“Welcome Fans!”

“Virginia is a team that more than deserved to be a very high seed and host a regional. Why that didn’t happen, I don’t know.” ~ Jim Schlossnagle, Coach, Texas Christian University Horned Frogs

Last Sunday, the NCAA named its 16 host teams for their post-season Regional Tournaments which began yesterday.

The University of Virginia — ranked #13 in the country by D1 Baseball, #11 in USA Today‘s Coaches Poll, and #10 in the Baseball Writers Poll — was not among them.

In the scope of injustices in this world, the NCAA’s slight is plenty misguided, sure, but still pretty teeny-tiny.

And, sure you can argue that Virginia is still one of the 64 teams competing in the post-season this weekend. Look at poor Miami, left out for the first time in 44 years.

Yes, you can argue that at least Virginia gets to play today.

(Don’t try to make me feel better. I’m steamed about this.)

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The Numbers That Mattered

It was during my junior year in high school that the school math team – the “mathletes” – were one player short. There were four mathletes ready to go, but they needed a five.

I’m not sure why my geometry teacher invited me to join the team. I wasn’t particularly good in his class and I was pretty clear that I hated two things in school – gym and numbers. But, I would always laugh at his jokes. So, I was his choice. Your take away from this: a good chuckle might take you far in this world.

He convinced me to join the team, which was about to go to the state tournament in Minot, by promising we would stop for banana splits on the two-hour drive back home.  Yes, if there was a banana split in it for me, I could spend the day with four geeky mathletes and a teacher who told corny jokes.

I have no memory of the meet except for sitting at a long table, writing problems on pieces of paper, and being forbidden from using a calculator. We didn’t win, but I don’t think I was too terrible.

In any event, the Dairy Queen in Rugby was out of bananas by the time we got there. This is my only clear memory of my one day as a mathlete. Even the worst mathlete knows that zero bananas means zero banana splits.

So, funny that I’ve come to love baseball which is all numbery and statisticfied.

The Baseball Project even wrote a song that is only numbers – comforting and familiar baseball stats. Here are the lyrics in their entirety:


Sing along …

I’ve prepared a cheat sheet for you, in case any of these baseball numbers need explaining. It’s here: Baseball Project “Stats” Broken Down

When WordPress announced that their weekly photo challenge for this week was “Numbers,” I thought, this is too easy.

Because, in baseball, players have numbers …

UVA Pregame June 4 2016

Fans have numbers …

my first bleacher of spring 2016

This is me

Look, it’s me! My season ticket bleacher seat … Sweet 16.

Even the walls have numbers …

404 to center field

Straightaway center at Davenport Field, 404 feet.

There are so many numbers, I didn’t know where to start.

But, really, on this hot and humid, three-Gatorade weekend there were only these numbers that mattered …

The numbers that went Virginia’s way …


Virginia defeats William & Mary in the NCAA Regionals Tournament on Friday, 17-4.

And, the numbers that didn’t …

UVA ECU Final Score June 4 2016

East Carolina stuns Virginia on Saturday night with a bottom-of-the-9th, three-run homer.  

(Virginia lost again today, ending their season.)

See more of Word Press’s “Numbers” challenge here.

Photos: Davenport Field, University of Virginia. Charlottesville, Virginia. 2016 © The Baseball Bloggess

A Call To Arms

No matter who you are – your gender, ethnicity, country of origin, or age – if you win something big, you will raise your arms in victory.

Doesn’t matter who you are … your arms go up. It’s hardwired in you.

(The scientists who study this would want me to tell you that the arm-raise often comes with a chest puff and a shout. They call this behavior the “dominance threat display.”)

Researchers studying the activities of blind Para-Olympians discovered the very same thing. They raise their arms, too.

Even though most of these blind people had never seen anyone else do it, they instinctively raised their arms with joy upon winning a competition.

The feeling of winning, it seems, is uniformly uniform.

In other experiences, we’re individuals. The foods we like, the people we’re drawn to, what makes us laugh. We’re all a little different.

Except when we win.

When we win, we throw our arms in the air.

So, on June 24, when University of Virginia pitcher Nathan Kirby soundly struck out Kyle Smith of Vanderbilt looking, ending the College World Series and bringing UVa their first-ever national baseball championship, Kirby did exactly what evolution told him to do.

Allow Nathan Kirby, now a member of the Milwaukee Brewers organization, to demonstrate the “dominance threat display.”

But, here’s the funny thing.

I was sitting a thousand miles away from Omaha, watching on television. And, I raised my arms, too.

(I may have also whoo’d. Can’t remember. Sometimes I skip the whoos because I don’t want to annoy the cats.)

You may wonder why it has taken me more than a month to tell you that UVa won the College World Series.

I’m not sure I know the answer.

I’ve never really had a team I follow win anything like this before, so I’m not sure how to throw my arms up in the air on a blog without sounding gloaty or pompous or just annoying.

I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

(Dear Vanderbilt fans, I’m very sorry the Hoos beat you.)

(Dear Everybody Else, I’m not really, but I just don’t know what else to say to them.)

UVa wasn’t expected to win. Heck, they weren’t even expected to go to the post-season. They barely made it to their own ACC tournament and, frankly, they were awfully stinky once they got there.

But, baseball is a funny game and on any given day a team can suddenly find the rhythm they’ve been missing all season.

If you still don’t believe how improbable this was, just take a look at the tee-shirt that the NCAA had to hastily doctor to celebrate Virginia’s win.

ncaa teeshirt

Thanks, Ron! :)

Yes, the UVa championship tee-shirt … features Vanderbilt gold.

vandy logo

UVa logo

Thanks, NCAA.

I know it was a month ago, but I still want to share three special moments from UVa’s post-season.

Because, like throwing your arms in the air, these three moments are universally wonderful, regardless of whether you’re a UVa fan, or a college baseball fan, or any baseball fan (except, maybe, Vanderbilt’s).

1) That Smack Down.

In Game 2 of the Super Regionals in Charlottesville on June 5, the Hoos entered the bottom of the 9th down 4-2 to the University of Maryland. It was must-win for Maryland. The Terps starting pitcher, who had pretty much shut down the Hoos all day, loads the bases. No outs. Maryland brings in their can’t-fail closer Kevin Mooney.  He walks in a run. 4-3.  And then, UVa freshman Ernie Clement does this …

ernie clement supers

Check out Clement after the hit (at 1:41). 

Former UVa Hoo and current Oakland A reliever Sean Doolittle helpfully provides the part I’d like you to watch again.

An exceptional display of victory arms, don’t you think?  The smack-down? That’s junior Kevin Doherty.

I believe this is a lesson for all of us. Throwing your arms in the air can feel really good if you’ve just won a trip to the College World Series. But, it puts you in a tough spot should a jubilant teammate wish to make you the flaky crust of a dogpile pie.

2) That Play.

UVa senior Kenny Towns has been “Old Reliable” down at third throughout his college career.

When the Angels picked him late in the 20th round of the MLB draft this year, I thought, wow, they just got themselves a player that’s much, much better than any scout realizes.

(When you see Towns and Trout in the same lineup someday, you’ll think back and say, “That Baseball Bloggess sure was right. I bet she’s cute, too.”)

After the Series I had more people email, text, and mention this play to me than any other. And, they’re right. I love amazing plays in the hot corner. And, this one was nasty, hot, and sweet like when you tell the waiter you want your vindaloo “Indian hot” and he believes you.

3) That Dogpile.

Baseball Prospectus determined that the first World Series dogpile – run, jump, fall into a heap – was done by the 1982 St. Louis Cardinals. 

Take a look … victory arms, dogpiling, fans swarming the field. Wait? Fans swarming the field? What kind of savages were we? Watch here.

Prior to ’82, there was a lot of running, hugging, and weird, awkward jumping around. But, no dogpiles. Prior to 1962, most winning teams didn’t even stick around to hoot and holler. The game ended and they simply ran off the field to party in the clubhouse.

So, celebratory dogpiles are younger than my little Metropolitan dumpling Bartolo Colon (look, I’ve mentioned him again!).

I’m not sure that this is the most perfect, wonderful dogpile in baseball history.

Wait. I’ve watched it again.


It is.


If …

If you graduate from the University of Virginia with a degree in mechanical engineering and a 3.7 GPA … you’ve earned a place on my blog.

If you persevere in the sport you love … walking on as a freshman and working hard day-in and day-out even though the odds are long against you that you will ever get a chance to play and your last at-bats were in the middle of May … you’ve earned a place on my blog.

And, if you go 3-for-4 and hit a decisive 2 RBI single in a do-or-die game of the College World Series, sending your underdog University of Virginia Cavaliers to Game 3 against heavily favored Vanderbilt … you know, you’ve earned a place on my blog.

Here’s to you Thomas Woodruff … 

Thomas Woodruff UVA

© The Baseball Bloggess

“[T]his guy has been as unselfish a team player as you could possibly be for four years. And I really believe that at the most important time you get rewarded for that, and certainly it showed true today. And it worked. We just did enough.” ~ UVa Coach Brian O’Connor

That Thomas Woodruff and the entire team of “Cardiac Cavs” left the Vandy-happy ESPN broadcasters stunned and speechless as the Hoos went on to win 3-0 against “this-team-can’t-lose” Vanderbilt Commodores is simply a bonus.

A tip of the cap to all the Hoos.

I’m hoping for another night of stunned confusion from ESPN.

Because, it’s so nice when ESPN is left with nothing to say.

Game 3. Tonight. 8 p.m. ESPN.

Photo: Davenport Field, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. 2015 season. © The Baseball Bloggess

OmaHoos 2015

Why do we sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” when we’re already there?

The answer to this corny old joke is simple. Because we do, and not everything in baseball has to make sense.

The University of Virginia’s very strange season has somehow taken them to the championship of the College World Series this week and that doesn’t really make sense either.

I’ve been calling it improbable. But, then so has everyone else.

(And, by improbable, I don’t mean that they don’t deserve to be in Omaha, only that, had you asked me four weeks ago … well, fortunately, no one did.)

The post-game announcers on ESPN on Saturday night were so unprepared for Virginia’s win over Florida that they had nearly no statistics or background info on UVa ready to air after the Hoo’s win. The best they could come up with was to joke that Vanderbilt is such a prohibitive favorite and the odds are so long against UVa in this week’s championship, that Las Vegas oddsmakers have probably closed the book on the series.

Dear ESPN, If you’re going to tell a baseball joke to fill airtime, why not make it a good one? Like this …

Which takes longer: to run from 1st to 2nd base or to run from 2nd to 3rd base? It takes longer to run from 2nd to 3rd base because there’s a “short stop” in the middle.

Fun Fact: Since the post-season began on May 29, the Hoos are 8-1. They have scored 49 runs over those nine games; 25 of them have been scored in the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings.

Funner Fact: The Hoos have scored the go-ahead runs in the 6th inning or later in all eight wins.

Here’s to the Hoos! They play Game 1 against Vanderbilt tonight in a best-of-three series.  8:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN

Daniel Pinero Ernie Clement

Daniel Pinero, Shortstop & Ernie Clement, 2nd Base

As ESPN was about to cut away following Virginia’s win over Florida on Saturday, their cameras took one last sweep over the Virginia players, huddled around their Coach Brian O’Connor. Just before they cut to commercial you could hear Coach O’Connor tell his team:

“Continue to have fun and enjoy it.”

Matt Thaiss

“We just go out there and do what we have to do. … We know nobody looks at us like a team that should win it all or can win it all. But everyone in our locker room thinks we can.” ~ Matt Thaiss, Catcher


ernie clement 2015

Ernie Clement

From Sunday’s Roanoke Times:

Clement was asked what comes to mind when he hears the word ‘Vanderbilt.’ He looked quizzically at the reporter.

‘Are we playing Vanderbilt?’ he said.

The reporter paused to give Clement a chance to reveal he was joking. The lack of words suggested the freshman was not. Why, yes, Ernie, your opponent in the College World Series finals would be Vanderbilt. You know, the team that’s been all over SportsCenter the past few nights? The defending national champions? The baseball powerhouse that UVa met at this same stage last year?

‘Oh, I didn’t even know that,’ he said. ‘I just know we’re there. I can’t wait to play.’


Ernie Tweet

Photos: Davenport Field, the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. 2015 Season. © The Baseball Bloggess


“Some How. Some Way. Josh Comes In.”

Here are some things The Baseball Bloggess can no longer do.

  • Read the small print on vitamin bottles.
  • This.
  • Stay up past midnight.

One can be remedied with cheap drugstore reading glasses and I have 11 pairs lying around the house in case of a vitamin emergency. Two, I never could do that. (But, I’m touched that for five seconds you thought I could.) Three, well, if your team plays the late game in the College World Series, bedtime can be an inconvenience.

But, that doesn’t mean I can’t get up at 5 a.m. to watch the post-midnight DVR’d parts of last night/this morning’s University of Virginia vs. Florida game.

sleepy kid

I wasn’t the only sleepy one.

Let’s get to it. UVa won, continuing its miracle run of playing much better (much, much, much better) than it did through the regular season.

Since you might not have made it to 2 a.m. either, watch the recap here.

“Some how. Some way.”

Now, rewind to 3:12 and re-watch the 8th inning highlights and the come-backer to UVa closer Josh Sborz. The one that ricocheted off his glove and sent the glove flying. The one that came with no outs and the tying run on third, the go-ahead run on first, and the go-ahead-even-more run at bat.

No outs.

He gets the out. But, still … it’s break-a-sweat time. Because even with that out, the tying run is still on third, the go-ahead run is still on first, and the go-ahead-ahead run is at bat. One out.

Times like these call for a visit to the mound. To settle down your pitcher. To position your infield. To make sure everything is just so. It’s late and every pitch is potentially a “game changer.”

The recap didn’t share the mound visit that followed that Sborz play. But, I will …

Willie Stargell once said, “They don’t say, ‘Work Ball.’ They say ‘Play Ball.’” And, when you’re in the College World Series, it’s a good idea to savor every moment, even when the game’s on the line.


“Hey, that pitch could have killed you, Josh.”


“Hey, do you think we’ll have time for a swim when we get back to the hotel?”


“Hey, have you seen Vanderbilt’s uniforms? It’s like a nine-man prison break.”


“Hey, can you believe we’re playing in the College World Series?”

Now, that’s playing baseball.

(Spoiler Alert: Sborz gets the next two outs. And, then three more, one-two-three, in the 9th. Hoos win, 1-0.)

Which brings us to this classic scene from Bull Durham. I know you know the one. But, watch it again. I know you want to.


Hey, might as well watch the whole movie. You’ve got time. UVa doesn’t play again until Friday.

box score



The Friday Night Guy

I’m not sure when college baseball coined the term “Friday Night Guy.”

ESPN suggests it came about in the mid-1990s when the SEC (the always power-packed Southeastern Conference) changed its weekend schedule, moving one of its traditional double-header Saturday games to Friday night.

On that night, in the SEC and in ballparks around the country, the best college pitchers – the aces – pitch.

To be a Friday Night Guy is to be the best pitcher on your team. Facing the other guy’s Friday Night Guy.

When the University of Virginia takes the field in the first game of this year’s College World Series on Saturday afternoon, their Friday Night Guy will take the mound – Sophomore Connor Jones.

Connor Jones UVa 10 18 14

© The Baseball Bloggess

(I know. It’s Saturday. Friday Night Guys get juggled around some once the post-season arrives.)

Jones didn’t start the season as the Friday Night Guy. He was, uh, I guess you’d call him the Saturday Dude for much of this season. The #2 guy.

Saturday Night Guy

Not this Saturday Night Guy.

When UVa’s ace Nathan Kirby went down with a shoulder muscle strain in April, Jones stepped up.

Connor Jones UVa Fall Ball 10 18 14

© The Baseball Bloggess

We call him CoJo.

(And, by “we,” I mean, really just me. But, it’s a good nickname, don’t you think? I spend a lot of time thinking up nicknames for the players and shouting them out, hoping they catch on. They usually don’t. This one, though, is a shame, because it’s pretty good.)

The Hoos will wear their “Connor Camo” jerseys, which they’ve worn whenever CoJo pitches, ever since wearing them for a dominating 5-2 win over heavily favored Miami on April 18. That afternoon Jones went 7 2/3, struck out 11, and gave up two runs, just one earned.

Connor Jones Camo 4 18 15 UVa vs Miami

© The Baseball Bloggess

Camo-Clad Connor Jones pitching in that April 18 win over Miami.

Why the camouflage jerseys? “I thought they looked really cool,” Jones said this week.

(Fun Fact: The camouflage jerseys don’t really camouflage the guys. You can still see them.)

cojo interview

In this short interview, CoJo admits that 1) sometimes he doesn’t know who he is pitching to, he just throws, and 2) he’s a Red Sox fan. A Red Sox fan. How did that happen? The Red Sox could use a CoJo.

Since becoming the Friday Night “Connor Camo” Guy, Jones has started seven games and is 3-0 with a 2.09 ERA. The team is 6-1 in those games.

The University of Virginia Cavaliers face the Arkansas Razorbacks in the College World Series today, Saturday, June 13, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern.

What? You mean you’re not in Omaha? You won’t be at the game?

(Yeh, me neither.)

The game airs on ESPN.

uva game day cws

Photos: Davenport Field, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia © The Baseball Bloggess




It’s All About The Grass

brandon waddell

© The Baseball Bloggess

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Vivid.”

The very first time I went to a baseball game — a real game, with a real diamond and a manicured field — the grass made me blink.

I don’t think I’d ever seen grass so green, so bright, so lush, so … vivid … as the outfield grass around a baseball diamond.

When Little League fields and ad hoc diamonds in public parks start to brown in the heat of summer it always makes me a little sad. Because every player deserves some lush vivid green grass under their cleats.

Photo: University of Virginia Starting Pitcher Brandon Waddell, warming up in left field before his start on Saturday in the NCAA Super Regionals. Virginia defeated the University of Maryland and will advance to the College World Series this weekend.

And, Then This Happened …

The University of Virginia Cavaliers, after a strange and disappointing regular season, have advanced to the NCAA College World Series. Improbably. Unexpectedly. Unbelievably.

They swept the University of Maryland Terrapins in the Super Regionals with wins on Friday and Saturday.

And, I wasn’t ready for the dog pile.

Last year, I was.

See … here’s 2014 …

UVa Dogpile

© The Baseball Bloggess

 The UVa Cavaliers’ dog pile after defeating Maryland in the Super Regionals and advanced to the College World Series in 2014.

This year, once again parked in Section H of left field with all the other displaced season-ticket holders, I wasn’t ready.

fuzzy dog pile

© The Baseball Bloggess (This is copyrighted just to mess with you.)

 You know that auto-focus “idiot button” on your camera? Not idiot proof.

But, really, can you blame me?

Maryland had just come off of a regional series where it knocked off UCLA, the number 1 team in the country. So, no slouch those Terps.

The Hoos took Game 1, beating Maryland on Friday night 5-3.

But, on Saturday, Maryland took a comfy 4-2 lead into the 9th.

All they had to do was breeze through the bottom of the 9th with the same ease they had breezed through every inning since the 1st. The Terps would tie up the series, leaving a deciding game on Sunday.

Then the “breezing” stopped. Lead off walk. Single. Walk. (Pitching Change). Walk. (Run Scores.)

It’s 4-3, no outs. But, to take my camera out at this point … to presume a miracle … is to jinx things. And, I’m no jinxer.

The Hoo’s #9 batter, scrappy freshman Ernie Clement – 1-for-6 over the two games – steps up.

And, this happened.

Ernie! (And, there’s your dog pile!)

Here’s the Game 1 Recap.

game1 box


Here’s the Game 2 Recap.

game2 box

The University of Virginia advances to the College World Series.

I finally got my camera out and focused.

Look … I’m on ESPN!

the baseball bloggess takes a selfie

Is this how you take a selfie?

Congratulations, University of Virginia Cavaliers. Hoo’s going back to Omaha? You are!

Brandon Waddell and the Hoos

© The Baseball Bloggess

 Brandon Waddell, Game 2 starter, leads the post-game celebration.

UVa Super Regional Celebration

© The Baseball Bloggess


Hoos Greeting Fans

© The Baseball Bloggess


connor jones

© The Baseball Bloggess

 That’s pitcher Connor Jones, winner of Game 1, surveying the Davenport Field celebration.


© The Baseball Bloggess

Ernie Clement’s batting helmet might still be out there.

The College World Series begins Saturday, June 13, 2015.

It’s A Hoo’s Wrap

clubhouse doorwayLast week, the University of Virginia came within two runs of winning the College World Series.

(This is my gentle way of saying that UVa lost 3-2, without actually saying “UVa lost,” which is still just a little too painful to say, unless I mumble “they lost” quietly inside these parentheses.)

Congratulations to Vanderbilt who took two of three against UVa last week. In Game 3 on Wednesday night, Vanderbilt was just the better team. They played as if they had nothing to lose. UVa played as if they had everything to lose.

Thanks for breaking my heart, Vanderbilt.

(Don’t you find it sketchy when colleges and universities refuse to tell you their location in their names? I mean, I don’t want to start a rumor, but maybe Vanderbilt is hiding something.)

On Thursday night, UVa hosted a “Welcome Home” celebration for the Hoos as they returned to Charlottesville. They may have lost that one last game, but they still had an outstanding 53-16 winning season.

Did I go?

Of course I did. (Thank you to the clients who kindly let me juggle their appointments Thursday evening so I could be there.)


My very handsome and wonderful Editor/Husband got me this sweet College World Series cup!

It was a great opportunity to cheer the team one more time.

Did The Baseball Bloggess geek out when she got to meet some players and coaches?  She’s not saying.

(Yes. Yes, she did.)


Here’s the 2014 UVa highlights video they showed that night.  (Look for me and Editor/Husband in the crowd shots!)

welcome home

A few weeks ago, I met Jeff Curry at a game. He attends plenty of UVa baseball games and he draws them as they unfold.


He draws basketball and football games, too, but his favorite art comes from the diamond.


~ Jeff Curry, Artist

Curry used to play baseball, now he draws it. This is his 2014 UVa season wrap-up piece, as he was working on it Thursday night.

“I have been drawing collegiate and professional baseball games most of my life,” he says. “I really enjoy the silent tension that comes with the game as the drawing allows me to fully absorb it. The crack of the bat amidst the calm really opens the creative angle and the pen or paintbrush really flows.”


~ Jeff Curry, Artist

 UVa defeats Maryland 11-2 in Game 3 of the Super Regionals, June 9, 2014.  The players often autograph Curry’s artwork.

“Witnessing any hit for a go-ahead run is simply the best,” Curry said, “but that walk-off in the 15th inning against TCU [at the College World Series on June 17], please!”

Oh heck, let’s watch it again

pinero 15


So, that’s a wrap for the 2014 University of Virginia baseball season.

The other night at dinner, a friend asked Editor/Husband what I was going to do now that UVa baseball is over.

Hey, the major league season is just at the halfway point. There’s a whole lot of baseball left.

But, after the Orioles’ miserable series against Tampa this weekend, it might be one ugly summer.


Davenport Field is quiet tonight. But, UVa’s informal Fall Ball Season is back in September. That means we’ll be back in our seats at “The Dav” in no time.


(You noticed! Yes, I have changed the name of my blog. You can now find me at www.thebaseballbloggess.com … because, well, because someone had to be THE Baseball Bloggess, and it might as well be me.  More on the new “me” soon.)