Stony Brook players celebrate following their 10-6 victory over Central Florida on Monday. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, June 05, 2012 8:25 PM
LSU might as well play along and break out the sinister black ball caps for its super regional series.
The Tigers are the bad guys this weekend. They’re the heavies, trying to squash one of the great Cinderella stories of the year, certainly of this college baseball season.
They’re the guys with the cigar dangling, ready to gun down Bambi with a bazooka.
Let’s go down the roll call of schools that have visited Alex Box Stadium for super regionals:
Texas A&M, Rice, Baylor, UCLA, Cal Irvine, and now, finally … Stony Brook?
Which one doesn’t fit?
Yeah, I never heard of the place either until last week, when the Seawolves took up jackhammer and ice tongs to hack up the Miami regional, the No. 4 seed who came to dinner and cracked up all the fine china.
The numbers from that regional — 50 runs on 59 hits in five games — don’t sound like a cute little rags-to-riches story.
But it’s also a northern school, which aren’t supposed to have this kind of shelf life for college baseball.
In the other corner, you have the Tigers, baseball royalty, with a standing reservation in Omaha thanks to the highest postseason winning percentage in NCAA history.
LSU recently won its 19th regional championship and won’t even think about calling the season a semi-success until getting its 16th trip to the College World Series in the books.
The rest of the world is pulling for Stony Brook to make its first Omaha trip after winning its first regional, just the third time a No. 4 seed has pulled that stunt since the current format began in 1999.
America, make no mistake, at least those outside of a roaring Alex Box Stadium, will be on board with Stony Brook.
Oh, the people of Omaha — particularly the good folks at Barrett’s Barleycorn Pub & Grill —are probably still in LSU’s corner, but they’re just in it for the grub and libation the Tigers bring to town.
Stony Brook, on cute name alone, is a close cousin to Slippery Rock when it comes to rounding up otherwise neutral observers for its corner. So it’s LSU against the world.
Yeah, I was like you. Never really heard of Stony Brook.
But some diligent research has located the school, tucked into a quiet, white-picket-fence community, nestled on the north shore about one-third the way out on Long Island from New York City.
It is technically located, oddly enough, in Stony Brook, N.Y.
Hence, I suppose, the name, although this place has gone through the kind of multiple identity crises over the years that the former Southwest Louisiana Institute could identify with.
Officially, the proper name is the State University of New York at Stony Brook, but, to good friends it answers to just plain ol’ Stony Brook, even SBU.
And if you think the official title is a mouthful now, you should have been there through the years, particularly when the school was formed in 1957 over in nearby Oyster Bay.
Back then it was “The State University College of Long Island at Oyster Bay,” which lasted a year before they tried out “The State University Center on Long Island at Oyster Bay.”
I’m guessing it was wearied headline writers who got the campus moved to Stony Brook in 1962, and it had to be a burden on the athletic teams to lug around all those letters stitched across jerseys.
But, like you, I was curious about this place.
The first thing you learn about Stony Brook when you track down the school’s website is that “Radioactive Tuna Reach U.S.”
I didn’t click the “Learn More” button on that one, but it doesn’t sound good.
But the second-most important thing happening on campus Tuesday, according to the website’s pecking order, was the startling news that the Seawolves were regional champions.
This is a campus, mind you, 24,000 strong, that is used to big events.
It was Stony Brook, for instance, that as recently as 2007 “demonstrated that Homo erectus may not have evolved from Homo habilis.”
I know I’m glad they cleared that one up. I had been suspecting the same thing for a while.
But it is also Stony Brook that, in 1974, discovered the golden bamboo lemur (some kind of nocturnal rodent or another) and, in 2008, found the remains of Beelzebufo, or “devil frog, the largest frog ever to exist.”
It doesn’t say if they found these things on campus, but hopefully they weren’t radioactive.
And didn’t have tenure.
But these days it’s the Seawolves (a mythical creature) that have the campus abuzz, and not just because the school is in the middle of an extensive campaign to increase the visibility of Wolfie, the “furry, fun-loving mascot” who is a hit “with kids and fans of all ages.”
He even has a Facebook page, although, to be honest, he looks a common, run-of-mill wolf to me.
Why didn’t they just go with the Battling Beelzebufos?
Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted By: P.Q. On: 6/9/2012
Title: Rest of The World?
People in Louisiana are pulling for Stony Brook too so they can read less of your articles.
Posted By: Matthew Mankiewich On: 6/7/2012
Title: Hey Scooter, ever have an MRI done?
If so, or if you know someone who has, you might be happy to find out that the technology was pioneered at Stony Brook. That got ex-SB professor Paul Lauterbur a Nobel Prize. Its physics department is world-renowned and helps run Brookhaven National Laboratories. Unfortunately, for most of SB's history, it and the medical school/hospital were more famous than the athletic teams. Now you know.
Posted By: EDCBA On: 6/7/2012
Title: This is the first of the many times you will hear Stony Brook in the future... Get use to the name
If there is one thing I'm sure about it would be that Stony Brook University is slowly building a powerhouse in athletics. It may sound like a joke to the LSU fans and other Big Six schools. But for those that know a bit more about the school and its history you can easily realize that this is school has been growing at a very fast pace, and it has a very supportive administration. From 1957 to the present it has become one of the 62 top research institutions, part of the AAU, and it is obvious that SBU wants to be at the same level as those peer institutions in Athletics. Seawolves jumped to Division I twelve years ago and they are already making strides and having success in D-I sports, especially in the past three years. Bottom line is: Get used to the name, it will become more familiar in the future. This is only the beginning... GO SEAWOLVES!
Posted By: Alan Marsh On: 6/6/2012
Title: LSU alumni know Stony Brook
Ask LSU alums Keith Osik or Eric Strovink about Stony Brook. Not far from where they live.
Posted By: Wolfie On: 6/6/2012
A Seawolf is a mythical creature of the Native Americans, and since Long Island has such a rich Native American history, that's where we got Seawolves from.
Posted By: Wolfie On: 6/6/2012
Title: More on SBU
The first MRI was also invented at Stony Brook. In athletics, only been a D-I team for about 10 years. Don't fall asleep on this one Tigers while looking ahead to Omaha, or you may be hanging out in the bayou watching the CWS.
Posted By: Larry Murdock On: 6/6/2012
Title: Wolfie will have his way
never take a l"lightweight" to lightly.Stony Brook is here to stay.The Wolf will howl tongiht