Friday, March 21, 2008

The Opener: Michigan, Oakland And The New Fish

Yesterday, I took in my first game of the year. Michigan opened the renovated Ray Fisher Stadium at the Wilpon Baseball Complex. (Yeah, it's a mouthful.) It was a pleasant enough afternoon for Ann Arbor in March -- mostly sunny, breezy with temperatures in the 40's. Of course, when the clouds covered the sun, the temperature dropped dramatically. The opposition was Oakland University. Yes, "my" Golden Grizzlies.

As for the game itself, the final was 7-4, Michigan. Nate Recknagel hit a homer to what is now the deepest part of the ballpark -- left-center field. It was the seventh time Recknagel has gone yard this season. It's time to start considering Recknagel for All-America status. (Hello, national media. I'm talking to you.)

Travis Smith, Michigan's freshman starter, improved to 2-0. Smith struck out six over five innings of work. He looks like UM's Sunday starter to me, but we will know for sure in a week when Iowa comes calling.

Mike Dufek and Adam Abraham each had two hits for Michigan. Dan Ryan had a pair of hits for OU. D.J. Jarrad had two RBI for the Grizzlies.

While Michigan managed to prevail, Oakland did have opportunities to win. OU outhit the Wolverines, 7-6. The Grizzlies were hurt, in large part, by five errors. Yep, five E's. In spite of the miscues, the Grizzlies plated three runs in the eighth to make it a bit more interesting for the home side.

Friend of BTH, Sam, was also in attendance and managed to snap a few pictures while keeping score and talking to me. I encourage all Wolverine and Grizzly fans to check out her Flickr site. Michigan fans will find plenty to like as Sam has Maize and Blue photos aplenty. However, the Black and Gold supporters will also find photos from some of OU's previous encounters with Rich Maloney's side.

The question you may still be asking is "What about the new ballpark, Brian?". Well, it's open, but it's not quite finished yet. There is still work being done all around the yard. The guys with safety helmets on were a clue. As such, it's somewhat difficult to offer up a critique. However, like any new facility, it appears to have things I like, things I don't like and a few things I'm not sure about.

I'm going to hold off a complete review until I get at least one more look at the place. Hopefully, that will come next week when the Hawkeyes begin the Big Ten season in Ann Arbor.