While many of their classmates have headed home for the summer, the TCU baseball team is preparing for post-season play. We selfishly hope they don't get home for many more weeks, and we suspect they feel the same way. However, this got us wondering what each of them are possibly missing about their various home towns. Everything that follows is pure speculation, but these might be the things that members of the Horned Frog baseball team are longing to get back to after (we hope!) they finish taking Omaha by storm. You'll just have to wait for this other stuff, guys!
Many of the players are of course from the great country of Texas. Sometimes, even from the same town! Cody Jones and Travis Evans are both from Round Rock, near Austin. The town gets its name from a large flat round rock in the middle of the river. I don't know if it's allowed, but I'd want to get out on that thing with a big bag of ribs from nearby Black's BBQ and just sit there watching the water rush by. They'll probably also spend some of the summer at Dell Stadium watching the Round Rock Express, AAA team in the Texas Rangers farm system. They may get an early glimpse of who on earth is going to save the Rangers. Mitchell Traver will also likely watch some semi-pro ball in his home town of Sugar Land near Houston, where the Sugar Land Skeeters play at Constellation Field. He can, of course, head over to Houston to bask in the success of this year's Astros squad as well. Derek Odell hails from Canyon, near Amarillo. The town is named for Palo Duro Canyon State Park, or "The Grand Canyon of Texas." Maybe Derek is waiting to get in some mountain biking there, or itching to catch the famous outdoor musical drama, "TEXAS!"
Closer to TCU's campus, Nolan Brown's home town of Colleyville and Connor Wanhanen's home town of Flower Mound (yes, named after a hill noted for it's wildflowers) are both within easy striking distance of the Gaylord Texan Resort. That's where I know - from personal experience - you can get the best BBQ'd lamb you will ever have in your life. In one of the many other food venues there, you can also watch about 30 games simultaneously on a massive curved split screen, even at midnight if they're away playing a West Coast team. Also nearby is Trey Teakall's home town of Weatherford, the Peach Capital of Texas. Trey is likely longing to head to The Shed for a great sandwich and some fresh peach pie! Two players from "that eastern side" of the FW/d metroplex are Evan Williams from McKinney where you can get great Spanish tapas at Cafe Malaga, and Bradley Barnett from Rockwall, who is likely missing the great food at The Fatted Calf. In case you didn't know, Rockwall is named after natural stone formations that look like man-made rock walls...kinda like the Schlossnagle-made one TCU's opponents are going to run into in the post season! Riley Ferrell is looking to get back to College Station where he can browse the George Bush Library and then get an awesome burger at The Hullabaloo Diner. I also hear there's a college there.
Casting our eyes farther afield to the other states, Evan Skoug hails from Libertyville, IL. He may be missing the Six Flags park there, now that he's spent some time in Texas and knows where the name came from. (During my freshman Orientation at TCU in 1976, they took us to the Six Flags Over Texas park when it was the only one!) Alex Young is also from nearby Hawthorne IL, where - well - let's hope he's into golf. It seems to be the only thing going there. Both of them, however, can easily get into either Chicago or better yet Milwaukee, where they can take their picture with The Bronze Fonz and try to crack the code to get into The International Safe House for a fun dinner.
Preston Morrison hails from Waxhaw NC, a small town just south of Charlotte. Now don't get me wrong, I love small towns in North Carolina. There's one I want to retire in. But it's pretty cute how excited Waxhaw is about recently installing their first ever wayfinding sign. Some of Preston's moves on the mound may be the result of hanging out at the Waxhaw Line Dancers Club at the American Legion every Friday night!
If you DO count those other states as part of your country then a "real foreigner" is Jeremie Fagnan from Calgary, Alberta. But the laugh's on us, because he'll be within easy driving distance of possibly the most beautiful area on the planet. As he drives up to Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper, and hikes through the stunning Maligne Canyon, he'll look at the gorgeous aquamarine glacier water and wonder, "Now how can we turn that purple!?!"
Garret Crain from Mustang, OK may not miss home too much this coming week as most everyone he knows will probably drive over to Tulsa to watch him and the Frogs in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Championship Series. I had the pleasure of driving from the airport in OKC to Stillwater just a few years ago, and that's some beautiful country. While not Six Flags, Preston Guillory from Baton Rouge, LA is probably looking forward to getting back to the Blue Bayou Water Park and Dixie Landin' Amusement Park. Since he'll also be in Tulsa, he's missing the Bayou Country Musicfest this weekend in LSU's Tiger Stadium, maybe the best reason to go there, except possibly a TCU Football rematch and win!
And finally, from my home state of California, Keaton Jones from Laguna Beach and Elliott Barzilli from Los Angeles - what are they going to do after Omaha...well, of course...they're going to Disneyland!!!