somehow we're only 124th
This is a great time to stop for a moment and think about the legacy we are passing on to our children. Those of us that grew up listening to Tiger's baseball games late into summer evenings with our fathers and grandfathers are feeling a little like graduating seniors right now. In part celebrating the memories of a cherished part of our lives, and in part mourning the end of an era. I was never on the field for a single pitch of major league baseball. I have never felt the crack of the bat nor the grass in the outfield as I dove for a catch. Instead, my experience was that of a spectator in the bleachers at Tiger's stadium with my dad and uncles and brother. I remember hot dogs and wondering why everyone was booing Lou Whitaker. I remember keeping score in a program and how green the grass looked in comparison to the blue steel of the stadium. I also remember sitting in the yard by the lake and listening to Erie as the chicken cooked on the grill.
This year I took my two boys (5 and 3) to the Michigan spring game. It was their first trip to the big house and I was way more excited than they were. I thought of my first trip to a spring game and how Jim Harbaugh high fived us on the field after the game and gave his wristbands to my cousin. I remember crisp saturday mornings that fall playing football un the leaves in our yard and pretending I was Harbaugh. I cheered for him not because I remembered following him through recruiting or because I thought that he was a better pro style QB than his predecessor. I cheered for him because he wore a Michigan helmet and that was who my dad rooted for.
However this season goes, winning record or not, I hope that I will cheer proudly for my alma mater and my children will be able to look back when they are adults with their own children and not have their memories tarnished by complaining about coaches and yelling at 18 year old quarterbacks. I hope they remember loving football saturdays, maybe a little more when we won, but loving them even when we lost. I am quickly realizing that the time I get to spend with my kids and my grandfather and dad are fleeting and I would rather spend them cheering our team than complaining about it.
Michigan (28-15, 9-6)
Minnesota (20-26, 8-7)
Friday 6:35pm CDT, Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN
|Eric Katzman (4-1, 4.03 ERA)||vs||Seth Rosin (4-4, 4.43 ERA)|
|Stats (Minn)||Audio (Minn, $)|
|Notes: Michigan is 84-84 all time, Last year: 1-2 series loss.|
Saturday 2:05 CDT, Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN
|TBA||vs||TJ Oakes (3-3, 4.19 ERA)|
|Notes: Audio available through Friday's link ($9/month).|
Sunday 1:05pm CDT, Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN
|TBA||vs||Phil Isaksson (4-0, 3.16 ERA)|
|Notes: Isaksson is a LHP|
Michigan takes its first Big Ten road trip in three weeks, traveling to Minnesota for what is going to be yet another huge series in terms of the conference standings. The Gophers had a truly rough start to the year, but they currently sit tied for third place, only a game behind Michigan. They also lead the Big Ten in ERA and third in batting during conference games. They're getting hot when it counts, and Michigan looks to cool them off.
Q&A with the Daily Gopher, weather, thoughts, and predictions after the jump:
Curtric "Spiffy" Evans is a wide receiver prospect out of Chaminade Madonna High School in Florida. Spiffy, one of the best WR/DB prospects in the state, recently picked up an offer from Michigan. He sounds pretty excited about it. First highlight video, then what he had to say about Michigan.
TOM: I have to start by asking how you got your nickname. Where does that come from?
SPIFFY: My granddad gave it to me when I was about four years old. I grew up in Alabama, and we used to play in the dirt and everything. He said that I would play in it, but I would always want to come inside and take a bath, I always wanted to be clean. So he just started saying I was spiffy, and it stuck.
TOM: You grew up in Alabama, are you a fan of the university?
SPIFFY: Yeah, I’m a big fan of Alabama. That’s who I watched growing up. If they offer, it’s not like they’ll be in the lead, though. For me, being a fan of somewhere, and spending the next four years of my life is two different things. So, that’s not something I’m thinking.
TOM: When did Michigan offer you?
SPIFFY: They offered me last week, Tuesday I think. I went to our football office, and the letter was there for me with the offer. I tried to call the coaches at Michigan, but I think they’re all traveling right now. One of them is supposed to come by our school soon. They’re coming to see Jonathan Aiken, Jerrard Randall, and me.
TOM: Since all of you have Michigan offers, have you talked about going to school together?
SPIFFY: Yeah, we’ve talked about it. If it happens, it would be nice, but it’s not something we’re really trying to do. All three of us are going to take an official to Michigan, though. We already decided that. We actually might try to drive up to Michigan for a summer camp, too. We’re going to Ohio State’s summer camp, so we might try to make it to Michigan’s too.
TOM: Your coach played for Jim Tressel at YSU, right? Does that have any bearing on your decision?
SPIFFY: No, Ohio State might have an edge for Jerrard, but not me. I was never really an Ohio State fan. Coach Tressel came to our school a couple weeks ago, but I don’t really see them in my future.
TOM: How many offers do you have right now, and who sticks out to you so far?
SPIFFY: I have around 14 or 15 offers so far. The ones that stand out are Vanderbilt, Florida, and USF because I’ve talked to them the most. Everyone’s even right now, since I’m still getting offers and everything. The Michigan one is one of the biggest offers, though. Their tradition they have, and them being one of the most notable schools in the NCAA is big.
TOM: Yeah, it sounds like Michigan might have a good chance then?
SPIFFY: Michigan has a real good chance. I need to get to know the coaches, and see how that progresses, and see the campus. But, yeah, they have a good chance. I actually talked to Denard Robinson a little while ago. I know him, I’m not really good friends with him, but he was telling me how great it is up there, and that was cool to hear from a Florida kid. I’m just going to see how everything progresses with them.
How do you follow Michigan sports? Or even pro-sports, not to be excepted. National broadcasts, no doubt, from national sportscasters. That's to be expected.
ESPN! The Big Ten Network! CBS and ABC! Where folks from New York and California give us the game's keys.
"The home team is very good," they say. "But of course, so is away." "We'll cheer for both, and neither too, because that's the professional way."
I pine for Ernie. I pine for Bob, with General Patton's horn. I want a homer broadcast, sure as I was born.
"Touchdown Meechigan!" and "It's LOOONG gone!" 'Truck drivers in Columbus', these phrases must live on.
Nearly vanished from history are the days of fire; vocal, coarse. Leading the battle chant, as a corps drummer leads the force.
No more into the pitch, to put down hated enemy. It's even handedness and sportsmanship, down with enmity.
Upon the field of battle dwells adversity. The voice of those in support can set emotion free. But from the tower overlooking, where once the cheers rang out, now come the latest west coast numbers, and the game gets nary a shout.
My blood runs blue, my fever maize; or blue and orange, on Tiger days. I crave my compatriots of days gone by, men who would gladly stab the enemy in the eye. Now national casters, appeasing national viewers, wouldn't even touch the skewer.
A lament for the local. A requiem for home support. It seems never again will the voices of the faithful ring out, broadcast, from the fort.
Hello everyone, Six Zero back with the next installment of:
SIX QUESTIONS WITH FORMERLY ANONYMOUS
Inspired by the official site’s “Two Minute Drill” series and TomVH’s famous Q&A segments with potential recruits, this new weekly feature highlights some of the more famous personalities here at MGoBlog. Without pulling back the infamous veil of blog anonymity, we’ll get to know some of your favorite posters better and possibly shed some light on their definition of why it’s so darn Great, To Be, A Michigan Wolverine.
After last week’s well-received spot on TomVH, I wanted to catch up with perhaps one of the hardest working guys in the MGoBlog business. Fresh off his coverage of UM baseball and the Barry Larkin press conference, we caught up with Formerly Anonymous for this exclusive MGoProfile interview:
1. Formerly Anonymous—an absolute authority not just on Wolverines football, but Michigan Athletics across the board. Let’s start by putting one rumor to rest—do you attend every single athletic function for every Michigan team sport?
Ha. No way. I've probably taken in about 150 live events in my lifetime, and only attended one in the last three years, a volleyball game at Rice. I do keep up with up with quite a few live events as they happen, via internet radio, BTN.com's streaming player, liveblogs from MGoBlue or the Daily, or just live stats if I have to. Baseball and volleyball tend to get the brunt of my focus, but I do have a thing for field hockey and soccer as well. It's just hard to split my coverage focus between two sports going at the same time.
That’s crazy! Well then, coming from someone who truly is qualified to answer, in your opinion what is the best sports spectator experience in Ann Arbor outside of a Michigan home football game?
I'm not sure there is a better place than Yost in a big series. Hockey obviously a special feel to it that you can't get at the Big House. It's the same intensity, but it's jam packed in a more close knit student section.
But for a one time experience, my personal number one was the Michigan-Ohio State baseball game on ESPN a few years ago. The stadium was loaded well beyond what should have been allowed. It was freezing out and snow flurries fell throughout the game. I was huddled up over the third base dugout trying to steal any heat I could get off of the dug out space heaters with about 100 other fans. The game was a close Michigan win at night. The atmosphere and crowd were electric despite the cold. Truly awesome.
2. You probably post more content second to only Brian himself. How did you get involved with MGoBlog? Were you always a contributor, or were you at one time just a normal dedicated reader like the rest of us?
I was once just a member of the gallery, and for quite a long time actually. Paul got me hooked on MGoBlog right around the start of the 2005 season. I can still remember the season preview where Brian asked about those "game thread things that various other blogs do" while worrying it would be "A) be totally, embarassingly deserted or B) be full of the same sort of vicious bile Rivals messageboards often fill up with."
I actually started the blogging thing with Maizenbrew. I covered the Big Ten Tournament two years ago in pretty solid depth, and had a volleyball post or two as well, just nothing consistent. In the spring of last year, I started my previews at Maizenbrew, but was then picked up by Varsity Blue. Paul and I go back a few years, and they thought it would help give them content during the long, dreary off season. That's when my content started gettting a bit more in depth.
MGoMerger would happen over last summer, and that brought me to MGoBlog as a contributor.
And quite a contributor at that. You’ve also spent considerable time moderating live chats during the season and over signing days, etc. Personally I remember some really crazy stuff going down during those sessions—do you have any recollections that stand out as particularly memorable or hilarious?
Honestly, I don't have many recollections of live chats. They are a blur if you're on the moderation side. You can easily get 100 comments in a second and you're racing through to pick out the ones that are meaningful while selecting a few others in between at random. I personally hate the live chats as I don't get to really watch the game at all. I think I got to watch maybe 3 halves of football live last season without having to do the CiL. The rest is scanning comment frantically to keep up with catching the occasional replay. Huge buzz kill.
All too true. None of us truly appreciate the sacrifices made by the mods every Saturday while each of us offers his two cents of analysis. I’m sure I speak for everyone when saying thanks for being willing to truly take one (or twelve) for the MGoTeam.
3. Alright, let’s get back to the questions. Without having to disclose too much of true identity, what do you do with your time when you’re not covering football, baseball, softball, lacrosse, volleyball, and if I recall correctly even water polo?
Two things dominate my life. First, I'm still a student. Since changing my major at Michigan, I transferred out. Paying another 4 years of out-of-state tuition was too much (having already attended for 3 years). That takes up a majority of my time these days, but when I'm not studying, I umpire baseball as my primary source of income. It's a great way to stay involved with the game for me, and I like working with the kids and coaches. I tend to gravitate toward high school aged games as they're real baseball and I get paid more, but I hope to eventually break into the college ranks. Some of the calls I've seen in Michigan games this year make me think it can't be that hard.
4. Ha, remember us when you’re doing Game 3 at Fenway. Alright, time for the food question-- Describe the perfect meal.
While on campus, 2 Chick-fil-a sandwiches, and 8-piece nugget with Chick-fil-a sauce for dipping, and a Dr Pepper. That's my lunch about 3 times a week. When I visit the folks, that's when the magic happens. I make it back to their place very infrequently now, but when I do, the mother does me proud. Texas-style Brisket, ribs, honey baked ham, tamales, corn, green beans, mashed potatoes, pie, Blue Bell Ice Cream, all the Dr Pepper and Shiner Bock I can drink - and that's just one meal. Man, I love the holidays.
There's also a special place in my heart for turkey jerky and a good Malbec while curled up with the girlfriend. Best recurrence dinner ever.
5. As a fellow Chick-Fil-A junkie, you have made me officially hungry for a #1 with a lemonade and extra Chick-Fil-A sauce. Quick—change the subject. Can you explain why you are a Michigan fan?
I'm not sure what drew me in initially, but I have to imagine it part of it was Texas not being so dominant in the 90s. Michigan was on TV and as Barry Larkin said in the press conference, "it was the helmets." When it came time to apply for colleges, I applied to quite a few of the other Big Ten Schools (Wisconsin, Illinois, and Penn State), as well as Texas A&M. Michigan just had the best mix of engineering and overall athletic performance, while not being labeled as a top party school. All of those were important to me at the time.
Once I set foot on campus, it just felt right.
6. Must have made your recent Barry Larkin coverage even more memorable. Finally, the last staple question, who's your all-time favorite Wolverine?
In the coaching history of Michigan athletics, I'm not sure there are too many people that I have been more fascinated in than Ray Fisher. Fisher coached Michigan baseball from 1921-1958, and was forced into stepping down by a university rule mandating retirement at 70 years old. The guy was 636-295-8 as head coach, and had 18 Big Ten Titles and one CWS National Championship. From what I've read, many believe he had quite a few years left in the tank at his retirement.
Oh, and volleyball you-pick'em. I've always had a thing for the team libero and defensive specialists, but last season I also gravitated toward a couple other players as well. The behind the scenes specials they did last season were awesome.
I’ll admit I’m kinda cheating here with the ‘six questions,’ but I have a follow-up to the last question: According to your own unique multi-sport perspective, who do you think is the single most talented athlete to ever wear the maize and blue regardless of any sport?
That is a ridiculous question to wrap my head around. There's been so many great athletes in Michigan history. I guess I'll have to go with someone that was just an all around athlete in Don Lund and Chalmers "Bump" Elliot. Lund played football, basketball, and baseball as well as coached baseball after his time with the Tigers. He was Michigan's coach during their 1962 CWS National Championship team. I think most people here are familiar with Elliot's football accolades, but he was also a multi-sport athlete playing basketball and baseball. So while they may not be the most athletic, as I'd probably have to give that to one of today's athletes, they definitely were some major talents.
Formerly Anonymous is definitely an interesting guy who brings one-of-a-kind content on a consistent basis to the MGoBlog table. Like TomVH, his contributions to the site are rooted in an obvious love for sports, and plenty of them. We’ll continue the series next Thursday, and until then I look forward to reading your commentary and nominations. We’ll see you then with another exciting installment of MGoProfile!
Updates for the week of 5/5:
6'3, 190 lbs.
Jajuan recently told me that Michigan is in his early top ten. It's pretty early for him, so he doesn't have anything official yet. When asked if he was going to try to visit Michigan, this was his response.
"I definitely want to try to make it up to Michigan. I might have to use an official to get up there. I like them, though, so we'll see."
As always, the video of good plays:
6'2, 281 lbs.
McReynolds is easily one of the top defensive tackles in the country, and has to be one of the hardest working prospects. He has over 19 offers, and I would expect that list to continue to grow. Although Michigan has not offered yet, they were in town to see Kevin practice today, as you can see by his tweet below.
just workout for USC , Kansas State and Michigan .
Michigan will most likely offer McReynolds soon, and I have a feeling that they would receive a visit from the DC native. He had previously told me that if Michigan offers, they would be a school to make his list.
5'9, 170 lbs.
Ryan is right in Michigan's backyard, but there must be a tall fence, because he hasn't heard too much from his neighbors. Griffin told me that he's starting to hear a lot from some big name schools like Tennessee, Alabama, Nebraska, Wisonsin, UCLA, and others. Despite having any offers yet, his recruitment should start picking up soon.
"I plan on traveling with Raw Talent this summer, which I think has Michigan on the schedule. If my schedule allows me to go to one of their one day camps, then I will."
Raw Talent is a group that travels to various camps on the east and west coast, and is based out of Ohio. Doran Grant will be another member of the Raw Talent group. His highlight video can be seen here.
6'4, 225 lbs.
Wormley is a prospect for the 2012 class, but is already being talked about as one of the best players in Ohio. His size is an instant standout, since he's only a sophomore. I asked Chris about his feelings towards Michigan, and here's his response.
"Michigan is my favorite right now, definitely. There are some other schools like Ohio State and Cincinnati that have been staying in touch. I'd like to hear more from Michigan soon. I think I'll probably end up at Michigan, but those other schools could make a push."
It's probably going to be a little while before we hear anything new, but Wormley is one to keep an eye on.
6'6, 255 lbs.
Fort Pierce, FL
Giorgio is one of the better defensive line prospects out there, and he's also being recruited by some schools for offensive line. His versatility makes him special, but his size makes everything come together for him. With the height and weight he carries, Newberry still reports a 4.7 time in the 40. Good news here is that Rod Smith will be at Fort Pierce to watch Giorgio practice on Friday. Michigan is recruiting Newberry for the defensive side of the ball, but would obviously let him play where ever he fits best. It's too early for top lists, but he told me that he has definite interest in Michigan. His film is inside this link.
5'10, 171 lbs.
Nick Waisome has offers from pretty much everywhere, including Arizona, Florida, Arkansas, Florida State, North Carolina, and Stanford among others. Waisome received a visit from Coach Rod Smith today. Not only does Nick have ideal size, but he also boasts a blazing 40 time of 4.44. I asked Nick if he was going to make a visit up to Michigan, and he said he thinks he will, but he's not sure. It's difficult for the prospects from Florida to commit to a trip, because of cost and time. He hasn't been talked about a lot here, but we might hear his name more. I have a feeling he might stick close to home, but here's his highlight tape, as well.