At press time, Harbaugh had sent Michigan’s athletic department an envelope containing a heavily annotated seating chart, a list of the 63,000 seat views he had found unsatisfactory, and a glowing 70-page report on section 25, row 12, seat 9, which he claimed is “exactly what the great sport of football is all about.”
Bad news on the baseball recruiting front this weekend as outfield prospect Zach Fish of Gull Lake High School (Richland, MI) has stepped back from his verbal commitment to the University of Michigan. Fish had previously committed to UM coach Rich Maloney in May to accept a 50% scholarship to the school he had been a fan of since he was a small kid.
Things have changed over the course of the summer. Fish now holds offers from Oklahoma State and Florida Gulf Coast, two solid baseball schools in more baseball-friendly weather states. On top of that, Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Louisville are also showing interest. If they get involved with decent scholarship offers, any of those three would probably hold a huge upper hand on Michigan.
U-M is “still in the mix,” Fish noted. He admitted, however, some doubts crept in when a Wolverines coach was talking to the Cincinnati-based Midland Redskins organization for which Fish plays in the summer and did not mention that Fish was a U-M commit.
“You’d think that you would want it reflected on (the Redskins) roster that Zach has committed to your school,” Fish’s father, Duane Fish, said about the U-M coach. “You would think the first thing you would say is, ‘Zach Fish is ours, keep your hands off him.’”
Duane Fish said his son also had second thoughts about playing in a northern climate and concerns about not getting the exposure he might at a southern program.
Zach Fish said the phone call to U-M head coach Rich Maloney was “probably one of the most nerve-racking conversations I’ve had, just because I gave the man my word that I was going to be a Wolverine and I gave him my commitment and he gave me his.”
I'm not sure what to make of a coach not mentioning his commitment. Fish can't sign his letter of intent until the early signing period in November, and therefore, the program isn't allowed to discuss commitments. I'm missing the context here, so maybe there is something deeper to this.
As far as losing exposure, I think that's just talk. Michigan did just have an outfielder go in the first round after being listed as a preseason All-American. I'm sure Fish and his father are well aware of that, but it's definitely something the other schools are trying to sell.
If Michigan isn't able to re-secure the commitment from Fish, it's a pretty big loss for the program. Fish is one of the better position players to come out of Michigan in a few years, and Maloney unloaded the kitchen sink (50% scholarship is reserved for the best of the best).
Fish seemed like a lock to start as a freshman along side Biondi and O'Neill. If Michigan can't re-secure a commit, they do have a few other outfield options, but they'll probably try to secure another commit in this class.
Large flurry of relevant diaries lead me to delay this one. Only 2 canto's left after this one…
In the loosely adapted ways of Dante, I present to you the tenth canto of Formerly's Football Inferno. I promise nothing when it comes to grammar, punctuation, logical plots, or anything that normally goes into story writing.
For those of you unfamiliar, Dante walks through each region of hell to learn the sins and punishment by talking to those souls trapped. In this circle of Dante's version, those who would commit violence are punished. The murderers, bandits, those that would commit suicide, blasphemers, and sodomites were all tormented in three separate areas. Murderers were submerged into a boiling river of blood, suicide cases were reincarnated into bleeding trees picked to death by harpies, and the blasphemers and sodomites were destined to wander a desert of flames as fire rained from the sky.
The walk from the 6th to 7th ring of hell was totally agony. The gods were also fans of the USMNT. So while watching a 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup game, they discovered the vuvuzela. That damn horn blared through hell for weeks. I'm still deaf. Michigan must never go bowl-less again. They must never lose to Ohio State ever again. The punishment is overkill, even for those in hell.
As we descended into the 7th ring, we were met by it's guardian, the Penn State Nittany Lion. As we went to pass him, he jumped in front of us and began to mumble and jump around. I turned to Davy and asked, "what's his problem?"
"He's trying to scare you into turning back."
"This is supposed to be scary? He's like a teddy bear with a scarf. Jumping around with arms raised is supposed to be intimidating?" I ask as the Lion hangs in head that he'd yet again failed to put fear in to a Michigan fan, just like his highly rated teams that have failed again and again in Ann Arbor.
"He is a pretty weak mascot. I'll give you that, but he's also going to be our guide through this realm," replied Crockett. "Now you, Cowardly Lion—"
The lion interrupted with a few mumbles. "Oh, right, Nittany Lion. Lead us through this circle, the circle of Violence against the program."
The lion then waved his hands in a "come this way" fashion and the Duke and I followed along the top of a ridge. After a brief walk, we came to point above a valley below us. In the valley were hundreds of Michigan fans wearing maize. On a ridge below us sat centaurs with great bows, firing flaming arrows down on to the fans below. As I stopped and watched, Crockett noticed my interest.
"Those are the fans that have sold their tickets to opposing teams' fans. This sin has lead them to lead their life standing in the crowd they can never escape. On top of that, the one team who never buys tickets, will forever rain arrows down on them."
"What team are the Centaurs?" I ask.
"Indiana are the Hoosiers. Why on earth are there centaurs down there?"
"What did you think a Hoosier was?"
"Good point. But centaurs?"
"Back when Bob Knight was coaching, he had this crazy theory that running horses in basketball might have a more sinister purpose. He, being the most influential person on campus at the time, convinced the medical school to merge his players into half man, half horse creatures that would have the speed and stamina to destroy teams on the court."
The Nittany Lion mumbled and Crockett laughed, "Yeah, never could get those flesh eating corn monsters to work. That Bob Knight was a crazy fella."
"You've got to be kidding me," I respond dryly.
"Nope. The kids didn't last long. As soon as they died, they became the perfect fit to fill this role in hell."
After sitting there a while, the centaurs caught sight of us and began to divert some of their arrows upward. Pulling out his six shooter, Crockett began to fire down on the centaurs to provide cover as the Lion and I moved on.
As we fled, Davy fell out of range as the Lion urged us forward. At a fork in the road, I tried to insist that we wait up for Davy. The Lion mumbled and pulled me along. With Crockett being familiar with hell, I figured he'd catch up, and what harm could come from following the Lion. He's so cute and couldn't possibly do me harm. Right?
As we pushed to the left at the fork, we came upon another valley, this one composed of several barren, black trees. The Lion directed me into the forest, peering ever so suspiciously at the darkness above us. Something was up.
As we reached the trees, it was clear that names were carved into them. While some names had faded out, some were still freshly carved. One of those, a particularly tall tree, the name of Epke UDoh was written. Interested, I went up to touch the engraving. Upon touching the engraving, the whole tree flinched.
"Who goes there? Is it another one you of you damn harpies?" came a voice from within the tree.
"No, it is I, formerlyanonymous, a Michigan fan."
"Oh, good. I thought one of those damn harpies came back to bite at me."
"Who are you?"
"I am Epke Udoh. Like all of the other trees in this area, I'm the soul of a Michigan player who quit a Michigan team or transferred to another school."
"Huh. That sucks."
"You have no idea. What are you doing down here?"
"The Nittany Lion… hey, where'd he go?"
"That treacherous Lion has lead you into a trap. He despises Michigan fans, and he's lead you to the harpy feeding ground," explained Udoh. And with that, the swoop of wings up above began to become audible. A dark creature dove down and Udoh, ever defensive, swatted the harpy down to the ground like a blocked basketball.
The harpy squealed, and arose. This harpy was quite strange. It looked like a crack whore who had grown wings. As it lifted up, it became clear, this was a woman who was once attractive, but as her MSU shirt alluded, she spent 4 years at Michigan State, losing all her beauty. She was now a broken woman, stupid, ugly, and unable to shut her mouth.
The harpy, squawking loudly, made it's advances at me. Retreating under the protective branches of Udoh, I hoped to get the help from his tremendous reach. I was lucky that his longest branches were able to keep the harpy at bay just long enough for Crockett to arrive, guns blazing. The harpy didn't last long with the tree and Crockett firing. After a brief few seconds, it scurried away into the darkness.
"Thank you, Epke. Even if you chose a crappy, Christian school over Michigan, I'll always be a fan of yours."
"I appreciate it formerlyanonymous. As for you Mr. Wayne, would you mind signing my bark? It's a tremendous opportunity to meet an accomplished actor like yourself!"
Bang bang bang. "Take that you filthy animal. It's Davy Crockett."
"Dammit, that hurt!" yelled Udoh.
"Serves you right to call me by some other guy's name!" exclaimed Crockett. "Alright boy, you ready to get back on track. I caught up to that damn Lion on the way back up to the 6th level. Beat the tar outta him, and if it wasn't for me already having this kick ass coon skin hat, I'd be wearing something new by now."
With that, Crockett lead us away from Udoh. As we climbed back up the ridge, we could see from a far that the harpy who fled earlier had returned to Epke with several of her friends. Udoh was no match for the flock. He fought off several, but the final four Spartan harpies ripped him to pieces.
After reaching the fork in the road, this time Crockett lead us down the right path. This ridge lead us to yet another valley. In this one, we found a large desert. In this desert were found only a hand full of men. As they crossed this desert, the sand would burst up in flames with every step they took.
After one of their yells, I asked Davy, "Who are these people?"
"These are the sportswriters that turn against Michigan in order to better themselves. They proverbially bit the hand that feeds. For their Jihad against the program, they were banished to the deserts where they are set ablaze. That one way over there, that's the soul of Rosenberg. He has a special punishment. Not only does he walk this desert, but occasionally dolphins emerge from the sand and punch him with their tails."
"So you're saying, in Soviet hell, dolphin punch you?" I ask.
"This isn't Soviet hell. This is Michigan hell. Where the hell did that come from?"
"You don't get the internet do you?"
"No, we don't take kindly to communist around here."
"Right," I say sarcastically.
Davy went on, "But anyway, as you can see over there, writers from the now defunct Ann Arbor Chronicle lay in the desert over there. Yonder, you'll see the Detroit News writers sitting in that expanse. And lastly, you see the writers from the Detroit Free Press wandering in groups like the sodomites they are."
"I know, funny word, right?" the Duke says as he laughs. "Now let's get moving. We've but just 2 circles of hell left and the gods are definitely in our favor. Michigan has won 4 in a row to start this season. We shall travel quickly with them doing well."
And we were off.
In the loosely adapted ways of Dante, I present to you the ninth canto of Formerly's Football Inferno. I promise nothing when it comes to grammar, punctuation, logical plots, or anything that normally goes into story writing.
For those of you unfamiliar, Dante walks through each region of hell to learn the sins and punishment by talking to those souls trapped. In this circle of Dante's version, those who would commit Heresy are punished in tombs of fire.
As we reach the 6th circle, there was a noticeable feeling of optimism in the air. The mood felt less heavy. The feeling was strange, one that I hadn't felt in quite a while. It didn't take me long to figure it out either. Michigan just defeated Minnesota, closing out a perfect record in the Metrodome.
The celebration didn't last long in my mind. I knew Michigan was still 3-7 and not going bowling for the first in ages. It was a hollow win.
The 6th Circle is a eerily quiet cemetery. Graves are aligned quite compactly, and there is little room to pass without nearly stepping on the hallowed ground. Each soul is in a grave marked with their name. Below the name is listed a saying one of two phrases, "Down in front!" or "You can stand!" As I start to see these two messages, I have already figured out what the sin of this circle is, embattled fans.
It seems strange that this is the only circle thus far that has it's damned in what seems like isolation. I guess that's because the fans here would rather fight with each other than focus on the game. In each case, standing or sitting and yelling at the standing, they ruin each other's game experience. Say what you will about the idiot message board posters, they at least bicker away from the game. These that fight during games, there is a problem there.
But despite my personal feelings about these besetting fans, I can't help but wonder what their take on their punishment is. About half way through the 6th Circle, I couldn't contain my curiosity, especially when my other option was watching Northwestern beat Michigan on a wet Ann Arbor afternoon. So I turned to Davy, "Davy, do you mind if I talk to one of these spirits of this domain?"
"Nah, partner, do as you wish. Just don't ask too many questions. The people in this circle get a bit testy."
"Yeah," I start. "I can tell by the headstones. Any suggestion on sitters or standers?"
"They're damned if you do, they're damned if you don't. Or, well, yeah. The sitters will moan that you're impeding their time. The standers will complain that your not a big enough fan to ask them questions. Pick your poison, kid."
"Great, I'll take the crab juice. Um, how about the standing guy? I don't want to have to sit down to perform this interview."
Davy replied, "That's a good point. Let me round up this feller over here." Feller? Really?
Davy began to wave his hands to open the grave, and as he did, flames burst through the opening as if the grave was pressured with fire. After the grave completely opened, a spirit leapt out as if he were gasping for air.
"Woooo does it feel good getting out of there!" the spirit exclaimed. "Now who do I owe thanks for getting me a break?"
Davy points over to me, "That'd be this here fella."
"Well, then thank you. My name is Super M. Fan. I had it legally changed to that back in '97, right after I caught every game of that National Championship season, at home and on the road. I had Charles Woodson's face tattooed on my ass after he won the Heisman. Wanna see?"
"No. Not at all," I replied as the guy went and pulled down his pants to moon me.
"KISS THE WOODSON!" he proclaimed.
"You're not a real fan if you can't appreciate Woodson in all his glory."
"How much can you tell me about Michigan's baseball history?"
"Michigan has a baseball team?" he asked.
"You're not real fan of the University."
"BURN!" said Davy, as flames reached up and scorched the wretched soul.
After letting his yells subside, I redirected the conversation. "So, how's hell treating you, I mean other than the burns?"
"Dude, it's horrible. Not only can I not get a decent drink down here, but I have to watch the Big Ten Network's Greatest Games for eternity."
"That doesn't sound so bad."
"They're all Michigan losses. And the only commercials are for Rotel and Barbasol."
"Ouch. I take that back. If it makes you feel any better, though, that's all they play even on Earth."
"The worst part, occasionally they tease us with a break in programming. It always ends up being campus programming from Purdue's campus. Have you ever seen how they inseminate a cow? Dude, least interesting semen related thing ever. This guy in a plastic glove sticks his hand up the cow's an—"
"Dude, stop it. I know where this is going, and I don't want you to go on any further."
"Hey, there's only so many ways to get your jollies down here."
"No. Enough. Stop."
"Fair enough, guy… Hey, Michigan's about to take on Northwestern on BTN in like 3 minutes. I think Michigan may finally win this one. I can't remember back to the '95 season, but jNWU has to be horrible, am I right?"
"You're not going to—" I start before interrupted by Davy.
"Formerly, let him have it. We must continue on. Super M. Fan, get back in the hole." The spirit sank slowly back into his crypt to go endure more pain and misery. Davy looked at me, "He hasn't even gotten to you're time on BTN's greatest games. Just wait until he has to watch the Horror. Yikes."
"I envy him not."
"Come on boy, let's move on. Trouble is on the horizon. Michigan is losing to Ohio State by 3 touchdowns. The gods will be angry." So hastily we set off.
In the loosely adapted ways of Dante, I present to you the eighth canto of Formerly's Football Inferno. I promise nothing when it comes to grammar, punctuation, logical plots, or anything that normally goes into story writing.
For those of you unfamiliar, Dante walks through each region of hell to learn the sins and punishment by talking to those souls trapped. In this canto, we enter the city of
Dis Columbus to see how the souls damned to hell are sorted.
As I pass through the underworld's city of Columbus, I really think they missed on naming it. The dark streets of deserted homes and what looks like certain crime reminds me more of certain areas of Detroit than it does of Columbus.
There are dilapidated buildings set in eternal flames. Souls that are awaiting their placement in the depths of hell are kept pinned in those flames. It is a sad place.
We walked through several blocks of the city before we reached a point where the city ended. At the edge of the city was a line of souls awaiting judgment. As I pass, I try to avoid eye contact, because, I mean, how am I supposed to look at them?
In my probably obvious attempt to ignore the souls around me, my eyes wandered back to godzillatron. Things are getting worse. Last week Michigan made a white, walk-on wide receiver look like an All-American against Michigan State in Ann Arbor. This week we're in a shoot out against a hapless Purdue. They've got some wide receiver in at quarterback. He's torching us right and left. I'd feel better about drudging through hell if Michigan could at least show signs of competency.
While staring in solace at the screen above, I noticed my vision went blurry, as if I was looking through a fog and flashes of light. I had accidentally walked right through one of the spirits who was on fire. Strangely, the fire didn't affect me. The spirit was a man, large in stature, sporting a really ugly mustache.
"Hey douchebag, get outta me!" exclaimed the spirit.
"Oh, so sorry, sir. I just –" I started before Davy Crockett interrupted me.
"Don't you apologize to that piece of slime. Don't you recognize what he is? That Buckstache doesn't give him away? That's the badge of the Ohio State fan. Everyone of them is cast into hell with one of those on their face, even the women," Crockett explained as he pointed toward the ugliest piece of trailer trash I've ever seen.
"That's harsh, but it's also so so awesome," I chuckle out as I realize just how ridiculous these people in line are. Most of the Buckeye fans are either pure trailer trash or dressed like they're heading to a Nickelback concert.
We keep walking, and instead of avoiding looking at the poor souls, I'm taking in some deep pleasure in seeing some of these opposing fans waiting in line to be sent to their circle of hell. A certain schadenfreude, if you will.
When we reach the head of the line, much to my surprise, I see the great fiery whip that I once saw pluck Rudyard Kipling from the first circle of hell. I couldn't yet see the master of the whip, but he was plucking out souls from the masses one at a time, flinging them down into the lower levels of hell. His precision was insane, plucking one person from the masses without even touching another. It was masterful.
As the the origin of the whip came into sight, I was both shocked, and, well, who am I kidding, at this point, not surprised to find that this minion of hell, the wielder of the whip was Goldy Gopher. If there was ever one mascot in the BigTen that would know something about being whipped, it'd be Goldy. Apparently all those football beat downs taught him something useful.
"Davy, you think I could talk to him?" I asked.
"You'll need me to translate. If you couldn't tell from Bucky, the mascots can't speak with Sparty being the lone exception. They can mumble, so it comes out kind of like Kenny in South Park."
So we made our way up to the boulder from which Goldy operated and Davy called him down. Goldy leaped down and made his way over to Davy and myself. He started shaking his head and making a muffled squeaky noise. It was like watching the old Chip and Dale cartoons where it's a high pitch squeak that makes no sense.
Crockett laughed at whatever it was that Goldy said, smiled, and replied, "Yeah, man, still going by Davy Crockett. They'll never catch me."
Goldy mumbled some more, pointing in what seems like random directions, moving his hands around more than Bill Clinton in a speech. Goldy continued to talk for a while with Davy just humming in agreement. After a couple of minutes, Goldy turned to me and mumbled something else to Davy.
Davy translated, "Goldy tells me there's good news that you'll probably want to hear. Your fortunes are going to look good by the time you reach the 6th circle."
"Well, that's, uh, good?" I mutter.
"Yeah. So, what do you want to ask him?" Davy asked.
"What is it that you're doing?" I ask. Goldy seems to laugh, then he starts to mumble to Davy, bobbing his head.
About thirty seconds into the mumbling, Davy plainly interrupted Goldy, "Do you really have to say 'Don'cha know' after everything you say?"
Goldy seemed a bit pissed off at this, bobbing his head much quicker and sounding a bit more stern in his mumble. Just like a Minnesotan.
So when Goldy finished, Davy turned back and translated the long mumbling, saying, "He says he whips a person, grabbing them and throwing them to their final destination."
"That was like 5 minutes of rambling, and that's all he said?" I ask.
Davy replied, "There was some talk about starting an hell ice hockey club, but I didn't think you'd really care."
"Yeah, you're right."
"But yeah," started Davy. "He said his whip goes around the person the same number of times as the circle he's destined to spend the rest of time in. So say that Buckeye fan you walked through earlier, he'll get wrapped up 8 times. Hey Goldy, why don't you show him how it's done?"
Goldy mumbled, leapt back up to the top of his boulder and gave his whip a spin. The tip made it all the way back to the Buckeye fan I walked through earlier, wrapping him eight times around. The spirit was lifted and thrown back and down into the far reaches of hell. It was awesome.
After feeling the satisfaction of watching a Buckeye being thrown deep into the depths of hell, we waved adieu to Goldy. He did that weird mascot salute that they tend to do when signaling goodbye. We were off, heading from Columbus down into the 6th circle.
The NCAA announced today that based upon the success of the pitch clock experiment at the SEC Tournament last year, they will be mandating the pitch clock be used league wide in an attempt to pick up the pace of games.
After allowing the use of a pitch and between innings clock experimentally last year, the committee voted to mandate the use of a timing device and implemented penalties for non-compliance. Current rules require pitchers to start their delivery in no more than 20 seconds without runners on base. This rule remains and an umpire will be required to monitor and enforce this time limit. Additionally, in non-televised games, umpires will enforce a 90 second limit between innings. The committee recommended a time limit for televised games of 108 seconds, which the Southeastern Conference used experimentally during the 2010 season. However, the committee acknowledged that the time between innings will continue to be a negotiable point in television agreements.
This isn't a huge game changer by any stretch. The rule for length between innings and between pitches has been part of baseball for several years. This new rule appears to only mandate a "play clock" like mechanism so the umpire can track the time without having to check his watch incessantly. There's enough other things for an umpire to watch closely other than his watch, and this makes it much easier for an umpire to enforce because the clock is in the open for all to see.
That said, this won't impact length of games more than 5-10 minutes for most teams. If anything, between innings will become a bit shorter, and that's it.
Obstruction While Making a Play
The NCAA had a vague obstruction rule regarding infielders making a play on a ball at a base while a runner was coming to the bag. For example, under the old set of rules, a batter grounds the ball to short stop. The short stop fields and throws an off line throw to first. The first baseman has to move up the line towards the batter-runnner. Before the first baseman can secure the ball, the runner and the first baseman hit each other with glancing blows. This would have lead to an obstruction call against the first baseman and the batter would be given first base, even if the first baseman was able to secure the ball, then tag him before reaching the bag.
Basically, you're punishing the first baseman for trying to make a play on the thrown ball way despite the fact that the runner could have gone around him in the running lane.
The committee also proposed a slight change to the obstruction rules, in an effort to provide fielders the ability to make a play on a thrown ball during a play at a base. Previously, any contact made between a fielder and runner could be called obstruction unless the fielder had possession of the ball. In the new proposal, a fielder that has established himself will be provided the opportunity to field the throw without penalty.
“This change is being made after careful consideration of our current rule and how this play was adjudicated previously,” said Overton. “The rules governing collisions and dangerous plays have not changed, but the committee believes the fielder must be allowed some room to make a play on a thrown ball.”
The rule change gives the fielder an opportunity to field a throw. This makes complete sense and should reduce unnecessary collisions as the runner has no incentive to go right through a fielder making a play.
Home Run Celebrations
The final rule change that should affect Division 1 is related to post-home run celebrations. The new rule limits the dugout from flooding home plate by restricting them to the warning track area, or 15 feet from the dug out. As an umpire, I'm a fan of this. This slightly speeds up the pace as you don't have to wait for the 25 guys on the team to clear the plate area and return to the dug out. The other major plus is not having 25 teammates that close to the opposing catcher, which is only asking for one of the young men to say something stupid and start a feud.
Delayed a day due to quality content of actual importance in the diary section that I didn't want to boot from the front page…
In the loosely adapted ways of Dante, I present to you the seventh canto of Formerly's Football Inferno. I promise nothing when it comes to grammar, punctuation, logical plots, or anything that normally goes into story writing.
For those of you unfamiliar, Dante walks through each region of hell to learn the sins and punishment by talking to those souls trapped. In this canto, we reach the great city of hell – what Dante called Dis. This city houses the final circles of hell.
Davy Crockett and I made it down to the ferry after a lengthy walk. Along the way I admired the great wall along the far side of the Styx. The wall was gray and stained with blood. It had a dank and dark feeling, evil if you will.
"Davy, what's with the wall?" I ask.
"That there wall separates the light sinners from the truly vile sinners. Behind it lies the great city of the underworld. Back several years ago, it was called Dis. Now, they officially call it Columbus."
I turn to Davy with a smug look on my face, "That's not too cliché is it?"
He replies, "Yeah, hell isn't filled with a truly creative bunch."
"Apparently," I say.
When we reached the ferry, we were met by the boat keeper. The keeper was in a druid robe, so his features were hidden, but I could tell he was tall. When we approached him, he motioned us to the boat without saying so much of a word. He left my nerves unsettled.
About half way across, I decided to break the silence and ask him a question, "So is this your full time job?"
The next thing I know, the boat keeper pulled up his oar and wacked me across the head. Everything went black.
When I awoke, I was on the banks of the Styx, already taken off of the boat. I could hear the current ripping by the shore and someone talking in the background. As I came to my senses, I realized it was Crockett talking while trying not to laugh.
"Dammit, man, that was one hell of a hit. You can't be doing that kind of stuff...Yeah, yeah, I know, he'll be fine. Just take it easy you crazy badger."
As I rolled over and up onto my feet, I looked over a boulder to see Crockett talking to the robed figure. This time his hood was down. It was Bucky Badger. That stinking badger knocked me out.
I tried to run over to him to give him a return shot, but my head hadn't quite recovered. As I stumble across the banks toward Bucky and Crockett, I saw the badger reach into his pockets and retrieve a bag. Too dizzy to fight and interested in what he had to offer, I stopped and grabbed the bag from his hand.
"What's this?" I asked.
Bucky, unable to talk motioned to Crockett to explain. Davy said, "That's a mixture of mushroom, mushroom, and snake called Badger, Badger, Badger. It'll clear your head."
Puzzled, I reply, "Clich—"
Davy interrupts, "Cliché, yes. We established that already."
"Just checking," I say as I take a bit of the contents in the bag. Amazingly the stuff worked, clearing my head almost immediately. I handed the bag back to Bucky as he made his way back to his boat. He motioned in a big wave, replaced his hood and was off.
I whisper to Davy, "I hate badgers," and Bucky promptly turns around, gives the arm gesture for "suck it." That bastard. But he's not worth the effort of chasing him down. Especially with him already so close to his boat oar.
Turning back to Crockett, I ask, "So what next?"
"Well, we gotta get into Columbus. There's a gate up yonder. We'll have to go in there," said Crockett.
As we walked up to the gate, the tower over the gate loomed large. It had to be over 200 feet tall. The gate itself was over 20 feet tall, made of thick sturdy wood and fastened with steel. It did not appear to have been opened in years. Above the gate was a look out post that appeared to be manned by no one.
When we reached the foot of the doors, Davy called up to the post, "Hey, you up there. Get your lazy selves down here and open this door!"
Nothing happened. Davy and I look at each other with a "now what?" look. A few seconds later, I see what looks like a man with a mohawk poke his head over the edge of the lookout post.
"What is you're name?" called the look out.
"I'm Davy Crockett, and this is formerlyanonymous," replied my guide.
"You're not Davy Crockett, you're John Wayne! And who the hell is formerlyanonymous?" returned the man from above.
Davy turned to me and whispered he'd be right back. Davy then floated on up to the look out post and disappeared behind the ledge. I waited for something to happen, and after waiting two or three minutes with nothing happening, I started to lose hope.
All of a sudden, I hear a yell and see the mohawked man falling from the ledge. When he reaches the ground, I realize it's Sparty, and man, does he have one hell of a black eye. Crockett comes back down from the ledge, settles down posing like Captain Morgan over the Michigan State mascot.
"Sparty, no. I'm Davy Crockett. You are going to open that door," says Crockett with the expression John Wayne would always would have at his characters' smuggest moment of any of his movies.
"Well you're out of luck, brah. I own this gate. I'm not opening this door without divine intervention," replied the Spartan. And like clockwork, a light shined through the darkness above. Out of the godzillatron, a voice as sweet as candy spoke:
"Little bro, this is Ufer. You'll open that gate right now."
Sparty reluctantly answers, "Yeah, brah. I'm on it."
And Ufer said unto Sparty, and "bow down to the Michigan fan as he passes."
The light faded back into the godzillatron and everything went back to normal. This was awesome. Sparty got up and started pushing open the door to let me pass. As I walk through the door, he bowed down.
Right as I pass through the threshold of the door, Sparty called me "scUM." Before I could even insult his typically Spartan, weak insult, a lightning bolt came from above and punished the Spartan. Life was good.
As we passed through the gates, we entered the 6th ring of hell and the city of the extremely not cleverly named city of Columbus, where the true villains of Michigan football exist.