In memoriam:
Providence College Baseball

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In  memoriam:
Providence College Baseball


PC Athletic Department Logo F R I A R S - FRIARS!!
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 Sunday.

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 time.

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.

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