Fate keeps slugger from woods and Omaha

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 14, 2009

When I lost my footing on the muddy embankment and slid helplessly into the frigid waters of the Yazoo Diversion Canal, it ended any chance of my ever becoming a hunter. Hunting just wasn’t in the cards for me.

I can now add a trip to Omaha and the College World Series to that list.

Ever since I began following college baseball many years ago, it has been a dream to get to Nebraska’s largest city for the College World Series.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

The possibility of actually playing in the CWS disappeared when I was a wee lad and it became apparent that no college was looking for a half-blind third baseman who needed a sun dial to time his run from home to first base.

But then I began writing sports in New York while in high school. The closest baseball team was Army, and they had as much a chance at reaching the CWS as I did.

Not until moving to Mississippi and seeing the quality college baseball programs here did I begin to believe that a trip to Omaha as a reporter might be in the offering.

Following Ole Miss’ first victory over the University of Texas in the 2005 Super Regional — a best-of-three series with the winner heading to Omaha — I filled out hotel requests, began planning where to eat steak and basking in the chance to see a few former Vicksburg-area players reach the pinnacle of college baseball. The Rebels lost the next two games.

In 2006, again Ole Miss won the first game of a Super Regional, this time over Miami. Being that baseball is a superstitious sport, I ignored the waiting hotel reservation forms figuring it didn’t work the first time, why would it work now?

Ole Miss went on to lose the next two games.

One year later, Mississippi State made it, but again a trip was derailed because of a planned move and another sportswriter went from the Post. (Turns out the house didn’t get finished for three more months).

Now, the most unlikely of unlikely stories is unfolding as Southern Miss, a team which barely made a regional (the step before a super regional), defeated Florida in two straight games. But I am no longer writing sports.

I will enroll thoughts of Omaha to those of hunting: Some things are just not supposed to happen.

Dad tried to cheer me up Sunday night. “Who wants to go to Omaha? That is like visiting Des Moines, Iowa.”

It didn’t work.