at least it's not just us?
A group of us were sitting in a hotel lounge the night before the Penn State game in '97. Fred was jovial to say the least, every few minutes saying, "We're gonna crush these guys." He was reeling off story after story. My favorite one was this:
"...so Tai (Streets) comes off the field and his finger's broken. I mean, you can see the bone sticking out. That finger's broken. So he goes to sit down and Lloyd looks down at him and yells, 'What's the matter Streets? Aren't you tough? Get back out there!' The bone is sticking out of his finger. You can see it. Man! But back out he goes."
Fred was cracking up the whole time.
Bo and Jerry Hanlon were elsewhere in the lounge, but I was more than content listening to Fred. I've learned he sometimes doesn't let the truth stand in the way of a good story, but that makes the stories all the better. So while my story is true -- Fred actually said those words -- you might want to verify the finer details of the actual event.
Fred's a great guy. Too bad I've moved to Florida...
Jim Burton played for Michigan from 1968-1971. He was a left handed pitcher who was known to bat right handed, somewhat of an oddity in today's game. He was drafted by the Tigers in the 1967 draft, but he decided against signing the professional contract and came to Ann Arbor. While his college he had 288 strikeouts in 228 innings. The highlight of his career in Ann Arbor had to be his no hitter, thrown against Wisconsin (back when they had a team) in 1971. It was the first no-no thrown by a UM pitcher in 88 years (so long that they don't even have reliable records for games before that). It's one of only 2 complete game no hitters in Michigan history. That's impressive. While I haven't found his win total for his 3 years on the varsity squad, he did have a ridiculous 19 wins his senior season (there wasn't a cap on games played in a season until the late 80s/early 90s).
Burton was selected in the 1st round (5th overall) by the Red Sox in 1971. After several years of pitching woes (rampant wildness) and back problems, he finally broke into the big leagues in 1975, a big year for the Red Sox, it was the year of the epic Red Sox vs Reds World Series.
Burton had a successful season with the Red Sox. In 29 appearances (4 starts), he went 1-2 with a 2.89 and a save. His bad luck began in the World Series. In game 3 at Riverfront stadium in Cinncy, Burton lasted only 1/3 of an inning with a walk. Game 7 was worse. Jim would be tagged with the loss in the ninth after walking Griffey, getting 2 outs, then giving up the winning run on a Joe Morgan single. A walk later and he was yanked. Many Boston fans blamed him (or manager Daryll Johnson for putting him in) for the loss of the series.
Burton was interviewed many years later for the book "Boys of October" by Doug Hornigs:
"Yeah. You know, over the years Morgan has always given me credit for making a good pitch in that situation [...] Which doesn't change the outcome, unfortunately. But I threw that pitch because the one before it, which was an inside fastball he fouled off. I was surprised at how fast he came around on an inside pitch like that, and I decided I better not try it again. Fisk came out. We discussed it and decided on the slider." "That's what it was. I wound up and threw it exactly where I wanted it, as hard as I could throw one. My slider wasn't a tight one; it was more like a 'slurve' that started in close to a left-hander and broke a lot, away from him. That's what that pitch did. It fooled Morgan, and you can see him start to bail out at first." You can, but but it's not by much. And his recovery is amazingly fast. "Then he kind of threw the bat at the ball." Just trying to foul it off? "Maybe. But he got the end of the bat on it and blooped the fly to center. I turned, and the first thing I saw was Freddie Lynn going back a step or two. And I thought, 'Oh, no.' I knew Morgan hadn't hit it solid. I could see Freddie had no play."
Burton spent the next year at AAA Pawtucket trying to regain his confidence. He eventually made it back into the MLB for one game in 1978. He threw 2.2 innings giving up a hit, a walk, and striking out three. He would spend the next season in the Mets minor league before heading back to his native Michigan to begin life after baseball. After trying a few different jobs in Michigan, he opened his own printing shop. The job eventually took him to Charlotte, NC, where he still lives today.
A special thanks to the The Baseball Biography Project for so much great information.
It has long been my contention (& I think that few will disagree) that the 5 hot bed states for prep talent are FL, CA, TX, OH and PA. Therefore, I feel that universities in those states could probably sign only players from thier own states (if they really had to) and still compete at the upper level. For supporting data, I use Scout's 2010 final recruiting team ranking and stats. I list in this order: State, University, final ranking, # of 5 stars signed from within their own state, and # of 4 stars signed from within their own state. For example: MI, UM, 12/1/2 (UM finished ranked 12 in the nation with 1 in state 5* signee and two in state 4* signees.
The 5 Hot Bed States
FL - Florida 1/2/9, FSU 10/3/5, Miami 17/0/3.
TX - Texas 3/4/13, Texas A&M 25/1/3
CA - USC 5/3/8, UCLA 8/1/10, Stanford 24/0/2
PA - Penn St 9/2/5, Pitt 16/0/3
OH - OSU 20/1/4
These 5 states put 11 teams in the final top 25 (MI put only 1). Of the 11 teams which finished higher ranked than UM, 6 were from the hot bed states. Those 6 averaged 2.5 5* from within their own states and 8.3 4* (this compares to UM's previously mentioned one 5* and two 4*). MSU was also one 5*&two 4*. Also, teams from those 5 states have won 7 out of the last 10 BCS Championships. Clearly, just winning the in state battle with MSU isn't going to be enough to be in the upper tier of schools. There usually are not enough in-state 5&4 star players to fill a class. The recruiting task becomes even harder when you consider the type of player that RR is looking for to run his O and D. Finally, OH is the only near-by state for UM to easily draw from, whereas Oklahoma has TX, Alabama, Auburn&LSU have nearby FL and WSU (edit: Washington) has CA. Considering all of that, JOB WELL DONE, RR and staff. I can't wait to see how the classes look when we are coming off of winning seasons.
Welcome all of you Michigan Football Faithful to 2010 - the Year of Redemption (hopefully). 2008 and 2009 were bizarre years for all of us, both painful and embarrassing to some degree and always with that feeling of an especially bad dream that we just couldn't wake up from. Never in most of our lifetimes have we seen our beloved Wolverines flail about in such a disgraceful manner. Now the corner is there to be turned and with this recruiting haul I see prosperity coming on like a freight train... but like a freight train it may take a while to get here.
And how refreshing was it to see this class come together without the constant re-shuffle that was the 2009 recruiting class? I was happy with the players we landed in 2009 but the steady drip of decommits was frustrating. Losing the two defensive tackles at the last moment was especially humbling. Who does that to Michigan? Nothing like that this year, thank goodness. Just commitments staying the course and signing their papers on time, plus a welcome 4/5 star surprise on signing day to give it that proper Christmas-like feel.
Now with two full Rich Rod classes on board, a vision seems to be coalescing out of the fog of the past two years. We are starting to see positions filled with layer upon layer of players with blue-chip credentials or high upside potential. The cupboard is certainly no longer bare, though its talent is young. The players themselves start to look more interchangeable, like we don't have to fall off cliff should so-and-so get hurt or pick our poison in the defensive backfield.
I mean, just look at the Defensive Backfield for a moment and consider:
Corner - Warren (The MAN! Unfortunately decided to move on)
Corner - Cissoko (Reminder to take every hyped recruit with a grain of salt)
FS - Kovacs (Freshman Walkon played inspired football, but so SLOW!)
SS - Williams (Reminder to take every hyped recrui...
(What too much salt will do to your blood pressure.)
Depth: Yes Woolfolk and JT Floyd were also in the mix with the former decent at times and the latter burnt crispy.
Corner - Turner (Please no grains of salt...)
Corner - Woolfolk
SS - Robinson (Maybe not a LB?)
FS - Dorsey (Please no grains of salt...)
Depth: Christian, Johnson, Kovacs, Emilien, Floyd, Gordon, Talbott, Avery, Vinopal
Yes the 2010 bunch looks young and inexperienced. It also looks light-years better than their 2009 counterparts with the exception of Warren and has some much improved depth to plug in in case of injury/incompetence. If Warren had stayed the D-Backfield could have been a strong point of the 2010 team.
Another area where the depth chart is looking solid is on the OL. Many will bemoan the fact that only one OL recruit was landed in the 2010 class but the depth chart shows that things are looking just fine:
|OL (13 - 3)||M. Schofield*
Those five returning starters are encouraging for the coming season, no? Plus the gap created by taking only one OL recruit this season will provide a nice "early playing time" selling point for 2011 OL recruits.
Looking at the rest of the team gets me downright giddy...
QB - Should be a strength with DG an EE and hopefully a RS as well. Tate will hopefully put on several pounds and take his game up a notch.
Receiver - Stocked to the gills and I, for one, can't wait to see if Gallon can live up to his hype. Stonum, Roundtree, Koger, and Hemingway have all already shown flashes. We certainly stocked up nicely through recruiting as well.
RB - Plenty of talent here though low on proven commodities after V.Smith (may his surgery/recovery go smoothly). Shaw and Cox have had their moments and I think Fitz is going to be special.
DL - We seem to be in great shape as far as starters go. I would love to see RVB slide over into Graham's vacated DE spot and Will Campbell show his quality inside as a starter. Hopefully LaLota has progressed well as a RS and can provide useful depth. Sagasse played well in spot duty last year IIRC.
LB - The huge recruiting haul here was desperately needed but won't yield effective depth until 2011 IME. Here's to hoping that under GERG's tutelage, the likes of Ezeh and Mouton can turn a corner, or that JB Fitzgerald can take it up a notch. LB looks like the weak link once again for the 2010 team unfortunately. GERG needs to bring cohesion and make the LBs a unit, instead of the Stevie Brown w/2 lost sheep look of last season.
P/K - Welcome Mr. Hagerup, your arrival is indeed timely. Gibbons, just don't fuck this up, OK?
Looking Farther Ahead:
These three recruiting classes signed since Rich Rod took over have been solid and very good indeed considering the circumstances. The players signed do seem to fit into the type of team RR favors, now both on offense and on defense. This means there is no going back, really. Michigan no longer has the players for a Pro-Style offense shoehorned into the Spread Option and the defense has stockpiled players for GERG's gimmicky defense. If this team can continue to improve, make a bowl, and let RR and staff make it to 2011, this program is ready to explode. If we are forced to go looking for a new coaching staff however, it will take just the right one to be able to pick up these highly customized pieces and make them work.
Here's to a great 2010 season and an off-season filled with optimistic joy free from turmoil and controversy.
Many of the posts here have suggested that a certain unnamed newspaper in a big city near Ann Arbor has a media bias. If you want to learn more about the topic of media bias—how to investigate it and what to do about it---you might want to start by checking out the interesting summary and references on the topic of media bias in the link below. In fact, it raises some interesting questions if anyone wants to investigate the investigators—ie the unnamed newspaper which makes money trying to expose the frail underbelly of defenseless adolescents and their schools.
First, to determine whether or not there is a hidden agenda of writers or editors, look at their personal and business contacts, sociodemographics, attitudes, past professional connections, payments to speak or write (eg Do they ever get gigs through the influence of people with an axe to grind or those who would directly benefit from harm to a particular school’s program?). Also, look at quotes that reveal their beliefs, the frequencies of positive or negative word use or topic or headline choice for one school vs. another. Look at the paper's selective use or exclusion of experts, spokespersons, sources (eg interviewing a police officer for a player in a unfavored school but the father of a student in a more favored competitor).
Second, to determine if the larger organization fosters a bias, ask: What are the business interests of the paper (eg advertisers)? Could they be motivating a bias? Are any of the advertisers actually boosters at competing schools? Also, how about the paper’s ownership? (Hypothetically, for instance, if you were to look at two randomly chosen papers, like the Freep and the now defunct AnnArbor News, you would find they're owned by a mega-corporation called Newhouse News).
Why is that relevant? Maybe I'm naive but I can't really disprove the academic quote from the link below. It says “reporters and especially editors share and/or acquire values with corporate elites in order to further their careers. Those that don’t are usually weeded out or marginalized.” If so, one might conclude that one of the largest media groups in the country, with outlets all over the nation, like Newhouse, could have enough clout to--not necessarily even get you on TV, get you cited in national sources, or get you a news job in the future—but in fact, decide whether or not your paper folds (and I don’t mean putting a crease in your newspaper).
What to do about media bias
First, publicly disclose affiliations “when a news organization is reporting a story with some relevancy to the news organization itself or to its ownership individuals or conglomerate.” Do a paper’s sponsors have interests that conflict with sponsors of the school they attack? “Often this disclosure is mandated by the laws or regulations pertaining to stocks and securities”
Also, publicly disclose which owners of media outlets have vested interests in other commercial enterprises or organizations…Note whether any of them are boosters of athletic departments at competing schools....Do they have commercial ties to university officials or members of the Board of Directors at these schools?
If justified, demand the resignation or reassignment of biased reporters and or editors….possibly petitions or letters from prominent journalists, organizations etc…even referrals to the attorney general in the unlikely event that there are possible violations related to stocks or securities.
Finally (and probably the most effective measure), put pressure on the paper’s financial ties. I know, it may seem overwhelming if you are up against a large publication or even a mega-corporation. However the link notes: There is “a long history of advertisers pulling out support when media content becomes too controversial.”
Of course, I am not suggesting any of these actions…or even asserting that a media bias does exist at all, let alone in the state of Michigan…Horrors, no....But, I can’t help thinking about its hypothetical relevance to UM.
Doesn’t UM have the largest alumni base in the country? If they were (hypothetically) the victim of biased coverage, how long would they keep being fed what any clearly hostile media sources are serving?
In fact, doesn’t UM now even have a politically savvy, well-connected AD with commercial ties all over the world due to his past role as a CEO of a major corporation?
What would happen then if the new AD were to learn about the presence and sources of bias, if the advertiser’s associations with biased media started gaining publicity, even starting on widely read blogs like this?
If I were an advertiser for such as source, making a lot of dough by indirectly paying hacks to trash a school,.....well,
I’d thank my lucky stars if the alums, AD, and other prominent people couldn’t get mad enough to stand up and fight back....
Privately, though, I’d be shaking in my hypothetical boots.
Before the Michigan lacrosse team kicks off their campaign to defend back-to-back MCLA National Championship seasons, they'll participate in 3 scrimmages against varsity squads. D-1 Bellarmine will visit Oosterbaan Fieldhouse on Sunday, with D-3 teams Wittenberg February 6th and Ohio Wesleyan February 12th. If you want to see Michigan compete against some pretty good teams (and hopefully show they're worthy of varsity status), the exhibition seaosn is a good chance.
Bellarmine plays at the top level of NCAA Lacrosse, in Division 1. That said, they're certainly a lower-tier D1 squad, finishing 6-8 last year, and #52 of 59 by LaxPower's computer rankings. Bellarmine is located in Louisville, Kentucky and participates in the Great West Lacrosse League. Their most notable win came against Binghamton, who finished with a 90.7 power rating. Notable losses came at the hands of a couple schools you may have heard of by the names "Notre Dame" (11-6 winners) and "Ohio State" (11-7 winners).
The Knights return their top 3 goal-scorers from a year ago in Sean Doyle, Derek Hopcroft, and Jarrett Davis, all seniors. They also return their #2 groundball collector in sophomore Karsen Leung, though they lost #1 in that category, faceoff specialist Bobby Snider. Their #2 faceoff guy, Craig Carson, is a sophomore this season, and he won 48% of draws last year. Goalkeeper Scott Bowles, who started 12 of Bellarmine's 14 games last year, returns for his junior campaign. He went 4-4 last year, saving 50% of shots faced and allowing 10.51 goals per game.
Though Bellarmine was kinda bad last year, they return a lot of their important pieces, and they certainly have the ability to reload more than a club team like Michigan. This should be a good challenge for the Wolverines, and a chance for fans to see them against D-1 competition.
D-3 lacrosse is considered to be about on-par with the MCLA, in which Michigan plays. Wittenberg finished 66th out of 156 teams in the division by LaxPower's computer rankings last year. Their final rating of 83.93 is well below Michigan's 89.90. Wittenberg plays in the same conference as Ohio Wesleyan, Michigan's next scrimmage opponent, and lost to the Battling Bishops 13-7 last season. The Tigers finished the season 7-6.
Last year's leading scorers were a duo of sophomores from Pickerington North High School (alma mater of Justin Boren) in Matt Lord and Mitch Cohagan. Faceoff specialist Kevin Pfotenhauer, who won 53.4% of his draws last year, returns as a junior. Both of last year's goalies, Mark DeOliviera and Spencer Baker, return, and DeOliviera was a captain last year as a sophomore. He saved 60% of shots he faced, and allowed just over 8 goals per game. Assuming no attrition, the roster should be very experienced for 2010, as there were only 3 seniors on last year's squad.
Wittenberg, though they played near middle-of-the-pack in Division 3 last year, will probably be a better team this time around, and should be a good test for the Wolverines. Michigan scrimmaged the Tigers prior to the 2009 season as well.
Ohio Wesleyan Battling Bishops(!)
Ohio Wesleyan was the most successful last year among Michigan's pre-season opponents. The Battling Bishops, on top of having an awesome mascot name, finished 10-5, and with a 90.24 power rating on LaxPower, good for 16th in D-3. Against competition of Michigan's approximate caliber (89.90), they lost at Lynchburg (89.7). The Bishops lost to Denison in the first round of the D-3 NCAA tournament.
Rob Young is the team's leading returning scorer, but the next two from last year (Nick Gallagher and Karl Zimmerman) have both graduated. The faceoff duty was split last year, and Ricky Sheetz, who had the most opportunities and won 56% of his draws. The next two in line have both departed. Jud Hall was the team's starting goalie last year, and he'll be a junior in 2010. He allowed 7.76 goals each game, with a .561 save percentage.
Based on power ratings, Ohio Wesleyan should be Michigan's toughest competition of the pre-season, and they're the last chance to prepare for the regular season.
After the exhibition season ends, Michigan kicks off their regular season with a road trip out west over spring break. They'll play games at Arizona, Arizona State, and rival BYU. A full preview of the regular season (including, you know, a preview of Michigan's team) will be coming up when the regular season draws near.