I'm not going to lie, this just hurts. It's that knotted pain right there in your gut. It's a nagging pain that started when it got to 3-0, grew when it went to 5-0, and set in as the Bruins capped off a two game sweep of MSU tonight. Just yesterday, feelings for those in maroon and white were rising towards jubilation, but now all we're left with is two losses, and a second place finish on college baseball's grandest stage.
UCLA, who has been on a similar path as MSU to this point, proved to be the team left with just a bit more in the tank, as the Bruins took two games from the Bulldogs to win their first ever baseball national championship. The Bruins earned every bit of it, as they stymied the likes of LSU, North Carolina, and MSU along the way. They did everything right, pitched perfectly, and grabbed timely hits to finish the CWS undefeated, and with their 109th team sport national championship in school history. A big congratulations to them, their players, and their not ugly fans that we saw approximately 105,634 times over the last few days.
I think it's just so hard for us because we've never experienced it; we've never tasted the ultimate taste of being the last team standing. Last Friday, when we clinched a spot in the College World Series' championship series, it felt like the walls of national championship oppression might finally come tumbling down. That was not to be, however, and granted finishing runner-up isn't easy for any competitive team. But it's so much harder being a State fan and/or player, because in all of our history, in all of our sports, we've yet to be given the gift of holding the crown.
I'm not going to bog you down with details; all you need to know is that the Bruins did what they needed to, and State simply did not. UCLA and head coach John Savage walk off tonight with the school's first ever baseball championship. No need to talk about the ins and outs of this game, because the end result is painful either way.
At this time, no matter how hard it is to do, I feel like it's time to say thanks, and celebrate a fantastic season.
Thanks to Hunter Renfroe, Wes Rea, Adam Frazier, and Trey Porter. Thanks to Ross Mitchell, Sam Frost, Luis Pollorena, C.T Bradford, Kendall Graveman, Demarcus Henderson, and Jonathan Holder. Thank you to the Bench Mobb (second b silent), because without you, this ride wouldn't have been nearly as fun. Thanks to everyone, from coach Cohen down to the guys who wash the socks, for giving everything you have for the maroon and white. Your efforts may have been two games short of the crown, but we applaud them with gusto. We appreciate so much what you've given us as a fanbase. Before John Cohen stepped in in 2008, MSU baseball was lost in the desert. A storied program that couldn't quite find it's way back to prominence, and just five seasons later, we're back at the top where we want to be.
A month ago, I just wanted to host a regional, and here I sit tonight, privileged enough to be writing a "game recap" on the last night of college baseball for the 2013. That's because of you guys, and the sweat and sacrifice you poured into this year. In my 27 years of being an MSU fan, I've never been a part of something like this, and who knows if I ever will again. I hope this isn't as high as we go, and I hope you guys stay hungry for that one spot ahead of where you finished tonight. No matter where we go from tonight forward though, I will one day tell my kids about the bench mobb, the "facial hair power point", and about how a few long haired, goofy, dugout-stripping, and bearded kids from Starkville defied the odds and everyone's expectations to play for it all in the national championship.
There's so much more to say; so many people to thank individually. There is so much to talk about from a great season, and there will be time for that between now and Labor Day. For now, MSU baseball players and fans, hold your heads high, because we have a ton to be proud of. For the thousands who traveled to Omaha, don't feel that your trip was in vein. We showed the nation what this fanbase can do, and that's something that many won't forget about us for years to come. For the players, I know you wanted more, but take a second to enjoy the ride you had, the players you got there with, and the coaches who guided you there, because some of those guys won't be there in the fall. It's hard to do right now because it hurts, but win or lose, feast or famine, rain or shine, by god, we love this school and this team, and we always will.
Thanks to everyone. This was one damn fun year.