Wednesday, June 2, 2010 at 9:04 a.m.
Though we really miss fired ASU head baseball coach Pat Murphy, we think it's about time that the iffy powers-that-be at the Tempe school finally drop the title "interim" from coach Tim Esmay's title -- which they are about to do.
Esmay (smiling man in photo) has led the Sun Devils to the number-one national seed in the upcoming regionals and a top-five ranking pretty much all season.
This all came after the dubious termination of the mercurial, iconoclastic, and highly successful Murphy.
What happens from here until the NCAA College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, later this month obviously is a crapshoot.
College baseball truly is unpredictable, with about, say, 25 of the remaining 64 teams having a chance of taking home the big trophy.
We've sat in a dugout many times with Coach Esmay, both in 1994 and 2005, and we can tell you this: The guy nows baseball, knows people, and is as humble as a man can be.
Here's an Esmay story that he may not even remember, from back in 1994.
ASU had just been eliminated from the College World Series, after two gut-wrenching losses (especially the first one) to eventual national champion Oklahoma.
Coach Jim Brock already was back in the Valley, after making the ultimate effort to be with his team in Omaha while in the final throes of a gutsy effort to beat back the cancer that would end his life just hours after the tournament ended.
It had been an amazing run for Brock and the Devils, and the team had come so very close to pulling off one for the proverbial books.
We know it was just college baseball, but it all was pretty draining, looking back on it.
A bunch of us were hanging out in someone's room, sipping a beverage or two.
I remember John Pierson being there. He was a sophisticated fellow with a really sharp mind for hitting who later went to work in the big leagues.
So was Bill Kinneberg, a onetime University of Arizona pitcher with a perfect temperament for college coaching. (He's now head coach at the University of Utah, and will be the head coach of the 2010 USA Baseball National Team).
And we also recall Timmy Esmay (then an assistant coach) sitting there in the room just shaking his head and putting the whole experience into perspective -- you can read about here
What he said was, and let's paraphrase -- Guys, what an unbelievable experience. And to think, we get paid for this shit.
Well, we are glad that Esmay will be getting paid quite a bit more for "this" -- the opportunity to be around the perfectly green grass of a pretty college baseball field day after day and get paid very well for it by Arizona taxpayers (Tea Party readers, please don't take notice).
And, hell, this edition of the ASU baseball team actually may win the damned thing -- go figure?