Jake Mangum has left an indelible mark on our sport.

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2019 College World Series: Day Five In Pictures

College World Series

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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:

https://d1baseball.com/columns/fitt-mangums-mark-on-college-baseball-will-endure/

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.

PICS
Some additional images from tonight’s game.

A Louisville player spills out of the dugout to retrieve a piece of bench shrapnel, while holding a bottle in his mouth. Very talented.

 

Freshman All American JT Ginn shined a heavenly light on Mississippi State’s chances, going six innings and giving up just three hits.

 

Rowdey Jordan was the catalyst for the Bulldog offense early on, hitting an RBI double and then scoring a run of his own to help the Bullies push out to a 2-0 lead.

 

Things looked even better later on when Jake Mangum slid into home with the third run to make it 3-0 MSU at the singing of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”

 

Tyler Fitzgerald didn’t get a hit but he did reach base twice via walks and scored the first run of the game for the Cardinals.

 

The Cardinals would eventually call on staff ace Reid Detmers to come in and lock things down. He only threw two pitches but would get credited with his 13th win of the season.

 

Key Play: In the 9th inning, as Jake Snider slides into home he runs into the blocked foot of MSU catcher Dustin Skelton. But note the ball slipping out of Skelton’s glove before he goes to make the tag.

 

Key Play, Part 2: Home plate umpire Jeff Henrichs originally cocked his arm to call Snider out but then notices the ball lying on the ground as he points to it here. Safe. Tie game.

 

Drew Campbell finished off the game with a walk-off hit. (Eric Sorenson)

 

That hit led to Danny Oriente racing to the dish and the dugout spilling onto the field in mass hysteria.

 

Campbell has no chance with this mad mob racing toward him to celebrate the unlikely comeback win for the Cardiac Cardinals.

 

It was a painful ending to a great season for the Bulldogs. Major props to coach Chris Lemonis and his staff for making 2019 such a great ride in StarkVegas.

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