If given the chance, some fans would do literally anything to see their team win – and by anything, we mean anything.
You simply won’t find a bigger concentration of those certifiably insane people than the fans of Power Five college teams.
And that fact was proven recently when this college pitcher revealed that an opposing team’s fan tried to bribe him to throw a game in the most hilarious way possible.
If you’ve been paying even the minimal amount of attention to the college baseball postseason, you’ve probably heard about Virginia pitcher Stephen Schoch.
His clutch performances out of the bullpen have definitely helped him make a name for himself, but it’s his electric personality that brought him to the attention of the masses and transformed him into the biggest star of college baseball in 2021.
First, he came in late in Virginia’s win over South Carolina, striking out the final batter to send Virginia to the regional finals and pulling off an insanely awesome glove toss celebration.
Glove toss: 14/10 😤@UVABaseball pic.twitter.com/BAkM8HvkA9
— ESPN (@espn) June 6, 2021
Then he shut down Old Dominion in the 9th and 10th innings to give his team a chance to hit a walk off home run to advance to the Super Regionals, and then proceeded to give what is quite possibly the most entertaining interview in sports this year.
After admitting that the only thing that makes him nervous is “caves” – which is an utterly brilliant response – Schoch played into all the comparisons to HBO legend Kenny Powers, and had more than a little fun with it.
You didn’t know Kenny Powers played for Virginia?
Well you do now 😂 @UVABaseball @bigdonkey47 pic.twitter.com/S6RJYAziNC
— ACC Network (@accnetwork) June 6, 2021
As hilarious as all the talk about caves and Kenny Powers was, the best moment of Schoch’s rise to stardom came when he admitted that a South Carolina fan had attempted to bribe him to throw their game.
But rather than offer Schoch a duffle bag of cash, a new car, or one of the other typical forms of payment college athletes have been known to receive, this fan chose a different type of currency – Dippin’ Dots ice cream.
“I heard a fan offer free Dippin’ Dots if I blew it, which the price of Dippin’ Dots with inflation is just unreal, so for a brief moment I was like ‘Damn, Dippin’ Dots sound good,’” Schoch admitted. “But also, I thought in the back of my head [if] we win today, we win tonight we’re going to be here another day and that’s more per diem, so that means I can buy my own Dippin’ Dots and be a winner.”
GIVE 👏 STEPHEN 👏 HIS 👏 DIPPIN' 👏 DOTS 👏 @UVABaseball 🤣 pic.twitter.com/SlfVbhgB4p
— ACC Network (@accnetwork) June 8, 2021
As hilarious as it is that a fan offered Schoch “the ice cream of the future” to throw a game, him telling the story and walking the world through his thought process is the very definition of electric.
The guy has bounced around the college baseball world for over five years now, trying to find his way and get in the right situation where he could thrive.
And he’s clearly found a home at Virginia in his final season of eligibility, putting himself in a position where he can show the world his ability and potentially make a professional career a very real possibility.
But he’s also doing what few athletes today do – he’s showing his true personality, unafraid of what losers on social media will say, and creating a brand for himself that could lead to even more opportunities down the road.
Stephen Schoch is a walking electric factory, and people who weren’t interested in the college baseball postseason are now following along, tuning in to see Virginia play just to root for him.
He’s the exact personality that baseball – and all sports for that matter – needs in the age of declining TV ratings for sports as shorter attention spans and endless entertainment options have caused many to tune out of live sports.
Hopefully, Virginia will continue their run in this postseason this weekend after winning four straight elimination games last weekend just to advance to the Super Regional.
But at the end of the day, all that really matters is we get more Stephen Schoch.
Sports with Balls will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.