Good Boys Playing Good Baseball

May28/ 2012

It wasn’t Game Six but by golly it was our neighborhood’s version of it.  If you missed Saturday night’s State v Carolina baseball game you sure missed “a real good’un”.

Both fine ballclubs now start down The Road To Omaha.  It’d be great if both teams meet again “for all the marbles” in a few weeks….. “good boys” coached by “good men” playing country hardball – College Sports without all the smelly rotten crap.   Halle-freakin-lujah!….

It was just for temporary “braggin rights”.  Yes, Carolina winning 4-0 in 12 innings did knock the Wolfpack out of the ACC Tournament finals but that is as meaningless these days as ACC Basketball’s “Tournament”.   Both teams have enjoyed fine seasons.  Both teams are chockfulla “moochies”.  Both teams are coached by “old leaguer” throwbacks in Elliott Avent and Mike Fox.  Both teams will be dancing into June.

On one May evening in Greensboro’s NewBridgeBank Park a buncha kids grabbed up bats and balls and mitts and spikes and just “played baseball”.   The kids coulda switched unis in the 5th inning and it woulda been unnoticeable.  Every single one of’em was an “old school moochie”.   Maybe, just maybe, there IS hope for college athletics.  

OK, I’m not that naïve.  Big Time College Sports’ handbasket is close enough to ESPN-Nike Hell that the smell of brimstone is choking us all.   But for one night in Greensboro….

We saw kids from Holly Springs and Huntersvilie and Rye NY and other locales where there were ball diamonds and backstops and someone to hit’em infield until it got too dark.   As with Game Six in St Louis, there were no goats just “heroes being heroic”.  Lordy Lordy it was goosebump baseball in all its glory.

I normally prefer offense.  I like to see balls going yard and close plays at home….. and an obscure pitch-hitter “sliding into second with a stand-up double”.  There was some of that last night for sure.  Pack SS Chris Diaz’ acrobatic snag of a possible “tweener” temporarily preserved the shutout for the Pack.  Wonder what a suspended Mike Fox said in his Greensboro hotel room at that?

The Pack have a for real Freshman Fenom in Pitcher Carlos Rodon.  From nearby Holly Springs, he was throwing BBs and mowing down Heel batters like a hot knife thru blue butter.  But the Boys From Boshamer hung in there.  An array of Heel hurlers kept the Wuffs off the bases all night.

A record crowd of 10,000+ stayed around well into the Triad night.  The “crowd” was a story too.  Unlike most “us vs them” games where partisans are assigned seating areas well apart from one another for obvious reasons, this was not the case on this historic night.  NC State Red and UNC Blue were all mingled together in a mosaic of get-along co-existence you just don’t ever see.  Camera shots of the crowd were as fascinating as what was going on the diamond.

The “farm boys” and the “frat boys” and their wimmen and youngans were so jumbled up that neither group had enough weight behind it to get all jackassity.  There may have been a few hard cases but nothing that caught the all-seeing eye of the FoxSports camera.   Of course college baseball fans are simply “a different breed” than the board monkey nutjobs that symbolize FB and Bkb fans.

Even the TV announcing team was spot-on.  No clue who they were but they were OUTSTANDING.  They knew miniscule crap about every player and seemed to be reading the minds of the coaches and the kids.

Tar Heel starter Benton Moss is a Morehead Scholar and concert pianist.  Holy Cow!  (Betcha he didn’t need Julius’ fake class). Their anecdote about Parks Jordan the Carolina kid who simply refused to be cut from the team in the Fall was awesome right before Parks slapped a run-scoring single past a diving State second baseman in that 12th inning.

The State moochies were equally “moochie-ferous”.  When a perfect throw nailed a Carolina runner at 3rd, the State 3rd baseman leaped higher than Spud Webb could have.

In the end Carolina’s Shrek rally caps won out over State’s shark rally caps. But it was “just a game” and both squads will go on to play another day.

A delightful preview to THE BEST there is about college sports – THE CWS in Omaha.  Coming soon to a HDTV flat screen near you. ……

“Play Ball”


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