Because it has been confirmed that the Zombie Apocalypse is upon us, the task of taking out this weekend’s trash has been pushed onto me as the least senior (and most expendable) of the Emptywheel blogging team. Well, maybe it’s not just the zombies. It turns out that bmaz gave himself quite a scare last weekend bragging so much on Dallas, only for his beloved Arizona State Forkers to nearly lose their super regional [at home!] to Mr. EW’s new crush the Louisiana Lafayette Ragin Cajuns. Now he wants to avoid a new jinx this weekend. Anyway, the 2009 video above shows that we’ve been onto this zombie thing for a long time here in Gainesville. Why yes, I do know those guys. The lead singer is a respected Professor of Chemistry during the day and the keyboardist is one of the first people I met here in Gainesville. He was my primary attorney during most of the time I was a “businessman” here. Oh, and the blond guitar player is a bar owner/music promoter.
The zombies of last year’s incredibly bad umpiring returned to the Women’s College World Series (you can catch up on the current situation here) last night. I had the Forkers and Ducks on in the background while doing a few other things and smiled as the Ducks put up a run in the top of the first. But when I looked up a bit later, it was in the third inning and the Forkers were ahead 1-0. WTF? I rewound the action on my DVR only to find that the umpires have decided they have to help the Forkers again this year and they took away Oregon’s first run on a very shaky call that the Duck left third base too soon on a sacrifice fly. Earlier in the day, Oklahoma looked very formidable against South Florida, who is subbing for Florida after their lockerroom brawl just before the first regional game here resulted in three starters being ejected from the program. The locals here in Gainesville seem to be supporting Tim Walton for “taking control of the situation” but I have serious doubts about his abilities if he allowed things to get to such a sorry state at such a critical time in the season. I’m also a bit biased and think that women should be head coaches on women’s teams.
My prediction is that this year’s series will come down to Alabama and the Forkers, with a chance that the home crowd could help the Sooners to be in the mix, too. I jumped on the “A train” as soon as Florida was eliminated, backing Bama and their star pitcher Jackie Traina. I found out last night that my wife says she just can’t do that because Traina looks too much like Escobedo Yes, we dislike Dallas Escobedo and her gifts from the umpires that much in this household. [Please, nobody tell my wife that Vols pitcher Ivy Renfroe reminds me a lot of a taller version of who I was dating just before I met her…]
The NCAA men are two weeks behind the women, meaning that today is “opening day” for the field of 64. The top eight seeds are guaranteed of hosting super regionals if they win the regionals they are hosting. That list is topped at number one by…The Florida Gators!
There was a bit of squawking here in Gainesville when the brackets were announced, because even though the Gators are the number one seed, their regional is paired with the regional hosted by North Carolina State and the Wolfpack were one of the last contenders eliminated for the number 8 national seed that eventually went to defending two-time champion (oh, how it hurts to say that) South Carolina. As you can see, the NCAA’s RPI has NC State at number 10, but their road record is atrocious, at 10-11, so they shouldn’t pose much threat if they survive Vanderbilt in their regional. But that is the other reason for the squawking here. Vandy is one of the hottest teams in the SEC right now, handing the Gators both of their losses in the SEC tournament last week. In the second loss, in Saturday’s semifinal game, Gator closer Austin Maddox became a zombie incapable of turning his head to look at runners on base. He gave up seven (yes, 7!) stolen bases in the inning, including an incredibly rare triple steal, when Vandy sent all three runners with the bases loaded, including the steal of home. Gator catcher Mike Zunino, who is expected to be drafted as high as number three overall in next week’s MLB draft, did manage to throw out one runner at second during an attempted double steal of second and third during that inning or Maddox would have given up eight steals.
I do wonder though, since neither Gator Coach Kevin O’Sullivan or Zunino ever went out to the mound to calm Maddox during this meltdown, and neither of them even sent a signal for Maddox to throw the ball to a base (he didn’t make a single throw to hold a runner as far as I can remember), if maybe the Gators had decided they had accomplished enough in the tourney and wanted Sunday off.
Should both Florida and South Carolina advance to Omaha, the bracket says they would face off in their first games there. Other teams to watch are LSU and an incredibly hot Mississippi State team. [Edit: This post was written before the early games of the day were played. I’m now back from the early Gainesville game and see that Mississippi State lost to a very good Samford team in the early game in Tallahassee. MSU is a very tough team who can play well with their backs to the wall, so I still say watch out for them.] Outside the SEC, I guess UCLA and Stanford bear watching. I’m not at all convinced that Baylor is worthy of their high ranking and high seed and also wonder a bit about Oregon’s high status. Florida State is stumbling into the big dance, having gone 0-3 in the ACC tournament. That 0-3 mark also matches their record against the Gators this year. If Austin Maddox emerges from zombie mode and Karston Whitson regains a bit of his best pitching from last year, look for the Gators to go far. Word is they haven’t played their best ball yet and they are determined to do that now.
I understand that the guys who get paid for basketball are moving along in their playoffs. I actually caught a good portion of the Thunder opening a big can of whoopass on the Spurs last night. With the series now at 2-1 in favor of San Antonio, that series will be quite entertaining to watch. On the other side though, we have the geriatric Celtics facing off with the dysfunctional Miami Heat. My attitude is “anybody but Miami” in the NBA, but I hold out little hope the Celtcs can keep them out of the finals. However, both the Spurs and Thunder show flashes of brilliant team play, so either would make for a very fun final to watch.
Okay, unleash the real Zombies:
If you’re a fan of pitching you should be watching: Keilani Ricketts started game w/3Ks.
way to go, jim!
talent in trash talkin’,
as well as previously displayed talent in de-trash-talkin’ the corporate media’s war mongering.
Man, Keilani Ricketts is just killing Cal.Still just 2 runs, but she’s whiffing everyone.
Uh, we may need to explore this further….
The Okie Nooners are kicking Cal. Didn’t see that coming. Pitcher doesn’t look Rickety at all.
@bmaz: OK has looked VERY good. I agree with Jim, UA is impressive. But OK is scary.
@bmaz: Not to worry. That was 1993 when we moved here. I only played the business game about ten years.
Now that I’m blogging I have some prickly desert guy I can call on if issues come up.
What a night! I just got back from a Gator game that was literally historic. Sophomore Jonathan Crawford threw a no-hitter for the Gators, facing the minimum 27 batters in going the distance on only 99 pitches. He walked one, but Zunino gunned down the runner trying to steal second. That’s the first no-hitter in an NCAA tournament game since 1991 and only the seventh in the history of Division I tournies.
And in the regional in Gary, Indiana, it’s Kent State 6, Kentucky 6 in the top of the 20th inning. If that game ever ends, there’s supposed to be another game at that site featuring the “host” Purdue team. They’re playing in Gary because there’s some construction or other issue with the Purdue facility.
@Jim White: Wow, so you’re watching soft and hardball on Tele?
And, I assume, Mets highlights?
@emptywheel: I’m watching coverage of the NCAA baseball on ESPNU right now, waiting for highlights of the no-hitter. Don’t think I can handle watching Escobedo right now…
And Kent State has scored a run in the top of the 21st on Kentucky.
Finally over in Gary. Kent State 7, Kentucky 6 in 21 innings.
@Jim White: Shouldn’t you at least be watching Traina? You don’t get credit for the SEC win if you weren’t watching.
Devils made a stupid fielding decision, now Bama has a runner in scoring position with only one out.
@bmaz: There ye go. Blaming the Poway girl.
@emptywheel: Aaaaaand it bites them in the ass.
@bmaz: Well, see, Poway girl got a hit.
That was TOTALLY a tie at the bag. Tie should go to the runner!!
There? See? Bama got the “no need to keep your foot on the bag” out. Now who’s complaining?
Heh. I was watching for the homer that put Bama into the lead.
@Jim White: From the woman just coming out of a dry spell. Not what I wanted, but good for her.
I guess, though, that means you missed that foot-off-the-base out at First? It’s always like that, I guess.
Fecking Poway girl again.
Clearly my brilliant theory of having Jim do Trash Talk wasn’t so bright as insurance for Devil success. Crikey.
@bmaz: I thought I suggested that? It’s his season, his sport(s).
Plus, the commentators are talking about how much the Gators self-immolation has done to help Bama’s confidence.
@emptywheel: IT IS YOUR FAULT!
Freaking Poway chicks are killin me here!
@bmaz: I’m not really a Poway chick. Sure, I’ve got a diploma from there and all. But it was just a two year distraction.
Fecking Poway girl, see?
Woooo! The A-Train is gathering steam. Just one W away from the Championship series.
Well, that ump has a, ahem, shitty strike zone. I am sure that Mr. White will grant that argument in the Devil’s favor as much as he has used it against them. Cause he is fair!
Bama is good. They earned their win.
‘Earlier in the day, Oklahoma looked very formidable against South Florida, who is subbing for Florida after their lockerroom brawl just before the first regional game here resulted in three starters being ejected from the program. ‘
What is this all about? There was a lockerroom brawl on a ladies team?
@GulfCoastPirate: Indeed there was. I’m still getting conflicting stories on what was behind it, but to me this puts the program into incredible disarray. I think it threatens recruiting in a way that means a coaching change is the only way to get a clean break and move forward.
I forgot to include a link in the post to the fun “Call Me Maybe” video from the Gator baseball team. It features many of the team’s brightest stars, including Mike Zunino, Brian Johnson and Nolan Fontana who all could be drafted in the first round next week (Zunino and Johnson are locks and Fontana deserves it but may slip to second round). This video meme has been done a lot lately, but I really love how they worked baseball signals into the dance moves.
Call Me Maybe. It is the new Macarena. Double Ugh.
Did someone say Macarena?
Maybe I should embed that…
Now I am caught up. Missed a week of EW. What a week of writing folks. You are amazing…Even in the trash.
@Jim White: I KILL YOU!
Yes-yes to the No-No — Frozen in time
Good reporting from of the WSJ
THREE OUTS AWAY
Inside the clubhouse, Baxter sat alongside Justin Turner, another injured player, watching the game on a television in the trainer’s room. Both had been receiving treatment, but when the ninth inning began, everything stopped. Everyone in the room—players, doctors and trainers—just stared at the television.
Outside, an announced crowd of 27,069 fans stood on their feet. They would not sit down again.
Matt Holliday lined out to center field. Two outs to go.
In the dugout, Dickey wrapped a towel around his head and nearly chewed off the end. “I wanted it so badly for him,” he said. “I could barely watch.”
Allen Craig flied out to left field. One to go.
On the top step of the dugout, Mets outfielder Scott Hairston buried his face in his hands. Collins stood with his arms crossed, lips clenched.
Wright stood by third base and looked at the faces of fans in the stands, overcome with joyous, nervous anticipation. Then, he pondered a question: How does a team celebrate a no-hitter? As a lifelong Met, this isn’t his area of expertise.
“Do we jump on him?” Wright said. “I was trying to think of what the protocol was. I was thinking back to one of [Justin] Verlander’s no-hitters trying to remember what they did.”
That was a secondary concern for Santana, who still had to retire David Freese, last year’s World Series hero. Santana started by throwing a changeup, followed by a fastball, followed by another changeup, but missed low on all three pitches. The count was 3-0.
Catcher Josh Thole, who had come off the disabled list only hours earlier, called for an inside fastball. Santana located it perfectly, on the inside edge of the strike zone. Freese took it.
The next pitch was a changeup, and Santana left it over the plate, but Freese fouled it back. One strike to go.
Santana took a deep breath and peered over his glove. It was fitting, in his greatest moment, that Santana once again relied on his signature pitch, the changeup. He threw it low, at 78 mph, for his 134th pitch of the evening, and Freese swung through it
@Bay State Librul: Not buying it for a minute as a real no-no. Did you see the replays on SportsCenter? There was an obviously blown call by the 3B umpire calling a shot down the line as foul, when it drew chalk and left an obvious mark on the line. That was a hit.
Nope, Crawford threw the only legit no-no last night.
I missed the chalk talk.
Was watching the Celtics Beat the Heat…
You want an asterick for Santana’s No-No
Here’s how the Captain of Wall Street saw the nick in the armor
TWELVE OUTS AWAY
Beltran led off the sixth inning, and in a 1-0 count, Santana threw him an inside fastball, which he yanked down the third-base line. Several feet away in left field, Adrian Johnson held out his right arm.
“I saw the ball hit outside the line, just foul,” the umpire would say later.
Jose Oquendo, the Cardinals third-base coach, saw something different. He saw what millions of viewers would see on replays: The ball nicked the outside of the foul line just beyond third base.
Beltran should have had a hit. The no-hit bid should have been over. Instead, Beltran grounded out on the next pitch, and Santana retired the next two batters to end the inning
@Bay State Librul: Maybe so, and the asterisk could link to the video of the blown call.
More perspective on the Gator no-hitter. There have only been 7 no-hitters in NCAA tourney history and only Florida has two of them–the most recent two. And on the night in 1991 when Florida threw the previous one, there also was a no-hitter in MLB.
@Jim White: That leaves five others; who are they?
Five. Now, normally, I would be pointing out that five is the number of NCAA Championships ASU has in baseball (I think the Gators have less); BUT, in fairness, I cannot do that while my team is BANNED from the damn tournament.
@bmaz: Complete list is at the bottom of this article: http://www.gatorzone.com/story.php?id=23251
No Forkers on that list.
Funny, no teams in the “criminal” SEC are banned from postseason baseball play this year. Maybe you can help the Forkers to read and understand the rules…
And if the Gators win the championship this year, that will make one…
Curt Schilling, Tim Thomas, and Roger Clemens….
The three biggest dickheads in Boston sports…
@Jim White: Heh, I have represented “student athletes” at ASU before, but in the basketball program, not baseball.
That last video in the post brings back some old memories from college. I was heading back to my room one Friday afternoon in the early spring, when I saw a friend of mine open up the window to his room, put his speakers on the window sill, and he cranked this song up as loud as he could.
He had just been dumped by his girlfriend — the latest in a string of guys dumped by the same girl.
His “homage” to his ex was later copied, and it became something of a rite of mourning on campus for other guys who got dumped. All spring long, you could hear that song being blasted out of someone’s window, often followed by a string of obscenities.
Ah, college memories . . .
@Peterr: It is one of the most classic songs in R & R history in my book. As much as I deeply love the original clean sound of the Zombies, I still kind of like the Santana version an awful lot too.
@bmaz: Agreed, all the way down the line. For that matter, it was the Santana version that most folks played out their windows. (It definitely lends itself more to the “blast it so loud they can hear it across campus” approach.)
@bmaz: You spend a good bit of time on the etiquette of wearing the 3-piece suit and the importance of standing up when that bailiff says “the defendant will please rise”, dontcha? D’you get to bill for that rehearsal time?
No trash from me today. Life is good. My niece graduated from UNR two weekends ago, and the light of my life graduated from HS last weekend. Since she’s still seventeen until July, this is for you, Princess
Edge of Seventeen
@scribe: Let us be crystal clear here: I have not (and would never consider) worn a three piece suit since I was about eight years old. Dunno about the east coast, but that just ain’t workin here on the west coast.
@JohnT: Congratulations and SALUTE!
My daughter is one year behind; just finished her junior year in HS wednesday and is off taking the SAT as we speak.
@bmaz: I wasn’t talking about what you’re wearing.
But it sure sounds like your ballplayer clients have that whole “the defendant will rise” down cold.
Sigh. Ivy Renfroe and the Tennessee Vols are done, taken out by the Ducks in an elimination game. LSU put South Florida out of the tournament in the early elimination game.
It’s looking like Miami may be the first #1 seed to go 1-2 BBQ in several years, down 12-2 in the 8th in an elimination game. Baylor may not be far behind them at their Jesus Regional in Waco (Baylor, Oral Roberts, Dallas Baptist and godless UT Arlington). Baylor and UTA are tied in the fifth in an elimination game.
@Jim White: Devils beat LSU today and are still alive. But have to beat Oklahoma twice tomorrow to get to the championship series. That is a big mountain to climb from what i saw of the Okies last night.
Great day for the SEC yesterday in baseball. There are 8 SEC teams in the tournament. On opening day Friday, they went 6-2. Both teams who lost Friday, Mississippi State and Kentucky, won elimination games yesterday, and all six teams who won Friday also won on Saturday, meaning six SEC teams are now in position of having two chances to win one game to advance to the super regionals. Three achieved that while hosting (Florida, South Carolina and LSU) and three did it by overcoming higher seeded hosts on the road (Vandy, Mississippi and Arkansas).
Florida’s game last night was exciting. Hudson Randall didn’t have his best stuff pitching but battled when it mattered. Georgia Tech and Florida were tied 1-1 in the bottom of the third. With two out and two on, Florida appeared to have struck out GT slugger Jake Davies (who has been the hottest hitter in the nation, hitting six home runs in the ACC tournament and the regional). Florida catcher Mike Zunino proudly displayed the ball to the home plate umpire, claiming he caught the foul tip. Davies maintained it hit the ground. The home plate umpire checked with the first base umpire (strange, since Davies is left handed), who agreed with Zunino that the ball didn’t hit the ground and the Gators headed for the dugout. Davies continued to argue, and after a very long delay, the second base umpire overruled and said the ball did indeed hit the ground. The booing by Gator fans was the loudest I have ever heard in Gainesville (the fact I have no voice this morning is COMPLETELY unrelated!), but they put the runners back on base and Davies back at the plate. After a ball and another foul, Randall then got the clean strike out (Davies wound up 0-4 on the night) to roaring approval. Zunino then led off the fourth with a massive home run to center, fanning even more fan frenzy and the Gators never looked back, winning 6-2 with Preston Tucker adding another massive home run that cleared the right field scoreboard by the largest amount I’ve seen there in the ninth inning (Gators were visitors after losing Friday’s coin flip) to open up what had been just a 4-2 game. [I learned later in the game from folks in contact with family at home who were watching on ESPN3 that the foul tip did indeed hit the ground, but the home plate umpire handled the situation very badly.]
Ironically, later in the game, Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall got himself ejected from the game for arguing with the same second base umpire who had given his slugger the second chance most folks felt he didn’t deserve. He was trying to claim Florida’s shortstop Nolan Fontana interfered with GT’s second baseman on a potential double play, but Fontana was merely sliding over the base and getting landed on after the second baseman leaped to catch an errant throw that went over his head. It’s hard to imagine why Hall was even upset about the play.
Via Twitter from Logan Morrison of the Miami Marlins, the zombie epidemic in Miami now includes gnomes:
Rut roh, Poway girl just missed a big pop up, allowing OK to go up by 3.
Is that Poway again??
Devils killing themselves. Ugh. Oh, and Oklahoma is good. Of well, buh bye WCWS.
Should have stuck with Hillary Bach instead of Escobedo; Bach was more reliable all year.
@emptywheel: There is gonna be hell to pay for this Poway!
@bmaz: Yup, 3rd base.
That said, I just realized, as I was telling Mr. EW about how Poway girl is screwing ASU, that she’s from Poway, but not necessarily from my high school, which sends students to two other high schools.
So maybe I’m not responsible. Also, I’m not from Poway, so I can’t be generally responsible.
Ah well, Steele just go tout of the way for Katelyn Boyd to field a pop, now that hit just got past Boyd inching towards 3rd. Now they’re overcompensating for Poway girl.
Should be an interesting night in Gainesville. Georgia Tech just eliminated College of Charleston and word is that Jake Davies will be the starting pitcher in this evening’s rematch. I’m expecting the Gator hecklers to be in fine form.
Mississippi State just became the first SEC team to be eliminated.
Forkers seem to be letting it slip away…
@emptywheel: Poway High Titans. Busted!
@bmaz: You would look that up, wouldn’t you?
Ah well, now we know who to blame the imminent ASU demise on.
Sometimes Poway grads work out for the state of AZ, sometimes they don’t, I guess.
Steele had plenty of help today. The Alabama deal is really the more disconcerting if you ask me. But both Alabama and Oklahoma are very worthy teams. As a team it looks like ASU is every bit as good as both of them on the whole, but games turn on small things at this level and the others have beat ASU at that. So be it.
Poway gets a hit!
@bmaz: Better watch out now or your Conference will be shut out of finals for the first time since Reagan.
@emptywheel: Yeah, I guess 23 out of last 30, and 9 out of last 10 championships is not too bad. And 10 out of those 23 championships are from the two Arizona schools. Will have to do until next year…..
@bmaz: Well, Dallas better work on her breaking pitch, bc these tops teams are willing to hit balls at the chin down for a hit.
College Rugby Sevens Championship on NBC right now.
Watching IndyCar Belle Isle race from Detroit. The streets are falling apart so bad that chunks are literally coming up from the surface asphalt and shunting drivers into walls. Jeebus.
It is so bad, the race has been red flagged and stopped while they determine whether the race can even be finished. #InfrastructureImportant
@bmaz: I see you’re doing anything to avoid watching the Pac 12 get eliminated?
@emptywheel: What? There is still softball on the TeeVee??
BTW, I’m hotter than Ivy Renfroe. A lot hotter since we’re in the stands at the Gainesville regional and she’s in the A/C somewhere. Someone should tell @JimWhite that playing “ivy” on me in Words with Friends between innings isn’t subtle….
@Mrs. JimWhite: SWEEEEET!
Battle of the White Roses!
Ryan calls it a “taffy pull”
Back and forth, nick and nat, upsies and downsies.
Wade misses a three to give the Celtics a V.
Can the veterans hold on?
“Well, that ump has a, ahem, shitty strike zone. I am sure that Mr. White will grant that argument in the Devil’s favor as much as he has used it against them. Cause he is fair!”
This is the game where the last Devil at bat was a strike out? All three strikes were outside, and the last one was high as well as outside. I suspect the umpire was experiencing an earnest call of nature, and needed the inning to end ASAP. No other justification that I can think of.
“Bama is good. They earned their win. ”
Bob in AZ