Monday, July 09, 2007

Omaha by the Numbers

$720 - Cost for a last minute airline ticket to the final series, worth every penny.

13 - The number of hours before first pitch of the final series in Omaha that I left home for the airport and my adventure to the CWS.

8 - the inning in game 2 vs. UNC when I finally became convinced we were going to win. To that point, I hadn't been sure about any game the entire post season. Yes, I'm a pessimist.

1 - Tears that rolled down Jordan's cheek as we pulled up to Hooters on 11:45PM on Sunday night to celebrate and noticed the neon open sign was not aglow.

3 - Number of intoxicated college coeds in skimpy clothes that asked Jordan to pose on the statue with them after the beavs clinched.

.01 - time, in seconds, it took Jordan to say yes and scale the statue.

12 - unofficial time in minutes the Beavers trailed in the entire tournament. Trailing 1-0 after the bottom of the first in game 2, Canham reached to open the second then Barney hit a laser over the left field wall to make it 2-0. That means they trailed for two batters in 45 innings of work, not bad.

60 - Time in minutes it took for us to locate a steak joint (any steak joint, I just wanted meat). This is the Midwest right? Ended up being worth the wait, Anthony's had spectacular prime rib.

390 - Time in minutes, that I spent in PHX airport travelling home thanks to the wonderful people at US Air who had all night to clean the aircraft but waited until departure time to do so, thereby making the entire plane miss connections.

$10 - The amount of food voucher money we received, negotiated up from $5, to help ease the pain of our wait in PHX.

0 - The number of times I will fly US Air in the future and the number of times I'll return to Omaha or Iowa for any reason besides the CWS.

Random Quotes:

" Don't corrupt my grandson" - Bev as "custody" of Jordan was turned over to me after game 2 for the voyage home.

"Nothing" - the guy at the rental car counter when asked what's fun to do in town if you have a day to burn.

"Go Beavs" - random 7 year old kid from the backseat of his car as we crossed the street clad in Orange for breakfast

"I hope you lose today" - The manager at Perkins who had just bought out breakfast due to slow service. He wanted us to come back the next day to prove they could get it right.

"Are you a coach or something?" - the air headed blond next to me on the trip home as I explained to her what all the beaver championship gear was about on the plane. She thought we were "some sort of team."

"OK people, this is getting boring" - the goofy security guard standing on top of the beaver dugout to fans trying to get them to disperse as the team celebration continued on the field.

"I don't agree with their style" - UNC reliever "Nancy" Carignan about OSU's bunting and trying to slow the game down. He might not agree, but for the 2nd year in a row the scoreboard does.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Sun Bowl Road trip

Having been officially bitten by Beaver fever on Jan 1, 2001 while sitting in the Fiesta Bowl watching the Beavs destroy ND, it was always a given that I would attend the Rose, Holiday and Sun Bowl when the Beavers qualified for them. The Rose and Holiday are just a given. There is no obstacle that would prevent me from being at either. For some odd reason the Sun was not very far behind for me. It worked out well this year as we were in Tucson for xmas anyway. Add my brother-in-law (a wildcat who was an honorary beaver for this trip and now referred to as BIL) and 4 more Beavs flying in from Oregon and the roadtrip to El Paso was on.

Thursday Dec. 28 - Tucson, AZ. Departure 9:30am
I expected to see many new things on this trip having never been to New Mexico or outside the immediate vicinity of the EL Paso airport. But the first thing I saw as we made our way East on I-10 was snow in the Desert. As we drove near Benson the snow was coming down in buckets and traffic was crawling along. Our 4 hour drive appeared as if it might take 8. We pressed on and in about 30 minutes were out of the snow and making good time. Our faithful chauffeur is a focused individual and had only one thing in mind, getting to El Paso as soon as humanly possible. The MDX snuck over 100 mph a few times as we hummed along.

Then hunger set in for me and we debated over stopping points for lunch. After seeing only an add fro Kranberry's Family restaurant we decided to pass on Lordsburg and press on while I woofed down some vanilla oreo's. Just under an hour later we had discovered a new place for Geo to retire. You know those Sally Struther's plea's on TV ..."for less than a dollar a day", well we found a place just like that here just outside of Deming, NM. You too could stay for $20 a month in your luxurious RV. And being only 4.5 miles from Wal-Mart, you have it all.

Anyway, a quick in and out at Wendy's, OK it wasn't that quick as there were some issues behind the counter, but I had food now and would survive for awhile. We buzzed through the last bit of the trip and there was beautiful El Paso. On the way to the fan fest we got a glimpse of downtown Juarez and were thankful we were on this side of the Rio (not so) Grande. Having seen the pre-game festivities at the Fiesta bowl I was disappointed by the Sun Bowl efforts. Seemed more like a family gameday type experience. Not bad, but when it's bowl season and not one TV to be found in the place, something is amiss. BIL and I wandered the streets and found a sports bar to eat and watch Cal thump A&M. The others stayed and took in the pageantry of the fan fest including the Beavs easily outnumbers Mizzou 3:1.

Friday Dec 29 - El Paso, TX
After a quick breakfast among several Beaver brethren in the hotel we headed to campus. There were locals everywhere and they had already had their tailgating in full swing. We found a spot and headed to the Beaver party. Arrived just in time to see the band and cheerleaders do their thing. Took some pics, browsed the sub-standard Sun Bowl gear and then started exploring. We climbed the hill behind the East side of the stadium that looked like part of it had to be blown away to fit the stadium in. Anyway, got some good shots of the field from this perch until we were asked by uniformed personal to vacate the area.

Now inside we move to our seats and are ready for game time. By now we all know what happened as the Beavs made us sweat it out, well more like freeze it out, before rallying back to win 39-38 on a late two point conversion. What a fitting end to a tension filled season that included wins over #3 USC, the quacks, Hawaii and Mizzou. The 2nd best season in school history and I was there.

Road trip Notes - My highlights from the trip. 6 people, 1 car, 2 stops (no bathroom breaks), 600 miles and the victory.

On to Baseball and defending our National Title.

Go Beavs!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I'm back!

I can't believe it's been 6 months since I've posted and somehow I missed the entire football season. Well, I didn't miss it, I just didn't write about it. I was there for every home game, including the memorable wins vs. SC and the zeroes, as well as the sun bowl. I've got lots to say but I'll start with an apology and my key learning for the year.

First, I must apologize to Matt Moore and Coach Riley. I was not a fan of Riley's return even though I knew little of the Riley I era. My level of fandom kicked up with the DE era and I have been hooked ever since. That said he has been on a short leash with me and after the bad start I wanted him out. I'm now willing to consider I was wrong. The jury is still out as the team must continue to grow and perform next year, but Riley did things this year I didn't think he could do. Let's review a few:
  1. Win against a highly ranked team - I'll put SC and Hawaii in this bucket given the latter was on the islands.
  2. Rally team from behind late to win - Often we find ourselves hanging on late to win (SC, Hawaii) but twice this year the team rallied late to win (UO and Mizzou). This never say die type attitude is one I want my program to have
  3. Show a giant pair of stones - now he didn't go crazy, and I think some more creativity could be shown in the playbook, but to first decide to go for 2, then to call the play he called shows the kind of confidence he has in the team and that can lead to bigger and better things

As for Matt Moore I just didn't believe he had it in him. I didn't think he could mentally handle it. After last years debacle and the poor start including some poor decision making in the WSU game I thought it was time to move on. Again, I was wrong. As if with the flip of a switch he transformed into a nearly perfect decision maker who put the ball where it needed to be, including the 5th row if needed. I don't know why or how he saw the light, but he did and man what a difference it made. Just imagine if this guy had been in our system for four years, oh how things might have been different. Regardless, I am grateful for the time he did give to us and I hope this change in his game leads him to bigger and better things in his future. Whether there are football related or not, I'm not sure it matters.

Now for my key learning. I still believe that every game in a college football season is critical, but probably only for a select few. Those with national title aspirations. Now we'd all like to believe that means our team, but let's be real, chances are it doesn't. What I've learned is that I need to judge players and coaches alike on a grander scale. While I may not agree with every gameday decision I tend to defer to the end result. Did we win or lose. Really that's what I care about. Taking that one step further, does it matter if we lose a game or three early in the season. Really all that matters is how the season is as a whole. Sure, there will always be what-ifs, but since the chances of a title coming to Corvallis are slim, it's healthier to focus on attainable goals. Bowl games, bowl games wins, wins vs. ranked teams, monster upsets, etc. Now the Fiesta Bowl in 2001 is my all time favorite day in the history of the planet. But given the season just completed, I don't think I could be more satisfied with the larger picture. Big wins, close wins, lots of emotion and a great attitude. I love the team, I love the characteristics of the program and I might be falling for Riley. For now I'll say I'm glad he's my coach and I look forward to his continues stewardship of the program. (Did I actually say that, wow)

Go Beavs

Up next: Sun Bowl Roadtrip (just for you BH)

Monday, June 05, 2006

Beavs win, likely to host supers

The Beavers closed out another sweep in the Corvallis regional beating Hawaii 12-3 to advance to the super-regionals. With Stanford advancing out of the Austin Regional (more on this later) the Beavs will likely host the super-regional for the 2nd consecutive year. And for the 2nd consecutive year will face a Pac-10 foe. Last year they defeated USC in game three and this year will face the Tree. Locations for the supers are to be announced Tuesday morning.

Here is how the bracket looks so far, with 5 spots still to be determined today. After 15 of the 16 #1 seeds advanced last year, 5 #1 have already done down this year. 3 of those, including the only national seeds to be eliminated so far (Texas and Nebraska) coming from the mighty (weak) Big XII. The 3rd #1 from the dirty dozen to go out fell to the #4 team in their bracket. Twice. That allowed perennial power Oral Roberts to advance. Well done Big XII, you sure showed you deserved those seeds. Not to worry though, everyone will forget by next year and you'll get 8 teams in the tourney again.

It was great sitting there on Saturday looking across the diamond at the fans from Big XII tourney champ Kansas it utter disbelief as the Beavs had run up a 9-0 lead through 3.

Super-regional sites and ticket info should be available Tuesday AM.

Friday, June 02, 2006

CW will be Friday at 12:30

From a fans perspective I don't like it. While I can appreciate the benefits of TV exposure, I prefer the traditional experience of Saturday football. I'll still be suffering from a tryptophan hangover at kickoff.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

#5 beavs slighted for national seed

The east coast bias strikes again. The #5 ranked Beavs were skipped over for a national seed and will need some serious help if they wish to host a super-regional again this year. According to the bracket if it holds to form OSU will advance to play #3 seeded Texas, which means the selection committee in all their wisdom has OSU seeded #13 nationally after winning the Pac-10 by 3 games. East coast bias? Well this report from USF seems to support the claim. Not to mention the fact that MSU got in as a #3 seed after losing 16 of their last 24 games and 7 of 8 series. Oh yea, the MSU AD was the president of the selection committee. Good ol' boys network at it's finest.

Enough complaining. They've all go to lose sooner or later so lets get the first three teams out of our way beginning with Wright St. on Friday. The Beavs draw seems winable, but will likely come down to a match-up with Big XII tourney champ Kansas. Suspensions from the Big XII championship game could impact player availability for Kansas and then it could end up being Hawaii. This might not bode well for the Beavs who have a 4-15 record against UH.

Last year 15 of the 16 regional hosts advanced to the supers. Let's look for that trend to continue this year, at least in Corvallis.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Updated Baseball Standings

Defending Pac-10 champs hold a 2 game lead with 6 to play. Magic # is 5, no other team can win more than 16. Beavs travel to WSU this weekend for 3 before ending the season at hoem vs. UCLA.

Beavs 12-6
ASU 10-8
UCLA 10-8
USC 11-9
WSU 9-9
Stan 10-11
UW 9-12
Cal 9-12
UA 7-11

Mothers Day Thought

Why is it that on Mother's Day my wife wants to spend the day with the family and on Father's Day I want to play golf with the guys?  Is this the norm?

Vicks signs, will compete with Joey 5 pick

I really hate the idea of talented athletes getting limitless chances after making mistakes, probably because I am not a talented athlete.  However, it's often the severity of the action being overlooked that bothers me.  Marcus Vick signs a free agent deal with the Dolphins, presumably to compete with Joey for backup duty if and when Daunte returns.  Now don’t get me wrong, I hate everything to do with the lightning and green, but I hope Joey wins this battle.  Vick has proven repeatedly that he is just a bad guy who doesn’t understand what the right thing is, let alone actually making the choice to do it.  Joey is a standup guy who deals with whatever comes his way.  He survived 4 years in Detroit, the guy deserves a break for that alone.

Spring Game = Boring

I thought I was a big football fan. I was wrong.

I have attended every home game for the past 4 years, a handful of road games including that windy night at rainy Seattle last year. Have taken in the Fiesta and Insight bowls in person. I live for Saturdays in the fall. However, the spring game a few Saturdays ago bored me to no end. Thank god there was an exciting baseball to follow or the whole day would have been for not.

It's not that I'm no longer a fan. Just that it's hard when you can't root for or against somebody. In the scrimmage I wanted everyone to do well (and no one to get hurt). Not exactly the same feelings that pulse through my veins in September. I was glad to see Joe back in action and Matt Moore throwing to the right colored shirts. All in all I think we looked good, but it's hard to tell until we line up against someone from another school.

This was my first spring game and I was hoping it could help fill the void until kick-off in August. It didn't. I guess I'll have to keep on visiting beaver blogs, chat sites, etc. 50 times a day until then. Seems to be the only thing that remotely meets my need for a "fix". That and following the baseball team pitch by pitch via gamecast. Man, how did I ever survive without the net.

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