On Friday, the NCAA Baseball Tournament will begin its Super Regional Round. Sixteen teams from all over the country will continue their run towards Omaha, Nebraska and the College World Series.
Here in this part of the country, Clemson once again is sitting at home as players clean out their lockers. For those that were drafted, they will begin preparations for a professional career, while some others will head North to play in the Cape.
For a ninth straight year, the Clemson baseball program’s run in the NCAA Tournament was over before it even got started. Once a program that made the Super Regionals nine times from 1999-2010, has now missed it nine consecutive years.
How long has it been since Clemson last won a regional?
The last time it happened, the Los Angeles Lakers were on their way to beating the Boston Celtics in seven games in the 2010 NBA Finals.
The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup over the Philadelphia Flyers.
Rafael Nadal won the French Open without dropping a set.
Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland won the 110th U.S. Open.
“Shrek Forever After” was the No. 1 movie at the box office.
Chris Young’s “The Man I Want To Be” was the No. 1 country music song.
Usher’s song, “OMG,” featuring will.i.am, topped the Billboard Charts.
Sandra Bullock and Johnny Depp were the biggest movie stars in Hollywood.
And Clemson Football was still a year away from winning its first ACC Championship in 20 years.
Since Clemson last won a regional:
South Carolina won its second national championship (2011) and played for a third (2012).
8 different teams have won a national championship, including South Carolina.
5 times the Gamecocks have played in the Super Regional Round
10 different ACC teams have made it to a Super Regional, including Duke (2), Boston College, Wake Forest and Maryland.
Clemson’s No. 1 rival in the ACC, Florida State, has been 7 times, including this season.
So, what is the point to all of this?
This is all proof of how long it has been since Clemson was a major factor in college baseball. Getting to the NCAA Tournament in baseball just isn’t good enough. It’s not what this program is about.
There was a time when Clemson Baseball was the premiere sport on Clemson’s campus. Granted football has always been No. 1 in most Clemson fans’ hearts, and that will always be the case, but for more than 20 years, it was baseball that carried the flag for Clemson athletics on a national scale.
But that is not the case anymore. The baseball program at Clemson has slipped. And though the Tigers have won an ACC Championship and hosted regionals, the goal at Clemson is to compete in the NCAA Tournament and be a factor in the Super Regional Round and in the College World Series.
Clemson Athletic Director Dan Radakovich said that himself in 2015 after he fired Hall of Fame head coach Jack Leggett, after Leggett’s final two teams failed to win a game in a regional.
“Our objective is success, defined by competing for ACC Championships and winning in the NCAA Tournament,” Radakovich said in a press release after firing Leggett. “I have high expectations – and I know our fans and student-athletes have great expectations – for our baseball program.”
So, when is Clemson going to start living up to those expectations on the baseball diamond? It hasn’t now for the last nine years.