Our sixth best BC sports moment of the 2010’s is the baseball team’s improbable trip to the Super Regional in 2016. The Eagles slipped into the tournament after a first round exit in the ACC tournament, but ran off three straight victories (7-2 over Tulane, 4-3 over Utah, 6-3 Tulane) to set up a three game series with Miami in Coral Gables.
As a northern school in a predominantly southern conference, BC baseball will always have the odds stacked against them. Any amount of national success feels like an underdog story, and this story was made all the more special by the presence of Pete Frates.
Pete Frates and the Strike out ALS cause are inextricably linked to the Boston College baseball program. So when the Frate Train rolled through the Oxford Regional, Pete was watching every inning of the journey, even FaceTiming with the team as their bus headed to the stadium. How a person facing such tremendous challenges could maintain so much enthusiasm and support for his old ball team is beyond me, but it speaks to Pete’s ability to inspire people around the world.
Justin Dunn, the team’s ace and eventual 1st round pick by the Mets (before they moronically traded him to Seattle for an aging second baseman and disaster of a closer, but that’s a story for another day), said it best:
“Pete is everything to not only this year’s team, but everybody who plays in a BC baseball uniform. He traveled with us our freshman year, and he sends Facebook messages. If we have a bad game he’ll say, ‘Hey, keep your head up.’ And that kind of puts things in perspective for all of us as a team. It’s like, this man’s dealing with a disease like ALS, and he’s taking the time out to just tell us to keep your head up. And we’re thinking that’s the worst thing in the world, but it’s really not. That’s kind of how Pete impacts us. He shows us that things are really not as big as they seem. If he can make the best out of a situation, then we can kind of deal with what we’re going through on our daily lives.”
BC’s season may have ended with a 9-4 loss to Miami in the rubber game of the Super Regional, but the Frate Train roars on. His towering legacy will continue to resonate within the Boston College community and beyond for years to come.