I really appreciate the thoughtful feedback in the comment threads for this morning's post. Majority of regular BN members seem to get the fact that there was no way I was diminishing the overall accomplishments of the UCLA baseball program during this wonderful season. All I was attempting to do was articulate my frank thoughts about the disappointment I felt from the lack of production from our offense in last couple of days.
Sure the two losses against USC will be bug me every now and then like the Memphis loss bothers me (for the same reasons A outlined here) but eventually I will get over it. Hopefully it will also not matter in the big picture, if John Savage can build a program that is consistently making serious runs for Pac-10 titles, situating itself as one of the marquee teams heading into tourney on a regular basis.
That said, I think it is imperative that we take a post say thanks to some individuals who have played pivotal role in making this the most memorable baseball season in the history of UCLA athletics. Sure ultimately it was those Ws that filled up the stands at JRS and got us glued to TV, but there has been really one person who was the dominant figure in driving the narrative around UCLA baseball. You all know who I am talking about.
Yeah, I know he has a real name and all that but he will always be Rye ("ryebreadaz"!) to many of us on BN, who have been on a beautiful journey with him from the very beginning. Last few weeks was extra special for many of us because thanks to Rye's efforts we were completely plugged into this program long before Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer came into Westwood. It made the games and run through the tourney that much more special. So thank you Rye for all the fun (which is made up of both the collective highs and lows we have experienced over the years in BN) we have had courtesy of UCLA baseball.
Now going beyond Rye,there are few other folks we need to single out for special recognition at the end of this season.
I feel like I need to single out three specific BN members who have been championing our team from the very beginning. LongtimeBru, LA Bruin, and BruinIslander have been with this team from the game thread way back in March, when it was not all that trendy to hangout in baseball threads. They were the ones who would often post away with updates and comments, that would keep rest of us checking in via our phones for scores. They were the ones who were often complementing Ryan's awesome twitter updates with live commentary that was better than anything available on gametracker. So a huge thanks to them for getting this train rolling from early here on BN.
Speaking of the official site, it is often trendy for UCLA fans to complain about Morgan Center and point out what they do wrong. On the flip side they often don't get the credit for lot of the little things they do right. I hope everyone realizes how much we have appreciate the help we have gotten from Marc Dellins, Alex Timiraos, Liza David and fantastic photographers such as Carlos Delgado and Brad Williams, who have been taking sweet pictures of the program. Since we are on the topic of photographers, thanks of course go out to all the folks who took pictures of this team and uploaded them on flickr and other photo sharing platforms.
I should also mention that they deserve huge credit for getting proactive in rolling out videos (thanks Ralph Irvin!) after big series wins during both the regular season and the tournament run. There was also John Ramey, UCLA's baseball announcer who did an amazing job of capturing the background flavor in following our program. Sure Morgan Center has lot of room for improvement and we will discuss about nagging issues around facility improvement at an appropriate time. In the mean time though, folks should really appreciate how those guys were supportive of the blogging efforts here on BN throughout the entire season. It made a huge difference in enabling us to directly share pictures, videos and stories from the program. Hopefully we can build on that in the coming years.
I realize the content above is a little kumbayaish but is necessary. It was beautiful to see how everyone in this community embraced the program, which we firmly believe translated into the offline energy that was evident at JRS throughout the entire season. Now putting our disappointment outside, lets gobble up the season tickets for next season and follow this team even more closely during the coming off-season. That means don't just depend on Ryan or rest of the frontpagers to spoonfeed you info. Take initiatives and become more proactive in following this program by sharing news, stories and your reflections on the team with rest of us. You have all the tools at BN. So use them in a way to show your passion and support for the team throughout entire season and not just during memorable tourney runs.
While we thank all the folks (besides the actual players and coached who made it happen on the field) who helped put together a magical season, let's also think about what we all can do to build on this year's success for more magic in the upcoming years.