ESPN gives college baseball junkies all we could want
By By David Zurawik
The Baltimore Sun|
Jun 09, 2014 | 9:39 AM
I am a college baseball junkie, and ESPN has given me all the coverage I can handle and then some the last three weeks.
The incredible run by the University Maryland, my alma mater, has been icing on the cake and a cherry on top of that. But, honestly, I could watch the Anteaters from the University of California – Irvine beat the Oklahoma State Cowboys any night of the week. And I didn't miss one Texas Tech game streamed or on-air. I'll see them both in the College World Series from Omaha next weekend.
But before that, I will be watching Game 3 at 7 p.m. today on ESPN when Maryland and Virginia decide their series with the winner going to Omaha.
Look, the coverage has not been perfect. I thought Mike Patrick's play by play on Maryland's Saturday game was somewhere between flat and lifeless. In fairness, he raised the energy level a notch on Sunday.
But, come on, Maryland is an even more incredible turnaround that Texas Tech under Tim Tadlock in his second season, and the ESPN announcers in Lubbock were non-stop going nuts about a team picked to finish eighth in the Big 12 now going to Omaha.
And, by the way, Tadlock had a great ball park and great facilities when he took over at Tech, while Maryland's baseball program has gotten mostly scraps in College Park. Really, there's a fantastic story line there, Mike. Get excited about it.
Maybe Patrick will raise his game in that regard during tonight's rubber match, because in almost every other respect, he is all any college baseball fan could hope for. He does his homework, he keeps his focus on the action on the field, he doesn't make mistakes, and I did not hear him once lapse into the kind of goofy, punchy, silly humor that, say, Gary Thorne falls prey to when there's a lull in the action of an Orioles game – or he's been behind the microphone too long.
And I really like Doug Glanville's analysis. He's another guy who does his homework. And he was outstanding at taking viewers inside the game, explaining on Saturday, for example, how a University of Virginia batter who made out twice on sliders, made the adjustment and ripped a line shot single to right field on the same slider he struck out on in his last at bat.
"Adjustment, adjustment, adjustment," Glanville said, sounding more than a little like Jim Palmer.
Overall, Glanville provided more consistently informed analysis this weekend than anything I've heard coming out of the ESPN "Sunday Night Baseball" major league telecasts this year.
The problems with that broadcast will have to wait for another day, another column. This one's about something ESPN has been doing mainly right the last three weeks for lovers of college baseball championship series.
Here’s hoping for a great game and great telecast tonight.