The Big 12 Baseball Tournament returns to Oklahoma City’s Bricktown Ballpark this weekend, which means some semblance of home-field advantage for the Sooners and Cowboys.
It also means baseball fans from across the region have a great reason to call in sick at work, eat/drink $20 worth of stadium consumables at 9:30 a.m. and HATE on every shit-heel group of baseball boneheads from Morgantown, W. Va., to, uh, Manhattan … Kan.
That’s right, the Big 12 baseball tourney offers an unmatched opportunity to heckle a mess of goobery 20-year-olds wearing “frozen” rope necklaces that look like they were hand-woven by your cousin Roscoe’s step-daughter at a Lake Eufaula swap meet.
So, without further ado, here’s a guide to hating on and heckling the eight Big 12 teams competing at this week’s tournament. And, what the hell, let’s throw in some derision for poor Kansas. The fact that Big 12 baseball features only nine teams is a rich embarrassment of chidable sadness all to itself.
Hateable Mention: Kansas Jayhawks (20-35-1)
Back when I was a child, Big 8 Conference baseball was already hamstrung into a clunky seven-team format because the University of Colorado Buffalos were TOO AFRAID OF THE COLD to field a program for America’s pastime. This was the 1990s, of course, so no one had predicted the sports-related benefits of global warming that made it 73-damned-degrees in Boulder, Colo., this past Feb. 18. But whatever.
When the Iowa State Cyclones stopped fielding a team owing to budget (and Title IX) issues in 2001, that equalized the then-Big 12 baseball bracket. But when Colorado and Nebraska bolted the conference, it left an odd number again.
As a result, one team is now omitted from Big 12 baseball postseason, and this year, that team was the Kansas Jayhawks, who finished 6-17 in conference play. So if you’re sitting around between games this week, feel free to boo those Jayhawks so they don’t feel left out.
No. 1 seed: Texas Tech (40-14)
The Texas Tech Red Raiders racked up the most victories in conference (19-5) this year, and if you need additional reason to loathe them in their first-round game, you must be extra hateful. Good on you.
Head coach Tim Tadlock is a former OU baseball assistant who was integral in Sooner success from 2006 to 2011. Sure, you could be happy for him succeeding at his alma mater, or you could try to fluster him by noting how his career will inevitably be ruined by TV-blowhard and failed-Senate-candidate Craig James, a la Mike Leach.
No. 2 seed: Oklahoma State University (35-18)
Two words: Jim Traber. No, I’m not turning into The Lost Ogle over here (but do check back for Moderately Attractive Guy Thursday). Traber is an OSU baseball legend and a local sports-radio mainstay. I guess he’s legendary there, too, since I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather hear spit into a radio mic while arguing with a fellow sportscaster.
Traber came from Maryland and played for coaching icon Gary Ward from 1980 to 1982. Ward is the smartest baseball mind I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to in person, so he’s not a reason to hate the Cowboys. But Traber surely is, and Gary Ward circa Ronald Reagan’s first campaign probably would have agreed.
So would this poor pitcher whom Big Jim famously chased around before falling and getting kicked in the head:
No. 3 seed: TCU (38-14)
As a private school, TCU isn’t covered under open records laws, so as a journalist, they and another team on this list are hateable in that regard. I highly suggest challenging head coach Jim Schlossnagle to release documents related to his mileage reimbursement while he’s exchanging lineups at home plate.
Beyond that, don’t forget the stupid horned-frog claw their fans do, or maybe you can make hay with this quote from a 2013 student newspaper article about how TCU teaches alcohol and drug prevention. From a “peer educator” in the article who recalled her own boozy behavior:
“I turned into a cat once,” Adams said. “I was just prowling around, snuggling up to people and doing weird things like that.”
A cat, you say? As you’ll soon see, it’s fortuitous that TCU matches up against No. 6-seed Baylor at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
No. 4 seed: West Virginia (33-21)
Hating on West Virginia for anything sports-related need not go further than about eight bars of Country Roads by John Denver, a thoroughly enjoyable song unless you’re having to hear it after a bunch of Mountaineers have trapped and skinned your favorite sports team.
I highly suggest that any punk rockers wanting to heckle West Virginia learn a few songs by hellbilly one-man-band Hasil Adkins. I don’t know how their pitcher can be expected to throw strikes when you’re hollering “Hunch that thing!” at him like a true Boone County rebel.
No. 5 seed: University of Oklahoma (28-25-1)
If you need a reason to hate on the OU Sooners this week, I’ve got two of them for you. First, they played to a tie this season, which is an abomination of all things baseball, though not exactly OU’s fault in particular. But it’s worth a few heckles as they take on the Mountaineers at 9 a.m. Wednesday, no doubt.
More juicy, however, is OU’s new synthetic rubber baseball field at L. Dale Mitchell Park in Norman. NonDoc’s Jeremy Cowen bemoaned it at season’s start, and I didn’t attend a single OU game this season as a result. My decision wasn’t out of protest but rather out of emotions. They’ve ruined my childhood with that neon-green and fake-dirt monstrosity, and it’s bad enough seeing it on TV.
So if you head to Bricktown this week to heckle the Sooners, here’s my best suggestion: Take a big bag of grass seed with you and present it to head coach Pete Hughes before a third-straight season of missing the NCCAA Tournament gets him canned like cheap beans.
No. 6 seed: Baylor University (24-27)
Baylor is quite possibly the most hateable school in the Big 12, with a litany of athletic-program problems related to their handling of reported sexual assaults. In at least one instance, the university didn’t investigate for two years.
But let’s not make light of something so dire and disturbing as sexual assault on college campuses.
Instead, we can focus on something from 2001 that was disturbing in a different sense — the time two Baylor baseball players shot a cat on a Taco Cabana patio, beat it with a golf club and cut its head off. The players were never convicted of animal cruelty charges because Texas law required them either to have tortured the cat or to have knowingly killed someone else’s animal without his or her consent.
Regardless, Baylor baseball fans still get REALLY pissy when you meow at their batters or hiss at their coach. But that’s what makes baseball heckling great. You haven’t lived until a Baptist from Waco has given you double-barrel middle fingers in front of hundreds of people.
No. 7 seed: University of Texas: (22-30)
If you need something other than just the color burnt orange to make you vomit like a dog that ate a week’s worth of rats, I guess we’ll have to turn to longtime Texas coach Augie Garrido.
If you don’t know anything about Garrido, that’s fine. He’s probably sick of your shit anyway, even if he’s never met you. Here’s a profanity-laced compilation video of Augie’s, um, finer moments of interpersonal communications (NSFW):
Be those four-letter words as they may, the man knows how to get results on a baseball field. Except for this year, when his squad finished 10-14 in conference play and left him “practically begging” to finish out his coaching contract, according to some sportswriter who probably couldn’t get a bunt down if his job was to get Sophia Vergara into scoring position.
But Garrido remains the all-time winningest coach in NCAA history, no matter what anyone says. That means he deserves your respect and your best ballpark insults. He’s heard them all before.
No. 8 seed: Kansas State University (26-29)
You’re probably running out of steam in reading all the reasons you should #Hate all the teams at this week’s tournament, and that’s fine. In fact, I’m running out of mediocre jokes and acceptable cuss words. As a result, this frightening Kansas State (football) hype video from 2007 can stand on its own two lame feet:
So there you have it: Enough potential ways to heckle the living crap out of any baseball team you could possibly encounter Wednesday through Sunday at the Bricktown Ballpark. When in doubt, just act like you’re Donald Trump and you’ll be fine.
Tickets can be bought pre-sale for as low as $5 each, and all-session passes are as low as $69, which is a good deal for all the baseball/heckling you’ll get for your dime.
I highly encourage you to skip work all week and enjoy some college baseball before this year’s bats are shipped to China for scrap metal.
If your boss protests, you can just give him the ol’ Augie Garrido treatment and threaten to shoot his cat.