Miami coach Jim Morris said last week that he didn’t think there was a lot of animosity between his players and Florida State’s.
"I don’t think our players don’t like their players," Morris said. "I think they know the importance of this game. Therefore it creates some anxiety sometimes and makes it pretty competitive."
This weekend’s showdown in Tallahassee was filled with both competitiveness and anxiety. The Hurricanes wound up escaping with an 11-10 win in Sunday’s curfew-shortened rubber game, as closer Carlos Gutierrez struck out FSU freshman Tyler Holt looking on a borderline pitch with a 3-2 count and the tying runner on third base. After that, tensions nearly boiled over at Dick Howser Stadium.
The Hurricanes celebrated around Gutierrez and then started to circle back toward home plate to shake hands with the Seminoles–who lingered in their dugout. When it appeared that Florida State did not intend to come out for postgame handshakes, Miami players began jumping around and taunting the fans, making the "U" sign and mimicking FSU’s tomahawk chop. The Seminoles angrily spilled out of the dugout in protest, and the two teams had to be held back by coaches and fans around home plate.
But as the Miami players returned to their dugout, they were showered by profanities and beverages from the fans, and one player was reportedly even spit upon.
"I just wanted to get the guys out of there," Morris told the Miami Herald. "The fans were throwing drinks on our players, and they were screaming different things. I just wanted to get our guys, get them calmed down, get them out and get them on the bus."
This rivalry has been heated for years, with accusations going back and forth about sign stealing creating a particularly charged atmosphere a few years ago. Now another log has been thrown on the fire. If the players did not dislike each other before this weekend, chances are they’re not feeling too chummy now.
Let’s just hope the fans–and the players–can behave themselves more gracefully if these teams meet again in the ACC tournament in Jacksonville.
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