Maybe it's that C&F is weary after two days of battling plumbing issues -- no, you don't want to know -- or perhaps it is that we are in the throes of the summertime lull. But only two stories, or two versions of one story, caught C&F's eye on this evening's ramble through the RSS reader and the Web. So no thread today.
But C&F can bring you news of Ray Tanner's take on the 2008 baseball team and what is in store for 2009. Which is actually more important than making an obscure reference to Gilded Age political dynamics in an attempt to mock Baby Bowden's latest ramblings, right?
The theme is the same: Tanner is disappointed in this year's pitching, but it's likely that pitching will be the key to the fortunes next season. Haney looks at who could be in the rotation in 2009.
South Carolina finished the year with a 4.36 ERA as a staff. Of the regular contributors, only senior starter Nick Godwin (3.14) and left-handed reliever Alex Farotto (2.66) had ERAs below 3.50.
Tanner said Blake Cooper (5-6, 3.94) and Sam Dyson (8-0, 4.09) will likely be counted upon as weekend starters. He's eyeing Dyson, who emerged late in the year and pitched well in the postseason, as a potential Friday night starter.
Jay Brown, returning from a second arm surgery, will be a weekend candidate, Tanner said. He also said don't be surprised if a true freshman factors in the mix.
Emerson, meanwhile, says that Tanner is keeping expectations high.
Tanner said one thing that wouldn’t change would be the expectation level for the program. He spent a great deal of time Wednesday talking about that subject, after a season in which many fans and media believed the Gamecocks underachieved. Tanner disagreed, granting only that his team could have won 45 games rather than the 40 it did.
“Our expectation will be to stay in the hunt. We’ll have different names, but we’re not going to change anything about what we expect,” he said. “I’ll be honest with you: When we’re in a position or I’m in a position that there aren’t expectations, I’m done.”
It seems a bit odd to C&F to say that you're going to keep the expectations at a high caliber but not say it's disappointing to barely make the SEC tournament, slide into the NCAA regionals and lose when the high-powered offense goes silent. Twice. Against the same team.
But it's time to let bygones be bygones and let Tanner focus on building the team for 2009.
2008 just wasn't South Carolina's year.