Home UVA Baseball Notebook: ‘Hoos not happy just getting to Omaha again
Sports

UVA Baseball Notebook: ‘Hoos not happy just getting to Omaha again

Chris Graham
uva baseball presser
Photo: Chris Graham/AFP

The UVA Baseball team, in the week leading up to the 2023 College World Series, said all the right things about not just wanting to be happy getting back to Omaha, but, you know.

“It was new. A lot of wide-eyed type guys,” coach Brian O’Connor said Thursday, talking with the media after his team’s practice at Charles Schwab Field.

Shortstop Griff O’Ferrall admitted that he found himself last year “a little bit in awe and just a little bit in shock just with the atmosphere itself and how many people are in the stands.”

This year’s UVA team has O’Ferrall among six lineup regulars who played in the 2023 CWS.

O’Connor has been leaning on the veterans to set the tone for the 2024 trip to Omaha.

“I did something on Monday every year the day after we qualified for Omaha. I’d take the team through a process of what to expect. I changed something this year, and it’s the first time out of seven times that I’ve done it this way. I asked the players that played in the event last year, some of them, to stand up and speak to their teammates about their experience in Omaha, because there’s a lot that goes on,” O’Connor said.

There is, for instance, the shock and awe of playing in front of 24,000 fans, several multiples more than any of the kids has ever played in front of in their young lives.

And then there’s the hoopla around the event.

I mean, come on, right, it’s the College World Series.

“A big one was that all the families come to town, right, and to make sure that they communicate with their families that we are here to win a national championship. You as a player do not need to worry about your families. They’ll be fine,” O’Connor said.

Between the families, the media obligations, a chance to spend an off-day at the world-famous Omaha Zoo, the important thing to remember is, “it’s about winning, it’s about being prepared,” O’Connor said.

“Our main message has just been to not try and do too much. We’re here for a reason. As long as we do the small things and do what we’re capable of, the moment doesn’t get too big,” O’Ferrall said.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].