Category Archives: Starting Lineups

Battling Apathy at an Apathetic School

ryan field

I was asked by my friends Fish and Woldy to help them with the sports section of a new Northwestern publication, NUIntel. I will be writing a weekly column in an attempt to battle apathy at Northwestern in regards to the school’s athletics. The first installment wasn’t posted on the website because it is not up and running yet, so I decided to post it here:

I get it, because I go to school here, too.

I know you have class at 9:30 every morning, and Saturday is your one chance to sleep until 2 in the afternoon.

I know you had a rough Friday night that involved heavy drinking, dry heaving and hours of chasing after that one girl who kept giving you flirty looks at the bar but who has to go to the bathroom every time you try to talk to her.

I hear you. I’ve got 200 pages of reading to do for Monday, too. I’m sure you have a million other things to do on Saturday morning as well. But guess what: I don’t care.

If you’re a freshman, you haven’t had time to come up with these excuses. If you’re an upperclassman, let’s stop with the whining, starting…now. It’s football season at Northwestern, and starting Saturday, the student section at Ryan Field needs to be packed with students clad in purple.

My plan for this column is to judge school spirit at Northwestern (or lack thereof) every week. I’ve developed a scale, from 1 to 10, with 1 representing a campus-wide coma preventing any student from going to a home game, and 10 representing a campus-wide frenzy ready to dye Lake Michigan purple.

Saturday is the first home game when students are back on campus. For 2,000+ freshmen, it will be their first experience at Ryan Field. It also happens to be the first game of the Big Ten season for the ‘Cats. So one would expect students to be excited for the 11 a.m. kickoff.

And, for the most part, students seem to actually be eagerly anticipating the game. I am fully expecting off-campus tailgates to be bumping with kegs, beer pong and chants of “Go U,” followed by a packed student section at gametime.

But unless Northwestern wins, this will probably be the last game at which this is the case, with the exception of the Halloween game against Penn State (which probably has more to do with dressing up in costume than watching football). But if Northwestern wins, and builds some momentum in the coming weeks (maybe even getting ranked in the top 25), students will keep coming back.

So for week one, I’ll be generous with my apathy rating. I’d like to give the freshmen class the benefit of the doubt, and hope that upperclassmen remember the Alamo Bowl and last year’s magical season.

Apathy Rating for the week of the Minnesota Game: 6- genuine student excitement for a home football game.

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Are the Mets like the Orioles of the late ’90s?

empty citi field

My buddy Whitehead pointed out a very interesting column written by Joel Sherman of the NY Post comparing the current state of the New York Mets to the collapse of the Orioles in the late ’90s.

You can read Sherman’s column here.

While I don’t think the situation of the two teams is completely analogous, there is probably more in common between the two than not. What should bother Met fans the most is the terrible shape of the farm system and the seemingly troubled financial state of ownership.

If the Mets can no longer buy themselves into contention, and don’t have the depth to bring prospects up that can fill holes, they have nowhere left to go but down. I spent the summer watching a lot of Mets baseball, so I can state firsthand that many of these prospects the Mets have brought up are more than a year away from being Major-League ready, or are complete junk.

I do feel for Met fans. I wouldn’t wish the Orioles’ last decade on any franchise (although if it happened to the Yankees or Red Sox, I wouldn’t be all that upset [would rather it happen to the Sox first, and then the Yankees]). Having an ownership group that gets way too involved in personnel moves is one of the most frustrating things with which a sports fan has to deal. Without any accountability, owners can freely run their organizations into the ground without repercussion.

Met fans should hope that Bud Selig gets involved, like Sherman mentions in his column. It doesn’t seem like the Wilpon family is going to make the changes on their own.

I don’t think Mets fans will wait a decade for the team to be competitive again. They might burn Citi Field to the ground long before then.

Additional Link of the Day: Joe Posnanski’s column on Northwestern grad and Kansas City Royal relief pitcher Chris “Disco” Hayes.

Stadium Seating: Links and Video, 7/15/09

robot

On a lazy Wednesday, here are some links and videos for your Internet pleasure:

1. I know this article says there are potential good causes to come out of this research, but it really actually just freaks me out.

2. One of my favorite videos of all-time. Sophomore year, I probably watched this video a couple hundred times. It has a little more meaning to me after interning at a local news station for 11 weeks:

3.Found this site via Freakonomics. Not sure how viable of a business plan it is, but in the cell phone age, I think we could all probably use it.

4. I recently have gotten into Radiohead after years of denying that I would like them. Stupid stubbornness. Here is an incredible version of the early favorite for best Radiohead song, in my opinion:

5. NBC’s new show The Wanted raises some ethical journalistic questions. They are discussed here. Personally, I am in the camp of thinking it’s cheap entertainment that diminishes the work of the troops fighting day in and day out. But I’ll make a more concrete judgment after I see the show.

Stadium Seating: Links and Video, 7/8/09

The day after the circus-like Michael Jackson memorial service, there won’t be any moonwalking in this post. Just links and videos for your viewing pleasure.

costanza

1. Maybe George Costanza was on to something. Apparently, being self-loathing can be a good thing.

2. Here’s a video I can’t get enough of, particularly because of my intense dislike for the work Jim Rome does. So it’s nice to see that at one point, an athlete stood up to him:

3. Dave Kaplan, the man when it comes to Chicago sports, proposes the following question to Cubs fans on his blog: Would you change the name of Wrigley if it meant a World Series for the Cubs?

4. There are many days that I wake up and say a quick “thank you” that I was born a male. As an aspiring journalist, here’s one of the reasons why.

5. From the land of crazy and over-the-top press conferences, here’s the Michigan women’s basketball head coach after a loss last year. I’ve seen this guy in action before. He’s definitely crazy.

Stadium Seating: Links and Video, 7/3/09

First, a happy birthday shout out to my man, Fus.

Now, on to the links and video:

1. If you’re a man in Peru, do you walk around perpetually ashamed? Or are you just happy that you won’t have to enact any sort of Title IX legislation anytime soon?

2. Maybe one day, this will be an exciting site to me. For now, there’s one video, and it features the Illinois football team. Actually, this is an Illinois football team that got pounded by Northwestern. Maybe I’ll just put that episode on repeat.

Or, we could all just watch this video again. Gave me goosebumps at the time, and then watching it again. The fact that it came against Illinois is icing on the cake:

3. Here’s one thing I won’t be doing when I get back to Chicago this fall. I’m uneasy just looking at the pictures.

4. This video of Michael Jackson and Sir Paul McCartney has gotten a lot of attention lately. But I’m a bigger fan of this dynamic duo:

5. I’m willing to bet there are some people who would rather win this lottery than this one.

Stadium Seating: Links and Video, 7/1/09

Happy July, everyone. Here’s some links and videos worth checking out today:

1. Passed along to me by my boy Fus, the “Moneyball” movie project reminds me of an episode of Entourage. It’s a shame, too, because there could be an awesome movie that could come out of that.

2. Saw this site linked on the Freakonomics blog, and thought it was incredible. Sometimes, words just don’t do a good statistic justice. Really like the map outlining all of the flying a major league team does.

3. This isn’t a new video, but it’s one of my all-time favorites. And in light of me spending the summer in NY, listening to NY sports talk radio, I must pass this along to those who have not seen it:

4. Another link passed along yesterday by Gundo. Can TMZ find a way to record more of these conversations to be published?

5. Taking painkillers is a normal part of many people’s lives. Headaches, toothaches, body aches, hangovers, etc. are all remedied by Tylenol or some other drug, normally containing acetaminophen. Apparently, though, that stuff isn’t very good for you, and if you take the recommended maximum dosage you are apparently risking your life. So the FDA is stepping in to try to limit the dosage. Good move or is the government overstepping its bounds? I tend to think it makes sense, because people will believe anything on the bottle, even if it leads them to their death.

Stadium Seating- Links and Video, 6/30/09

Here are the links and videos I think are worth checking out today:

1. Saw this video on Awful Announcing. Anything with Erin Andrew pique’s my attention, but Erin Andrews in a video game is a must see:

2.I plan on graduating from The Medill School of Journalism next year. Here’s what I have to look forward to.

3. Remember that election back in November? Well, Minnesota may FINALLY have chosen a Senator.

4. From the land of stupid human tricks comes this:

5. Just one more example of the nice guy finishing last, while the arrogant mean guys makes all the money. Now you see why the world’s priorities are all backwards.