The incredible postseason success of the USC baseball team continues.
In winning their 21st consecutive NCAA tournament game (and 24th straight at home), the Gamecocks will get a chance to add to their College World Series record of 11 consecutive wins.
It has been an improbable run, one that in a more high-profile sport would be the subject of HBO or ESPN documentaries and (more) books chronicling the runs.
Michael Roth, Matt Price, Evan Marzilli, and Christian Walker have all been indispensable parts of the two National Championship teams and the current CWS team. And as those four threw their last pitches and took their last swings at Carolina Stadium, they received well-deserved standing ovations and one absolutely necessary curtain call for Roth.
Win or lose in Omaha over the next two weeks, we know there will be a statue someday for the architect of all this success, Ray Tanner.
But as we watched 29, 22, 31 and 13 participate in one final dogpile in Columbia, it got me to thinking – do they deserve more?
I’m not talking about retiring numbers, I don’t really believe in that practice except in extraordinary circumstances (see Steve Wadiak and George Rogers).
But how about a mural? What better way to honor the cornerstones of our two (and maybe three) time National Champions by permanently putting their faces at the entrance to Carolina Stadium?
Or even better, put their faces on the outfield walls. Even if you just put them up for the next 2-3 years, the fans would have a reminder of the monumental accomplishments of these guys. Plus, if you want to intimidate the competition, the steely eyed stare of Matt Price, even in mural form, couldn’t hurt.
A standing ovation and a place in the historical record is nice, but these four deserve more. They have helped make South Carolina the current gold standard in college baseball, and put us historically in the conversation with legendary programs Southern California, Texas and LSU.
They are special players, and should be remembered in a special way.
Clemson and Oklahoma were good, but they’re obviously not Francis Marion. At no time this season was there more hand-wringing and finger-pointing than when USC lost to Division II Francis Marion 5-4 on April 11. It was an embarrassing loss for sure, but fortunately Ray Tanner was able to keep his job and so far things have turned out ok.
Out of curiosity, I wanted to see how the Patriots season turned out, and the Googles told me they were upset in the Division II Southeast Regional Tournament by Catawba College by a score of 8-4. Francis Marion finished the season with a 40-18 record. You can bet the memories of one of those 40 victories will last a lifetime.
Statistics Central. After whining incessantly for about 18 hours on Twitter about the circumstances surrounding the suspension of Sunday’s game against Oklahoma, David Cloninger of Gamecock Central hit us with a couple of interesting statistics about USC’s return to Omaha:
- USC is the first team to head to Omaha with a chance at a three-peat since LSU in 1998 (they were not successful) and just the third team ever.
- Southern Cal was the first, winning five straight titles from 1970-1974.
- USC is #10 in all-time CWS victories with 28 (including the aforementioned 11 straight).
- Arizona is #9 all-time, with 33 wins. None of the eight teams above them are in the CWS this year.
- Florida State has 20 appearances in Omaha without a title, far and away the record. Second? That would be CTU with 12. (CTU did not make it to Omaha this year, BTW).
Down with Demetra II. There has finally been some heated debate about Andy Demetra on Gamecock Message Boards. Not surprisingly, the split appears to be about 50/50 between love and hate, and not much in the middle.
That’s cool, everybody gets an opinion. But it’s things like this, in addition to his voice and delivery, that really stick in my craw:
That’s right, he tweeted the text of his final call. I’m sure because he was proud of his own perceived cleverness of it. How self-absorbed is that? And for heavens’ sake, that avatar…
Ugh, ok, I’ll drop it. I just think a classy, humble guy like Mike Morgan deserved/deserves to call this run.
The Tweet Sixteen. While TRC was booted in the first round by a late-charging Wes Mitchell, ITS_DABO rolled to another victory in the garnetandblackattack.com “Garnet and Blacketology” tournament.
Great work by those guys, but there’s been a really funny dynamic to the whole deal. A few have outwardly campaigned, a few appear to be paying no attention whatsoever, but the largest group appears to be paying attention but not outwardly campaigning for fear of looking like they care.
You care guys, we see you.