Saturday, May 21, 2005

It was supposed to be a thing of beauty

Well I admit it. This blog has goten out of hand. I'll try to steer it back to some direction of normalcy. Despite his comment that I am "flawless," Mike Laskasky is not on a road trip and thus not on the blog. We won't be seeing any posts from him in the near future. Similarly, since only administrators can invite members to join the blog I've got to point my figure at Greg Bobak. He has now lost his admin privileges. I run a tight ship here at the WNUR Sports blog. Tough, but fair has always been my motto. Or in this case, just tough.

Hey Dad? Wanna catch?

Well, as I sit and watch SNL here in our South Bend hotel and am thinking back to my day at Ivy Field. Ray really covered everything pretty well, but there was one fun experience that he left out. Before Northwestern took the field to take on Louisville, The Cardinals were in a tight one (Bobak, don't say a word) with Albany. Somehow, our fellow student media members Paul Tenorio of the daily and Andrew Linnehan managed to get a hold of two gloves from the NU softball team. I belive the lefty mit belonged to Jamie Dotson and the righty mit belonged to Kristen Salamon. Andrew and Paul were playing some catch on the big grass patch behind the left field bleechers and Ray went over to join them. Eventually, Paul went to watch the rest of the game, while Howard and I (who were going to be on the call of NU vs. the eventual winner) continued to play catch with Ray and Linnehan. Eventually what this broke down to was a mix between catch and football. Linnehan would run patterns (football style) and we would try to hit him in stride. It was actually kind of interesting and I feel we amused to the Wildcats who were just chilling out waiting for the Louisville-Albany game to end. Before we went over to watch the end of the game, I dawned Jamie's mit and Howard took the other glove and we just played a standard game of catch. I have to say, being in college, getting a chance to just throw the ball around never gets old. We wondered over to the right field bleechers just in time to watch Louisville hit a game tying 2-run blast, followed by a walk off solo bomb.

The moral of the story, no matter how old you are, or what your occupation is, playing catch is always a great experience. In case anyone was curious, Howard has a very accurate arm, where I have the distance, but I look like Wild Thing Vaughn before the glasses.

By the way, I do have a 3-0 lead, but the Friday's Jack Daniel's NY Strip has the bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th (that one is for Mr. Garcia) SEND IT IN!!! TOILET HUMOR!!!!

My Day at Ivy Field

Well Folks, it was quite the day at Ivy Field for some riveting Northwestern Softball here at Regionals. After calling a disappointing 3-2 loss to Notre Dame during the noon game alongside Dan Platt, Howard, Dan and I ventured with our colleagues from NNN and The Daily Andrew Linnehan and Paul Tenorio to a local Wendy's for some lunch. As usual, I used absolutely no judgment and ordered the Big Bacon Classic. More on that later. Upon returning to Ivy Field, I felt it necessary to track my whereabouts while Dan and Howard prepared and eventually called Northwestern vs. Louisville. Now, my day at Ivy Field, post-4:00pm...

4:04pm - Eileen Canney and Courtnay Foster sit in the seats up the third base line plotting the next game. I bet they were criticizing the Louisville pitcher's choice of socks. Because I was.

4:08pm - SUNY Albany parents ridicule the umpire because of his strike zone. Typical.

4:18pm - Howard and I decide to take a walk around the facility. We are sticky in all the wrong places.

4:36pm - I exchange pleasantries with Linnehan and Tenorio while they play catch. I show that I still have an arm, contrary to popular belief.

5:15pm - In the bottom of the 7th, after trailing by two runs, Louisville ties the game with a two-run shot. The next batter followed with a game-winning bomb. I think Louisville has some momentum going into the elimination game with the Wildcats.

5:30pm - The scoreboard operator sees me in the press tent with Dan's laptop and asks if it is my turn to blog. Thanks for not accusing me of stealing sir. Anyway, I change my blogging plans out of embarassment. This has gone too far.

5:41pm - NU rightfielder Sheila McCorkle is announced as "Sheila McRay." No Respect!

5:45pm - 1st pitch, Northwestern vs. Louisville... Ball 1 to Churchwell

5:47pm - A conference on the mound with the Louisville pitcher, coach and the umpire. It might have been about Dan Platt's orange shirt.

5:50pm - Courtnay Foster toes the rubber for the 'Cats. We will not go down without a fight.

5:59pm - Kristen Amegin breaks up the UL no-hitter with a base hit in the top of the 2nd. You can cancel the post-game show folks.

6:13pm - The first parent-led cheer of "NU, NU, GO 'CATS!!!"I pulled up my dress socks and spit on the bleachers I was so psyched. The Notre Dame usher took some exception to this.

6:21pm - The purest definition of Ozzie-Ball according to Northwestern: a single, a walk and two UL errors brings us a 2-0 NU lead in the 3rd. ONIONS!!!

6:24pm - Garland "Dimaggio" Cooper laces another RBI double. 3-0 'Cats.

6:45pm - I head to the press box to check on my colleagues Dan Platt and Howard Tilman. Dan is bouncing around the press box trying to find the perfect view while Howard sits stoicly at the table like the "Godfather."

6:49pm - Foster makes her first mistake in 13 innings of work. 3-1 NU. That bomb nearly took out the ambulance in left-center.

7:03pm - Another Cooper RBI hit. CBS' Gus Johnson may have called it like this: "Now the pitch to Cooper, line drive base hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!!!

7:08pm - Louisville drops a Dotson fly ball in center. Muchas Gracias. NU leads 6-1. Coach Pitino cannot help this team.

7:12pm - While sitting at the SID's table behind home plate, a Notre Dame player invites her coach to come see a 7:55 showing of "Monster-in-Law." Glad to see the Irish are more focused on Jane Fonda and not Courtnay Foster. This could cost them.

7:20pm - Looking at Touchdown Jesus in the sunlight makes for quite the moment. Though, I would much rather see a giant painting of Charlie Weis...except without the $2.50 haircut, and the large spare tire.

7:23pm - Katie Logan is hotter than the pollo chipotle Frank Tormey ate in Tucson over spring break. This is baseball speak for being on a hitting tear. Tack on another run via a Churchwell double and NU leads 8-1.

7:35pm - The homerun hitting terror from UL struck again with a 250 ft. blast, this time almost taking out a BMW. A six-run lead seems safe, right?

7:43pm - Our Lacrosse guy Frank Tormey checks in from Baltimore, MD, at a Phillies-Orioles game at the beautiful Camden Yards. What I would give for a Boog's Beef Sandwich in Baltimore. It is supple and delicious, regardless of what my stomach says.

7:44pm - From the WNUR studio, engineer Greg Bobak checks in and tells our play-by-play man Dan Platt to go to Hades after Dan complained about the time change when he was in Hawaii. Dan is come friend, eh?

*Quick update, after nearly 4 hours, Ray is holding a slim lead over the Big Bacon Classic, but the Classic is a late night performer.

7:58pm - BALLGAME!!! Northwestern 8, Louisville 2.

Tune into WNUR Sports and tomorrow afternoon for what hopefully will be a pair of Northwestern wins over the fighting Charlie Weis'. Two wins and hello Regionals.

...Oh well hello to you, Mr. Classic.

Twas the Night Before Glory...

Quite a busy day for the blog, huh? I didn't realize we were letting everyone on staff have their say on this thing. Although, I do appreciate hearing from Mr. Mike Laskasky. Go Sox!

Speaking of baseball, Guy and myself were able to partake in interleague glory at Camden Yards tonight. The O's led the Phillies 4-0 in the 6th when we decided to head back to Annapolis. I must say, Camden Yards lives up to all the hype. It is the best ballpark I've ever seen. Howard Tilman might not appreciate this, but Philly fans are quite obnoxious. I've heard stories, but witnessing the actions of about 20,000 Phillies fans tonight in Baltimore was quite entertaining.

Now we're just chillin in the hotel room, preparing for our NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP broadcast. I got a chance to watch most of the Duke-Virginia semifinal game Friday night, and I was quite impressed with Virginia. They're not the defending champs for nothing. Duke beat the Cavs twice during the season, but this team has shown the heart of a champion during this tournament. They've downed the second and third seeds on their trip to the title match.

My take on the Virginia-Duke game was that there was very little defense being played. Both sides were able to get the ball deep in their opponents' zone with little resistance. Many observers in the press box considered that game the real national championship game, showing little respect for our undefeated Wildcats. Well, I like Northwestern's chances on Sunday. They are more athletic than the Cavaliers, and they have Courtney Koester. After the game on Friday, Dartmouth coach Amy Patton called Koester the best in the nation at winning a draw.

So, you know I wouldn't dare pick against my own school in a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP game. My prediction: Northwestern 13, Virginia 10. Go Cats!

P.S. Don't be surprised if this one goes overtime...

A Voice from the Past...

It's's's that M-I-K-E. You may remember me from such award-losing shows as the Sportsvoice on WNUR FM Evanston-Chicago. Yes, I've taken a little bit of a hiatus from radio broadcasting, but don't worry I'm back here in Evanston engineering NU Softball. I've been dabbling in television broadcasting for the Northwestern News Network. It's severely reduced my on-air time with WNUR but there's no need to worry, I'll be reintroduced into the wild (world of 89.3) by fall I'm sure. As I'm engineering these games today I'm noticing some trends that were not exactly prevalent or kosher whilst I was an on-air "talent". Because there's not much else to do here in the OACR, I'll list them below...

1. Bill Raftery is quoted on every single broadcast and it's irrelevant whether it makes sense.

2. Ray Garcia is basing his color analysis on his own IM Softball umpiring experiences.

3. Dan Platt is not referencing Kate Drohan nearly enough for me to be comfortable listening.

4. Howard Tilman is flawless.

In closing, I would like to remind everyone that just because you don't hear my velvety voice, it doesn't mean you shouldn't continue to listen to WNUR's coverage of NU softball and lacrosse all weekend long.

Love Always,
Mike Laskasky

The Home Crowd

Back here in Evans' Town, where Mike Laskasky and myself are engineering today's exciting softball action -- and boy howdy, are we holding down the fort.

After the loss to the Official Nemesis (that's Notre Dame for you non-Malcontent readers) we journeyed to the faraway and mysterious Bar Louie for some fantastic Philly cheesesteak sliders; unlike Mr. Garcia, we will not update you on the progress of these sliders through our respective digestive tracts.

We're supposedly about 45 minutes away from first pitch of the elimination game -- so it's back to the studios for us. Take it sleazy!

3-2 Final

Garland Cooper popped out to center to end the game. Notre Dame celebrates like they won a gold medal.

More to come.

Infield Single

Mobley infield single. Odell scores. 3-2. Garland Cooper up/

Two Outs

Churchwell pops out to first. Erin Mobley up, 2 outs.


Logan bloop single to left. McCorkle scores. 3-1. Bases still loaded. Stephanie Churchwell up.

Bases Juiced

Hinck infield single. Bases loaded, one out. Katie Logan up.

Two on

Odell worked a walk. Two runners on. Megan Hinck pinch hitting for Sengwald.

Start it off

McCorkle bunt single with one out. Odell up.

Bottom of the Seventh

So it all comes down to this. Courtnay Foster worked herself out of trouble in the top of the seventh striking out Middleton and snagging a line drive right back at her off the bat of Cioli.

If NU is going to come back, the bottom half of their order will have to get it done with Dotson, McCorkle and Odell due up.

Bottom 7
ND 3
NU 0

10 in a row

Heather Booth has now retired 10 Wildcats in a row. She ended Garland Cooper's streak of 8 straight times up reaching base.

If NU is to win this game, they'll have to come back in the bottom of the seventh. They've done that a few time before though...

Enter Courtnay Foster

After Canney allowed four hard hit balls in a row, Coach Kate Drohan has made the call to the bullpen bring Courtnay Foster into the circle.

Her first pitch - THE BLOW BY!!!

Two Innings to Go

Sengwald, Logan and Churchwell went down in order in the bottom of the fifth. Booth has now retired 9 of 10 NU batters. 'Cats send Mobley (just re-entered) Cooper and Amegin to the plate in the bottom of the sixth. May be their best chance to rally.

Megan Cioli just hit a homerun out to center field. Only Notre Dame's third hit of the game, but they lead NU 3-0. That is the same score NU led Notre Dame by in their contest earlier this year when the Irish came back to win 4-3...

A Positive Perhaps?

Even though the 'Cats were retired in order in the bottom of the fourth, Dotson, McCorkle and Odell each hit the ball solidly. Dotson with her fly out to the fence, and Odell sent a long foul ball way out down the line in right, before lining the ball solidly right at the right fielder. It appears as though the 'Cats are starting to get Booth timed.

Gunned down again

Notre Dame just took a 2-0 lead on a Mallorie Lenn double to left field. However the relay throw from Churchwell to Dotson was in time to gun down Katie Laing trying to score from first. This was Dotson's second put out of the game at home.

Leading off the bottom of the 4th, Dotson sent one to the wall in center where Megan Cioli caught it juft in front of the fence.

Top 4
ND 2
NU 0

What a Streak

Garland Cooper has now reached base in eight consecutive plate appearences and in 11 of her last 12. Wow.

End of the Rally

Kristen Amegin went down swinging to end the NU rally.

After three full innings,
ND 1
NU 0

Game Experience

These fans know their softball. Cooper trots down to first with a walk.

Two on, two out for Kristen Amegin.

Outside Corner

Stephanie Churchwell was just wrung up for the second time today. This time she watched pitch go by on the outside corner and she was not happy about the call.

Katie Logan is on second with a single and a stolen base. Jessica Miller just went down on strikes as well. Two outs for Garland Cooper. Fans are expecting a walk to Cooper.

First Reference

It took until the third inning, but Bill Raftery finally made his first appearence in the broadcast as Dan Platt quipped, "the blow by!" following a Canney strike out.


In the top of the 2nd, right fielder Erin Mobley dove for a fly ball onto the hard outfield dirt. She was down for a little bit remained in the game. In the top of the third, Jessica Miller came in to replace her. The word in the stnds is that Mobley has some scrapes on her face and will most likely re-enter.

Top 3rd
ND 1
NU 0


In the top of the 2nd, right fielder Erin Mobley dove for a fly ball onto the hard outfield dirt. She was down for a little bit remained in the game. In the top of the third, Jessica Miller came in to replace her. The word in the stnds is that Mobley has some scrapes on her face and will most likely re-enter.

Top 3rd
ND 1
NU 0

Battle of the Change-up

This game is shaping up to be a battle of the change-up. Heather Booth for Notre Dame made many Louisville batters look silly yesterday with her change-up. She continues to rely on that pitch today. Eileen Canney has a change-up of her own and just sent Liz Hartman to the bench with a wicked pitch.

Headed into the bottom of the second, still 1-0 Notre Dame.

Go 'Cats, Go bats!

Mr. Amegin just fired up the NU crowd with a rousing, "Go 'Cats! Go Bats!"

On the board first

Notre Dame squeeked a run across in the top of the first on a wild pitch.

Notre Dame 1, NU coming to bat.


On a week grounder to short with a runner on third, Stephanie Churchwell fired home to Jamie Dotson who had the plate blocked. OUT AT HOME. Great play 'Cats.

First Pitch

First pitch from Eileen Canney... STIRKE ONE!

Great Seats

I'm sitting in the midst of the rowdy Northwestern fan section. After each player is introduced a loud cheer goes up. I'm right next to the fathers of Kristen Amegin, Garland Cooper and Jamie Dotson. I wonder if they bat 3-4-5 on the parents softball team.


Northwestern is the home team in this contest, but the scoreboard out here at Ivy Field does not have removable team names. Thus Northwestern will be in the Irish slot on the board. Could be a little confusing.

A Sign?

A few minutes ago the decision was made that the teams could not choose the music to play over the loudspeaker. The impartial music selection that just began? Starting pitcher Eileen Canney's theme song, Come on Eileen.

A sign perhaps?

In Game Updates

With Dan and Ray on the call today, I'm going to be spending the game in the stands with live in-game blog updates. In the first piece of news of the day, Coach Kate Drohan has made a lineup switch for today's game moving Kristen Amegin up from the number 5 spot in the order to the 4 positions and moving Jamie Dotson to 5.

Pre-game show on air in 10 minutes.

What a day...

Today was a good day. Northwestern softball won, Northwestern lacrosse won, and the Yankees won. Good times.

Just watching our lacrosse team play again reminded me of how good they are. Dartmouth was totally over-matched, and NU was able to weather the elements to play a sound defensive game. Virginia will pose a difficult challenge for the 'Cats on Sunday because they are very, very fast. They also score goals in droves--so Ms. Koester will have to come up huge on the draws yet again to stem any momentum the Cavs build. Duke was unable to do that at critical junctures during tonight's final four game and paid for it bigtime.

More than pretty much any other sport, Women's Lacrosse depends on controlling the ball. If you've got possession, the opposing team has a major uphill battle due to the non-contact nature of the sport. The options for taking the ball away are far more limited than even men's lacrosse.

On a programming note, I was so stoked that we had the technology to toss our coverage from South Bend, IN to Annapolis, MD seamlessly. That is something to be proud of, I think. Great job, everyone. I thought our lax broadcast went pretty well--my only regret is how high up we are in the pressbox because it is virtually impossible to see uniform numbers. That complicated matters a bit, but it got easier as the game progressed. Frank and I had a lot of fun on the call, and I think it sounded pretty good overall.

Frank and I capped off the excellent day with an excellent meal at the Ram's Head, which we both agreed was a great name for a bar. Among the delicious items ordered? You guessed it: crab. This time of the dip variety. Crab dip--good stuff. And we even got back to the hotel in time to catch the beginning of Uncle Conan.

So tomorrow's an off-day for us, so we'll take our enviable automobile over to Baltimore to see the O's battle the Phills in interleague action. That, and I'll write a dramatic game open for Sunday's championship game. I feel so blessed to have the chance to watch the Wildcats go for Northwestern's first national title in 64 years. It is very, very exciting. National championship. Wow.

Don't forget to tune in on Sunday for the expanded pregame show (featuring coach Amonte-Hiller and a live interview with NU AD Mark Murphy, and of course the game starting at 1:30 CST.

I'm out.

Friday, May 20, 2005

National Championship Ahoy!

I never thought I'd see the day.

It's the goal of every college sports fan to have his school win a national championship while a student. Watching USC bring home the crown in Football this fall and UNC send it in with the Men's Basketball title, I've always wondered, "what would it be like to go there right now?"

Well I may be able to find out. As Dan, Ray and I sat by the laptop in our South Bend hotel room listening to the second half of Women's Lacrosse thrashing of Dartmouth, I couldn't help but simply think, wow. Northwestern will play for the National Championship. Yes it is in Women's Lacrosse, but I don't think it matters. As Kelly Amonte Hiller leads her undefeated squad to the title game on Sunday, I think we all need to stop and appreciate what's going on.

It's the National Championship.

Of all the schools with Women's Lacrosse programs, Northwestern is in the final two.

It's the National Championship.

Traditional Lacrosse dynasties Princeton, Dartmouth, Duke and Georgetown have all been eliminated. Northwestern is still playing.

It's the National Championship.

In only its fourth year of varsity status this time around, Northwestern has not lost a game.

It's the National Championship.

Kelly Amonte Hiller has a chance to bring a trophy back to Evanston for the first time in 64 years.

Did I mention it's the National Championship?

Sunday this squad has a once in a lifetime opportunity. Sunday this team has a chance to win a National Championship, and it is a big deal. I'll finally have the chance to know what its like to have a team win the National Championship while a student and I'm planning on remembering it.

The 1st Time is Always Special

Well, I must say, I was a little nervous about my first on-air broadcast for softball, especially being at Regionals, but on the whole, I thought Howard Tilman and I had a very solid broadcast. And there is no better icing on the cake of a solid broadcast than a Northwestern winnner! The Wildcats advanced to the winner's bracket of the Notre Dame Regional and will square off with the Fighting Irish at high noon tomorrow afternoon. In late April, Notre Dame knocked off NU 4-3 during a late game collapse. Hopefully, this time around, Touchdown Jesus will be "up-in-arms" because Northwestern has lodged a foot in his...nevermind.
FYI: White Sox 5, Cubs 1 - Northsiders really do not have any "testicular verility."
Now, onto more important information, such as how Howard, Dan Platt, and I spent our evening in the socially jumping city of South Bend, Hick-iana. Let me warn you right now, the fun we had this evening was so grotesquely incredible that you should put your kids to bed right now. After departing from Ivy Field and slipping into something more comfortable, we ventured to Smokey Bones' Barbecue and Grill, where we indulged on mozzarella sticks and barbecued deliciousness. After our meal, we had a tough choice ahead of us: Adult fun or mind-boggling excitement?
We chose something mind-boggling and ventured to the South Bend Strikes and Spares Bowling Alley where I once again proved why I am a national championship bowler and embarassed Howard and Dan. Though Howard brought us a Tiger Woods-like fist pump after a big strike when he thought he was going to beat Dan in game 2. But just like Pick'Em, Howard went down yet again. Before we departed, the three amigos headed for the arcade where Howard and Dan each donned a virtual reality helmet for a shooting game and then took control of a samurai sword and embarassed themselves.
Finally, before retiring to our incredibly comfortable quarters, we had a little taste of Evanston here in South Bend as we traveled through the Steak'N'Shake drive-thru and enjoyed some delicious shakes. It may not be crab dip, but it sure as hell was tasty.
The Mavericks have the Suns on the ropes in Game 6, and in a shocker, I am still in control of the brisket sandwich I had earlier. I learned my lesson the hard way...dammit, overtime in Dallas. Steve Nash is incredible.
...And here comes the Brisket.

Holding down the fort

Just wanted to give everyone an update from the Evanston lakefront studios here at WNUR -- every person that has been in and out of the station this afternoon has asked after the lacrosse team's progress. We're all behind the team as they head to the national championship game, just as we're all behind better dietary habits for Ray Garcia.

Fashionably Late

Well, I am so excited to be posting on this blog after I have seen my commrades Ray, Howard, Frank, and Guy post so far this weekend. I had to go to work on Thursday and had something to take care of on campus Friday morning, so I could not embark for South Bend until Friday at about noon. However, there is nothing like a nice long drive by yourself to put things in perspective. I have read the blogs from this weekend and all I've seen from everyone has been pot shots at the people in the opposite location. Tormey taking shots at the South Bend crew and then the South Bend crew shooting back. I don't understand it! We're all on the same team here at WNUR and we are part of something really special. WNUR Sports with two crews in two locations, for two NCAA post season tournaments. How cool is that? Name me another student station that has the ONIONS or the technology to do that? (I'm looking at you Ohio State)

Ok, now to today. After two hours of some quality music (the new Ben Folds album is quality and the indie/emo stylings of Chin up Chin up kept me entertained) I arrived at Ivy Field on the campus of Notre Dame to witness the end of Notre Dame's comeback victory over Louisville. After that game ended, Ray and Howard went on air for game one of Northwestern's quest to the College World Series against The University AT Albany (NY). After the Great Danes went up 1-0 after Stephanie Churchwell lost a ball in the sun, Northwestern proceeded to wake up and the bats came alive. Garland Cooper reached base every time she came to the plate (including two unintentional intentional walks) and Katie Logan hit a HUGE TRIPLE which put smiles on everyone's face including Courtnay Foster who took the win for the Cats. She kept the Danes off balance with sharp fastball and wicked changeups. Long story short, Northwestern 6 Albany 1. The Cats will take on Notre Dame at noon tomorrow in what should be an amazing contest.

As far as the broadcast goes, Ray and Howard did an amazing job. The only issue I had with them was when in their attempt to stretch the pre-game show, the conversation game to Reggie Miller's last game in the NBA. Ray, who is an avid Bulls fan, tried to say in front of me, (a New Yorker) that Reggie had tortured HIS team over the years, to which I made the famous Reggie choke sign to Spike Lee. Right now we are listening to Frank and Guy call the Lax game from Maryland and watching Frank Costanza have flashbacks to his time as an army chef in Korea. I'm new to this Blogging thing as I still live in the early 90's, so I apologize if the humor level is a little low. A heard a rumor that myself and Ray Garcia might be on the call of the game tomorrow, and if that is the case, be prepared for many ONIONS! SEND IT IN!! OOO SUPPLE!! and if it is myself and Howard, be prepared for many NO SOUP FOR YOU, AND YOU WANT TO BE MY LATEX SALESMAN? BUT I DON'T WANT TO BE A PIRATE!!

I haven't sampled the South Bend cuisine, but i'm sure there will be no crabcakes. I hope Frank is enjoying his first encounter with Crabs. Talk to everyone tomorrow!

A Final Four-cast

Well in about six and a half hours, the Wildcats take on the Big Green for a spot in the National Championship of women's lacrosse. How exciting is that? Time to break down the Final Four... where's Greg Gumbel when you need him?

First, for the weather report. After a glorious Thursday evening, the skies have opened above Annapolis. It is currently raining cats and dogs... I think I just saw a Great Dane come down. There's a 50 percent chance the rain is still here for our game tonight. Luckily, lacrosse players can handle a little rain. On to the game...

The Wildcats have pretty much exerted their dominance all season, but Dartmouth will be no pushover. They won the Ivy League title, besting a Princeton team that challenged the Cats last Sunday. Goalie Devon Wills is a three-year starter, but she'll have her hands full with Northwestern's offensive attack.

For me, this game will likely come down to the first five minutes of each half. The Wildcats love to come out of the gates firing at the start of games. They've scored first in 16 of their 19 games, averaging 4.75 goals before their opponent gets on the board. If the Cats can get the Big Green in a hole, they should be able to keep them there. If not, it will be crucial to establish momentum early in the second half.

One thing's for certain, if this game is close with ten minutes to play it will be the most nerve-wracking ten minutes ever for Guy and myself, as well as all those listening, but not for the women on the field. Even though they've never been here before, you get the sense this team is ready for anything.

My prediction: Northwestern 11 - Dartmouth 7, Go Cats!

P.S. Crabcakes are amazing!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Now, the "Fun" Stuff

I am very pleased to see that the world of internet blogging has instituted Affirmative Action and allowed a minority onto the blog. I will do my best to make my people proud, unlike their president.

Anyhow, our singing colleagues in Annapolis, Frank Tormey and Guy Benson, seem to think that their accomodations are far better than those here in South Bend, Hick-iana. Well, judging by the back of the bathroom door that lists the nightly price of $359 for the Spring Hill Suites, I would say we get the edge. Frank and Guy can have their crab cakes and "friendly" strolls along the Marlyand docks, we have a wall that divides the hotel room in two. I am sure they cannot contain their jealousy.

Now, night life and fun seem to be a great part of going on these broadcast road trips. And Howard and I did not disappoint. We may have not left the room to find good viewing, but the intensity we found on the Zenith Concierge Television would have blown your mind. (And by "intense" TV, I do not mean that.) Competition was riding high all night. After our boys at CSI made a heroic save, we were in search of more drama. You may think we were engulfed in the NBA Playoffs, but no. The only items that could consume our attention were "Iron Chef America" and CNBC's "Head's Up Texas Hold'Em Tournament. That Phil Hellmuth is a monster.

Before I let you all go, just a quick note about this weekend's action. Northwestern may be the top seed here in this Notre Dame Regional, but they are going to have their hands full with their three challengers. The Great Danes of Albany may be an unknown America East school, but if you have a pitcher with a .74 ERA, you can do some things. Louisville is riding a wave of post-season success after the football team won the Liberty Bowl in December and Rick Pitino's boys went to the Final Four. And Notre Dame, well, not only did they beat NU in late April, they have the full support of Charlie Weis. I would be scared of anyone with a haircut like that.

Go U Northwestern Softball and Lacrosse!!! To get this blog in Spanish, utilize the SAP button on your computer.

P.S. The 12-ounce sirloin from Outback has replaced Northwestern finals as my new arch-nemesis. Yikes! My apologies to the housekeeping staff. SEND IT IN, STOMACH PROBLEMS!!!

South Bend ain't too shabby either

It appears as though our colleagues in Annapolis have gotten off to a head start in the blogging updates. Well, they did arrive earlier then we did. Somehow their flight was not affected by the weather at all, yet our bus ride was delayed by it. With thunderstorms passing through South Bend earlier today, practice at Ivy Field was canceled. Instead the team practiced in Evanston and did not depart until about 2:30 pm.

Speaking of 2:30 pm let's take the time to talk about, well time. Indiana currently is one of only two states that does not change its time for daylight savings. (Arizona is the other one which was where NU was at NCAA Regionals last year. Coincidence?) With the lack of daylight savings time, Eastern Standard Time becomes the same as Central Daylight Time. Did you guys catch that out in Annapolis? Ray and I learned that Frank and Guy took a nice romantic walk along the docks out in Maryland. Sure hope they had fun...

On another note, today was Kristen Amegin's 21st birthday. She celebrated by wearing a princess crown on the bus ride as well as at the Outback Steakhouse where the team performed a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday To You. We'd like to wish her a happy birthday as well and thank her parents for the delicious cookies she shared with everyone.

Now about our hotel... We may not have the executive lounge as is the case in Annapolis, but I'm certainly not complaining. Our accommodations are suite style, meaning the room is divided into the bedroom section and the living room/office section where we currently are at work blogging and watching the CSI season finale. Take that Loews Hotel!

Taking a look at the tournament breakdown, the first aspect of note is the new format this year. Instead of eight 8-team regions, the NCAA switched to 16 4-team regions. Each region is a double elimination tournament with the winner advancing on to Super-Regionals. The 'Cats earned the 9th overall seed in field of 64 and are the favorite to come out their region. Albany, Louisville and host Notre Dame compromise the other four teams scheduled to play. The 'Cats fell to Notre Dame earlier this season in a close 4-3 game, and have not played the others.

Now back to CSI...

More notes from Navytown

I'll add a few additional thoughts on our journey to the East coast (I almost feel like I'm home sweet home).

Since we didn't know we'd be coming to Maryland until the 'Cats beat Princeton on Sunday, we had to hold off on booking flights. By the time we did so, there were slim pickin's as far as seat availablilty goes. Therefore Frank and I were separated by two rows, each relishing a highly-coveted middle seat on a full flight. The gentleman sitting to my right asked me for my pretzels, which I gladly handed over, and the younger guy on the isle was laughing out loud at NBC's "Joey." At least one person in America likes that show.

After landing at BWI and renting our luxurious vehicle (pronounced vee-hick-el due to the TX plates), we made our way to beautiful Annapolis, home of the Naval Academy. By the way, National Car Rentals had an amazing variety of ONE Chevy Cavalier from which we could "choose." Oh, well. At least the car radio identifies that band and song names on DC101.

Upon entering Annpolis, we spotted a few cadets, prompting Frank to sing the chorus of "In the Navy" by the Village People (which kind of scared me, to be honest). His singing was not over, however. The hotel we're staying at is a Loews relation to the movie theater chain with the obnoxious jingle, but Frank decided to remind me of how that jingle goes anyway.

As we ascended to the 5th floor penthouse--not really--we ran into a few of the Virginia players, who were discussing the hotel breakfast buffet in preparation for their final four matchup with Duke tomorrow night. We wished them good luck, and they asked where we were from. They were stunned--dare I say wildly impressed--that we were Northwestern radio broadcasters. One of the players said...and I quote: "Wow." They got off on the 4th floor, and as the elevator door closed, Frank pointed out that were are "kind of a big deal."

One thing that am really looking forward to is checking out the enviable Commodore Lounge here on the 5th floor. (Everything at this hotel has an seafarer theme for some reason.) I stole a quick glance into the exclusive lounge, which is replete with a Granfather clock, big screen TV, and complimentary USA Todays and sodas. I am eager to hear if our colleagues in Indiana are enjoying similar luxury. I somehow doubt it.

Oh yeah, the women's lacrosse team will be competing in Final Four action in almost 23 the meantime, I want some delicious Maryland crabcakes.

Howdy From Annapolis

I say howdy because our rental car has Texas plates. Let me tell you, not everything is bigger in Texas. The flight from O'Hare to BWI was rather uneventful, saved only by a Conan O'Brien segment on NBC In-Flight. "It's something we do every day...weeping?" Somewhere Greg Bobak nods in approval.

Guy and myself will be on the air at approximately 4:45 central time tomorrow, right after softball action. That is, of course, if our equipment still works. We were waiting for it at baggage claim at BWI. It was taking a while, so we thought they might have brought it out separately since it had a fragile tag on it. Just then, the sounds of our case banging down the carousel let us know everything was going to be all right.

Rode up the elevator here at the hotel with some Virginia players. They looked psyched, as if I know what that means. We'll have more game info later, and I guarantee it will be better then the stuff you get out of South Bend.

And we're off...

Well WNUR Sports double header weekend is underway. Guy Benson and Frank Tormey are off to Annapolis this afternoon and Ray Garcia and I are headed to South Bend to be joined by Dan Platt tomorrow.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow from 2:15 - 7 pm for one super sized block of WNUR Sports. We'll start things off with NCAA Regional Softball action, NU vs Albany and then kick things over to the Women's Lacrosse final four with NU taking on Dartmouth.

Game previews to come later today.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Getting Ready for Annapolis...

Frank Tormey and I will have the amazing opportunity to accompany the #1 women's lacrosse team to Annapolis, MD for the NCAA final four. Their first opponent will be the Dartmouth Big Green (is that not one of the dumbest nicknames in college sports?) on Friday, then either Duke or Virginia in the finals--provided that they overcome the Big Green.

Come to think of it, Dartmouth should be forced to surrender one goal at the beginning of every contest as pennance for their idiotic nickname. I'm getting this all out of my system so I don't spin out of control on the air during Friday's game.

Anyway, we'll have live action of every minute of final four Wildcat action on 89.3 FM, as well as on

As part of our bonus coverage Frank and I will blog throughout our trip to Maryland so that the miniscule readership of this blog will be kept abreast on all of our innane activities. You should expect Frank's posts to be far more amusing than mine....they don't call him Chuckles McTormes for nothing.

So stay tuned...

Monday, May 16, 2005

Double Header Weekend

This weekend WNUR Sports will be in two locations as once as we bring you both the Softball NCAA Regionals from South Bend, Indiana, as well as the Women's Lacrosse NCAA Semi-Finals from Annapolis, Maryland.

It's going to be an action packed as well as a historic weekend of Northwestern Athletics. Stay tuned to WNUR for all the action.