Sooner baseball…

Tough loss in game two of the men’s college baseball world series. It is however important to remember that outside football, college baseball is arguably the most competitive of all NCAA sports.  Any number of teams can win the MCWS in a given year.  To bring home a runner’s up trophy in this sport is nothing to cry about. 

Let’s be clear, the Sooners put themselves in a bind by losing game one and we had no room for error from our players and of course from the umpires.  While the Ole Miss four run 8th officially did the trick, the game was actually decided in the 6th inning when victory was snatched from the jaws of the Sooners by Larry, Moe and Curly.      

OU masterfully executed a squeeze play that would have opened up the game only to have the Three Stooges reverse the call on the field.  Think of this…with the run scoring on the squeeze, we would have scored a run on that play with two more in scoring position with only one out.  Would we have won tonight…probably not, but that’s not the point.

Give these Sooners credit, a normal team would have gone belly up after the blown call, but these Sooners fought back to make it a game.  Additionally, Skip Johnson returns a bunch of players off this year’s team and returning to Omaha has now become a possibility. 

Sooner baseball is back…

Boomer Sooner…

Summer recruiting…

Recruiting under Brent Venables has changed dramatically. The day of players committing one day and bailing the next is a thing of the past under BV.  OU has been like a revolving door for football recruits in the past. This new format will also take some adjustment on the part of OU fans.  That’s right, we are going to have to be more patient which of course is not in our DNA. 

Savoring those times when we were on the cusp of a top ten class early in the process has always been a lot of fun. It’s like a shot of adrenaline that makes summers bearable.   Then of course, we would spend the fall being burned by high school kids who would flip from OU to Alabama at the last minute. 

For this reason, I am excited about giving BV’s plan a shot.  He compares his recruiting style to dating and marriage.  He expects his players to stop dating once they decide to marry into the OU family.  BV will insist that his recruits stop taking recruiting visits once they’ve committed to the Sooners. 

With all of this in mind, let’s see how we are doing and the hill we will have to climb going forward. The Sooners currently rank #38 in the latest rivals100 recruiting rankings with our seven recruits.  By comparison Texas Tech is ranked #2 in rivals with their 20 commitments. 

That’s okay don’t give up on the Sooners just yet. We’ll check back in a few months to see where our class, with its permanent commitments compares to Texas Tech.  I suspect that a lot of the Texas Tech commits will fly the coop while OU’s commitments will marry into the OU family and create a top ten class. I can’t wait to see how this story turns out…

Boomer Sooner… 

Fundamentals…

I’m a firm believer that fundamentals in any sport cannot be overstated. This is especially true in diamond sports.  This is what separates the wheat from the chaff. It is also what wins national championships. The recent WCWS pointed this out especially well.  

I spent a lot of time watching the WCWS with the sound turned down. First, this allowed me to tune out the nonsensical talking heads and secondly, it allowed me to focus on the fundamentals of the different teams. It was like night and day between the Sooners and the other guys. 

Today’s college softball players come to college having played on travel teams where they do just that travel…travel team coaches are businessmen who spend very little time working on defensive skills of their players. Teams blow out the competition with their bats.   

Okay, here’s the good news for Sooner fans. Patty plays with an experienced deck every year as she reloads her roster with veteran players.  Yes, we have young players, but they are the pick of the litter.   Those players come to Norman as travel team players, but they don’t get on the field without their skills be dutifully honed.  In addition, Patty has the luxury of passing over players that are lacking in this area.  

What does all of this mean for Sooner fans…it means that Patty Gasso and our Sooners will continue to be light years ahead of the competition.  Granted, it remains to be seen if these facts will produce multiple national championships moving forward, but using Bud Wilkinson as our guide, I suspect it will. 

The reason that OU football seldom lost back in the 50’s was because Bud insisted on his players being fundamentally sound players. Have your pick of Bud or Patty as the greatest coach in OU history, but regardless of your choice, Bud and Patty’s players wrote the book on how to play the game. 

Boomer Sooner…

Sooner baseball…

As you know, I have not been kind to Joe Castiglione when it comes to OU baseball.  First, he hires Sunny Galloway, then Pete Hughes who were both run out of town on a rail and then we have to play at a high school field. This is the basis for my irritation with Joe, but being the stand-up guy that I am, I am now ready to cut Joe some slack.

The year before Pete Hughes gor the boot, Joe insisted that Hughes hire current OU skipper Skip Johnson. Johnson had been the pitching coach at Texas where he was passed over for that head coaching job for the Longhorns.  When Pete Hughes is fired, Skip Johnson was promoted to the head coaching position.

At the time I thought here we go again…why not conduct a national search and get it right this time. After a marginal first year my thoughts were reinforced, but being the recruiting guy that I am, I did see a light at the end of the tunnel. 

During the covid year, the Sooners began to show life only to be sidelined along with the rest of college baseball due to the pandemic. Adding insult to injury most of the talented players off that team were drafted so we were back to square one.  At least that’s what I thought…

This year, the team began to show signs of life early in the season by holding their own against a stout schedule.  Next, the Sooners came within a whisker of taking the series from OSU and Texas.  Then they got hot down the stretch and won the Big 12 tournament going away. 

Then we were snubbed by the NCAA, in part due L. Dale Mitchell Park, for a regional and super regional.  This bunch shrugged that insult aside as they took down Florida and Virginia Tech in Gainesville and Blacksburg in the regional and super regional. 

Fortunately, since I have no life, I spent many a Friday night checking out the Sooner baseballers on the World Wide Web.  Trust me these guys are pretty good and will be hard to beat. They can hit with anyone and now they have found a pitching staff to go along with their hitting. 

Here’s the deal…teams will not want to play this team…they are a blazing hot having won fifteen of their last eighteen games with two of those losses coming in the regionals and super regionals.   More importantly, this team has found the formula for success.  To win in Omaha a team must have bono fide starters (which OU has) and a hard throwing closer which they have developed over time. 

I love lefty/lefty match ups from a pitching standpoint.  That formula works 90% of the time and are sure fire rally stoppers.   This team reminds me a lot of the 1994 that won it all.  For me that game was like the moon landing…I remember exactly where I was at the point in time when Bucky Buckles came on in relief to shut down Georgia Tech for the Natty in Omaha. 

I would reserve some t.v. time for the 3rd week in June…this is going to be loads of fun…

Boomer Sooner…

Summer recruiting…

Recruiting under Brent Venables has changed dramatically. The day of players committing one day and bailing the next is a thing of the past under BV.  In the past it was like a revolving door at OU when it came to football recruits. This new format will also take adjustment on the part of OU fans.  That’s right, we are going to have to be more patient which of course is not in our DNA. 

I follow football recruiting religiously and I have savored those years when OU would be on the cusp of a top five class early in the process.  I have also been burned more times than I want to remember by high school kids who have left us at the altar. 

For this reason, I am excited to give BV’s plan a shot.  He compares his recruiting style to dating and marriage.  He expects his players to stop dating once they decide to marry into the OU family.  BV will insist that his recruits stop taking recruiting visits once they have committed to the Sooners. 

With all of this in mind, let’s see how we are doing and what that hill we have to climb looks like.  The Sooners currently rank #34 in the latest Rivals recruiting rankings with our five recruits.  By comparison Texas Tech is ranked #2 in Rivals with their 20 commitments. 

Given these rankings, one must wonder how many future OU commitments will be big-time in nature that have bought into the Brent Venables’ recruiting style.  Conversely, it will be interesting to see how many Tech commitments fly the coop between now and December.      

In the end, the proof will be in the pudding.  We shall see…

Boomer Sooner… 

That damn pesky fly…

OSU is like that pesky fly that just won’t go away. Here we are on the roll to another National Championship in softball and that fly is back.   It all began in the Big 12 Championship game as we did not swat that fly when we had the chance.  That win for the Cowgirls put them on a path to the WCWS finals against the Sooners. 

OSU has utilized an unbelievable soft regional, super-regional and WCWS bracket to waltz to the finals.  The NCAA with Patty leading the charge also created additional breaks between sessions for this year’s tournament that has helped the OSU cause as well. 

The OSU ace Kelly Maxwell has gotten on a roll of late and is dangerous.  She has won two games in the tournament so far and is set to win a third on Monday.  With Jordy still a question mark the OSU series could get interesting.  Like I said, here comes that pesky fly again…

Boomer Sooner…