It took a fist fight for people to finally buzz about Sacramento State sports.
The Hornets received national attention thanks in part to local news station KCRA and its video of a baseball fight between senior second baseman Andrew Ayers and UC Riverside shortstop Eddie Young.
While every news outlet was chomping at the bit to see a pair of college baseball players throw their gloves down and throw some punches, the university should not celebrate the hype.
Sports organizations that are successful have class and stay away from any negative press. I understand that Sac State did not start the fight and is in no way at fault, but it does not need to start getting a bad reputation.
The Boston Red Sox is a perfect example of a baseball team with a bad reputation. In 2003, the Red Sox and Yankees heated up their rivalry when a brawl took place and former Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez threw 72-year-old Don Zimmer to the ground. Although they are in one of America’s biggest sports markets, no one wants to support a team that throws senior citizens to the ground. No one.
But how bad is creating some controversy on the field? The fight between Sac State and UC Riverside can do many positive things for a season. It can bring the team closer together knowing that everyone has each other’s back. It can build a winning confidence and it can create a boost in attendance from people hoping to see a live fight.
If a team really wants to become popular, let the number of wins gauge the team’s success. The NBA’s San Antonio Spurs are a perfect example of a team that shines because of its success on the court. Since 1999, the Spurs have won four NBA Championships and no current or former players have caused conflict on or off the court.
As much as teams do not want to admit it, sports organizations read newspapers, watch SportsCenter and worry about what their fans think about how their team is performing. Media of all forms can change a team’s image for the good or the bad, and while some teams have it harder than others, their actions are always critiqued.
The coaches and players at Sac State should move on from what happened Friday and let their success create the media hype. This is a baseball team that has completely turned around in two years and can easily become back-to-back WAC champions. Who knows? Maybe the team will return to SportsCenter when it makes its first appearance in the NCAA Regionals.
Ryan can be reached on Twitter at @rskuhn