Monday, February 27, 2012

The “chemistry” question only gets answered after a loss...or two

I am very excited that our National Champs are off and running at 6-0 to start the baseball season.  With as many new position players and bullpen questions that we were facing going into the campaign, I thought we might actually stub our toe once or twice even in these early contests.  That hasn’t happened because our starting pitching has even been better than we were promised.  

So now we face our first “midweek” land mine and then the annual rivalry series against Clemson.  Whether it is this week, or when the Gators come slithering into town, or some other time, this team will get popped in the mouth in 2012 and face a setback or two.  That’s just reality, and so is the fact that chemistry is crucial on the baseball field.  Without it, we have no real shot to get back to Omaha.  

Granted, we all hope it won’t be this particular weekend, but who knows?  Yes, I hope we win all 4 games and we find ourselves laughing out loud at Jack Leggett again.  It would be especially fun considering that they are downright desperate and counting on baseball to end our streak.  If they don’t, we will likely be accused of dipping our bats in liquid nitrogen, putting ex-lax in their Gatorade or some other tin-hat theory but I digress.  We will certainly be favored to win 2 of 3, but Clemson is always a very good baseball team and certainly could come out firing on all cylinders.  

This is why I am so thankful we have Ray Tanner.  He has shown he can handle whatever is thrown at Carolina.  Two years ago, we lost the weekend series to Clemson including getting completely stomped in Columbia 19-6 on Sunday, March 7.  The Gamecocks sat at 6-4 at that point and we were sour.  Come on, admit you were sour.  Tanner and crew came together and exploded for a 30-5 stretch that included a 16-5 start in the SEC!  That season ended pretty well as you know. 

There have been other smaller examples as well over the years and I have always felt the team seemed to be able to find that chemistry, that voice and get everything it could out of a season.  Now this doesn’t mean we always are happy with the way the season ends or that every year is some Mary Poppins fairy tale.  But whenever we do face that challenge this season and we are upset and a little ticked off after a bad weekend or two, I know we’ve got the right Coach to take it and mold it like clay into a positive identity for this team.  

So count me among the many who are quite content to sit back and enjoy another exciting ride with our new young Gamecocks.  TRUST IN TANNER! 

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