The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

May 5, 2014

HERTZEL COLUMN: McBroom shines in a season that almost wasn’t

MORGANTOWN — Ryan McBroom couldn’t quite believe it had come this quickly, his Senior Day, the final game he would play in Hawley Field in what would be the final West Virginia baseball game ever played in Hawley Field with the new stadium now under construction.

In some ways it felt like he’d been at WVU forever. In other ways it seemed like only yesterday that he’d been here.

Senior Day …

“It was something I never really experienced before,” he said when it was over, the Mountaineers’ 12-6 victory secure. “When I was younger, I always looked up to the seniors. It was like ‘Wow! They’re pretty old.’”

Now he was the old man.

“I could never imagine myself in

that position,” he said. “I don’t think it has really hit me yet. I don’t feel like it was my last game here, but I’m sure it will hit me soon.”

It will probably hit him as hard as he hit Texas, collecting three hits and a pair of RBIs to solidify his place even more in the top 10 in nearly every Mountaineer career offensive category in the books … save for stolen bases, which ain’t his thing.

It almost was that he wasn’t here this season. Upon finishing his junior year, a season in which he hit just .268 but pounded 12 homers — more than any two other players on the team hit combined — and drove in 48 runs, again tops on the Mountaineers, he could have left Morgantown.

That led Kansas City to draft him and offer him a decent contract.

“That was a tough decision. Kansas City offered me a great deal, but deep down in my heart and my gut it was the right decision to come back to Morgantown to finish what we started,” he said. “Last year we had a great year, but it was kind of disappointing the way it ended. We didn’t control our own destiny. Another team had to win for us to go on and I didn’t think that was right. I wanted to come back with this same group of guys and give it another shot.”

Indeed, McBroom had been part of a baseball revival at WVU under Mazey.

“I feel like it’s definitely a new era, especially going into a new conference with a new coaching staff. I think recruiting is going to be crazy with this new stadium coming in. The tradition of West Virginia is definitely on the rise,” he said.

It is more than just a renewal of success on the field. This has become a team that has taken over the entire community with its character, dating back to last year when it went to the aid of tornado victims in Oklahoma.

In fact, following the game a WVU player was walking back toward their locker room when he was engaged by a fan, who told him how proud he was of this team, proud of the way they were representing WVU and what they had done for the tornado victims.

“You know,” the player said to him, “I was here back before the coaching change and we wouldn’t have done the things we’ve done then.”

The community has bought in.

“A couple of times I came out to coach third base and I looked down the left field line on that hillside and it was just littered with people. Every seat was taken. I told someone before the game, look how far we’ve come in such a short period of time,” Mazey said.

“Texas comes to town and the community rallies around us. I made a plea to everyone to come out and help us win, not just watch the game, and they did that.”

And it’s people like McBroom who have made it possible.

“He’s one of the first guys I talked to when I got this job,” Mazey said. “People ask me about him all the time. He’s the kid on the team you’d want your daughter to marry. He’s an unbelievable person. He has a great family, is a great student and is a great player, obviously.

“He turned down a nice contract to sign with the Royals last year to come back. It’s going to be sad to see him go. If we could have nine Ryan McBrooms on the team, that’s what coaching is all about.”

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter at @bhertzel

Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Saban, family happy at Alabama

    Alabama football coach Nick Saban, whose team opens the season against West Virginia in Atlanta on Aug. 30, denied receiving or turning down this offseason an offer of $100 million to coach Texas, indicating he planned to finish his career as coach of the Crimson Tide.

    July 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Quarterback child prodigy’ comes to WVU amidst very high expectations

    Has West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen finally put the arrow he needs in his quiver with the commitment received Wednesday from high school quarterback David Sills, who is a rather extraordinary story and may also just be a rather extraordinary quarterback?

    July 18, 2014

  • WVU kicker Molinari ‘All-American boy’

    West Virginia kicker Mike Molinari may not be an All-American but he is an All-American boy.
    He was honored for that on Wednesday when the Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association announced the West Virginia redshirt senior kicker/punter Michael Molinari is a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

    July 16, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Smallwood puts future in jeopardy

    The last thing West Virginia’s struggling football program needed as twilight was setting on Bastille Day in Morgantown was to have one of its own whisked off to the North Central Regional Jail on a fugitive warrant from another state, especially a player who had figured to play a key role in the resurrection of a program gone bad.

    July 16, 2014

  • WVU player arrested in Delaware case

    West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood has been arrested by university police and is being held at North Central Regional Jail awaiting extradition on a felony warrant out of Delaware.

    July 15, 2014

  • WVU hoping to add two non-conference contests

    West Virginia is nearing the completion of deals to play football games against long-time rival Virginia Tech, now in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and Tennessee of the Southeastern Conference, according to a source close to the negotiations.
    An announcement is expected shortly.

    July 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: MLB All-Star game biggest celebration of top athletes

    You will pardon me if I find something else to do when the Pro Bowl rolls around, or if I try to find a “Three Stooges” marathon when it’s time for the NHL All-Star game. As for the NBA All-Star game, I’d rather watch a replay of a four-year-old Uruguay-Ethiopia World Cup soccer match in which I knew the outcome.

    July 14, 2014

  • Howes learns to ‘never settle’ as WVU administrator

    You probably don’t know much about Terri Howes, even though she is a rather high-ranking executive in the West Virginia University athletic department.
    “I like it that way,” she said, sitting in a large office at the Coliseum, decorated with pictures and memorabilia, a jar of candy sitting by the door for visitors to dip into.

    July 13, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads