The Florida Gators baseball team showed some gradual improvement during the last two seasons. It finished the 2007 season with 29-30 overall and 15-15 SEC record. The Gators ended up third in the SEC East.
2008 saw a slight improvement as the Orange and Blue finished the year with a 34-24 overall and 17-13 SEC record. The team ended up 3rd in the SEC overall and 2nd place at SEC Eastern division. UF also made its 24th appearance in the 2008 NCAA Baseball Tournament Regionals.
For the upcoming 2009 season, Florida returns 19 letter winners, including seven pitchers and six fielders and welcomes 14 newcomers into the program. Head coach Kevin O'Sullivan,who brought outstanding result in his opening season for the team, will lead the Gators in the 2009 season.
Last Season's Discussion:
Florida Gators baseball fans, and even those who aren't so much fans as those who wish for the Florida Gators baseball team to get it's butt kicked, are familiar with the pride and joy of the team, the McKethan Stadium at Perry Field.
The stadium was opened in 1988 and ever since they have been hard to beat on their own turf.
Since the stadium was ranked number seven in the January 1998 issue of Baseball America it is not a surprise to hear the team has a long time .747 (531-180) record spanning over the two decades since the stadium was built. Since 2002 alone the Florida Gators baseball team has an impressive record of 141-51 (.734) under the coaching ability of Pat McMohan.
The stadium has housed over 50,000 fans per season and has averaged over 2,000 fans in eight of the last 11 years. Last year, Florida was ranked 15th nationally in average number of fans that attended its baseball games. It has hosted NCAA Regionals seven times since the introduction of the McKethan Stadium and even registered over 5,000 fans on 17 different game occasions. Clearly, the stadium was built to last and has served the team and the fans, well over the years.
There have been several renovations to the stadium since it was first opened, including a new press box, 1,000 additional seats, and new grass on a leveled playing field. In 2003 a brand new Gator skin fence around the outfield and padded backstop were added to the stadium and in 1997 the stadium acquired it's first set of lights thanks to George Steinbrenner, the owner of the New York Yankees.
It was in 2006 when the players were really given a treat as the stadium was give $13 million dollars worth of upgrades. The stadium now houses such things as locker rooms, bullpens and batting cages, and a new training facility along with stadium seating for fans. The stadium-love just keeps going.
The team has advanced to the CWS four times, with the first being in 1988 and then 1996, 1998, and 2005. Their stadium has hosted the 1989 Southeastern Conference Tournament and the 2005 NCAA Super Regional. It was in the 1998 College World Series where the Florida Gators baseball fans came from all over to give the University of Florida new records in game attendance (105,262) and per game average.
As they keep gaining popularity and earning respect, the stadium and school keeps gaining recognition too. That is why fans who attend the stadium to watch a game are rewarded with theater-like seats right at field-level and a state-of-the-art score board which gives up-to-date player statistics as the game progresses. What more could a fan ask for? Well, there are also clean restrooms and gobs of parking just in case, not to mention the first-class press box and quality concession stands.
If the stadium is any indication of the standards of the Florida Gators baseball team, and it obviously seems like it is then these players are definitely worth keeping an eye on.
Florida baseball has new coach this season. His name is Kevin O'Sullivan. Gator fans are hoping he can rise the program to the top of the SEC. That won't happen this year, but in time...maybe.
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