STULTZ: Auburn, FSU and a possible chance to turn the tables
Seeing Auburn and Florida State in the same bracket of an NCAA baseball regional has become like Ben and Jerry's, Bert and Ernie, Batman and Robin: you could never separate the two. And, during all these years, the Tigers have traveled 190 miles south toward the Florida capital for these matchups.
It became such a running thing that it would have been wise for the Auburn athletic department to invest in a hotel in Tallahassee so the teams would also have a place to stay for cheap. The city was the destination for so many Auburn baseball teams that it just wasn't a surprise to see it happen on what seemed like a yearly basis. Frankly, it became a joke.
In a span of five years between 1997-2001, Auburn traveled to FSU for either a regional or super regional, coming out of the Sunshine State only once victorious, that coming in 1997 thanks to a David Ross miraculous home run as the Tigers made it to the College World Series.
Man, so many great seasons for this baseball program have concluded at Dick Howser Stadium. 2005. 2015. 2017. All promising rosters that had to hear the war chant echo in their heads as they walked off the field for the last time.
Oh, but in the words of the lovable numbskull Michael Scott, how the turntables have turned.
The Seminoles will be the one traveling to hostile territory this time as the No. 3 seed in the Auburn regional. A potential matchup between the two familiar rivals is a possibility. That would be fun, and one Auburn fans would love to see in their park. For once, the Tigers have the chance to end the Seminoles' hopes and dreams in Plainsman Park, not the other way around.
Sure, all of Butch Thompson's focus, along with the rest of the team and staff, is strictly on Southeastern Louisiana, as it should be. As we find out every postseason, anyone can beat anyone on any day, so I'm sure that looking ahead to possibly hosting FSU in a game is not at the forefront of topics being discussed inside the baseball building.
However, let's not lie: that is the matchup everyone wants after all these years of the shoe being on the other foot. It would be sweet revenge to see the garnet and gold leave the field in disappointment for so many former players that had to swallow their demise in Tallahassee.
Don't think some current players don't know the history, either.
"Growing up an Auburn fan, I know Auburn goes there, and I know they get beat a lot there, and for them to come here, I think we got a chance to turn the tables a little bit," shortstop Brody Moore said.
Oh yes, that phrase again. Turning the tables. This is precisely the chance this Auburn team deserves after being selected to finish last in the SEC West and coming through with a strong season despite injuries. And, as Thompson mentioned, it isn't just about his team.
"These Auburn people are amazing," the coach said. "And it's just nice to be able to get to a point where you can go like, 'Hey, thank you for doing that for us, you deserve this and be able to give them a regional."
So, if the baseball gods line it up perfectly and it is the Tigers and Seminoles playing for either survival or a chance to advance to a Super Regional, expect emotions to be high from every person in Plainsman Park. It's a moment that will be special for so many.
Turning the tables on Florida State. That sounds pretty good.