Sunday, May 27, 2007
Obviously, I never should have left Ann Arbor.
The Wolverines won nearly every game I saw in person. I head home for the summer, and they come out on top of the Big 10, but are knocked out of the Big 10 Tournament in the minimum two games. Too bad. They won it all last year, of course, and it would have been nice to see them do so again, especially with a relatively young team.
If they had won the Big 10 tourney they would have an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament... now we don't know. I think the selection is tomorrow (Monday), so I guess we'll find out then. Michigan was nationally ranked for much of the season so our chances of getting in are still OK, but we suffer the permanent baseball-in-the-midwest bias. It's hard to give an at-large bid to a midwestern school when you have schools in the south who live and die by their baseball teams, but who don't win their conference championships simply because every other school in their conference is the same way.
We definitely still deserve it. Uh, not that I'm inclined to lean one way or the other. But really, we WERE nationally ranked (respectably so! I think we were up to 16th in the nation at one point), which is a BIG HONKIN' DEAL for a Big 10 school known infinitely more for football, basketball (even if our basketball team sucks of late), and hockey.
I don't like the double-elimination format of the Big 10 Tournament. It's just not suited to baseball. It's more a football kind of thing... even the AL/NLDS gives teams 3 games before minimum elimination. Baseball games can be so quirky that you need a lot of them to really get at the true skill of a team; this is why baseball seasons are so long and why so many games are played over the course of that season, especially compared to other major sports. To give a team only two games before they get sent home is cruel and unbaseball-like.
In both games Michigan kept it close. The first loss, to OSU, was only by two runs, and the second loss, to PSU, was only by one, in the 10th inning. It's not like Michigan got blown out by vastly superior teams. I know that this is a good baseball team. If they'd been given more games, it would've been completely unsurprising to see them win it all.
Now, I'm not crazy. I know it WOULD be a huge upset if they did well in the NCAA tournament. But I'd like to see them get a shot at it.
Ah well. We'll find out tomorrow.
Relive happier Wolverine baseball times with some photos!
The home opener, which Michigan won over Oakland University 9-2.
A Michigan/OU doubleheader, both of which Michigan won, 4-1 and 4-3.
A Michigan/OU blowout, 17-0 in Michigan's favor.
A Michigan/Eastern Michigan doubleheader. Michigan lost the first game 10-2, but won the second game 10-7.
A Michigan/Purdue doubleheader. Michigan won both, 6-5 and 7-2.
The last game I went to this season, Michigan/Purdue. Michigan won big, 10-1.
Alright. I'll be at the Sox/Indians game tomorrow, assuming it doesn't get rained out and assuming the ticket thing works out (it's complicated). So that'll be Trotter's return, and should be interesting. Hopefully Michigan will get into the NCAA tourney and I'll be in a good mood heading down to Fenway.
Labels: baseball, Big 10, college baseball, Michigan, NCAA, Wolverines
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Wow. That was something to see.
Now, don't get me wrong, I was prepared for the Matsuzaka Madness. They do have TVs out there in Michigan, after all. And computers. And newspapers. And anyone with access to one or more of these things is probably aware of Matsuzaka Madness to some degree, regardless of where they are.
But I was still, as I made my way into Fenway for my first Sox game of the year, a bit taken aback by the length, breadth, and depth of the insanity. I suppose that's not what's so surprising; it's how something this massive has taken hold in so short a period of time. Dude just got here! Yet there are signs and billboards in Japanese welcoming you to Fenway, the scorecard I bought outside the park came with a "Welcome to Boston Daisuke Matsuzaka-san" headband, there were kids everywhere with "Dice-K" tshirts and people with Dice-K signs and jerseys with Japanese on the back (which is interesting, because I think the Japan League uniforms, for whatever deranged reason, use English). All this for a guy who's barely been in the country two months. We don't mess around with our baseball crazy in Boston.
The one thing I was looking for that I did NOT see was someone with a Matsuzaka Seibu Lions jersey. I did see some guy in an Expos Pedro jersey, which was impressive, but nobody seems to have dipped into the Dice-K past just yet.
Insanity or not, I then got to see the kid pitch.
Early on it looked like the Tigers might have a chance. The swings they were taking weren't bad, and although Nate was struggling to hold onto batters, he seemed to be more or less up to the task. The thing is, while Nate tired and had to be removed in favor of Tim "I just got here I don't even know if I have the right uniform on ahhhh where are my shoes ahhhhhh" Byrdak and Bobby "O" Seay "can you see how bad my pitching is", Matsuzaka actually.... seemed to get.... stronger.
I noticed it in the 6th inning, when the Tigers started taking cuts so hard they were spun around at the plate. Yeah, Sheffield was one of them, and that's how Sheffield swings, but it was happening to other, less jerkasaur-bat Tigers too. I'm talkin' huge swings, the kind of swing a guy takes when he's SO SURE he has a bead on the ball... only they didn't, and the bafflement upon their faces was extreme. It's like he started REALLY moving the ball around later in the game. "Oh hi, yeah, those first 5 innings were just warmups! NOW YOU SUFFER."
Matsuzaka is not a particularly imposing figure out there on the mound. He's not some giant elongated freak like Randy Johnson and he's not some enormous mountain of a man like Roger Clemens or CC Sabathia. He doesn't seem like he's going to leap off the mound and eat your liver at any moment like Carlos Zambrano. He doesn't even have the same feel as a small guy with a huge mound presence, like a Pedro or a Tim Hudson. He reminds me most (in mound presence, not necessarily pitching style) of Johan Santana.
You see him (Santana or Matsuzaka) on the mound and you think, "Huh. Not as big as I expected. Kinda sweet-looking. Kinda quiet-looking." Then they start pitching and you think, "Well, that's not too overpowering. Maybe this won't be so bad." Then they continue pitching and eventually you realize, "Wow, we're getting our kidneys carved right the heck up." It's a little scary and a lot disconcerting.
Anyways. I obviously took a great many more photos than just the one heading up this post, but I'm still processing them. I'll link you when I'm done.
For the Tigers side of my brain and its view on this one, you can check out my Roar of the Tigers post about it.
For the foreign angle, you can see Iain's post about it, since he's in town and is getting to see all these insanely good games. Obviously the Red Sox love him. For MOAR MOAR MOAR, you can see Jere's post, since we ran into him pre-game and he has a photo of us obsessing over Tigers BP in his post (or, OK, in his shot I'm obsessing over the Tigers while Beth and Iain taunt me about Brandon Inge).
Oh, and Ian of Bless You Boys has an "interview" with me up 'cause he likes getting other blogger opinions. I opine about the Red Sox and swear a lot. It's ace.
Labels: Daisuke Matsuzaka, in attendance, Red Sox, Tigers
Friday, May 11, 2007
Originally uploaded by Yankees Man.
This is the scariest damn thing I've ever seen. The dog looks like a person.... in fact he looks more like a person than Jason Giambi does. I am loathe to blog someone else's photo but honestly, I could not resist this one, even if it is wearing a hat of sin.
If I had a dog like this, I would take photos of it in different outfits ALL THE DAMN TIME.
Labels: photoblog, rivalry, Yankees
Sunday, May 06, 2007
It is time.
If you've been following baseball for a while, you know that every year Major League Baseball takes a new set of roster photos during Spring Training. And if you've been reading BCRS for a bit, you know that these roster photos usually come out TERRIBLY, in the grand tradition of driver's license photos and the like, and it is one of the sworn blogging missions of BCRS to expose these terrible photos, ruthlessly making fun of them until such time as MLB should hire a photo day photog who uses proper lighting and manages to avoid making half the players who come through look high (regardless of whether they are or not).
Please bear in mind the usual disclaimer: all these photos are from the official MLB site and are directly linked, so they WILL change year to year and as guys switch teams. The images you see may no longer correspond exactly to the comments if you are viewing this in an archived form. But I am OK with this, because it lends an air of strange surreality to the whole thing, and also reassures you all of the happy laziness of bloggers.
Are you ready? I'm ready. It is time for
Fun with Roster Photos! Boston Red Sox, 2007
We're off to a quality start. Beckett looks unaccountably ruddy (from... THE EVILS OF DRINK?), and the bags under his eyes indicate that he hasn't slept for days. Exactly where we want him to be when he shows up for Spring Training! I assume he's recovered by now.
Block head, 5 o'clock mustache shadow. Hawt.
Oh lord. He seems to have no lower lip, like his teeth end and some sort of epic chin begins. Does it hurt to chew on your own chin? Only Devern Hansack can know.
Nervous smile, one eye open more fully than the other... you can just imagine the photog holding up a puppet to try to get Daisuke to smile for the camera, only the puppet is of a disemboweled spleen and Daisuke is kind of terrified, but trying to smile as directed so he can make a quicker escape.
SCARY PLASTIC PUPPET MAN
First real-life LOL of the exercise for me. Why does he only have hair on one side of his head? Why is his neck so enormous? Why does he look like he started to smirk, but then was startled by an unexpected flash of light?
The clear-eyed toothy grin of someone who gets a real serious kick out of rooting through your garbage cans.
Is it really SO HARD to tell these guys to smile? IS IT, MLB PHOTOGRAPHER? IS IT??
Wow, he looks bedraggled here. I think it's the stubble, and the tired expression. Maybe he can go play the homeless straight man to Joel Pineiro's homeless crazy man.
A tan clown without his clown makeup on. And without eyebrows. I'm not sure whether to blame him, his hair color, his hat, or the photographer for that one. Maybe a little fault for everyone.
Jesus christ. Not the bobble-headed alien of yesteryear, Julian now seems to have an actual neck, which has most certainly been filled with illegal smoke some time right before this photo was taken.
Not too bad, actually, in the grand scheme of things... although Wake does end up looking a bit like an apple-cheeked affable hick here.
A frog-eyed stare directly into your soul. Continuing in the frog theme... no teeth!
Why the turtleneck, 'Tek? 'Cause if you were aiming to make your neck look as huge as your thigh, congratulations, you've found the perfect way to do it.
Wow, he looks like a Ferengi. A really friendly, happy one, but a Ferengi nonetheless. And I wonder about that tiny smudge of facial hair nestled under his lip... does he even know it's there?
What in the hell is an Eric Hinske and what in the hell is it doing on my team? Take it away. It's frightening the children.
Awkward, close-mouthed smile, check. Oddly misshapen-looking goatee, due to aforementioned 'smile', check. Harsh lighting that highlights the bags under his eyes, check. The goatee is also freakishly black, instead of Lowell's usual charming salt-and-pepper look, but I think we have to blame Lowell himself for that. PUT DOWN THE JUST FOR MEN, MIKE LOWELL. YOU'RE MUCH BETTER LOOKING WITHOUT IT.
Infielder, or small rodent? You decide!
Poor Dustin already has a kind of jaw-heavy face. The slightly lowered angle from which this (and all these roster shots) was taken just makes it worse. Buttchin makes an appearance.
I'm sorry, but I can't even look at Youk anymore these days. His goatee looks like something Photoshopped onto his face. It's ridiculous. I literally can't handle it. My mind refuses to believe that it is real.
David Ortiz does not photograph well from head-on, when he's only got half a smile in place, and his eyes seem to be focussing on something a thousand miles into the distance.
Woah... dude... like, woah... I so totally was not expecting you to, like, take a photo and shit... I mean woooaahhh...
If Eric Hinske and JJ Putz made sweet, sweet love and had a biologically improbable baby...
Wily Mo Pena
Ha ha, well, we know that Wily Mo's neck really IS that huge, but the one eyebrow up/one eyebrow down thing is hilarious. Why? Did the photog ask him a really weird question and Wily Mo's all, "Say whaaat?" We may never know.
.... I swear to cats this is Manny's roster photo from last season. Which makes me think he just didn't show up for Photo Day this year which... well, it's very Manny.
Ahhh, it's nice to revisit these. It is good to know that rosters may come and go, management may change, but roster photos are always terrible, year in and year out. It's something we can all count on.
(note: if you're having trouble seeing a lot of the banners and icons and things on this site... well, it looks like the server I have 'em on is having some issues. Hopefully it's temporary. If not, I'll move stuff, but for now I'm waiting for it to resolve)
Labels: fun with roster photos
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Ahhhhh! I'm BACK!
I know, I know, I haven't posted in forever and a half years, but I am now DONE with school for the summer and I am HOME in Massachusetts, where there are CATS and RED SOX and.... MORE CATS. And JONATHAN PAPELBON. And DAISUKE MATSUZAKA. And HIDEKI OKAJIMA (whom I secretly love more than Matsuzaka, mainly because of that "I am willing to be a hero in the dark," quote, which is so Cyrano de Bergerac [if Cyrano was, you know, Japanese] that I can't STAND it).
In fact, here is an example of how good it is to be home.
I am watching the local news right now, and there is a WHOLE SEGMENT where they took a photo of Tom Brady wearing a Yankee hat around to various people around Fenway and filmed their reactions.... which ranged from confusion, to disbelief, to disgust, to horror. This is NEWS. PRIME TIME NIGHTLY NEWS. Massachusetts is completely insane, and I love it.
I must admit that I have been a bit baseball-distracted lately. The new baseball overlord over at MVN likes us to write every day, so I've been posting a lot at Roar of the Tigers. I also went to a bunch of Michigan baseball games, because that's probably the best time it is possible to have.
College baseball games.... ah, you can get so close to the action, get all kinds of fun photos, and when the ballpark is within easy walking distance of your apartment, it's even better. In fact, that was one of the few things that saddened me about leaving Ann Arbor for the summer: missing out on the rest of the Michigan baseball season. (I don't have the same reaction about moving away from Detroit Tigers on TV, because we have a dish at home and were thus "allowed" to purchase the Extra Innings package. So now it's just a matter of flipping back and forth on days when the Tigs and Sox play at the same time. Which I will cheerfully do.)
It was a very baseball-ish year art-wise too. My huge year-long project had to do with baseball, and you'll be hearing more about that near the end of this month. I also did some paintings; that's what the photo heading this post is of. 'Tis Fenway. It's a pretty small painting, only about 5x7", maybe a little larger, and an inch and a half or two inches thick. I just wanted to mess around with rendering a ballpark in black and white like this.
Here's a detail shot.
And here you see the 3D nature of the canvas.
Not the only baseball painting I did this year, but the only one of Fenway, so.
Anyways. Although I probably won't be able to post every day over here (it's more than enough 'work' keeping RotT going on a daily basis), I will be posting much more often. There are things to be said about the Lions' draft, posts to be made about Michigan baseball, and of course the Red Sox. There are roster photos to be made fun of. If anyone is still reading this old thing ('tho I'll be writing even if you aren't, o invisible readers), it's good to be back with you guys.
Labels: art, blognews, Fenway