"This is really important to be here," Lewan said. "I'm here to give back and help out my teammate."
I thought this article in the Wall Street Journal was an interesting exploration of the problems facing the MLB as they try to stay relevant in the sports landscape. A lot of kids these days don't have the attention span for baseball and as the article suggests, kids who don't play the game are much less likely to become fans/customers when they grow up. The author cites a 25% drop in Little League participation over the last decade. I don't think there's any question that is a problem for the MLB. I thought it was surprising that despite the growing concern over concussions, football and hockey participation is up. I thought this quote from former National League president Len Coleman was very. . .um. . .telling:
"The days of kids being born with a glove next to their ear in the crib and boys playing catch in the backyard by age three, those are over,"
He's not exactly a casual observer. Anyway, I think the article is an interesting read and it's pretty short:
Happy Opening Day, everyone. The Tigers take on the Yankees at 1:05 in New York, and Justin Verlander will be on the mound. So, as the late great Ernie Harwell would say:
EDIT: struggling to embed. Will try in comments.
With Spring Training in full swing, and the regular season in the on-deck circle I thought this handy-dandy flow chart would help any of those folks out there unsure as to who to root for once the season starts:
For the record, I will punch you in the face if you look at me funny.
Edit: Sorry for the size. For whatever reason, the image doesn't want to respond to the size limits I put on it.
Edit edit: See Misopogon's post if you didn't get to the link in time.
Coach Rich Maloney did an interview with Brian Foley of College Baseball Daily a few days ago revealing some answers to many of this off season's pressing questions, including the starting rotation and left field, as well as the closer situation (Tyler Mills in the lead), the tough schedule, and the new bat standards for this season. Some great stuff and worth a read to get your mind off other things.
As far as the rotation,
Kolby Wood will be interesting to see. I haven’t decided yet on who the Friday night guy will be yet. Bobby Brosnahan had a really nice year in 2010 and we are expecting big things from Bobby, no question. On the flip side, Kolby Wood has been outstanding, had a great fall and has become one of our leaders. It’s going to be significant for our team to be successful that Kolby comes into his own this season. He is very capable and has a Major League arm. He needs to have that consistency.
He also mentions Travis Smith as a "wildcard," which seems an apt description of a guy who started so promising, yet fell apart last season as well as both summers. Sinnery just gets a short mention in the end, which somewhat concerns me. He, along with Brosnahan, was held back from some more competitive summer leagues in order to stay in Ann Arbor to focus on strength and conditioning. One really had to think there was a lot banking on him with Matt Miller's early departure.
As far as left field, Mike O'Neill gets the first mention with his electric bat. O'Neill is a nephew of former Yankee great Paul and comes in as one of Michigan's most heralded freshmen. Kevin Krantz is also in the mix, having almost having a breakout in place of Ryan LaMarre, a breakout cut short by a broken finger of his own.
Surprisingly on-topic to some you, but with the Minnesota Golden Gophers (henceforth confusingly named UM on a UM blog) playing home games in the Metrodome for the next season or two, the collapse of the Metrodome's roof does have some tangential impact on Michigan sports.
The roof is held up by air pressure and with all the snow, the roof failed and the teflon tore. So how does this affect the baseball team? While UM is working on securing funding to repair the old on campus field, but it hasn't been secured, nor is the on campus field necessarily the best thing for the Gophers.
By playing in the dome, UM and several of the schools from the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin area also play college baseball in the stadium, sometimes around the clock.
With the collapse of the roof, the Vikings will obviously throw a lot of money at getting it fixed, but I have to think that they also use this as a lobbying token for a new stadium, as stadium that may or may not include the option for indoor baseball.
Losing the chance to host the Dairy Queen Classic, UM's February/March tournament was one of the Big Ten's few opportunities to host bigger name opponents early in the year. While there is no doubt the inbalance of Southern powers over the North, this tournament was one of the few bright spots that could be in jeopardy.
Michigan doesn't play at Minnesota this upcoming season, but I can't imagine that the Vikings don't get the roof fixed by May.