Jack Mosbacher was a member of the Stanford baseball team from 2008-2011. Each week, he’ll take a look at the Cardinal’s ups and downs on its road to the College World Series.
In case you’ve been away on business on the planet Mars the last two weeks, you’ve realized one thing: the Stanford baseball team can straight-up play.
After back-to-back weekend sweeps, some Stanford baseball fans are already making flight arrangements for Omaha. The early dominance has pushed Stanford to a No. 1 ranking in some polls and has definitely bolstered its early hopes of making a run to the College World Series this July.
But let’s all temper that early enthusiasm just a little bit.
The good news is that Stanford baseball has started the season 7-0 and logged consecutive and convincing sweeps of Vanderbilt and Texas. The bad news: neither of these opponents deserved the lofty rankings they brought with them to Palo Alto. Vanderbilt, ranked No. 12 entering its season opener against Stanford, lost a record 12 players to the MLB Draft last June and barely resembled the squad that took two-of-three from the Cardinal during their series in Nashville last year. Meanwhile, I would be shocked if the weak-hitting No. 7 Texas team that trotted out onto Sunken Diamond this past weekend is ranked in the top 20 at season’s end.
With that said, there is no downplaying how impressive this Stanford baseball team has been over the first two weeks of the year. Sweeping anybody in college baseball is a feat. It’s an even greater feat to sweep two major name-brand teams like Vanderbilt and Texas. But the most patently absurd part is that Stanford didn’t just sweep these teams; it flat-out destroyed them. The Cardinal has outscored its opponents 72-25 in its first seven games, including an 18-5 win and a 15-1 win. For comparison’s sake, that’s like winning a basketball game by a score of…72-25.
As a former Stanford baseball player, the most satisfying part of this early-season dominance is undoubtedly the despair this sweep caused Augie Garrido, Texas’ legendary but polarizing head coach. Having won more games than any other coach in college baseball history, Garrido is known around the college baseball world as a passionate, intense competitor with an infamous mean streak. (If you don’t believe me, check out the YouTube sensation “Augie Garrido Flips Out.” Fair warning: incredibly explicit content.)
Even the biggest Texas hater can’t help but feel a bit badly for the poor Longhorn players when thinking about the expletive-ridden tirade they undoubtedly received on the bus ride to the airport after Sunday’s 15-1 shellacking.
However, with more than 60 games remaining between the Cardinal and a national championship, it’s too early to crown Stanford just yet. Like I said, the aforementioned weekend opponents came to the Farm massively overrated. We still have a lot to learn about the Cardinal, especially when it is forced to respond to eventual adversity.
Only time will tell if Stanford’s jump over talented Florida in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll was a bit overzealous. Two weeks into the 2012 season, however, the Cardinal has sent a clear message to the college baseball world: “We’ve arrived, and we mean business.”