Saturday Statements - While I'm s'posed to be working on basketball stuff

Shhhhhhh!

I'm here in Atlanta and the Final Four has now become the Final Two. But don't tell anybody I'm doing this baseball entry. I'm still on the basketball payroll this weekend. But you stitch-heads know me by now... I can't tear myself away from the horsehide completey. So I'll make this fast and make this a short entry.

I was able to go to a couple of innings of today's 16-6 washout of Maryland by Georgia Tech. I didn't stay long, mainly because it wasn't much of a game and I had to get down to the Georgia Dome for the basketball finals today. Plus, the encroaching heat had me starting to sweat after about 30 minutes or so.

After going to last night's outstanding game (a 5-4 win by Tech after scoring two in the bottom of the 9th), today's second straight loss by UMd makes me think that I jinxed them by doing my interview with Coach Rupp yesterday, calling them the "it" team in college baseball and all that. Only problem is that I don't believe in jinxes. So there.


First off, a couple of quick notes about going to a game at Georgia Tech:

- Love the look of Chandler Stadium. Great looking field. One of the best I've seen in college. It has a little bit of shaded seating in the grandstand from the overhang, but it could use a lot more come May and June.

- During 7th inning stretch, the p.a. doesn't play "Take me out to the ballgame." Instead they played "Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road."

- in the middle of the 8th inning, that "When you say Bud" song came on. Nice old, old, old school advertising reference there Engineers.

- Could be the best music I've heard at a stadium this year, including "For Those About to Rock" by AC/DC and "Beds are Burning" by Midnight Oil.

- Best p.a. sound bite - Blutarsky's "Nothing's over until WE decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! And it ain't over now" as the game went into the bottom of the 9th with Tech down by one.

- Looking forward, this also has to be an awful stadium come May and June. The vast majority of seating is comprised of aluminum bleachers down each foul line. In other words, like two long, heat-absorbing frying pans. Ouch.

- Got to talk to Tech's "Afro-man" before the Friday night game. He's the guy that's always heckling the opposing team's third base coach from the first row of the left field bleachers. Now normally, I don't give love to the fans who feel the need to trash talk other teams. (Between you and me, Psychology 101 tells us that's a low self esteem issue. But I digress.). But I found Jaime a little unique. I saw Jaime (pronounced "High-Me") at last year's ACC tournament. There were a few choice things he yelled at Clemson's Jack Leggett that were not exactly let-your-children-hear type of things, but he kept most of what he said relatively clean. I asked him about his being a Tech fan and he told me he had been going to games since 1993. That's the year before Garciaparra/Varitek/Payton went to the College World Series. I also asked him why I didn't see an Afro-man sighting in Omaha last summer. He said he tried as hard as he could, but he couldn't take the time off of work. Hmmm. Maybe this heckler has a life after all.

- Sitting in the top row under the awning last night, I was about three seats away from Tech football coach Chan Gailey. He had a posse of five or six good ole boys sitting with him at the game. They were chatty Kathy's the whole time. I refrained from asking Coach Gailey if Jerry Jones is as much of an ego-maniac as he appears.

- Walked into Grant Field today to check out Georgia Tech's football stadium (there was a gate open, so I obliged of course). And I didn't realize that the Yellow Jackets were national champions in football in 1917, 1928, 1951 and 1990. Okay. well, I knew about the unbeaten '90 team that - embarrassingly - had to share the title with a once-beaten, once-tied Colorado team that got a phantom clip call against Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl in order to save their bacon from being beaten.


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Hot streaks going into hibernation---
Referring back to my Thursday Thoughts column, here are some hot teams that have had a pale of water poured on them, quick-like, this weekend.

- East Carolina
The Pirates had won every thing under the sun prior to this weekend. But Tulane saddled a second straight loss on them today, by an 8-2 count.

- Southern Illinois
This is REALLY ugly. SIU entered the weekend at 20-6, winners of eight straight. Evansville has now run-ruled them twice this weekend (10-0 and 14-2).

- Maryland
As mentioned above, today's loss was particularly ugly. Makes you see why Friday night's 9th-inning choke job becomes such a tougher loss to the Terps.

- St. Mary's
Gaels have now lost two straight a the 'Dine (today it was 3-1). Brett Hunter improves to 5-2 with four hits over 8.0 innings. Jason Dominguez gets save No. 8 for him.

- Bradley
Braves have lost two straight to Wichita, further proving that any big win streak that involves Hawaii-Hilo can't be trusted. BU gets just two hits and suffers 12Ks to Aaron Shafer.

- Oregon State
Damn! Look at this... the defending champs are now 0-2 down in the desert at Arizona. Brad Mills and Jason Stoffel combine on a 12-strikeout effort.

- South Carolina
Cocks find out there's more to life than David Price at Vandy as they lose by a resounding 12-1 score. Mike Minor strikes out nine in 7.0 innings. SoCar isn't ready for the prime time yet. But call us again in June.


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Why I'll be pulling for Duke BIG TIME tomorrow---
At the beginning of the season, I predicted Florida State, with its Saints-fans-circa-1981-paper-bag-over-their-heads scheduling, would get out to a 28-3 record this year. A Blue Devil win on Sunday will make that happen. Then, despite my being high on the fraud meter, I will have predicted their start exactly.


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The Beavis and Butthead moment of the day---
An umpire by the name of Ken Assman worked the Arkansas-Tennessee game today in Knoxville.


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Road Warriors---
Of the six games in the SEC today, road teams won in five of them. LSU was the only team not to win a game today away from home. The Tigers lost 5-2 at Alabama. Bernard Robert and Tommy Hunter, the two best pitchers on the roster, threw for Bama, to make certain a W was in the cards. We'll see how Sunday works out.


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One quick word of thanks---
To Mazzy's - a sports bar here in Marietta that stays open 'til 2:30am. I got out of the Georgia Dome at about 1:15am this morning after the two semi-final games, and I REALLY needed a brew or two. This Mazzy's joint was the only place open. Thanks so much peeps. You hit the spot tonight.


Okay, gotta go.

G'night.

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Eric Sorenson Eric Sorenson
Eric Sorenson is CSTV.com's National Baseball Columnist, and also appears on CSTV as a baseball expert