By Scotty C. the Intern
Thank you, ESPN. While you completely failed with Dave O’Brien covering the World Cup, the pairing of Mike Patrick and Harold Reynolds to do the College World Series was perfect. Patrick’s down to earth play-by-play of OregonState versus U. of North Carolina and Reynolds’ incredible knowledge of the game made for great telecasts. For every defensive mistake, Reynolds, a former major league infielder, knew exactly what went wrong, and explained the correct adjustments with ease. When Oregon St. failed to convert a crucial double play, Reynolds explained how the shortstop should’ve made the play, not the second baseman, since the shortstop was moving towards first and thus could’ve made a stronger throw.
It helped that they had some awesome baseball to boot. Watching the CWS was such a break from the monotony of regular season MLB; the pace of the games was faster, and how often do you see a major league team steal home during the regular season, much less the final game of the World Series? And UNC would’ve pulled it off, had the batter not struck out on the play.
But while the Oregon State Beavers put forth an inspired run of winning six straight elimination games to win the school’s first-ever baseball National Championship, the true highlight of the telecast was the profile of Beavers head coach Pat Casey and his son Jon (the so-called “mayor of sports in Corvallis”), who was born brain-damaged. Despite his handicap, he’s a student trainer for the basketball team and when not playing ball he tries to help the baseball team in any way he can, even leading cheers at the World Series in Omaha.
The broadcast’s lasting image was the sight of Jon running onto the field and hugging his dad–perfectly summing up the emotions of Beaver fans everywhere. As an OSU student I think the branding of OSU fans “beaver believers” was pretty cheesy, but those guys made a believer out of me.