by DOMINICK PUENTE//Editorial Assistant
With college sports growing, the Shriners Hospital for Children has used college baseball as a platform for spreading news about their hospitals along with stories about their patients.
A 17-year Astros Foundation tradition returned to Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros. This classic has been known as one of the top collegiate baseball tournaments in the nation.
Since 2001, this college baseball event has featured 29 different NCAA Division-I baseball programs. Every team attending the classic is by invite only.
Featuring a Big 12 Conference versus Southeastern Conference format, Baylor, TCU and Texas Tech competed against LSU, Ole Miss and Texas A&M.
Throughout the history of the College Classic, the foundation has hosted the number one team in preseason polls six times in tournament history, including two eventual College World Series Champions.
This baseball classic is a perfect way to incorporate sports with trying to contribute to society and spreading love for the sport of baseball.
Shriners’ hospitals have been helping families and disabled kids for years, even allowing some of those children to meet teams and make new friends in the process.
Although the tournament was meant for bringing in top-seeded teams to compete against each other, the Shriners organization has gone out of their way to put their kids and their families first despite the troubles they are constantly facing in life.
As for the baseball aspect of tournaments such as the Shriners Classic, it is a great opportunity to bring some of the best teams and talent together to see them compete. I do not believe ranked opponents should only play at the end of the season in the College World Series or in conference play.
Playing against ranked opponents will make any team better and prepare teams for conference play and possibly a title run.
I understand that scheduling ranked opponents in the beginning of the season can hurt the morale of a team, along with not knowing the exact pitching rotation or the hitting lineup and defensive positions.
However, having more of these types of tournaments where top-tier teams play against one another in mid-season will prepare those participating teams for later down the road.
Putting your team against tough competition will make a team stronger and understand what is needed to prepare for achieving the goal of winning a World Series.
Having more tournaments will improve the overall quality in teams, but also incorporating organizations such as the Shriners is a great way to bring more people, love and attention to the sport and foundations.
Although the main objective may be to play baseball, these tournaments can be a platform for Shriners and others to get news out about what they are trying to accomplish and grab the attention of people who are lend a helping hand in any form.
Having tournaments such as the Shriner’s Classic is a way to bring more people to watch the sport of baseball by matching up ranked opponents against each other. In turn, that brings more viewers to the sport of baseball and allows those viewers to receive the message that Shriners is putting out about supporting and donating to their cause of helping patients in need.
Platforms to send messages are constantly being used in social media and other sports. Baseball can be used to send messages. By creating these types of tournaments with wonderful causes, it will send positive messages throughout the country.