Hogs Broadcaster Chastises Aggies Baseball Coach for “Totally Inappropriate” Allegation

Jim Schlossnagle, Texas A&M baseball, Arkansas baseball
photo credit: Texas A&M Athletics

On the eve of a top-10 showdown between Arkansas and Kentucky, the SEC’s two division leaders, the biggest story in college baseball this week has been comments made by Texas A&M baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle.

In an appearance on TexAgs Radio earlier this week, the veteran coach accused an unnamed SEC team of getting caught with a “live feed going to the dugout.”

Schlossnagle didn’t really go into detail about what he meant by that and provided only one real clue to which team he was talking about.

“There are ways we could wire out dugout to get the live feed,” Schlossnagle said. “And there’s a school in our league that got busted — I don’t know if people know it yet. I’m not going to reveal it, but they know. They’ve had a live feed going into the dugout all year. And they’re hitting .306 at home and .206 on the road.”

Fans quickly scrambled to calculate the home-road splits for each team in the league and no one fit those parameters exactly, leading to speculation that it could be a number of different teams.

That speculation is what bothered longtime Arkansas broadcaster Mike Irwin the most about the situation. In fact, he ranted about Schlossnagle in the latest edition of PTN Extra that was posted Wednesday.

“I just think it was totally inappropriate for him to bring this up,” Irwin said. “None of the other 13 coaches, I assume they all know about it, they didn’t say anything. Why did he say something?”

Irwin certainly has a point.

As of Thursday afternoon, the SEC commissioner has yet to publicly comment about Schlossnagle’s claims and three or four different teams have been labeled as cheaters by various fans, despite only one allegedly breaking the rules.

“That’s why if I’m Greg Sankey, I kick his rear end,” Irwin said. “I do. I call his AD and I say, ‘You either talk to him or I will because this is for us to deal with, not him.’”

Of course, Schlossnagle is probably still upset about how his team’s series against Georgia ended last weekend. With a chance to sweep and tie Arkansas atop the SEC West standings, the Aggies lost to the Bulldogs 5-4.

Georgia’s Christian Mracna struck out six straight batters to end the game. Later, though, video surfaced that appeared to show him putting a foreign substance on his glove and then touching it throughout his outing. The use of foreign substances by pitchers is illegal at every level of baseball.

Closer Look at Texas A&M Coach’s Comments

The way Jim Schlossnagle’s quote has been presented, it seems like he is accusing an SEC team of using technology to systematically steal signs from opponents — a la the Houston Astros.

However, it’s unclear exactly what he means by a “live feed.”

Earlier in the interview, the Texas A&M baseball coach discussed how iPads aren’t allowed in dugouts, so he could be referring to a video feed. Right after mentioning the .306/.206 split, though, Schlossnagle referenced “live information,” which sounds more like TrackMan data — such as pitch speeds, spin rates, exit velocities, etc.

Both of those things are illegal, but the latter wouldn’t really provide a tactical advantage because it gives you data after the fact — not before a pitch is thrown.

The vagueness of Schlossnagle’s comment further backs up Mike Irwin’s take that it was “inappropriate” because fans are jumping to their own conclusions about the “what” and trying to solve the “who” instead of first figuring out what allegedly occurred.

It’s also important to point out that the evidence he provided — the disparity between home and road batting average splits — is not exactly foolproof.

SEC teams rarely play non-conference road games, so the bulk of the road games on their schedule are in conference play. That’s a stark contrast to their home slates, which not only feature SEC opponents, but lesser opponents from smaller leagues. Most midweek games are at home, too, so even when a bigger school comes to town, you’re not seeing their top pitchers.

Could it be Arkansas Baseball?

One of the several teams being thrown out as fitting the very vague — picking up the theme here? — statistical profile given by Jim Schlossnagle is Arkansas.

After the two-game midweek sweep of Missouri State, the Razorbacks are hitting .299 at Baum-Walker Stadium and .211 on the road.

Some have speculated that Schlossnagle was using numbers from when he first learned of the alleged cheating and claimed that Arkansas fits the .306/.206 splits perfectly — but that’s not quite accurate.

Based on our calculations, the Razorbacks were, in fact, hitting .306 at home before the Florida series. However, they were hitting just .196 (in six games) on the road before heading to South Carolina — after which they raised their road batting average to .211.

If you look only at SEC games, which gives you a better comparison in terms of competition, Arkansas is hitting .260 at home and .211 on the road. That’s a difference of just 49 points — half that of Schlossnagle’s example.

The discrepancy can also be explained by the fact that two of Arkansas’ first three home SEC series were against Missouri and Ole Miss, who are 11th and 13th, respectively, in opposing batting average during conference play.

Aside from being borderline NSFW, those numbers don’t exactly show a team that’s cheating to get an advantage at the plate.


See Mike Irwin go after the Texas A&M baseball coach starting at 6:30 here:

YouTube video

Watch Texas A&M baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle’s full interview with TexAgs beginning at 1:08:30 below:

YouTube video


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