If there’s one thing I associate summer with, it’s baseball. Sure the season normally starts in April, but it’s not the same as warm summer nights at the park eating hot dogs and cheering on the home team. Every June the top eight teams in DI college baseball head out to Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series with the hopes of winning it all.
Now, I love all levels of baseball, but for some reason, I have a weakness for college baseball. Maybe it’s because I spent my last two years of high school managing my school’s varsity baseball team, and I saw how passionate and dedicated the boys were. Or maybe it’s because of the summer I spent interning with a collegiate team. Those guys loved the game so much and would do anything to keep playing. Even if that means moving across the country for three months to play in Western Massachusetts.
College baseball, especially for DI, is the last step before the pros. It’s realizing that you have the opportunity to play the game you’ve been playing all your life in front of thousands and get paid for it. It’s realizing that the rest of your life is now ahead of you, and the future can hold anything. It’s realizing you have one chance to go to the Big Dance and bring home a trophy.
It’s also when I’ll complain about being older than the players, because that’s what happens when you turn 23 and graduate college.
Back in 2011, I became obsessed with the South Carolina baseball team and followed them all the way through the Super Regionals to the Final games, where they beat Florida and won back to back championships. There was something special about that team, and the majority of them went on to get drafted to the MLB, one of them being Jackie Bradley, Jr. I haven’t followed the team since, but that doesn’t mean I don’t watch Regional and Super Regional games every May and June.
This year, the following teams made it to Omaha: Oregon State, Cal State Fullerton, LSU, Florida State, Louisville, Texas A&M, Florida, and TCU. I followed Arizona last year throughout their CWS run and ultimately saw them lose to Coastal Carolina. The Wilcats aren’t in the tournament this year, so I don’t really have any alliances. I might employ the tactic my mom uses while watching football: root for whatever team has the prettiest colored uniforms. Or whoever has the best mascot.
Games start this weekend and the finals start June 26. So for the next two weeks, all I’m going to be watching is college baseball, because I can’t remember the last time I even watched a professional baseball game.