From the Cape League up through that Boston Red Sox team that people talk about from time to time, the Northeast is full of talented baseball players. However, the talent hasn't exactly translated to interest in the college game.
Stony Brook is looking to change that, though, becoming the first Northeast team to reach the College World Series since Maine earned a trip back in 1986.
Sure, college baseball isn't a huge deal up in New England, and probably never will be. The only college sport that really evokes much interest in these parts is hockey, mostly because the national champion often resides in the region. But Stony Brook's success in the College World Series is a welcomed sight for baseball fans because it serves as a reminder that the Northeast still boasts a pretty impressive talent pool.
That much should be obvious, considering the major league talent that's developed in the aforementioned Cape League and the other crevices of the Northeast. Looking at the recent string of Series winners, though, paints a different picture.
Before South Carolina's back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011, this decade's champs have come from LSU, Fresno State, Oregon State, Texas, Cal State Fullerton, Rice and Miami. Not exactly the most vivid Northeast ties. Now that Stony Brook, a large but unheralded school located on the North Shore of Long Island, has risen to prominence, Northeasterners suddenly have something to look forward to in the way of college hardball.
"The only thing I know is we're trending on Twitter now," Stony Brook's Travis Jankowski said after the Seawolves' 7-2 victory over LSU on Sunday night.
He's right. Stony Brook has become somewhat of a Twitter phenomenon. Yet amidst the social media craze, it's easy to lose sight of what really matters — that Stony Brook is navigating unchartered waters (at least recently) when it comes to Northeast baseball, and that the success is downright awesome.
Major League Baseball pretty much reigns supreme in the Northeast, yet college interest just hasn't been there. It might not be all that surprising, but it's interesting to say the least. You'd figure that an area so locked in on professional baseball would love to know who could be the next big thing, yet Stony Brook's seven 2012 MLB draft picks have gone unnoticed until now.
What makes Stony Brook's run even more special is the school's journey to the top. The program was actually of Division III status until 1995, at which point the Seawolves made the leap to Division II before eventually ending up in the Division I circuit. The team, coached by Matt Senk, has literally gone from complete obscurity to national recognition. And while throwing some attention Stony Brook's way all of a sudden might be considered "jumping on the bandwagon," the acclaim is long overdue, and the current run needs to be embraced by those living in the Northeast.
Call Stony Brook's improbable run a feel-good story. Call the Seawolves Cinderella. All that matters to them, though, is that you could be calling them champions at season's end.
Those in the Northeast probably won't throw a parade if that's the case, but the school at least deserves our attention.
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