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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Column: Blorange or Grold?

The good thing about having so many sports is there is always a playoffs season going on. And much like your favorite movies, they do not get old.
And now it is baseball time. The slogan for recent years has been “There’s only one October.” A couple Octobers ago (in 2009, before they knew there would be three more Octobers in the next three years) my New York Yankees won the World Series. In the dorms when the Yankees won the Fall Classic, I celebrated alone.
The question is, where do your allegiances lie? Are you a black and orange (blorange) die-hard or a green and gold (grold) follower?
Let’s look at UC Davis athletics to see which Bay Area baseball team in the playoffs the fall Aggies’ teams resemble most.
San Francisco Giants
Men’s soccer. The comparisons have been made before. Watching men’s soccer, like the Giants, is, well, torture. The similarities are uncanny.
They’re a good team, and very likable too. The Aggies have a very strong defense, and the Giants are good at preventing runs from being scored.
The main problem is scoring. UC Davis has struggled to find the back of the net. It’s like the Giants, where all their offense will come in spurts. They can go a couple games without scoring and then have an offensive explosion of eight runs.
The Aggies are 4-4-4 right now. In two of those victories they’ve scored more than one goal, but in five of those non-victories they were shut out.
We’ve seen what can happen when the teams put it all together. The Giants found their bats in 2010 and took the World Series. Last season, the Aggies found form in a game against UCLA and took out the then-nationally ranked No. 6 Bruins 2-1.
The Giants’ pitching is undoubtedly their strongest facet. Men’s soccer has a tremendous defense and just needs to figure out that one formula that will get the ball in the goal.
Those wins are just around the riverbend. The only question is whether they can put it together at the right time as they did before.
You might even find Brian Wilson-like characters on the team. Ever seen an interview with the Giants’ closer? The men’s soccer team has a couple of characters like that on the team, bringing fun to the clubhouse with every interview.
The Aggies are a fun team to watch, no doubt, bringing truth to the statement “Torture never felt so good.”

Oakland Athletics

The cross country team is the Oakland A’s equivalent at UC Davis. They do what they can with what they have. And that turns out to be just fine sometimes.
The A’s finished last year 14 games under .500. The men’s cross country team won the Big West Championships two years ago, but last year had a small drop off.
Once they lost seniors Jonathan Peterson and Axel Stanovsky after last season, there wasn’t much hope for the Aggies. Similarly, the A’s appeared to clear house this offseason and consider it a rebuilding year, though to me it seems like that’s what they do every season.
Yet, there’s no telling what could happen in 2012, mostly in part because of the fact that the Aggies are such a young team.
The trade that saw Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney looked bad at the time, but when Sweeney sat out the season after July because he injured his hand punching a door, and Bailey sat out all but 19 games because of thumb and arm problems, it started to look like it was piecing together — especially since Josh Reddick provided a lot of run production from the middle of the Oakland lineup.
Looking at the UC Davis cross country team, they lost a couple of top veteran runners, but still had a lot of runners gain experience last year.
Sophomore Trevor Halsted has been a young leader for the Aggies, but if you look at both the A’s or the cross country team, they are both very balanced.
Everyone will contribute, and there may not be an all-star standout performer, but if everyone does their job and performs like they can, they just might be able to go the distance.
While UC Davis pushes through its regular season in all of its Fall sports, there will be many parallels to the Fall Classic.
I will not go on a rant about why it’s so great being a Yankees fan (been a fan since 1995, by the way, so I’m not a bandwagoner), because that would reveal a part of me that should be kept secret for the sake of this column. Severus Snape would understand.
I’ve tried to hide how I really feel about the A’s by keeping it positive. This October, I will root for the Yankees and continue to search for a way to connect them with UC Davis without casting a dark light upon the Aggies.

If you’d like to watch the Yankees in the playoffs and read Harry Potter during the commercial breaks with MATTHEW YUEN, reach him at sports@theaggie.org.

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