When Seth Beer went to Omaha, Neb., prior to the College World Series last June to accept his Dick Howser Award as the nation’s best player, he got to do something he always dreamed about … going to Omaha and seeing the College World Series.
It was an eye-opening moment for then freshman.
“Knowing what Omaha is, and then knowing what Omaha actually means are two different things,” Beer said. “For guys that have not been there, Omaha is like a dream and stuff. I was personally one of those guys that thought about how awesome it would be and all of that stuff. But once you actually get there and see what it is, you get that fever. You want to just keep going, and you want to keep going every year.”
Because his Clemson team did not make it, it did not mean Beer did not catch the fever that every one of the players on the eight teams out there did. The Clemson outfielder got a small sample of what it was like and why it is the mecca of college baseball.
“That is why some of these programs like Florida and programs like them go there almost every year because they drive to get there and to succeed. They know what it takes,” Beer said.
Clemson, who has been to the CWS 12 times, used to have that fever as a program. There was a streak under former head coach Jack Leggett that every four years at least one of his teams played in a College World Series. That streak was broken in 2014, when the Tigers failed to advance out of the Vanderbilt Regional.
The Tigers have not been back to Omaha since 2010 and only hitting coach Bradley LeCroy has experienced the feeling of what it is like to go to Omaha as a team. But Beer got a little taste of it last year and he is hoping his small sample is enough to affect the entire team.
“I just think for me getting a little bit of a taste of what it feels like to be there, I just had to bring that back to our team and express a little bit of what I got out of the experience,” Beer said. “I feel like it kind of started something that our team has really been working hard for. We had some tough times and we have had really good times, but to be a good ballplayer and a good ballteam, you have to experience both and that is what makes a team great.”
The Tigers Road to Omaha starts on Friday when they host UNC Greensboro in Game 2 of the Clemson Regional at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
“We all know why we are here and we all know what we want to do,” Beer said. “What I told my teammates is that it is up to us to be able to do that. Coach (Monte) Lee can do all kinds of things through practice, through meetings and through scouting reports, but at the end of the day he tell us he can’t go out there and play for us. So it falls on us to compete and enjoy every pitch because you don’t know when the last one is going to be.”