Dear Razorback Baseball Team, You Should Be Proud

Dear Razorback Baseball Team, You Should Be Proud

And we're all proud of you.

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A few weeks ago, the Arkansas Razorback baseball team played for the national championship in the College World Series. They won the first game, but fell short in the second and third games, and were unable to clinch the title. One of the final plays of the second game was a pop up a foul ball that I think everyone watching thought was going to end the game, with Arkansas winning the national title. That didn't happen though, and Oregon State was able to take advantage of that dropped ball, and go on to win that game and the next one. It was a play that I have relived many times since it happened, so I can only imagine how many times the boys involved have relived it. I don't want to focus on that single play though, because doing that would convince you that the Razorbacks were not a good team, but they most definitely were (and are), and they should be proud of this season.

Be proud of the character you had throughout the season.

I can't say I watched every single baseball game, but I can say that the ones I did watch were played with character. Each player on the team always seemed to be giving it his all every single game, whether it was an assumed win or a possible loss. The Razorbacks always seemed to be respectful of the other teams and the umpires at their games, and that is something to be proud of.

Be proud of the incredible statistics from this season. Blaine Knight went undefeated (14-0) this season, for the second most victories in all of NCAA Division I teams. The only person who beat him was one of the pitchers for Oregon State, who won the College World Series. In the SEC, Arkansas had the second highest team batting average, most runs scored throughout the year, the most hits, the second most home runs hit, and the second highest on-base percentage. Heston Kjerstad won the SEC Freshman of the Year, and Casey Martin joined him on the All-Freshman team. Those statistics should make any Hog fan proud.

Lastly, be proud of the memories made and your new place in history.

There were definitely games you won that some people didn't think you would, so you proved them wrong. There are 302 NCAA Division I baseball teams, and you got second out of all of them - that is impressive. And no one can ever take that away from you.

I know it's hard to not replay that pop-up over and over in your heads. But there are so many aspects of this season to be proud of, and one moment shouldn't take those away. So be proud, fellow Arkansas Razorbacks, this was a great season, and I can't wait until the next one.

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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Will Bryce Harper And Manny Machado Ever Sign Anywhere At All?

So please, Harper and Machado, put us out of our misery and just pick a team and sign somewhere already.

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As the MLB offseason is coming to a close, I can't help but feel like it has barely started. Why? Pitchers and catchers report to their respective spring training camps in less than two weeks, and many free agents have yet to sign with a team.

Needless to say, it has been an unusual baseball offseason. This offseason has left me with so many unanswered questions. Even though my beloved New York Mets have made many respectable signings, and trades, this offseason, I am still left pondering the fate of other major league teams.

Where will the superstars that everyone can't stop talking about, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado both 26 and together possessing 10 All-Star berths and 61 career bWAR sign? Will they join a rival team of mine? Or bolster a team in another division's line-up? Where will the rest of the free agent's sign?

Trade rumors are spreading like wildfire, and yet, baseball fans including myself are left with no definite answers. Yes, apps like MLB At Bat and Bleacher Report may be blowing up our phones with alleged rumors and clickbait written by esteemed baseball writers, but no progress has been made.

So please, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, put us out of our misery and just pick a team and sign somewhere already.

Regardless of the recent release of the MLB: The Show 19 Cover, Bryce Harper did not announce where he was going to sign. Though Phillies fans are believed to have Harper in the bag, no official news has been released. Honestly, the suspense is killing me!

Philadelphia met with Harper in his native Las Vegas to pitch to Harper, and the pitch allegedly went so well that the ball club decided to focus solely on Harper instead of both Harper and Machado.

Other teams such as the Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers have each shown a great amount of interest in both free agents Harper and Machado.

The Chicago White Sox have a stockpile of prospects and have kept payrolls low. They've also been collecting members of Machado's inner circle including Jon Jay, whom he trains with over the offseason and Yonder Alonso, his brother in law.

Could these all be signs that he could be going to the White Sox? According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the White Sox gave Machado a formal offer of $175 million over 7 years. Yet, no further progress has been made on that front.

The Los Angeles Dodgers had previously acquired Machado from a trade with the Baltimore Orioles. Machado even said he loved playing in Los Angeles during the second half of the 2018 season, so why wouldn't they try to bring him back? They should be in on Harper too, which would be more logical for the Dodgers, since they need a superstar bat and can accommodate his salary.

Though Harper has received some incredible offers, some forget that he could stay with the Nationals, a ball club that he has been a part of for 17 years, after all. Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if he stayed put and didn't go to another team at all.

The New York Yankees who were said to be interested in Machado never made a formal offer to him, and never truly seemed interested at all. The Chicago Cubs, who were said to be interested in Harper never made an offer either, despite Kris Bryant being one of Harper's friends, and Harper having a dog named Wrigley.

Most recently, there have been said to be mystery teams in on Machado, including the San Diego Padres and who knows who else. Obviously, this offseason is far from over and who knows, maybe these two won't even report to spring training after all.

This new trend of free agents waiting to sign with teams is a hint to all of us invested in the baseball world that something deep within the offseason free agency is broken. Hopefully somehow, someway, we will get the answer to the question: Will Bryce Harper and Manny Machado ever sign anywhere at all?

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