We certainly don’t condone fighting or poor sportsmanship for goodness sake, but we do love a great rivalry.
God bless the Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M Aggies baseball teams for playing Tuesday night in College Station in the first regular-season meeting since the 2011 conference breakup (they did play three times in the 2014 NCAA Houston Regional with Texas winning twice and eventually advancing to the College World Series).
Tuesday’s matchup was a classic. The one-off game scheduled smack in the middle of the season went to high-powered A&M, 5-4, after struggling Texas clawed back from a 4-0 deficit with a four-spot in the top of the ninth. Then the Aggies’ Mike Barash hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the inning, and was appropriately mobbed by teammates as he crossed home plate.
Texas A&M freshman pitcher Tyler Ivey thought it would be a good time to bid the emotionally drained Longhorns goodbye by flashing the dreaded “Horns Down” sign in the direction of the Texas dugout.
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Texas catcher Tres Barrera didn’t much like it, nearly went berserk and had to be held back by teammates.
Nobody got hurt, it was a great game and the packed house loved it.
With any luck, we’ll get Texas against Texas A&M on Sunday in the NCAA tournament in nearby Oklahoma City. The No. 3-seed Aggies and No. 6-seed Longhorns must first get past their opening-round opponents in the West Region, and prayers are up that happens. If it does, OKC will be awash in maroon and burnt orange.
The Aggies beat the Longhorns in hoops back in November in a matchup at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas. The stakes and the intensity will be quite a bit higher if Sunday’s matchup materializes. Again, prayers up.
But, unlike Tuesday’s baseball game, these basketball matchups are manufactured by bracket-makers. These two great schools and greater rivals must come together to schedule more matchups in all sports.
And by all sports, we mean football. The pettiness of administrators on both sides is tired and, frankly, stupid. Back in 2013, former Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds said he believed the schools would one day play again, but then he said: “They’re the ones that decided not to play us. We get to decide when we play again. I think that’s fair. If you did a survey of our fans about playing A&M, they don’t want to. It’s overwhelming. I know. I hear it…”
The Aggies might have new friends, as Sharp said, but to my knowledge, they have yet to change the lyrics to their fight song since leaving for the mighty SEC. They still yearn to “saw Varsity’s horns off.” Last year the football coaches of both programs, Texas’ Charlie Strong and A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, said they’d love to play each other. In fact, they said, they should.
This is getting ridiculous, fellas. Get this century-old matchup back on the field. Texas and A&M sit 100 miles apart. Their legions of fans live across the street from one another all over the state — just look at all those painted addresses on the curb.
Perhaps Tuesday’s baseball game helped to rekindle memories of the good ol’ days. Hopefully Sunday’s potential NCAA tournament matchup will happen and reinforce what must be done.
Memo to both schools: Just Git ‘er Done!