All right, I’m done. I mean, yeah, I’m almost literally done, but I mean I’m done with David Perno after last night’s loss by the Diamond Dogs. Hey, I’m in my last 24 hours as a sports blogger, so I have to take advantage of my final opportunity to call for the firing of a coach, just for old time’s sake, right?
In my defense, though, it isn’t as though I haven’t given Coach Perno his chances. After the 2007 season, I insisted that it was Omaha or bust in 2008, but, when he got Georgia to the College World Series finals the following year, I took up for him. I had mixed emotions when Coach Perno hired himself to be the Bulldogs’ pitching coach, and that ambivalence carried over to the 2011 Corvallis Regional. By 2012, I was stating the case for replacing Coach Perno and criticizing Greg McGarity for failing to listen to my advice.
Last year, circumstances compelled me to author postgame baseball recaps whose headlines read “Bullpen Meltdown and Offensive Anemia Doom Diamond Dogs for Bajillionth Dadgum Time” and “Diamond Dogs Suffer Setback So Shameful, It Would Require Them to Commit Ritual Suicide to Restore the Lost Honor of Their Ancestors If They Were Japanese.” Predictably, that season ended badly. Following an offseason in which Coach Perno rearranged the deck chairs on the Titanic and Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall delayed upgrades to Foley Field, where are the Diamond Dogs? Well, lo and behold, they’re right where we thought they would be.
Georgia began the season on the road in Statesboro, where the Red and Black were held scoreless in the final six innings yet held on for a one-run victory in a game in which the Athenians committed a pair of errors and stranded nine baserunners. The following day, the Classic City Canines scored one earned run, drew one walk, and struck out eight times in a one-run loss that saw the Bulldogs held to one run in the final seven stanzas. The series with Georgia Southern concluded on Sunday with an 11-2 embarrassment in which Georgia was outhit, 14-7, fanned eight times, and drew no bases on balls. Those trends continued on Wednesday night, when the Diamond Dogs managed four hits, one walk, one run, and seven strikeouts against Kennesaw State.
For those of you scoring at home, Georgia is 1-3 following a three-game losing streak during which the Red and Black have managed a combined five runs to cement their stature as no better than the fourth-best college baseball team in the state. To put it mildly, this does not bode well for the Classic City Canines, who have upcoming three-game series against Arkansas, Florida, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt, all of whom currently are ranked in the top 20.
We knew going in that, if the Diamond Dogs did anything in 2013, they would have to do it by the skin of their teeth. It ought to be clear after this sorry start that such an upswing simply ain’t going to happen. Since game one of the 2008 College World Series finals, Coach Perno’s clubs have gone 119-124 overall and 50-67 in SEC play. Enough is enough. David Perno needs to be fired, now.