Providence College Baseball
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Providence College Baseball
||F R I A R S -
by Drew L. Hankin
To put into words all
that went on Sunday night after the Florida State victory over Providence
College would do a great disservice to all who were there. But I will try to
explain some of what happened.
It began during the Jacksonville/Providence game earlier in the day. Most of the
Animals were sitting up in Section B as the Dolphins opened up a 7-1 lead and
seemed to be coasting into the championship game against FSU. The Animals had
done a little cheering for Providence, mainly because we didn't like what was
happening to their program (in case you haven't heard, their baseball program
has been cancelled due to Title IX issues). Plus, the umpiring crew seemed to be
picking on Providence about every little thing they did and said (they had
players ejected in every game they played). In the seventh inning, with
Jacksonville leading 7-3, we decided to move over above the Providence dugout
(3rd base side) and help their fans in what appeared to be the last game that
Providence would ever play. The cheering seemed to "charge" the Friar team and
they responded with 1 run in the seventh and 3 miraculous runs in the eighth to
tie it up. Even when the Dolphins went ahead by one with a pinch-hit homerun in
the top of the ninth, PC stayed in it. With 2 outs in the ninth inning and
trailing by 1 run, Mike "Scooter" Scott hit a triple off the wall that scored
Daniel Conway and tied the game up at eight. In the bottom of the tenth inning,
once again with 2 outs, Neil McCarthy hit a line drive to centerfield that looked
like it would bounce off the wall, but the baseball gods smiled on Providence
one last time and carried the ball over the wall, giving the Friars a stunning
victory. The Providence fans and family members were in tears, the Animals were
smiling from ear to ear, and even the players seemed stunned at what had just
happened. After much hugging and high fiving, The Animals said our good-byes and
promised "That was fun, but now it's time for business," which the Providence
fans knew and accepted gracefully.
Later on, during the FSU game, it was easily apparent that the Friars didn't
have much left after an emotionally and physically trying weekend. In the ninth
inning, with Florida State enjoying a 14-3 lead, The Animals decided to show a
bit more of that class that Coach Martin is always talking about.
"Hey Providence, this one's for you!"
Take me out to the ballgame,
Take me out to the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks,
I don't care if I ever get back.
Cause it's root, root, root for the Friars,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes you're out,
at the old ballgame.
Providence's Angelo "The Godfather" Ciminiello,
right, hugs assistant coach John Navilliat moments after Providence lost to
Florida State 14-3 in the teams' NCAA Division I Regional championship game
The rest of the
crowd quickly joined in and gave the Providence team a standing ovation during
most of the rest of the inning, clapping and chanting "Friars, Friars" the whole
After the final out, Florida State Baseball showed the class that has made it
famous by making an announcement about Providence and honoring their coaches and
players. The scoreboard read "Thanks for the Memories, Providence Friars" and
even the Florida State Players gathered in the infield and applauded the
Providence team. If it had gone on for too much longer, I doubt there would have
been a dry eye in the entire stadium. On the way out of the stadium, many of the
Animals joined in with the Friar fans and families to form a line from the field
gate to the exit of the stadium, shaking hands and applauding each Providence
player and coach that walked out. As one of the coaches would later tell me, "we
were sent to Florida State for a reason, they knew that we'd be taken care of."
I'd hate to think what might have happened, and what might not have happened if
the Friars had been sent to Miami or Wichita State.
As we all walked out of Howser Stadium together, we told the fans and players
that we were having a tailgating party over in the Circus lot and invited them
all over for a brew or two and some BBQ. We all figured it was a nice touch, but
never thought they'd come over. After about 10 minutes at the tailgating party,
we looked over towards Howser and saw the ENTIRE Providence baseball team and
coaching staff headed our way.
What followed really had to be seen to be believed but four hours later, the
Providence bus pulled out of the parking lot as the Friars were wearing Animal
T-Shirts and carrying Animal Songbooks while the Animals were wearing Providence
hats, shirts, and even jerseys.
I've seen a lot of things during my time in the Animals but I have never, ever
been prouder than I was last night to be a member. We made 30 or so FSU fans for
life last night and nobody can ever take that away from us.
So the next time any opposing (or FSU) fan makes a comment about the Animals
being too obnoxious or "over the line", we can always look back to May 30, 1999,
and what we did for those players and coaches. It's something that they - and
we, will never forget.
Click to enlarge any photo