Stony Brook celebrates after defeating LSU 7-2 in Game 3 of an NCAA Super Regional game in Baton Rouge, La.
Everyone loves a Cinderella story, right?
We especially like to see a Cinderella in the world of sports. We see it all the time. They are the teams and/or players that no one expects to succeed, whether it’s in the NCAA basketball tournament or whether it’s a sensational player coming out of thin air, such as New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin.
American sports fans — or most of them at least — love an underdog story. For some reason, people feel compelled to root for those players or teams who are given no chance.
Every year in the NCAA basketball tournament, we see at least a few Cinderella teams make a run deep into the field. In 2011, we saw two such teams (Virginia Commonwealth University and Butler) make it all the way to the Final Four. And who can forget the great Final Four run of George Mason?
Now we are seeing it in the NCAA baseball tournament, as well.
Stony Brook, a member of the American East Conference, has advanced to its first-ever College World Series appearance after knocking off LSU. The Seawolves are also the first team from their conference to advance to the CWS and only the second No. 4 seed to do so since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1999.
The Seawolves will enter the CWS on a hot streak, having won 28 of their last 31 games. They first caught my eye in the Coral Gables Regional when they beat my Missouri State Bears, a No. 3 seed. I can remember looking at the score and thinking, “Who is Stony Brook, and how did they beat us?”
As it turns out, it was no fluke. These guys are good, and it was made evident by the success that followed as they won their regional and have now won their super regional, earning their right to play for college baseball’s top prize.
Now, college baseball fans everywhere are experiencing some of the hype surrounding Stony Brook. Why? Because they are a great story and a team that Americans have an easy time rooting for.
American sports fans love the Stony Brooks of the world.
It might be more relevant now with the grim economic situation a lot of people in this country are facing. They like to see the little guy rise up and conquer. They like to see that no matter how much anyone says that team can’t do it, they still remain strong in their beliefs and in their abilities.
In a way, the American spirit lives within these teams. It lives within the Stony Brook Seawolves, and sometimes we just need teams like them to give us hope.
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