Saturday, April 20, 2013

A night of baseball in Fort Worth

I was surprised Zippy polished off his enchilada plate,
but he said he was still hungry.
Even though this blog is about going to every Baylor football game, we're not one-sport fans!  And even though my boys chose to go home to watch the Final Four rather than go to the Baylor-West Virginia baseball game a couple weeks ago, we decided to take in a game with the Bears and the Horned Frogs here in Fort Worth!

After a quick dinner at Taco Cabana, we headed over to TCU's beautiful Lupton Stadium for Baylor's first meeting with the Frogs as Big 12 rivals.  TCU has not been kind to Baylor baseball in Fort Worth in recent years; the last time Baylor won a baseball game in Fort Worth was March 4, 2009.

The night started off great for Baylor, with the first 3 batters getting base hits, including last weekend's hero Cal Towey batting in lead-off hitter Lawton Langford.  After that, the well went dry for the Bears as TCU scored in the third and fifth while shutting out the Bears.

The sparse crowd included a sizable Baylor contingent.
Down 2-1 in the top of the eighth, Langford scored again on Jake Miller's bases loaded single to tie it up.  Baylor held strong in the bottom of the eighth, allowing no runs in spite of a (questionable) balk and a base hit.  Finally, all tied up in the 9th inning, with one out, Mitch Price came in for his one at bat of the evening and sent his second pitch over the left field wall!  The Frogs had one more chance, but Crayton Bare came in and struck out the first two batters, then the third flied out to center field.

Zippy and Elliot were happy to see their friends Larkin and Drayton!
The weather was perfect, we got to hang out with some Baylor friends, we saw an exciting win, and maybe, just maybe, my boys were convinced that college baseball is pretty cool after all.  The Bears haven't started off with an incredible win streak like they did last year, but they are at the top of the Big 12 standings in a wide-open race.  Maybe they can repeat as Big 12 champs!

My iphone inadequately captured the final: 3-2.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

An early Baylor road trip memory at Kyle Field

I was Baylor-bred, through and through.  Both my parents went to Baylor, and we were going to Baylor football games from my earliest memory.  But not all of the family bled green and gold. . . . My paternal grandfather was--gasp!--an Aggie!  He came by it honestly.  A WW2 veteran and electrical engineer, he was typical Aggie material.  With his influence, and the influence of Steve Price, my best friend, I, for a short period of time, was an Aggie fan.  I remember even wearing an Aggie shirt!  My parents must have been so ashamed.

To solidify my Aggie-ness, Granddaddy took my brother and me to Kyle field for a football game.  The year was 1978, and the nationally ranked Aggies, at 5-1, were ready to take on the Baylor Bears.  Or so they thought. We stayed in Granddaddy and Grandmommy's RV in the lot next to Kyle field, and I'm sure Mark and I were decked out in Aggie gear.  But something unexpected happened that day.  A freshman named Walter Abercrombie stepped onto the field, refusing to be intimidated by the boys in maroon.  As told by the Baylor football website:

"During his first collegiate game in 1978 against No. 12 Texas A&M, Abercrombie set the standard for what was to be expected by rushing for 207 yards, establishing an NCAA record for rushing yards in a first contest." 

Ultimately, Baylor won 24-6.  Well, that did it for A&M!  No more Aggie shirts for me!  Granddaddy told my parents that, as we were walking back to the RV, I declared that I didn't want to go to A&M after all!

That was a turning point for me, but a turning point for Baylor, too.  1978 was a losing season, but with Abercrombie running the ball, and with the indomitable Mike Singletary on defense, the Bears won the Peach Bowl in 1979, and after winning the SWC championship in 1980, played in the Cotton Bowl.

Abercrombie ran for an amazing 10.89 yards per carry that game, and went on to set the career rushing record at Baylor, rushing for 3,665 yards, a record which may never be broken.  He will always be remembered as one Baylor's greats, but, more importantly for me, I will always remember him as the man who saved me from being an Aggie!

The Baylor web site has a nice write up about the game.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spring game--Baylor wins!

We still have 147 days to wait until kick-off of the 2013 Baylor football season, but a few hundred Baylor faithful got a preview of the season at Baylor's spring scrimmage.  This was essentially an open practice, without a lot of fireworks, but I enjoyed being there.  Elliot said "That was not as fun as I thought it would be," and after about half an hour, Zippy spent most of the remainder of the time asking how much longer until we could leave.  He was disappointed that there weren't snacks for sale.  Plus, I couldn't convince them to stick around for the baseball game.  Elliot declared that college baseball games are not as fun as professional baseball games, based on his experience of having attended exactly ZERO college baseball games in his life!  I try, I try.
Me with my two Baylor fan buddies.
Some pictures and observations:

Based on today's short workout, the running game will be much more impressive than the passing game this year.  We remember how Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin turned up the heat in the running game toward the end of last season.  They both had some breakout runs today, Martin looking fast and strong, Seastrunk showing his fancy footwork.
I'm not sure who this O lineman is, but I hope he will learn to block for Petty
without holding the defensive player's face mask.
On the other hand, on some series, the defense really shut down the running game.  I choose to believe that is an indication of strength on the defensive side of the ball, rather than weakness of the running game.  (Am I viewing the team through green and gold colored glasses?  Probably.)
Probable starter Bryce Petty took some snaps today, but we also saw Andrew Frerking, Chris Johnson, and Seth Russell at QB.  I saw a few bright spots, but I saw too many passes on the turf. . . . Let's just say this Baylor fan hopes the Quarterback Whisperer can work some magic over the next 4 months!

It was great to see Coach Drew and some of his team show up with the NIT trophy!  Those guys frustrated Baylor fans with some inconsistent play, huge wins and tough, close losses, but they stepped up and played some awesome games, bringing home the hardware from Madison Square Garden.  It's fun to end the season with a win!
Congratulations to Scott Drew and his NIT champion Bears!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Go to every Baylor football game? Why not!

When the 2013 Baylor football schedule was released, I noticed that besides the 6 home games, three of the games were close to home: TCU, 25 minutes away, Tech at Cowboys Stadium, 15 minutes away, and SMU, 35 minutes away.  That only left Kansas, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State.  Since we always go to Baylor's home games, and since the 3 D/FW games are so close, I figured, why not try to go to all of Baylor's road games, too?

Since that time, SMU dropped Baylor, and Baylor added a home game, so that makes things even easier: 7 home games, 2 Tarrant County games that I could practically ride my bike to, and 3 out of
state games.  It's a plan!  We're going to go to EVERY BAYLOR GAME in 2013!  (Bowl game pending, of course. . . .)
Elliot and Zippy in 2005, on Dr. and Mrs. Reynolds's front porch.
This blog will provide some anticipation for the 2013 Baylor football season, and give reports along the way as we follow the Baylor Bears squad.  Let me introduce the fans.  Me: Paul, a lifelong Baylor fan and proud Baylor graduate.  I have been attending Baylor games as long as I can remember.  I can't say I've never missed a home game, but I don't miss many.  For four years I lived in Michigan, and managed to get to at least one home game each year.  My partners in fanhood: Elliot, a lifelong Baylor fan, at first because I am, but now he has embraced Baylor and, most days, can been seen wearing some sort of Baylor garb; and Zippy, who would definitely call himself a Baylor fan, but who is mostly concerned with whether or not we will be able to buy popcorn or other snacks at the games.

If you're a Baylor fan, and especially if you want to join us at EVERY BAYLOR GAME drop us a line.

Sic 'em Bears!

Baylor's playing? We'll be there!