OMAHA, Neb. -- On Opening Day of the Major League Baseball season, Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper wore a cap that read "MAKE BASEBALL FUN AGAIN." The slogan took off, with merchandise flooding the internet -- and it seems the College World Series has taken it to heart. Just look at the two teams vying for the national championship as proof.
Cameras have been pointed at the Arizona and Coastal Carolina dugouts throughout the series, determined not to miss the teams' antics. We've seen a lot of zaniness from these teams throughout the tournament; expect more when the best-of-three CWS finals begin Monday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Coastal Carolina sophomores Josh Crump and Seth Lancaster have one of the most extensive pregame handshakes you're likely to see. It includes subtle variations from game to game, so pay attention.
The water war
When Arizona scores or gets a big hit, you can bet water bottles will be flying and towels will start twirling. There might also be some slam-dancing because, really, who can resist?
"I'm at a loss for words with our guys sometimes and some of the stuff they do," coach Jay Johnson said Sunday. "I just respect how much they do to prepare and ... the professionalism that they've played with. And so my feeling on it is they should have fun. They earned the right to have our dugout be the place they want to be worse than anyplace in the world."
Rafiki and Bruce
Coastal Carolina has carried around a stuffed monkey -- the players named it Rafiki -- since buying it at a gas station after they were swept on the road by Georgia Tech. They have gone 22-3 since.
"Rafiki has become a part of who we are, to be honest with you," coach Gary Gilmore said. "Heck, those kids, they're not going to the park, they're not getting on the bus, they're not doing anything without that monkey going with us. It's incredible."
Bruce the shark came into the mix more recently. During a June 23 contest between Coastal Carolina and Texas Tech, fans pummeled the field with inflatable beach balls and pool toys. The grounds crew picked them all up and sequestered them in the CCU bullpen, were players say they "rescued" Bruce and brought him into the fray.
Coastal Carolina doesn't let anyone do an in-game interview alone, whether it be Gilmore or ESPN reporter Kaylee Hartung. The players and their good-luck mascots, Rafiki and Bruce, are always available for the on-camera assist.
"Listen, anybody tells you every now and then it isn't hard to breathe out there, they're not being truthful with you," Gilmore said. "I mean, we all put a lot into it. And it can be nerve-racking at times. It's just great to have a moment to laugh or whatever in between a lot of all that stuff going on."