Animals Weekend Wrap-up: Virginia

Tequila and Wiffleball weekend saw the Virginia Fightin’ What-ever-the-heck-a-Wahoo-is-es come to town, and steal away with a series win. I was only able to attend the first game so my comments will be light. As usual, Bryan E. does the heavy lifting.

Game 1: UVa 5, FSU 3 (10)

Your reluctant reporter with your Virgina series game one wrap up. Shakespeare said that brevity is the soul of wit so here we go. It was a pitcher’s duel and that was impressive.

Knotted at nothing until the 5th when the whose plated one and we followed with 3. We all felt pretty good at that point. The ugly orange nibbled away at the lead and tied it up in the 8th. We had bases loaded in the 9th with 1 out and fell victim to (my opinion here) 11′s penchant for messing with what wasn’t broken. Pulling a red hot De La Calle for Montgomery was a coffin nail. Left our boys stranded and sent us to extra innings. Orange scores 2 in the top of the 10th and we couldn’t answer the bell.

A tough loss but a hard fought game. We were out hit and made a couple of errors yet still hung with the #1 team. I feel like we can still win this series.

It’s 12:05 AM so it may be too late to remind you to hydrate for the tequila wiffle ball picnic tomorrow. The fun starts at noon. Game time is 6. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, kids.

I’m not particularly interested in dwelling on the negatives on this site, but I will say I was…frustrated…by the mass exodus of fans late in the game, with it tied and undecided. Our own section was not immune to this, unfortunately. I just felt like in a match-up of top-5 ranked teams, with a lot on the line, our players deserved to have fans cheering them on, not heading for their cars. Didn’t help that it was Drew Hankin’s birthday and I knew it was going to be the only game of the series I’d get to watch. Oh well. Let’s do better in the future.

Drew would have been 42. We miss him a lot. For the O Canada break, I went with ‘Happy Birthday Drew’. Nothing else was appropriate.

Game 2: UVa 0, FSU 7

Your reluctant reporter with your Virgina series game 2 wrap up. The nice thing about the 24.3 mile drive home after these games is that it gives me a chance to shuck the husk of the day down to the edible parts. What sticks out first to me is that this weekend would be (is) Drew’s birthday. Most of you know who he is, but, for those who don’t, he was the zookeeper for many years and made The Animals the household name that we’ve become. I first met him while eating lunch many years ago, and said “Aren’t you the guy that leads all those loud folks in Section B (when it was Section B)?” He nodded. I asked how I could get in on that, he told me to send an email, and just like that, I was an animal.

A terrible animal I was. I showed up at my own leisure and his dirty looks when he did see me were enough shame to last a millenium. My second year, he told me if I couldn’t make it into games that I owed him my tickets back. I ended up giving him my tickets back. When I got back into Section B 10 years (or so) later, I swore to be the animal I wanted to be 12 years ago, and I feel like Drew would still give me dirty looks, but would give me an A for effort. As disjointed as we can be at times, we’d be nothing without everything he did. A shutout win over the #1 team in the country on tequila wiffle ball weekend may be because he’s smiling down from heaven, or it could be that us beating the #1 team in the country on his birthday weekend is bringing his smile from heaven. Either way, I like to think he’s smiling.

Now on to the day’s events…..

It was a party. Sunny, light breezes, high of 86. So much food. So many friends, old and new. We are truly a 64 color crayola set with baseball as our box (with the fancy sharpener on the back). Every walk of life all mixed together bound by the love of the game and our team. I want to thank all of our sponsors for everything they do to set us up for success.

We also played baseball.

Did I mention that WE SHUT OUT THE #1 TEAM 7-0!!!!! Hell yes. That was a fine showing of patience at the plate, solid fielding(overall), and “what for” that has sustained this program year in and year out.

I wish I could give one or 2 guys credit for standing out but this was truly a team win. We beat UVA 7-0. I think I already mentioned it, but it feels good to repeat and I am also out of words.

Tomorrow is the most important game that we’ve played this season and we need your vocal chords, your clapping hands, and your good mojo to get the good guys over the hump. 1 o’clock first pitch for Sunday. Gold is the preferred color.
I love you guys.

I was well on my way to Clearwater by first pitch, but I did get to enjoy a little bit of the party before I left. I am informed the O Canada break was “We’re drunk!”, which was almost certainly accurate.

Game 3: UVa 4, FSU 3

Your reluctant reporter with your Virgina series game three wrap up. Early start and a lot of lingering headaches. Saturday was almost too much of a good time. 1 PM first pitch and the turnout was pretty good considering.

It was a loss, but not a tough loss to take, in my eyes. We hung in there with the #1 team in both of our losses in spite of our anemic offense. 4 hits for the good guys on the day. Ben Deluzio had 3 of them, Sansone went yard for the other. You can’t beat anybody that way.

I don’t expect that our first home series loss in years will hurt our ranking. We just need to win these last 3 series. The toughest part of our schedule has passed and we know who we are. We’re not as good as the writers said early. We’re not as bad as we’ve looked at times.

Minnesota comes to town this weekend for a 3 game series and we should all be recovered from a damn fine time by then.

Go Noles.

Apparently, the O Canada break was “We’re hung over!” which is also almost certainly accurate.

Animals Weekend Wrap-up: Notre Dame

Notre Dame visited Tallahassee this weekend for the first time as members of the ACC. Well, sorta-members. As usual our intrepid nun reporter Bryan E. is on the job.

Game 1: ND 7, FSU 8 (12)

Your reluctant reporter, out of breath and worn out, but posting out of habit. (See what I did there?) Wow, 12 innings of grinding it out. A lot of faces I’ve never seen before mixed with the regulars for a thriller of a game. The familiar 1 run was scored in the first by Rudy, which I’m pretty sure 6 of their starting 9 are named. I see the recruiting pitch going something like this… ” I see you have red hair. Your first name starts with an R. If we offer you a 1/3 scholarship can we call you Rudy? Great. We’ll see you in South Bend.

To give credit where it’s due, though… their helmets were white.

You just don’t win games vs. the worst of opponents when you commit 5 errors. That says a lot about the team we played tonight, not an opponent. Anyone who follows these games live understands that we played WAY down to our “competition” tonight. I prefer to look at these extra inning games as a bonus for ticket holders, but those with children and other obligations may not feel the same way.

I don’t have the game notes in front of me (thanks John), but Casey Smit stands out as tonight’s MVP. 8-7 final in 12 and I predict scorched earth for the rest of the series. Notre Dame ran through at least 6 pitchers tonight.

Tomorrow’s gona be funner. Grillmaster Matt will be doing his thing and I heard rumor that Brett C. will be doing his part for the TOAD faithful. See you guys, weather permitting, around 11 tomorrow for the prelude to an Irish roshambo.

While the fielding by our boys last night was…let’s just call it ‘forgettable’…the Animals had a great time in the section. I was going to go with something related to the logo change brouhaha, but just as we started singing O Canada, the Irish 1B Bill Buckner’d a grounder, and you never pass up an opportunity to make fun of Bucker. So, the break was ‘Buckner Lives!’

If you were in attendance or were able to catch the game on ESPN3, you may have caught a glimpse of our intrepid reporter Bryan leading NOLES cheers in drag as a nun in a garnet and gold habit. The costume actually belongs to long time FSU fan and friend of the Animals, Hector. Bryan commandeered it for the cheers because hello!

Bryan had been going for a while and I decided we should play a little prank on him, so I got everyone in the section ready for the next time he was going to start a NOLES cheer. This time, however, we instead spelled HABIT and got a good laugh out of it. As Bryan continued doing his thing, several of us started singing Sound of Music songs. ‘These are a few of my Favorite Thing’s, ‘How do you solve a problem like Maria’, etc. A good time was had.

And, of course, despite some very shaky play, the team fought through it and got the win. The crowd slowly started evaporating after the 8th inning and through the remainder of the game. But those of us who stuck it out gave the guys what we had in the tank. And if there is one thing you can say about the character of this year’s team, it’s that they have no quit in them.

Saturday: Rained out

Obviously I wouldn’t comment on a rainout day, but boy was this one different. College baseball players have become well known for their rain delay antics, and on Saturday Notre Dame and FSU players treated the die-hards who stayed in the stadium through the delay to a real treat. There are a plethora of videos out there now, so I will only post one. But suffice it to say it was the most fun I have ever had in a rainout. Great job by both teams of entertaining the crowd.

On a side note, the uniforms that Notre Dame was wearing on Saturday were top-notch. Sort of a golden era throwback look with striped socks, baggy grey shirts and pants, with ‘IRISH’ written vertically down the buttons of the jerseys. Very, very sharp. I bring this up for a reason, which we’ll get to.

Games 2 & 3: ND 2, FSU 11 – ND 3, FSU 4

Your reluctant reporter with another (4 in as many weeks) double header sweep report. Let me start right there. That is four doubleheader sweeps in four weeks. I’m not a rocket surgeon, but, the odds definitely aren’t in favor of that occurring. That’s a whole lot of toughness and physical and mental conditioning that prepares a team to beat those odds, even when they sputter and slip at times.

Mike Compton got the start in the early game. 10 AM first pitch. He broke the cycle of giving up the easy run in the first and it was all Noles from there. Nogo went yard in the first to break the seal 2-0. Followed up by another round trip in a 6 run second to set the tone for a contest that was never in doubt.

The downside of that big second was the awkward step DJ Stewart took on the bag for a stand up double. He came out of the game with what is believed to just be a slight tweak. They iced it down and we hope to have him back Tuesday.

Folks slowly trickled in as the game wound down and I knew game 3 would be well attended. I feel for you folks that were out of listening range. It wasn’t full of epic moments, but there was some originality and some great one liners. The Animals were in tune and in concert. Always makes for a good time.

Bryant Holtmann got the start and went 6 full innings throwing 67 pitches, gave up 4 hits, walked two, struck out two. I’m happy with that. Stepping in for a proven starter and never missing a beat. Leibrandt is out with a shin bruise, I think, suffered in practice last week.We have a lot of talent on this team and they seem to have a very special feeling of family and can-do that just doesn’t believe in the fat lady.

The 4-3 final was representative of the wear and tear of a team playing another set of games 30 minutes apart. I’m proud of them for taking care of business on an “on call” basis day after day.

I walked into Dick Howser with the idea that I was going to hate on Notre Dame as hard as I was allowed but came away with them as my second favorite team as well as really liking the fans that I met. Their uniforms were atrocious and their coaches incredibly out of shape. Until they fully join the ACC, though, we’ll just to have own them in the sports we have them for.

I was unable to attend the first game because of daddy daycare, but John B. took care of the O Canada break. I mentioned earlier how fantastic the Notre Dame uniforms were on Saturday. As good as those were, the eye-sores they trotted out for Sunday were equally bad. They should have gotten the Saturday digs cleaned. Anyway, the break was “WORST. UNIFORMS. EVER.”

I was able to make it out for the second game. O Canada break for that game was “Partial membership sucks!”. They really should be full conference members.

I don’t generally like to discuss baseball housekeeping – I’ll leave that to the sports media – but I really think Bryant Holtmann has made a strong case for being the full time #4 starter over Peter Miller. Unfortunately, Miller has had one really good outing and a lot of meh besides. It might be time to send Miller to the pen and see if he can be more effective in relief. We have a couple more midweek games left to get Holtmann solidified before post-season. I’d like to see him given a chance to get into a groove.

Next weekend the team travels to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech. Boo Bees!

 

An article about The Animals and college baseball in Florida by one of our own.

I am an Animal.

This can be interpreted in a variety of ways, few of them positive, but what I mean is this: I am one of the Animals of Section B, a boisterous, zealous, almost famous group of fans that supportsFlorida State University’s Seminole baseball team with a devotion unparalleled in the world of college baseball.

We cheer: “N-O-L-E-S. NOLES!” “N-O-L-E-S. NOLES!” We chant when our pitcher is on the brink of a strikeout: “K Time! (Clap. Clap) K Time! (Clap, Clap.)” We razz opposing pitchers on the brink of issuing a walk: “Walk him on, rag arm, walk him on. (Get a hit!) Walk him on, rag arm, walk him on. (Get a hit!)”

We adhere to an often bizarre set of superstitions, some reaching back in time, some invented as events warrant. (See below regarding my odd contribution to this and, separately, to our traditional rendition of “O Canada,” the Canadian national anthem, though only one of us is of the Canadian persuasion.)

Read the rest

Animals Weekend Wrap-up: NCSU

Let’s just get this out of the way first. It will make the rest make more sense. This is a video of NCSU back-up catcher John Mangum…..twerking in the NCSU locker room.

Words cannot begin to describe. This gem was discovered in the week leading up to the series and brought to our attention. It was like Christmas in March. And this is from the team that gave us the ‘Wolpfack’ fiasco.

As per usual, Bryan E. delivers the goods.

Game 1: NCSU 1, FSU 6

Your reluctant reporter with a gloating synopsis of Game one NCSU series. I don’t know which laurel to throw out first. So much funness tonight. Rodon, the best pitcher in the country… unstoppable and superior, ruler of the strike zone, slayer of lineups, and one who lives for the lamentations of the women looked a lot like a regular human with some special training and not much luck today. He threw 124 pitches, though. That short legged interloper they call “Coach” will do anything for a win. He’s another story all to himself.

His constant haranguing of the umps and his refusal to stay in the dugout made me wish we had slingshots. He just wouldn’t let the pace be the pace.

I don’t have the game notes yet, but my memory says that wolpfack scored a run in the 4th which was answered by 2 in our half of the fifth. I know our two runs came in the fifth because we got to sing Oh Canada twice, but I feel a lot less clutzy after hearing ( and participating in) “0,1,2 runs are in and I pray for rain.”

We got in Rodon’s head. The twerk calls started early. Hats off to Kristen C. for feeding us the twerking poster. Dominic shook what God gave him between NOLES cheers in the third while donning the wolf mask.

I think the wolpfack vestige, the twerk taunts, and the one liners are still ripening and should be ready for public consumption by game two tomorrow. In case you didn’t know tomorrow is a double header. 1 PM first pitch for game 2. Grillmaster Matt won’t be able to make it and I won’t be there early enough to make grilling possible. That being said, hydrate.

We dominated wolpfack today and I like to think that the crowd, small but loud, had something to do with it. Repetitions build strength and you can’t stomp on Raleigh all day if you don’t start early. A 6-1 win vs. the best pitching in the country and a team that has outscored a fairly respectable set of opponents almost 3:1. Let’s keep this going.

A poster you say? Why yes, yes there was a poster. Let me show you it.

twerk

Drink it in.

It would be an understatement to say this game – heck, the whole series – was a lot fun. To have your opponent throw you an alley oop is a gift you just don’t pass up. It would have been better had Mangum been the starter, but we’re not ones to let that stop us. I don’t remember which games all of these came from, so I’ll just list a small sampling of what I can remember of the twerk-related jabs, which won’t be much since my memory is terrible.

  • “Walk him on twerk-butt…”
  • “Do you whistle while you twerk? Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to twerk we go”
  • “C’mon Mangum, make it clap”
  • “We’re not gonna twerk it. No! We ain’t gonna twerk it. We’re not gonna twerk it, any more!”

The O Canada break was, “shake your money maker”

Game 2: NCSU 2, FSU 8; Game 3: NCSU 8, FSU 9 (double-header)

Your reluctant reporter with the games 2 and 3 wrap up. What a blur of a day. Good on all of you animals who made it through the whole day. Hats off to you parents who hung in there as long as you could. Hail to the lung power of Section B. That was one of the hardest day’s work I’ve had in a very long time.

Game 2 started like so many so far this season. Leibrandt walked the first man up on four straight and he was sac’d and whacked around the bags for an early 1 run lead. The good guys answered with a solo shot by Ben Deluzio in the third. The tie was held until the 5th (another theme becoming common) when the wolpfack starter lost what control he had. Plunking and walking and giving up hits. We ran through the favorite tunes in the song book one after another. When the dust settled it was 5-1 good guys. Pompetous brought us 3 more in the seventh to put the bad guys away.
Final score 8-2 good guys.

Quick turnaround between games with the first pitch for game 3 coming just 45 minutes after conclusion of two. A fresh pocket full of cough drops and libations and we were right back to it with the series win secured and a sweep on our minds.

Once again, the bad guys got a run across in the first. We didn’t have to wait too long to put ourselves out of reach (or so we assumed) ripping off 4 runs in the second. It was back and forth all night with the bad guy’s coach doing everything he could to avoid his long overdue naptime. Somebody had the whines last night. The Animals never let up and were assisted by some new, visiting noisemakers. 13 innings of willing our boys to victory. That was one of the greatest displays of “can do” or whatever you choose to call it. Our Noles scrapped, scraped, and clawed their way to a glorious sweep after our bats got down to business scoring two for the walk off win.
So much class and fight in this team and in the fans. I drove out of the Oaks last night a very proud Animal full of thanks for being able to be part of it.

The next 2 weekends our boys will be away so I hope I can remember where my seats are when we all meet again. Let’s be safe out there and don’t forget to hydrate.

“Pompetous” refers to Josh Delph, who’s walk-up music is “The Joker” by Steve Miller Band. We definitely have embraced his walk-up music and appreciate it along with Gonzo’s “Brass Monkey”. O Canada break for the second game – handled by long time Animal Andres – was “Fat Matt’s”. Before the break he told me only two people in the stadium would get it, and I believe him.

An Animal asked Mangum if he’d sign the poster we made and instead of taking it like a good sport he said ‘NO!’, threw down his drink and stormed off in a huff. Don’t shake it if you can’t take it, young man.

I had to leave game two after the 6th inning. It was already way after my 6 month old’s bed time and I was hungry and not looking forward to round two with stadium food. O Canada break was ‘Own it if you shake it’. I got to listen to the rest of the game on my way to Publix. Then after I was done at Publix on my way home. Then at home…for another hour. Goodness what a long game. In no small part thanks to Elliot Avent. But I’ll get to that in a bit.

My favorite tweet of the night came courtesy of TomahawkNation:

There’s a whole lot of talent in that Rodon-Winston match-up. That tweet summed it up. There was just a ton of talent on display in Howser this weekend, and the good guys came out of this top-5 match-up with a sweep. Impressive.

On Elliot Avent

Elliot Avent is the head baseball coach of North Carolina State University.

Elliot Avent is a giant whining baby.

In a conference that already has more than its fair share of whining, cry-baby, sore-sport coaches (see: Morris, J.; Hall, D.; Legget, J.) Elliot Avent takes the cake. Avent spent the entire series with his diaper in a wad, dragging the games out to absurd lengths. Why let the players settle it on the field when you can argue every call – no matter how obviously wrong you are – and make the games last twice as long as necessary? I would hate to play for the guy because he spends more time on the field than you do. And all the while he’s in the umpires’ faces, he’s making dumb coaching decisions, hurting your chances to win.

It was absolutely satisfying when Jose Brizuela delivered the final dagger for the sweep.

 

The next home series is next month as we welcome Notre Dame to their first visit to Howser as members of the ACC. We’ll be back here with another wrap-up after that.