumni are in better moods to spend their money on boosting the local economy.

What I have a hard time understanding is how there is not already a baseball team. None at all. It’s not like the team has been abysmal and fell into an abyss, there simply is not a team period. That is a disservice to the students, faculty and alumni of North Texas. They deserve to have a baseball team to root for.

Currently, there’s talk surrounding the basketball teams and their chances in the March Madness tournaments. If there were baseball team, there could be a buzz about the Mean Green making a run to the College World Series. There should be something.

I’m not saying there should be a baseball team tomorrow. The athletic department doesn’t currently hold the funding for that and the baseball stadium mentioned in the Master Plan definitely wouldn’t be ready by then.

However, there are several ways that North Texas could go about this. They could choose to set a future date at which a baseball team would be established, make the decision to begin a program within the next few years, or ultimately decide that there won’t be baseball in Denton.

If baseball does not come to Denton, it would be an utter shame. The fans and anyone associated with North Texas deserve to have a baseball team to root for. In the fall, football takes over Denton, why not have baseball take over the spring?

Baseball deserves to have a residence in Denton. It’s up to the athletic department to get baseball back, but if it does not, then I’ve had enough with the teasing. Either give us a baseball team or quit talking about it.

Featured Image: Then-North Texas State University senior Mike Sanders looks up after swinging during a baseball game in 1988—the last year UNT had a division-1 baseball team. Photo Courtesy of University of North Texas Libraries. 

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Dillon Swan

Dillon Swan

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