Baseball is a purely southern sport.
Now, don't think that I am referring to Major League Baseball with this statement. Those teams draft players from hundreds of high schools and universities across the country.
Also, I do not intend to offend baseball fans and players from the northern United States—I hope that all of you love America's pastime.
Plus, I understand that colleges have the ability to recruit from around the country, although many may favor homegrown talent.
However, when looking at the rosters of Florida and South Carolina—the two teams in the CWS final—there is almost exclusively southern talent. (The "south" is defined just below).
Thirty-one of 34 Florida Gators come from high schools in the southern United States, while 26 of 32 Gamecocks do the same.
To me, the level of competition found in the southern regions of America appears to be greater than that in the rest of the country, especially when based upon the 2011 College World Series bracket.
For our purposes, the "south" will be defined as any state equal to or farther south than North Carolina. Although this encompasses just 13 and a half states, this region is where baseball is most impressive in the United States.
When examining the 2011 College World Series, it can be seen that 43 of the 64 tournament teams are from this grouping of states. Twelve of these teams proceeded to the Super Regionals, making up 75 percent of the field. That percentage held true into the World Series itself, thanks to top-seeded Virginia and cinderella California.
But this should come as no surprise, thanks to the baseball tradition that resides in the southern United States.
Take a quick look at the leading schools in terms of College World Series appearances:
The University of Texas leads the way with 34, followed by Miami (FL), Arizona State, Florida State, and Oklahoma State.
In addition, 17 of the last 20 CWS champions have been from the south.
Plus, colleges in the southern states also hold nine of the top-10 spots in overall College World Series game victories.
The lone exception is Stanford, which has 40 total wins and 16 overall appearances. This is to be expected. Although the point of this piece is to prove that baseball is a primarily southern sport, that doesn't mean that it does not exist elsewhere.
Now that I've covered the "what," let's take care of the "why." What makes the southern states such a baseball force?
The simple answer is the typically warm climate that these states experience. In fact, nine of the 10 warmest states are located in the region specified above, with Hawaii being the only exception.
Baseball is a sport for the spring and summer. Since these areas have weather characteristic of these seasons for much of the year, it allows players to hone their skills for a greater amount of time each year.
However, did this traditionally warm climate alone provide the south with its baseball tradition throughout the past 50 years? Or have there been other contributing factors?
Honestly, I cannot say. Although the climate plays an important role in baseball proficiency, it is possible that other reasons exist.I'll leave that for you all to speculate upon.
But the point I wanted to prove with this article is that the south is where baseball is the best. And if I have not proven that to you yet, I will make one last attempt to do so.
Since the College World Series was first played, 47 of the 64 Division I baseball championships have been won by colleges and universities from the previously specified region.Thanks to South Carolina's victory over Virginia Friday night, that number will now increase to 48 of 65, an incredible 73.8 percent.
For whatever reason, the southern United States is the cream of the baseball crop.