Dan McDonnell doesn’t have to remind players of the annual aspirations or the ultimate objective for University of Louisville baseball.
They are, in this order: Getting back to Omaha for the College World Series and winning a national championship.
Reminders abound throughout baseball complex. The wall behind his desk is a super magnified photo of Ameritrade Stadium. The same one adorns the wall of the team meeting room. The outfield walls in Jim Patterson Stadium feature giant billboards commemorating three past trips to Omaha.
A banner on the front entrance to the stadium declares that the road to Omaha goes through Louisville. The coaches, the players and the fans share the same expectation of getting back to Omaha, of someday getting out of Omaha with the biggest trophy of them all.
The coach went to the College World Series as a college player at The Citadel in 1990. He expects it, always anticipates returning.
“You got to believe it before you can achieve it,” McDonnell said. “I felt like this year I didn’t have to say it as much, which is good. It’s understood. It’s why the kids are here. It’s what the fans expect here and I’m really proud of that. That’s a neat place to be – a program where the expectations are to go to Omaha and win a national championship.”
The season begins for the Cardinals this weekend in Clearwater, Fla., with a Friday game at 3 p.m. against Alabama State, a Saturday game at 6 p.m. against Maryland, and a Sunday 1 p.m. game against Ball State. No television but the games will be broadcast on 93.9 The Ville.
The opening home game is against Eastern Kentucky on Wednesday at 3 p.m., followed by a three-game weekend series against Nebraska-Omaha.