M-I-Z ... E-R-Y: Baseball 2007 vs Athena-Gate

The only non-basketball or football incident on the list faces off against the only frying pan-related incident.

Louisville 16, Missouri 6 (2007)

From 2004 to 2006, there were few truly inspiring, enjoyable moments for Mizzou fans. There was the 2005 Volleyball Elite Eight run, there was the 2005 Independence Bowl and the encouraging (with a twinge of disappointment) 2006 football season ... and that was about it. Except for baseball. Tim Jamieson's Tigers were building a long streak of NCAA tournament appearances, and powered by one phenomenal arm after another, they seemed to be getting a little better each year. In 2006, they ripped off four straight wins in three days to win the Malibu regional and advance to the Super Regionals. In 2007, they were ready for the next step.

For the first time ever, Missouri hosted an NCAA regional in May 2007. Aaron Crow pitched a complete game in Mizzou's 10-2 win over Kent State in the opener, and on the next night, Mizzou Baseball found its peak. A record crowd of 3,630 attended a thrilling 7-5 win over Louisville. Plans were made almost immediately to expand the seating at the stadium. Mizzou needed just to beat either Louisville or Miami one more time in two tries to advance to a Super Regional they would almost certainly host against an Oklahoma State team they had already whipped four times in the last month.

In front of 3,437 on a lovely Sunday afternoon, Mizzou took a 2-1 lead but couldn't hold on. Louisville third baseman Chris Dominguez, currently a Richmond Flying Squirrel, hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the top of the eighth. He didn't start his home run trot until the ball had cleared the fence, and he began jawing with Mizzou catcher Trevor Coleman and other Mizzou players as he rounded the bases. The incident created quite a bit of bad blood and set the table for an intense, deciding game on Monday afternoon.

When a villain emerges as Dominguez did that Sunday, it sets up an opportunity for the home team to get the last laugh. Aaron Crow took the mound again on Monday, hoping to pull the Tigers to the Super Regional on two days' rest. It was not to be. Dominguez -- of course it was Dominguez -- hit a grand slam, and Louisville scored eight runs in the first inning. Mizzou bounced back, scoring five in the second, but that just prolonged the inevitable. Louisville scored three in the fourth and four in the fifth on the way to a 16-6 win. They naturally took out OSU in Stillwater the next weekend to secure what was supposed to be Missouri's College World Series bid.

In the end, the bad guy isn't supposed to win. Unless they're playing Missouri, anyway.

Athena


It's amazing where the Mizzou basketball program was just [14 months before their Elite Eight bid], isn't it?  Then, it was a team lacking in maturity, listless on the court, and faltering off the court.  Kalen Grimes had been kicked off the team.  Mike Anderson, Jr., got a DUI.  Daryl Butterfield was involved in a domestic disturbance.  Demarre Carroll was shot in the leg.  The program seemed rudderless and, quite frankly, unlikable.  Mike Anderson had not proven that he could be a winner at the major-conference level.  And then, after one of their more likable moments -- a come-from-behind win in Boulder -- four seniors and a junior decided to have a nice night out on the town.  The next morning, Stefhon Hannah, Jason Horton, Marshall Brown, Daryl Butterfield and Leo Lyons were suspended, and Hannah was in the hospital with a broken jaw.  The first story ("Hannah had nothing to do with it, he just got hit by a frying pan as an innocent bystander") didn't exactly hold up to much scrutiny, and after more incriminating details emerged, and Hannah's mother bad-mouthed the entire city of Columbia, and Hannah went home to Chicago and got officially kicked off the team ... well, this wasn't Ricky Clemons-level embarrassing, but it was embarrassing enough.

Fourteen months later, Mizzou got within ten minutes of the Final Four.  Again, reliving the bad makes you appreciate the good that much more, no?

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