Nuggets of Gold
Thursday, June 4, 2009
By Adam Gold
Adam Gold is
program director of the Triangle's "850
the Buzz" and host of "The G-spot with Adam Gold."
More than pride at stake this
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In the last half
dozen years, East Carolina’s football team has taken its swings at its
two in-state rivals — with some success. Though the Pirates haven’t
fared all that well against N.C. State during that span — winning just
one of four meetings, including last year’s come-from-ahead loss in
Raleigh — they managed to split a pair of matchups with North Carolina.
This season, on Sept. 19,
Skip Holtz brings the Purple and Gold to Chapel Hill for an early season
But what are the stakes? Let’s assume that East Carolina beats the Tar
Heels. Apart from getting to be the alpha dog at the water cooler, what is
I guess you could carry
that around with you all through the fall, but unless the Pirates were to
run the table and compete for a national championship, it’s only about
trash-talking your buddies at the corner bar.
It’s a little bit like
the guy who got with Sandra Bullock during her time in Greenville and loves
to remind everyone about his conquest. Meanwhile, she’s kicking it with
tattooed biker magnate Jesse James and wouldn’t remember that guy — nor the
five minutes of glory — if he was standing next to her on the red carpet on
That’s what makes this
weekend’s Super Regional against the Tar Heels so important for East
Carolina. When it comes to competing for championships, the Pirates don’t
play on a level playing field with North Carolina or N.C. State in football.
Just with the opinion polls alone, the deck is stacked against ECU as long
as the BCS is the law of the land.
And there’s no sense even
bringing up basketball. Even with the notion that every team in Division 1
has a chance because of the NCAA Tournament, there’s the obvious reality
that hoops is a complete afterthought in Greenville. Honestly, if you
seriously think that the Pirates are going to be competing with North
Carolina for a Final Four berth in the foreseeable future, then that is
probably a sign that you live too close to a landfill.
To the good folks down
east and all of the Pirate Nation: I present to you your very best chance at
a meaningful, lasting victory.
As everyone knows, it’s
the birthright of every Tar Heel fan to support winners. Their women’s
soccer program invented winning. Last I checked they were pretty solid on a
regular basis in men’s basketball — what with two national championships in
the last five years. Women’s hoops is a conference leader; they’re good in
softball, wrestling, lacrosse, volleyball and — now all of a sudden —
they’re looking for a fourth straight trip to the College World Series.
The only thing standing
in their way is little ol’ East Carolina.
But, here’s the beauty of
it all: College baseball truly is a level playing field for all comers — at
least as much as is possible in college sports. No team is fully funded in
terms of scholarships, there isn’t a league or a team with a huge advantage
in terms of television exposure — like a Duke or North Carolina in
basketball — and everyone’s using titanium-lithium-corbonite jet-propelled
If the University of
Maine can make it to the College World Series four straight years, then it’s possible for East Carolina to play its way to
Omaha starting this weekend at Boshamer Stadium.
And no matter how good
the Heels may have looked over the weekend in slaughtering Coastal Carolina
and Kansas, ECU knows it can beat its big brothers to the west. The Pirates
and Tar Heels split their two meetings this year with each team winning at
On top of that, if
there’s such a thing as playing with house money then East Carolina is
living proof. After losing to South Carolina in their second game of the
Greenville regional on Saturday, the Pirates won three times in the next day
and a half, including the incredible rally from 6 runs down on Monday night
against the Gamecocks.
That was not a fluke.
East Carolina is plenty good enough to leave Chapel Hill with two wins
because college baseball doesn’t automatically play favorites.
This is East Carolina’s
best chance to reach its first College World Series. And its best chance to
beat an in-state rival and take away more than just bragging rights.
A MESSAGE TO ADAM GOLD
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06/17/2009 01:22:05 AM