Last night Josh Rogers worked seven electric innings for the University of Louisville Cardinals in their eventual 4-3 super regional loss to Cal State Fullerton. He exited with a 2-1 lead and inning after inning mowed through Cal State's lineup, including a highlight reel catch to end the sixth and back-to-back strike outs to end the seventh. This is a good thing (at least for U of L fans) right? Well you would think so, but you see Josh Rogers did something so terrible, so disgusting, that all of that goodwill was erased after he exited the mound at the end of the seventh inning. I do not even know if I want to repeat it on my blog, but here goes...please do not repeat this to your children...he yelled for a few seconds in the general direction of Cal State Fullerton's bench.
I simply do not understand why everyone, including U of L fans, seems to be piling on Josh Rogers for the way he exited the mound after getting a huge strike out to end the 7th. He was FIRED UP, he was JACKED, he was AMPED! Isn't that what we want? We guzzle brews, dew and red bulls just to get that effect ourselves! He yelled at Cal States Fullerton's bench and one of their assistant coaches (a grown man) completely loses his mind, runs on the field and screams at everyone, including the umpire. What did he want the umpire to do...taze Rogers? I apologize, but I do not see how, in a sport where adjusting your jock and spitting in the norm, someone can become so offended by a three second verbal spat with an opposing team's 21 year old pitcher. And he is not the only one, even U of L fans are saying "I wish he would not have done that". Boo Hoo.
Josh Rogers is one of our guys and should be treated as such. He did not hurt anyone. He did not make a dirty play. He was excited and did something that was the slightest bit regrettable. Please remember, Josh Rogers was the wining pitcher in Louisville's last two regional finals and he certainly is not to blame for last night's loss. He is a guy who thrives in big moments and that, in turn, makes him excited. We, as U of L fans, should support this, instead of turning into the moral authority and "conceding" that if he played for the other team (or UK) that we would be upset. Who cares? You know what, he does not play for the other team, he plays for U of L. And please, for the love of everything holy, spare me the bullshit about him "showing the other side up" or even worse "upsetting the baseball gods" and thus somehow negativity affecting the outcome of the game. Did Cal State Fullerton all the sudden decide to start trying to win the game at that point? They got to U of L's bullpen, pitched well, and played superb defense. Something tells me they were planning on trying to do that regardless. Finally, Madison Bumgarner stared down and talked to the Royals' dugout (before the game was over) en route to one of the greatest World Series pitching performances of all time. Where were the baseball gods then? And how outraged are we now? Fortunately for Bumgarner and Giants fans, the Giants went on to win, but that does not change the fact that the actions were similar.
All in all, I am probably still just upset about the loss. But I am certainly not blaming Rogers, I am cheering him. In an 11 inning loss, everyone wants to place blame. I do not think this is a productive practice in general, but I certainly don't think the blame should be placed on some kind of mystical power summoned from three seconds of Rogers screaming at Cal State Fullerton's dugout. Luckily for U of L fans, Rogers is just a sophomore and will be back next year, hopefully just as jacked.