A casual observer, who only glances at Pac-10 statistical rankings, may find themselves wondering, "Why is this team good?" That observer, who we mentioned earlier as being of a casual nature, would care not to delve any further and instead offer up a simple answer:
This group of baseball players has "heart."
One question I have for this observer: "What is heart exactly?"
Well, being a man who does not like unanswered questions, I decided to go straight to the best source in all of the internet, Wikipedia:
The heart is a muscular organ found in all animals with a circulatory system (including all vertebrates), that is responsible for pumping blood throughout the blood vessels by repeated, rhythmic contractions.
Casual observers must not mean that! That is a vital organ required for a human being to live. Every single baseball player who has ever played has had a heart. That is not unique to this squad. Additionally, it would seem that the term "has heart" would become gramatically incorrect in this instance. So, I decided to dig a little deeper and I found this:
Heart is a rock band whose founding members came from Seattle, Washington, USA in the early 1970s. Going through several lineup changes, the only constant members of the group are sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson.
Could this be the secret? Is Donnie Marbut a "Magic Man?" Are Ann and Nancy playing on this team? Should I fear an NCAA probe into their eligibility now? Does this explain that strange "Bring your barracuda to the ballpark" promotion they had earlier in the season?
This baseball team's success is not because they simply "want it more" or that they put forth more effort than their opponents. I can guarantee almost every guy on every team in the country is busting his butt and trying his best to win games. They are not succeeding because of "heart." To say that is to underscore their talents and capabilities.
On the offensive side, the 2010 Cougs play "small ball" with the rest of them. They make pitchers work, don't swing and miss very often, and come up with timely hits. They have huge rallies where nary an extra base hit can be found. That's not because they have some mythical drive deep inside of them, it is because they are good hitters. Good hitters who lack power, but still guys who get on base and have the speed to make things happen when they are there.
However, any Coug fan can tell you this team really does its best work in preventing runs. They have a bonafide Friday ace. A guy who misses bats and has the ability to shut down any team at any time. What about the rest of the games? Well as far as I know there is no such thing as Ultimate Zone Rating in college baseball, but if there was, I'm sure the Cougs would be among the best in the conference. These guys are fast and they cover ground. They prevent ground balls from becoming singles and fly balls from becoming doubles. For the most part, Washington State pitchers just need to pitch to contact and the guys behind them will take care of the rest.
So let's not insult these guys by saying their success is a product of something that isn't tangible. Let's give them credit for what they have accomplished. They are good baseball players and that is why they have put themselves in a position for second straight NCAA Regionals appearance.