Omaha, Neb. – If the fighters in the 2022 Men’s College World Series Championship Final (Game 1, ESPN / ESPN app, 7 pm ET) weren’t in Omaha and watching TV from home instead – and oh, of course, most believed they were doing it now – then Oklahoma It doesn’t take long to find out for whom the Sooners will take root or who the Wet Miss Rebels will fall behind.
It would have been Wet Miss Rebels and Oklahoma Sooners. Why? Because people are always attracted to those who remind them of themselves. And since these two teams have seen each other from a distance over the past week and a half, they’ve seen a lot that feels familiar.
“There are a lot of similarities, no doubt about it,” Oklahoma head coach Skip Johnson said at Charles Schwab Field on Friday afternoon.
“Wet Miss plays with a lot of heart and so do we. They are led by some strong, smart seniors and so do we. They’ve been playing with a chip on their shoulder ever since they came in and I think ‘if we’ve seen it, we’ll play the same. It was fun to see those people. I’m sure they would say the same about us.
Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said after posing with Johnson for the championship trophy, “We’ve both had to play every game on the road since the season and both have been frustrated throughout the year.”
“We were both, I believe, even though we came to Omaha last week, probably not on people’s radar as a potential national champion. So, to get out on the other side of this kind of spring and May and stand up to the last two teams, we can’t help but feel some kind of relationship for sure. “
To be clear, this relationship is nothing new. Yes, Wet Miss was No. 1 in the nation at the start of the season, dropped out of the rankings like a parachute burst, ran only one game in the SEC competition and was one of the “last four”. 64-Union NCAA. Competition. And yes, Oklahoma wasn’t in anyone’s Precision Top 25 rankings, the nine-team was selected to finish 6th in the Big 12 and, after failing to land one of the NCAA’s 16 national seeds, stayed on the road from Gainesville, Fla. Blacksburg, Va .; To get out of the Elimination game at every location to reach Omaha.
But there is very little to give to these two events because, honestly, their combined history has not given both of them the benefit of the doubt. “Which school should be really good at baseball?”
Wet Miss is one of the best environments in college baseball, the ever-filling and perpetually beer-sprayed range of Suez Field.
Since 2004, he has hosted 10 NCAA Regional and three Super Regional. They went 0-3 in those supers. He has played six matches in the Men’s College World Series, but this is only his second match since 1972 and he has not won more than two games this week, leaving a place in the final. Meanwhile, every incident around him in SEC West’s Cage match has caused quite a stir in baseball. Rebels – the most painful – have always played a second hand for the state of Mississippi, which won the MCWS championship a year ago and the LSU, six-time Omaha champions.
Oklahoma also exists in the long shadow of its two most insignificant neighbors. The state of Oklahoma is an NCAA regular who has entered the College World Series and finals 20 times in those six visits. Texas is by far the largest college baseball event, featuring dozens of finals, six championships and full pages of the CWS record book. Despite being in the same area with the same resources and having the same passion for the game, the Suners are in Omaha for the second time since 1995.
However he has won a pair of national baseball championships. The 1994 team looked like a church softball team that defeated Nomar Garciapara and Jason Veritek’s Georgia Tech team in the final. Earlier, the 1951 Suners beat second-time winners Tennessee by winning the Omaha-Yajit series for the second time. And how did it end?
“We like to stay in Omaha and celebrate, but they didn’t pay us enough for hotel rooms, so we got on the old school bus and drove Norman back 500 miles.”
The recollection came in 2009 during an interview with Jim Antonio, a soon-to-be-outfielder-Hollywood actor.
Soon veteran Bud Wilkinson was also an athletic director and he didn’t care much for baseball, he told the team he couldn’t go to Omaha even after qualifying. The school president intervened, but still only gave the bus and did not pay enough for the hotel. The rest of the team received their championship rings in 2001. “They were probably waiting for us to die,” former pitcher Jack Shirley said at the time.
So yes. This is the history of Oklahoma and Wet Miss Baseball. A history that guarantees that overcoming a long-term partner will be the event’s greatest achievement.
That’s why Johnson moved his team to the place where the home of the two goldsmiths, Rosenblatt Stadium, once stood. He put them on the home plate, which is still there – in the zoo’s parking lot – and talk about that past. So he deliberately took a moment this week and sat down to think about his former boss and mentor, the late Oggy Garrido, perhaps the greatest college baseball coach with whom Johnson spent three years as a Texas assistant. College World Series.
So Bianco picks up the phone and calls his mentor Skip Bertman, who has his own solid dugout goat argument. Bianco was Bertman’s catcher and captain of the LSU team that finished third in the 1989 College World Series and then won three rings in five seasons as assistant coach under Burtman in 1993, ’96 and ’97. It was Bertman who calmed Bianco’s nerves in early May, when Ole was struggling to get back to the .500 in the Miss SEC play and was talking about a possible shootout. After a heart-to-heart with Burtman, Wet Miss overtook LSU in ninth place at Baton Rouge.
“There’s nothing better for both of us than having the ability to rely on that kind of guidance,” Bianco said of himself and Johnson. “Isn’t that great? There’s a straight line and connection to the history of this city and this chain.”
This is it. Even if they are not on their schedule, they will gain strength from this weekend in Omaha.
“Maybe we don’t have as much history as you say,” Johnson said. “Hopefully now we can write something of our own.”