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Friday, February 18, 2005

Longhorns: The Coming of Spring (Vol. 3) 

One of the best rivalries in college baseball resumes this afternoon when No. 6 Stanford visits No. 4 Texas at Disch-Falk Field here in Austin. I plan to attend, even though the low-50s temperatures don't exactly feel like Spring. It's nothing a few ballpark hot dogs -- and maybe a flask? -- won't fix.

Even though they seem to take two of three from us each February, I enjoy the Stanford rivalry. Maybe it's because we beat them when it really mattered, winning back-to-back games in the 2002 College World Series, en route to the national championship. They'll counter that the Cardinal's back-to-back wins in the 2001 Palo Alto Regional kept Texas from even advancing to Omaha, but since they followed that up with a loss in the Super Regional, I don't think it counts.

If nothing else, it will be nice to sit in the stands and embrace the game. Though I love baseball in any form, a ballpark, to me, is like a temple. Attending a game, with the aroma of hot dogs and popcorn saturating the air, is an almost religious experience. From the rituals of the seventh inning stretch to the visual poetry of a 6-4-3 double play or perfectly executed sacrifice bunt to the cathartic powers of heckling an umpire, a baseball park has an aura about it.

Don't get me wrong. I love the experience, but the most important thing is for the Horns to kick some ass. It's time to show those snobby academic sissies from NoCal how we play ball in Texas. Hook'Em, baby!


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