The Red Scare is Back.
No, not the Soviets. I don’t care how many times Vladmir Putin is pictured shirtless on horseback, the Russians don’t scare me. And don’t give into the hype and have them scare you either. They are a bunch of insecure leaders in an otherwise beautiful country full of people that are actually sick of their government. But I digress.
What I’m referring to is the Four Corners-based Reds team who sewed up the Area Code Games title today with their 8-3 win over the Northeast-based Yankees on Friday afternoon. With the win, the Reds wrap up an ultra-rare unbeaten week here in Long Beach, at a perfect 5-0.
Way way way back when the Area Code Games first began, they were held in Lodi, California, which is up North in the San Joaquin Valley and the self-proclaimed “Zinfandel Capital of the World.” The idea for a showcase of top-flite high school talents came from the brain of former scout Bob Williams. The first year of the ACG was in 1987 and teams actually were formed according to the players’ area codes.
Yep. First week of August. That means it’s Area Code Games week.
And as is my usual lead intro… In the lore of everyday, household-known baseball names, there are a number you recognize without hesitation: Barry Zito, CC Sabathia, Josh Beckett, Bryce Harper, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, Torii Hunter, Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Braun, Albert Pujols, etc. etc. Those are some of the talents who have dug their cleats into the Blair Field diamond in Long Beach, California while playing in the Area Code Games. Good enough of a pedigree for ya’?
THE JOURNEY TO OMAHA (vol 2)
July 21, 2014 by Mike Rooney
At the end of every season, college baseball coaches inventory their program. What are the areas where we need to improve? It is player acquisition, player development, facility upgrades, staff changes, or fundraising? The typical target list is quite large so it becomes critical to prioritize these items.
Let’s do the same for College Baseball. Where can we get better? What are the changes that are the most urgent?
Okay StitchHeads, this seems like a yearly occurrence for me… I come home from the College World Series and intend to write a wrap-up column of sorts. Then, lethargy sets in and I can’t seem to write a thing for a week.
So here you go – a week late at that – my CWS wrap-up and season commentary. But to kick off our Distillers’ Dozen, the “Inside” of our “high and Inside” baldcasts has decided to enter the written word in our college baseball world. Here are Mike Rooney’s Journey To Omaha notes:
And it’s the Vanderbilt Commodores…
You might’ve heard it in the post-game press conference. Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said that he almost wishes he WASN’T from Omaha because he feels that fact puts so much attention on him and takes attention away from his players. Tim Corbin echoed those sentiments about how big this was for his players and how much it meant to him to see his players succeed and win the title. You heard it back on Saturday after his team beat Texas and he just sat on the bench watching his players celebrate and saying, “It like watching your kids open their presents at Christmas. You don’t grab a present of your own and start opening it, you watch your kids and the joy they get from opening theirs.”
Virginia didn’t let themselves get in their own way this time. They also didn’t trip over their lip. It was a no-nonsense, nose-to-grindstone type of performance for the Wahoos, and it showed.
No wild number of walks. No hit batsmen. No flinging the ball into the stands on routine plays – okay, maybe that happened once, but you get my drift. This is the Virginia team that we saw in the final six innings last night and the team that has been near the top of the polls all season long, playing at an Appalachian-like high, man.
Tonight’s 7-2 win for the blue & orange sets up a winner-take-all College World Series finale on Wednesday night. As it should be, right? This is good stuff.