For the love of the game… 

Recently, a local sports show conducted a poll of fans regarding OU baseball versus OU softball. As might be imagined, OU softball dominated the poll.

Of course this poll was taken right after the baseball team was swept by OSU and went two and barbecue in the Big 12 tournament, but still…

After going into the backwoods Alabama to sweep Auburn, I feel the need to share my love of the OU women’s game…

1…I love the speed of the gameshorter baselines and fewer innings make every pitch and every inning important.

2…Pitching and defense are critical…Baseball pitchers throw with an unnatural motion that takes it toll on the arm and limits their innings. Softball pitchers can throw effectively the next day…

3… Scholarship limits produces pathetic baseball. The third day of a Big 12 baseball series can take forever…

4…Home runsWhile this argument may appear to be counter intuitive to the pitching/defense softball argument, but it is still worth noting. A few years back, college baseball overreacted to a juiced-up baseball and aluminum bats by de-juicing the baseball and deadening the aluminum bat.

Add these features to an Omaha stadium that faces the wrong direction and you have boring college World Series baseball games. The Oklahoma City softball field faces the right direction and creates honest homeruns.

5…I love the uniforms…I am sorry, but I am old school. I don’t like baseball uniforms that drag the ground. I grew up with the stirrup look that the girl’s teams still wear.   I also love the OU women’s gray/red combination. The OU women’s uniforms are way cool.

6…I love the enthusiasm of the playersGirls with broad based smiles that tells us that they are playing for their teammates and not for a high draft choice.

7…Conference tournaments that mean something…I am sorry, but the Big 12 baseball tournament is a joke. National seeds and sites are established prior to the Big 12 tournament.   After a pathetic season OSU wins the tournament and gets an at large bid. Texas Tech and TCU stink up the tournament and will still host regionals and super regionals.

7…I love Patti Gasso…normally I would say, enough said, but I want to point out some additional reasons as a former coach. Undaunted by conventional reasoning, she asked her pitching staff to select her game two pitcher.

Paige Parker chose freshman Nicole Mendes and she gave the Sooners solid innings before handing off the game to Paige Lowary. The move worked like a charm…

I also love how she shifts her defense against the bottom of the order when fire-baller Paige Lowary is on the mound.   When was the last time you saw any team play without a left fielder…Really good stuff…

8…Returning starters…I like the fact that OU fans don’t have to worry about Paige Parker and Paige Lowary going pro after their junior years…As a result, we will have the girls back next year…It is crazy scary to think how good this team will be in 2018…

Boomer Sooner…

What is it about rivalry that this guy does not get…

About the time one would think I can give Pete Hughes a break, the OU baseball coach goes out and breaks one of Ed’s cardinal rules.   He took his foot off the throat of our rival and allowed the Ags to play another day.  Beat the Ags one game in the weekend series and they would be toast for 2017.

Instead Pete decides to play good guy/good guy and allow OSU to hang around for the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments.

Am I being too hard on the OU coach, probably, but then again, like former OSU coach Gary Ward use to say, this ain’t Sunday School.   That guy took no prisoners and when he got a team, particularly the OU team down, he exerted whatever pressure necessary to make them yell uncle.

Of course, we should have seen this one coming as OU was already assured to do no better than a three seed in the Big 12 tournament.   Subsequently, Hughes decided to put the team on auto-pilot.

Hughes probably has one of those OU/OSU family feud license plates on his car.

I lived through years of experiencing the other side of this coin. Back in those days, Gary Ward owned the Sooners in baseball and being the prick that he was, he rubbed it in our faces every chance he got.

There is a reason that Patti Gasso has beaten that bunch up north 17 times in a row and that OU has beaten OSU in football 86 times. In those sports, OU has the mental edge.  We expect to win and they expect to lose.  Pete Hughes needs to teach his OU baseball that same mindset when it comes to the Cow Patties.

OSU fans are like Cubs fans, they love their team regardless of how many times they lose to OU. That’s why they call them Aggies.  OU fans expect to win… I am putting Pete Hughes on notice…start taking this rivalry thing seriously or we will find someone who will.

Boomer Sooner…

Patti Gasso…

Like a lot of kids, I dreamed of playing baseball when I grew up…Fortunately for me that growing up thing was a long time in coming.  As a result, I played baseball for as long as I could and then took up softball, which I played way past my prime.  Even after my church softball days were over, I either coached baseball or softball.  Finally, I was blessed with a daughter who had a hankering for the game as well.

Some of my favorite memories are of those days watching her play fast pitch softball. I especially enjoyed our times at Hall of Fame Stadium as her teams would play at the Stadium’s “Big Field.” In a couple weeks we will make the trip over once again to hopefully watch Patti Gasso and our Sooners defend their National Championship.

Unknown to a lot of Sooner fans is that OU’s football program is making this possible… I say this because back in the day, we almost lost Patti Gasso due to a lack of funding.

Shortly after Patti Gasso arrived from California the OU Athletic Department was swimming in red ink. It appeared at that time the Reeves Park (seating capacity – 55) might become the permanent home for OU softball.

Back in those days, when Athletic Director was not hanging out in bars looking for the next OU football coach, he was busy mismanaging the OU athletic department. Things were so bad that Gasso sent her husband back to California to make a living so the family could stay in Oklahoma permanently.

Patti Gasso weathered the storm long enough for Joe C. to replace Donnie Duncan and for Bob Stoops to be hired to re-start the OU football program.   Ironically, Patti Gasso’s first OU National Championship was in 2000, the same year as Bob’s.  Of course there is no irony to that statement; football financially drives both sports and football getting better made funds available for both sports.  It also allowed  Patti Gasso to stay in Norman and to become the next great OU coach.

During her 22 year OU coaching career Gasso has won 1073 games and three National Championships.   That’s right only Bud and Barry can rival Patti Gasso in that area.

Even more exciting for OU fans is that Patti Gasso supplanted OSU as the state’s premier softball power. OU beat OSU four times this year and have not lost to the Lady Ags since 2011.   That my friend is the kind of Bedlam domination that all OU fans live for.

One last thing about Patti Gasso…I love the fact that she never rests on her laurels and is not afraid to admit her mistakes. Last year she admitted that she wore out Paige Parker and she swore that she would never do that to one of her pitchers again.   As the father of a former pitcher, I appreciate that kind of courage in a coach.

She went out and recruited two other pitchers to support Paige Parker.   Now, she has three starting pitchers.  A dominant starter, an overpowering closer and a freshman that will be mentored by both Paige’s as she preps to be the next dominant OU pitcher.

This year’s team is peaking at just the right time. Sooner fans had better buckle up for another National Championship run.  This has become a fun time of year for Sooner fans…

Boomer Sooner…

The end of time…

Like so many I assumed that Donald Trump would never win his party’s nomination, much less the presidency. I was obviously wrong.  I also assumed that OSU would never be up on the Sooners in recruiting this late in the recruiting process. According to this week’s Rivals recruiting rankings I was wrong again.

I think Bill Murray said it best as he described the Ghostbusters end of time as a disaster of Biblical proportions…human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria.

Okay, that may a bit over the top, but I still don’t like it…Of course OU will eventually find their sea legs and make their way back to the top, but I still don’t like it.

Recruiting for a national power like OU should not be this hard. It’s like OU has to struggle mightily to get its share of four and five star prospects while other national power simply open the doors and these guys appear. Of course, it has to help when those doors are right next door to where these guys live.

OU has always overcome Oklahoma’s lack of population with its OU and Big 12 name. This fact is becoming harder and harder.   Barry Switzer said it best recently by stating that the current Big 12 conference is the reason for OU’s recruiting woes.

To reinforce his point, take a look at the latest NFL draft.  The SEC had 53 players drafted while the Big 12 had 14. The conference NFL draft breakdown looks like this…

SEC – 53

ACC – 43

Pac 12 – 36

Big Ten – 35

AAC – 15

Big 12 – 14

Trust me Power Conference recruiters pull out this tape every time they go up against OU in recruiting.

Basically, OU is playing with a shotgun that has to be reloaded while the Alabama’s and Ohio State’s of the world are playing with automatic weapons. While Alabama can trot out a National Championship caliber team every year it takes OU three years to assemble that kind of talent.

OU has assembled that kind of talent for 2017.  A National Championship season will allow the Sooners to reload for the next four years.

I expect the Big 12 to be defunct in 2024 so buying four years will go a long way of allowing the Sooners to survive the demise of the Big 12.

Boomer Sooner…