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.
Image by Erik Holladay (Special to the Kalamazoo Gazette)
Already looking toward next year's recruiting class, Michigan has gotten it's first publically known commit from the class of 2011 in Gull Lake's Zach Fish.
Fish was a Gazette first-team all-area infielder as a sophomore, when he hit .423 with six homers, 31 RBIs and an .880 slugging percentage for the Maroon Giants. He posted a 5-0 pitching record.
As a Blue Devil, he's picked up where he left off. Fish is hitting at a .470 clip with a .909 slugging percentage, 35 runs, 33 RBIs, six doubles and four triples. He's 16-for-17 in stolen bases, and has a 1-0 pitching record and 0.66 ERA.
He's a short stop for Gull Lake, but he's also played outfield for his summer league teams. I wouldn't be surprised if that's where he was slated. The interesting other tidbit:
The junior recently accepted a significant scholarship offer from the University of Michigan, with whom he plans to sign in November.
"It's a lot of money," Fish said without revealing the specifics. "They have an All-American right now, his name is Ryan LaMarre, and he has the highest in-state offer. They said they'd match that in-state offer. For an in-state offer, it just shows a lot of respect coach (U-M's Rich Maloney) has and it's very, very, very, very nice."
North Carolina, Clemson, Louisville, Oregon, Mississippi and Tennessee were other heavy hitters with a close eye on Fish, a 6-foot, 185-pound utility player with good foot speed and a cannon-like arm.
Judging by his numbers, Fish has a pretty solid chance of being drafted, especially if he continues at that pace in his senior year. It's great to see Michigan lock down a local talent over the likes of any of those other power teams also recruiting Fish.
Western Michigan (10-32)
|Tuesday 3:05pm ET, Kalamazoo, MI|
|Matt Miller (1-2, 5.98 ERA)||vs||Eric Heckaman (0-7, 8.65ERA)|
|Notes: 73-64 All Time (WMU used to be really good back in the 50s), |
Last year's home-and-home was a 2-0 Michigan sweep by score
20-1 and 6-0.
Michigan travels to coach Rich Maloney's old stomping ground today to face off with the Western Michigan Broncos. The Broncos are one of the worst teams in D1 baseball, #267 in Boyd's Pseudo-RPI. Despite that, they do have a mid-week win over Michigan State and a series win over a decent Miami (NTM) team.
Eric Heckaman gets the start for the Broncos for the 10th time this season, which leads the team. In his 51 innings pitched, the righty has given up 75 hits for an opponent batting average of .335. He has just 31 strikeouts but also has 20 walks. He hasn't given up a ton of extra base hits (13 doubles and 5 homers), and he also seems a bit wild with 7 HBP and 4 wild pitches.
At the plate, WMU is lead by Chris Lewis. Lewis leads the team in batting average (.370), on base percentage (.440), slugging percentage (.543), and RBI (34). Ryan McMillan is the only other major threat in the lineup batting .341 and slugging .541. His 24 RBI is second only to Lewis.
After that, there is a lot of meh. Michigan should be able to handle these guys easily, getting an easy win and probably dropping 3 spots in the RPI while their at it. WMU is just that bad.
Weather looks to be perfect with winds blowing straight out to right center at 15 to 20 mph.
Polls and Bubble Watch after the jump:
Just a little bit of change since last week, but ESPN did tweak their ratings a bit. Action since last rankings:
Now that Iowa has jumped into the fray, Penn State and Purdue are the only Big Ten (plus Notre Dame) programs that don't have any commitments.
|Big Ten Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# of Commits||Rivals 250||Scout Average||ESPN 150|
I'll only make charts for the teams that currently have commits. Rivals 250 means that a given prospect is on the Rivals 250 to Watch, and ESPN 150 means that a prospect is on the Watch List for the ESPNU 150. Scout ratings are on the 5-star scale.
|#1 Ohio State - 10 Commits|
ESPN now deems DE Chase Farris worthy of being on the ESPN150 watch list.
|#2 Notre Dame - 9 Commits|
Nothing new for the Irish.
|#3 Michigan - 4 Commits|
Brennen Beyer goes back on the ESPN150 watchlist.
|#4 Michigan State - 5 Commits|
|#5 Indiana - 8 Commits|
Teams are going to start passing the Hoosiers once they get more commits.
|#6 Minnesota - 2 Commits|
ESPN finally acknowledges that Calvin Phillips isn't committed to the Gophers (which he hasn't been for at least a couple months now).
|#7 Wisconsin - 2 Commits|
No change for Wisconsin.
|#8 Northwestern - 2 Commits|
Both of NU's commits are unranked to the services.
|#8 Illinois - 2 Commits|
Still just two for the Illini.
|#10 Iowa - 3 Commits|
Iowa picks up a decent offensive lineman. They're right on the heels of Minnesota and Wisconsin.