Thursday, October 11, 2012

SxSE: Gator Chomp

McKethan Stadium
Photo by arctic wind flickr.com
♦ McKethan Stadium at Perry Field
  • Opened: 1988
  • Capacity: 
  • Named after: Alfred McKethan, donor and supporter; Carl "Tootie" Perry, former Floida football player whose family donated the land for the stadium
♦ Florida leads the SEC and is third nationally (behind Texas and Ohio State) in total Athletics Revenue, bringing in about $100 million annually.

♦ More To McKethan Than Beach Bums (HawgsIllustrated.com)
Bare-chested men, bikini tops and palmetto trees lining the back side of the right field fence give Florida's McKethan Stadium a bit of a beach atmosphere.

And even though Gainesville is in the middle of a pennisula, there's also Osprey, seagull-like birds, nested atop a few light poles surrounding the field.

"When they go to the bathroom, it covers two rows," said Mark McCleod, senior columnist for the web site Gator Country.

McKethan Stadium (StadiumJourney.com)
The fans in the left field stands love to heckle the opponents. They do the "left, right, left, right, step, step, step...SIT DOWN" to any opposing batter who strikes out. Also every opposing pitcher's name is "Earl". I asked why that is and was told there was once an opposing pitcher named Earl who had a wild inning and the more they heckled the wilder he got. So now all opposing pitchers hear "Come on EARL! You can do better than that" or "better not walk him, Earl!" or "Hey Earl! Is that all you got?"
Florida Baseball: My New We (Alligator Army, 6/30/2011)
Florida's baseball team lost Tuesday night. It lost in a painful fashion, without ever leading, with faint and unsuccessful scrapping to get back into a game that we were never likely to win. It lost two games in a row to a team that beat it four out of five times in the most successful season in school history, a team that was summitting Everest for a second time while we were topping out on K2 again.

It sucked. I'm not gonna lie about that. But I think this is the sort of pain that makes things sweeter at the end.
. . .
Tuesday night hurt. Monday night hurt, maybe more: I'd never used alcohol as a pain reliever before, and doubt I'll do it that often, but there was a lot of wine and a bit of vodka in my system shortly after South Carolina won in 11 innings. It's not like baseball's nearly my favorite sport — soccer might pip it on a scale of sports I enjoy in the abstract, and I loved the one lacrosse game I saw this season — but that hurt.

That made me realize something: I care.

I cared that Kevin O'Sullivan's silly reliance on bunting may have hampered the Gators. I cared that Mike Zunino finally got his moment to shine in the CWS. I cared about us making dumb outs with bad swings on first pitches; I cared that Nolan Fontana's great year will have an error as its last moment of note; I cared that Karsten Whitson's only loss of the year came in the biggest game Florida's ever played. I cared enough to call this team we.

We is a threshold for me; we is what I use for various Gators teams, because I'm a student and will be an alum, and because I'm a Florida-born, Florida-based UF fan. They feel like my family, my tribe. That's been true of football for about 15 years; for men's basketball, about a decade. As of this week, it's also true for baseball.


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