June 25, 2008

Of Murphy's Law and John Wallace

Over the past two games we saw a case study in Murphy's Law. Everything that could go wrong did. This season the Bulldogs made their living with strong middle relief, a lights out closer, deadly bats, timely small ball, strong defense and our morale was high.

Over the past two games we saw everything that carried us fail us (except Fields). The middle relief imploded on Tuesday. The bats went ice cold tonight. Our best defensive outfielder watched a pop fly hit the ground. Our All-American speedy shortstop got pinched stealing two more times. Our formerly white hot hitting right fielder continued his slump into the Omaha Abyss, and our noisy dugout went quiet.

We didn't lose because of one thing. We lost because of everything.

Not a Fluke
Mainly, we lost because Fresno State played lights out. In retrospect all of this Cinderella talk was garbage. They were the team that was ranked in the preseason Top 25 in several polls. Not Georgia. They weren't a fluky team.

You don't win 11 games in the playoffs against some of the best teams in baseball by being a fluke. They were a good team that made every play they had to make, and they got every break necessary to win on college baseball's biggest stage.

Congrats to Fresno State. They earned it the hard way with an outrageously difficult run through the NCAA Baseball Tournament.


Disappointment
This is as disappointing and painful of a Georgia loss as I've experienced (outside of football) since the crushing John Wallace three pointer in the 1996 Sweet Sixteen game against Syracuse with 2.8 seconds remaining.

Steve Detwiler now stands alongside of Wallace, Peyton Manning, Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel, Kent Hrbek and Phil Fulmer in my all-time Mount Rushmore of Hate and Contempt.

Going Forward
Coach Perno is now one of the most successful active coaches in the Southeastern Conference. His record over the past six years is untouchable, and the program is clearly moving in the right direction. Next year will be another odd numbered dip, but I expect the following year to return us to the NCAA Tournament and beyond.

If I'm Damon Evans, I make Coach Perno one of the highest paid coaches in the SEC, and I start addressing our facilities. We've got the coach that can take us to Omaha with regularity. Once you get here on a regular basis, it becomes easier to figure out how to close the deal.

Good season. Just not the last two games.

PWD


44 comments:

Clayton said...

I'm just dumbfounded as to why we decided to keep pitching to Detwiler. He was clearly seeing the ball in slow motion all night.
BTW, maybe ESPN will use a delay in the future especially when running a live mic on a heated player (Thanks Ceronie!!!)

Hobnail_Boot said...

I commend you PWD for a very level-headed post in the wake of utter disappointment and heartache.

My Mt. Rushmore is almost identical to yours with one notable addition: Jim Leyritz. If not for him, the Braves win 2 straight World Series and then who knows.

Amazing season for Georgia. They really ebbed and flowed all season, and unfortunately just ran into the perfect storm of great competition and bad breaks.

65 days..

Anonymous said...

I was reminded watching Georgia tonight of watching Holland in the soccer Euros the other day. For those who don't follow soccer, Holland romped through the three-game first round by a combined 9-1, including three-goal victories over France and Italy, two of the world's best.

They were the sensational underdogs of the tournament. And then they played Russia, an even bigger underdog, in the quarterfinals. All of a sudden, they started playing like favorites -- cautious, not as aggressive as they'd been, etc. And they lost.

Georgia did the same thing against Fresno. Stripped of the underdog tag that we had against Tech, Miami and Stanford (not so sure about N.C. State), we started to clam up and make mistakes. We started playing not to lose, as though we were afraid of being the favorite that didn't come through on the big stage. And, of course, that's exactly what happened.

Game after game this season, Georgia won with small ball, opposite-field hits, well-timed hits, etc. So what do we do in the most important game of the year? Swing for the fences in what seemed like every at-bat. The key stat to me? Beckham never batted with a runner on base. You've got the all-time leading home-run hitter in school history, and you don't do the little things to give him opportunities to win the game for you.

NatecoreUGA said...

What I'm going to say isn't going to be popular, but I think Perno bears a great responsibility for tonight's loss.

You can't under any circumstances allow tFSU's one hot hitter on the night hit a 3 run homer when 3rd base was open. You walk Detwiler and you make the guy who went 0for on the night beat you...

Keeping the lead to a manageable 2 runs instead of 5 would have helped the team's confidence...

I'm not saying fire the guy or anything like that, but I'm tired of seeing Cox change the way he manages a game in the Playoffs and Perno did the same thing in this 3 game series...

NatecoreUGA said...

Also w/ Perno in big games....0-2 in 2006, 0-2 in the SEC tourney...0-2 in 2008

A good 4 game win streak at this year's CWS, but 0-2 when it was all on the line...

Scott H. said...

I'm proud of the team for the season they had and proud of the way they played in the CWS. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit embarrassed/dumbfounded by their play in the last two games, especially game 3 when it was all on the line. Whatever fire they had, they seemed to lose it after game 2. You could see it in their eyes when that 5-0 lead evaporated and that look was still there come first pitch in game 3.

It was a good season, that shouldn't have ended with such a whimper.

Will said...

Yes, indeedy. Detweiler and Wilson shall forever be remembered by me as one of the few opposing players of a sport other than football for me to openly, genuinely, despise.

Along with their Third Baseman, who must have made some sort of compact with the Devil to be able to fly 10 feet towards the ball.

Darren said...

Helluva season. Congratulations, Dawgs!

Orel H. said...

I don't see how Detwiler is gonna be able to give his teammates HJs on the bus ride home without any thumbs.

strick9 said...

The team picked the right night to have their worse game of the year. They haven't been shut out all year. Beckham saved us on that. They played really tight and it was obvious from the start that we were the nervous team while FS was loose and relaxed at the plate.

They even tried to help us out with 4 errors. We had no timely hitting from anybody. I feel for the seniors.

Dawg19 said...

orel h...

Take your sophomoric comments back to the Tech boards.

Fresno State was unbelievable.

Congrats Dawgs!

Great season!

Red & Black Redneck said...

It was heartbreaking but nevertheless, it was a good season and a good run in the CWS. No reason to hang our heads. I was about to throw the TV out if Mike Patrick said "cinderella story" one more time.

Will said...

@ Red&black

I tried to shove a pool stick through the TV screen. *Nods*

Anonymous said...

Anyone know how to remove a remote from a flat screen?

UGA lost the game because they couldn't throw strikes when the needed to, threw strikes went the didn't have to, played poor defense, and got too many singles with 2 outs which stranded runners.

I give Fresno credit, they played a great series. However, when UGA blew the 5 run lead that was it. Perno said before the second game that "we must win tonight". You have to figure he knew where his team was at and what Fresno was capable of. The body language in the first inning said it all.

I certainly have a new hatred of frESPNo. Those two clowns in the booth rivaled the clowns from the sUGAr Bowl telecast in January.

I hope all UGA fans will join me in welcoming Mike Patrick to Sanford Stadium when he shows up this fall. Ceronie said it best: "FYB".

Hunker Down said...

Nate,
Detwiler's second home run (his third at bat) was against Weaver. Righty on righty, which would be a better match up than Moreau (lefty) was for Detwiler. You could walk him, but that brings up Mendonca who absolutely killed everything thrown by RHPs in Omaha. Perhaps, the better move would have been to walk Detwiler and bring in McCree to throw curve balls to Mendonca.

In the final analysis, FSU hit hard and relentlessly everybody in Omaha. They hit inconceivably well when they had two strikes. They didn't give up many throw away at bats (a la Lyle Allen vs lefties and never putting a ball in play.) The FSU team out hit every team in Omaha by a substantial margin. They did it against the best pitcher Rice had and twice against UNC with the best team ERA in the country. They can freaking hit.

Our guys played tight and were totally collared by Justin Wilson. But, to be fair, he had great command of his out pitch - the ankle high slider that we couldn't touch but also couldn't lay off. He threw a strike on his first pitch to almost every single batter and walked only one. He was dialed in like Jack Morris in Game 7, 1991.

It was, as Hobnail Boot said, the perfect storm. PWD is also dead on that FSU was no fluke. The overdone ESPN bit comparing the matchup to USA-USSR was grossly out of whack. I have no idea how they lost over 30 baseball games, but it certainly wasn't based upon how they hit, pitched and fielded during the past month.

Finally, our guys had a great run. They can be proud to get as far as they did. The key is to keep getting back to the CWS. Perno deserves a substantial raise. He is recruiting extremely well even though his top signees got poached by the MLB draft. He will have us back in Omaha again soon.

Go DAWGS!

The Realist said...

dawg19...

Clearly, you didn't watch the television broadcast of the games. That comment was in reference to Orel and Mikey-Boy's fixation with Detwiler's thumb injury. They talked about it every inning. Every. Inning. Mike Patrick should stick to talking about Britney Spears and leave sports announcing in the capable hands of... well, anybody but him.

And, about Perno. I ditto the remarks about a poor coaching performance the last two nights. There is no way in hell a competent manager allows Detwiler two more swings after the first homerun in a deciding game. That was bush league, and I hope he beats himself up for it all during next year's 35-loss season.

PWD-

"Once you get here on a regular basis, it becomes easier to figure out how to close the deal."

Bobby Cox and the Braves would like to disagree with this statement.

This was Georgia's best shot at another national title. Two first rounders, lots of upperclassmen, plenty of rest, and some momentum. They managed to escape the toughest side of the bracket by getting unseeded Stanford twice instead of either Miami or Florida State. Then, they get 30-loss Fresno State. That's the easiest draw possible, and they get outscored 25-5 over an 11-inning stretch to lose it all.

Perno is a great recruiter. There is no doubt about that. But, when it comes to X's and O's (so-to-speak), I don't think he's all he's cracked up to be... much like our dear brethren Bobby Cox. And, much like the Braves, I foresee Georgia being stuck with "getting there is good enough" for a while.

Anonymous said...

We came out flat in the most important game of the year. Moreau certainly deserved better than he got. We had some guys who slumped at the wrong time, but still we had a chance.

Kudos to Fsu. Sometimes, a team gets to hot to handle...no matter how many ligaments they're missing.

Still, in reality we lost the series on Tuesday night after the blowout. Just never recovered emotionally from that.

Anonymous said...

We lost because Matt Olson and Lyle Allen SUCK.

We lost because our pitchers can only throw fastballs.

We lost because we continued to pitch to their red hot hitters.

We lost because we pitched fastballs RIGHT DOWN the middle to their red hot hitters.

We lost because once we blew the 5 run lead in game 2, OUR KIDS GAVE UP.

We lost because Matt Olson went 3-29.

We lost because Lyle Allen sucks.

We lost because Matt Olson taught everyone how NOT to rob a homerun.

We lost because, honestly, we didnt belong there anyway.

We lost because we served up pitch after pitch RIGHT DOWN the middle.

DO OUR PITCHERS HAVE ANY JUNK PITCHES?


"Detweiler and Wilson shall forever be remembered by me as one of the few opposing players of a sport other than football for me to openly, genuinely, despise."

WHY? Those kids played GREAT. They didnt do anything unsportsmanlike, and were having a blast. No reason to hate. If you want to hate, hate the guy who threw a fast ball RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE with a 3-1 count with 2 on, and their hottest hitter at the plate.

ernest said...

I love everything about GA. athletics, and I am proud that we were one of only 2 college teams still playing this week. There are 100+ teams that would love to trade places with us. These young men had a great season and played their hearts out. They just came up one game short.

Thanks of a great season and a great year DAWGS.

Next up football. Can't wait.

Anonymous said...

This Vol fan was rooting for you. Sorry things didn't work out - seriously! Was wanting another SEC NC.

ernest said...

I got really sick at hearing espn's steady, never ending drumbeat about poor ol me Fres. If they were as big of underdogs as espn. It was overkill and prevasive.

Anonymous said...

We were beaten by a better baseball team. It is as simple as that. We were fortunate to win the first game. After blowing the 5 run lead in game two we were not even competitive.

Congrats Fresno State. You definitely deserve the trophy.

Anonymous said...

Now we know how Arkansas basketball feels. As in...crummy.

Additionally, does ESPN realize that Mike Patrick is going to have to come *to* Athens for the UGA/Bama game? Better get Ron Franklin on that one, fellas.

Dave said...

anon 8:50, that has to be one of the most ignorant comments I've ever read. Olson sucks?? If it weren't for him, we would absolutely not be here in the first place. The guy hit .692 in the regional and over .500 in the super regional...yeah he's not very good is he? He just went through a slump. And for God's sakes, you can't blame him for not robbing a home run ball.

You obviously know nothing about Georgia baseball. I shouldn't even waste my time with you.

The Realist said...

Anon 8:50...

Dude. Chill. Lyle Allen and Matt Olsen do not suck... at least not that I've heard. And, if you are wondering why Georgia pitchers only throw fastballs... look no further than the dugout. The coaches call the pitches. There were a number of times where fastballs were called when a changeup or curveball would have probably gotten an out. Instead, the fifth consecutive fastball gets blasted into the seats.

In short, the players got them this far, sometimes in spite of the coaches. The last two days didn't work out, but we should be used to that by now. Don't throw the players under the bus. They are amateurs after all.

Paul Westerdawg said...

Anon 8:50,

Your sauce is weak. Without Allen and Olson, we aren't in the CWS. The "so and so sucks" bit is weak.

PWD

Anonymous said...

Perno's pre-game motivational talk was lackluster, at best, and I had a terrible sinking feeling the minute I saw it -- it was almost like watching June Jones' exhortation of the troops with Hawaii before the Sugar Bowl. As we saw in the pre-game report, the players knew ESPN and the crowd were fully behind FS, and Perno had an incredible opportunity to use this favoritism to fire up his players. It's just too bad when Richt left, Willie Martinez didn't fly in for that little talk. Additionally, I hope Perno will learn from his mistake with Nick Montgomery -- he waited 55 years before taking him out.

Cadillac Bill Weems said...

1. Hats off to Fresno State
2. Our Dawgs were one game away from winning the whole thing. Great accomplishment from the players and coaches. In other words, let's get ready for next year.
3. To those drafted, you will be greatly missed.
4. Last but not least, ESPN I have a list of words that need to be removed from all commentating: Cinderella, Cinderella, Cinderella, etc.

Anonymous said...

It is worse as a fan to have ESPiN puffing up your own team than the other guys.

Also, a neutral crowd will almost always side with the team showing the most enthusiasm.

For the last series, it wasn't us.

Hunker Down said...

Anon 8:50

Moreau threw a steady diet of effective curve balls that neutralized Mendonca. It is a shame he had no answer for Detwiler. But, guess what... neither did any of these teams:
#2 UNC: 2-1 (Omaha)
#4 Rice: 1-0 (Omaha)
#5 Arizona State: 2-1 (Tempe Super Regional)
#29 San Diego: 2-1 (Long Beach Regional)
#25 Long Beach State: 1-0 (Long Beach Regional)

FSU hitters were unstoppable. Sucks for us. Pitching was good enough Monday and Wednesday night. Throw out Tuesday - it was an abomination. Our cold bats did us in last night - and most of the credit for that goes to Justin Miller for not giving us good pitches to drive.

It is what it is. Our guys still deserve to be applauded for the season they had. Several hundred other teams fell much shorter than did we.

Anonymous said...

anyone have any idea when they are arriving home?

A-Phiz said...

It was a great season but I still can't believe it ended like it did. We seemed lose all the confidence/momentum we had right after the strike em out throw em out in game 2. Absolutely horrible call by the way but that should not have hurt us like it did. I hope everyone on here will join me in writing ESPN to tell them how pathetic that entire series was presented. Detweiler played out of his mind but if I hear one more word about his stupid thumb I am going to flip out. Anyone notice that he was slamming his hands together after all of his hits? If my thumb was in such severe pain I don't think I would be pounding on it. ESPN only cares about creating their own story lines.

Anonymous said...

In defense of Lyle Allen.....

This team would not be in the championships without him. He has robbed at least two home runs and several extra base hits over the course of the games here in Omaha. He had some clutch hitting against Miami.

Georgia had a great run, maybe overachieved and ran into a team that has ben on fire and banged up all year. Fresno State played with emotion and heart and as a team.

All the magic that Georgia had from the regional and super regional, all the heart and emotion that was even there after the Miami win, it all vanished by the end of the second Stanford game. Too much off time i suppose.

murphdawg said...

At least I won't have to hear the word Cinderella or broken thumb for a while. When listening to the ESPN telecast all I could think of was this...(insert Omaha and other CWS ref's. where necessary)"What an incredible Cinderella story, this unknown comes outta no where to lead the pack, at Augusta. He's on his final hole, he's about 455 yards away - he's gonna hit about a two-iron I think. Oh he got all of that one! The crowd is standing on its feet here, the normally reserved Augusta crowd - going wild - for this young Cinderella, he's come outta no where, he's got about 350 yards left, he's gonna hit about a five-iron, don't you think? He's got a beautiful backswing - that's - Oh he got all of that one! He's gotta be pleased with that, the crowd is just on its feet here, uh - He's the Cinderella boy, uh - tears in his eyes I guess as he lines up this last shot, he's got about 195 yards left, he's got about a - its looks like he's got about an eight-iron. This crowd has gone deathly silent, the Cinderella story, outta no where, a former greenskeeper now - about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac - It's in the Hole!"

Hunkering Hank said...

The kids on our baseball team are damn good DAWGS each and every one of them - and so is Perno.

Some decisions and plays could have been better, sure, but I'm as proud of them as I can be. I, like a lot of folks, can't understand why we continued to pitch to certain Fresno State hitters and why we didn't pull certain pitchers earlier.

I trust Damon handed Perno thousand dollar bills to wipe the tears from his eyes after this loss last night. Hopefully, he'll get a huge contract. He's doing a hell of a job with a program that, without his involvement as a player or coach, has never done much.

GO DAWGS! And thank you to the team for taking us all on another wild Georgia Bulldog ride - just in case some on the team read this blog.

Finally, ESPN can suck it.

Orel H. said...

dawg19,

The Realist Said, had it right. You seriously must not have heard over and over how many times Orel and Mike mentioned Det playing with "no thumbs" or why we shouldn't even bother hitting anything to 3rd.

It was almost equally sickening to hear them constantly talking about the big money contracts Fields and Beck were going to be signing.

It was as if they announced every single inning as if it was for new people just tuning in. That's fine, don't get me wrong. It was very informative, but geez I was able to memorize ever single back-story to these games due to the constant repetition.

...So dawg19, if you don't mind, I'll take my sophomoric comments to YO MAMA, OOOoooOooooo!!!!1!one!

Austin said...

I felt a piece of heart get ripped out last night. The team that I grew to love this season, and the games that I loved to watch got us to the cusp of victory. Instead of going out with a loud roar, we went out with a whimper; leaving nothing but silence throughout the Dawg nation.

Today is a day of rememberance, and to celebrate the season these dawgs had. Embarassing the nerd herd, taking NC State to the shed, and showing the country that the #1isn't safe.

We played hard, and we played with class. I couldn't be more proud of these guys, and hope they have great pro careers. This was an unforgetable run, even if I want to forget how it ended.

EmotionalFescue said...

Classy post, Anon 8:50.

Quick hitters:

- I certainly questioned a lot of things Perno did over the past two games but I did appreciate how he had his pitchers set up perfectly for yesterday's game and moving BMass to DH.

-When Pie slammed his helmet down after grounding out he looked like a broken player.

-Football we were Top 5 in final polls, Dawgs won SEC Tourney in BBall, and the Diamond Dawgs were SEC Champs and national champ runner ups. WOW

-I hope this motivates Dawgs fans (who don't live in Athens) to go to a/some/more baseball games at Foley. Being at the Dawgs v Nerds game in the regionals was more fun than every football game I went to this season with the exception of the blackout.

-And when you do come up, I have a suggestion. Pick a day when you can come up to Athens more than an hour plus before the game. Grab some ice, beer, and a cooler and head over to Cali n Titos. You can BYOB if you buy a wristband. They have a great outdoor patio area and some really good food. You can walk to Foley Field from the resturant. Its a great pregame spot especially when the weather is nice which it often is in April and May. Just remember to bring cash because they don't take plastic.

-Thank you PTI for talking down the uber underdawg story. I have NOTHING bad to say about FSU, but man oh man PWD I agree about your Mt. Rushmore. I hope their third baseman gets to the majors because watching him play defense was awesome.

I got all my anger out last night so now I have nothing but admiration for this team. Congrats on a great season and best of luck seniors and mlb'ers!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Fresno went from being the #103 ranked offensive team during the regular season to hitting a record 15 home runs and incredibly high average during the CWS. Let me tell you something, teams ranked 103rd do NOT become a collection of Mike Schmidt's over the course of a few weeks. Especially, a collection of injured, recycled shortstops. I've followed baseball since 1978 and played for 20 years and recall great CWS hitters like Pete Incaviglia, Robin Ventura, Bob Horner, etc. and have never seen such a abnormal metamorphosis. While I congratulate the gutty Fresno team, my suspicions are aroused when I see our rather large boys (sans GB) demonstrate warning track power and their much smaller lads go 30 rows deep opposite field off the hands. Metal bat my ass - something doesn't jive. And I'm not sayin' nothin' other than I'm just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

Curious why my comment was deleted?

Anon 9:28, 6/26, said what I did, but much more eloquently.

I mean, when a team sucks all year against terrible competition and suddenly gets hot against the elite teams in the country, alarms should go off.

Baseball is not like football or basketball. In football superior coaching can win games. In basketball, one player can get hot and carry a team.

Baseball is a series of one-on-one matchups that provide statistical inevitabilities over time. Incredible deviations in those stats should always raise eyebrows.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:58,
anon 9:28 here - Glad to see someone else has suspicions re: the FSU power surge. Hitting, as a rule, is contagious and highly correlated with confidence. So it's not surprising to see a team's combined batting average rise. What is very abnormal is for a team to suddenly become power hitters. Making contact and racking up singles and doubles is one thing, but to blast 9 more home runs (in the CWS) than the home-run-hittingiest team in the country (Miami) is an egregious deviation. Not to mention that several of these shots were hit off the hands (pitchers jammed batter) and were caught 30 rows up.

I don't buy the validity of all these Roger Maris'. No, the correct comparison would be to Barry Bonds.

Paul Westerdawg said...

RE: Deleting comments

Must've been profanity. I can't remember. Or it might've been an accident.

Anonymous said...

It's funny to hear people bash UGA for losing to Fresno State (it seems like everyone I hear that from are Cocks fans, even Auburn and Tennessee fans that I talked to say they were rooting for the SEC). I just keep thinking where did your team end up. I would rather be in Omaha with the chance to play for a title, and even lose in the title series when we were so close, then to not even make it at all. I couldn't be more proud of our atheletes (except for Billy Humphrey right now).

 
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