Sooners: Not the baseball enemy

So, you want the Sooners to lose? Maybe you should take a look a the conference standings and rethink your stand on the issue. Oklahoma (1-11 Big 12) holds the prestigious postion of "Next-to-dead-last-place" in the league. Newsflash: Everytime the Sooners win in the Big 12, the Cowboys benefit...and move up the ladder. Why pull against a team has lost 17 of its last 19 games and holds no clout in the title race?

Brandi Ball 

Brandi Ball
Publisher
OSUInsider.com
brandi@osuinsider.com

 

It was April 11 -- a bright, sunny Friday in Stillwater. The wind was blowing out of the south, a baseball player's dream. Home-run delight, they say in the industry.

Oklahoma State was sitting atop the Big 12 standings that glorious day, one game ahead of the defending national champion Longhorns.

On come the Baylor Bears, storming into the sleepy, Oklahoma town on a four-game losing streak. Texas, however, was playing at home as well. Austin played L'il Miss Hostess to the Sooners on the day in question. A Texas win in conjunction with an OSU loss meant the ‘Horns would stake claim to the head of the class.

Not an item on the Cowboys' spring wish list.

The largest crowd in the 2003 season filled the seats at OSU's Allie P. Reynolds Stadium Friday. They were loud, and they came armed with cowbells and a heckling crew. They yelled, they screamed, they cheered on the team in which their allegiance lies. Go mighty Cowboys! On to victory!

The game took a sharp turn for the worst on the second-pitch of the game. The Cowboy ace gave up a solo home run to open the competition. "It's okay -- it's still early," they yelled.

Then came the third batter of the game. Going, going, gone. Goodbye -- he went yard, too. The core of the Cowboy team had been shaken. The Bears came out of hibernation, and their growl was fierce. Pretty soon, another hit. Then another. Then 11. Then 16. The scoreboard was running out of numbers to use for the visitors' columns.

The Bears were everything the Cowboys thought they would be, and OSU needed the win, like it does every time it takes the field.

One game can make the difference, the wise coaches have always said. A loss would mean a change in a momentum, one that OSU didn't want to experience. But, it looked grim for the fighting Cowboys -- their six-shooters seemed to be shooting blanks. Baylor was crossing the plate with as much ease as the children of Israel crossed the parted Red Sea.

Moses wasn't able to make the trip in order to help the Pokes that day. Maybe next time, the bench prayed. Maybe next time.

Then, a friendly voice announced, "Here are some scores of interest from around the Big 12. After seven innings in Austin: Texas, 7 -- Oklahoma, 3."

Cowbells began ringing, fans began clapping, whistling and hooting. "OU is losing," they laughed loudly. "Did you hear that Martha, honey? He said OU is losing!"

Students, alums young and old, parents and children -- a large portion of those in attendance at Allie P. rose up against the Sooner Nation.

And, quicker than Big Tom can get in an umpire's face on a bad call, those who claimed to be rooting for the Cowboys when they arrived at the ticket gate -- now rooted against them.

The Sooners, with only one conference win to their credit, took on the ‘Goliath' of the conference Friday. If Larry Cochell's team could have won even one game against the Longhorns, the Sooners could have helped the cause of the orange-and-black. While OSU was having trouble finding the gap against Baylor, Texas was thumping a team that posed no threat to the conference leaders.

Maybe the fans were just cheering for something that happened on the field. Maybe it wasn't the score in Austin.

But another announcement came two innings later. The same fan-related response occurred. "Give them a chance," another reporter urged. "They probably just don't realize the impact a Texas win has on the Cowboys."

Saturday rolled around. Baylor's potent bats were still at work -- and the Cowboys drove into a pothole in the road to victory. Hit after hit for the Bears and not so much for OSU. An Oklahoma win could hold the Texas lead to one game.

A deep voice flooded the sound-waves during a lull in the action once again. Oklahoma is losing to Texas, it proclaimed to the orange-clad masses.

"Cheers to Texas," the fans yelled.

"Poor Sooners," they laughed sarcastically.

And, from a fan in section 2, "That aughta make everybody happy."

With seemingly no recollection that their beloved Cowboys were getting slaughtered by Baylor and would suffer greatly from a Sooner team (.111 winning percentage) falling again -- cheering erupted from the grandstands. It was louder and more prolonged than before.

Everyone was happy, everyone except the OSU soldiers on the field playing their hearts out, and losing grip of first place.

Rivalries are great. They are healthy. No scholar could debate otherwise. It can be fatal, however, when fans hope for the rival to lose, especially in a title race that poses a big threat to the team they support.

Shame on the so-called OSU baseball fans. Shame on them for not keeping up with the conference standings. And shame on them for cheering for Oklahoma to fall at the hands of Texas and, in turn, pulling for their own team's demise.


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