Column: SEC struggles on baseball's biggest stage

By By Stan Torgerson / sports columnist
June 21, 2004
The Southeastern Conference walked into the College Baseball World Series in Omaha, Neb., as the baddest, meanest big dog on the block. At this point that dog has become only a wimpering puppy.
Need we point out in the first six games SEC teams lost five.
That wasn't supposed to happen to the conference which provided four of the eight teams in the tournament. The only question when this event began was would it be SEC vs. SEC in the championship game.
Now it appears that if that happens it will be roughly the equivalent of the United States beating Russia in the Olympics a number of years ago. In other words, a miracle.
Nobody really expected Arkansas to last long, and it didn't disappoint. Two games, two losses, one trip home.
But LSU, overlooking the fact the Tigers were touted as the favorite in the SEC Tournament and failed to win it, was still the SEC team of choice by many as a possibility for the national title.
Miami brought realism to Tiger fans by beating LSU 9-5 in the opener. Now as this is written, the mighty bunch from Baton Rouge, La., can only stay alive by beating their conference brother South Carolina.
The Gamecocks failed to score in their first game for the third straight year, as Cal State Fullerton shut the door on them 2-0. South Carolina can only stay alive by defeating LSU.
Georgia's loss to Texas means no SEC team is in the winner's bracket. Considering the Dogs next game, it could be the LSU-South Carolina survivor will be the only representative the conference has left. After watching the level of the competition in the World Series, it seems highly unlikely the championship trophy is headed toward our part of the South. The SEC may have the best balance of any league, but it doesn't appear it has the best team in the country as a member.
Tiger Woods needs to
kiss and make up
Well, skip the kissing part. He's already got a blonde someone from Sweden for that function. But he certainly needs to make up with Butch Harmon, the coach who helped make him what he was in 2000 and whose absence is apparently why Tiger is what he is in 2004.
Harmon's interview during the U.S. Open telecast was interesting and to the point. He said, among other things, that Tiger's repeated statements that he is right on the edge of having his game where he wants it is poppycock.
It is indeed. Woods not only isn't winning, he isn't even competitive. The man who was the greatest golfer in the world just four years ago can't find a fairway off the tee and can't hit an approach iron close to the pin.
Sooner or later he is going to have to take his pride and swallow it.
Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, ain't it something?
I didn't know whether I was watching a golf tournament matching the greatest golfers in the world or a bumper pool game in which you never know what direction the ball was going next.
To be truthful that was bizarre and golf tournaments are not supposed to be bizarre. It was entertaining and at times almost laughable but the winner wasn't being decided by skill but rather by the long ago designer who created the hills, valleys and slopes that determined where the ball was going.
Did the best golfer win or just the luckiest one?
The king is dead,
long live the ing
There are few things sports fans like any better than the underdog who becomes the top dog.
Frankly, the Los Angeles Lakers were getting boring with their seemingly effortless year-after-year winning. So was the NBA.
Then the Detroit Pistons changed the script with their in your face defensive hustle and their team concept on offense. No wonder the television ratings were way, way up from those of the last few years.
For the first time in what seems like forever, the NBA playoffs gave the fans something to see. For a change that nationwide clicking noise wasn't television sets being turned off. It was the sound of television sets being turned on.