“The player development is the main thing I like (about Michigan),” Williams said. “You can see that they develop their players. They get them in the gym and they work them hard. And their hard work pays off.”
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|2 days 6 hours ago||I just want to take a minute||
I just want to take a minute to make a note of the fact the we're going to have a gymnast named Marty Strech. I really hope that's pronounced "Stretch" and not "Streck", because obviously.
|2 weeks 3 days ago||Like Ace, I really prefer to||
Like Ace, I really prefer to choose a game while I was a student. There's just something about being in school, being in the student section, the whole thing, that's just irreplaceable. I still love Michigan to death, and in certain ways more than I did when I was younger, but nothing matches that once-in-a-lifetime experience.
For me, that puts Braylonfest (freshman year) and Touchdown Manningham (sophomore year) pretty easily in a 1 & 1-A situation. Both games were classics, great finishes, star performances, the whole nine yards. I'd probably have to give the edge in the end to Braylonfest, since it was freshman year, so the whole experience was still pretty new. Also, I was in row 12 (senior brother studying abroad gave me his tix; best seats I ever had), with that whole 4th quarter and OT playing out right in front of us. To this day, that remains the loudest place I've ever been in my life.
A couple random honorable mentions from other sports: the 2012-13 b-ball conf championship game for the D-III school I study at now. Our tiny gym was packed out, raising the temperature 10-15 degrees above normal. The place shook to its foundations and we stormed the court after a 1-point win. Also, the Michigan/ND hockey game early in 2008, which we came back from an early 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 with less than 30 seconds to go. Great game, insane Yost, and it cemented our status as the #1 team in the land.
|3 weeks 6 days ago||My word, that was weird!||
My word, that was weird! They just don't allow for that kind of craziness anymore.
|7 weeks 4 days ago||Great point. March Madness||
Great point. March Madness is crazy fun, but it's also, well, crazy. As a way of determining the best team in the country, it makes no sense. The softball tourney I feel is kinda a best of both worlds situation for the good team & the bad ones. Even the worst teams get to play two games, and possibly three or four in the regionals, so they get to enjoy the experience & get some publicity. At the same time, one bad game doesn't just bust a good team out, it just makes the road ahead harder. All in all, it's a great system that allows for a lot of drama.
|7 weeks 4 days ago||Good for them, and it's good||
Good for them, and it's good for the sport to continue the expansion into new regions. I saw a decent chunk of the first game, and Florida was definitely playing some impressive ball.
I'm with you, also - bring on the fall ball! This season had some great moments, but definitely left one feeling like we could have done more. With two senior pitchers, the best hitter in the country, and some great talent coming in, this next season could be an amazing one.
|7 weeks 5 days ago||Really hard to argue with||
Really hard to argue with this one. Even though I grew up decades later, I knew all about this game from all the videos I watched & books I read as a kid. This game was one of the greatest upsets of all time and launched a golden age that would last until just a few years ago. Great football, great personalities, huge implications - this one has it all.
In terms of going for one that I actually attended, that's a bit tougher. I'd probably have to go with Braylonfest, although the competition is stiff (2002 over Washington, 2005 PSU, and Gardner's Hail Mary & OT win over NW are all high up there as well). I was a freshman, sitting iny row 12 because my senior brother was studying abroad that year. It felt like my ears were overflowing with sound it got so loud in there, and just the pure delight of watching Braylon bring it home again & again into the end-zone right in front of me.
Also, a little side-note for any other Prof. Ralph Williams fans out there - he came into class the next Monday & said, in his inimitable Williams way, "This Saturday I attended my first ever Michigan football game ... WOW!!!"
|7 weeks 5 days ago||"You don't think you'll be||
"You don't think you'll be excited about this football season. I know, because I felt the same way. And then I started watching video of last year's Michigan/Notre Dame game and Michigan/Ohio State game to write my stuff, and I remembered how much I love college football. You'll get there, too."
This is disturbingly on target to how I feel. Every fall, I wonder why I like this so much and think about giving it up, but then I realize - this is just who I am. It's family, home, heritage... there's no way around it. The results don't change it. In the end, there I am. I love the game so much that I'm actually just poking around Youtube these days, watching highlights of random games from last season. It's time for September.
The good thing is that I have found a nice method for mitigating the stress & terror I feel at every game. I've become a big fan of my grad school, which is a mediocre D-III program whose games I can attend for free. We usually hover around .500, and even managed a winning season last year (first time since 2008). It's great fun, because I can enjoy the wins without getting worked up over the losses. Kinda like rooting for the Lions.
|8 weeks 5 days ago||Looking at those stats, it's||
Looking at those stats, it's just stunning to think back on what an amazing season Romo delivered. The most impressive thing of all, in a way, was the consistency. When not vomiting her guts out (thanks, Tempe...), she just methodically worked her way through every opponent she faced. It's not like she just went on a big hot-streak at one point; it was all season long. The accolades are just a testimony to that.
Incidentally, she still has a legit chance to be the national batting champ. She's currently .001 behind Oregon's Courtney Ceo, so depending on what happens at the WCWS, she could end up back in that top spot.
|8 weeks 5 days ago||In Re: Romo, she came to||
In Re: Romo, she came to Michigan as one of two Sierras (along with Sierra Lawrence, whom I expect to be a huge leader on this team for the next two years, incidentally). Apparently this was causing some confusion in practice, so the team developed nicknames for the two of them - Romo & Silo. Things you learn from obsessively watching every video that ever goes up on MGoBlue.com about anything...
|9 weeks 20 hours ago||Interesting, so you'd put||
Interesting, so you'd put Romo at the 4-spot behind Silo? I like the idea in terms of helping Silo continue her progress, but who protects Romo then? Anyone in mind in particular?
|9 weeks 1 day ago||I also thought about the||
I also thought about the possibility of Silo batting 4th. Her power might be a little more suited to that spot, and she could provide a great 1-2 punch with Romo. I suspect a lot will be determined by team needs & who steps up in fall ball, spring practice, etc. I wouldn't rule out the possibility of one of the rising sophomores stepping up, either. They had some expected freshman struggles at certain points, but the played very well in the regional. Apart from the Sierras, Ramirez's on-base is right in the mix with most of the other returning players, so with some progress, I could see her go from turning of the line-up to getting it started at some point in her career.
You may well be right in regards to the need to convert someone, too. I was also noticing that we have been bringing in a lot of infielders, esp. odd given that we're graduating two excellent outfielders right now.
Absolutely Blanco will have a chance to get into the mix as well. It's a good thing that there are so many games in the softball season - hopefully there will be enough innings to go around! We're probably looking at the deepest, and one of the most talented, pitching staffs Michigan has ever had.
|9 weeks 1 day ago||Nice breakdown. I agree that||
Nice breakdown. I agree that Sappingfield & Doyle are the toughest two to replace. Great defensive outfielders (as Doyle recently so perfectly highlighted) and hit around .400, which made them great table-setters. One thing I've been wondering is if Sierra Lawrence might move up higher in the line-up. She hit .351 and cranked 9 round-trippers this past season, and her on-base was better than either Doyle or Sappingfield. As an outfielder, she's got solid speed as well. I could see her maybe moving into the 1 or 2 spot, depending on how Hutch wants to set things up. Certainly she's one of the more under-rated cogs in our offensive machine (although after that regional final, I think people are pretty aware of her!).
I expect our pitching to be pretty top-notch as long as we can avoid the inconsistency that plagued us late in the season. Last time around for Wagner and Driesenga, both of whom have played the ace role at times. At her best, Wagner is one of the top 5 pitchers in the nation, so if she puts it all together for a full season, things could go very well. If not, we have depth, with Betsa presenting a serious challenge to Driesenga as the #2 pitcher.
As always, Big Ten Championship & WCWS is the goal. The Big Ten is tougher now, though, so it'll take a top-notch effort. I'm already looking forward to it, should be a great year!
|9 weeks 4 days ago||Unbelievable performance,||
Unbelievable performance, truly phenomenal! And you're right, thank goodness we have a coach who will keep the team's heads level. Still gotta win tomorrow,, or this doesn't count for anything. Still, hell of a good start!
At a conference this weekend, so I can't watch any of it - just found out the result a minute ago. Hope tomorrow goes well so that I can watch us in the WCWS!
|10 weeks 1 day ago||She has been great indeed.||
She has been great indeed. She had a top-10-worthy diving catch earlier in the weekend as well, along with some key hits. Great to see a senior stepping up and extending her career!
|10 weeks 1 day ago||Someone had better make a gif||
Someone had better make a gif of Hutch looking glum, then suddenly going "OH MY GOD!" when Doyle makes the catch. It's a couple minutes after the game ends on the ESPNU broadcast. Priceless look from a coach who's seen a lot, but is still able to be surprised!
|10 weeks 1 day ago||Huge win, and a great||
Huge win, and a great performance in adverse conditions. Let's see if we can make it two. Who do folks think pitches? Keep going with Wagner til she can't go anymore, or make a change?
|10 weeks 2 days ago||Great win, although a few too||
Great win, although a few too many base-runners. For Betsa to really become an elite pitcher, she'll have to cut those down. I have total faith that that'll happen, and it's great that she's getting a (very hands-on) apprenticeship this & next year, without too much pressure right away.
Also, is it wrong that I'm watching Romo's batting average (hovering right around .500 for the season) with as much anxiety as I am the results as a whole?
|10 weeks 3 days ago||Yep - that's a big part of||
Yep - that's a big part of what has made this last month so maddening. The same team that beat UCLA & shared the Big Ten crown got mercied by Illinois. Almost literally anything can happen when this team takes the field. I guess it's nothing if not exciting!
|10 weeks 3 days ago||Was too stressed to post in||
Was too stressed to post in the game thread - thank goodness we got out of there with a W. As Wagner went up to bat, I turned to my mother & said, "Nothing wrong with a sac fly", which turned out to be right on target. Scary game, and a microcosm of the season. We saw the best & worst of this team in that one. We'll need to play a lot better to beat ASU tomorrow, but at least we're still in the winner's bracket. We'll see where it all goes from here.
One big positive shout-out, incidentally, has to go to the bottom of the order. Unproductive at times this year, the 7-8-9 hitters came through again and again today, ultimately providing the winning run. That's one big step forward in terms of playing like a championship-caliber team.
|10 weeks 3 days ago||Thanks for the catch! I||
Thanks for the catch! I often forget that Mgoblue.com lists game times based on where the game is being played.
|10 weeks 4 days ago||Having a hard time seeing an||
Having a hard time seeing an argument against Mikulak. He was the best athlete in his sport 3 of his 4 years, and finished 2nd in the other year. If there were a football player with 3 Heismans, a b-ball player with 3 Naismiths, etc., we wouldn't even be having this discussion, because everyone would just say "yeah, that guy", especially factoring in 2 team National Titles. Of course there's a lot of subjectivity involved in a question like this (that's what makes it fun!), but in terms of hardware, Mikulak stands alone.
|11 weeks 4 days ago||That is some high praise||
That is some high praise indeed! Hope you're right. Given the number and caliber of players who are graduating this year, we need some instant-impact freshmen as well as natural progression from the rest of the team. Hope Falk can provide that punch!
|11 weeks 4 days ago||She's definitely got a real||
She's definitely got a real chance at it. Honestly, I think she has a great case for National Player of the Year. Regular season batting champ, one of the few ever to hit over .500, and leads the NCAA in OBP by a wide margin. The only hits to her case are a few more errors than you want to see & the fact that she plays in the Big Ten. Obviously I'm biased, but I doubt there's a player (at least offensively) in the entire country who can top Romo's resume right now.
|12 weeks 2 days ago||I get that Upton is an||
I get that Upton is an MGoBlog favorite so I'll probably get negged for this, but could we take a little break from objectifying women's bodies to focus on the athletic accomplishment of some great Michigan women? Seems like the wires are a little crossed-up here.
|12 weeks 5 days ago||As an expanded universe fan,||
As an expanded universe fan, how do you feel about the threats to continuity that the new movies pose? I haven't read the books myself, but one of my good friends is a huge fan of them, and is furious with the direction the new movies are shaping up in. Curious for another take on that.
|13 weeks 5 days ago||Yeah, this is the real||
Yeah, this is the real problem with today's loss. As far as the Big Ten race goes, we're still in great shape, although taking both would of course have been better. This inches us closer to that margin of who gets to host a super and who doesn't, though, and that can be key. Still, as long as we take care of business down the stretch, we should be just fine in that department. This weekend is a must-sweep situation, as Illinois is pretty weak, with only 3 Big Ten wins (they have, in their defense, faced about the toughest Big Ten schedule one could concoct). They did clip Nebraska once, though, so we can't take anything for granted. I learned that lesson with all the crap I've been talking about Purdue...
|14 weeks 1 day ago||Thanks for the offer! I am||
Thanks for the offer! I am planning on going to as much of the regional as I can, since that's the only softball I'll be around for. I'm so glad we're doing well enough that hosting a regional seems like a pretty sure thing.
And you're absolutely right, we've had just a crazy run of talent representing Michigan in recent years. It's amazing the caliber of young women Hutch brings to Ann Arbor year after year.
|14 weeks 1 day ago||That would be an interesting||
That would be an interesting experiment indeed. The scary thing is that, scientifically, from what I've read a baseball pitch is easier to hit than a softball pitch if you assume equal pitching talent. You have more time to react to a baseball pitch, plus the human eye tracks high-to-low more easily than low-to-high. She wouldn't have the power of some of the big boys, of course, but I bet she could hit for a pretty dang good BA/OBP once she had some time to adjust to the different subtleties.
"Romero seems way too talented for college softball" is a perfect way of putting it. A men's basketball player of equivalent talent would have been a one-and-done, no doubt about it. It's an amazing privilege that we get to watch her for four whole years. I can't wait to get out to a game when I'm back in town and see the phenomenon with my own eyes.
|14 weeks 1 day ago||Great weekend for the ladies||
Great weekend for the ladies in Maize & Blue all around! Now let's hope they can cash in the tournament crown to go with the regular season one - that's always been the bugaboo for some reason. It's amazing what a wealth of great teams we have, and how some of these things just start to feel almost automatic. Always worth taking a moment to appreciate what a wonderful job these teams do of representing our University with excellence and class.
|14 weeks 1 day ago||Great, great game and a huge||
Great, great game and a huge win. Purdue lost to ILL today as well, giving us a three game lead over them in the loss column (although I don't think they're a real threat - they haven't played any good B10 teams yet). A fun stat that came up on the BTN broadcast today: Caitlin Blanchard is 8 for 11 following an intentional walk of Romo, with a whole pile of RBIs. Her value to this team is probably one of the most unsung aspects of our success, as she's not a flashy player at all, but she gets the job done in a huge way. Good to see her get some credit today!
Very encouraging to see us hit Minny hard today as well. They have a fantastic pitching staff (Hutch says one of the best in the nation, and the stats exist to prove that claim), so this is a big positive indicator for our post-season fortunes. This offense may have a slow game or two, but they don't stay down for long. The pitching as well, of course, is excellent - 11 Ks from a true freshman is something else!