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Sunday, May 26, 2013
This week’s Q&A-Mac is brought to you by The Woodwork: Climb on out of there, Virginia Tech baseball fans!
Q: Are there such things as passionate Tech baseball fans?
A: This has been a topic of oft-hilarious debate this week on the blog. UVa fans have been grumbling about the Johnny-come-lately enthusiasm for Olympic sports shown this week by Hokies. The gripe is that Tech fans care only about football unless one of their “other” teams is doing way better than it normally does.
Bottom line: There will be such things as passionate Tech baseball fans today, when the upstart Hokies play in the ACC tournament championship game in Durham, N.C. Folks are into this one, and not just in Blacksburg. I was covering a girls soccer game in Roanoke County on Friday night, and people there were buzzing about trying to get down Tobacco Road to catch it.
Q: Well, do those UVa fans on your blog have a point?
A: They do and they don’t. Their general argument is on target. Football is king in Blacksburg. Nothing else comes close. Tech fans who try to argue that point will lose. But that’s because football has given them the most to cheer about.
When Tech basketball is good, no ACC arena outside of Cameron Indoor gets louder than Cassell Coliseum. Tech fans championed the Angela Tincher-led softball team that made the Women’s College World Series. They got behind the Patrick Nyarko-led soccer squad that made the NCAA College Cup. The problem is, there haven’t been enough Tinchers and Nyarkos to keep them rapt.
Q: Umm … isn’t that the very definition of a “bandwagon fan?”
A: Probably, but so what? That phenomenon is hardly limited to Blacksburg. Give people something to cheer about, and they’ll cheer. Sports fans have busy lives. There’s only so much you can expect them to invest in as “diehards.”
Q: Isn’t the UVa fans’ point that the Wahoos DO support a variety of sports, regardless of results?
A: That’s where their argument falls apart. I served up home runs as a visiting pitcher in Charlottesville in the late 1990s, and the crickets there went wild. The infield had hash marks on it because the turf was handed down from the football team.
I never blamed UVa fans for not showing up back then; their team was battling ours to stay out of the ACC cellar. Why waste a beautiful spring day watching that?
But give them a transcendent coach (Brian O’Connor), a gorgeous facility (Davenport Field) and a team that’s got a chance at Omaha every year, they’ll pack a joint like Mitch Hedberg. As well they should.
Q: So, what’s been the key to Tech’s surprise run through the tournament?
A: Chad Pinder’s getting a lot of deserved ink because of his clutch hitting, but this all starts with pitching. To give up only five combined runs against Virginia, Florida State and Georgia Tech in pool play is pretty incredible – particularly for a staff that ranks eighth in the ACC in ERA.
Of course, the defense helps with that. The most underrated play of Friday’s win over the Yellow Jackets was that sprinting catch near the wall by Tyler Horan to end the fifth inning. If he doesn’t get to that, the Hokies lose.
Q: Quote of the week on the blog?
A: Due to rhetorical interests, let’s go with two short ones from zman, a big Tech fan who lives in San Antonio, Texas. On Monday, when I posted the first-round matchups for the ACC tournament, he posted this: “Baseball is ok. I want football!”
On Saturday, he posted this: “Can’t wait for tomorrow’s game! Could be a great day!”
Q: Proving everybody’s point?
A: Everybody’s. And it’s all good.
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