Tidbits - June 23, 2022

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY


JUST DESERTS
  In 2000 Carolina’s baseball team was ranked number one in the country the entire season, had a 56-10 record, was the number ome seed in the tournament, but lost at home in the Super Regionals.
  What makes the loss even more hurtful is the Gamecocks were not eliminated by a well known power. They lost to Louisiana-Lafayette!
  The defeat ranked right up there with the loss to N.C. State in the 1970 ACC basketball tournament, and the loss to Navy in 1984 by the second ranked Carolina football team that prevented the Gamecocks from being ranked number one.
  Those three losses by the baseball, basketball and football teams eliminated Carolina from winning an elusive national championship.
  Although Carolina’s baseball teams had previously played in the national championship game three times, the 2000 Gamecocks were THE team that was finally going to take home the title. It didn’t happen. The Gamecocks would have to wait ten more years to finally win the World Series title.
  What made me think of 2000, was this year’s Tennessee baseball team mirrored the 2000 Gamecocks. They were ranked number one for most of the year, had over 50 wins, was the number one seed, and lost at home to Notre Dame in the Super Regionals.
  The difference in the two teams is Tennessee is universally hated.
  Danny Kannell is an avowed SEC hater, but he may have nailed it with this tweet, “Congrats Tennessee on a great season. So many memorable moments... flipping opponents off rounding the bases, coach getting tossed for chest bumping umpires, crying over balls a strikes, and of course sooo many pimped out batflips ... what a legacy.”
  The team’s overall arrogance has turned the Vols into the most hated college baseball team ever, perhaps. I put  that squarely on the coach.
  Some Carolina fans wanted Tanner to fire Kingston and hire the Tennessee coach. I don’t want him.
  Of course, I hated Spurrier when he was at Florida, too.
  The Tennessee baseball team reminds me of the Miami Hurricane football teams in the mid-1980s.
  I read an article on the internet that the 1986 Miami team was named the most hated in college football history by 247Sports.
  The article said:
  “The birth of swag, so they say. When the inmates run the asylum, you get instant chaos and that’s exactly what the Hurricanes hoped to create on the field in the 1980s when ‘The U’ became college football’s bad boys.
  Then-Sports Illustrated writer Rick Reilly said it best, “Miami may be the only squad in America that has its team picture taken from the front and from the side.” On a team loaded with future NFL talent, Jimmy Johnson basically didn’t believe in suspensions and handled all disciplinary action in-house.
  That included several slap-on-the-wrist penalties for alleged shoplifting and fraud infractions. Miami’s swag wasn’t enough in the national championship game against Penn State after the Hurricanes infamously stepped off the plane in military fatigues.”
  Like Tennessee, the 1986 Miami team got their comeuppance when the undefeated, hated Hurricane fell to Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl, eliminating them from the National Championship.
  Still hated, the Hurricane won the title the following year. Maybe, the baseball Vols learned their lesson, and will make it to the World Series next year.
  In been over 35 years since Miami was the scum of the earth, but the current Miami team still carries that ancient stigma. The Hurricane are still unliked ... for no real reason.
  Some Gamecock fans are still upset Mark Kingston was retained as baseball coach. One thing is for certain about this past season, the Gamecocks played a tough schedule. Of the eight teams in the College World Series, the Gamecocks played five of them, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Auburn, Texas A&M and Texas. Had Tennessee won, it would have been six of eight.