The not so nice side of “fame and notoriety” is about to descend upon Mother Avent’s son – Elliott. No matter which direction the veteran dugout-meister goes relative to “using Carlos on Thursday” he will be unmercifully sliced and diced by the NC State Baseball bandwagoneers….. It is WWED? What Will Elliott Do ??? …….
This will all be moot within a few hours but pregame speculation is as much of an American sports tradition as Monday morning quarterbacking.
Its the next Game of The Millenium for the world of UNC v NCState Baseball ….. Is it just me or does it seem a looooong loooong time ago that we labored thru those 18 innings in Durham. Not to mention those humdingers with Florida Atlantic, USoCar and Rice.
We all knew that State’s rightly-maligned banana-grabbing baseball bandwagoneers would somehow “blame Swofford” for something in Omaha…… duh! Several terminally paranoid mouth-breathers expounded with gusto on the WRAL monkey board about the double-elimination format and having to play “UNCheats” AGAIN. I can only imagine the carnage on the more popular forums.
Carolina has some of the very same species of course. But UNC’s more recent trips to Omaha has created a slightly broader awareness of at least how to spell CWS.
The CWS “brackets” were in place when the original seeding took place…. when the Regional and Super Regional seeding was done. By those seedings, UNC would be playing Oregon rather than NC State. Rice upsetting Oregon created the UNC v NCSU match-up.0
Beyond the fish bowl world of “The Triangle” UNC and NCSU meeting at all this week is of no more consequence than MissState meeting LSU or UCLA and Oregon State meeting. As “important” (?) as UNC v NCState is as our cozy little neighborhood rivalry, it does not move the Richter needle in Wichita, St Paul, Fresno or Valdosta. Do you care about BYU vs Utah ??
In fact… A random survey of CWS spectators revealed a 99.9999% “Huh?” response to “Who is Julius Nyang’oro?” Which is about the same response from former NC governors – ouch. I digress…..
The veteran NCAA administrator who is in charge of CWS is Dennis Poppe and,…. yes, I’ve known “Denny” since he played Safety for Dan Devine at Mizzou in 1969. But surely Denny didn’t set this all up just as a favor to an old pal……. Bwahahahaha……
Thursday night’s latest Mega Game is dripping with the drama that makes Baseball soooo freakin’ Great. Leaving both camps’ banana-grabbers to feed on their own body lice, let play WWED.
A MUST WIN for both teams blah blah yadda yadda. Saving anyone or anything for “the next game” is akin to not using some of the Titanic’s lifeboats because it’s a real pain to remove the covers.
Mike’s Moochies will obviously go with pitcher-by-committee as his late season ace – Tyler Thornton – threw his arm and his heart out in a epic performance vs LSU on Tuesday. Regular season ace – Ken Emmanuel – has been “ineffective” in recent weeks. Whether Ken’s issue is physical, psychological or, most likely, somehow traced to “something that clueless nincompoop Baddour did or didn’t do” is unclear. I always go with the latter of course.
Look for The Fox to be pulling any pitcher who allows a Pack runner as far as second. A rumor that Matt Harvey has one game of eligibility remaining is unfounded but since UNC has all kinds of “connections” within The NCAA “inner circle” one never knows. Does one?
WWMD is really not the question of the day. It’s all about WWED….. relative to “CARLOS”.
“Carlos” is a big ol’ country boy who has three days rest after a 100+ pitch carving up of Tar Heels on Sunday. He would normally have 4-5 days between games. Is 4 days rest an inviolatable rule? Of course not. Carlos is not Whatshisname Strasburg with the Nationals.
If Elliott hands Carlos the ball he’s gonna fling it ‘cause that what “a gamer” does in such situations. Carlos IS “a gamer”. That said….. here’s WBLWD (What BobLee Would Do…).
NOTE: I have 30+ less years as a baseball manager than Elliott or Mike….. but I did play a mediocre first base one summer in a sandlot semi-pro league.
I would NOT start Carlos. I would go with whichever other pitcher I have the most confidence in. Maybe Trea & Company get an early 3-4 run lead and a Wuff “pitcher-by-committee except Carlos” can nurse home the W. It ain’t like The Moochies have been wallbangers lately. If the game stays within a run or so sans Carlos then I save Carlos…..
Get into the 7th inning and Wuffs are up 1 or 2, then I start Carlos playing catch in the bullpen. Wuffs up 1-2 in the 8th or 9th and Heels getting decent aluminum on the ball, I bring in the Holly Springs Hammer. If Wuffs have to protect a 1-2 run lead in the 8th or 9th you HAVE to slam the door with your ace….. or Elliott joins Grady Little in the “You Idiot Doghouse”.
If Moochie bats do wake up early and Blue goes up 4-5 by the 3rd or 4th….. do you bring in The Hammer? Sorta depends on how Trea & Company are making contact. Odds are State batters will “make contact” versus Fox’s pitching committee.
…. State can NOT / will NOT lose this game with Carlos wearing a rally cap and standing at the dugout railing in a clean uniform…… THAT would be almost as bad as “TO’B punting the ball to Gio”.
If Wuffs beat Heels twice in Omaha but lose twice to UCLA it will still be “hats & horns” party time on The Brickyard. Free garlic bread at Amedeo’s !!!! IF State eliminates “the hated Carolina” they are playing with house money from there on out.
Howsabout….. State has a 1-run lead with Heels coming up in bottom of the 9th. First two Heels go down…. but the next batter goes to 3-2 and manages a walk on “a really really close call”, Uh Oh. Elliott goes to mound and taps his left arm to Call For Carlos….. crowd goes absolutely bat-**** as Carlos ascends the mound. Carlos versus ….. yes….. SKYE BOLT! Two nasty sliders on the black and it’s 0-2. Carlos gets his sign from Brett….. he cocks…. he rocks….. he fires…… SKYE swings ….. the first ball EVER to clear the Ameritrade center-field fence….. HEELS WIN !!! HEELS WIN!!! ….. Frau storms into the Pack dugout and informs Elliott “just getting to Omaha” isn’t good enough. As Heels dogpile, Karl Ravich turns to Kyle Peterson and says “Well, ya know what Jimmy V said…. Never give up!”
OK, there ARE alternative scenarios of course. But it is not too hyperbolic to say, all things considered, Thursday night’s game IS “the most important game in NC State baseball history…… so far”.
Is it equally as monumental in Carolina history? No… the first CWS finals loss to Oregon State with the routine grounder oops will still be bigger historically. Would eliminating State help UNCers still struggling over the drip, drip, drip of The Great Unpleasantness? Help yes….. but the drip, drip, drip ain’t going away.
Will the sports world be watching? Nope…. Ray Allen pretty much ruined any chance of a national audience with his 3 at the buzzer.
But I’ll be watching….. you betcha.