By Andy / PNW Sports Fans
It seems like yesterday that the Beavers historic 2017 season came to an end in Omaha. But it didn’t conclude with the dogpile that had been seemingly written into the script months prior. A team that came to Omaha with just 4 losses on the season, was instead sent home from the doorstep of the championship series. How could this be? What happened? Greg Street couldn’t see an elephant if its trunk was touching his nose! The Beavs were a team of destiny! These thoughts among others raced through my head as my friends and I finished our beers in disgust at Prineville’s, Ochoco Brewing (Shoutout to them. Good food, good beer and they put the game on for us after a dusty day of softball.) We were supposed to embark on a cross country road trip the following morning to take in the championship series. But like the Beavers, the season didn’t end with us being where we’d hoped.
No matter how hard we tried to pinch ourselves, it was over. The best Oregon State baseball team to ever grace a diamond was coming back to Corvallis empty handed. It was a sobering couple of weeks. An all time great team wouldn’t be rewarded with the immortality it deserved. Instead it would be remembered as a great season that ultimately ended with thoughts of what could have been.
Fast forward a year to present day. Here we are. The Beavers are back in Omaha with a chance to start over and be remembered in a positive way (Hopefully John Canzano and the Oregonian see the irony). It won’t be easy. This field is stacked with blue bloods, immense talent, and teams that are incredibly tough outs. Oh, and the Washington Huskies will also be there.
A lot of familiar faces remain from last year’s squad. Nick Madrigal and Steven Kwan are back. Cadyn Grenier, Trevor Larnach, Adley Rutschman, and Bryce Fehmel are there too. Battle tested seniors Jack Anderson, Kyle Nobach and Luke Heimlich (who decided not to pitch last year because our society doesn’t truly believe in two sides to a story, rehabilitation, or second chances) will all be there. And of course, Pat Casey will be there donning the number 5 from a sun soaked dugout of TD Ameritrade Park.
Yes, much will be the same. But one key difference will be the repetitive muttering of a single word by both players and fans. “FINISH”! It’s a word Nick Madrigal and other leaders of the team have repeatedly used to describe the sole focus of this season. It’s the reason a customary dogpile was absent from an Omaha clinching celebration. And it is that word that will ultimately define the 2018 Beavers. It’s time to finish.
See you in Omaha!