Monday, June 7, 2010

Some Quick Final Thoughts on the Auburn Baseball Season

As I write this, it's midnight in my hotel room in Mobile. Unfortunately, I missed the final game of the Auburn baseball season. I had been to every home game I could this year, and the games I couldn't attend, I listened intently on the radio. Why am I writing this blog? At this hour? Honestly, because even after my friend Jager and Budweiser, this still feels like the ultimate catharsis. To sit here, and type out, on this small Acer Netbook, which was not designed for my massive bear paws that I call hands, my thoughts on the conclusion of the Auburn baseball season. Still, of course, as I'm writing this, all that follows below is sic'd. It's just stream of consciousness ramblings at this point. I'd love to hear your comments and thoughts below.

First of all, a thank you is in order. Thank you to all the readers of this blog, and all the followers on twitter. Thank you to Coach John Pawlowski and his staff and the job they did this year. Was this season a success? Hell yes it was. Let me remind you that this was a team that was picked to finished next to last in the SEC west that rebounded and actually WON the west. First, this season was a success when we clinched a spot in the SEC Tournament. That was goal one going into the year. Everything else was just icing on the cake. To move on, and host a regional? Incredible. To lose in the final game? Yes, that sucks. However, honestly, Auburn was on borrowed time. Yes, this was a magical team, but the holes we have in the pitching rotation were never going to make up for the offense (the record setting offense) that we managed this season. So, where do I start on this season?

Well, I'll start with the fans. I had the priviliege to attend the Sunday Night Game and oh buddy was it magical. Magical in every regard. That game showed something to me. This is where Auburn needs to be baseball wise. There is absolutely no reason that Auburn shouldn't have attendance like the regionals on every home game. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever. Look, I'm going to break it down to you, and I'm going to be blunt here: Plainsman Park has to chance, the opportunity, no, the destiny to be one of the greatest venues in all of college baseball. We have an incredible park, and we have incredible fans. Put them together and you have a winning combination. This is your role next year, as Auburn fans. Go to the games. If you don't have tickets? Then fill up the parking deck. Show Auburn that you support the team. I cannont tell you how dishertining it was to watch a Saturday day game that was sparsely attended. Here you have these kids, these players, these students, the majority of whom are playing this game for the final times in their lives, and the majority of whom are playing as walk ons or partial scholarshps, giving their all, sweating their asses off, and making your school and my school proud. The least you can do is plunk down $5 for a ticket and watch them. Scream for them, cheer for them, root for them. Mississippi State has the left field lounge. I want Auburn to have "The Upper Deck". Get loud. Get into the games. However, that starts with one thing. Attendance. GO TO THE GAMES. If you live within an hour of Plainsman Park, try to make it to at least one game. You owe it to the players. The atmosphere on Sunday night was amazing. It was hair raising. It was blood curdling. Plainsman Park can be an intimidating venue, but it starts with one thing: You, the fan.

So what to say about the Auburn baseball season? Well, it was a good run. Hell, it was a great run, a fantastic run. Screw it. It was a magical run. However, it was just the start. Like I said earlier, just making the SEC Tournament was the goal this year. Everything else was just icing. And oh, what delicious icing it was. From Creede Simpson's earth shattering blast to Kevin Patterson's game winner against Ole Miss. This, was a season for the ages. You witnessed one of the best hitting teams in America play for your school. For your team. Auburn has MLB quality hitters up and down the lineup.

Before someone says, "Oh they were Slater's players". Bump that noise. If they were Slater's players then why did we NEVER reach the SEC tournament under his helm. Maybe that's the difference between Pawlowski and Slater. Those tools, those elements, those intangibles that make a team great.

That being said, one thing needs to made perfectly clear. The 2010 Auburn Baseball team and the 2011 Baseball team are going to be world's apart. It will be a rebuilt lineup from top to bottom. Creede Simpson, Dan Gamache, (hopefully) Justin Fradejas. These guys will go down in Auburn lore. How? Well, it starts with the lessons learned this year. The experience that was gained. This year proved and showed one thing. Auburn baseball is back. Whether it is here to stay will all determine on the 2011 campaign. You want a reason for Pawlowski to be at Auburn for a long time? The 2011 Season is his toughest task yet. I will write it down here. I will set it in stone. If John Pawlowski returns Auburn to the SEC Tournament next year, then we need to lock him up for good. Why? Because if he puts together a team capable to compete and win next year, after losing so many players to MLB draft? Then it's just a matter of time before Pawlowski gets us to Omaha. I believe in his system and you should too.

Of course, I'll have more on the forecast for next year during the summer. For now, the focus is one the MLB draft and how it could affect the 2011 team. In a perfect world, all these guys. All these juniors; would stay one more year. If they did? Wow. Then Auburn WILL go to Omaha. If they don't then honestly, it's not the end of the world. This team is going to morph and change over the summer. This team is going to become Pawlowski's team. His Players. His System. His Way. Personally, I wouldn't want it any other way.

This season showed one single defining thing: Auburrn baseball isn't just a fill in sport between football. Auburn baseball can be a dominant program. However, it takes you, the fan, to believe and support this team. Next year could be lean. Next year could be rough. However, with 5,000 strong supporting the Tigers every night in Plainsman Park? Anything and everything is possible.

AUPPL will shut down for a bit while I finish this conference. However, it's been a fun and amazing run. I've seen huge highs and some low lows. I wouldn't change them for the world. Yes, the season ended on a sour note. However, they can't take away that magical Sunday night, when Creede Simpson showed the world that this was just the start for Auburn baseball. War Eagle.

8 comments:

wellsAU June 7, 2010 at 11:05 PM  

Amazing write up. Perfect summary. I really appreciate your efforts this year, a lot of your writing and this team's magic has trained me to love yet another Auburn sport, and I will do my damn best to be at every single game until I graduate with every other student I know.

Shane June 8, 2010 at 5:40 AM  

Great synopsis on the season and future of AU baseball... I also believe that Pawlowski may indeed be the man to lead this team for many years to come... I live 4 hours away in North Alabama and was only able to make it down for one game this season (at the request of my 4 yr old son). For the other 60+ games, I relied on you for continual updates, and for that, I'm truly appreciative. Thank you so very much for aiding in my revival to AU baseball. Life had gotten in the way in recent years, and it had been too long since I had been involved. However, something about this year captivated me from the start, and I'm glad to say (with your help), I was along for the entire ride, from the season opening loss to Southeast Missouri, to last night's finale. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you and WAR EAGLE!

Jonesy June 8, 2010 at 6:07 AM  

Huntsville makes the trip for a ballgame rough, but I still made a couple of games this year. Even with the 4 hour drive and work yesterday, it took a lot for me not to jump in the truck and pitch a tent right in front of the BEMC.

This team made it fun again. Next year we get to win with pitching. Should be a blast

john.carl June 8, 2010 at 7:38 AM  

Ives,
You've done a great service to the AU Family this spring with your coverage. Like others said above, your previews, in-game twitter coverage and post-series analysis was something to look forward to each week, and I thank you for it.

Can't wait for next year already. WDE.

Section 111 Row F Seat 5 June 8, 2010 at 3:48 PM  

Thank you for this write up. Couldn't have said it better myself. As a member of the guys that heckle in the student section, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights were the loudest I have ever heard the park in the 8 years I have been going to see Auburn baseball games there. Please please please! If you have 30 minutes, an hour on the weekend or in the mid week during the spring. Go and watch a game! See how much fun it is to watch baseball. See these guys play so that when they are playing in an All-Star game, that you saw them play! WAR EAGLE and I can't wait for February!!!

Anonymous June 9, 2010 at 9:08 PM  

I like it. The same arguments for attendance should go for basketball.

文君 June 10, 2010 at 6:19 PM  

Many a little makes a mickle.............................................................

John June 12, 2010 at 8:38 PM  

Thanks so much for all the hard work you put into this site, and your tweets of the games this year.

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