Baseball beckons

By Brady Fredericksen | 3/23/11 9:03pm


There may not be a better smell than that of freshly cut grass and chalk. No offense to your Mom’s famous lasagna, but when I smell grass and chalk, I know it’s time for baseball – the best time of the year.

Almost everyone likes baseball. You get free reign to swing a heavy wooden stick around while attempting to hit the crap out of the ball. It’s not only our national pastime, but it’s also a heck of a stress reliever.

Playing catch with Dad is what everyone did growing up, and how many of you have played street baseball by assigning bases as a sewer top, stop sign, single roller blade and small child.

The best thing about baseball is that it’s so easily accessible. You can just walk to campus to check out the GLIAC-leading men’s baseball and women’s softball teams.

Did you know sophomore softball pitcher/designated player Katie Martin is the reigning GLIAC Freshman of the Year? Not only does she sport a microscopic 1.77 ERA, but she’s also slugged 11 home runs in just 17 games.

That’s one long ball every five at-bats, partner. On top of her offense, she can shut teams down from the mound. Eat your heart out Ryan Howard.

On the grassy diamond, you have a baseball team that’s just been voted as the GLIAC favorites in the first coaches’ poll of the season. The team is also ranked fourth overall nationally.

Not to be outdone by his softball-pitching counterpart, GVSU junior righty Kyle Schepel has gotten out to a blazing start this season. Schepel, who has a team-high 20 strikeouts, has allowed only a single earned run in 18 innings.

He’s like Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn at the end of Major League – minus the whole “crazy-Charlie Sheen-winning” thing.

While talking baseball, we can’t forget the pros, and that means the suddenly-contending Detroit Tigers. It seems like just yesterday when those striped felines were being led to a historically bad 43 wins by the duo of Dmitri Young and Bobby Higginson.

This season’s team has something many teams in the past haven’t had: expectations. And high ones at that.

Additions like All-Star catcher Victor Martinez and reliever Joaquin Benoit will be counted on to fill some of the holes that plagued the team in the second half of last season.

The thing about this year’s team is that it doesn’t have many gaping holes. Sure, the situation in right field is a bit shaky with Brennan “Wait, you catch the ball with your glove?” Boesch and Ryan “I don’t remember how to hit until July” Raburn, but that’s always addressable, right?

Obviously the whole Miguel Cabrera DUI situation is a bit shaky, but imagine if the big man somehow gained a Josh Hamilton-like offensive boost from cutting out partying?

Actually don’t imagine that, your head might explode.

The only thing that’ll stop this team from playing to its potential is the manager. Jim Leyland has shown he knows how to win games in June, but until his teams gain some sort of late season composure – they went 33-42 after the All-Star Break last season – these Tigers are going to be just like every other Tigers’ team.

Disappointing.

bfredericksen@lanthorn.com

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