Open Mike: The Path to Success Mike Tufano February 6, 2014 Features, Open Mike College baseball has typically been dominated by teams from the south. Even in the Big 12, it’s Texas and TCU getting more respect on a national level than the defending Big 12 Champions. And it’s clear to see why that has historically been the case. Just take a look at the photo that @KStateSports tweeted this afternoon and it’s clear why this has always been the case. It’s as simple as the weather. With the season starting as early as it does (this year on February 14), a team like K-State ends up playing its first 8 games on the road. Even when the Cats return for their first home stand February 28 – March 2, you never really know if or when these games will be played. We know all too well just how late a snow storm or other Kansas weather issues can pop up. But if this picture doesn’t point you towards the dedication it takes to win at K-State, then you’re not thinking it through. This is the most non-baseball baseball picture you’ll see today. To play at K-State means giving up the warmth of a southern destination. It means playing for a school, that until a year ago, hadn’t won a Big 12 title. It means that to be ranked in the various baseball polls going into the 2014 season, they’d have to be earning that honor for the first time. In the case of last year’s Big 12 player of the year, Ross Kivett, it means delaying a professional career for one last shot at heading north in the summer. See, for many K-State fans, last year’s Big 12 Championship and NCAA Regional Tournament Championship (in Manhattan!) may not have meant much beyond new-found success in a niche sport. Many didn’t even take notice of the success of the Bat Cats until they were on the cusp of that Big 12 title. But others have been watching. And waiting. Just like football in the pre-Snyder era. Just like basketball through the dark years of Asbury and Wooldridge. It was 2009 when the Cats first made it to the NCAA tournament. And things have only continued to rise since then. For those who have been paying attention. the 2013 K-State Baseball team didn’t come out of nowhere. And with this year’s team the pick to win the conference again, 2014 won’t be blindsiding anyone. This team is on a path to something special. This tradition is only beginning.