It’s still sinking in: We have two-time, back-to-back, National Champions

Well, it was certainly Famously Hot today. Particularly walking there and back. But worth it. (Actually, as you might be able to tell from the great vantage point and the slight glare/reflection on the window, I watched a good bit of this from the coolness of the Capital City Club. But hey, I did walk there and back.)

It’s a great day for, let’s see… South Carolina, Columbia, the University, and for baseball. Because those young guys showed how the game ought to be played — steadily, honestly, with mastery of all the basics, and as a team. I’m not even going to get into how communitarian (and how very non-Tea Party) that is, because I don’t want to spoil the day with politics.

Great job, boys. You’ll treasure this day for the rest of your lives. So will everybody else around here.

17 thoughts on “It’s still sinking in: We have two-time, back-to-back, National Champions

  1. bud

    Since you like to nitpic over proper grammar, wouldn’t a “two-time, back to back National Champions” work out to FOUR championships instead of two?

    Nevertheless this is all pretty dang fun.

  2. Brad

    Not the most elegant thing I ever wrote, Bud, but there was a purpose to it. There are two amazing things to emphasize, two things that are sinking in: The first is that a local team has won TWO National Championships. The other is that those championships weren’t 50 years apart — on the contrary, we’re on a roll.

  3. `Kathryn Fenner

    What’s this “we”–you are not a member of the team….

    Heck, you aren’t even an alumnus, are you?

  4. Brad

    What is this, a writing seminar?

    Kathryn, you touch on a pet peeve of mine — people who are NOT on a team saying “We just scored,” or whatever, in describing an athletic contest. I say the same thing you did — “since when are you on the team.”

    Of course, that’s a mean-spirited observation on my part — I’m belittling that person’s sense of identification with another person. I’m belittling a person for taking joy in another person’s achievements, something you can seldom accuse me of — because I’m not that generous.

    But here, I have a slightly different meaning, and a particular purpose in using the “we.”

    Note that, for very good reasons (related to what I just said), I did not (and would not) say, “WE won the national championship.” Because I’m not on the team.

    But as I said in the body of the post, we in South Carolina, in Columbia, etc., HAVE A NATIONAL CHAMPION.

    That’s indisputable. And I’ve had cause to learn the importance of this over time. The newspaper always sold several thousand more papers the day after a win by the Gamecocks. A local restaurateur told me recently that his place makes about $7,000 more in a weekend that included a big win by the football team.

    There is a definite impact on the whole community beyond that. There is a greater sense of self-esteem AS a community. A greater sense that this is a place where we can work together to accomplish remarkable things. It carries over into other areas. These things aren’t as easy to quantify as restaurant receipts, but I notice that people start speaking of their community in a different way, and that’s important.

    So yeah, the fact that WE HAVE A CHAMPION, which we do, is worth noting, and celebrating.

  5. `Kathryn Fenner

    I am so seriously annoyed by how The State has become The Sporting News: Columbia,SC edition. I guess it sells papers, but with the ever-shrinking news window, do we need a third of the A section some days to be sports? They have their own section every single day!

  6. bud

    In my groggy, early morning state of mind I hobbled out to the mailbox to pick up the daily State paper. The headline glared out PARADE OF CHAMPIONS in huge bold red letters. My first reaction was, “Ok this is nice but perhaps a bit overdone considering the game was Tuesday and we had the same parade last year”. But hey, it’s great and probably a slow news day so I’ll just go with it. Then I noticed the date in a smallish grey font. It said “Sunday, July 2 2011” WTC!? Had I slept through Saturday? But the date seemed right since I had just gotten paid the day before and I always get paid on the first.

    In my early morning stupor the imagination runs wild. Maybe space aliens had taken over The State. Or perhaps Al Qaeda had infiltrated the Shop Road institution. Worse still, could this be a plot by the Clemson folks to take away from the glory of this grand Gamecock event? The horror!

    Then after a good hot cup of Folgers I realized the garden variety truth. The quality control at South Carolina’s largest newspaper simply was not what it used to be. I could breathe easy. No aliens or Clemson fans. It was simply a normal day at the office for The State. Thankfully things are just normal here in the summer of 2011.

  7. Doug Ross

    “I’m not even going to get into how communitarian…”

    Because that would be 100% offbase. The USC baseball team is a combination of a dictatorship with the most pure Libertarian philosophy you could model. Coach Tanner is the boss – he makes all the decisions AND own all the accountability for the success of his team. He plays only the best players who will help him achieve the singular goal of winning games. This is not 5 year old soccer where everybody plays and everyone gets a trophy (that’s communitarian). Coach Tanner has brought in literally hundreds of top players in the state over the years and weeded out the non-performers. He plays freshmen over seniors BECAUSE THEY ARE BETTER.

    As for the players – they represent the far right side of the bell curve in terms of athletic capability and work ethic. These are kids who have done everything possible to get where they are at. And in baseball, it’s really about the individual. There are no blockers like in football, no passers like in basketball or soccer. It’s one guy hitting a ball against another guy trying to throw it past him.

    There’s no way any government endeavor could be run like a baseball team. The goal of communitarianism is agreeable mediocrity. It doesn’t allow for excellence to trump incompetence. It doesn’t allow for one person to stand up and say “I own this”. It doesn’t allow for the best to reap the rewards and the losers to suffer.

    Take Innovista (please!)… you want that to succeed? Find the smartest guy to run it and give him one year to make it happen as well as a $10 million dollar bonus if he achieves certain goals. That’s how Ray Tanner is compensated. Success = $$$$, Failure = find a new job. If Innovista was a baseball team, everyone from Bobby Harrell to the USC people who promoted it would be out the door.

    Communitarianism can’t work because it doesn’t care about achieving the best results, only that everyone gets their trophy for trying “real hard”.

  8. Ralph Hightower

    I agree with you. USC Baseball’s championships give South Carolina something to be proud of! I loved it when the stadium cheer erupted in Omaha!


  9. bud

    Doug, last time I checked the University of South Carolina (along with most, if not all, of the other 7 teams in Omaha) is a state supported institution and hence a government endeavor. Libertarian philosophy does not allow for something like college baseball.

    To me the purest form of libertarianism is Walmart. They managed to nearly monopolize the retail market and drive out small businesses that provide a good living for their owners and employees. In the process they succesfully drive down wages. The products and services they deliver are consistently mediocre junk made by laborers in China and Vietnam. Plus the shopping experience is a nightmare. Yet they survive by manipulating government regulatory bodies and muscling out the competition. For a time prices are cheaper but ultimately everyone ends up losing.

  10. Doug Ross


    You really don’t know what you are talking about. That’s all I will say. You have no clue about Libertarian philosophy and have such a distorted view of successful businesses that it’s astounding.

    Do you feel the same way about Target, McDonalds, Wendys, Subway, Kohls, etc.?

  11. bud

    Doug, I’m not suggesting that a certain amount of capitalism is not a necessary and useful part of a free and successful society. But good gawd to suggest that a state supported college sports team is a great example of the success of libertarian philosophy is beyond ridiculous.

    How about the moon landing or the Manhattan project or the building of the transcontinental railroad? All of those things were run by the government. There is plenty of room to praise the success of business while at the same time maintaining a sense of perspective that allows for the government to accomplish great things. It really does come across as demeaning to suggest state endevours and the employees who participate in them are somehow tainted by their association with government. And taken to it’s logical conclusion we would all be subject to the whims of the most successful (or luckiest) of the corporate power brokers.

    Sadly that is happening all too often now. Given the stagnant wages that have resulted from an ever increasing power of the business robber barrons it’s pretty clear that pure libertarian philosophy has proven to be a failure.

  12. Brad

    And how about the Lewis and Clark expedition? That’s about as shining an example of can-do individualistic Americanism as you can find…

    Oh, wait. They were sent by the government. Specifically, by Thomas Jefferson, who to his political opponents was the Obama of his day.

    never mind…

  13. Doug Ross


    You think Lewis and Clark could happen in today’s government? “Go off for a couple years, report back what you find”. Right…


    You do understand that the revenue athletic programs at USC have nothing to do with the state supported educational institution, right? Or should we start including the Gamecocks football, basketball, and baseball revenue in the state budget for other organizations to tap into?

    And my original comment was in regards to Brad’s assertion that the USC baseball team was somehow communitarian in spirit and/or execution. It’s not. It’s Ray Tanner’s world – he makes every decision down to what pants they wear for practice (I know the guy who sells them to USC). The players are indviduals who have spent years perfecting their craft through hard work combined with off-the-charts athletic ability. The players who can’t meet the high standards are cut.

  14. JoanneH

    Wow. How a congratulatory and justifiably proud blog piece turned into this I’ll never know. : )

    In any case, as back-to-back degree graduate of the University of South Carolina, a season ticket holder for several sports, and one who actually goes to the games, I have seen how the exhortation of the crowd that is there to support this team plays a part. So, yes, it’s a WE thing.

    And WE are proud. It’s time we had some positive publicity to counteract just a portion of the negative.

  15. `Kathryn Fenner

    The University of South Carolina is only nominally state-supported–can’t find the current numbers, but it’s like 12%….

  16. bud

    Doug, I just can’t talk about this anymore. When you refuse to even acknowledge an undeniable truth then there’s just nothing more to say.

Comments are closed.