Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mr. Yuk, Pewamo-Westphalia, and Daniel Norris's van

Do you remember when Mr. Yuk was used as a sticker to indicate poison?  It turns out that the Pittsburgh Pirates might have had something to do with that.
Read this from Joe Posnanski on Louis Sockalexis, who gave the Cleveland Indians their name.
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In case you had not heard, the Boston Red Sox experimented with having their P.A. announcer declare balls and strikes in case fans were too wrapped up with their iPhones to pay attention.  (Literally, that's what the Red Sox said.  From executive vice president Dr. Charles Steinberg, "The unintended benefit that we saw today is that in our iPhone world, where your eyes are focusing on e-mails and texts, hearing the pitch and the count keep you posted and maybe your eyes go back up to the game when you hear it’s a full count."  Ah, those Boston fans and their short attention spans.)
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Hey, look -- it's Daniel Norris's van!
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Attribute - John Lott, National Post
Trivia question:  Which Scooby Doo character did Norris name his van after?  The answer is in Lott's excellent article, and it probably won't surprise you.
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Congratulations to the Pewamo-Westphalia boys basketball team, who shocked two-time defending state champion Flint Beecher and earned a ticket to Thursday's state semifinal at Breslin Center.  (P-W's a miracle team right now.  They were down by six to Shelby with 70 seconds to go, and down by seven to Beecher with 60 seconds to go, and won both games on a Nick Spitzley layup in the final five seconds.  Heart-stopping finishes, both.)
For those who are unaware, I broadcast Mid-Michigan high school football in autumn and high school basketball in winter for Big Country 92.1.  Pewamo-Westphalia High School is a senior-laden group out of the Central Michigan Athletic Conference playing in Class C, which lets you know how small the school is.  Their coach is Luke Pohl, who won his 300th game earlier this year.  (His postgame interviews recently have been a delight, a mixture of pride, joy, and astonishment as his team pulls out another victory.)  The star player is Spitzley, a 6'2 guard who is the school's all-time leading scorer, with over 1500 points to his name.  They play man-to-man defense for the full 32 minutes, denying the post, switching off screens, and it's a beautiful thing to watch.
In the regular season, they blew teams out by 40 or 50 points.  In the playoffs, they've won classics.  Up next:  Muskegon Heights in the state semifinal, led by star guards Eddie Tornes and Aaron Sydnor.  (The other side of the bracket features the looming presence of Detroit Consortium and superstar sophomore Josh Jackson.)
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Jake Marisnick went 3-for-5 yesterday for the Marlins, and is now batting a robust .375 in 14 spring games.  Here's hoping he keeps it up once the real season starts.
Aaron Sanchez has worked seven scoreless innings for the Blue Jays in spring training, striking out six while walking just three.  That sort of success has some folks thinking of an accelerated trip to the Majors for Sanch.  (Some folks = me.)
Meanwhile, Drew Hutchison has struck out 16 batters while allowing only three runs in 9.2 Grapefruit League innings.  Translation:  Hand him a Blue Jays starting rotation slot.
Noah Syndergaard was sent down to minor league camp by the Mets after surrendering five runs on five hits and five walks in 8.2 innings.  (He also struck out 10.)  Sub-head:  "If he succeeds in Triple-A, will likely be promoted in June or July."  Ooooh.
Happy day between the "first round of the NCAA tournament" and the real first round of the NCAA tournament!

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