Follow the CWS through LSU's Buzzy Haydel
Photo by: LSUsports.net, LSU Athletics Publications
'The Buzz from Omaha' with LSU's Buzzy Haydel
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Published: June 19, 2008, 12:00 AM (CT)
Updated: October 29, 2009, 03:33 AM (CT)
by LSUsports.net (@LSUsports), LSU Sports Interactive

OMAHA, Neb. -- LSU infielder Buzzy Haydel presents "The Buzz from Omaha," a video, audio and written diary of the 2008 College World Series from a player's perspective.

Check back later for the next posting.

Day 7 Pregame (June 19)

Well, everybody is on cloud nine today, and why shouldn’t we be? We defeated Rice yesterday and our dream for a national title is still there. Today was filled with a couple of activities that we did as a team. Before we did those, we woke up for an early breakfast and headed to practice at Creighton University. After a good workout at Creighton, we headed to the Henry Doorly Zoo. For me personally, it’s been forever since I’ve been to any zoo. I know you’re probably thinking the zoo sounds childish, but we’re just big kids anyway. I’d have to say my favorite thing at the zoo were the gorillas and of course, the tigers. I know I’ve heard those two animals in the same sentence before. Oh yeah, gorilla ball with the LSU Tigers. Hopefully, we will use some gorilla ball in our next game.

After the zoo, we headed over to the Children’s Hospital to see some of the kids. Most of the kids in the hospital are baseball fans and could not make it out to any of the games, so it was good for us to visit them and bring a little of the College World Series to them. For me, this was one of the best experiences throughout my time in Omaha. To see a child’s eyes light up and then smile when we walked in was very heart warming. These kids are the true heroes. It also puts in perspective that when we suit up and play a baseball game, that’s all it is. It’s just a game. Just when I thought fighting to win a game was important, I realized these kids are fighting for their lives. Those kids are the real champions.

After a great off day that saw us go to the zoo and the Children’s Hospital, it was now time to get some rest. We have the biggest game of the year tomorrow against North Carolina. The team couldn’t be more fired up to compete against UNC again. For all of the inside scoop on the game, tune in with me and get “The Buzz From Omaha.”

Day 5 Recap (June 17)

Wow, what a game! I’m still in shock at the ending. It’s not that I thought we would lose. It’s just that we continue to win in the same fashion. Just when everyone is counting us out, we seem to always prove them wrong. I first want to say congratulations to Rice University and a good friend of mine, J.P. Padron. Rice and J.P. had a tremendous season and have nothing to be ashamed of. Rice is one of the premiere programs in all of college baseball, and we have the utmost respect for them.

With that being said, we knew we had to bring our “A” game to the park today. Although we didn’t play great early, our pitchers kept us in the game and gave us a chance to win it late. And win it late we did. We came back and won in dramatic fashion, 6-5. I could sit here and break down the entire game, but there were so many important things throughout the game that helped us win. 

I am going to bring you to the ninth inning to let you know how I perceived it. When the inning started, you could sense that something special was about to happen. Everybody in the dugout wore their caps backwards with sunglasses upside down as we hung on to every pitch. Nobody wanted the season to be over. Like a lot of fans keep saying, we refuse to lose. 

With this mentality, Blake Dean steps to the plate with the bases loaded and our season on his shoulders. I know everyone in that dugout knew Blake Dean would come through in the clutch. Any boy did he ever! With one out and the Tigers down by two runs, Dean ripped a three-run, game-winning double. When he hit the ball, I think I was waving the base runners home as much as Coach Godwin was. When I looked up to see Jared Mitchell right on Michael Hollander’s tail, I knew there was no doubt he was scoring. 

When Mitchell crossed the plate, I ran straight to him and jumped on his back. The team and I were overwhelmed with joy and excitement. The Tigers live to play another day. This team is the most resilient group of guys I have ever seen. Just when people think we can’t come back again, we do. We’re definitely not done in this tournament and we’re going to prove that. We get a rematch with North Carolina on Thursday at 6 p.m. I can’t wait for the challenge. Hopefully, you can catch the game live or on TV. However, if you miss it, just catch up with me and get “The Buzz From Omaha!”

Day 3 Recap (June 15)

First off I want to start off by saying Happy Father’s Day to all fathers out there. I especially want to recognize my dad, Marty Haydel and grandfather, Zeke Madere. If I end up with half of their character, I know I’ll be just fine in this life. Secondly, I want to say that Mrs. Marilyn McCarty and her son Logan McCarty arrived late last night and was introduced to the team at breakfast this morning. Mrs. Marilyn and Logan are the wife and son of the late Curt McCarthy. Curt McCarthy was a huge Tiger fan and will be greatly missed by the LSU community. Marilyn and Logan are in Omaha to watch us play, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have them with us.

I want to personally thank LSU Sports Properties and Delta Airlines for providing airfare. I also want to thank Enterprise of Baton Rouge for providing the rental car and WAFB-TV for the hotel room. Finally, I want to thank Tiger Athletic Foundation for providing tickets to the ballgame. Without these organizations and businesses, this trip for Mrs. Marilyn and Logan would not have been possible. Thanks again to everyone for allowing a father’s wish to come true.

Now it was game time. Everyone on the team couldn’t be more excited for the game to start. We were playing North Carolina in the College World Series. What could be better? As a team, we were very loose, confident and focused. Before the game started, everyone on the team was excited to see Erin Andrews, ESPN reporter.

When the game started I was amazed at how many people there was. It was packed. This was college baseball at its best. If the first batter of the game was any indication of how the game will go, then we would have beaten this team. Michael Hollander took a 1-2 fastball and distributed it deep into the left field bleachers to lead off the game. We went crazy in the dugout. We knew this game was ours. Unfortunately for us, UNC starting pitcher Alex White got better and we really could never get anything going.

As the Tar Heels went on to win 8-4, all I could think about was this is why this tournament is double elimination. We know we are not out of this and plus we always play better with our backs against the wall. Everyone on the team is still very confident, and we know we are still going to win this thing. Now that the game was over, we focus our attention to the Rice Owls. We can’t do anything about this UNC game except flush it out our memories. The next game between us and Rice is 1 p.m. Tuesday. Until then, tune in with me and get “The Buzz From Omaha.”

Day 1 Recap (June 13) | FREE VIDEO

by Buzzy Haydel

Well, we are finally back home in Omaha and it feels great! We arrived in Omaha Thursday night and went straight to our hotel. It didn’t’ feel like Omaha yet because we really didn’t experience much of it. However, today was filled with so many activities and events that made Omaha what it is.

The first thing we did when we woke was get fitted for our new Oakley sunglasses. We were like kids in a candy store.  After everyone chose their own pair, we met for a team dinner in the banquet room downstairs. Before we ate, Coach (Mainieri) talked to us a little about the day and then gave the floor to Coach (Terry) Rooney. This was the first time we saw Coach Rooney since being named the UCF head coach. He spoke to us for a few minutes about it. Everyone on the team is so happy for Coach Rooney because he’s such a great coach and great person.

After lunch, it was off to Rosenblatt Stadium for our practice and the College World Series opening ceremonies. We were all getting very anxious on the bus trip to Rosenblatt. As the miles got closer, we were on the edge of our seats and Nolan Cain, Sean Ochinko and Daniel Bradshaw all had their video cameras ready to shoot footage of the greatest place in college baseball. As we pulled up to the stadium, the whole team was in awe of the atmosphere. For me personally, it almost wasn’t real. I’ve grown up watching this every year on TV and to be here now is unbelievable. 

As we got off the bus and walked through the parking lot to the stadium, we were swarmed by hundreds of fans wanting autographs. I was really surprised by the number of fans in Omaha who love LSU. I’ve always heard that the people of Omaha love LSU, but until I got here and witnessed it, I now understand it. Once we walked into the stadium, the only thing left to see was the field itself. As we walked across the field, I had goosebumps. I guess it just hit me that I was standing on the same field that LSU had won five national championships on. So many wonderful memories were made in that park, and we’re here to make our own.

It was now time for our team practice. We took a good 45-minute batting practice session and the wind was gusting out to right field. Needless to say, our left-handed hitters displayed a very powerful show. We had a very clean, crisp practice that was capped off by a Matt Clark home run that went out of the stadium. I don’t mean out of the field into the stands. I mean literally out of the park, over the bleachers in right field and out of the stadium entirely. Clark exited the batting cage to a roar of cheers from the fans at Omaha.

After we finished practice, we got ready for the opening ceremonies. All eight teams were introduced and walked onto the field carrying their own flag. We were introduced as the SEC Tournament champions and winners of 25 out of our last 26 games. We were led onto the field by Nick Pontiff, who carried the LSU flag. 

During the ceremony, one player from each team was recognized as having the highest cumulative GPA on their respective team. Our player who was recognized was pitcher Paul Bertuccini. The ceremony ended with an impressive fireworks display that lit up the skies of Omaha. Mike Hollander and I sat next to one another as the fireworks burst above Rosenblatt Stadium. He turned to me and said, “I’m ready to play tonight!” Unfortunately for us, we have to wait until two more days. That will probably be the longest two days of my life. Until next time, tune in with me and get “The Buzz From Omaha.”

 

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