June 19, 2012
"Cause the fiery heart of a champion,
Cannot be quelched,
By a failure or an embarrassment,
No way, no."
----------------------- TENACIOUS D
Because it bears repeating …
Yes, it's a strange feeling. South Carolina lost a postseason game, a College World Series game, on Monday. For the first time in 22 games, somebody figured out how to beat the Gamecocks.
Is it the end of the world? Only an idiot or a Jimmy Buffett fan (fully interchangeable) would think that. The Gamecocks put together something that will likely never be approached, much less equaled. Like all fans of all winning teams do, USC's supporters got used to winning and began to expect it, and probably said some things that they'll regret in the morning — one so-called "All-American" decided to Tweet to Adam Matthews why it was a mistake that he was drafted, to which Matthews politely told him where he could go, and how he could take his bare ring-less fingers with him.
But like in that clip (as my main man Impala knows, it's from "Robin Hood: Men in Tights"), Cary Elwes gets another chance. USC gets another chance, beginning on Wednesday against Kent State.
It's a tough task, but not impossible. And there's enough veteran leadership on this team to remember what the Gamecocks did two years ago, at the beginning of the streak, and what they have to do to start a new one.
So while you scratch you heads until Wednesday and wonder why Ray Tanner did this and why he didn't do that, rest assured that he did or didn't for one very good reason — because he's the coach. Many times it works, sometimes it doesn't, and on Monday, USC got it handed to it in the form of two dynamite pitching performances. No more, no less. Playing the what-if game always assumes that the guy you would have pinch-hit would have homered, which in TD Ameritrade Park, is about as likely as Steve Spurrier deciding to coach defense from now on.
Practice today will hopefully reveal who gets the ball tomorrow night — it should be between Michael Roth and Jordan Montgomery — and then how the Gamecocks deal with what they haven't seen in a long while. We'll hand over the news as soon as we get it.
* Found out on Monday before the game what I'd long suspected — I'm very out of shape. The USC Media Game of Catch resumed yesterday morning, with myself, Michael Haney, Darryl Slater and an honorary member taking the field at Creighton's softball facility for some infield. Slater, the lucky doofus, managed to hit one out of the softball field while I settled for a scorching liner through short, but we all had a good time working out the rust.
Looking forward to getting out there tomorrow to continue the tradition. Hoping that my first-day fielding was just getting back into the swing of it after a long offseason. You never know where there might be a scout lurking around, desperately seeking a 34-year-old second baseman/outfielder with bad knees that can't hit a curveball with two weeks notice.