Straight Bangin' has posted a set of softball opinions/reactions that aligns with my point of view about 95% (not pissed off about hockey coming back). He ends up rather torn about the whole thing, as I was. Frankly the last game was not a thrilling thing except for about four brief bursts of interest spread over three hours. Even so, Samantha Findlay got an ALL CAPS EXCLAMATION POINT EXPLOSION!!! for her championship-deciding three-run homer.
Brent from ParadigmBlog also echoes some of my thoughts about the patronizing coverage of the ladies in a comment. You know, favorite actresses, soup recipies, and all that (although, to be fair, without it I would never have discovered Ritter's (and apparently my) MacGuyver obsession). What I want to know about a softball batter is her strengths as a batter and the pitches she has trouble hitting (and perhaps a favorite bottle of wine in some cases).
SB also discusses what I just did, the objectification of women, referencing some disappointing comments he read on message boards. I also thought there were some pretty reprehensible (and not clever, the sinniest sin of all) things posted, but I know for a fact that the wimmin are no better than us. They apparently like their sports fandom with a heaping side order of ogling, and I say more power to them, because, I mean, damn, some of those softball girls: hot. Is all I'm saying.
For the record, this is not me:
Update 6/9: Linked to article in which GA DE Jermaine Cunningham names a trio of SEC schools as leaders. Added CA QB Jake Locker, who appears to be the first quarterback after the Big Four to get offered. Added note that Taylor Mays is making an August decision. Linked to War & Peace-sized Myron Rolle article.
The AP has withdrawn from the BCS. ESPN has dropped its name from the coaches poll. College football casts about for an authoritative, 100% correct ranking system.
Enter The BlogPoll.
That's right, a poll! Compiled by bloggers! Feel a strange tingly sensation in the parts of your body your grandmother told you didn't really exist? I thought so!
To apply and be accepted to the blogpoll, you must have a regularly-updated blog that focuses on college football. This site can either be shamelessly partisan (like mgoblog) or studiously neutral (like College Football Resource). Multisport blogs dedicated to the sporting exploits of one school are welcome, as are blogs that split time between sports and other things. Blogs dedicated to lower divisions are okay, too, as long as you watch your share of the big boys.
Blogs should be updated regularly with actual content. If half your posts are "sorry for not posting for the last two weeks, here's a link to this newspaper article," that doesn't count.
One blog, one vote. Sorry, Blue-Gray Sky.
Bloggers from neutral sources must disclose alma mater (or, lacking a DI-A alma mater, a favorite team) so their ballots can be attacked just like anyone else's.
Friday night a post will show up on mgoblog declaring itself to be that week's ballot box. Participating voters should post a comment on the post with a link to their ballot. Ballots must be posted by the end of Monday for the poll's official posting on Tuesday.
The preseason BlogPoll will be posted August 23rd.
The BlogPoll strives to function rationally and thoughtfully, removing inequities in the current poll system that drive fans nuts.
The poll is a power poll, meaning that future schedules should not be a factor in the ranking process--no henious overrating of WVU last year or Purdue this year, please. The main consideration should be "team A would beat team B on a neutral field." (This ideal is impossible to maintain across multiple teams, as matchups obviously play a major role, but something close as possible is desired.)
Voters are encouraged to look dimly upon schools that schedule exclusively cupcakes for non-conference games and reward schools that take on challenges and aquit themselves well, even in defeat.
Blogs will all disclose their ballots and be rated on Shameless Bias via a formula that calculates how overrated alma mater and local conference schools are relative to the blogpoll at large in the hopes of shaming flagrant homers into reasonability.
Voters are also encouraged to snipe at each other's ballots, because there's no such thing as bad publicity.
To be included, please email mgoblog.
If the whole football thing doesn't work out, it looks like Braylon Edwards has a future as a cult leader. In that IGN interview he also gives props to Techmo Bowl and Super Techmo Bowl. mgoblog, of course, thinks that Super Techmo Bowl is the most revolutionary sports video game of all time and at one point had memorized the name, team, position, and relative suckiness of every non-offensive lineman in the game, including fifth-string wide receivers.
On second thought, I probably shouldn't have mentioned that.
Boy, does Every Day Should Be Saturday know how to suck up to a newly-exposed fanbase. They're all over Tressel hiring Butch Reynolds as OSU's S&C coach. Reynolds was banned from track and field events for two years for steroid use, so he'll fit right in.
Miami (Florida) is Michigan's opponent in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge this year.
Update: Reynolds' positive test was apparently the subject of much controversy. (HT: Ufer's Spirt via adam on WH.)
Update II: dillonpgp has the transcript of Lloyd's BEAT UCLA!!! memo on the Wolverine Den. One "outstanding," one "excited," no "tremendous."
7:30: Yo yo yo. Intro stuff now. I predict pain.
7:32: Jennie Ritter has turned into a black UCLA pitcher! We're screwed! Oh. That graphic was wrong. So, the NBA finals start tomorrow at "8:30." I bet that turns out to be more like "9:18." Quickie mgoblog prediction: pain. Ho ho ho. A prediction would be useless from me. I'm too emotionally involved to pick against the Pistons, so what's the point?
7:36: Lloyd Carr faxed the softball team! The fax title: "BEAT UCLA!!!" Wow!!!
7:40: If Darrin Walls goes to Notre Dame I'm blaming that memo. UCLA hasn't chanted anything annoying yet. One batter, one strikeout. Softball: "It's like baseball without hitters."
7:44: Giampalo's favorite actress is Jennifer Garner. (Excellent choice.) Jessica Merchant has a lucky poker chip. There's a woman in the stands with a monkey in a Michigan hat. Why? (It's a stuffed monkey, I feel I should point out. A live monkey would probably get italics.) Michigan goes 1-2-3 in the first, like, again.
7:47: Aaaand Ritter hits the first batter. Annoying cheers in full force. UCLA's second batter just popped up a bunt, and when she went to the bench people high-fived her! You can't high-five someone after they screw up.
7:54: Ritter started off very inaccurately, but the announcers are not allowed to reference the intentional walk handed out as evidence of wildness. End of one. No score, but one of these annoying NCAA PSAs. If you go to the Frozen Four or regionals or whatever they play them incessantly at deafening volume levels--in Buffalo the crowd actually started booing them.
7:58: Do they ever have bench-clearing softball brawls? If not, they totally should. And I just noticed that they don't have to wear hats! How can you play a baseball-like game without hats! I'm outraged by this. And why can't the umps just use normal baseball motions for "out" or "strike"? Why do they have to raise their arm like someone who doesn't quite understand how to disco dance? Right, thanks for showing that stat about UCLA having 10 national championships to our none. Make sure you show that eight or ten more times... that volatile stat could change AT ANY MOMENT.
8:02: Bercaw gets ahold of a pitch but it's just a flyout. Middle of the first. For a moment I thought it had the distance. Some UCLA player has a clutch 3.4 GPA in sociology! She can be found fielding ground balls or eating the souls of orphans.
That's not what sociology majors do? The hell you say.
Ritter plays the violin. SWEET! HER FAVORITE TV SHOW IS MACGUYVER! She also has "FTAA" inscriped on her glove, a "private phrase with her dad she uses to keep her focused." What could it stand for?
8:06: I'm seriously still excited about this MacGuyver thing. "Sports psychology, to me, is like the final frontier." I haven't really been paying attention to the announcers and now they remind me why. Lisa Dodd rips a home run... and I'm trying really hard to be angry. You'll have to settle for grumpy. 1-0 BruiWins.
8:10: Benefit of home run: constant shots of Dodd in the dugout. Is this announcer STILL talking about that damn bracelet? Ritter gets the last out of the inning and it's 1-0 UCLA after two. Dodd's homer is the only hit of the game so far.
Do it for Richard Dean Anderson!
8:15: Marx takes a mighty cut but hits nothing, alas. Replays of last night's home run. Marx rips one about a foot foul. She strikes out; finally a single but the next batter is retired, still 1-0 harpies after two.
8:22: They're hitting Ritter pretty hard tonight. Leadoff single in the third. I don't think she has any strikeouts... is she finally burned out after five games in four days? Another popped up bunt, and the UCLA coach makes a mental note to put a scorpion in that girl's bed. They're doing the a capella "Thunderstruck" again. Holy crap! Weird call going on. Attempted steal looks to be successful but the batter is called out for interfering with the throw. Looks legit to me.
SHUT UP YOU BRACELET FREAK.
Zaplatosch gets ahold of another Ritter pitch but it's just another flyout. I'm not feeling very confident here. They're getting ahold of a lot of Ritter's pitches and Michigan hasn't had anything approaching a base hit save for a ball that went just foul. Come on, youse! Do it for MacGuyver!!!
8:28: I can't imagine what my life would be like without Google Image Search. The UCLA bench just burst into the Arsenio Hall woofing thing. I don't understand. Terrible strike call by Disco Ump on Findlay. She blasts a 3-1 pitch into the gap and slides into second for a double. That's right mofos! It's MacGuyver magic! Selden's last seven pitches: 6 balls, one questionable strike, one double. 2-1 to Motyka at the moment after she fouls one off.
8:34: I knew a girl on the softball team when I was in school. I think she was just a walk-on, little used, but I cared not a whit. Motyka strikes out for the ninth straight time. Disco Ump's really pushing it with the edges of that strike zone. Leutele does a decent job staying up but grounds out weakly, through three and a half.
8:46: Dodd's back up, two out, man... er, woman on third. She hits .212? WTF? How can a 1B who hits .212 play on a good team? Ritter throws her three straight balls... er, four. Don't mess with her. Ritter finally blows one by a Bruin... still no strikeouts! She gets a ground out to end the fourth, still 1-0.
Good job, Ritter. Here you go:
That is one sexy Richard Dean Anderson.
8:53: Goddammit. That should have been a hit. Look, fine, great defensive play. Now please talk about your bracelet again. Let it go. 1-2-3 in the fifth. We be losin'! You are not following Lloyd Carr's instructions, softball team!
9:00: I think my favorite part of this liveblogging experience is imaging someone looking at the Arbor Blogs picture aggregator, finding sexy MacGuyver, and wondering what the hell is going on. My least favorite part is every UCLA leadoff hitter getting on base. Also getting SCREWED by the ump.
Now first and second with two outs after another intentional walk to Zaplatosch. First pitch popup to from the next batter and we're through five. Fire up!
9:10: I think that women's sports are even more cliche-ridden than men's sports. A chopper leadoff single for Haas. Big opportunity. 100% chance of a bunt coming up. 3-0 to Giampalo now... yow! Walked her on four pitches! How do you walk someone who's going to bunt? Another ball to Merchant, and they're talking to Seldon.
COACH: "You should throw strikes."
LISA DODD: "I am wonderful."
Merchant drills a base hit! But they hold the runner at third. Bas
es are loaded, nobody out. YOW YOW YOW YOW. Hutchinson correctly held the runner up. Hard to believe that, but softball diamonds are muy small. Findlay swung at a ball way out of the strike zone... Merchant's hit was way out of the strike zone... two consecutive balls. Seldon CANNOT throw a strike!
9:16: Wrong time to throw a strike. Findlay lances it into the outfield, 1-1! Bases still loaded! No outs! That's what Lloyd Carr is talking about!!!
9:17: GODDAMMIT. Motyka hit a line drive right at the third base...er, woman for a double play. Lucky stupid flipping goddammit.
9:20: Ths ump is seriously asking to get an asskicking. UCLA manages to squeak out of that inning tied. Ugh. That double play is the kind of thing that you remember for years as a "what could have been" if they lose. And the announcers keep praising the 3B like she's Willie Mays. The ball was hit RIGHT AT HER.
9:25: Finally a strikeout for Ritter. Two down in the sixth. We're through six, no danger in that inning.
I think I've identified the thing that bugs me about softball: since the pitcher basically goes every game, they're just as important as the rest of the team put together. Given how dominant the pitchers can be, they may be even more important. Texas was a bad team this year that couldn't score a run to save their lives but because they had Osterman all that nonsense didn't matter.
9:29: Shocking! Michigan still has no national championships!
9:32: Dude, that ball looked like Charlie Sheen in "Major League." Why doesn't anyone at least glare at the ump? Infield single leads to nothing, bottom of seventh coming.
9:38: Shut up about the DP already. If we lose this game that'll be the HWMNBN timeout of Michigan softball. Two down now for pinch hitter Danielle Peterson, nicknamed "Peanut." Average: .182. HR: 0. WTF?
9:43: Whoah. The pinch hitter just ripped a home run... five feet foul. Now 3-2. Peterson pops up and we head to the 8th. You want my advice? Never eat at TGI Friday's.
9:45: All right. I saved the best for last...
9:47: Leadoff single for Giampalo. That's right, photoshopped dog MacGuyver! Merchant flies out. Dagnabit. Finley follows suit. Announcers are bitching incessantly about the fact that Michigan isn't bunting. I have this to say: you are ugly, announcers. Motyka grounds out and it's to the bottom of the inning. Balls.
9:53: Ritter Ks the leadoff batter. Zaplatosch pops to short. Muttering going on between Legaspi and UCLA's coach. Could we pay Lisa Fernandez to NOT talk? That way everybody's happy.
10:00: Ritter Ks the final batter of the inning, top of 9th coming up. DO NOT BUY DASANI.
10:05: I predict this game ends in the 15th inning. Strikeout, popup bunt, two down. "We have all been following your exciting success in the World Series" reads the first line of the BEAT UCLA!!! memo. Strikeout. Exactly three things have happened in this game: the Dodd home run, the should-have-been Michigan inning, and then one jam Ritter got out of. The rest? Bupkis.
10:13: Leadoff double for UCLA... ugh. And they pinch-run for Dedmon since she's the size of a small car. Television has finally been muted. Ritter looks exhausted. UCLA looks like they sound annoying. Bunt is laid down and the winning run is on third with one out.
10:18: It's Dodd at the plate. Ritter throws three straight balls, looks like she's just staying away from anything she could possibly get into the outfield. Walked her on four pitches. Sets up a potential inning-ending DP, that was probably as close to an intentional walk as you'll see without actually getting one.
10:21: Infield pop fly for the huuuuge second out. UCLA needs a hit now. OMG WTG!!!
10:23: They be intentionally walking Duran for the force at any plate. Tara Henry is the make or break batter here.
10:26: Strike one. Strike two. And a ground out. WE WIN THE NATIONAL CHANCE TO KEEP PLAYINGSHIP.
10:32: That ump thinks Dwyane Wade is pitching. Dodd makes a nice play on a bunt that it looked like Seldon would have to field, which she can't do, because, amazingly, she throws like a girl, but just overhand. Error by the shortstop puts Haas on base and everyone's stereotype of a downriver Michigan fan from a trailer park (except hairier) shows up on the screen. Thanks ESPN.
10:35: Giampolo slaps a little dribbler that turns into an infield single. First and second, one out, on a second consectuive poor play by the shortstop.
10:38: Merchant and Findlay up here. Gotta have it here or it's going to be tough to fend UCLA off and score with the bottom of the order. Merchant strikes out. It's down to Findlay.
10:40: FINDLAY LAUNCHES IT!
THAT'S GODDAMN RIGHT.
10:42: 4-1, three outs away. What can you say about Findlay? One pitch, one out. Aw, Leutele just pulled a Buckner. One on one out.
10:46: Ritter's next two pitches after the error are strikes painted right on the corner. Foul off. Strike out, best pitch of the night from Ritter. One more and it's time to tell a corny joke and freeze frame.
10:50: WTF? They pinch-ran for Dedmon and she's back. Popup! It's over! It's time to do the dance of joy!
Balki says NATIONAL CHAMPIONS. Woot.
I think they should show that graphic one last time.
The NHL will play again next year... probably. I'm not sure who caved on what here or exactly what's going on, but the end result looks weird. There will be a salary cap linked to team revenues, not league revenues like the NBA and NFL. Essentially, each team's revenue will create a range of acceptable player compensation levels. The Globe and Mail suggests that the first year caps will range from 36 to 34 million dollars and floors will range from 24 to 22 million dollars. Any team exceeding the midpoint of their range will pay a dollar-for-dollar luxury tax to be distributed to low-income teams.
Who won? Looks like the owners. Brendan Morrison says so, anyway. There's still a lot to be hammered out but NHL salaries will be drastically cut under every scenario out there. Good for me I guess... go Oilers and all. Not so good for Ken Holland.
This constitutes Day 1 of the Adios Montoya Watch, by the way. We should get a pool going.
Update: Bob McKenzie explores the strangeness of that Globe And Mail story. I agree with him. Something's fishy here.