Fresno State won the College World Series. How are Bronco fans supposed to deal with that?
For the most part, there are two sides to the fence. On one side resides those who cheer the success of every WAC team because it brings respectability and notoriety to the conference, and by extention, to Boise State. Those on the other side of the fence are staunchly selfish, decrying success of conference rivals because of the mere fact that they are conference rivals and therefore deserve a full measure of hatred and contempt. Chances are good that most Bronco fans reside on one side or the other.
Fresno State's national championship would be simple to debate if it were as black-and-white as, say, the Bulldogs' football game against Wisconsin. However, the baseball title is an entirely different beast for a couple of reasons.
- Boise State has no baseball team. This would seem to make the decision significantly easier. If Boise State has no baseball team, the reasoning might go, then Boise State fans have free reign to root for whomever they choose.
- Fresno State's national championship is being considered a historical blow for the little guy so much so that it may overshadow the historical blow that the Broncos laid in the Fiesta Bowl. How can a Bronco fan justifiably be happy about that?
The grayness of the issue leaves a lot of room for fan interpretation, but choosing sides has also been an interesting matter in the local media. On the Press-Tribune website, they put up a "breaking news" link to the story of the Bulldogs' championship. The Idaho Statesman website had absolutely no mention of it. Oddly enough, the voice of reason in this whole ordeal has been none other than Tom Scott.
It's being called one of the more remarkable stories in the history of college sports. ESPN's Erin Andrews calls it "a movie". Fresno State became the lowest-seeded team ever to win the College World Series, beating Georgia, 6-1. It's being treated like Boise State's Fiesta Bowl upset, and the Bulldogs' national championship is indeed a monstrous accomplishment.
But to be sure, 10 years from now a slew of Americans will be able to tell you who won in Glendale on New Year's Day 2007 (and how it happened), while precious few will be able to tell you who won the 2008 College World Series.
And therein lies the beautiful rub. Showing appreciation for the Fresno State baseball team is harmless when you consider the historical staying power of their championship. It's not that sports fans are unable or unwilling to remember a small school's victory. It is that they are unable or unwilling to remember a baseball victory. The Fiesta Bowl (and college football in general) is far more memorable than any measure of college baseball no matter how unprecedented, unique, or captivating.
Congratulations are certainly in order for Fresno State on their incredible achievement, and Bulldog fans should certainly enjoy the limelight while it lasts. But for those Bronco fans concerned with the long-lasting effects of a "win for the ages," keep in mind that all of the hubbub will be forgotten in a matter of time.
All it will take is a kickoff.