Omaha, Neb. – I started with a field mic and an uncharacteristically bitchy baseball coach. Texans just won their territory at Austin in 1989 and reached another men’s college world championship, but legendary coach Cliff Gustafson had another team in a different regional in his head.
A hundred miles away, in College Station, Texas A&M No. 1 was just pissed off at Texas State University. Dizzy from both developments, Gustafson grabbed the microphone and let go.
“Where are the Aggies now?”
The crowd broke out at Dish Falk Field.
“If you knew Cliff Gustafson, it was completely out of character,” said Bill Little, longtime Texas sports information manager/historian. “I was like, ‘I can’t believe you just said that.
“The hostility—you can call it whatever you want to call it—was gathering. I call it spirit, because that’s what it is.”
Texas has had an A&M award for years, but that spring, an Aggie group named Big John Byington beat a pair of visitors to give them a win over Texas, and eventually the Southwest Conference Championship. Thus began the modern rivalry between Texas and Texas A&M in baseball, which continued vigorously until 2012, when the Ages joined the Securities and Exchange Commission.
But some say it never ended.
On Sunday, the two old contenders will meet for the first time in the Men’s College World Championships (2 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN app). The loser will return home, and almost as importantly, he will have to live with the fact that he has been defeated by the other. Baseball is the only major sport in which the two teams play each other each year, although that will change in 2025 when Texas joins the Securities and Exchange Commission.
For their part, The Longhorns downplayed the rivalry. They said it was just another game. Pitcher Tristan Stevens added that it’s no surprise that a team or fan base is launched to beat them.
“Not many teams are like us anyway,” Stevens said.
But Texas coach David Pierce acknowledged it would be a big match for both fan bases.
“We can’t get caught up in playing Texas A&M,” Pearce said. “We have to keep it up to us and just prepare and they’re good. They swing well. They’re a good team. It doesn’t matter if it’s the A&M team or someone else. It’s just a game we’re playing for the continuation of our lives, live our baseball game of the year.” .
“I know the guys are going to be ready to go. I don’t want them to play hard. I want them to get out there, rest, let it fly and see what happens.”
Texas A&M went to Austin in late March and won 12-9 in front of an electric crowd of nearly 8000. A&M’s Jack Moss went 5 for 5 that day and hit the course.
It was one of the most intense baseball games he’s ever seen, said Will Johnson, Aggies announcer for two decades.
“Ride something in every stadium,” he said. “The guys played plays all over the place. And you could tell there was a bunch of guys upping their game because they didn’t want to lose to the opponent. It was unbelievable. Two teams were saying, ‘I’m not going to lose to these guys in the other dugout.'”
“But now, my gosh, they’re trying to finish each other’s seasons and it’s hard to fathom this intensity and it’s getting a degree. But here you go. I’ve got it now.”
On Saturday night, 17 hours before the game, a group of college friends from the University of Texas sat at DJ’s Dugout — the unofficially designated Texas A&M bar in Omaha — and pondered the rivalry between Texas and Texas A&M.
They concluded that it was no big deal with Texas. Two men in the group graduated with engineering degrees from the University of Texas last month, and the 14-hour drive to Omaha was their last trip together before starting their careers. All four of them are members of the Texas Iron Spikes baseball spirit group, pulling away and swaying their longhorns from left field perch.
Jack Gallagher said that the fan group does a lot of research on social media to find the best material to harass rival players, and Oklahoma has won over likes when it comes to Austin. But the A&M? Not much of the competitors.
“I’m telling you, A&M’s entire identity is based on our hate,” said Gallagher’s friend, Joseph Martinez. “They don’t have any personality outside of that.”
Gallagher added that the A&M fight song is about Texas. It is in the second verse:
“Farewell to the University of Texas, goodbye to orange and white”
By the way, the opening of the Texas fight song goes like this…
Battle of Texas, Fight of Texas, Farewell to A&M…
Martinez’s phone is full of texts from a friend who is a fan of Aggies. They talk trash with each other.
The opponents do not seem to agree on the historical record of rivalry. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Texas A&M says the series began in 1904 and Texas tops 239-129-5; The Longhorns say the first game was in 1903 and they lead the series 244-129-5.
Mark Johnson, who revived baseball at Texas A&M in the 1980s, said the rivalry had its share of fights in the early days, but deep down, it was amicable because many of the players were Texans who grew up locally and knew each other. High School and Youth Baseball.
“People think this is a football country,” he said. “This is a baseball state too, like football. If not more.
“There are good players all over the state, and they are available. Really good players, of course, would you want them to come to your place? A lot of times, Texans will get them, or we’ll get them.”
Johnson, who was hired in 1985, had future MLB player Chuck Knublauch, a Houston native, on one of his first roster rosters, along with Big John. Johnson had forgotten that note from Gustafson in 1989. He’s not sure if he’d heard it before.
“That’s what it was,” Johnson said. “With Texas and Texas A&M, there will be an advantage.”