Monday, May 11, 2015

More than just a Consolation Prize

The Three-Peat

With a football team that hasn't won a championship in 54 years and a basketball team on a 47-year drought, one can only expect Columbia fans to see the very successful baseball program as a needed counterbalance to the failures elsewhere. 

But I want to make the point that this team is so much more than that. Even if Columbia were home to perennial powers in football and hoops, this 3-time defending Ivy Baseball championship team would be worth very special recognition. 

The last two seasons especially have been a testament to a team that just never gave up and found a way to win. 

In 2014, the Lions came into Gehrig Division play well behind 1st place Penn. But Columbia pulled even just before the season-ending series with the Quakers before splitting that series and eventually winning the one-game divisional playoff in Philadelphia. 

This year, Columbia has won four straight must-win games to win the championship again. First the Lions had to win the final game of the home-and-home series with Penn at Penn to force the playoff. Columbia won that game 8-6 in 10 innings. Then Columbia had to win that playoff, which the Lions did 4-2 at home. Then Columbia had to win Game 2 of the ILCS vs. Dartmouth as the official "road team," which they did 7-2. And finally Columbia had to win the last game of the ILCS yesterday, which they did 10-7 as Coach Brett Boretti had to cobble together a make-shift group of relievers to get through 9 innings against Dartmouth. 

This team is just an incredible combination of great talent and great coaching. I know this is the group that wants to finally break through and get to the NCAA super regionals, but no matter what happens at the end of the month it was just such a great pleasure to watch this team. And that's especially true for the seniors who are finishing up a tremendous run at the top. 

College baseball is nowhere as big as college football and basketball, even in the Ivies. But baseball is still big in America, and when you say the sentence, "Columbia has now won 3 Ivy Baseball championships in a row," every sports fan in America gets that. 

Buddy's Bike

I hope Buddy gets his bike back, but I think I know how he feels. After all, for the 2012-14 Columbia football seasons, someone stole our whole team.


oldlion said...

Great piece on Columbia baseball; what I like about this team is that they never panic. Two best first years in the league at Short in Kanemaru and relief pitching in Egly?

Anonymous said...

Only a mongrel would steal another man's bicycle shorts. A heinous crime overall. No details in the article on how the items were stolen but I wonder if it was smash and grab. Thieves have become so effective at that no ground is sacred to them. Leave nothing to chance, even at the grocery store, consider the mongrel thieves of the world and their cunning methods.

I remain, very truly yours, Richard Szathmary said...

It was a great, great win. And Falcone had a great "comeback" senior year after mostly being benched as a junior. One can only wish the entire team well. Like Spectator's writer wrote, too, Columbia baseball can now in fact be properly called a "dynasty." I ust football and basketball soon enough have their own turns at qualifying for the term.

oldlion said...

Re Buddy's bike: check Reno and Varga re payback for 2013.

RLB said...

And, then there is the men's tennis team, undefeated in Ivy play, going to the 16 in Waco after wins vs. GA T., Miss on the latter's courts.

Anonymous said...

I noticed Alvin Smith is now at Wagner. I'm glad he landed on his feet. I think he's a solid coach. Bad luck he had to work with Pete.

Chick said...

Looking forward to football, I advise our equipment managers at KRAFT Field to keep a close watch on the footballs. We don't want our football hopes to be deflated..

Coach said...

I am sure that Coach Smith is very grateful that he was given an opportunity by Pete to coach in the Ivy League. I believe that it was his first full-time position.