The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

June 4, 2014

HERTZEL COLUMN: McBroom waiting for his shot in the bigs

MORGANTOWN — If time flies when you’re having fun, it stands to reason that time is just crawling along for Ryan McBroom.

Oh, he’s having fun back home in Fredericksburg, Virginia, with friends and family, the things you miss when you’re away at college, but it’s just that he wasn’t quite ready to go home. This was his final season as West Virginia University’s power-hitting first baseman and he thought he’d still be playing in some Super Regional somewhere.

That’s one of the reasons he turned down Kansas City’s offer a year ago when the Royals selected him in the 36th round of Major League Baseball’s draft, expecting to improve a number of areas in his game and join a group of closely knit teammates who felt they were ready to make a run deep into the NCAA Tournament under second-year coach Randy Mazey.

Who knew they wouldn’t get to postseason play?

Who knew he’d be home for this weekend’s draft rather than either playing a game or watching the opening round on Thursday with teammates?

And, with not really a whole lot to do awaiting the draft, time is sort of dragging … McBroom is trying to make the best of it.

“It’s exciting for both me and my family. I’m hearing a little bit from scouts here and there,” he said. “They showed a lot of interest during the course of the year. Now it’s just finishing up on some personal questions on whether you want to go and play pro ball and things like that.

“I have my degree and sometimes they deal with seniors who are more interested in going off on their career rather than being interested in going in the draft.”

The baseball draft isn’t like the NFL. They may bring the top 50 or so in for personal workouts and interviews, but when you are drafting as many as 1,200 players and adding free agent signings from around the world, they do a lot of gambling.

It’s why you see high picks fail with more regularity than in the NFL and lower picks succeed, the line being finer, many of the players drafted younger and many drafted without as much knowledge as you’d like to have.

In McBroom’s case, it’s pretty much what you see is what you get.

He can hit and, if they were paying attention, he committed only one error at first base all year.

What’s more, he took his senior year of baseball seriously and believes returning for it was a worthwhile endeavor, despite the disappointing finish on the season that produced seven consecutive losses and being left out of the postseason.

“We had a great year,” he maintains. “I met some of my best friends through baseball. I played for a great coaching staff. I developed not only as a baseball player but as a man as well. I think it was a great decision to come back.

“We didn’t make it as far as we wanted to in the Regionals but it’s nice to have a good year. We beat a lot of good teams and seeing four of those teams (Texas, Texas Tech, TCU and Oklahoma State) go on from our conference was pretty impressive.

“We don’t feel too bad about ourselves and I personally had a great time at West Virginia and developed an extreme amount.”

What he didn’t take from college was the experience of surviving down the stretch of a grueling season and into the postseason to play the best with it all on the line.

How did they manage to drop seven straight and nine of their last 10 when they were a team streaking toward the playoffs?

“We were playing top teams in the nation. We went to Texas Tech and played them right down to the wire. They walked off two nights in a row. It could have gone either way, but the ball rolled a little bit better for them,” McBroom said.

“We played Kansas that Friday night and we had them beat until the eighth or ninth inning. They just started slugging it in that eighth inning and put up a good amount of runs. I think it was just that we had to play some of the best teams in the country. We were seeing some great arms. That’s just baseball, for you.”

That he and the rest of the team could take the late-season stumble as an event that happened rather than as a crushing defeat that would take forever to get over can be traced back to the way Mazey’s coaching staff brought them along.

“He wants what’s best for us,” McBroom said. “I will go to him and ask him about life in general, what should I do about this or that, and he’ll be straight forward. He’s almost like a father figure who turns into a friend.

“He’s been there as a coach and a mentor. I had so many questions in my college life, and he has led me in the right direction. The coaches had that off-field relationship and that made us a strong team.”

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel

Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
    This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.

    July 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU needs White to follow in former receivers’ footsteps

    A year ago Clint Trickett took a lot of grief as the once potent West Virginia offense came unraveled, but there is more that than meets the eye.
    The criticism was not unfounded, of course, although behind each incomplete pass there was the pain Trickett was suffering through to throw it, his rotator cuff in need of surgery.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters

    The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.
    He intrigued the media far more than Bob Stoops, the coach of preseason favorite Oklahoma, and more than Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, the preseason player of the year.

    July 25, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Saban, family happy at Alabama

    Alabama football coach Nick Saban, whose team opens the season against West Virginia in Atlanta on Aug. 30, denied receiving or turning down this offseason an offer of $100 million to coach Texas, indicating he planned to finish his career as coach of the Crimson Tide.

    July 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Quarterback child prodigy’ comes to WVU amidst very high expectations

    Has West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen finally put the arrow he needs in his quiver with the commitment received Wednesday from high school quarterback David Sills, who is a rather extraordinary story and may also just be a rather extraordinary quarterback?

    July 18, 2014

  • WVU kicker Molinari ‘All-American boy’

    West Virginia kicker Mike Molinari may not be an All-American but he is an All-American boy.
    He was honored for that on Wednesday when the Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association announced the West Virginia redshirt senior kicker/punter Michael Molinari is a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

    July 16, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads