Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Elimination



The top seeded 'Canes were eliminated tonight at the College World Series by Stanford 8-3, recalling their similar fate back in 1992 in Omaha. Legendary head coach Ron Fraser coached his last game in a 8-1 loss to Cal State Fullerton. Under pressure from CBS to play a championship game the next day, on time, the game was played in a nearly constant downpour. An emotional Fraser (above) used the press confrence to rail against the NCAA for playing the game in such poor conditions.

The following is what I wrote for UM's Ibis Yearbook back then:

OMAHA, Neb. - The day from hell.

Upon arriving at NCAA media headquarters to pick up my press credential for the College World Series, the secretary handed me a seat cushion and a poncho.

Noticing the bright and sunny weather conditions outside, she deadpanned about our planned use of the rain gear at the game later that evening.

Little did we know she was a meteorologist. In the third inning that night, the skies opened up and our ponchos came out.

One good moment, though, came following the No. 1 Hurricanes' dismal 8-1 loss to Cal State Fullerton in the semi-finals of the CWS.

As retiring coach Ron Fraser, after the final game of his 30-year career, left the stadium, he was met by a young boy waiting for an autograph in the pouring rain. Instead of his signature, "The Wizard of College Baseball" removed his hat and gave it to the young fan.

A class act by a class individual.

Over the years I've come to know "The Wizard," and he has done nothing to change my mind.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sign of the Times



After seeing FSU head coach Mike Martin's refusal to come out and shake hands with the 'Canes coaching staff after the 'Noles elimination (yet again) from the College World Series compelled me to dig up this gem from the 2005 season...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Doorstops


I'm Watching the College World Series tonight and ESPN announcer Mike Patrick told a story about Miami and their disdain for runner-up trophies.

The story goes that when Jim Morris was being shown the facilities after being hired to replace Brad Kelly, he noticed an unique item holding a bathroom door open. "I looked down to see what it was and it was a national runner-up trophy," Morris said. "I'm thinking, 'Man, look at that. This has to be a tough place.' But that showed me we weren't playing for second place."

Perhaps this is why, while other teams that qualified for the CWS celebrated with a dogpile, the 'Canes were content with a few jumps and hi-fives.

This has long been the story at UM with second tier awards. I personally know of someone who has recycled an old Fiesta Bowl 2nd place (I.E. losing) trophy into a fantasy league championship trophy. Also, I spotted this Fiesta Bowl 2nd place trophy serving some usefulness in the Sports Information office back in 2003.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Orange Bowl Memory Lane

One of my early morning routines is to check various websites for updates, and grassy.com is one of those sites. The site is the most popular 'Canes message board on the web.

This morning, someone posted a link to a YouTube video showing highlights from the 'Canes 38-33 comeback victory over the Florida Gators in 2003, and the memories started flowing back.

The electricity in the stadium was incredible as freshman Devin Hester returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown.



In fact yours truly was stunned, as evidenced by this frame grab from TV, complete with jaw on the ground.




However, the Gators would build a 33-10 lead with about 6 minutes to play in the 3rd quarter. Things were looking bleak until the 'Canes came to life. The defense came alive and shut down Florida QB Chris Leak.




Miami QB Brock Berlin would overcome two interceptions, a fumble return for a touchdown and an overall pathetic start to lead the comeback. Scores by Kevin Beard, Frank Gore and Ryan Moore cut the Gators' lead to 33-32. With 1:44 left in the game, Frank Gore completed one of the greatest 'Canes comebacks with a 12 yard touchdown run to put the 'Canes ahead 38-33 with 1:37 to play.




The Gators got the ball back and drove down to the Miami 20. But Al Marshall picked off Chris Leak's desperation pass to seal the victory.



Watching the YouTube video will be the best 10 minutes you spend today, unless you're a UF alum.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Wing Nuts


Today the city of Detroit is having a parade down Woodward Avenue to honor the Red Wings latest Stanley Cup championship. The parade for the Wings is the fourth in the past 11 years, and I was fortunate enough to attend two of them. Having grown up in Michigan I was a big fan of the Wings, Pistons, Tigers and Lions, so I was there more as a fan than a photographer. But I took my camera, "just in case."

The photo of Steve Yzerman above is from the 1997 parade.

However, my favorite moment from the 1997 parade involves none other than Billy the Marlin, AKA John Routh at the time, who was in town with the Marlins as they were playing the Tigers. Billy was included in a float in the parade. As the float came closer, Billy scanned the crowd, saw me, and jumped off the float and gave me a high five, as my stunned friends and other bystanders collected their jaws off the sidewalk.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Shot of the Day



This is an outtake of FAU's Frantz Joseph and Rusty Smith leap during a shoot for the 2008 football media guide cover in Boca today. The theme is "Reach Higher," which is why the guys are high fiving instead of high bumping. Rusty is wearing a different jersey as his #11 jersey is missing. I'm just glad I'm not doing the photoshop on this one...