The University of Arkansas fan base, as has become abundantly clear over the past few years, is full of whiney, obsessive message board warriors that simply care more about an opponent’s negative results than its own team’s success. This temper-tantrum attitude was represented on the baseball field some 14 years ago today.
Let’s set the scene, shall we?
The year is 2006 and the No. 22 ranked Rebels are hosting the No. 10 ranked Razorbacks on a beautiful Saturday in May. Ole Miss got on the board in the first inning and the 1-0 score carried into the third inning. As the first batter in the top half, Brian Walker stepped back into the box against pitcher Brett Bukvich. This is when the magic happens.
With a 1-2 count, Bukvich fires the fast ball up and in with hopes of catching Walker off balance and getting him to chase the high cheese.
Walker does not bite. Instead, he proceeds to grab his elbow as if he was hit by the pitch.
When you slow it down frame-by-frame, it clearly does not connect with Walker’s elbow, forearm, wrist, or any part of his body.
In fact, as he attempts to pull back away from the ball, there is a clear two second pause before he drops the bat and goes for the sell.
Walker writhes in pain and puts on a performance likened to Russell Crowe in Les Miserables— a bad one.
Doing his job, Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn wanders over to home plate and has a chat with the umpire about why his batter was not awarded a base. The umpire wants none of it.
Meanwhile, Walker gets looked at by the trainer and appears to need his arm amputated.
Walker’s arm heals in miraculous fashion and he is brought back to the plate with a 2-2 count. Bukvich makes him look foolish for strike three and Walker angrily points to the umpire as he leaves the batters box. He is immediately thrown out of the game.
Then, the very-much-not-juiced-out-of-his-mind Walker lets his definitely-not-roid-rage overcome his emotions and he devolves into the personality of his fanbase. His whiney temper tantrum is one for the ages and Walker is upset! Can you tell? He wants to be sure that you can tell. His look back to the umpire after he throws his batting helmet really drives his point home.
First his helmet, next his bat.
The hormonal man who does not use performance enhancing drugs heads to the dugout and has a few choice words.
Van Horn returns to the dish and lets the umpire have it, as any good head coach would. The umpire is not interested. Go away, Dave.
While Van Horn stands up for his extremely-clean and certainly non-using catcher, the big strong Walker has one last thought before he hits the showers. How brave.
Ole Miss went on to win the game 7-3 and won the series the next day. The 2006 season ended with a Super Regional loss to Miami. However, that one day in May brought joy and hilarity that transcends a lifetime. Thank you, Brian Walker. Happy Anniversary.
Here is the entire sequence in real-time:
Walker went on to a short stint in the MiLB and now coaches at Witchita State. He recognizes that he made a mistake and uses that moment to teach others by example.