Saturday, May 27, 2006

Baseball Hangover Blogging

I'm feeling a bit out of sorts this morning. For the last three days, I've been getting ready to head towards Ann Arbor at this time. This morning, I'm back behind the keyboard as the tournament doesn't resume until 3:30pm this afternoon. What no BP until after lunch? Who's heard of such nonsense? (I can already see where next week's return to work routine is going to be unpleasant.)

In spite of my baseball hangover this AM, I'm going to try and blog along. Let's begin with last night's late tilt between Minnesota and Ohio State. As I reported much earlier this morning (see previous post), the Gophers beat the Bucks, 7-3. For the third straight game, Minnesota got a solid effort out of it's starter.

Friday night's strong start was courtesy of Dustin Brabender, who in 7.1 innings gave up three runs on eight hits and four walks. The Buckeyes were also hurt by three hits, including two doubles, and three RBI from number nine hitter catcher Chris Herbert.

This is why I had "a feeling" about Minnesota. The Gophers are doing exactly what I thought they might--pitch very well and get some timely hitting. Either OSU or Michigan is going to beat Minnesota twice to claim the automatic NCAA Tournament spot. That seems like a large task right about now.

I'm guessing OSU will start Jake Hale. I'm less certain of whom Michigan will send to the mound. If healthy, perhaps, Zach Putnam? A battle of freshman righthanders in an elimination game would be interesting. It's supposed to be warm and sunny, as apparently summer has decided to arrive on Memorial Weekend.

Let me complain some here, too. What would this site be without me whining, anyway? Why on Earth is the Big East Baseball Tournament getting so much love? Seriously, who in the BE is a baseball power? Yes, Notre Dame is good, I'm not here to debate that. However, is the Irish baseball program really significantly better, either now or historically, than the programs at Minnesota, Ohio State or Michigan (who, oh by the way, beat ND)?

I'm not here trying to diminish the Big East. I'm really not. Anyone who visits here even semi-regularly knows I'm always promoting baseball in the snowbelt, not bashing it. (Hey, I might even start covering the BE next season.) I'm just trying to get some perspective on why the BE has got a prime spot on CSTV.com's Championship Central page and the Big Ten gets the usual red headed step child treatment? Live blogging from the Big East site, but not one from the Big Ten? It's makes it look like the Big Ten is far less a baseball power than the Big East, which is simply incorrect.

I know, I know. The Big Ten blows, right? They have a horrible RPI. Well, kids, you are correct. Last I checked, the RPI numbers do favor the Big East over the Big Ten--by one whole stinking spot. The BE is 14th, the Big Ten 15th. Yeah, that's a major difference.

Critics might argue that Notre Dame, Connecticut and St. John's all have better pseudo-RPI numbers than anyone in the Big Ten outside of Michigan and ND is higher than the Wolverines. True, but I'll take Minnesota and Ohio State over UConn and STJ and you can keep your numbers. The difference between the schools is minimal, and theoretic, at best.

In the end, I realize that by giving love to the Big East, CSTV (and everyone else) are pandering to the Boston-New York-Philadelphia mega fanbase. I'm nuts, not stupid. The players and coaches in the Big Ten don't get a fair shake on this one and it's my job to point that out.

I got an email from college baseball blogging buddy, Joanna, about my ranting on umpires. Seems the Big XII folks aren't very impressed with their men in blue, either. Does anyone think the umps in their conference are, generally, doing a good job? What can be done to correct it, if not?

I had best stop here to get some other things done before it is time to pack up for Ann Arbor. Before I go, I have to point out that Big Ten Hardball set a record for hits yesterday and has already surpassed the highest monthly total I've ever had. As always, I thank you for stopping in.