Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Tip of the Cap 2009

It's time for our annual year-end awards, named in honor of John "Hi" Simmons' signature gesture.

This is Part 1 of 5 that will appear over the coming week.

How do you spell S-U-C-C-E-S-S ?

RockMNation posed a key question this season: What should be the benchmark for success for this Mizzou Baseball team?

The Beef: Based on where they were halfway through the season, yes, an NCAA bid makes the season a success. Based on where we thought we would be? Not entirely, but no one saw the pitching situation being like it is. . . The new benchmark of success, for right now, I think should continue to be making the NCAA’s because if anything has been proven this season, it is that making it year in and year out is rather tough.

rtpgwb: Their poor start isn't enough to lower the bar for success. Making the NCAA Tournament at this point is impressive, but not completely satisfying.

ghtd36: I know that they've battled, and I know that being where they are right now is a coup in relationship to where they were earlier in the year. That matters not. If Mizzou wants to put on its big-boy pants in the athletic world, it's time to have big-boy expectations.

As usual, the rowdies at Tigerboard also shared their opinions (again and again and again):

Ando: MU is on the way UP! The pinnacle programs (TX, LSU, Fresno, etc) have long stockpiled talent, at the expense of the next tier programs. The juggernauts once held 40 on the roster and 15 in walkons. Those kids now head to the next tier. MU is in that next tier. MUs recruiting is a tribute to that shift. We are in for a long string of success. We were irrrelevant not long ago. Keep the faith tiger ballyard fans!!!

SuperTone: This program has got to start setting its sights higher. Making the post season is no longer a "great season" or "good year." These upcoming renovations aren't cheap and they need to be proven worthwhile in short manner. Here is to hoping TJ can get it done in the next year or two.

And Tim Jamieson put it quite simply after the last game:

I’m not satisfied, but you can’t get to a super regional if you don’t make a

As for me, I can only quote myself:

Win, Lose, Draw, just show me a good time and I'll be happy. I’d probably have been an avid and happy fan of the Mets in the early years – they sucked, but they were fun to watch.

I'm sure the coaching staff won't be posting this little soliloquy on the locker room bulletin board to inspire the team - they probably want the guys to care passionately about winning. And I do too: they're more fun to watch if they care about winning.
Here's a tip of my cap to the 2009 Tigers, first of all, for providing an entertaining season. Much of the annual "Tip of the Cap" awards are all about what gave me the most fun and joy out of the baseball season.

And also, a big tip of the cap for the courage to not lay down and die after that disastrous opening road trip.

Leaving the Zou

A tip of the cap to Tigers who will be leaving us as well:

The Seniors:

Kyle Mach: As I've said before, simply the best third baseman I've seen at Mizzou

Scooter Hicks: "Hurricane" Hicks, as Tex like to call him, came to Mizzou by way of New Orleans with a quick brief stop at College Station. Scooter has been willing to do whatever has been asked of him as a Tiger, and never once called it quits on anything.

Ryan Gargano: In February and March, when the Tigers were struggling to get their act together, Gargano cruised along with a nice 1.80 ERA in 10 innings appearances.

Steve Gray: "Sticks" is a guy who I always thought will probably do better in professional ball than in colelge, if given the opportunity, simply because he takes a while to get his offense going during the season. A 56-game season is 2/3 over by the time he comes into his own, but a professional season will barely have gotten out of the starting block when Gray starts hammering the horsehide.

Ryan Lollis: His enthusiasm for the game, his highlight-reel fielding, and the sheer joy of rounding the basepaths set Lolly apart from everyone else. Thanks for the 4th season!

Ian Berger: Every Tiger pitching staff needs a bulldog, and the Whopper has filled that role nicely since he landed at Simmons Field. I'll always remember his determination to keep pace with his more heralded 2008 pitching mate, keeping pace with Aaron Crow for several weeks of lights-out pitching.

Austin Holt: The player who most reminded me of former Tiger Jayce Tingler this year. Anyone who knows me knows the compliments don't get much better than that. A true sparkplug at the plate, on the basepaths, in the field.

And the Juniors who have a big decision to make:

Greg Folgia: Rumor has it that the most emotionally intense player on the team is just as emotionally vested in returning to the Tigers for his senior year. We'' have to see whether the Big Boys dazzle him with so much cash he changes his mind and starts talking to a wood bat in the minor leagues. At the time of this writing, Folgia had passed through the first 30 rounds of the Draft without his name coming up, a good sign the major league organizations expect him to be back at Mizzou, too.

Trevor Coleman: The image I will always have of Trevor will be from that infamous game in the 2007 Regional at Taylor Stadium. They should have let him loose to go after the Lousyville Slugger. The Mariners will be lucky to have him behind the plate.

Aaron Senne: Nobody looks cooler than Senne in his dark shades. And nothing is cooler than watching him throw a frozen rope to nail a foolish baserunner trying to stretch a double into a triple. We'll have to wait and see if Senne rejoins Folgia in the outfield at Taylor Stadium or if he goes to the pros.

Kyle Gibson: When I'm 75 years old I expect to be able to sit in my easy chair with the radio on and listen to former Hall of Fame pitcher Kyle Gibson doing play-by-play and color commentary of a Cards-Cubs game . . . and I'll enjoy hearing his Cubs lose yet again.

If you build it . . .

A tip of the cap to Tim Hickman, Associate Athletic Director, Coach Jamieson and to all the various athletic department staff who have worked hard over the past couple of years to finalize plans and beat the bushes for donations for the upcoming expansion of Taylor Stadium. With work scheduled to begin immediately after the close of the 2009 season, the new amenities are slated to be complete and ready for the opening of the 2010 campaign.

For a look at the architects' drawings of the planned work, click HERE. For a summary of the planned construction, see Taylor Stadium renovations.

Read more of our Tip of the Cap awards:

Part 2: By the Numbers
Part 3: Quotables
Part 4: Johnny Wholeteam
Part 4: And the Winner is . . .

And check out our Tip of the Cap awards from years past

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