Texas has made it to Omaha for a record 36th time because the Horns got contributions from most every spot, from the bottom of the batting order where Tate Shaw and Ryan “Deadpool” Reynolds helped produce runs in the two most important games of the season to a stoic middle reliever who doubles as right-handed fire extinguisher.
Reliever Parker Joe Robinson is cooler than an ice chest full of cucumbers. It’s become a running joke that he hardly changes expression no matter how dire the situation.
Robinson threw 2 2/3 innings of one-hit ball Monday in Game 3 against Tennessee Tech, keeping the Horns in the game. He entered in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and gave up only one run on a sacrifice fly. The Horns held on.
After he walked off the mound, his teammates appeared tons more excited. When asked if he had a big surge of emotion after recording the biggest out of his career, Robinson drew cackles from the media after the most obvious answer of the day: “No.”
“We just laugh when we see him run onto the field with the bases loaded,” teammate Kody Clemens said. “But he just goes to work. He’s unfazed.”
Robinson is the son of Jeff Robinson, who played for Augie Garrido at Cal State Fullerton before pitching in the big leagues for nine years. This year’s Titans team came within one win of Omaha, losing to Washington in the super regionals.
“Unfortunately (Fullerton) didn’t make it and that would have been a great story having Fullerton and Texas both there,” Robinson said. “My dad and I were hanging out and he was talking about Augie and all the stories and how he had a great time at the College World Series (in 1982). He was saying it was the best time.”
Robinson may not get the headlines but the importance of his role cannot be overstated. Every pitching staff needs a cleaner.
“He doesn’t ever get to start clean innings,” UT coach David Pierce said. “It’s usually bases loaded and nobody out. If he has one out we basically tell him, ‘Hey, this is a luxury for you. This is easy.’”
NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant had a great reply when my buddy Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports asked him about the belief in some circles that his joining the stacked Golden State Warriors two years ago was ruining the league.
“My responsibility is to my skills. My responsibility is to myself,” Durant said. “I’m not worried about the NBA. That’s their job. They make too much money. They ain’t paying me enough to dictate the NBA. I should be making more money if all that’s on me. My responsibility is to whatever team I play for. All that other stuff, that’s on y’all.”
The Texas ex has a great point. It’s not like he started this super-team business. Didn’t Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce — three future Hall of Famers — get together in Beantown for a title run? Didn’t LeBron James take his talents to South Beach to join up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh?
The Warriors will win more titles if they can keep this nucleus together and healthy, but let’snot pretend this is the first time this has happened. Durant was the best player in this series not named LeBron and he is enjoying the fruits of what turned out to be a great decision.
By the way, Durant is quoted in an ESPN The Magazine article that he isn’t obsessed with winning championships.
Easy to say now that you have two rings in your pocket and are part of most talented roster in all of hoops.
The NCAA Division I Council got it right on two fronts Wednesday.
Allowing college football players to play up to four games without losing a season of eligibility will allow coaches tremendous flexibility in the evaluation process while also basically destroying the idea of a wasted season if a player competed in a single game.
The other rule which would allow players to seek a transfer without informing their current school will make for some spicier moments. It won’t take long for accusations of tampering to occur when a stud player announces he’s transferring from one major program to another. What’s most important is a coach can’t prevent a player from transferring if he or she chooses to do so.
Remember last spring when Kansas State receiver Corey Sutton presented football coach Bill Snyder with a list of 35 schools he was interested in transferring to and the coach said no to each one in a blatant power play?
Those days are over. That’s good for the athletes. Now if they could just get more money out of this billion-dollar machine …