The UW-Madison Club Baseball Program was started in 1999. Since then, the club has grown from a couple dozen guys to more than 50 members. With the increasing number of interested players, there was an addition of a second team in 2002.
The D1 team joined the National Club Baseball Association in 2003. The D2 team joined the NCBA’s Division 2 league in 2009.
The amount of talent that makes up these two teams is surprising considering the fact that these young men came to UW-Madison to earn a degree. Some didn’t even know there was a club baseball team.
As the club’s popularity has grown, high school students are now coming to UW-Madison to play for the club team, instead of going to other schools to play for varsity programs with similar talent and competition.
The University and the old varsity baseball booster, The Dugout Club, help with some financial support for the club, but not enough to cover the $15,000 budget the team has each year. The players pay $40 a semester in dues and must fundraise to have the money to travel and stay competitive.
Jeff Block is the head coach. His top assistant and G.M. is Jeff Booth. The team is happy to have former player Austin Grimm as the D2 head coach. Chris Blythe, the father of former shortstop Sean Blythe, helps to coach the D1 team. T.J. DiPrizio also helps out when he has the time.
Between the two teams, the club plays 15-25 games in the fall and around 50 total games in the spring. The teams also travel to Tampa, Florida for spring training over spring break.
All the coaches are volunteers. Most are club alum who landed jobs in Madison after graduation and wanted to continue to be a part of the team they loved so much as players. The coaches dedicate their time and efforts in order to teach the guys the finer points of the game and how to succeed in everything they do. We saw how valuable this experience was — not only from a baseball perspective, but from a life perspective. This drives us to provide that opportunity to grow and learn in ways that most people never get a chance to. All of the former players I talk to always say that one of the best decisions they ever made was to play baseball for our team.
Thank you for supporting the team and giving us all this opportunity.
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