Cowboys New Skipper Has Them In 1st

In his first season in the dugout at Allie Reynolds Stadium, Frank Anderson has the Cowboys in first place with nine games left to play in the Big 12 Conference regular season. Anderson has another first-year feather in his cap with last weekend's win in the bedlam series with Oklahoma.

The Cowboys have Nebraska, Texas Tech, and Missouri left to play, and this week Anderson has some extra time on his hands as the players have final exams. It was a good time to catch up with the new head coach on thoughts on his first season.

OSSR: I understand that former Cowboys coach Gay Ward stopped in for a visit at your office this morning. You two have plenty to talk about after you debuted in the bedlam series with the series win over the weekend.

Anderson: Obviously, he was such a huge part of OSU baseball and we've opened it up to him, and boy, we love to see him come by. Once we get to talking it is hard to get stopped.

OSSR: One thing the media loved about Coach Ward was all you had to do after a game was put the mike in front of his face and asked him what he thought.

Anderson: That is a difference between him and I. He's so colorful and he can run that gamet. I'm pretty vanilla. I love it when he comes back. He's been a good friend and a mentor of mine for quite a few years. It's been a great situation in that whenever he comes back into town we sit down and have lunch or talk for a long time, swap ideas, and things like that.

OSSR: What did you think of your first bedlam series?

Anderson: I was really impressed with all of it. It was an outstanding weekend, we won for one thing, but just for the kids in general, for the State of Oklahoma, for the two schools. I hadn't been in one, but crowd wise it is unparalleled. That Texas-Texas A&M series isn't the same because obviously there aren't as many fans that take part in it. This is unique in that you go to two different facilities in two different towns and they welcome us. With the exception of the electrical failure at Driller Park, it all went pretty good.

OSSR: You don't seem to be a real emotional person, you seem to stay calm during a game. Yet, after that bedlam win in the 13 inning game on Saturday, we watched you and when you came out of the dugout you pumped your arm on the way to the mound. It was a little emotional, right?

Anderson: It was such an emotional game because of the highs and the lows and thinking you had that game won twice and have it slip away. As a coach you are human like anybody else. The second time (10th inning) with the pop up to the outfield, you think it is over and then it drops and you're down. You're really disappointed for the kid (Scott Kirby) because you feel for him. Your emotions get back into check and then you get back into it, and to lose that game after we had done the things that we'd done, you just don't want to see that for your kids. They are just like family and you get disappointed for them. Then to get that game righted and you come back to win the thing the way we did. I was excited for myself, for the team, and for everybody involved. You just don't want to lose that game after everything that we'd gone through. It was a little bit of an emotional deal. I wish we could have plaed the second game of the doubleheader 30 or 40 minutes later rather than having to wait a couple of hours like we did.

OSSR: Let's go back to the beginning of the series on Thursday night. It was a well played game that your team jumped out and took control early with the six run inning. Rod Allen was clutch and then the pitching with Cowley early and then Richmond in relief. It was a good game to watch.

Anderson: Yes it was. We got off to a good start, and people don't realize how good Oklahoma's pitching is. I was as impressed with them as much as I was Texas' pitching, and I know them about as well as I know anybody. Going in I thought they probably have the second best staff of anybody in the conference and after the series I still feel that way. It is a great pitching staff nd Swindell did a good job in the third game.

OSSR: In that second game it was Scott Kirby that dropped that 10th inning pop fly, but he had the chance to come back and be a hero.

Anderson: He throws out a guy at the plate and he gets a bunt down to move a runner over and gets a base hit out of it. That is why baseball is such a crazy game the way things happen. It can be so emotional and you can have so many things happen in a game. To see him turn that thing around later in the game was really special. I was a little more emotional, and he was one of the reasons because you feel for those kids and you want good things to happen to them. It was special to see things turn around for him and have things go for him in a positive direction.

OSSR: If anybody got cheated in that extra inning game it was the starting pitchers. Spencer Grogan and David Purcey of OU really staged a heckuva pitchers' duel.

Anderson: You've got two big lefthanders and they are going after each other with a good crowd. The weather started out bad and then it got pretty nice. They threw strikes ans threw it up there and worked quick. At one point, I looked and thought this game is going to be over in two hours. Little did I know that wasn't going to be the case. It was two great pitching performances by two good pitchers.

OSSR: There were 15 runs scored in the series by the Cowboys and 14 scored by Oklahoma. I've been watching college baseball and bedlam baseball a long time and I remember that many runs and more being scored in a single game. Are the bats really that changed in making the matchup between pitchers and hitters that much more competitive?

Anderson: I think the bats have obviously changed. The first year of the Big 12 we played the championship game and it was 19-17. That same year the College World Series championship game was like 23-17 or something. The innovation they done to bring the bat back to where it is more reasonable has really done a lot to help our game. Could we go to wood bats, probably not, because we don't have that many kids that could handle a wood bat at a high level, and then it would probably be more like college softball because the pitcher would dominate so much of the game. We don't want it to go quite that far. Right now we have a fair game and it is played at a pretty high level. I do like the bats the way they are right now. Those other things were so scary, somebody was going to get hurt.

OSSR: Oklahoma State fans really love all those home runs, the bomb song, and so forth. Right now the game as it is, is really fun to watch. One fan said the other night, "this is real baseball."

Anderson: I appreciate that, but I would I would love to have some home runs too. If we weren't second to last in the Big 12 in home runs, you know, what we might not do quite as much. We've got to do what we've got to do to score runs. Hopefully, we'll get to the point where we hit more home runs in the years to come.

OSSR: Those six run first innings are nice.

Anderson: We knew Oklahoma was going to come back and make a run at us. They did, and that's why Rod Allen's two run single or double in the seventh was so big because it answered back. When somebody scores you need to answer back and we did. It's such a game of emotions with 18, 19-20-year-old kids, emotions and different things it makes it tough on them. It's not the major league level and we're going to make mistakes. We just have to keep them to a minimum.

OSSR: It was emotional this past weekend. I've never seen Larry Cochell as emotional as he was. He, obviously, didn't see a couple of those plays at the plate like the umpires saw them. Did you get to talke to him after the series and what did you think ofhis comments about the umpires?

Anderson: Somebody asked me about his reactions and something that was said in the paper. I said I can usually tell balls and strikes pretty well from the dugout because I knwo where the catcher is setting up in certain situations with different hitters in count situations and things like that, but I've been in this game 20 years and I still can't tell whether a guy is out or safe on a base call. Umpires, if you look back at the video, are right most of the time, maybe 80 or 90 percent. Even when you think it is a close one, they're right. Usually, when I go after an umpire on the bases it's 100 percent sure. You can sit in and lock in on those things and it is tough to tell. I thought, for the most part, last weekend it was good. You can look at it however you want. If it's a positive for your side then you think the umpiring is right. The other way then it's a negative. I just don't think you can use that as a reaction. I know sometimes I have. I know Augie (Garrido at Texas) really taught me don't use that as an excuse for failure. I think that's right. I've been thrown out as much as anybody in the country and I've used that in the past, where I felt like it was something that I used as an excuse. I think our umpiring in our league has been good. I know the emotions run high, and I've been on the other side of those things too.

OSSR: Finals week, and you have to stand back and let your players take care of academics. Is this a catch as catch can week of practice?

Anderson: Yes it is and that is scary. Obviously, we're here for academics first, but it is scary coming out of finals everytime. You don't have as much control over your kids as you'd like to have. I got their schedules to try and figure out when they can work out and things. We also have to figure out study sessions for them before they take their finals. It's kind of a hit and miss. We've played at a pretty high level for the past couple of weeks and now we're not going to be able to see them on a regular basis for the next couple of days. I've seen teams go a lot of different directiosn this time of year. I told somebody yesterday, that the past couple of years Stanford has had to take their final exams at the College World Series. That would be a tough deal to worry about your kids playing and taking final exams at the College World Series. Everybody has to worry about this at some point and it comes down tohow your kids handle it.

OSSR: Three series left and control of your own destiny, being in first place. There are no slouches with Nebraska at home, Texas Tech at home, and then on the road at Missouri, who just won two of three from Texas.

Anderson: We're excited about being in first place. We don't have any preconceived ideas. We know we can beat anybody and we know we can be beat by anybody. I say that people say that's coach speak, but it really isn't. We just need to go out and play good clean baseball and take care of business the wins and losses will take care of themselves. You go out and play sloppy baseball and we can get beat by anybody. We need to keep the same mindset that we've had and go out and play and play hard . If we make a mistake and drop a pop fly then somebody has to pick us up and we go on. I think that is what we will continue to do. I am concerned with finals. I'm not a taskmaster, but I do like to have my finger on what rhey are doing and where they are, but this week I don't have that.

GoPokes Top Stories