If you think this is the first confrontation between Cal and UVa this year you've been living under a rock. Not only did we steal their women's basketball coach earlier this spring when legend Debbie Ryan stepped down, we face off with them everyday for the right to be the top public school in the country. We took their coach and I won't admit defeat on being #2 or 3 just yet so lets just call it a tie. Tomorrow the two schools will square off in Omaha to decide who will be the champion of 2011.
I did not have much knowledge of the Golden Bears coming into the weekend because I didn't expect them to make much noise in the tournament. They kindof limped into the tournament and landed in the Baylor regional but caught fire and have landed in Omaha with a date against the Cavaliers.
I answered some questions on our team that the guys over at the California Golden Blogs and they offered to return the favor.
NorCalNick: The fan base has been thrilled, and it's pretty much the first time Cal baseball has gotten any meaningful attention in my lifetime. I think there was a good chance that any kind of College World Series run would result in fan interest, but things really exploded because of how they got to Omaha. The unbelievable 9th inning comeback against Baylor, complete with a radio call reminiscent of 'The Play' really captured the attention of Bay Area sports fans. Getting lucky enough to host a Super Regional (albiet in Santa Clara) was just icing on the cake.
LeonPowe: To be completely honest, there were a lot of doubts about even making the playoffs, nevermind making it all the way to omaha. But this team has been the zombie bears. Everyone they've been counted out, they keep grinding and keep grinding. One of our most beloved (and least successful) football coaches had a saying: "the Bear Will Not Quit, The Bear Will Not Die". Joe Kapp, a successful cal quarterback, and terrible coach once said that in a pregame speech, but no cal team has ever exemplified that edict more than these Bears.
OhioBear: If our blog traffic is any indication, there is more excitement over Cal baseball than at any time since the last time Cal made it to the CWS in 1992. There were more than a few Cal alumni who were up in arms over the decision to eliminate the program. The rally to raise more than $9 million to save the program was a testament to the special place that Cal baseball holds in the hearts of a lot of people. Even people who don't watch Cal baseball cared about the program being around.
NorCalNick: Most of our hitters have a little bit of pop, but there isn't any one player that makes you quake with fear of their power. Cal's strength with the bats is their ability to put the ball in play. Cal doesn't draw many walks, but they're also pretty good at not striking out. They will make a defense earn outs, something that Baylor found out in the regionals.