Polk sent an 18-page letter railing against recent rule changes in college baseball to a group of 1,421 people ranging from university presidents to Major League Baseball general managers.
The mission? Informing them about how the rule changes will adversely affect college baseball.
“That’s what I want them to say: ‘This guy’s educating me. I didn’t realize all this,’ ” Polk said Monday.
Polk, 63, makes an impassioned plea to reverse the four-part changes in baseball rules that were introduced in the spring. He’s hoping to gather enough override votes to prevent the rules from taking place.
Among other changes, the rules will make baseball players sit out a year after transferring and require that all scholarships be at least 25 percent of the total cost to attend school. Also, a program can’t have more than 27 on scholarship and 35 on the team.
Seven times during the letter, Polk either apologizes for or reminds the recipient of the letter’s length. On page nine, the coach adds humor: “I wish right now for everyone reading this letter, I could offer you a cup of coffee or a soft drink, so you could take a little break from this letter that is now eight pages long. Yes there are still more pages.”
Sometimes tedious, other times scathing, the letter articulates Polk’s many problems with the rule changes. It ends with Polk urging decision-makers to “accept that a mistake was made.”
“Are they going to read it? Well, here’s our problem: The people who need to read it are the presidents, and they might say its too long,” Polk said Monday. “But they are the ones who make the decisions. … If they’re going to make the decisions, they need to be prepared.”
Polk’s boss, MSU athletic director Larry Templeton, was part of the Baseball Academic Enhancement Group that proposed the legislation. Templeton said Tuesday that he has not read Polk’s letter and wouldn’t comment on it.
Polk said the mailing cost about $2,500 to prepare and send, money which came from the Dugout Club, a private booster club for the MSU baseball program. Postage was the largest cost, with the letter, sent in a white envelope with an MSU logo, costing $1.31 each to send. That’s $1,861.51.
Polk wrote the letter in one afternoon, he said. Though he famously eschews computers, the finished product was formatted on one.
Not the address labels, though: He typed all 1,421 of them.