Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Poor Florida

Well, thank the stars- off the bubble and on to Tallahassee. Florida... meet RHP Shooter Hunt. Enjoy him while you can Gators- cause he’s off to the MLB as a first round pick here right soon.

I have no smart idea if they can win the regional; I don’t follow Florida or Florida State to make an accurate assessment of their capacity. But I do know that it is better to be in rather than be out. I never got the fears on other boards that why go if we’re two and done? or Tulane doesn’t deserve it.

Isn’t the latter complaint particularly galling? Talk about bandaging the knuckles that beat you? Season after season, the climate of collegiate sports is rigged- and I use the word “rigged” deliberately- against Tulane. We get the Liberty Bowl instead of the Sugar. The NIT in the 90s instead of the NCAA. I remember when Tulane was the first major conference team to win 20 games and not get in the NCAA- and many other slights.

Maybe Tulane gets a break, get in based on reputation rather than pure merit- and we should apologize? Screw that. If some bloated Big Ten, Pac-10, Big 12 factory is sitting home… well, boo frickin’ hoo. Frankly, I sincerely hope they are.

Plus, how can it not help our recruiting going forward? Better to say that even in a “down” year Tulane makes the show- that the Green Wave is a true “we don’t rebuild, we reload” program.

Plus, as I chide below, why can’t they win some games? Sometimes, as a community, we forget the goal is to root, root, root for the home team- not carp endlessly.

Remember PJ Walters and those darn Jaguars a two years ago. Okay, South Alabama was no great shakes- but the one day a week Harvey stood astride the hill, they were legit top 25. That might be us. The biggest thing in regional play is getting the first 54 outs in orderly fashion (stay in the winners bracket)- and Tulane, to my untutored eye, looks darn well equipped to get most of them.

Reading the press and the more “learned” chatters on the forums, I gather Tulane has two on field problems- getting outs outside the top two starting pitchers and the bats in general. Plus, it is hard to put this gently, but they are not- categorically- a strong mental team. They take whole series off. They get into funks. Marshall proved you can bully them- get them off their collective game, raising questions about how much “want to” exists in the dugout. That fighting will exhibited day after day, at bat after at bat, ain’t exactly Tulane brand baseball.

But they have played well at times. This is gonna sound terrible- but I get a sense they can “front run” with the best of them- turn early success into more success. In fact, they might almost need it. But again, with Shooter going against the sort of SEC program that isn’t quite elite, they could get some momentum, get those early good things that they seem to need to stay real engaged.

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