There are not a lot of similarities between the 2016 Arizona Wildcats and the 2012 version, the last Arizona team to make the postseason, let alone Omaha and win the whole thing.
The coaching staff is different. The players are almost entirely different....sup Tyler Crawford. The philosophy is pretty different. The way this team wins games is different.
"That 2012 team, we kind of just dominated our way through the postseason," Crawford explained. "We only played a few close games. The way this team’s down in games, and we have to go on the road and comeback. I’ve been trying to come up with (comparisons) but it’s just so hard to."
"It’s so different, but it’s been equally rewarding."
But there is one pretty big similarity. Both teams had a true freshman behind the plate.
"Oh that’s right," Cesar Salazar reacted when asked if he knew about that thing he had in common with Riley Moore. "I haven’t thought about it that way, but that’s pretty cool actually."
Even with that similarity, there really isn’t any similarity at all.
"They hit left handed," Crawford joked about all the things the two have in common. "Personality-wise they’re very different. Both are great guys. I was super close with Riley and still am. Cesar’s more quiet, but he leads by example and both just have tremendous toughness behind the plate."
"Not really," Cameron Ming said if Salazar had much in common with Moore. "They both have different styles. Sally does a really good job of getting you strikes. He makes everything you throw look like a strike. Sometimes I’ll watch replays and be like ‘Wow, that was six inches outside’."
"I think their games are a little different," Cody Ramer added. "Cesar used to be a shortstop, so you can see the little Dominican hands he’s got."
*For what it’s worth, Salazar is from Mexico*
"Just they’re leadership on and off the field," Zach Gibbons said when giving his thoughts on their similarities. "They’re completely two different catchers."
"I think it’s just a good coincidence," explained Crawford. "Both of those guys are well beyond their years. Riley was special in 2012 obviously, freshman All-American, and I don’t know if Cesar is going to get those accolades but he’s just been a warrior behind the plate. They lead and act a lot older than they are."
You could also look at their walk-up songs as another major difference. Moore used "Surfin’ USA" by the Beach Boys, while Salazar was using Shakira’s "Hips Don’t Lie".
While there aren’t any real similarities in their game, it is interesting to think that Arizona does best with a freshman catcher. The problem with Moore is that his freshman year was about as good as it got.
If Salazar is able to develop and improve his game crouching behind the plate as well as standing at it with a bat in his hand, there’s a chance he could be a really dangerous piece for the next couple of years in Tucson.