"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
7:00 PM. Hello, Gary Thorne. Hello, Barry Larkin. Larkin kind of has Marcelo Balboa disease where he just repeats himself over and over and over again, but he's an alum so we forgive him. Also he doesn't rock an ear stud and Slayer hair.
Let's not see if this Stutes kid can do what Reyes did. Because that would be the suck.
7:04 PM. JEBUS! For the record, if you're the kind of person who turns Google's Safe Search off because you don't quite trust it to not throw away useful results in the name of Saving the Children and you type "beaver" into Google Image search, you get:
- Hits 1 & 2: Pictures of actual beavers.
- Hit 3: @ right.
- Hits 4 & 5: pictures of, um... not actual beavers.
Also later there are the infamous pictures of Britney Spears letting it all hang out. And I mean "hang."
Anyway. Baseball. Soon.
Top 1. I realize it's relevant to the game, but if they could stop talking about yesterday that would be sweet.
Christian fires the first pitch of the game to the warning track. It's nice that we got a ball out of the infield. I don't understand why the guys hitting like .360 or .370 aren't at the top of the order. I know it doesn't matter, statistically, but it's kind of odd.
Stutes walks the second batter; encouraging notes from last 3 starts: 7.07 ERA, 11 BB, 12 K. Nearly picks the runner off twice, but I like this guy a lot better than Reyes already... dammit. Reck flies out on a hit and run and we get doubled up to end the inning. Strategy grumble grumble.
Bottom 1.Canadian Mike Wilson on the mound. First batter strikes out. That is what I am talking about. That.
Larkin makes a good point that the pitchers aren't pounding the zone quite as much as they were yesterday -- Oregon State isn't, certainly, though Putnam put a few guys on base with walks -- as Wilson runs his guy to 3-2 and then strikes him out with some wicked offspeed stuff.
Falls behind the third batter 2-1, then strikes him out... but the ball gets away and the batter takes first. Pickens didn't do much of a job getting in front of the ball.
Side note: is that not one of the weirdest rules in sport? Dammit: another wild pitch sends the runner to second. Pickens again faulty. Those are charged as wild pitches, but both should have been dealt with.
Cleanup guy walks. Yuck. Behind 2-0 to the next guy. Yuck. Ball well outside the zone swung at wildly; fortunate. Misses inside. 3-1. Fastball right down the middle taken for a strike... payoff pitch; swing and a miss. One inning, 4Ks for Wilson. Not a good start for his pitch count.
Top 2. Putnam goes down swinging kind of weakly. I am enjoying Gary Thorne doing this game, by the way. Some people don't like him; these people are communists.
There are entire families of people perched in scaffolding just outside the ballpark. Larkin compares them to people displaced by Katrina. Um. Long fly out from Abraham; two down. Dude, Pickens went in the 50th round of the MLB draft. He could have been Mr. Irrelevant. After all, he was drafted by the Indians. (ba-dum ching!) Pickens chases high; inning over.
I would like the team to hit the ball.
Bottom 2. I would also like Canadian Mike Wilson to throw strikes. He falls behind 3-0, then throws two strikes right down the middle. Grounder up the middle for the first out. Nice play from Christian.
Larkin starts talking about this weird fieldturf stuff Oregon State plays on. It is slow, as is apparent to anyone who watched the first game and its groundball orgy, and I don't like it much. You're outside, man, play on grass. Hell: you're outside in Oregon. If you can't grow grass in Oregon there is something wrong with you.
Meanwhile: Wilson hits a batter and runs another count to 3-2. Beaver runners terrified of Wilson's pickoff move. Wilson already at 44 pitches; walks the next batter. I should probably throw this out while I still have time:
Aaaand a double steal from Oregon State. No throw? WTF? Wilson has the batter at 3-1. This is going poorly. Walks him. Bases loaded, nobody out, it's talky time. Maybe I should never liveblog again.
Wilson starts the next hitter off with a ball in the dirt. OMG. Ball two. I... strikes? No. Ball three. Ball four. Walked him on four pitches. Has walked a run in. There have been no hits in this inning. 1-0 OSU. Next pitch is way outside, and Wilson is gone. Ugly.
Pitching change: Mike Powers is in. I really hope this doesn't go like that Louisville game yesterday; they kept a play-by-play on the right side of the screen and it seemed like every time I looked at it, it said "pitching change." Powers walks in another run on three straight pitches. What, is this the one year I played little league?
Barney hits a single; 2 RBI in. Now 4-0 OSU. No hitter gone. Drat. Oregon State steals second. Powers throws three straight balls. Greenlighted on 3-0, Lissman fouls it back. And he takes a chop at a fastball way inside, blooping it to Christian for an... out? I think they're called "outs." Unless the language has shifted since the last time we got one. Do we have rocket cars yet?
Powers strikes out the final batter. I can say without reservation that this has been the most frustrating inning of baseball I've ever watched.
Arrrgh! I hate you Comcast lady!
Top 3. Oregon State has four runs and one hit. I can't help but notice that I didn't even watch that Vandy game, which worked out just fine.
Hey, a hit. Van Buskirk slaps a single past the shortstop. A desultory cheer from the beleaguered crowd. See... why are the guys batting .385 and .371 7th and 8th in the lineup? Maybe they never walk or something. Cislo strikes out. Rose nearly gets a bunt single, but it rolls foul. Eventually flies out.
Long digression on aluminum vs. wood bats as Christian is attempting to not strike out. He does not succeed at this. EOI.
Bottom 3. Chopper is just over Powers' head and slips into the outfield. Leadoff single. Do I have to institute a basketball-esque mercy rule? Powers strikes the next guy out with a slider. I wonder what would happen if they stopped swinging? Most of the stuff they have taken rips at has been well out of the strike zone. Next batter is a virtual repeat: strikes out on the slider. Two down.
Note from yesterday: OSU's road uniforms are sinfully ugly. Like Terrail Lambert attempting to cover Mario Manningham ugly. The pinstripes, the orange numbers, the white "OSU" across the chest that looks like it was assembled out of construction paper by autistic second graders. What is it with the state and their campaign against your eyeballs?
Lederton (?) fends a pitch off into the outfield for a single; runners on the corners. Powers strikes out the third batter. End of inning.
I can't believe it's the end of the t
hird inning. Yesterday it was the sixth or something.
Top 4. Oh, also: someone left a snarky comment along the lines of "you can't CATCH the ball, you have to BLOCK it." This was two innings and six Barry Larkin mentions of this little piece of wisdom ago. You see what I mean about Marcelo Balboa disease.
Groundout opens the inning. Recknagel pops out. Putnam strikes out. What happened to this .330 batting average?
Bottom 4. That Wong kid who hit the one hit of yesterday is apparently the first base coach's kid. He flies out to Recknagel and his dad looks like he's totally going to give that kid a... piece of his mind later. Single to center.
Coverage of Arena Football! Joy. Barry Larkin seems disappointed there are no rattlesnakes in Oregon.
Abraham muffs a potential DP ball, probably because of the stupid turf, but gets the putout at first. Man on second, two down. Barry Larkin loves fishing. He attempts to relate this to the rattlesnakes comment. I don't think it's working. Larkin does rip on the turf, though, after relating a story -- Powers issues a walk --about the "grass seed capital of the world". I'm with him and wouldn't mind him repeating this eighty times the next two innings.
Ack. Wild pitch, runners now at second and third. Pickens tried to CATCH it, not BLOCK it. Actually relevant this time, though. Powers falls behind 3-0 to the next batter. Woo! Manages to get it full and get a groundout to end the inning.
Top 5. Abraham pulls a potential double just a little foul, then grounds out. Pictures of Barry Larkin from back in the day. Second batter flies out. Cislo strikes out.
THINGS I HAVE ENJOYED MORE THAN THIS GAME SO FAR
- The Offspring
- packing peanuts
- "History Of Africa After 1850", AACS 450, as a freshman.
- getting circumcised.
Bottom 5. Leadoff batter walks on four pitches. Powers is done; Fetter, the scheduled starter for a hypothetical game three, has entered the game. Sac bunt; man on second, one out. AAAAAARGH. Fetter down 3-0 in the count; walks the first guy who's not all bunting at him.
I'm mildly surprised that three of eight top seeds making it to Omaha is regarded an unusually low number. Fetter falls behind 3-1, then just barely gets the corner to take the count full. Fetter walks the guy. Eight walks.
Squeeze play suceeds; 5-0 OSU, second and third and two out.
"Wong is rising to the occasion." Stupid O.
And, hey, we've got to get these runs in somehow, preferably weird... Fetter balks in another run and we've got a double that picks up the other baserunner. Michigan is down 7-0. Mercy rule? Mercy rule.
Screw you guys, I'm going home.
Update 6/11: Removed MO TE Spencer Ladner (Cal), GA DT Omar Hunter (ND), LA TE Tyler Edwards (dropped us). Moved MI DT Mike Martin to committed. Linked to articles on KS LB Arthur Brown, MI RB Jonas Gray, LA CB Robby Green, PA QB Terrelle Pryor. Added IL DE Glen Foster, IL OL Neal Dieters, TX WR Jeffery Fuller, VA QB Sean Glennon, TN OL Preston Bailey. Noted solid inside info on OH RB Michael Shaw from BP. Linked to speculation on PA WR Jonathan Baldwin and PA QB Terrelle Pryor.
Editorial Opinon: Quiet week. The commitment of Martin was covered when it happened a few days ago; Michigan might be done at defensive tackle with it. I believe vagabond Marques Slocum has four years to play four, essentially making him a redshirt freshman, so Michigan will have four frosh defensive tackles this year (Slocum, Canadian freshman Renaldo Sagesse, and the redshirted duo of Jason Kates and John Ferrara). If Sagesse redshirts, and as a Canadian he's almost guaranteed to, they'll have a guy to pair with Martin. There are still offers out to a few guys -- Chris Henderson from PA, Lawrence Guy from NV, Reggie Ellis from DC -- but another DT isn't going to be a high priority. Both Guy and Ellis are sometimes mentioned as defensive ends, though.
This... news? Ye gods, you know it's a slow week when the first item is about someone cutting his list to 11. But... national #1 prospect Terrelle Pryor has cut his list to 11. We're on it, but it remains doubtful he ends up at Michigan:
As far as which program has the upper hand in the "Pryor Sweepstakes," Pryor himself states that all of his finalists are equal.
Keystone Recruiting's source, however, revealed that he believes Ohio State "has a slight lead."
He also says that Pryor likes West Virginia, Penn State, Tennessee, Florida and Texas. Also, according to the source, his advisors have told him that he best fits in the offensive systems of West Virginia, Florida and Texas.
"He knows Noel Devine," said the source, referring to the Mountaineers' dynamic running back recruit, and "he is friends with a big tackle (Josh Jenkins) from Parkersburg that's going there next year."
OTOH, there's this guy at BP who flits in rarely -- 11 posts spread out over the past few months -- and drops little bits of inside knowledge. "EastCoastScout" on Pryor:
OSU is still looking good here, but besides WVU, the other school folks should watch out for is Georgia Tech. I'm told they are a serious player right now.
FWIW, as of right now, I'm expecting Michigan to get one of those visits. But as things currently stand, OSU is the leader.
FWIW. Though this would be a Lazarus job if Michigan pulled it off, it looks like they'll get a shot to.
More messageboard, um, stuff. We now have an offer out to Trotwood-Madison RB Michael Shaw; BP has a poster connected to the Trotwood-Madison program. I've followed up with him to confirm this. EXBEARCAT on Shaw:
Shaw is being recruited as a RB, not a DB.
He will be a RB at Michigan, Penn St, or Tennessee
More than likely Penn St or Michigan.
If he's seriously considering Penn State, I would think they have the advantage by virtue of their utterly barren tailback depth chart.
There is also this:
Jonathan Baldwin, the three-sport phenom from Aliquippa, has received nearly 30 scholarship offers for football and at least four for basketball. ... Word is that if Baldwin had to choose a school today, he'd be a maize-and-blue clad Michigan
As always, FWIW. This one appeared in an actual newspaper!
So, yeah, that's all I've got today. There should be a lot more movement over the next couple weeks; Michigan will hold its annual summer camp. If history is any indication, they will send out a few offers at it and get two or three commits from kids we haven't heard of before.
Sometimes words fail and you're just left with this: holy crap, that sucked. That sucked big time.
If you were searching for the exact opposite of a Kirk Gibson moment off the #1 pick in the MLB draft delivered by a pinch hitter with a .188 average, you could hardly do better (worse?) than watching Michigan's star pitcher lose his no hitter with two outs in the ninth. One single, one run, and... that sucked big time.
Is there anything more to analyze? Baseball, to me, has always been a sport of hot dogs and summer nights and not caring very much and things that either happen or do not happen without much in the way of reason driving said things on. It is a sport of fatalism and the cruelty of small sample sizes. So I struggle to come up with anything useful to offer here. Michigan did not hit that Reyes kid: dagnabit. End of productive conversation.
Game two is at 7 PM tonight; hopefully it will not suck. Liveblog coming.
Update: Sam @ BC&RS provides a much more comprehensive breakdown/recap. There is no squee in Samville this day.
It is base-ball time. Tomorrow at 3 Michigan opens a three game series against Oregon State in Corvalis. In search of the scoop on the Beavers, Building The Dam and MGoBlog viciously questioned each other. The results... below! Check BTD for the mgoversion of these later today.
Were you a big baseball fan before the Beavers won it all last year? Personally, college baseball hasn't appeared on my radar screen until the past couple years, since Michigan hasn't really done anything since the mid-80s. Is the sport a big deal at OSU and, more generally, the Pacific Northwest?
Baseball has always been one of my favorite sports, so yes, I followed the Beaver baseball team before they won the CWS. Obviously, the '05 trip to Omaha made Beaver Nation follow the team more closely, so the '06 and '07 seasons have definitely had a much larger fan base in general.
The sport is a big deal at Oregon State now... when we were 2-3 after the first five games of this year's football season, everyone sort of had a "at least we have baseball to look forward to" attitude. As it ended up, we finished the season out 10-4 and won the Sun Bowl. Beaver fans are feeling pretty good about the athletic program now, with the exception of the basketball team. (3-15 in the Pac-10 this year)
As far as baseball in the Pacific NW is concerned, it depends on what level you are talking. We really only have one MLB team, and that's the Mariners, but youth baseball is very big at least where I live, although it is being overtaken by Lacrosse to some extent. If you've looked at the Beavers roster before, you'll see that we are having all this success with local guys, and that's something our team takes great pride in. Twenty-eight guys on our roster are from Oregon and Washington, and the rest aren't from much farther away. These talented college players are coming from great high school programs around the Northwest, so yes, baseball is a big deal here.
Oregon State didn't seem to get much respect from the committee after winning the national championship, managing only a three seed despite having a 39-17 record. Was the schedule weak? Was the seeding unfair?
Although the Beavers had a 39-17 record, most of those wins came in the non-conference part of the schedule. OSU was 28-3 in those games, leaving their Pac-10 record at 10-14, which is not very good. We went down to UCLA for the last series of the season thinking we needed to sweep to make the field of 64, but we won two. On Selection Monday we thought we would be lucky to be one of the last teams in, but the 3 seed was actually a surprise for many fans. We knew that the team could compete at a Omaha level, but we didn't know if our season was good enough to earn us a spot. So to get straight to the point, no our schedule was not weak, we beat some very good teams, but we didn't win enough of the games we should have. The seeding was very fair, they actually skipped over two teams to get to the Beavers.
Who will Michigan face on the mound in games 1, 2, and 3 and how good are they? Who are some key relievers to know?
For the regular season, our Friday starter was Mike Stutes, and our Saturday guy was Joe Patterson. At the beginning of the season Daniel Turpen went on Sundays, but as the season progressed, freshman Jorge Reyes beat him out for the spot. The three starters you will see will likely be Stutes, Patterson, and Reyes, but the order is what I am not for sure about. In Charlottesville, the coaching staff decided to go with Patterson the first day of the tournament to get better match-ups. This descision was made the day before the game by the coaches, so it's really hard to tell. We've done some funky stuff with pitching in the past, so it's very unpredictable.
As far as relievers, we will have Turpen if he is not starting Sunday, along with guys like Blake Keitzman, Mark Grbavac, Greg Keim, Anton Maxwell, and Eddie Kunz. Keitzman, Keim, Maxwell, and Grbavac are all middle relief guys, and Eddie is the closer. But really, you could see any of these pitchers at any time. Eddie is the veteran of the bunch.
[Editor's note: These pitchers are pretty impressive. Reyes has a 3.48 ERA, Turpen 3.65, Patterson 3.81, and Stutes 4.05. One thing to watch: Stutes strikes out a ton of guys, basically nine per nine innings, but also walks a ton.]
How is the lineup, who are key players to watch, and are there any holes?
Just like our season, our line-up has gone up and down as well. I've come to the conclusion that we either hit well, or we don't hit at all. For example, the Beavers were 9/82 in the Arizona State series, which comes out to .110 overall. We either show up like we did in Charlottesville and at UCLA, or we don't.
As far as the line-up is concerned, it's all over the board. The coaching staff likes to move people around like crazy, but generally, they will select players based on their defensive skill before they will play someone because of their bat. This is one of the reasons that Oregon State's fielding percentage has been near #1 all year.
Behind the plate, Mitch Canham is our guy. He's in a major slump as of late, but if he heats up, watch out. Against UNLV when we played a Sunday double header, Mitch hit a grand slam in both games. That's a quick way to pick up 8 RBI's. He has led our team in batting average for most of the season, but as a result of his recent slump, he comes in third on the list. If Canham need a break behind the plate, you're going to see Erik Ammon, who is just as good of a defensive catcher as Canham. If this happens, there's a 99% chance that Canham will DH. He's such a big part of our team on and off the field that Pat Casey hardly ever takes him out of the lineup.
In the infield, we'll start with Jordan Lennerton at first base. He's hot right now, and hit a home run in Charlottesville. He's second on our team in batting average, at .325 on the season. Joey Wong is our second baseman, and he hasn't had that great of a season at the plate, but he is a baller on defense. He's only had three errors the entire season in over 250 chances, leading the Beaver infield. He's a good #2 hole hitter, but if he's not there, he's usually at #8 or #9 in the lineup. He's hitting .283. We also have a beast of a shortstop in Darwin Barney, the junior who was drafted 125th by the Cubs. He has great range at short, and is a great leader along with Canham. He's got a hot bat as well, currently hitting .296. Our usual third baseman is Lonnie Lechlet, although you may see Drew George. The position has been open most of the year, but Lonnie is beginnign to pull away both offensively and defensivley. Lechelt has always been the better defensive player, but he's never swung the bat that well. Last weekend heading into Charlottesville, Lonnie was somthing like 1-25 in his last 25 at bats, or something bizarre like that. He went on to hit two home runs on the weekend, and was the Beavers hottest hitter. Funny how that works.
In the outfield, our regular guys are Mike Lissman (Sr.) in left, and Chris Hopkins (jr.) in center. Hopkins has all kinds of speed, but he's in a slump right now. Lissman is another leader of the team, and he's currently the #1 hitter right now, at .327 with 8 home runs. Right field is usually either Scott Santschi, Braden Wells, or Koa K
ahalehoe. Depends on the pitcher matchups, usually.
Jason Ogata is the normal DH for the Beavers. He's at .295 on the year, and he has spurts when he is just lights out at the plate.
The holes in our lineup will be present, I guarantee you, but it's impossible to tell who the hot hitters and who the cold hitters will be this weekend.
How is the Beaver home field configured? Are there any anomalies we should be aware of? Is it a hitter's park or a pitcher's park?
Goss Stadium is a relatively standard ballpark, although the capacity is probably in most cases smaller than most parks in the Big 12 and such. Reports from campus say that it's in top notch shape for this weekend, including bleachers they've brought in for the outfield as well as the outfield foul lines. The way the park plays really depends on the wind. There are days when lazy pop flies clear the fence, and days when you have to have the starts aligned to hit a ball out. I'm not completely certain where the ball flies out the best though.
Does Oregon State consider itself a "northern" team? Geographically it is, but the Pac-10 doesn't seem to be a virtual mid-major in baseball like the Big Ten is.
I would say that yeah, we're a northern team, but we know that we can play with any team in the country. We already swept Georgia in three games this year, as well as victories over the Bulldogs, Miami, Rice, and North Carolina in Omaha last year. The confidence our program has gained with experience against east coast schools is great-- and last weekend's two victories over Virginia only helped that.
The Pac-10 is a very good baseball conference. We had four teams make the Regionals, and three of those move on to the Super Regionals, so the Pac-10 represents almost 20% of the teams remaining in the tourney. If all teams continue their success, Omaha could be very interesting.
Disclaim and you shall receive: Michigan's released next year's hockey schedule. The nonconference:
- Icebreaker tourney @ Minnesota. First round versus BC (welcome to college hockey, enormous freshman class), second game versus Minnesota or RPI.
- Home series against BU.
- Showcase @ home.
- Providence, then Tech/MSU in the GLI.
Seems stiff for a team that will be young and lacking any established stars except maybe Porter if you believe he's more than a product of Hensick. BU in Yost should be fun, though. Our clustermates are MSU, NMU, and LSSU.
One positive: they spread the games out much better than they did a year ago, when it seemed there was hockey every weekend early in the year and then very few games in the winter semester.
So, yeah, it's 1 PM and I haven't found anything of note to mention today. Am preparing various things but none approach completeness. Back on tomorrow.
Super Schedule. Michigan takes on Oregon State in Corvalis this weekend. Times and channels of interest:
Saturday, 3 PM: ESPNU.
Sunday, 4 PM: ESPN.
Monday, 7 PM: ESPN (or ESPN2).
I do not get ESPNU, like everyone else in the universe, and will be taking in the game at the Arena. So, like, if your stalking is just so lame on the internet: 3 PM Saturday at the Arena.
Highlights. Reader Evan Sipple put together a double-montage of ESPN highlights from Michigan's Vandy victory:
The opponent. ... can be found in blog glory over at Building The Dam, which takes baseball seriously. I'm trying to set up a conversation to get the scoop on the (heh) Beavers.
The talkin'. Articles in the News...
"We don't have the luxury of getting more polished, experienced players from the South or out West. We get the in-state kids who play multiple sports. They're talented kids, but we have to groom and develop them," Maloney said.
"It's a much harder challenge to be a coach in the North because you can't make many mistakes (when recruiting) and be in the position we're in. We've had a lot of things fall in place and the kids really believe in the program."
...News, Ann Arbor variety...
"I told them they needed to enjoy it," coach Rich Maloney said. "That's something special they'll never forget. They'll be talking about it in 20, 30 years at alumni outings. You have to enjoy it now. They accomplished something special."
...and the Port Huron Times-Herald.
Also. There is a super-strong baby in Roosevelt Park. He's on the draft of the 2016 recruiting board.
Eh.The Capital Times asserts that Big Ten recruiting is down, though Lemming's phrasing is kind of weird:
on the whole, Lemming doesn't anticipate many state players attracting offers, at least not from BCS schools. And Wisconsin isn't alone. "The state of Iowa is down again,'' Lemming said. "Minnesota has been down, too. But there are some good players and a great player in Michael Floyd (Cretin-Derham High in St. Paul). Michigan is OK. It's a slightly above-average year for Ohio, not great. Chicago is much better after being horrible the past two years. And Indiana is OK for Indiana.''
Michigan is actually quite a bit better than OK with three Rivals 100 guys and four more in their top 250; other than last year's bumper crop (for universities other than Michigan) this is the best year for talent in the state since I've been paying attention. And how much talent is there in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin on a yearly basis? Very little that shows up on Michigan's radar. Sounds like it's more a problem for the mid-level schools than M -- already with more four-stars than they had a year ago -- and OSU, which is really cleaning up.
Um. I was cajoled into participating in Ladies Dot Dot Dot's, um, "hot blogger bracket." I know. I know. This can only end badly. And, probably, start badly. Also the middle is likely to be pretty bad as well. I am a nine-seed here (versus a 14 seed in this cracked-out 22-dudes-in-a-bracket system the Ladies have set up, go fig). Do what you will, and let us never speak of this again.
Etc.: Keith Jackson:
Remember when Cartman accused ginger kids of being soulless monsters capable of nothing but evil? Yeah... this appears to be the prevailing opinion in the UK.
A day after losing out on Georgia DT Omar Hunter, Michigan has picked up a commitment from instate tackle Mike Martin. Michigan's primary competition was Penn State, but as soon as Michigan offered, Martin's recruitment was widely regarded a foregone conclusion:
Martin said Michigan could be the team to beat if the Wolverines stepped up an offered, especially since he's got some family ties to the school and he grew up a Wolverine fan.
"A lot of my family went to Michigan, so I watched them a lot growing up," he said. " I think that could really play a role in my decision. I really have liked Michigan for a long time. They have always been in the back of my head. And they're only like half an hour away so they are definitely in my mind."
(So was Hunter, but sometimes foregone conclusions are actually correct.)
What does Michigan have in Martin? He's actually rated higher by Rivals than the departed Hunter, surprisingly, as a member of their top 250. He's a powerlifter with upper echelon strength:
"I bench max 420," Martin said. "I'm working a lot to get my reps up on 225. The most I did unofficially is 26, but officially I did it 23 times at Michigan and 19 times at a combine. I'm hoping to really impress some coaches at some combines and camps." Martin also possesses a 550-pound squat max.
For comparison, many defensive tackles at the latest NFL combine didn't clear 26 reps. OSU's David Patterson did 21, first rounder Justin Harrell did 24 (though he did have that bicep tear), and ND's Derek Landri also did 24. Martin, right now, is about as strong as most players who have spent four years in a collegiate strength program. He's also a state champion wrestler. As of now, he is around 6'1" and 290 or 300 pounds depending on which snapshot in time you'd like to pick. I've made this comparison before: Martin seems an exact replica of current starting NT Terrance Taylor, though the recruiting services aren't quite as high on Martin as they were Taylor. ESPN has put him on their top 150 watch list and doled out high praise($), calling him "disruptive and productive":
He moves very well laterally and at times looks like a crab. He has the ability to work along the line of scrimmage and keep his shoulders square and remain in a position to make plays. He is not a fire up field one-gap penetrator, but plays with a great motor and controlled fury.
There are some technique concerns expressed. Uh... looks like a crab. This is good? I guess it is.
Hey, wow. Don't I feel stupid for, um, not watching the baseball game last night. Evidently I missed a game worthy of Kirk Gibson hyperbole, with extra-innings home runs from pinch hitters and threatening hitters lacing balls into the outfield that get snatched out of the air just before they clear the wall and well, just... dammit, man. That's not something you really want to miss.
Sam from BC&RS goes "squee":
Michigan baseball! They won Regionals!
I know nobody who reads this cares, but eeeeeeee! First time since 1989! They had to beat NUMBER ONE RANKED Vanderbilt.... twice!
"Squee" is literally deployed later. Meanwhile, the Vandy official site goes anti-squee; if they were to accidentally meet up with Sam they would annihilate each other and release enormous quantities of energy:
One second you think you are watching the best baseball player in school history in the midst of his most heroic performance and then you are watching a .188 freshman pinch hitter circle the bases with an improbable home run.
You hold your breath as the most feared hitter in college baseball launches a bomb to left center and you blink in disbelief when a 6-foot 5-inch left fielder steals that dream 380-feet away.
They also have a photo gallery up. The Daily's blog also has some pictures up. ESPN has an article that focuses exclusively on the Commies; we still gets no respects; Rivals also has an article.
Next weekend Michigan will travel to either Oregon State or Virginia to participate in a best two-of-three super-regional; victory there and it's the College World Series.
Baseball of import. So Michigan beat Memphis, then Vandy, then lost to Vandy, and now plays Vandy. This is the sometimes weirdness of NCAA baseball tournaments. Anyway, tonight is a winner-take-all for the Vanderbilt Regional. I would put together a preview, but Colin has already done so with aplomb. Since Vandy is entering its fifth game in four days and Michigan managed to avoid a doubleheader yesterday, they should have a slight advantage in the pitching matchups. Vandy's starter is little-used Tyler Rhoden, who has only one start so far this year. Michigan will send out 6-8 Chris Fetter, who has had a tough year after his stellar 2.22 ERA in 2006. Sounds like both teams will try to get five or six innings out of the starters; Colin threatens the re-appearance of David ace and a half David Price, who went nine innings and 128 pitches Friday. Say it ain't so!
More youtubey stuff. Some video on secondary savior Donovan Warren:
Also there is this McGuffie highlight that hasn't been posted in this space before:
Ok, ok, Harbaugh and such. Interesting response to all the flaming Jim Harbaugh has been doing from recently graduated tackle Reuben Riley, one of the many general studies majors on the team:
"The main thing that went into my decision is that majoring in general studies allowed my schedule to be a lot more flexible," said Riley, a former Creston High School star. "There were more class options, which meant there were fewer constraints as I went between classes and practices." ...
"I don't get Harbaugh's comments," Riley said. "I value his opinion, and he was a great Michigan football player. But if you're going to four years of classes, and doing four years of study, there is no easy way out of the University of Michigan."
The Bachelor of General Studies degree, administered by the College of Literature, Science and Arts, differs from the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in one significant way: In lieu of a foreign language, graduates must complete 60 hours of junior and senior-level classes, though no more than 20 within any single field of study, as part of the 120-hour minimum for graduation.
The broad spectrum of electives and lack of language requirement both appeal to many football players, said Riley, who took French in high school.
"A lot of guys are two or three years removed from the last time they took a foreign language, in 11th or 12th grades, and they just don't want to get involved in it again," he said. "That probably enters into a lot of guys' decisions in taking general studies."
Few other students have a major block of every weekday occupied with something they have to do, and since a lot of majors have key classes that are offered once a year at a particular time, often certain majors become not an option.
Etc.: The first edition of this made the sidebar; the second has been posted; I don't know what to do with either of them. Michigan + LOTR + Photoshop. You have been warned. Dodd had a piece on Michigan that wasn't his usual useless snark about the Aussie thing. There is also a follow-up.