I realize most typical American sports fans are not avid followers of the College Baseball scene. Everyone knows that in the NCAA, football and basketball reign supreme. And rightfully so, as these are the two sports that bring in the most revenue to their Universities. Now I will admit that I am not an extremely avid follower of the College Baseball scene myself. But I do typically call a couple of a baseball games for my University from the booth every year and tune in to the College World Series, but other than that, the sport is very hard to follow.
Outside of the tourney in Omaha, College Baseball really gets no television time making it very difficult to follow a team other than your local University. So I digress. The number 1 seed heading into this year’s tournament was Arizona State. The boys out of Arizona State are one of the most well-known and respected baseball programs in the country year in and year out. They have made it to Omaha a staggering 22 times and won 5 National Championships (none since 1981 though). In addition they have produced players that you may be highly familiar with such as Reggie Jackson, Barry Bonds, Dustin Pedroia, and most recently, Reds rookie phenom Mike Leake (he was pitching in Omaha just last year). The Sun Devils had a remarkable year and finished 52 and 10 overall (mind you they were 52 and 8 before Omaha). But somehow, this star-studded and heavily favored squad laid a big egg in Omaha and lost both of their games.
This is a prime example of what makes college sports so great. Any team can go down on any given day. Realizing that Arizona State was the heavily favored one seed really got me thinking. When was the last time that the number 1 overall seed won the CWS? You would have to go back over a decade to the 1999 Miami Hurricanes squad. That is 10 plus consecutive years that the favorite has not taken home the crown! Look at this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament. Everyone loves March Madness. And one of the prime reasons, if not the main one is the unpredictability of the whole event. Kansas, the overall number 1 seed was eliminated in the 2nd round by little known Northern Iowa. The number 2 overall seed, Kentucky Wildcats, did not make the Final Four either. The unforeseeable nature of the college sporting stratosphere is what keeps people coming back for more.
You have to love the unpredictability of college sports. So if you get a chance this week, tune in to a game on ESPN and really check out how entertaining the sport of College Baseball truly is. It is every fan’s dream of watching high level baseball with aluminum bats, big time hitting, and kids laying it all on the line. I mean, who doesn’t like watching high scoring baseball. The great thing though, this is high scoring baseball minus steroids.
Or at least we hope..
Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.