For a quick WTF, here’s a photo of John McGraw with a baby leopard in his arms. Even more amazing, he’s actually smiling.
I collaborated a tiny bit with PitcherHit8th. Yes, they’re a Cardinals blog and podcast but they do a good job over there and it’s worth a plug. If you’re a Redbird fan, check them out.
Interesting bit of digging by Illinois Loyalty. Seems that the firm that was hired by the University of Illinois to consult them on the search for a new Athletic Director (Parker Executive Search) was paid $90-105 grand by University of Tennessee to do the same job. No word on how much the U of I is paying but I bet we’re not getting a discount.
Finally, some are pushing for the Pirates to be the lucky (?) ones to move to the American League. What now, when they are having a winning season? The Pirates haven’t had a winning record this late in the season since 1999.
I did an interview with former Illini shortstop Shawn Roof. I gleaned some questions from some of his Illini fans and ran them by him.
Roof has continued his success since leaving the Illini. This midseason, he advanced to Detroit’s AAA affiliate, the Toledo Mudhens. Once he got there, he caught fire hitting .354 for the rest of the year.
You can read the interview at my Illinois baseball blog, the Illinois Baseball Report.
I sat first row in Game 1 of the World Series today. Ok, maybe it was University of Illinois baseball’s annual “Orange and Blue World Series” but it was still a baseball game. The O&B WS is the Illini’s split squad series they play at this time of year.
I took some photos and did a write-up over at IllinoisBaseballReport.com if you want to see more details.
I went to the Triple-A Indianapolis-Toledo game Friday night. Admittedly, the main reason was to see my friend and former Illini Shawn Roof play. It’s the first time he’s played close to this area so I couldn’t pass up the chance.
But the idea of going to Indianapolis’ Victory Field thrilled me too. It’s been a while. The last time I went the Indians were the Brewers’ farm team. Victory Field is one of nicest Triple-A minor league parks I’ve been to. I’m not the only one to think so… Baseball America named it Best Minor League BallPark in America.
The banners along the runway of former Indian player like you see above (I know a couple readers who might appreciate my choice of Minnie Minoso) were a nice touch and very well designed.
Look out! Indian mascot Rowdie looks angry.
I thought the scoreboard designed like a Facebook page was kinda hokey but I bet it goes over pretty well.
Not a particularly great photo but it does show how many people show up at games. Over 12,000 were at Friday’s event.
No one left after the last out. It was Fireworks night.
The Mud Hens won 8-2. Shawn Roof helped the cause by going 1 for 3, scoring a run.
A week or so ago, I did an interview of Ben Taylor who’s an assistant Sports Information Director at the University of Illinois. He is responsible for coordinating publicity for the U of I baseball team. The resulting article is posted at the Illinois Baseball Report.
I correspond with Ben fairly regularly especially during the college baseball season and we have a pretty good relationship. So I threw him this slightly hard ball question.
IBR: As SID for college athletics, you act as a public relations guy for the team. Is there a fine line between providing as much information as possible about the baseball program to the public yet at the same time keeping the program in a good light? For example, we don’t hear too much about injuries and the like in official press releases. Is that University AD policy?
BT: Yes, there definitely is a fine line. Fans have become much more adept at sniffing out spin in the last decade, so most of them can tell when they aren’t being given the whole story. But as the official spokesperson for the athletic department, our office doesn’t release much in the way of injury updates unless it’s of the season-ending variety. Even then, it’s often up to the head coach because it can be construed as a competitive advantage for opponents. We realize that it is our job to portray the program and the university in the best possible light, so we try to focus on the positive aspects rather than injuries, suspensions, etc., but we also realize that in order to have credibility with our constituents (i.e., fans) we sometimes have to provide the less positive side of things.
All things considered, I like how Ben handled the question. He at least recognized that folks out are becoming more media savvy and recognizing “spin” when they see it.
You can read the whole interview at IBR.
Last Saturday, I had the privilege of meeting former MLB players, Donn Pall (left) and Darrin Fletcher. They’re both University of Illinois alums and they showed up for Alumni Weekend at Illinois Field.
They got a good show. Illinois starter Kevin Johnson shut out Purdue and Illinois won 7-0. See the full report at the Illinois Baseball Report.
Ozzie Smith has nothing on University of Illinois shortstop Josh Parr. Parr exhibits his own pre-game acrobatics last week before the Illini game against Butler by doing a full back flip.
The confidence must have been contagious. Illinois went on to defeat the Butler Bulldogs 19-0 that night.
The University of Illinois baseball team is now in the throes of the Big Ten play and this weekend, they’ll be playing the University of Michigan. Any time Illinois plays Michigan in any sport, it’s a big deal. I can vouch that baseball is certainly no exception.
In anticipation of this weekend’s upcoming series, Michigan sports website, MGoBlog did a Q&A interview of me. I did the same, interviewing their baseball expert and posting the results on Illinois Baseball Report.
Illinois is a quite improved team. After losing six of their first seven games, they have an overall record of 15-13.
Last night I went down to St Louis to see the University of Illinois baseball team play at Busch Stadium. They were playing the University of Missouri Tigers. The game was billed as “The Battle at Busch”.
Despite a quick 4-1 lead after two innings, Illinois ended up losing 7-4. The experience was fun though. And I got to see an excellent example of a delayed double steal by the Illini. Woo!
I posted a quick summary and a few photos at the Illinois Baseball Report.