Drive by Bailey-Brayton Field on the mostly desolate Washington State campus and a new building might catch your eye.
The almost completed Project: BTO baseball facility is scheduled to open in October, and WSU baseball coach Brian Green recently gave his assistant coaches a tour for the first time, as well as athletic director Pat Chun and president Kirk Schulz.
The $10 million project is an all-encompassing facility for the Cougar baseball team.
“I walk through it every week,” Green said after the tour. “If we don’t have the best facility for players — and I mean in terms of locker room, team room, classroom, weight room — then we certainly have one of the Top 3. They saw it (recently) for the first time. To say that they were pumped would be an understatement.”
Green has long stated he “walked into a goldmine” when the former New Mexico State boss took the job at WSU in 2019.
He said the new facility already has been a major boost to recruiting. In February, WSU’s 2020 recruiting class was ranked in the top 40 nationally by multiple websites.
“So many things speak for it in terms of what it’s done for us, No. 1 from the recruiting aspect,” Green said. “Here we show up and we’re going to have a ranked class in our first class. BTO was huge for that.”
Finally, in-person workouts
After what probably felt like an eternity of coaching via Zoom since the spring season was canceled in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, WSU players finally are ready for individual and small-group instruction. In-person workouts began Tuesday.
“We’ll be out there in groups, working on the swing, base running,” Green said last week. “We’re so excited. I think we’re all Zoomed out and all meetinged out and ready to get going.”
Green said his team still is on track this summer thanks to heavy work in the offseason preparing for virtual coaching and meetings because of COVID-19.
Much of the team’s culture training and mental game preparation in recent weeks has come via the Internet out of necessity.
“We’re still doing exactly what we prepared to do, we’re just doing it in a different format,” Green said.
In the process of coaching online, Green has turned to some former and current MLB players and coaches — one of the positives in a shift to the virtual world.
“Sharing all those meetings with (former Blue Jays and Indians pitcher) Don Gordon, or (Angels manager) Joe Madden, or big league hitting coaches and pitching coaches and (discussing) their mental game and their locker room stuff ... is really what we wanted to hit,” Green said.
Here are some more quotes from the conversation with Green.
On having 18 players play summer ball:
“I was really proud of the coaches and I was really proud of the relationships we’ve been able to continue to develop and establish and maintain. I don’t know from a keeping-score perspective of where we’d stack up in the Pac-12, but to have 18 kids out playing summer baseball was a real accomplishment for us.”
On his online coaching:
“It’s been great. If you’re not prepared at this point, there’s something wrong with you. We trained for two months and really honed in on what we wanted to target with our kids.”
Stephan Wiebe can be reached at email@example.com, by phone at (208) 883-4624 and on Twitter @StephanSports.