June 24, 2015

Tonight, For All the Marbles

Wow, great game last night.

Adam Haseley was huge.  Just absolutely huge.

Hats off to Coach O'Connor for having the stones to start the freshman on such a big stage, in such a big moment.  Wow.

Granted, Haseley is likely to be our Saturday starter in 2016, but still.

Just absolutely huge.

Also huge: Ernie Clement and [especially] Thomas Woodruff, our 8-9 hitters who rang up a combined 6-for-8 with 3 RBI in a game we won 3-0.  Woodruff, as you know, hardly ever plays, and hardly ever played in four years in the program, unless his wheels were needed as a pinch runner.  Just incredible.

And you can't say enough good things about Josh Sborz.  He's easily one of the top three pitchers in the Brian O'Connor era at Virginia, joining Danny Hultzen, and...

Brandon Waddell, who draws tonight's start in the game that will determine the national championship.  And, oh yeah, our injured ace and 1st round draft pick who should be fueled by the quest for redemption against Vanderbilt after last season's game 1 meltdown in the championship series - Nathan Kirby - is available out of the bullpen.

We play tonight for all the marbles.  Can you believe it?

It sucks that we'll have to suffer through the truly awful announcing trio of Karl Ravech, Kyle Peterson, and Aaron Boone and that uber-annoying Vandy whistler, but hey.  Gotta suffer for our craft, ya dig?  Rally, Hoofans.


Make no mistake about this: If we win, it would be the biggest, most important UVA national championship to date, in any sport, ever.

There's a hierarchy of sports in the NCAA, based on revenue and fan interest (as per demand for television coverage and value in media rights deals).

#1 Football
~~~ long drop-off ~~~
#2 Men's Basketball
~~~ long drop-off ~~~
#3 Baseball
#4 Women's Basketball
#5 Men's Hockey 
(for the 59 schools who play it at the D1 level)
#6 Men's Soccer
#7 Men's Lacrosse (rising fast)
~~~ drop-off ~~~
Everything else

The importance of the specific sports to an athletic department are pretty obvious when you look at that list, and I think you can understand why winning a national championship in baseball would be such a big deal for UVA.

Just for gits and shiggles, here's the list of the 22 national championships UVA has won to date.

Boxing (1): 1938
Cross Country (2): 1981, 1982
Lacrosse (5): 1972, 1999, 2003, 2006, 2011
Rowing (2): 2010, 2012
Soccer (7): 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2009, 2014
Tennis (2): 2013, 2015
Women's Lacrosse (3): 1991, 1993, 2004

womp, womp

If *poof* the devil appeared and offered me a trade of X number of our historic national championships in order to provide us with one in Omaha tonight, I would trade Boxing, both CC, two of the lax titles, both Rowing, three of the Soccer titles, one Tennis, and two of the Women's lax championships in order to win one in baseball.  That's a going rate of 13 titles for the one in baseball.

Good thing it doesn't work that way, as I love and cherish each of our 22 championships (and I mean no disrespect to the players, coaches, administrators, and fans who earned them!)  But I hope this illustrates JUST HOW FUCKING BIG THIS WOULD BE IF WE'RE ABLE TO WIN TONIGHT!!!

It would rank up there with UVA football over FSU in 1995 and UVA basketball over Duke in the 2014 ACC championship game as my favorite moments as a Hoofan.  Like, I would probably weep.  Big, huge, heaving sobs.

So, tonight is big.  It's huge.  We really probably shouldn't even be in this game.  But you know, that's exactly what makes us so dangerous.  I feel like Vanderbilt is looking us right in the face and seeing A Team of Destiny, and deep down they know they can't do a damn thing about it.

Didn't you get that feeling last night?  Watching those Vanderbilt players, it seemed like it was written all over their faces.  "Oh fuck."  They already know what's going to happen tonight, and it's not a good outcome for them.

Again, this run in the postseason has been a ton of fun, and even if we lose, that won't be diminished.  Like I said yesterday, we're playing with house money.  We still have a chip and a chair, and now we're man-up in the final.

GO HOOS!  Go out there and own your destiny as the Kings of Omaha.