Most of us have heard of various, sports-based Cinderella stories, especially those that are centered on professional sporting teams, such as the Tampa Bay Rays 2008 season that finished with an American League Championship or the US Men's Olympic Hockey Team gold medal win in the 1980s. However, Cinderella stories can occur in any sport, at any time, and at any level. The Cinderella story is intrinsic to the hope that lives in every player that some day, he or she could score the big win. One of the greatest Cinderella stories to ever come about in college-level sports is the Fresno State Bulldogs' success during the 2008 College World Series.
Before the 2008 College World Series, the Fresno State Bulldogs had never earned a Division I men's sports title and in the entire sporting history of the school, Fresno State had only won the 1998 NCAA Women's College World Series. Without a big win in 10 years, the team's prospects for the 2008 College World Series looked pretty grim, but 2008 would be an amazing year for the Bulldogs.
The team was able to win the WAC Championship, earning a four seed spot in the regional competition, and this was only the start of the team's rise to victory. As Dr. Donna Blair, a Fresno dentist and avid Bulldog fan described, "I remember people getting more and more excited as they kept winning and winning."
And they continued to win. As the Bulldogs advanced, the team advanced to the College World Series held in Omaha. The series featured six games which meant six separate chances for the team to be eliminated. But, in an astounding turn of events, Fresno State won each and every game. A win over the Georgia Bulldogs on June 25, 2008, made the team the College World Series champions. "It's a big deal to win an NCAA championship in any sport, but this was a really big deal here," explained Dr. Blair.
Despite the team's history of losing streaks that seemed to damper the college's athletics for years and years, 2008 proved to be a year of change and victory. To put it into perspective, the Bulldogs were able to win ten tournament games against six different teams, all of which ranked within the top 20.
Since the Big Win
With a huge win in 2008 that put Fresno State on the map, the Bulldogs have since had some success but have yet to become national champions since then. In 2009 and 2011 the team became WAC Conference Tournament Champions and in 2011 the Bulldogs also earned the title of Conference Champions. However, since 2008 the team has yet to make another appearance in the College World Series.
The Bulldogs' Future in Baseball
While there is no way to predict a team's future success, a phenomena that the Bulldogs are well aware of, the team has steadily proven that its players are well-trained, hard working, and MLB ready. The team has recently lost two of it's most notable players, Dusty Robinson and Josh Poytress, both of who have signed to play for MLB teams. At the end of this year's draft, ten Bulldogs in all were drafted, a record high for the program. As for the Bulldogs as a team, Fresno residents and Fresno State alumni watch eagerly every year to see if maybe, just maybe, the Bulldogs will come out on top again.
Ashley Page writes for Off-Topic Media. Dr. Donna Blair treats TMJ and sleep apnea at her office in Fresno. She can be contacted at:
Donna J. Blair, DDS
5777 N. Fresno Street, Suite 108
Fresno at Bullard
Fresno, California 93710