You say you want more softball? Well, O.K., then . . . you got more softball! On Thursday night, the eighth-ranked Bulldogs went on the road to face the twelfth-ranked Tigers in Baton Rouge. The contest was televised on ESPN, so the whole country got to see the Red and Black get rocked in the latest display of (i) my ability to jinx any Georgia team merely by placing faith in it, (ii) the ongoing tendency of Bulldog squads to wilt under pressure which has continued virtually uninterrupted since beginning in the second game of the 2008 College World Series finals, and (iii) the persistent intervention of the malevolent hand of Fate in all matters concerning Red and Black athletics. Seriously, this trend has made the transition from annoying to disheartening to downright creepy.
Stellar Georgia pitcher Erin Arevalo did not bring her A game to the Pelican State, lasting only two innings yet giving up two walks, five hits, and five earned runs. The Red and Black committed a pair of errors, and the damage easily could have been worse, as the Tigers stranded eight baserunners in seven stanzas. The Bulldogs fell to 40-9 overall and 17-7 in conference action, while Louisiana State improved to 40-10 for the season in its entirety and 18-5 in league play.
For what it’s worth, I saw a fair amount of softball when my niece played the game, and, having now watched a college softball game on TV, I have to say the sport features some of the finest orchestrated smack talk of any game at any level. There is at least a master’s thesis in speech communication to be written on the subject of dugout chatter at the youth level; let a nine-year-old girl throw toward the plate and put the ball in the dirt, and the entire opposing lineup will, with perfect synchronization, call out: "Rolling, rolling, rolling, pitcher’s going bowling. Get those worms a helmet. Save the worms!" Similar exhibitions of what my politically incorrect brain still would call showmanship were on display from both teams at Tiger Park tonight. It’s only a matter of time before the NCAA shows up and starts taking runs off the board for such intolerable displays of school spirit.