In the world of Seinfeld, “Festivus” is a holiday falling on Dec. 23 each year, a day filled with many traditions including the “airing of grievances” where family members...well...air grievances toward one another from the last year.
I would like this post to serve as our very own airing of grievances following Ole Miss’ series loss to Texas A&M, a loss that, frankly, is inexcusable.
Ole Miss is a better baseball team than Texas A&M, and regardless of how you spin it, this weekend shouldn’t have happened the way it did. Even with an injured Gunnar Hoglund, the Rebels should have taken two of three, and Ole Miss was painstakingly dang close to doing it on Sunday before pain and despair and boneheadedness unfolded before our very eyes.
For starters, I’m not laying all of the blame at Mike Bianco’s feet.
Some of it?
But Taylor Broadway simply can’t walk two guys late in the game to load the bases prior to seeing Will Frizzell, who ate Ole Miss’ lunch all weekend, delete a baseball into orbit. Things happen in baseball, and it just wasn’t Taylor’s frame, but at this point of the season, that just can’t happen.
Then, Ole Miss gets its first two runners on base in the top of the eighth. Mike Bianco pinch hits for Hayden Leatherwood (one of the hottest hitters on the planet) for Ben Van Cleve who lays down a bunt and advances the runners. Then, Mike brings in Tim Elko, who is subsequently intentionally walked, and Calvin Harris grounds into a double play to end the Rebel threat.
That whole sequence of coaching decisions played a hand in Ole Miss’ defeat on Sunday. Oh, and Mike got ejected for arguing balls and strikes or something else in the ninth.
I’ve been a supporter of Bianco for a while now. He’s never sucked at Ole Miss, and his teams are always in the mix late. Still, one trip to Omaha in 21 years isn’t very good with the level of talent that he’s had at his disposal. Whether or not that’s all his fault isn’t up to me to decide, but after Sunday, many Ole Miss fans who were on the #FireBianco train (and some who weren’t) are calling for his head. I’ll admit that Sunday was a bad look, but I’m not fully on that train yet. Still, this season’s outlooks got much dimmer this weekend.
After losing this series to Texas A&M, I still expect Ole Miss to be in the NCAA’s 20 potential regional host sites this week, but you’ve got some work to do if you’re the Rebels. Oh, and you probably have to do it without Gunnar Hoglund if the common opinion is true. Not sure how you can take two from Vandy in that scenario if I’m being candid, but, hey, it’s baseball and it’s at Swayze. I guess anything can happen.
A national seed likely is gone with Sunday’s loss, in my opinion. You’ve possibly lost Hoglund for the rest of the year. The coaching decisions late in the game on Sunday were, at best, questionable and, at worst, boneheaded. These are the times that try men’s souls, and I’m not sure how it’s all going to shake out, but things could definitely be better.
There, my grievances are aired. Feel free to sound off in the comments if you so choose. I’m logging off for the night.