2019 College World Series: Day Five In PicturesCollege World Series
Want to get in-depth coverage? Subscribe to D1Baseball
OMAHA, Neb. — The most important post-game speech ever.
No, not Mike Martin from Wednesday night after his Seminoles were eliminated.
It came tonight from Jake Mangum, the Mississippi State centerfielder who just suffered through a crushing season-ending 4-3 loss to Louisville in the bottom of the ninth in jog-off fashion. It wasn’t a tear-filled speech to his coach about how he is going to win a national title at MSU someday soon, which he did say. It was a moment that came after that.
It was about the NCAA’s treatment of our sport. And how ridiculous it is that we have to fight to get a third paid assistant and more than 11.7 scholarships per team, which is a much-lower player-to-scholarship ratio than any other Division I sport being played out there. Hell, it was as if MSU hall-of-fame head coach Ron Polk took over Mangum’s body in this speech. But it was all Mangum.
I’m not going to summarize it or give out the high points, my colleague Aaron Fitt did a great write-up about the young man here:
Give it a read, if you haven’t already. It was simply the most important post-game press conference in years for our sport. His presence in our sport was way bigger than just this one game he got done playing.
The most cogent line: “There is 11.7 on each team on scholarship. Like, man… this game is getting way too big for that.”
Holy Toledo. That was some speech. Totally off-the-cuff and yet layered on-target. Love that kid. He gets it.
Now, will anything come from his well-appointed diatribe? Will the NCAA finally start to feed the animal that earns them their second biggest paycheck from any NCAA sport other than the March Madness Tournament for men’s basketball? Pfft, I doubt it. But I’d love to believe that Jake Mangum’s words held some weight. I mean, what it Tua Tagovailoa got on the podium after the SEC Championship game or a first round playoff game and said, “Look, it is time for college football players to get paid because of the increasing coasts of college education, the demand on their time forcing them to NOT work, the increase in long-term head trauma and the number of lower-socioeconomic kids playing football, we just can’t afford to live and play for nothing.”
That statement would be resonating and written and argued and PTI’d about from news outlets from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon to Portland, Guam… if there was such a place. But this is college baseball, where having no power and no sway, live and breathe.
Either way, well said Mr. Mangum. Well said.
As Aaron wrote, you could run for mayor of Starkville today and it wouldn’t even be close. And you are always going to have an open seat on the StitchHead Lear Jet… especially that day when you eventually make it to the Oval Office.
Some additional images from tonight’s game.