Pressing the Issue
Shot, at the majors.
only a dream?
SPRING TRAINING, baseball, Florida and optimism are synonymous
words at this time of year.
In Lakeland alone there are five teams working out daily in prepara-
tion for the upconing season.
Professionally, this is tge home of the Detroit Tigers. This year there are
also four college teams, Michigan, Missouri, Iowa St. and Western
Michigan, that make Tiger Town the base of their southern trip operation.
For the most part, it is the Tigers that I am interested in. They hired me
last year for the summer and invited me to work down here during Spring
Training. Although I work for public relations, I was also able to act out a
lifelong fantasy: I got a chance to pitch for a major league team.
Actually, I did nothing more than toss around a few pitches to a non-
roster catcher. Nothing fancy mind you, but it gave me the opportunity to
see if after all these years I had a hidden talent -for keeping the ball low,
moving it around and pulling the string.
Who knows, I might have been another Mark Fidrych.
I felt like another George Plimpton.
Decked out in my white Indiana University track shorts that I got for my
birthday, I walked out onto the mound in the bullpen amid the snickers of
the other players. At least they were laughing at my legs and not my arms
which are really scrawny compared to some of the cannons they have.
My tennis shoes would have made me the envy of any racquet club with
their sparkling white leather and trim blue stripes, but they didn't help me
any on the mound. There were no spikes to grip the soil and, consequently, it
hurt my pitching.
The bullpen is off to the side of the clubhouse. It is simply an area of dirt
with twin pitching rubbers and a matched pair of home plates 60 feet 6 inches
away. Directly behind the plate is a cinderblock wall eight feet high.
I wasglad for one thing, no one saw me pitch. One of the coaches tossed
me a ball and I dropped it. Good start. I don't know what made me so net-
vous, this was only for fun anyway.
Then my catcher came out of the clubhouse. He didn't want to do this,
but he was late for practice and I was the only one available to warm him up.
I took the baseball in my hand and rubbed it up like I have seen the pros
do. countless times. I tugged at my cap, wound up, stretched and flung the
ball as hard as I could.
It traveled three-quarters of the way to home plate, sunk into the ground
and skipped high over the catcher's glove. The ball bounced off the wall and
nearly beaned my batterymate in the back of the head.
Embarrassed, I yelled my apologies and assured him that it was only
temporary jitters. I was ready to try again. My catcher gave me a sign (one
finger) and I tossed a fast ball very high and very wide.
Another sign (two fingers) and I let loose with another fast ball that
nearly hit a groundskeeper at the side of the other plate.
A third time (middle finger) I'd rather forget.
Watch out for the bull
My pitching developed a pattern. I could get the ball over the plate,
but not with any speed. Or I could really gun it-but everyone around me
would have to take cover since I couldn't guarantee where my bomb would
land. My catcher was only interested in loosening up, so taking his advice, I
threw lightly and within reasonablehdistance of the plate.
After a couple more throws, I had settled down and was throwing with
some ease. I was now ready to pitch sidearm.
I should explain that I am left-handed and Ican curve the ball naturally
by throwing from the side. In fact, I prefer to throw that way. So when the
first few balls landed squarely in the catcher's mit, on the inside then the
utside and finally low-just where I said they would, my receiver was quite
irnpressed by the imnprovement
Now I was having fun and I envisioned myself as a starting pitcher in the
majors, winning twenty games and leading my team to the World Series.
And all because I couldn't throw straight.
The pitching coach came over and asked me my name and how long I
could pitch like that. Snyly, 1 told him that I was not interested in playing
baseball, I was only pitching for the fun of it.
He shook his. head and muttered something under his breath and just
A few minutes later, the loudspeaker woke me out of a long sleep. "First
call for breakfast." I looked at my watch and saw that it was 8:00 a.m.
Like I said, optimism abounds in Florida. At least I got to pitch some
Netunen capture two
The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, February 28, 1978-Page 7
BL UE FA TE RIDES WITH N
WCHA playoff picture still fuzzy
BY GARY KICINSKI
If you thought the CRISP maze was
bad, just try figuring out what the
WCHA playoff picturelooks like.
With just one week of games left to be
played, the playoff match-ups, to say
nothing of the playoff teams, are still
up in the air.
MICHIGAN, WHICH lost twice by
one-goal margins to Michigan Tech
over the weekend, has fallen to eighth
place in the standings, a mere two poin-
ts ahead of ninth-place North Dakota.
The Wolverines play a home-and-home
series with the cellar-dwelling
Michigan State Spartans this weekend.
What may determine Michigan's
playoff fate more than anything,
however, is the fact that North Dakota
still has four games left to play, all of
them at home, while Michigan has just
two. The Fighting Sioux played a make-
up game with Notre Dame late last
night, and will host another game
tonight. The series is a make-up of the
games originally scheduled for
January 27-28, when the Irish couldn't
get out of South Bend due to the snow
If the Nodaks can't make up any
ground against Notre Dame, they still
have a shot on the weekend against
Minnesota. If you give the Nodaks four
to six points out of their possible eight,
Michigan's best chance of making the
playoffs would depend on seventh-place
Duluth's performances. If Michigan,
with 22 points, can win one more game
this weekend than Duluth does against
Michigan Tech, the Wolverines would
get a playoff berth.
ADDING TO THE monotony is thei
fact that fifth-place Colorado CollegeI
(who is separated from ninth place by1
just six points) must play a home-and-
home series with first-place Denver.
Thus, just about any of the five teams
between fifth and ninth can wind up in
any order imaginable.
As far as the top four teams are con-
cerned, the following things are cer-
tain: Denver has first place clinched,
and will host the eighth-place team in
the first round of the WCHA playoffs on1
March 10th and 11th. Also, Minnesota]
has wrapped up fourth place and it gets+
the home ice advantage against the fif-
Wisconsin and Tech are battling it out'
for second and third, and in the event
that they remained tied, Wisconsin
would get second by virtue of its giving
up fewer goals in the head-to-head four-
game series with Tech, which the
teams split two games each.
THE FOUR WINNERS of the first
round series (decided on a two-game,
total goal basis) will then square off on
March 14-15, with the teams that at-
tained the highest point total during the
season gaining the home ice advantage.
Two teams will emerge victorious
from the second round, but instead of
pitting the two to determine a WCHA
champion, the second round winner
with the highest point total will auto-
matically go to the NCAA tournament,
and the other winner will play the
CCHA winner in a single playoff game
to determine which of those teams will
also go to the NCAA's.
BUT JUST LIKE the "i before e'
rule, the'playoff system has an excep-
tion to confuse the hockey wizards even
more. Denver is ineligible to par-
ticipate in the NCAA's since it is on
probation, but it can partake in the
WCHA playoffs. Should the Pioneers
win both the first and second rounds,
the other second round victor would go
to the nationals directly and the team
finishing highest in the standings after
that would play the CCHA victor.
Thus a situation could arise in the
second round of the playoffs where
Wisconsin and Michigan Tech could end
up playing each other, and both of them
could still end up at Providence for the
And if you're not confused by all that,
then just wait 'til I start explaining how
the consolation rounds work..
GEAR FOR UPCOMING BIG TENS:
Gophers gobble tumblers
Denver ........................... 25 5
W isconsin ........................ 19 9
Michigan Tech...............'.20 1o
Minnesota ..................... 17 12
Colorado College................13 17
Notre Dame ...................... 12 15
Minn-Duluth-.................. 11 18
MICHIGAN ...................... 11 19
North Dakota..................10 18
Michigan State.................... 22
Games to play
Notre Dame at North Dakota
CC-Denver (h&h) Tech at Duluth
Mich.-MSU (h&h) Minn at N. Dakota
Notre Dame at Wisconsin
By JEFF BLAKE
At the gymnastics meet between the
University of Minnesota and Michigan
this weekend in Crisler Arena, won by
the Gophers in the gymnasts last home
meet of the year, there was a little
something for everybody.
The fans, at least the few who
showed, saw some stellar performan-
ces and got their money's worth. Paral-
lel-bar specialist John Corritore was
excellent in scoring a 9.7. The judges,
who twice had to confer after giving
wide-ranging scores, got confused.
Perhaps the biggest prize awarded
was the plaque given gymnast Paul
McBride in honor of his four years of
work for the Michigan squad. And all he
did on Sunday was to sit on the bench
For McBride, that ' position is
familiar. He has worked hard in prac-
tice for years, and has competed in an
occasional invitational meet, but has
never been able to crack the starting
line-up which competes in the regular
"It's nice to have something to show
for the efforts," McBride said of the
plaque delivered along with a short
speech by Coach Newt Loken at the
start of Sunday's optionals. And though
the side-horse specialist admits that at
times things got pretty frustrating, his
time has still, he says, been well spent.
"I got to work out with a lot of talented
guys, and besides, I wouldn't want to
compete if I didn't deserve to."
Another graduating senior honored
on Sunday was side-horse man Carl
Badger, and though Badger still has a
year of eligibility left, he intends to pass
it up in favor of another endeavor -
graduate school in neuro-anatomy. "I'll
miss it," says Badger of his two years
on the team. "I'll keep working out
casually, but it's not the same as being
In case you've forgotten, the Min-
nesota team which easily defeated
Michigan by the score of 424.8-398.6, is
the same bunch which took last year's
Big Ten title. For Coach Loken, though,
whose only objective was to "stay in the
PROGRAM TO BE CHOPIPED?
ballgame," the narrow margin of
defeat in the optionals (four points) was
enough to cheer about. For the fans;
there was much more.
John Corritore, who practically takes
an entire crew with him to help
straighten out the mats and the height
of the p-bars before he begins his
routine, said on Saturday night before
the compulsories that, "I feel really
good tonight," and he looked even bet-
ter. He dismounted and gave the judges
a look which said, "Now that was extra-
ordinary," and they agreed. The 97
given was his highest ever received,
and together with his nearly super-
fluous 9.45 on Sunday, it gave him an
easy win and his highest total ever.
Specialist Brian Carey also perfor-
med steadily, tying for first on the side-
horse, and put himself in good standing
going into the Big Tens in two weeks.
"Their guys were a little more stylish,
but I was glad to give a good solid
routine. I was a little spooked after
missing my compulsory routine last
week, so a couple good ones definitely
helps toward the end."
Other strong performances were
given by Bob Creek, who turned in a
9.25 on the high-bar after a poor com-
pulsory routine, by Gordon Higman on
both the rings and the parallel bars, and
by Jim Varilek, who took a first in the
vaulting competition. -
Varilek's win came at the expense of
Badger, who led after Saturday night.
But the honoree could manage only a
9.05 in the optionals, which could have
been higher considering his hand-
spring front which drew plenty of
gasps. On the other hand, a 9.05 isn't too
shabby - especially for Badger's
In the all-around, Nigel Rothwell tur-
ned in his strongest performance of the
year, a 103.2, but still wound up second
to Minnesota's strongest, Jay Lowin-
For the Wolverines, as well as for the
rest of the Big Ten, it's back to the
drawing board. Or back to the chalk
anyway, and plenty of it in preparation
for the Big Tens to be held in Cham-
pagne, Illinois on March 10-11.
By BRIAN MARTIN
Their season began with a 100-point
outing against a much taller Owens
Tech, and ended with a 98-point per-
formance against a more talented Mott
Community College, with both games
showing Michigan wins, In between,
four wins among three losses were
posted to accumulate a 6-3 season
A record that may-be the last posted
by a Michigan varsity reserve basket-
AT ONE TIME, the JV squad was a
very useful tool to the varsity program,
enabling freshmen recruits to gain
finish strong season
valuable playing experience until they
became eligible for varsity action as
sophomores. But before the start of the
1973-74 season, freshmen were declared
eligible to play with the big boys and it
was only a matter of time until the um-
bilical cord would be cut from the JV
Many reasons have been offered for
the inevitable surgery, but not all con-
cern themselves with the economics in-
volved in the program.
"The team just hasn't proved to be a
training ground (that it was designed to
be)," explained assistant Sports Infor-
mation Director Jim Vruggink. "All
By PETE LEININGER
The Michigan men's tennis team,
having won the Big Ten the past ten
seasons, opened the season with a pair
of one-sided 8-1 victories over Miami
(Ohio) and Notre Dame.
This past weekend the Blue squad
downed the Irish, winning all the
singles matches, with only one match
going to three sets.
JEFF ETTERBEEK got things-star-
ted off with a convincing 6-1, 6-1 first
singles victory over Carlton Harris. In
second singles play, Michigan's Brad
Holland downed the Irish's Herb Hop-
wood, with scores of 6-2, 6-2.
"Overall, I was very pleased (with
the performance'of the team) because
we just came back from -Northwestern
the night before," said Michigan coach
Brian Eisner. The Michigan men's and
women's teams, playing on a team
basis, defeated the Northwestern squad
The Northwestern meet was a first in
the Big Ten. Five matches of singles
and doubles were played by the men
and women with a mixed doubles mat-
ch at the end of the evening.
In the third singles play, Jud
Schaufler defeated Tom Westphal 6-1,
6-4. Ihor Debryn slipped by Brian
Hailine 7-6, 3-6, 7-5. "Hailine probably
played better than any other Notre
Dame player," commented Eisner.
JACK NEINKEN, playing fifth
singles, breezed past Mark Hoger 6-0, 6-
2. In sixth singles, Pete Olsen brushed
off Kevin Gandhi 6-1, 6-1.
"I was especially pleased with the
play of Neinken and Olsen in fifth and
sixth singles." 'sazid Eisner. "We n
without Matt Horwitch, our second
In doubles play., Schaufler and
Neinken ousted Harris and Hopwood, 6-
2, 6-2. Second doubles action saw
Debryn and Ollie Owens defeat Hoger
and Gandhi 2-6, 6-4, 6-0.
The only win for the Irish came with
their third doubles victory. In the mat-
ch, Westphal and Koval defeated Gar-
cia and Solys 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.
Michigan, now 2-0 in dual-meet com-
petition, will have its next two home
meets against powerful Southern
Illigois and a tough University of Ken-
AP Top Twenty
During spring break the Central Campus Recreational Wilding and the
North Campus Recreational Building will remain open and the Sports
Coliseum and Intramural Building will be closed. Hours during the break
are as follows:
March 4,6-11-9:00 am.-7:00 p.m. for the CCRB and NCRB.
March, 5, 12-12:00 p.m.-7-00 p.m. for the CCRB.
March 5, 12-2:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. for the NCRB.
Building hours will be back to regular schedule March 13.
five freshmen are on the var-
sity . . . It's just not a big priority."
A SMALL PRIORITY, maybe, but
not in the eyes of the 11 men listed on
the JV roster. The squad jelled over
their abbreviated season, transforming
from a collection of five players on the
floor at a time to an unselfish team.
Many times throughout the season,
multi-talented guard Ray Owens chose
to dish off an assist rather than put up a
more difficult jumper, and this became
characteristic of Dan Fife's team.
The Wolverines played their best
game of the season last Saturday, but
unfortunately, it was also the last game
of the season. The cagers emanated an
air of triumph in the locker room after-
wards, and even Johnny Orr
congratulated their efforts before he
followed his team out on the floor for
"I JUST WISH we had some more,"
junior Chris Fielder said. Indeed,
everyone wished some more games
loomed on the schedule, for the taste of
victory is sweet and lingers in the
It's a taste the JV's may never be,
able to sample again.
furnished e iciencles
1 and 2 bedroom apartments
available for Fall 1978 occupancy
Located at corner of
William and Thompson
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Keep you eyes open for publicity regarding the second annual;
ALL-NIGHTER, Saturday, March 18, from 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.
CCRB. Movies, tournaments, games and recreation galore will
hand to give everyone a high on good, clean fun.
1. Kentucky (39)...................... 22-2
2. UCLA (13) ......................... 22-2
3. Marquette (1)... ............... 22-3
4. Arkansas. ....................27-2
5. Kansas .........................23-3
6. DePaul (2)......................23-2
7. Notre Dame ........................ 19-5
8. New Mexico ...................... 22-3
9. Michigan State ....... ...........21-4
10. North Carolina.................23-6
11. Florida Statef..................... 21-4
12. Texas .............................. 22-4
13. Illinois State ....................... 23-2
15. Duke ...........................20-6
16. Detroit ............................. 23-2
17. Georgetown, .................... 21-5
18. Providence ......................... 22-6
19. Utah .........................21-5
20. Louisville....................... 18-6
1 and 2 bedroom apartments
includes security lock system, drapes,
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Buses to and from campus daily
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