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ASU A.D. Anderson: Baseball program is not where it needs to be

LISTEN: Ray Anderson, ASU Athletic Director

Arizona State University is known for having one of the country’s best baseball programs.

From Barry Bonds and Reggie Jackson to Mike Leake and Dustin Pedroia, the Devils have never been short on premier talent.

The school has earned five national championships, been the College World Series runner-up five times and been to the CWS a total of 22 times, most recently in 2010, which also happens to be the last time ASU won the Pac-12.

This season, the Devils are off to a 15-11 start, including a 5-4 record in the conference. Tim Esmay’s club went into the year with high expectations, but thus far they have not exactly been met.

And ASU Athletic Director Ray Anderson has noticed that while the Devils are perennially among the nation’s better teams, it has been a while since they’ve been one of its best.

“No, no. Frankly it is not,” he told the Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta Wednesday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM when asked if the program is where it needs to be right now. “We are, very frankly, going to really closely monitor our baseball program. We expect lofty performance based on our history that is very reasonable.”

That’s not to say Anderson is planning on making any kind of change with the program.

Instead, as he is doing with all of the school’s coaches, the plan is to let the season play out and then review where things are at. But with the team finishing its run at Packard Stadium this season before moving things to Phoenix Municipal Stadium next season, there is little doubt the new A.D. wants to make sure the program does not lose any momentum with lackluster play on the field.

“But what I can tell you is we’ve won five of the last seven against Pac-12 teams,” he said, pointing to wins over highly-ranked Oregon State and UCLA. “There are some positive things going on. We beat U of A. So while the total won/loss record may not be what currently we would like, certainly we’ve beaten some of the folks that we really needed to beat.

“All that said, the expectations and the standard should be at the elite level, so we will review our program at the end of the season to determine the most appropriate way forward, and that’s just the way it is.”