Mike's Corner

Florida State fans are bracing for this weekend's Super Regional against defending College World Series Champion Texas. The series will be televised by ESPN2 Saturday and Sunday and ESPN Monday, if necessary. Of course, Seminole skipper Mike Martin is just as excited about facing the 'Horns. Click here for Martin's comments in this first of two parts. "I don't think that there's ever been a bigger series here at Florida State. This is what it's all about," Martin said.

What does it mean to this program, to be able to host a program like Texas here in a super regional?

"Well, I was asked the question (earlier), ‘is this the biggest series that you have ever been involved in in Tallahassee?' You've got to say yes, because of what's at stake. Now, if you're playing Miami, you're playing them in April. If you win, you might have regional implications. But then again, you might not. It didn't affect them this year – let's face it. I don't think that there's ever been a bigger series here at Florida State. This is what it's all about."

Q: A couple of the players said that maybe last season they didn't respect Notre Dame as much as they should have. Did you get a sense of that last year?

"I think that the way that I'll try to describe this is you go on a golf course, and you're very familiar with the golf course, and it's not that difficult. And you double-bogey the first three holes, and all of a sudden, you turn in a 90. If you go onto a great golf course that you haven't played much, you're going to play like crazy on it, because you know what can happen. We didn't know what could happen to us last year when we played Notre Dame. We knew they were good, but we didn't know they could beat us. When they beat us, it proved something to us, and then we played inspired the next day, and won. Then, the next day, they beat us. Plain and simple. We didn't take them lightly – we just didn't give them the respect that was necessary the first day."

Q: That shouldn't be a problem this year, right?

"If you doubt the defending national champion, a team that's been to the College World Series more than anybody, then you really do have problems."

Q: This is the first year ever that ESPN has shown the super regionals. How big is it to have this series televised on that network?

"I think it's great for the entire sport of college baseball. I think so many people in our country don't understand the importance of college baseball. You go up into some areas of the country, and nobody even knows that the game exists in April and May. We've played in some ballparks where there was no respect for college baseball. I was disappointed with the turnout at Salem (Va., site of the ACC Tournament). I didn't think the people of Salem supported ACC baseball. This gives everybody an opportunity to see how exciting the sport is."

Q: How did that happen, the television deal?

"I think the committee, and the NCAA, deserve the credit for this. This is a lot of behind the scenes work to get more exposure. You have other games on TV throughout the year, but it just seems like when you get to ESPN – well, to me, and everybody else, it's right up there with CBS and NBC. It's what we watch, and what you watch. I think that just really is what is the trigger of the excitement."

Q: Is there a downside to having to play Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, with the CWS starting Thursday?

"None whatsoever. I don't give a flip if we opened up in Omaha on Tuesday. It would not bother us. Saturday-Sunday-Monday is fine with me."

Q: Tony Richie probably appreciates the time off, right?

"Yeah, I bet he does. I'll bet he does."

Q: How much has he meant to this program?

"He's just invaluable. Tony is just a special young man. He's got a great baseball attitude. He's a winner. As I said the other day, he's a real warrior."

Q: You've had a relationship with (Texas head coach) Augie (Garrido). Your careers are pretty parallel, except that he has four championships and you haven't had one yet. How much more luster does that put on this regional, and how much more does it mean to you?

"I just can't afford to let myself get caught up in that. This ain't about Mike Martin. I learned that about 1984. Before then, I wanted to be Big Daddy. And Big Daddy don't get it done. The players get it done. This program is about Florida State, and those young men sitting in there (the clubhouse). That's the way it's going to always be. Whether or not I am the head coach when Florida State wins a national championship is not important. What is important is that those young men get an opportunity to go to Omaha and play for it. If Mike Martin is never involved with winning a national championship, I'm the one that has to answer to that. I'm the one that has to answer to whether or not that's a measurement for success or failure. I'll leave that one for others. My job is just to try to position our team."

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