Giving thanks…

As I was watching/analyzing the final game of the Women’s College World Series game I realized that I was turning into my dad.  You’ve seen the commercials so you know what I mean.  That’s right I had become obsessed with missed opportunities as OU failed to move runners with no outs and for pitching to good hitters with first base open.  Then it hit me…let it go…I should be happy to have experienced such a team as this year’s Sooner women’s softball team.  Over the past four years, this group of players has shown us what college sports should look like.

Let’s face it…OU lost to a really good UCLA team Tuesday night.  The Bruins were also incredibly well coached with an experienced head coach at the helm who had been there many times and a pitching coach who really knows her stuff.  The Bruins were also well rested, a fact that cannot be overstated.  In spite of all of this, the Sooner women came within a hair of forcing game three.

Finally, let’s give Joe C. his due on this one…two years ago; he locked Patty Gasso into staying in Norman through 2024 as he negotiated a $200,000 per year stay clause for her.   Hopefully, the next, great donor will step forward to provide seed money for the new softball stadium which will serve to enhance Patty’s recruiting ability which has already become legendary.

I know we are going to miss the best group of seniors in the history of this sport, but the Sooners return a solid nucleus of position players along with pitcher Giselle Juarez.  If we can get “G” some help in the circle, a return trip to the World Series next year is not out of the question.

In the meantime, I am going to try my best to enjoy the moment.  Of course doing so will be made that much easier knowing that Patty is not going anywhere.

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

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Eraser…

Don’t you hate it when the cameras scan the crowd leaving the stadium when the Sooners get down.  Heck, for all these guys knew those fans were taking a bathroom break.  Then again at 10-1 even the most embolden fan had to know that the night was lost.

Actually, the night was lost when OU could not for the 2nd game in a row; make a play on a bunted ball back to the pitcher.   Of course, as a former 2nd baseman who had to cover first base on those plays back in the day, I can tell you the play is a lot harder than it looks. Three errors later and the Sooners were done for the night.  At that point, you are simply hoping to lull the Bruins into a false sense of security for game two…which we did.

These Sooner women are still plenty good, so don’t give up on the girls just yet.   Patty Gasso is as good as it gets, so expect her to get out the giant eraser for this game.   I liked her move early on as she chose to live to play another day by pulling “G” in the 5th.

I also want to give the UCLA coach credit for her scouting ability as she hit OU in our soft spot with bunts back to the pitcher.   Possibly, OU can work on that play for tomorrow night.

One last thing…playing two games against Alabama on Sunday was a killer.  These girls were leg weary…Giving the OU women a good night’s sleep back home in Norman will make a world of difference in tomorrow’s game.  Like I said, don’t give up on the OU women just yet.

Boomer Sooner…

Bishop McGuinness…

OU’s first bowl game was in 1939; Notre Dame did not get into the bowl business until in 1970.  Notre Dame resisted playing an extra game in those days citing the school’s emphasis for academics.  In 1949, Oklahoma’s Bishop McGuinness petitioned Notre Dame to consider making an exception to that rule and playing Oklahoma in a post season game.

John Cavanaugh, the Notre Dame President at that time turned down the Bishop’s request for a post season game with the Sooners, but it appears that this was not the end of the discussion.  Archived documents suggest that in order to placate Bishop McGuinness, President Cavanaugh suggested that OU and Notre Dame contemplate a home and home for future years.   In all likelihood that inquiry led to future OU/Notre Dame games in ’52, ’53, ’56 and of course ’57.

OU lost to the Irish in ’52 and ’53, but responded with a win in ’56.  Then OU suffered its most notable  loss of all time in 1957.   Now, I love competition as much as the next fan, but this is one series I could have done without.   Notre Dame became OU’s most hated opponent, not only due to the ’57 loss that snapped the “streak”, but also for the 1-9 rivalry record against the Irish prior to a Sooner win in 2013.

Putting this fact into perspective the Sooners only losses between October 1951 to November 1957 were to Notre Dame.   That would be 64 games during this stretch with losses only to the Irish.  Now we know why OU old timers hate Notre Dame Football so much.  Now for page two.

Notre Dame owes us a game and OU has an opening in 2023, the 100th anniversary of Memorial Stadium.  OU officials are allegedly looking to play a big name opponent that year.  That would be a good time for the Sooners to extend the current winning streak over Notre Dame.  Lincoln’s offense will chew up the Irish and spit them out.  This game would give me two games on my bucket list… the 2020 game at West Point and the 2023 Notre Dame game.

I guess I’ll have to stick around a while longer and see how this turns out.

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

 

Winning Streaks…

It was like Shock City on Sunday as the OU girls absorbed a loss for the first time in 42 games.  No one saw it coming as OU fans had already booked flights to OKC for the World Series.   That’s the problem with winning streaks; they have to end sometime…you just hope that the damage can be minimized in short order.   Thankfully, that was the case here as the OU women came back to win the night cap and in doing so started their next winning streak.

I could not help but be reminded of the other OU winning streak that was snapped back in ’57.   The Sooner football team had won 47 in a row and fans thought that that streak would last forever as well.   Fans in attendance on that November day were equally shocked by the outcome.  According to news reports, OU fans sat in their seats after the game stunned that the streak had been snapped.

Thankfully, softball could bounce back within the hour to make amends.  It took the Sooner football team over fifty years to avenge that loss to Notre Dame.  The good news for the softball team is by getting that winning streak out of the way the Sooner women can now focus on the task at hand, winning another National Championship…

Speaking of streaks, after the ’57 loss, Notre Dame strung together six more wins against the Sooners before OU won at South Bend in 2013.  Notre Dame owes us a game and OU has an opening in 2023.  2023 will be the 100 year anniversary for Memorial Stadium and Joe C. is promising a big non-conference game that year.

This may be a stretch, but it would be cool for Notre Dame to visit Norman that year.  This game would serve a dual purpose.  The Sooners could extend their winning streak over the Irish while also allowing fans who were forced to endure the ’57 game to be present.  Hopefully, David Boren will be one of those fans.  I happen to know that Boren was there with his dad on that day.

Boomer Sooner…

 

OU baseball…

I know we have gymnastics and softball, not to mention football to fall back on, but it would be nice to see a little improvement in baseball as well.   You would think that an Athletic Department that generated $138 million dollars in revenue last year could produce a decent baseball team.   OSU has now beaten OU 22 of the last 27 games.  This is beginning sound like OU’s domination of OSU in football.

At this point, I would love to blame the coach, but in reality the current guy inherited a total train wreck. After Larry Cochel reinvented OU baseball at the turn of this century and carried OU to a National Championship, he gets fired by Joe Castiglione.   Joe then hires Gene Stephenson who quits the next day.   Joe then commits the ultimate knee jerk sin and hires Sunny Galloway.  Under Galloway, the Sooners suffered through a five year reign of terror.  Even his nephew couldn’t stand the guy.

After five years, Joe fires Galloway and hires a no-name coach from Virginia Tech.  The Sooners spent the next four years treading water.  Joe then fires Pete Hughes and replaces him with current coach Clint Johnson.  You get the message; it has been 15 years of revolving coaches and limited success for OU baseball.

Given the ineptitude of this year’s Sooner team, it would appear that this program is stuck in quicksand.  Unless the Sooners can pull off a miracle and win the Big 12 Conference Tournament, OU will be absent from this year’s post season.

The good news is that this OU team appears to be young and the pitching staff should return in tact.  Additionally, Clint Johnson has a reputation for being a pitching guru which should help.  For additional good news, things can only get better from here.

Stayed tuned…

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

Twenty three and counting…

I waited a week for this blog in order to avoid jinxing the Sooners in the Big 12 tournament.  To be honest, I was not overly concerned about the streak being snapped, but still, why take a chance.  OU has had some great teams in various sports over the years, but I have to tell you that this Sooner softball team has to be in that mix.

Last weekend only served to make this point.  OSU came into the Bedlam series on a hot streak…They had won eleven games in a row…the Lady Ags also would host OU in two of the three games.  Making matters worse, due to the weather the Sooners were forced to play a double header in Stillwater on Sunday.  OU’s decade long winning streak over OSU appeared to be in real jeopardy.

Responding like great teams do, this OU team limited OSU to six hits for the three game set.  That may be the greatest statistic that I have ever seen by any team played on a diamond.   Adding to the stature of this team is that Patty Gasso started a different pitcher in each of the three games.

On offense the Sooners looked like the Bronx Bombers.  There was never a doubt in each of the three games of who was going to win.  Psychologically, OSU came into each game realizing that the outcome was not a matter of if, but when.  Twenty three (23) straight wins over the Ags…Not since 2011 has OU lost to these guys in softball.

Moving forward, this OU team is simply loaded in every phase of the game.  Patty coaches up a team better than any person I have ever seen.  This OU teams resembles a group on a mission from God as they deliver Sooner Nation another National Championship.

One last thing, I have coached baseball and softball and I would love to see a computer geek play out a game between the OU baseball and softball teams.  Never mind, let’s not go there.  That would not be fair to the boys.

As OU fans, we need to soak up this moment…just like the football teams of old, this is what legends are made of.  Teams like this one don’t come along every day.   We had better enjoy the moment…

Boomer Sooner…

Sunday night football…

I can remember the time when OU refused to play night games to protect the older fan base.  Now the OU brand is trumping both the older fan base and church leaders.   As Keith Jackson used to say…Whoa Nelly…

Some will suggest that this move was made as a result of conference and network bigwigs flexing their muscles.   To that I would suggest that we look at previous history.   OU officials have said no to the football power brokers for years about playing Thursday night home games, much less a Sunday night affair.  I am not sure what is in the OU water these days, but I for one like the new look.  I will trade a Sunday night game any day for an August Saturday morning sauna bath.

For history students, consider the nature of this seismic move.  There was a time, not that long ago, when Baptist preachers would have eaten OU football for lunch over this issue.  In those days, the Mormons had nothing on the Baptist crowd.  Sundays were off limits…

As we know OU football is a religion too many of us, so we should have seen this war of religions coming.  For better or for worse, the Lincoln Riley/James Gallogly eras may have prompted this move.   Mix in a dose of Jalen Hurts and a hot August Saturday afternoon game and you have a trifecta.

Sunday night football should be fun…

Boomer Sooner…