Like the majority of red-blooded Americans in mid-march, I find myself taking one day each year to fill out a bracket to determine who I think will become our next collegiate champion. But unlike my fellow red blooded American, I do not one, but two brackets. The first is the obligatory college basketball bracket. The second is the college world series bracket.
In both the college basketball and college baseball brackets, I share one common theme. I am a hopeless sentimentalist.
Though I have yet to fill out my own bracket, a task which I plan to complete the day before the tournament begins, I have already done it as a favor for my father, in a collaboration with my best friend. In the bracket, I managed to predict what would seem as unbelievable. The final four teams that I have picked are Michigan State, Ohio State, Indiana, and Georgetown, with Indiana and Michigan State playing for the final and Indiana winning outright. In this case, when asked if I was crazy, I acknowledged, yet again, that I am a hopeless sentimentalist.
Why am I so conservative? Does this conservatism extend to my college baseball bracket?
To answer the first question, I am conservative by choice. The highest upset I have ever predicted has been 12 over five. Anything lower than that has an extremely high probability of backfiring. I have no sympathy for midmajors, in fact, if I had the choice between my least favorite basketball school, Duke, and a successful mid major, like Butler, about 85% of the time, I’d pick Duke.
Why? I am a hopeless sentimentalist.
I picked Indiana to win, not because I have a man crush on Cody Zeller, not because my senior prom date is a student at IU, but rather because I have a fondness for the midwestern basketball. which is as old-fashioned as old-fashioned can be. Though I was not alive when Bob Knight had IU in its heyday, I was when he was disgracefully dismissed after the choking scandal. In a lot of ways, I wish that Indiana can win at least one more championship, like Kentucky did last year, or Uconn the year before.
Now you may wonder what this has to do with baseball. As I pointed out, for reasons as yet unknown to me, I fill out a College World Series bracket every year. And for sentimentality’s sake, I usually pick one of the old-school powerhouses to go far.
When California was supposedly in its final baseball season (which thankfully, it wasn’t), I picked them as a College World Series Team. What ended up happening? They ended up going farther than anyone would expect, finishing 1-2 in the first College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park.
Why am I a hopeless sentimentalist here? Quite simply, it is because California won the first college world series in the history of the event, beating Yale.
To put it in the simplest terms, I am a hopeless sentimentalist because I like tradition. I prefer to see the old-fashioned rivalries like Michigan-Ohio State, Harvard-Yale, Vanderbilt-Tennessee, and so on and so forth. So when it comes the time for me to put in my annual picks for March Madness, and then the College World Series, expect nothing but a rigid stand for traditionalism. And why?
I am a hopeless sentimentalist.