Well, I'm not one to blog about Georgia Baseball. This has not only been documented by my lack of (well, let's say "non-existent") comments about the team all year long, but my reluctance to even mention the improbable run of the Diamond Dawgs all the way to the 2008 College World Series.
To say that our team exceeded expectations would be an understatement. We went from a horrible team last year to probably one of the best in the nation this year. We had offense and defense at all the key moments to get us in the Championship game.
However, over the past two days, it just wasn't meant to be. UGA struggled with pitching while Fresno State enjoyed a plethora of hitting in what could be described as one of the most run heavy College World Series finals ever. Our pitching failed at the most critical time, while their production enjoyed an over-abundance of runs at all the right times.
I'm not buying all the "Cinderella" hype that Fresno State received. Granted, their road to the CWS was one of the toughest, if not THE toughest, any team has overcome in a very long time, but let's not forget that this was a team ranked #20 in the nation at the beginning of the season by Baseball America, while UGA wasn't ranked at all. There's a difference between winning at the right time and winning when you're not supposed to. By the numbers, Fresno State underachieved most of the year, while UGA OVERACHIEVED. Those are just the numbers, folks. Nothing made up there.
Now, as for the absolutely suffocating hype of the "Cinderella" brought on by ESPN and any other media, I can't control that. I wish I could but it was very well documented what the "feel good" story was and how that would translate into ratings. ESPN and any media outlet outside of Georgia wanted the faux Bulldogs to win the CWS because all-in-all it was the "Better Story."
I can't take anything away from Fresno State. They played lights out when they needed to. The word "clutch" doesn't begin to describe that team and to say that they deserve a tip-of-the-hat would be an understatement. But to say this was a flat out upset would be a travesty. This Fresno State team is LOADED with talent, just like the UGA team they faced for three straight days.
The word of the day is "deserving." UGA deserved to be in the CWS Championship, just like Fresno State. And, in the same breath, Fresno State "deserves" to be the Champions after playing lights out baseball in the past two games.
Let's not take anything away from tonight other than knowing the two best teams in the nation played it out for all the marbles and the team that played better won the whole thing. From the top to the bottom, Fresno State had the pitching, defense and hitting that propelled them to the top of the College Baseball ranks and they flat-out deserve to be there.
But what the Diamond Dawgs accomplished is nothing to sneeze at. We went farther in the CWS than what I, or any Dawg, has seen in MANY MANY years. This team did all they could to bring an NCAA Championship to Athens, and even though they fell short, it was still leagues above what people expected them to do at the beginning of the season.
So here's to Perno and the UGA baseball staff. You put together one helluva run when no one expected any better. Fields and Beckham, we will absolutely miss your leadership and production, but here's to the UGA team of the present and the one of the future. I'm very much looking forward to doing the same thing next year, except we'll bring home hardware next time.
Mark my words.
Until next time kids.
Labels: Georgia Baseball