The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Bill(y) Buckner Carries Club to World Series Win

All good things must come to an end and the Hurricanes season did last night. Last night’s 15 – 11 defeat at the hands of South Carolina marked the first time all season that the Canes lost consecutive games. Although the final score was relatively close, the game itself wasn’t. Gamecock's starter Billy Buckner dominated for seven solid innings, striking out ten and only walking one. For most of the game, the Canes trailed by ten runs or so. It was only after a few pitching changes and pulling almost all of the starters that the Canes made it a game.

South Carolina came out ready to play though, and they played well. Miami didn’t. It’s pretty much as simple as that. As was the case on Monday night against Fullerton, Miami looked flat and emotionless on Tuesday night against South Carolina. The Canes got away with that level of effort many times during the season, but that doesn’t work in Omaha when you’re facing top level competition like the second seeded Gamecocks.

Arizona was also eliminated yesterday, meaning that the Canes and Wildcats technically tie for fifth place. Coming into the season if you’d told Arizona they’d end the year tied with Miami, I’m sure they would have been ecstatic. Coming into the season if you’d told Miami they’d end the year tied with Arizona, I’m sure they would have been nearly suicidal. Both sentiments may ring true today.

Texas faces off against Georgia today in a potential elimination game for the Bulldogs. The primetime matchup pits South Carolina against Fullerton, where Carolina can be sent home with a loss. If Texas and Fullerton both win today, there will be no games tomorrow or Friday, and those two teams will face each other in the Championship Series, which will begin on Saturday (regardless of whether games are necessary tomorrow).

Other thoughts on last night’s game
So how bad was the loss for the Canes last night? I was almost hoping they'd drag out the Kenny Maybe ball boy skit a little longer. As it got later in the game, I was hoping Sean McDonough would continue to drone on with his frightening fascination with the girlfriends of the South Carolina players, each of whom is probably young enough to be McDonough's daughter.

In addition to McDonough flirting from afar with Gamecock girls, he also gushed about how Fullerton is able to maintain such a top level program on a shoestring budget. Not only was this in inappropriate time for such a rant (why not save it for tonight when Fullerton is actually playing), but it was also short sighted. South Carolina isn’t exactly the best funded athletic department in all the land, and even though you see Miami on television all the time, it’s not because there’s a huge base of alumni or state dollars flooding the campus.

Apparently McDonough has joined the masses in forgetting that Miami is a small private school that has created what seems like a big time athletic department from relatively humble beginnings. The UM program doesn't get much credit for it, but it's a small program with a relatively small budget that is run by a group of dedicated, underpaid people and is supported by a relatively small group of alumni and fans (keep in mind that Miami runs a distant third in terms of alumni and fans in Florida, after the University of Florida and Florida State).

By the way, I have more Gmail invitations, so drop me a note if you'd like one.


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