Each year around this time, I get emails wondering how likely we are to see baseball, dropped as a varsity sport in 1991, return to the UW-Madison campus. Athletic director Barry Alvarez has said this is something he'd like to see happen.
I wouldn't count on it.
Title IX dictates that the university offer equal opportunities for men and women to compete in athletics. Adding a baseball team would require also adding another team sport for women - not likely in a challenging economic climate. College baseball is charming, but it doesn't make money, and neither would any women's team added to satisfy gender equity.
It's easy to get enthused picturing lovely spring afternoons watching young men in cardinal and white take on their Big Ten rivals. But that was rarely the reality. My memories of Badger baseball games include frozen drizzle blowing sideways off Lake Mendota while the Badgers struggled to compete in a meaningless game against UW-Oshkosh.
The truth is, Wisconsin rarely fielded a competitive team and, like the women's fast pitch softball team, played most games away from Madison.
Happily, there's an alternative. The MATC Wolfpack is scheduled to play 12 times in April at Robin Roberts Field, just off Wright Street, south of the Truax campus. MATC has won its National Junior College Athletic Association region four of the last five years and is 5-5 so far this season.
The Wolfpack's next game is at noon on Sunday against the free-swinging Skyhawks of Sauk Valley Community College.