The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

May 12, 2010

HERTZEL COLUMN: Buckner has special day

MORGANTOWN — It was to be a day like no other for Grant Buckner, but he didn’t sense it.

Oh, there were differences, for sure, beginning with the West Virginia University power hitter’s arrival at Hawley Field to find the day being cold with a strong wind gusting out toward left field.

No matter what the level, when a hitter arrives at the ball park on a day like this, the juices flow a little better.

Back in the day, when the Cincinnati Reds were the Big Red Machine and on the road in Wrigley Field, the bus ride was hilarious when the wind was blowing out, for the Johnny Benchs, George Fosters and Tony Perezes of the world knew the balls would be flying out onto Waveland Avenue.

Take May 9, 1976, when they beat the Cubs, 14-2, with Ken Griffey Sr., Dan Driessen, Pete Rose, George Foster and Tony Perez hitting home runs, Perez nailing two of them.

The level of ball doesn’t matter on this, as Buckner found. When he arrived at the ball yard, the flags standing stiff in the breeze, he and his teammates began laughing and joking.

“You can’t wait to get in the batter’s box,” Buckner said.

It would be a hitter’s day at Hawley Field, but who knew it would turn into the day it did.

No matter how strong the wind, hitting a baseball remains the most difficult thing to do in sports, even for those swinging aluminum bats. The advantage is all to the pitcher.

He has eight fielders behind him. You stand alone, nothing but a stick in your hand.

He knows what pitch he will throw. He knows where he will throw it. He throws it when he’s ready, not when the hitter is.

Where else can you fail 70 percent of the time and be considered a Hall of Fame success than as a hitter?

Text Only
WVU Sports
  • LINDLEY COLUMN: Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    Cheating has been part of college athletics probably for as long as people have bothered to keep score.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters

    The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.

    July 24, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Five major sports topics of interest to area fans

    Tom Hart, a widely known retired Morgantown High School administrator and coach, continues to excel as one of the nation’s top bowlers.

    July 24, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

  • ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 23, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.

    July 23, 2014

  • WVU, Tennessee finalize 2018 meeting

    West Virginia University and Tennessee have finalized their season-opening, Sept. 1, 2018, meeting in Charlotte, N.C., at Bank of America Stadium.
    Both teams will receive $2.5 million for the game and have a chance to earn up to $3.2 million with ticket incentives.
    Each team will buy 12,500 tickets and set aside 2,000 of its allotment for students.
    The game, played on the home field of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, is being put on by the Charlotte Sports Federation.

    July 23, 2014

  • 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

  • Fleming, Billy.jpg WVU’s Fleming signs contract with Yankees

     Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.
    “Ever since I was a little kid, it’s been my dream to play professional baseball,” Fleming said. “It is still surreal that I get to chase my dream, but I am ready to get after it. I loved my three years at WVU and want to thank all the coaches that made it possible for me to achieve my dream.”

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos