BASEBALL: Safety Was Big Concern In Coral Gables

As Florida prepares to host a Super Regional against arch-rival Florida State that is sure to capture the attention of the college baseball world, we must hope that the knuckleheads at ESPN and NCAA circled the major problem that was the Coral Gables Regional: safety.

Without question the single most absurd decision in the tourney was scheduling a mid-June game in south Florida at noon. The humidity and heat that is The Sunshine State would seemingly have afforded them the wisdom to make a start time based at least in part upon the very people who support their product, the fan. Wisdom, however, was not in the mix.

I personally witnessed Miami-Dade emergency personnel assist several people who were struggling with heat related stress. They weren't the only ones. I watched as two concerned concessions people quickly secured drinks for people who had walked up to make a purchase and were overcome as they waited in lines. From the stands, to the lines, to the men's room…people were discussing the heat.

Obviously, people have to take precautions by drinking plenty of fluids, sunblock, and proper clothing. But, this was stupidity. Many of the biggest supporters of the game are people who are not as apt to handle the stresses of the heat and humidity as you or I.

Furthermore, we have seen athletes succumb to a heat related illness after a workout on more than one occasion. Obviously, the fans and supporters are not working out, but the fact remains that it defies common sense. The fans who support the game deserve to witness the sport in as comfortable setting as possible. They also deserve to have their safety respected.

How exciting it must have been for those fans to miss an inning, two or more standing under the tress behind Mark Light Stadium just so they could avoid the heat. They had a hell of a view of the Miami-Dade rescue vehicles. That's showing them the thanks they so earnestly have earned for supporting the game and their school. This game deserves to be prime time and not just because of the national interest.

ESPN announced its schedule Tuesday and Florida's three game series with Florida State and the Friday and Saturday games will have a 7 p.m. start. If Sunday's game is necessary, it's scheduled for 1 p.m.

That wasn't our Leprechaun, it was Terry Bowden in disguise: The Irish luck that allowed them to beat North Carolina despite being doubled up in the hit parade (10/5), while committing two errors to the Tar Heels none quickly ran out against Florida. The Gators seemingly poured fuel over the green clover and ignited it.

Florida's offensive production and the pitching of Alan Horne have been the obvious focus since the championship victory. And why not? The manner in which the Gators pounded the Notre Dame pitching staff was amazing. Coach Paul Mainieri sent seven different pitchers to the mound, and only one escaped without surrendering at least a run.

I'd have sworn the Irish pitching staff consisted of Nick Nolte, Gary Bussey, Vanilla Ice, and three regulars from The Jerry Springer Show. These guys had no stuff and had seemingly checked out mentally. Furthermore, the Irish disappointed those of us who wanted to see 7-1 (yes, he's that tall) reliever Ryan Doherty throw to Corsaletti, Davis, and LaPorta. At 7-1, Doherty has a leg kick that would probably make the girls at Radio City Music Hall envious.

Lost perhaps this in the victory was Florida's fine defensive play. The Gators set the tone in the first inning. Florida turned a terrific 8-4-2 relay which nailed Notre Dame leadoff man Craig Cooper at the plate for the first out. The final out of the inning was recorded as Brian Jeroloman threw out Cody Rizzo who was running to second on the first pitch. Rizzo had an outstanding jump until "The Samurai" uncorked a rocket to second which just nailed the runner.

Florida's Brian LeClerc started things off on the right foot with a superb defensive effort on Saturday. He made his most spectacular defensive play of the season when he robbed Stetson's Jon Still of a base hit in the second inning. One inning later, LeClerc strolled to the plate and smashed a single past starter Chris Ingoglia.

Hats and hair off to the clean shaven one who earned Tournament MVP honors. Eight of twelve (.667) with nine RBI's and a wonderful defensive play isn't a bad series at all.

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