Ah, 1990. Do you remember what happened way back when, 25 long years ago? East and West Germany reunited and the first Iraq war began. The Hubble Space Telescope was placed in orbit and Microsoft released a hot new program called Windows... 3.0. A nation was stunned to learn that Grammy-winning pop maestros Milli Vanilli were -- you might want to sit down and brace yourselves -- lip synching. We watched John McClane kill more terrorists, a young boy named Kevin torment a pair of bumbling robbers, Richard Gere give Julia Roberts a makeover, and Patrick Swayze remind a nation of the erotic possibilities inherent in pottery. Oh, and a little show called The Simpsons made its debut.
Another thing that happened in 1990? The Iowa baseball team was ranked by national polling services. Iowa climbed as high as #13 in 1990. Iowa went 22-6 in league play that year (38-19 overall), won a Big Ten championship, and made the NCAA regionals. Truly, those were heady days for the Hawkeyes.
It's been a long, 25-year wait for Iowa to ascend those same heights again. But now it's over -- or at least partially over. We'll have to wait a few months to see if Iowa can win a Big Ten title or return to the NCAA Tournament -- but it's sure nice to have those feel like actual possibilities and not just pure flights of fancy -- but Iowa has returned to the world of Top-25 rankings. They entered the 3/30 Collegiate Baseball NCAA Division I poll at #24. And if you can't trust a poll presented by Big League Chew, what can you trust?
There are still a few Hawkeye baseball deniers out there in poll-land, of course. D1Baseball lists Iowa among the ranks of "Others Considered," but not within the actual Top 25, as does the USA Today Coaches' Poll. Perfect Game also excludes Iowa from its Top 25, as does Baseball America. But that's OK -- we're sure they'll see the light eventually.
As we've said about Iowa basketball's appearances in the Top 25 in the last two years, the poll appearances are nice not because they impact postseason outcomes, but because they provide a snapshot of what teams matter at a given moment. And right now, for the first time in a very, very long time, Iowa baseball actually matters. That's an awful lot of fun. It's also worthwhile to enjoy this moment while it lasts for Iowa baseball because while maintaining success is never easy, it can be especially difficult in college baseball, as this story from The Daily Iowan on last weekend's Iowa-Indiana series readily reminds us.
Kudos on a fantastic start to the season, Iowa baseball. I'm looking forward to seeing where this ride takes us.