We've been talking a lot today about whether this year's team underachieved, meet expectations, or overachieved. I'll say that I'm still in the "meet expectations" camp, but I think we're overlooking something here:
You've got to be proud of the effort.
Over the weekend, the team played three games in the span of 24 hours, and pushed the Horned Frogs to the limit in Sunday's nightcap. Like any disappointing loss, there's going to be some quibbles, which there were. The Beavers would have liked for things to go differently in Sunday night's game, but TCU should be commended for their efforts to come back in the game, and for winning Saturday's game to put themselves in a position where they only needed one win against the Beavers to win the regional.
Although this year's team didn't accomplish as much as we would have liked them to in the regular season and into the post-season, you can't say that the effort wasn't there. That's really all a coach and a group of fans can ask for. If you give your best effort and come up short, well, that's baseball.
In the grand scheme of things, it's also about the dedication and hard work the players have put into the program. It's also about their development as individuals, and I know that Pat Casey is very big on making sure his players leave Corvallis as better men.
His post-game comments:
"I wish that our whole club could sit in here because I can't tell you how proud I am of Oregon State's baseball team. These guys put up one of the finest efforts today, battled for 11 hours and I can't tell you how proud I am of them. Just a wonderful effort and a great bunch of guys. It was a great ball game. Congratulations to TCU, they are a very good club. Once again, I'll just tell you that this club fought, battled, scratched and proved what kind of character they have and what kind of men we have at Oregon State."
It's easy to pick out the negative things and just talk about that, and it's especaially easy to do after a devastating loss. As fans, it's very easy to put on orange colored glasses and sip orange kool-aid and just talk about how we got screwed on the call at second base or with sleeve-gate. But I also think we need to look on the bright side of the coin.