Miami: Sometimes you just can't predict

By Doug Kroll - June 15, 2006


Although there aren't too many people who predict the field of 8 at the CWS before the season begins, looking at the pre-season rankings and polls, nobody thought the Hurricanes had a chance to go as far as they have. With so many new faces and losing two first round picks off last year's team, Ryan Braun and Cesar Carrillo, this was declared unofficially as a rebuilding year.

The team last season was pre-season number 2 in some listings, and they limped into the tourney and were wiped out in 2 games in the Super Regionals. This year's squad is full of youth and doesn't know any better. They have peaked at the right time, getting timely pitching and real clutch hitting over the last month. After attending many practices this year, after they were done, they would all get together by the pitcher's mound, and at once they would all scream,"1,2,3 OMAHA!" When you go to school at Miami, you expect to get there, even when you perhaps don't have the strongest team that they've ever had.

This will be the 10th CWS appearance for Jim Morris and his Hurricanes in the last 13 years. To say that Morris is a veteran of Omaha would be an understatement. He lamented this week how during the 1998 season he had future Major Leaguer's, Pat Burrell, Aubrey Huff, and Jason Michaels. The team reeled off something like 32 of 33 wins at one point during the year, and had only lost 11 games all regular season, but when they got to Omaha, they quickly lost 2 games and they were done. The next season, with murderer's row gone, the team won the 1999 national championship. It goes to show you that sometimes you just never know in baseball. There are hints of the same sort of feel here this time around.

Miami is the only team in Omaha to with a road regional and super regional, and one of 2 teams to win a road super regional, with North Carolina being the other. Some have said that Miami lucked out when it came to the road to Omaha, but I have been one to say,"Miami doesn't pick who they play in the postseason." Not having to play Nebraska may not have been such a lucky thing in the regional, because the Huskers were ice cold. They then had to travel to Mississippi to face a red-hot Rebels team, but on paper they matched up well with them, and it turned out to be the case on the field as well.

The 'Canes are battle tested coming out of the obviously strong ACC. Miami will not have to face an ACC team until the championship round, and they aren't scared of anyone on its side of the bracket. They have faced the best in the country all year long, so they will know what to expect when they face the Beavers on Saturday night. It will be up to Miami's mediocre pitching staff this week in Omaha if they want to continue their dream season. It's tough for the hitters to keep up what they have done so far in the post-season. The last two weekends, they have hit over .340 and have been extremley clutch of late. We'll see if Jemile Weeks can continue to have an OBP over .600 like he has, or if Danny Valencia can top his 7 RBI game from Monday night.

Every night it has been someone else for Miami, and that's what you need on a championship team. Miami knows they are the underdog in Omaha, but they have been an underdog all season long. Even if they go 2 and out in Nebraska this week, the experience that they will get this week is something that no one can teach. Being that only 2 Hurricanes fielders were in Omaha 2 years ago when the team last made the trip, the youngsters are going to get a taste of what Omaha has to offer, and will be hungry for the rest of their time as a 'Cane.

Posted by Doug Kroll at 02:32 PM on June 15, 2006
Comments (2)

Comments

Burrell, Michaels , and Huff all left Miami after the 1998 season. We won the 99 series after they left. Yes we did get beat in 2000 and win again in 2001 but that trio was done in 98. I cant believe coach Morris told you that. Is it possible you got mixed up?

sorry about that david, i did get my dates mixed up...all fixed now, been a tiring week of travel..thanks for reading

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