THURSDAY, JUNE 01, 2006
By Joel Lamp
June 1, 2006
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -
Their bags are packed. They are ready to go. The bus is waiting outside their door.
The Jacksonville baseball team begins its epic journey on the "Road to Omaha" by first heading north to the Athens Regional.
The journey has the potential to become an epic story in the battle that they face. Much like the great stories of old, such as Homer's Illiad and Odyssey, the road is winding with many great foes to slay.
It would also have a look of a fairy tale - Cinderella - with the Dolphins wearing a glass slipper into the next round. This team has lived a very charmed life so far (just how many late rallies have we seen this year?) and there may still be another chapter or two left to write.
But, let's look at the definition of epic (courtesy of dictionary.com) - adj., surpassing the usual or ordinary, particularly in scope or size. Heroic and impressive in quality.
So how does JU's regional trip become an epic story? Let's look at the cast.
Our heroes - the Dolphins. Winners of 42 ball games in 2006, the first 40-win season since 1999. An at-large invitee to the baseball "Big Dance," JU claimed its first Atlantic Sun Conference regular season title this year.
Our villains - Georgia, Florida State and Sacred Heart. Two of three are ranked in the top 25. To get through this regional would be both heroic and impressive, while also surpassing the usual or ordinary in the magnitude of the accomplishment.
Stay tuned throughout the weekend to see if the Dolphins can combine Cinderella with Odyssey.
OTHER RANDOM THOUGHTS WHILE DRIVING TO ATHENS:
* Kudos to pitcher Matt Dobbins on being named third team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America. He is 12-0 on the year (best record in the nation) and when not getting batters out, he's been getting his teachers out as well, sporting a 3.74 grade point average. Getting it done on and off the field - that is what being a student-athlete is all about.
* While I've worked many NCAA postseason events, this will be my first trip to the NCAA baseball tournament and I must admit that I'm really excited, as are a lot of other people in the Arlington area about the Dolphins going to the postseason. The guys have worked really hard all season to get to this point and I think that they are really looking forward to this opportunity.
* Kudos are also in order for head coach Terry Alexander and his staff. They have done a magnificent job of building a true "team." The Dolphins have embodied the word team all season - everyone on the team has stepped up and made a big contribution at some point and that reflects back on the people who get them prepared on a daily basis. Congrats again on a job well done.
* Cole Pepper and I will be broadcasting all of the Dolphins' postseason games on ESPN 1460 locally throughout JU's run. We'll start the postseason with the pregame show starting at 2:45 p.m. on Friday.
Joel Lamp is the editor of JUDolphins.com and can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com