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March 15, 2006 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-03-15

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Wednesday
March 15, 2006
sports.michigandaily. com
sports@michigandaily.com

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9

---- . . . . ... .. .. .. .. . . .... . ..........

Baseball's truest form, worldwide

T he trio of Karl Ravich, Harold Reynolds shouting out after a homerun.
and John Kruk didn't look too comfort- I don't know what it was, but I'm in it for the
able or excited in the press box of Legends long haul now.
Field during the spring training game The World Baseball Classic has
featuring the home New York Yan- brought the feel of October baseball
kees against the St. Louis Cardinals. to March. Instead of sitting in front
All of the elements that make base- of the TV watching guys from Dou-
ball America's pastime were present, ble A try to play with the big boys,
but something was missing. baseball fans get to see their favorit
It wasn't the crack of the bat, the players actually caring about wins
adjustment of the cup, Big League and losses.
Chew or the feel of the raised seams. And what's better than an event th
It was the newcomer to the group: the can push Barry Bonds updates off th
World Baseball Classic. KEVIN front page of ESPN.com?
To be honest, I didn't think that I WRIGHT Even though the true motive behin
would get into the World Baseball the Classic was probably merchan-
Classic when I first saw good 'ol Bud The Sixth Mein dising and marketing to the Latin
Selig plugging it over the winter. America countries, the tournament
After all, the players would still be in spring-training has already had more storylines than the Detroi
shape, the strict pitch counts would limit some of the Tigers generated all of last season.
stars, and, frankly, I didn't want to see Mike Piazza suit- First, there was Chicago White Sox manager
ing up for Italy. Ozzie Guillen calling out Alex Rodriguez for
Looking at the pools, it was quite clear that his choice to play for Team USA instead of the
the teams from the continents named after Dominican Republic (Rodriguez was born in
Amerigo Vespucci and Asia would be the front- New York). Guillen-even threw in a potshot at
runners to take home the title. I mean, South Nomar Garciaparra.
Africa, Australia and Italy have no business Then, there was the debate over whether or n
competing in such a star-studded tournament. to allow Cuba to play in the tournament. No on
But then George Steinbrenner went on the wanted to see Fidel Castro's pride and joy storm
record and said the World Baseball Classic was through pool play and take home the crown.
the worst thing to happen that could happen to Team USA lost to America, Jr. To make mat-
baseball. ters worse for the boys from the statesthe

e
at
e
d
t
lot
le

flip and glance back at the Cuba catcher.
And, just two nights ago at the Cuba Domini-
can Republic game, several fans sported t-shirts
with letters spelling out "abajo Fidel" (down
with Fidel). After a confrontation with security
personnel, they removed the shirts.
These few highlights just go to show how
much the World Baseball Classic means to the
fans of the remaining teams. When the camera
scrolls along the stands for any game in Puerto
Rico, the crowd is going nuts - jumping up and
down, cheering on its team.
Many in the states couldn't care less that
Team USA lost to Canada or may not advance
into the final four, but fans from the other coun-
tries take this seriously.
Every year, we have the balls to say that one
Major League team is the world champion. Now,
we finally have a chance to crown a real world
champion.
Yes, the players suiting up for Team USA take
pride in wearing their country's colors, but some
in the states would rather see the team fail than
succeed.
The World Baseball Classic has allowed base-
ball and its fans to forget about steroids and the
astronomical salaries that Major League play-
ers earn. It's brought out the purity of the game
where the players are playing for more than just
money, numbers or commercials. They're play-
ing for their country.
Even if cheering on your country doesn't
sound appealing, at least you don't have to sit in
a stuffy press box next to John Kruk.
- Kevin Wright can be reached
at kpwr@umich.edu.

MIKE HULSEBUS/Daily
Senior pitcher Jennie Ritter enters tonight's game on a 25-inning shutout streak.
World Series foe
welcomes Blue

And just like that, I was hooked.
Maybe it was because Steinbrenner stands for
everything I hate, maybe it was hearing Rick
Sutcliffe calm my nerves with his dreamy voice,
or maybe it was those guys on ESPN Deportes

I -W .- - - - - -L..- - -
Detroit Tigers' Triple-A closer picked up the
save for the Canucks.
There was David Ortiz's monster shot over the
rightfield fence against Cuba. The most impres-
sive part of the power was Ortiz's emphatic bat

By Amber Colvin
Daily Sports Writer
Tonight's softball game is one that
has probably been circled on many cal-
endars for many months. One team will
be hungry for vindication, and the other
has much to defend.
In a nationally televised game
tonight, No.9 Michigan
will meet No. 4 UCLA
for the first time since
their national champi- T' TON
onship matchup at least ich
year's Women's Col- Time:
lege World Series. This Aston
time, UCLA will have Los Ang
the benefit of playing E
in front of their home
crowd at Easton Sta-
diumv And since the
Wolverines walked away with the tro-
phy, the Bruins most likely have a sour
taste left in their mouths.
"They're a great softball club
that might have a chip on their
shoulder," Michigan coach Carol
Hutchins said. "UCLA doesn't
accept coming in second."
This year, it hasn't been in that posi-
tion too often. The Bruins (25-1) have
enjoyed a hot start, largely thanks to the
strong arm of sophomore pitcher Anjel-
ica Selden. Selden boasts a 0.14 ERA
and has 183 strikeouts.
This week, Michigan has catered its
practices specifically to Selden's pitch-
ing, watching tapes of her from last
year and running drills tailored to her
pitching style.
"I just know when we go up there,
she's the most important thing out
there," senior catcher Becky Marx
said. "We're going out there with her in
mind. We plan to see her, and we plan
to hit her."
Marx homered off selden in last year's
WCWS. The fifth-inning blast spurred a.
come-from-behind victory, staving off
elimination in the pivotal second game
of the championship series. This season,
her offense has been explosive. (.3 83
average, 5 HR, 17 RBI.)
Such consistency is something the
Wolverines (11-5) have yet to find this

I
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9
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year. Two large question marks loom on
Michigan's roster as it searches for its
designated player and second pitcher.
Since the loss of Nicole Motycka,
last year's designated player, no one has
adequately filled that role.
"The team has to figure out who's
going to step up and take the DP posi-
tion," Hutchins said. "It's wide open.
I need somebody to take
advantage of the oppor-
tunities they get at bat
G14T and give me a reason to
t UCLA write them in the line-
P.M. up."
taditn Hutchins has also been
es, Cal. looking to junior Lorilyn
Wilson to play up to her
potential as the team's
second pitcher. Wilson
has gone 3-3 this season
with a 1.15 ERA and 38 strikeouts.
Fortunately for the Wolverines,
starting senior pitcher Jennie Ritter's
play has been solid. Ritter has 25
consecutive strikeouts and counting,
adding to her season total of 88. She
was also named the Big Ten Pitcher of
the Week and the USA Softball 2005
Player of the Year last week.
"Jennie Ritter certainly has come
out and done what she's supposed
to do, which is dominate the other
teams," Hutchins said. "But now
it's time for Lorilyn to establish
herself where she belongs and start
pitching with confidence, pitching
the way she's capable."
As the Wolverines head into tonight's
national championship rematch game,
they will try not to dwell on the past.
"Every year is a separate entity, even
with the same people on (the team),"
Hutchins said. "I think our kids realize
that they play now for 2006."
UCLA's entire starting roster from last
year's runner-up team has returned, and
Michigan features just one new starter,
freshman shortstop Teddi Ewing.
"No team is ever the same," Ritter
said. "In ways, we're better than we were
last year, and in ways, we need to get
better. There's a lot of promise with this
team to get better every game, and that's
probably the most important thing.'

By Dan Feldman
Daily Sports Writer
After its performance during the
South Alabama Spring Classic the
past two days, the Michigan men's
golf team left Mobile, Ala. quickly
to get back to Ann Arbor.
So quickly, in fact, senior Bran-
don Duff didn't know the team's
exact score or standing. But he
didn't need the specific numbers
to realize the tournament was not a
success for the Wolverines.
"We didn't really get anything
going," Duff said. "It's very dis-
appointing. ... We're not on our
'A'-game. We're somewhere in the
C-minus range. ... I don't have an
answer to why we played bad."
Michigan shot a 904, 48 strokes
behind a first-place Mississippi

squad, to finish 11th in the 12-
team tournament. Sophomore Tim
Schaetzel led Michigan with a score
of 224, good enough for a tie for
29th in the individual standings.
Michigan coach Andrew Sapp
expressed displeasure with his
team's inconsistency.
"It was definitely up and down,"
Sapp said. "We had some great single
rounds. No one has been able to put
together a great three rounds. ... It's
one of those things where we're real-
ly looking for some consistency, and
we're not getting it at this time."
Duff's play did not aid Sapp in his
search.
The senior shot a second-round
69, the lowest total for a Wolver-
ine in the tournament, and a third-
round 82, which tied an individual
team-high. Combined with a first

round 76, he shot 227 to finish tied
for 39th.
In the middle of his third-round
Duff had two bogies and a, triple
bogey over a four-hole span. Duff
cited bad luck as an explanation for
the rough stretch. A tee shot that
Duff originally thought was per-
fect took a long bounce off of a cart
path and a gust of wind carried an
approach shot over the green.
"It's just one of those things where
I got a couple of bad breaks early
in the round, and I lost my focus,"
Duff said. "Two to three bad breaks
turned into four or five shots over
par."
But to play inconsistently, good
must come with the bad..
Although Duff's second-round 69
included two eagles, he wasn't pleased.
"It's more exciting to play good

for three rounds than have two good
holes," Duff said.
Because of the cold weather, the
Wolverines have had limited prac-
tice time outdoors - unlike many
of the Southern schools who fin-
ished well in the tournament. But
Sapp said he doesn't want to pin the
finish on the conditions.
"That would be a nice excuse, but
we've played a whole lot of golf this
February and March," Sapp said.
But for Duff,there hasn'tbeen enough
early play to turn things around.
"It's a big, big factor," Duff said.
"It's a big thing every spring. I have yet
to see us do well early in the spring."
Michigan's next chance to post its
first strong showing of the spring
comes this weekend when the Wol-
verines travel to Pinehurst, N.C. for
the Pinehurst Intercollegiate.

0 MEN'S GOLF
Excuses or not, M' struggles in Alabama

STAFF PICKS
NCAA Tournament
Predictions
Atlanta region
Minneapolis region
Oakland region
Washington D.C. region
NCAA Champion
Tournament MVP
Cinderella team
Biggest snub
Most overrated
Best first-round game
Best potential matchup

Scott Bell

Duke
Boston College
Indiana
Connecticut
Duke
J.J. Reddick
lona
Cincinnati
Memphis
N. Iowa vs. Georgetown
Duke vs. Texas

Jack Herman
Duke
Ohio State
M arquette
Connecticut
Duke
Reddick
lona
Missouri State
UCLA
N. Iowa vs. Georgetown
Villanova vs. Ohio State

Matt Singer

Duke
Ohio State
UCLA
Connecticut
Connecticut
Rashad Anderson
Winthrop
Cincinnati

Kevin Wright
Texas
Boston College
Kansas
Connecticut
Connecticut
Rudy Gay
Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Hofstra

Tennessee Tennessee
Geo. Wash. vs. UNC-Wilm. Kentucky vs. UAB
UNC vs, Michigan State UNC vs. MPicign State

U I

The University of Michigan
College of Literature, Science, and the Arts presents
the Inaugural lecture of the Barger Family Professorship
SOCIAL INNOVATORS
AS LEADERS
Richard H. Price
Barger Family Professor of Organizational Studies
Thursday, March 16, 2006, 4:10pm
Founders Room, Alumni Center, 200 Fletcher St.
Reception immediately following

at Dance Gallery Studio, 815 Wildt Street, Ann Arbor, MI
Busch Gardens of Tampa, Florida is now hiring performers of many
talents for a variety of live show productions including an all new
show to open in May of 2006. We are particularly interested in:
comedic actors that can sing and/or sing and dance: Billy Crystal/
Nathan Lane/Martin Short type. We are also seeking: dancers that
can sing and act (comedy), vocalists that can act (comedy) and
dancers with strong jazz technique. We are also seeking kit
drummers and keyboard players. You should have an outgoing
personality, singing ability is a plus. No appointment necessary.
Bring prepared audition and a current non-returnable resume and
headshot. Also seeking technicians and stage managers. Visit our

SA

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