Friday, September 28, 2007

Northwestern's 2008 Schedule

Northwestern University became the fourth team in the Big Ten to release their 2008 baseball schedule. The Wildcats, whose announcement follows those of Iowa, Indiana and Purdue, will open next year's slate with a three game series at Cal State Northridge, February 22-24.

From California, NU will travel to Florida to play three games against South Florida (February 29-March 2). After three with the Bulls, comes a trip north to play College World Series participant Louisville. The 'Cats and Cards will begin a three game set on March 7.

Then, unless my eyes deceive me, NU will head back to Chicago to play Illinois-Chicago. Three games in Chicago beginning March 13? That's brave. Or optimistic. Or crazy. I'll let you decide. Let's just hope they get them in.

Upon concluding the trio of mid-March contests in the Windy City, NU will venture back to the warm Florida for what seems like their annual Bradenton trip. While the opposition remains TBA, the games will begin on March 21 and conclude on March 26. The Wildcats will play everyday.

The final weekend in March will mark the opening of Big Ten play for NU. The 'Cats will travel to take on Purdue from March 28-30. The home opener in Evanston is the following weekend when Michigan State pays a visit.

Minnesota, Ohio State and Indiana round out the home portion of the conference schedule. The remaining road series, after visiting West Lafayette, include Iowa, Illinois and the season finale at Michigan.

Their are a few non-conference midweek affairs I'm overlooking, but you more than get the idea.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


The folks at Ping! have come out with Pingipedia! Just as you might guess, the Ping! staff has used the same software as the gang at Wikipedia to develop a college baseball only database. I have to admit I'm not much of a Wikipedia user, but I can see where this concept would help spread the word about college baseball. For that reason alone, I'm sold.

So, BTH readers, go ahead. Write about your school. Add an entry for your student/athlete. Players, you may as get a jump on everyone else and give yourself some love now.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Globe Feature On Roblin

Former University of Michigan player Brad Roblin was featured in an online story in The Boston Globe. Roblin spent his summer playing for Traverse City (MI) in the Frontier League. I'll let you read the rest.

Hat tip to Brian Foley of the College Baseball Blog for sending along this link.

Illini To Share Field With Pro Team

The University of Illinois announced a partnership with the Frontier League, National Sports Services and team ownership to bring a professional independent league franchise to Champaign-Urbana.

The guess here is that UI is looking for additional revenue streams to keep Illinois Field on par with all the other programs in the conference. If, in fact, this is an attempt to generate some funds to put back into the ballpark, UI would become the eighth team in the Big Ten to make some kind of renewed commitment to facilities.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fisher Stadium Renovation Photos

Both before and afternoon the awards presentation, I passed by Ray Fisher Stadium. Here are some of the renovation photos I took. (Remember, I am not a photographer.) The top picture is the primary entrance. It's the area right behind homeplate. (It's the shot you get when you visit the live webcam of the construction.) Photo #2 is the thirdbase line. The offices, batting cages and other buildings are taking shape. Photo #3 is the exterior of that side.

Photo #4 is the pressbox and primary seating area. It's the inside view of the first picture. For those unfamiliar with the setting, that's Yost Ice Arena in the background. The last photo is of one of the walkways alongside the primary entrance. (This portion of the park reminds me of, cover your eyes OSU and Michigan fans, the Buckeyes yard.)

I was told today that the planned "Green Monster" like wall scheduled to be built in rightfield will be changed to leftfield. In addition to having a higher wall in left (or right, again, if they change their minds), the wall will be brought in. I'm not sure I'm crazy about this idea, but I'm willing to give it a chance.

Michigan Award Ceremony Pictures

It's a bit like Christmas. Here are all the championship rings still unwrapped. One Michigan player was kind enough to let me take some photos of his ring, but, alas, they didn't turn out very well. Apparently, a setting needs to be adjusted for taking that kind of photo. Who knew? I'm a blogger not a photographer. My apologies to all. (Trust me, the rings are nice.)

Michigan Award Ceremony Pictures

The 2007 Big Ten Championship Trophy and, I believe, the Coach of the Year Award won by Coach Maloney.

Michigan Award Ceremony Pictures

The University of Michigan's awards for Player of the Year (foreground) and Pitcher of the Year (background). Both honors were given to All-American Zach Putnam.

Michigan Award Ceremony Pictures

The 2007 Big Ten and NCAA Regional Champions.

Wolverines Award Ceremony

In my previous post, I mentioned that I received quite a bit of email this week. One of the things that arrived in my inbox was a notice about the University of Michigan's baseball award ceremony scheduled for today.

Presented with spending a Saturday afternoon either doing those mundane, but necessary household tasks -- painting, replacing washers in a faucet, yardwork -- or fighting the 100,000 plus Michigan football fans invading Ann Arbor at the same time I needed to be there, I opted for the logistics nightmare that included college baseball over the boring work around the house. Proving, once and for all, that my priorities are completely out of whack.

I know, I know. Stop whining and get to the baseball stuff. Coach Rich Maloney addressed the gathering and spoke about last year's team and about the expectations for the 2008 squad. Not surprisingly, the expectations for the new year are high. Real high. Rosenblatt high.

Coach Maloney also mentioned that the university was going to market the team more this coming season and that a season ticket package is going to be available -- both interesting concepts. We will see if either has an effect on attendance. Of course, winning frequently tends to create interest and Michigan should be in a position to do that in '08.

The schedule was still not available, and no one in an official capacity spoke about it, but it's rumored that the season will begin in Florida, once again. Some of the teams that I heard might comprise the non-conference schedule include Villanova, Coastal Carolina and East Carolina. Yes, the Arizona State field trip is on the docket, too. Oakland University (yes, "my" Golden Grizzlies) will open the Wolverines home slate at renovated Ray Fisher Stadium.

Somewhere between Coach Maloney's opening comments and the post-event chatter was the purpose of the gathering -- to distribute the 2007 awards. Individual awards were presented and each member of last year's team got their Big Ten Championship rings.

I had a very pleasant afternoon and have even have some pictures to share. I'll get to those in a moment. First, I have to thank some people. I'll start with the Michigan baseball community for their kindness. Like so many around the conference and really throughout college baseball, the Wolverine baseball family has been very good to me. I sincerely appreciate their support of this endeavor.

And since I'm talking about support, I have to thank Mrs. BTH. She drove your blogger into Ann Arbor, headed off to meet some friends in a neighboring community, and returned to pick me up. I appreciate that as well.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Inbox Filled With Gophers News

My email inbox yielded some unexpected news about baseball at the University of Minnesota. First, a BTH reader sent along the link to a column by Sid Hartman in today's Star Tribune. Amongst the things Mr. Hartman shares is news that The U has announced plans for a new 3,000 seat Siebert Field. The long-awaited and much needed facility will be on the same site as the current ballpark.

Most regulars here realize that I have been subtly (and not so subtly) pushing for this. At a time when seemingly everyone else in the Big Ten was making a commitment to upgrade their baseball facilities, it was ridiculous for one of the conference's best programs not to keep pace. Minnesota has now made that first step.

We are still quite a long way from completion, as 85% of the money needs to be raised before building will begin, but it's a start. A long overdue start, but a start nonetheless. Thanks to the BTH reader for the tip.

My next email came from old friend Brian Foley of the College Baseball Blog. Brian shared an email from Patrick Ebert (Perfect Game USA, PG Crosschecker and who sent along the 2008 schedule for TCU. Now, why is this news for the Gophers? Well, the Horned Frogs' schedule reveals that they are playing in the 2008 Dairy Queen Classic, which is hosted by Minnesota.

In addition to TCU, next year's field includes Tulane and Pepperdine. I'm not going to pretend to know where these three schools will be ranked in the pre-season polls, but I think it's safe to say there is a strong field for the '08 DQ Classic. The annual tournament will be held from February 29 - March 2 in the Metrodome.

Thanks to both Brian and Patrick for passing along this information.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Putting In A Transfer

Baseball America has provided a list of players that have transferred. It appears the Big Ten has lost two players. Pitcher Billy Kitchen has left Indiana for Wright State. Joe Mercurio, catcher, has departed Illinois for Maine. I hate to see kids leave the conference, but I wish both of them success at their new schools.

On the other side of the coin, three players have transferred into Big Ten universities. Penn State -- which did a great job with transfers a year ago (think Drew O'Neil) -- has added two players. Wes Borden, a middle infielder formerly of (cover your eyes Michigan fans) Appalachian State, and Jack Greenberg, a corner infield who played at Rhode Island last year, are now Nittany Lions.

IU also added infielder Michael Earley. Earley transferred to Bloomington from Cincinnati.

Still No Badgers

On the heels of Oregon's return to the college diamond, CSTV's Doug Kroll wonders about the remaining BCS programs not fielding a baseball team. His column includes a few comments from Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez. Suffice to say, the return of Badgers baseball isn't on the horizon.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Indiana's 2008 Schedule

The University of Indiana has released their 2008 baseball schedule. The Hoosiers open up the new season in Baton Rouge against Louisiana State. The three game set versus LSU is followed by a trip to Clarksville, Tennessee for a tournament hosted by Austin Peay. A single game with Indiana State is followed by a protracted stay in Fresno, California.

Coach Smith's side will play FSU twice before participating in a tournament hosted by the Bulldogs. Opposition in that field consists of Gonzaga, New Mexico State, Utah, Portland, the hosts, Fresno State and one TBA. A single game at Evansville will be the last game on the road. Back-to-back affairs with IPFW and one contest against Xavier will mark the first games in Bloomington.

Conference action starts with a trip to Minnesota. The remaining Big Ten road series include: Penn State, Northwestern and Michigan State. The home portion of the conference slate features Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Purdue. Midweek non-conference games are highlighted by home and road dates with College World Series participant Louisville.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

ABCA Hall Selects Gophers' Anderson

University of Minnesota head coach John Anderson has been selected to the American Baseball Coaches Association's Hall of Fame. Anderson, who is entering his twenty-seventh year at the helm of the Gophers baseball program, will be inducted in a ceremony on January 8, 2008.

Congratulations to Coach Anderson on a well deserved award.