Ask Mike: SEC Coaches Throwing Shade at Pittman, Ejected Aggie Fans & Is the CWS Rigged For Tenner?

By Mike Irwin
on 2024-06-17 18:55 PM

Q. Our first question is from bluecanary822 who asks: I question your strategy of starting every show with a known negative listener. It starts me off in a bad mood and makes me think you care more about controversy than you do viewers enjoying your show, which makes no sense.

A. We’ve often started off with a question or statement from mousetown because he usually asks something about the biggest topic of the previous week. We often don’t agree with his take on things but he does represent a segment of the fan base that I think is important. It’s great to have fans who are always supportive but not all fans are like that. A lot of them get mad and I think they deserve an outlet for their frustrations. You think coaches don’t get mad at players? What about players? Are they always all smiles with their coaches? Well, there are fans who get mad at players and coaches. I believe that accepting criticism is comes with the territory if you are a player or a coach.

Finally mousetown does not always complain. If he sees something he likes he says so.

Q. Speaking of mousetown, mousetown wants to know: What’s your take on the swinging strike no-call that ended up costing Florida State the game against Tennessee? How can umps be that blind? Rigged.

A. I’ve looked at the call several times. It’s close but it looked like strike to me. However, that really is no different from a pitch in the strike zone that is called a ball. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve see a batter that should have struck out come back with a game winning RBI. It stinks when it happens but until they turn strike zones over to the lasers and the computers mistakes will be made that change the outcome of games. Someday they’ll probably handle swing or no swings like that too.

Arguing the calls of umpires has been a part of baseball since the beginning. It’s really kind of fun when you think about it.

Finally no, mousetown, I don’t think the game was rigged in favor of Tennessee.

Q. Hawredneck says: Arkansas has been to the College World Series eleven times without a title. I doubt that’s a record but who holds that record?

A. Arkansas is actually 4th on the list. We were just talking about the team with the most appearances without a title. It’s Florida State with 24. That’s two times as many times as Clemson and North Carolina who are tied for second with 12. Arkansas’ streak stands at 11.

Q. WVHogfan says: Welcome to the ACC-SEC CWS baseball tournament. Is this the first time that all 8 teams is represented by only 2 conferences? Also of the 8 teams which one is most surprising to be there and why?

A. It’s not the first time. It also happened all the way back in 1948 but that was because there were only two teams in the very first College World Series. Yale and Southern Cal played a three game series won by USC two games to one.

The following year field was expanded and 75 years later this is the first time that teams from just two conferences have made up the entire field.

Q. KY Hog: I went to the College World Series a long time ago when it was at the old stadium. Why did they move it? Seems like these days they keep tearing down the old stuff just to build new stuff. I hate that.

A. I’m an old school guy myself so I know how you feel but old school is not always better. Rosenblatt Stadium had a number of issues. They needed more seats and more parking. There were no bullpens. But the biggest issue involved what was originally a big plus for the College World Series. A huge city park surrounded the stadium and fans loved to tailgate on the grass under the trees. For those of us in the media it was a great place to get interviews with fans.
But sometime in the late 80’s, early 90s, local college and high school kids started going there for a spring break-type party place. They would drink, get unruly, clash with each other and it would spill over into spaces occupied by families.

I did an interview with an Omaha city council member because I had heard about plans for a new ball park downtown. I asked him about losing that big park as a place to for fans to tailgate. He said putting a new ballpark downtown would send those fans into shops, clubs and restaurants close to the ball park. It would help the local economy and it would also eliminate the problem with these unruly college and high school students because there would be cops all over the downtown area to prevent anyone from getting out of control.

I was skeptical but I have to say they got it right. Fans love walking all over the downtown area. It’s like a big version of Dickson Street. The ball park itself gets fans in an out a lot quicker. The sight lines are a lot better for watching games. The seats are way more comfortable.

Rosenblatt Stadium had no drainage under the grass. It was built with what I call a dome effect. The field was sloped slightly toward the outfield fence, each baseline and behind the plate. Charles Schwab Field has a state of the art draining system under the grass. The field itself is flawless.

There are concession stands all over the place. The concourses are wide to prevent overcrowding.

The media facilities at Rosenblatt were awful. They are first rate at Charles Schwab Field.

Q. Armon Abbe says: You said some good stuff about Vitello last week. You almost had me liking him. Then went bonkers over a balk call that was clearly a balk. I thought he acted like a little kid throwing a temper fit in front of all those people at the game and on TV.

A. Yeah that was a bad look. It was also very strange. He came out of the dugout but he didn’t go up to any of the umpires. He just walked up the 3rd base line yelling stuff. It was more like what you’d see a ticked off fan do instead of a coach on the field. I had somebody tell me that he did it to fire up his players. If so it worked. They won the game.

Q. RazorAlex88 says: Here’s hoping A&M gets taken out of the College World Series. Heard some Aggie fans were messing with UF coaching staff and subsequently got removed. It’s kind of crazy how opposing fans can get that close to the opposing teams’ dugout.

A. I joke around about Aggies fans being weird but what those guys did is on them. They crossed the line by making reference to a former Florida bat boy who died a few years ago under tragic circumstances. I’ve seen over the top behavior from fans before but this was completely nuts. They stopped the game and security kicked the two fans out of the ballpark.

A&M’s head coach apologized for the incident afterward and made it clear that the team wants nothing to do with these two men. Hopefully they will be banned from attending any A&M athletic events in the future.

Q. EddyLynn asks: Did you see the foul ball that dropped behind first base in the Virginia-North Carolina game. It was like a replay of the foul ball that cost Arkansas the CWS title in 2018.

A. The difference was, there were only two players involved this time instead of three and the ball still dropped. It looked like the first baseman and the right fielder got their wires crossed. It’s really the outfielder’s ball but the first baseman may have not heard him call for the ball. Unless you’ve been in that position you have no idea how difficult it is. Those guys in 2018 have been unfairly criticized IMO.

Q. Pigsfeat says: Arkansas high schools have been producing a fair number of D1 basketball players over the past 10+ years. What do you think would need to happen for Arkansas high schools to produce a higher number of D1 football players in the future?

A. I’m told that considering the population of the state, the number of D-1 football scholarships given to Arkansas high school players is actually good. Basketball stands out because of the strong AAU programs in this state. Kids get identified early in that sport. They play year ’round. They don’t tend to play football when, in reality a lot of them could probably earn D-1 offers in football too.

Q. sgiles says: I heard your take on the latest Ole Miss nickname. Pretty funny. But I have a question. If they’re now “The ‘Sip” can’t Mississippi State, Southern Miss or any other college in the state of Mississippi also be “The ‘Sip?”

A. If it’s important to them they’ve probably had it copyrighted. I had somebody tell me they’re not calling their team the ‘Sip. They’re calling Oxford or maybe the campus the ‘Sip.

Q. hogwild-in-mizzou asks: Do you think that three opposing SEC coaches said bad things about Sam Pittman anonymously or did Lindy’s Sports Magazine make that up?

A. Who knows? I can think of one who might have said that stuff but not three. For the record an anonymous SEC head coach supposedly told that magazine that Pittman could be fired by Halloween. If a coach said it sounds like he’s been reading Arkansas social media. A lot of Hog fans think that too.

I will just point this out, in the 48 seasons I’ve covered Razorback football the best teams have been overlooked in the preseason. I think is gonna be one of those years. If so there will be a lot of skeptical Arkansas fans and maybe three lunkhead SEC head coaches who are going to be really surprised come September.

(Last updated: 2024-06-17 18:55 PM)