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Thoughts on the end of the (first) Year of the Bear.

The emblem of the (first) Year of the Bear.
The emblem of the (first) Year of the Bear.

I was going to write this just about the baseball game, but I figured I should mention all of the incredible things that happened this year, too.

The game, first, though:

  • Tyler Bremer pitched a complete game shut out. 9 innings of stellar pitching. including getting himself out of a few jams. It's too bad that the Baylor bats couldn't capitalize on Arkansas' starting pitcher Randall Fant's wildness, or the two times they loaded the bases.
  • Logan Vick was good out in CF again tonight, making a great catch that looked, from the stands, like it was going to fall in for a hit.
  • The anti-play-of-the-game was Baylor coach Steve Smith pinch-hitting yesterday's starting pitcher Josh Turley for SS Jake Miller. Turley struck out looking. This, however, was not the reason for naming this the anti-play-of-the-game.
  • By pinch-hitting Turley for Miller, Smith had to put Steve DalPorto in at shortstop for the 10th inning. Steve DalPorto has only started in 10 games this year for Baylor, and played in a total of 22 (Jake Miller started 64 games out of 64 games played). DalPorto then missed a ground ball that allowed the winning run to score. All because a pitcher pinch-hit for a SS who was 1-for-3 on the day and had seen 234 season ABs to Turley's 7 ABs.
  • Hitting into double plays kills momentum, from what I've observed.
  • Nathan Orf does not get to break the NCAA record for number of times HBP.
  • David Murphy (Texas Rangers, drafted out of Baylor in 2003) was in attendance, and it was amusing to see people both unobtrusively and not-so-unobtrusively attempt to photograph him.

Below the jump, on to what we all should actually remember about this year (when we stop being so sad about this game).

  • Baylor Football won 10 games, the Alamo Bowl, and RGIII brought us the Heisman Trophy. This was after being dismissed as "scrubby" and "worthless" and openly being mocked for trying to keep the Big 12 together.
  • Baylor Women's Basketball (40-0) won the National Championship, and went undefeated. Coach Kim Mulkey was named the National Coach of the Year, and Brittney Griner was named the National Player of the Year. The Lady Bears also showed the kind of courage and determination that we, as Baylor Bears and fans, should take immense joy and pride in.
  • Baylor Men's Basketball (30-8) went to the Elite Eight, falling to the eventual national champions, Kentucky. They surprised many with their deep run into the tournament, and though they lose 3 of their key players to graduation and the NBA Draft, the talent being brought in for 2012-2013 means they shouldn't be counted out next year, either.
  • Though Baylor Baseball's season ended tonight on a heart-breaking note, they also won an incredible 24 games straight, and won 49 games overall, enough to break the NCAA combined-sports record (football, basketball, women's basketball, baseball). They also were ranked first in the country by a major poll (for the first time in program history) and performed well past the level of others' expectations.
  • Baylor Equestrian won the NCEA National Championship (Hunter Seat), something I didn't even know existed until they won.
  • All 19 of Baylor's sponsored "varsity" sports made the postseason, making Baylor one of only two schools in the nation to achieve that.
  • Thanks to the many successes of Baylor's Athletics program, Baylor will be able to build a state-of-the-art on-campus football stadium.
  • Throughout this all, Baylor University proved their worth to the Big 12, winning the regular season and the championship in women's basketball, the regular season in baseball, and the men's golf individual title. Robert Griffin III, Brittney Griner, and Josh Ludy also won Big 12 Player of the Year for their respective sports.
It has been an amazing year to be a Baylor Bear, and as a current student, I am blessed to have been a part of it. We can only hope that this is simply the beginning of many more "Years of the Bear."

As an end note, I would like to personally thank the Baylor (and Golden Wave Band) alumni who gave me their tickets today. Your generosity and kindness both touched my heart and kept me from sunburn. Thank you for showing what this university is truly about.