For guys “my age” it will always be Bill Mazeroski in 1960. For guys in their 30s-40s maybe Michael vs Georgetown … For young pups (Carolina young pups!) maybe Connor Barth vs Miami … as we all played out our sports fantasies in our backyard or on playground fields or courts we ALWAYS hit the walk-off homer or “the buzzer beatin Game Winner”…. No one is standing in line to be Bill Buckner, Fred Brown ….. or Bryan Steed.
This UNC Baseball Team is one of my All Time Favorite Carolina sports teams. Two weeks ago I MIGHT have known about Andrew Miller … MAYBE and that’s all. But after 10 days of “Omaha” I LOVE THOSE BOYS and Coach Mike Fox and his program. Until my new CD hits the European and Pacific Rim markets, I don’t have the “big $$$” to personally finance the refurbishing of “The Bosh” but if I could, I would. “BobLee’s BallYard” … has a nice ring to it, no?
NOTHING that happened in the past 48 hours dampens my admiration for these kids and how they represented “my alma mater”. I don’t know Bryan Steed, obviously, but if I met him I would put him in a headlock, give him a “noogie” and tell him to give Steve Sax or Chuck Knoblock a call to borrow some “snappy one liners” to use for the next few years. Then I would hug the bejebbers out of the kid and tell him to send me copies of any “hate mail” he receives. BobLee will be glad to handle those human hairballs for him.
……… and Coach Fox, if ANYBODY says anything to you containing the phrase “let us down”, you send’em over to Coach Williams’ office. Ol’ Roy, he LUVS that breed of “real Carolina fans”. NOT!
Unless you are a really constipated venom-filled “ABCer” and the guards at your asylum didn’t let you watch Monday night’s NCAA Baseball Championship, you know who Bryan Steed is today. Bryan is the “defensive substitute” second baseman who made the fatal errant throw in the 8th that led to Oregon State’s victory over the Tar Heels. It must be noted that Bryan made “the throw” to “a catcher playing 1st” for offensive reasons. Would the normal 1st baseman have snared it ????
It was a “routine” scoop up and throw to first that Bryan has made a bazillion times since he was 8-9. It was so routine that it probably was not even in his personal baseball fantasy. I’m betting Bryan and everyone of his eight teammates on the field at Rosenblatt were saying to themselves … “Hit the ball to me … I’m ready to make the play.” Destiny chose Bryan Steed.
There was an extra chapter to this story. Bryan led off the 9th. “If Destiny had a heart” Bryan would have hit a dinger deep into that Nebraska night, tying the game until the Heels could pull out a victory. But, alas, God loves Beavers too … and it was not to be. Bryan went down swinging. “That Cavissini kid” got on as he always seemed to do and hope sprang eternal for a fleeting moment among Tar Heels everywhere … but alas and again … God Does Indeed Love Beavers Too.
As the victorious Beavers dogpiled and Coach Casey’s son sought out his dad to hug, I sat alone in our home theater (aka “the living room”) and soaked it in. Mizzus always says she hates such victory celebrations because one team’s joy is countered by the other team’s sadness and invariably the camera pans to the long faces and red-eyes of “that other team”. This time “the other team” was “my team”.
Remember little HamChuk in “The Green Berets” when John Wayne told him his Peter-San was dead. “You knew it might happen.” “But I didn’t want it to.” There are few if any Oregon State fans visiting this website so other than the aforementioned venom-filled ABCers, none of us “wanted this to happen” either.
Carolina fans have enjoyed enough such victorious moments to “expect it” in almost an “entitlement” fashion … a “Franklin Street welfare check” as it were.
Oregon State has only won one other NCAA Championship EVER. That’s like 40-50 less than Anson Dorrance alone. It’s a safe bet nobody in Oregon was thinking “we are entitled to this because “WE ARE THE BEAVERS!” The same can’t be said for that infamous Tar Heel Bandwagon that fills up oh so quickly in times like this. That sorry bunch was still whining about Ivory Latta “choking” in the Women’s Basketball semis … and now Bryan Steed “chokes” … costing the Carolina Bandwagon Blowhards a morning of water cooler hooting. Cry me a river you freakin’ numbnutz.
There is an obvious parallel to the Canes big victory only a week to the day earlier. That “winner take all” game was also a nail-biting edge of your seater … except “my team” won that one … and I don’t know anyone in Edmonton to sympathize for. I don’t know anyone in Oregon to send a congrats to either. ….. Plus, Chris Pronger makes $5,000,000 while Bryan Steed gets “books and meals”.
As I watched that dogpile of euphoric Beavers I noted how they were “a bunch of Moochies” too. Switch unis and what we really had was “TWO bunches of good kids playing baseball”. “… bunches of good kids” … WOW does it sound good to be able to say THAT about anything related to Big Time College Sports in 2006.
We often note here how for many fans, sports is simply an excuse to hate someone you don’t know … Patrick Ewing and John Thompson … Chris Webber and Steve Fisher (OK, they WERE jerks) … and, of course, Chuckie and Rosemary’s Other Baby and their evil cohorts. Ergo, I am suppose to hate Oregon State and maybe whine that pathetic losers line … “the refs/umpires were “in cahoots” with those damn Beavers”. Actually one of the Beaver player resorted to that oh-so-wornout phrase of “nobody gave us a chance … everybody counted us out … we had something to prove” … PUHLEEZE! … “jock cliche #163”!
Yes, Carolina made some fundamental mistakes in both their losses … base running and fielding miscues that they have practiced countless times for just such moments. But boy oh boy did they make some Great Plays too … THAT SLIDE on Sunday and almost another one as good last night … Cox’s catch … Woodard’s shutout … Bard’s mound heroics … Cavissini on first every time you turned around peering out from under his helmet as Harold Reynolds reminded us how fast he is. FedEx’s hot bat … Horton’s play both in the field and at the plate. Miller the “ace of the staff”. And Flack and Fronk and Benji and Hovis. Every single one of Coach Fox’s kids … and even Ol’ Roy up in the stands leading the cheers and “red-eyed” himself there at the end.
All those kids from the tobacco fields in the East and from the shadow of Charlotte’s UpTown highrises … … Crash Davis and Ray Kinsella and “The Boys From Post 9” understand because they all know … “This Is Baseball”!
……. Oh, and one other former player understands too … “Mighty Casey” from Mudville … you betcha “Casey” understands.
The rest of you can deal with this however you please … but around the water cooler at Swagger World HQ we are singing Aye Zigga Zoomba and are as proud as we can be of Coach Mike Fox and “his Baseball Boys in Blue”.
I’ll bet Clyde King can get in touch w/ Sax or Knoblock or Buckner … I think I’ll make a phone call to Goldsboro.
Forrest Gump’s life long love was “Jenny”. If you are ever in Times Square, check out Bubba Gump’s seafood restaurant across from ESPNZone..
EVERYBODY at the College World Series … players, coaches, even the fans … looked like they stepped off a WHEATIES box. Remember this as we return to “Big Time” College Football and Basketball … not to mention “the pros”…. Yuck!
Duke AD Joe Alleva, and his son, were involved in a serious boating accident this weekend. EVERYONE at Duke and in Derm is trapped in an evil time/space continuum … VERY EERIE!
ALERT … ALERT …. Next Monday – July 3rd, BobLee will be on WPTF’s (680 AM) Kevin Miller Show (8-9 AM) to discuss “The Derm Mess”. Governor Easley is calling out the National Guard and “Bunny Hole Entertainment” has bought a package of 60-second commercials. ….
BobLee’s long awaited CD … “Sacred Cows & Other Roadkill” is back from “the place they make CDs” and will be available soon. We’re updating a website link that will give all the ordering details. WAFFLE HOUSE … Victoria’s Secret … The Fog Truck … Hadji … a total of nine classics as told by BLS hisownself.
OK … for those of you who misinterpreted the title of today’s column … here’s a picture of Stacey Keibler to satisfy your perverted appetites …