The college baseball season is in full swing and it’s time to revive Tales From The Cockpit for the sport I love most!
Our Gamecocks are not off to the type of start we had all hoped for heading into this season and after dropping 2 of 3 games to rival Clemson, people are pretty upset with Head Coach Chad Holbrook.
Here’s a little dose of reality for the angry pitchfork carrying crowd….the Clemson series in March….wait for it………doesn’t matter. It doesn’t. Not one bit in the grand scheme of things.
Of course winning all three, earning bragging rights and sitting at 11-3 rather than 9-5 would be fantastic and put the Gamecocks in a much better place after the first few weeks of the season. The thing is, it’s just the first few weeks of the season. A series win over Clemson is always sweeter in the Summer than it is in the Spring.
Yes, I understand that this is three straight seasons in which Holbrook’s Gamecocks were unable to win this early season tilt with the dreaded Tigers, but it didn’t stop Carolina from advancing to the Super Regional last season.
In fact, in Holbrooks short stint as head coach, he has reached the tournament all but one season and the Super Regional in two of those seasons.
That’s not too shabby.
Again, I get it, under Ray Tanner our boys seemed to be in Omaha every summer and of course took home the hardware in back-to-back seasons. So far, Holbrook hasn’t gotten the club to Omaha. Beyond that, the 2015 season was abysmal by South Carolina baseball standards. They did, however, respond to that 32-25 season with a 46-18 season in 2016.
Back to the Clemson series….you know, the one that really doesn’t mean anything at all.
I’ll be the first to admit that losing a series, a game, an inning to Clemson is tough. The thing is, it is much tougher on us fans than it is on the team. Losing is always tough on everybody, especially a winning program like the Gamecocks have, but losing a non-conference series in early March isn’t as tough on the team as losing a Super Regional or getting run early in the SEC Tournament.
A win in the Clemson series only really stands for bragging rights among fans and maybe a few players. Winning the SEC, getting through the regional, hosting a Super Regional and making it to Omaha is MUCH more important to the team and the program as a whole. Even those angry mob fans that are overreacting to the Clemson series will turn around and use a College World Series birth as retaliation on any Clemson fan bringing up the head-to-head series if Clemson is to bow out before Omaha.
So what I’m trying to say here is what I said a lot during the football season…relax. Just relax. This is baseball, you don’t win every single game in this sport. Sometimes you even lose a series to your bitter rival.
I think Holbrook’s seat is slightly warm, but I do not think losing to Clemson should change the temperature of that seat. Remember, Clemson stuck with Dabo Swinney after losing 5-straight to the Gamecocks in football. Why? That’s easy, because he was winning ACC titles an Orange Bowl and building what became a champion.
If we bail on Holbrook because of losses to Clemson in March alone…then I’ll jump on the Tanner needs to go as AD bandwagon, but I highly doubt that this is what will lose Holbrook the job. I will hold off on if I think Holbrook is sackable until I see this team hit its stride.
If these Gamecocks start clicking and coast through SEC play and into the tournament then the rough weekend at the beginning of March will be almost a figment of our imagination….and if Carolina can beat Clemson in a regional or Super Regional? Oh man will the “Fire Holbrook” crowd be eating crow.
Let’s take some deep breaths Gamecock baseball fans, there’s still a long way to go and a lot of winning ahead of us. Maybe I’ll see some of you at Flour Field next Tuesday!
Forever to thee!
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