On a normal occasion, I would use this spot to purely spread sweet, unadulterated hate in relation to our upcoming opponent and, whether it be true or not, use it to hopefully incite feelings of rage within our fan base that would carry over to the weekend. However, this week, I’m going to play things a little differently. For one, agree with me or not, this is the beginning of what could be the biggest TCU sporting event of the past, oh, 80 years. I still think the Fiesta Bowl is bigger at this exact point in time because, hey, it's football and not baseball, but if TCU makes it out of their bracket over the next week and ends up in the championship series, there is no doubt which event will be more monumental.
Also, Florida State isn’t a familiar foe for us in any sport, so while coming up with solely hate material for Baylor or Texas was like a naturally occurring bodily function, working myself up for Florida State required a little more research. And as Florida State plays in the ACC and we've never faced them on the diamond, it's probably safe to say that most of us are 100% unfamiliar with the program even on the most basic level. So I think it would be in our best interest to just give a little back story here which will allow us to get to know our opponent a little bit better.
And don’t worry, there will be some manufactured condescension and hate sprinkled in towards the end. Despite my introduction honorable intentions of giving Florida State their due, I can’t pretend to be something I’m not. And if we have any Seminoles reading this, please be aware that I enjoy making something out of nothing and running with it for the sake of fan ire, but it’s all in good fun. Unless we're talking about SMU or Texas. I genuinely hate those bastards.
Let's do this good cop/bad cop, or good manager/bad manager for a baseball twist. Or, Johnny Oates/Ron Washington, for those Rangers fans out there.
Good Manager: Under current Head Coach Mike Martin, Florida State has been one of the most successful baseball programs in the country. Martin has won 1583 games and has a .748 winning percentage during his 30 years as coach. Overall, he is the sixth winningest coach in the NCAA and has the second highest winning percentage. Those are BIG numbers. Like, Augie Garrido big, although the .748 probably still doesn’t touch Garrido’s BAC on Sunday night. Oh yeah, and the field is named after him. No big deal.
The Seminoles have made the NCAA Tournament 48 times, including 34 years in a row, and advanced to the CWS 20. They still haven’t won the thing, but Martin acts like he’s not retiring until he does. Seeing as how he’s 66, the clock is REALLY ticking this year. Martin obviously knows his baseball, but judging by the way he rallied his team this year to finish strong, he's a great motivator and has his team playing their best baseball at exactly the right time. To be running up against a traditionally strong, peaking baseball program filled with players who know how to win with an inspirational coach on the wane of his career trying to win the big one and ride off into the sunset is about as lucky as TCU getting matched with Texas for the Supers. They've been to Omaha as recently as two years ago while we're obviously the new kids on the block and could be prone to getting caught up in the moment. I like our chances with Purke on the mound, but I see no chance of this one being a cakewalk.
Bad Manager: While no one can touch aggy when it comes to “strange traditions,” which is putting it lightly in their case, Florida State baseball has a tradition of their own which, to be honest, is a bit off-putting. During the fifth inning of games, the Seminole fans will all stand up and sing “O Canada,” as in the Candian National Anthem, as a tribute to the game played between the ‘Noles and the Canadian National team in the 1980s. As legend has it, the Canadians began singing their anthem during the fifth inning of said game in a show of arrogance of holding the lead, only to see the Seminoles come back and win the game. So now, in a superstitious twist, the Seminole fans sing the song in the assumption that it brings them luck.
Now I’m all for Schadenfreude inspired chants, but singing the anthem of another country in order to inspire confidence? With America's sprawling head of hair and well-defined jawline, the idea of wearing Canada as a hat is about as useful to me as having Mexico as a beard; which is to say, I don’t have much use for either country. So the thought of being forced to sing the national anthem of either of them each time I attend a sporting event doesn’t sit well with me. Especially the one of those Socialized, mullet and denim wearing hosers. If Seminoles fans look to Canada for luck, do they look to them for other things as well? Are they all closet commies? And if they are, what does this really say about their overall character and dedication to American ideals such as standing up and fighting for what you believe in, even if that decision is unpopular to the masses?
Case in point: The above seen Jenn Sterger. Now, I honestly don’t know how Florida State people feel about Jenn Sterger. I mean, sure, she’s a piece to look at – and if you want to see what “bought and paid for” really means, turn safesearch “off” when Googling her – but does she make them proud? Do they brag about having her as a fan as the Kentucky Wildcats do Ashley Judd? And if she’s such a “superfan”… then why did she do THIS!?
If you can’t tell by the picture, that’s Jenn Sterger a few years ago, wearing not Seminoles gear, but that of the SOUTH FLORIDA BULLS!! I understand how bandwagons work and all, but is that how a superfan is supposed to act? And South Florida? Their football program didn’t exist ten years ago. This would be akin to WWHD deciding that, after the failure of the 2003 season, to become a UNT or Southwest Texas fan. And if she’s the face of the Florida State fan base, what does this say about the rest of them? Could a TCU win in Omaha completely derail any momentum generated by the team's late season success? I’m not saying that Florida State has bad fans, but I do have my concerns.
And who can forget the great Florida State academic cheating scandal of 2007 which basically forced Bobby Bowden into retirement and gift wrapped Joe Paterno the all time wins record? The football team definitely took the brunt of the penalties, but if you read the fine print, among the ten programs losing scholarships was beisbol. And while this could be a case of the NCAA making a statement – except for in Bowden’s case because the way he ran that program made the Southwest Conference look legit – I have a feeling that there was some just cause. And if Florida State's baseball players are willing to cheat in the classroom, can you imagine what they must do on the diamond? Look for sign stealing, spitballs and spikes up slides on Saturday afternoon if the game is in question.
Oh yeah, and JD Drew played for Florida State. And now he plays for the Red Sox. And I hate the Red Sox. So there's that.
So it’s up to you guys to judge how you want to view our first round opponents in Omaha. Do you view the Seminoles as an organization with proud baseball tradition and one of the most successful coaches in the game today who inspired his team to persereve against their late season odds for an unlikely Conference championship and CWS run? Or do we view them as a dirty program with socialist, bandwagoneering fans who would jump ship at the first sign of trouble and flee to Canada where they would immediately develop flapping heads and eat mayonnaise on their french fries?
I think you know which side I’ll be on. Go Frogs!