Zimmermann: MU needs to ‘invest more’ into baseball program | National Sports News

Since hiring Steve Bieser prior to the 2017 season, Missouri Baseball has not finished over .500 in the SEC. But in six seasons with Bieser at the helm, the Tigers have finished over .500 overall in five of them, including the abandoned 2020 season.

Missouri, one game short of an SEC tournament bid in 2022, has not made an NCAA Regional since 2012, when the Tigers were crowned the Big 12 tournament champions in conference in their final season.

However, with the program poised for a brighter future with the 2021 recruit class at No. 20, according to Perfect Game, former MU first baseman Peter Zimmermann believes the Missouri administration should invest more in the program.

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“I don’t think people realize how much more money is being put into other SEC schools’ programs and how much the Mizzou team is often disadvantaged,” said Zimmermann.

“Now I’m not trying to sit here and make excuses, the results have to be better. But I know that with a better investment comes a better product and Coach Bieser is a great trainer and the staff do a great job.”

Despite the odds of losing pitching coach Brian DeLunas, Zimmermann saw the 2022 staff put together a better product than years past. But more funding is also needed from the administration, he says, since even the program’s inception has hampered the program’s record in the past.

“I remember we played 19 against Texas A&M and had a curfew that ended in a tie,” Zimmermann said. “Everyone on their team was actually injured, they were out of pitching. And we wanted to win this game. So they kind of blocked the game and forced it into a curfew.

“And if we had the luxury of chartering like other sports at Mizzou and like most SEC teams, that’s not happening. We win this game and this win turns us from a first team to a likely last team and I don’t think people realize that all the time (and) how unfortunate that is.”

In addition to travel restrictions, Zimmermann believes Missouri is behind the times with a grass outfield. With more than half of the SEC programs playing on a grass outfield, Zimmermann sees the grass as another concern for Bieser and his staff.

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Facility upgrades are also taking place across the SEC landscape, with Tennessee, Georgia and Kentucky all undergoing renovations in recent years, from full turf pitches to new interiors.

“(MU) Football is building their brand new indoor facility, so there’s no reason they shouldn’t be turning Devine (Pavilion) into a great baseball and softball facility,” said Zimmerman. “That would be fantastic if they actually renovated that a bit and made us more of a base out of it. And I know there are talks about it, and maybe they will.”

Zimmerman sees that the program is headed in the right direction when it comes to who Bieser and the staff are recruiting, but as the northernmost SEC program, he believes better facilities will not only improve game quality, but will also be more desirable for recruits .

“I think you will see a regional, national team at world series level,” said Zimmermann. “They must have a great coaching staff.”

Zimmerman acknowledges that baseball isn’t the most popular sport in Missouri, but as college baseball viewership and coverage increases across the country, he believes athletic director Desireé Reed-Francois can make the program “elite.”

“You’ve seen what the crowd can be like against KU and I guarantee you if you look at the crowd in Tennessee a few years ago when we played 19 there the crowd wasn’t the biggest, now they’re gigantic,” said carpenter. “They’re obviously winning, which helps with everything, but they’ve also made significant commitments to this program that I don’t think they might have made at Mizzou.”

The current baseball coaching team was tested postseason when Bieser made a 2016 NCAA Regional with Southeast Missouri State and met coach Jason Hagerty, who played with Miami in the College World Series.

While he believes employees don’t see behind-the-time amenities as a reason for failure, Zimmerman wants administration to improve facilities to improve a program that’s lagging in the SEC.

“Just look around the SEC and see what everyone else has and say, ‘We don’t need to build an $80 million stadium, but we need to improve our baseball program,'” Zimmerman said.

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