Monday, June 21, 2010

Know your Enemy: UCLA Bruins

This is Lo Bosworth. She attended UCLA and is a side character on MTV's The Hills.
She makes more money than all of us combined because of this.
The Hills is the leading cause of our current state of idiocracy in this country.
Thanks, UCLA.

After Saturday's dominant victory over the Florida State Seminoles, TCU faces national 6 seed UCLA tonight at 8PM for control of our side of the opening round bracket. For their part, UCLA curb stomped 3rd seeded Florida 11-3. This should be a good one. Like I did for the Florida State game, this preview will be done in good manager/bad manager format.

Good Manager: Despite my unfounded mental picture that UCLA had to be a major hub for college baseball tradition and success, I was pretty surprised to find out that, like us, Friday was the Bruins first ever victory in a College World Series. In fact, they had only been to the big show twice in their history before this year, and not once since the 1997 season. So it goes without saying that, like us, the 2010 version of their squad is the most successful in school history. But, I don't mean this to sound negative or anything. I'm just trying to say that UCLA's team this year is extremely talented and, like TCU, they're a program riding the crest of momentum generated by recent success. And the fact that both teams are focused on building a baseball tradition should make for some inspired baseball.

For their part, UCLA seems to have a lot of respect for TCU, saving their Ace pitcher GerritCole for tonight's game, rather than sending him out in the opener. Obviously this was a risk, but as they got the win, apparently it paid off. And having him match up against Kyle Winkler - a player who certainly proved his worth against Texas, although his stats certainly would say he made his point well before then - should mean that both offenses may not have it as easy as they did in their opener. I definitely wouldn't expect either team to reach 8 runs, and certainly not 11.

But, seeing as how I'm no baseball expert - did you catch the extreme use of vague baseball speak in those paragraphs? - let's move on to my real motive in all of this: Hate.

Bad Manager: Now before I begin, much like I informed our friends at Florida State - who apparently didn't receive the message - unless we're talking about Texas or SMU, the hate expressed in these posts is all in good fun and extremely far fetched in most cases. That being said, UCLA hate was certainly not an easy one to dig up, at least when directly addressing the school. For one, they absolutely LOATHE USC and, as USC is the scum of college athletics, the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" rule certainly would apply here. Jackie Robinson also played for the Bruins, and he's kind of a big deal around baseball circles. Further, as I said, they respected TCU's bats enough to save their ace for tonight's game - I'm assuming they figured TCU would beat Florida State, as we all did, but I'm a homer like that - so they're obviously not so cocky as to assume they can just roll in and steal the game. And also to repeat myself once again, they're much like us: A program that is currently having their best ever years under a recently hired coach - UCLA Coach John Savage was hired in 2005, one year after Schloss - and, even though they received a National seed, doesn't come into Omaha as a heavy favorite. Really, if TCU gets eliminated, compared to the rest of the field, UCLA is probably as good of a horse to hitch your wagon to as anyone, and likely THE best.

But hate is good, so hate we must.

So, if you're unaware, Southern California in general has pretty awful baseball fans. UCLA's stadium only holds 1250 folks, a puny figure that they rarely come close to hitting. In fact, while searching through Bruin Nations archives for some material, I found out that he had two posts alluding to the state of their fans - one outlining why you should become a fan of UCLA baseball and another outlining the rules of college baseball. Yes, they were that uneducated.

Also consider that Dodgers fans love Manny Ramirez and that Charlie Sheen was once able to purchase THE ENTIRE OUTFIELD at an Angels game so that he could catch a fly ball, we're certainly not talking about an area that necessarily "gets" baseball. The fact that Los Angeles- the city with the biggest bandwagon fans in the entire world - couldn't get behind these guys should tell you something. When you consider the vast amount of celebrities that have attended UCLA, this is even more shocking.

Meanwhile, TCU has set every possible attendance record imaginable since opening Lupton Stadium in 2002, despite playing baseball in one of the most uninterested college towns - and I use that term VERY loosely - imaginable, and having roughly 20,000 fewer undergraduate students. I'm not even going to get into a comparison of baseball conducive climates - hint: UCLA wins. In fact, Lupton Stadium - three times larger than UCLA's home stadium, mind you - is currently exploring expansion opportunities. And TCU almost didn't HAVE a baseball program in the late 90's as, due to uninterest and budgeting, the school almost gave the program the SMU treatment. So the fact that a school of our size, in our town, in our climate, can bounce back like it did really demonstrates how much folks from these parts know and understand the game. I'm not saying that a team should get the benefit of the doubt because they have better fans, but did you watch Game 7 of the NBA Finals the other night? Can you IMAGINE a less deserving group of fans to have that much success?

Ok, Ok, I'll be honest: This is easily my weakest hate post yet and I'm kind of embarrassed to post it, which should say more about UCLA than it does about me because I can honestly create hate out of anything, so I'm going to stop now. But really, other than going on a diatribe about California in general - and let's remember, they elected Arnold Schwarzenneger as their Governor, so there's a ton of material there - there isn't a whole lot to say. I expect a great game tonight and while I obviously feel like the Frogs are going to come out in the drivers seat for the championship series, I doubt it will be the cakewalk that was Saturday's game.

What say you, people who know more about baseball than I do?


THEFINCH said...

not saying that i watch it or anything but the Hills makes me dumber one Tuesday night at a time, at 9:00pm central on MTV

alex said...

I expect a pitcher's dual. I hope we can get some hot bats early in the game tho to help swing some mojo our way. Go Frogs


SuperSweet HornedFrog said...

Im just glad our game is tonite so i can put all my focus into the hillls....probably the best show on TV

LA Frog said...

Being a Frog living in LA, I can attest to the LA fan thinking -- too much of a smorgasbord:

1. Raiders are still #1
2. Laker fans, like UT fans, expect to be in the playoffs then take their arrogance to the next level by torching a cabbie's livelyhood for fun. These morons couldn't afford to be in the game so why not cause mayham. Speculation is that Denzel Washington started the fire.
3. Rooting for the Dodgers is fun, hypocritical and deadly
- Dodger Stadium is built on lies and racism -- there's no issue forcing immigrants out of public-funded housing to bring in the Brooklyn Dodgers?
- They hate the doping Barry Bonds; they love doping Manny
- Knife fights in the parking lot after Giants games are wholesome family entertainment
4. UCLA fans show up for football for the tailgate -- where else can you hire a taco truck to cook for you and 20 of your friends for 6 hours on a public golf course
5. UCLA fans show up for basketball because of John Wooden (can't fault them there)
6. I go to UCLA women's beach volleyball because I am a pervert -- man, that's a party