Wrapping-Up Super Regionals-More CWS Thoughts

September 28, 2009
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The TCU-Texas game is just starting.  It’s the only Super Regional game remaining. Who would have thought that just two of the eight series would go the distance?  Here are a few random thoughts on some of what we saw this weekend…

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  • Maybe Southern Mississippi’s Corky Palmer has the key to career success figured out: Announce your retirement.  Palmer made the announcement in April that his 12th season as head coach would be his last.  Instead of a gift certificate for an early bird special, Palmer’s team’s retirement present is a trip to Omaha.
  • I’ve always said that in sports (and really life in general) you always get a chance, and then it’s up to you to make the most of it.

Exhibit A-Palmer’s clean-up batter, Corey Stevens (.329, 8 HR, 58 RBIs) was tossed from Sunday’s decisive Super Regional game vs. Florida with his team trailing 6-4.  Stevens’ replacement in the clean-up spot, Adam Doleac (.286, 0HR, 7 RBIs),  lined a ball through the right side to load the bases.  It set-up Joey Archer’s 2-run, 2-out hit to tie the score 6-6.

Exhibit B-Arkansas’ Adrew Darr hadn’t started a game for the Razorbacks since March, but head coach Dave Van Horn had him in the line-up Saturday in the Hogs’ Super Regional clincher vs. Florida State.  Darr responded by going 4-for-5 with a home run, two doubles and 3 RBIs, including a walk-off 2-run double to send the Razorbacks to Omaha for the first time since 2004.

  • Not So Super…After losing that game to Arkansas, Florida State is now just 3-3 in Super Regional Series played in Tallahassee.  The Seminoles are now just 3-6 all-time in Super Regionals.
  • The Real Rudy…You’re going to hear more about Arizona State freshman Johnny Ruettiger during the College World Series. He’s the nephew of Dan “Rudy” Ruettiger, the former Notre Dame football walk-on that prompts every opposing fan of any ND athletic team (from football to fencing) to derisively chant Rudy at every Irish player.  Like “Rudy”, Johnny is from Joliet, and his intensity reminds me more of another former Irish football player, linebacker Mike Goolsby, who also hailed from Jake and Elwood’s home town.  Johnny is faster than either his uncle or Goolsby, and he’s hitting .356 in 87 at-bats with 12 stolen bases.
  • Speaking of Arizona State, do you think head coach Pat Murphy has ever actually called his Australian pitcher, Josh Spence, a “beautiful kid” to his face the way he did multiple times during his mid-game dugout interview during Sunday night’s telecast?
  • Speaking of the mid-game dugout interview with a team’s head coach/manager (depending on whether it’s a college or pro game), hasn’t it jumped the shark?  I like the one during the WCWS when the Washington softball coach responded “Score runs, win the game”, when asked what her team needed to do to win.
  • Speaking of broadcasts, this gem by Keith Moreland at the end of a North Carolina-East Carolina game on the ESPN family might be my all-time favorite bit of wisdom from a color analyst: “Good pitching always beats good hitting…most of the time.” That’s rates right up there with “Sixty percent of the time it works every time.”-Paul Rudd as Brian Fantana in Anchorman-The Legend of Ron Burgandy.
  • Speaking of broadcasts pt. 2…I think Dave Ryan, who’s doing the Texas-TCU game tonight is becoming my favorite college baseball TV play-by-play guy.  Good blend of enthusiasm & facts.  He used to do too much reciting of the media guide & random “nuggets” early on. However, his partner tonight, Eric Young, is not on my short list of favorite analysts.  He has good information, but he’s tough to listen to. Young is far from dulcet, the Rutgers alum and former major leaguer is somewhere closer to Stephen A. Smith (in tone, not content).
  • Visigoths…really? Is that the best campaign Capital One can come-up with? Go Jaguars!

That’s it for now. I’ll have more later in the week when I’m in Omaha. My daughter’s been trying to fall asleep next to me for the last 45 minutes, and her elbow keeps jerking and hitting me in the arm while I’m trying to type.

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