I, for one, am still perplexed about the tom-foolery shown by the Tiger baseball team last week. We all know how bad this team is in the field, but the mental errors combined with a lack of effort is troubling for me to digest. Such mistakes are what you expect out of Little Leagers, not college athletes. Left fielder Jeff Schaus had a horrendous first inning Sunday, making a throwing error then giving less than full effort fielding a fly ball. The throwing error allowed a runner to advance. The effort on the fly ball contributed to a double, scoring two runs. Leggett immediately removed Schaus from the game in the bottom of the 1st inning.
While lack of effort is unacceptable, lack of attention is simply irresponsible. As we all know, Richie Shaffer made a silly mistake in the bottom of the 9th, down one, with the bases loaded. While a delayed strike is unfortunate, the call does result in a live ball which, in this case, was used to throw out a straying base runner. The base runner must be absolutely positive of the umpire's decision before making any decision. Further, with the bases loaded, and down one, the man on first base is really unimportant from an offensive standpoint as he is neither the tying run nor the go ahead run. Further, with the bases loaded, there is nowhere for the man on first to go as there are two runners ahead of him. This lack of attention, while acknowledged by Shaffer, reflects on this overall team. This is a squad that has been up and (mostly) down at the plate since ACC play started. This team has struggled with the gloves. Now we give away outs in a critical portion of the game. It appears as though the Tigers need a serious refocusing effort if they want to be playing ball after May ends.
I do have respect for Richie Shaffer and the fashion in which he manned up after his mistake (see quote below). Hopefully this will be a learning experience and a wake up call for the whole program as we move into must-win series to close out the season.
"I thought he called it a ball," Shaffer said. "I have no one to blame but myself."
On to golf news. Dabo hit the links with NFL legend and former Clemson star Dwight Clark for a SouthEastern football coach/notable alumni golf tourney put on by the good folks at the Chick-fil-a. Unfortunately, the duo from Clemson got pretty much smoked by the field, carding a 75 and finishing 10 strokes off the leaders. The Swinney-Clark team was paired with their in-state rivals on the front nine, and proved to be no match for the ringer team of Steve Spurrier and Sterling Sharpe. I sincerely hope the Gamecocks gave the CU club a few strokes on the front at Reynolds Plantation, as SOS is known for his extensive love of the game and Sharpe can flat out lace the ball, particularly off the tee box. Both Swinney and Sharpe will participate in the BMW Pro-Am in a few weeks, so folks in the upstate will get a chance to see these guys in a few weeks.
The BMW will also feature five (5) former Clemson tiger golfers. This group includes Kevin Johnson, Stephen Poole, Brian Duncan, Brent Delahoussaye, and Matt Hendrix. Both Hendrix and Johnson earned All-American status while at Clemson. It should also be noted that Matt and Dabo will team up in the Pro-Am portion of the tournament. Thursday tee times for these folks have been released and can be found here.
Sticking with golf, Clemson will also feature five (5) former Tigers at Quail Hollow this week. Courtesy of www.clemsontigers.com:
The group of Tigers in the field includes D.J. Trahan, an All-American and national player of the Year, who led Clemson to the 2003 National Championship, Lucas Glover the 2009 US Open Champion who was an All-American at Clemson between 1998-2001, Charles Warren, the only Clemson golfer to win the NCAA Championship (1997), Kevin Johnson, Clemson's first three-time All-American, and Jonathan Byrd, the first Clemson golfer to earn All-ACC honors four consecutive years.
I will be interested in how these folks play, and encourage everyone to follow these folks in addition to the circus surrounding Phil and Tiger in Charlotte this weekend.
The current Clemson golf team placed 6th last weekend in the ACC tournamant. The Tigers struggled mightily, carding a final round 293 and finishing 21 strokes off the lead. Clemson again is ranked in the Golf World Coaches poll at #19 for the second consecutive week. The Tigers are eagerly awaiting where they will be slotted for the NCAA regionals that begin on May 20. This announcement will be made on May 10th.
In basketball news, we talked about the hiring of Dick Bender a few weeks ago, and it appears as though Brownell has found a spot for Bender as Director of Men's Basketball Operations. If you are wondering what exactly this position includes, Virginia Tech recently posted this a director of bball operations job recently, as shown here. Basically, this role coordinates events, travel, recruitment, and other activities associated with the basketball program. The job also requires expertise in the area of collegiate basketball. Bender will be able to advise Brownell as he moves forward and will play a direct role in this program.
We also are concerned about the offense at this point in the progression. I am also a little fired up about the conference and where we are going with the ACC, especially in light of the turbulence that could be created in the near future on the collegiate landscape. I have a few too many concerns and opinions to express here, but will expand on these items over the next few days.