Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tek won't make the switch from switch

Today, in the world of sports, everyone’s an expert. That’s why talk radio exists. That’s why the blog era has flourished faster Al Gore’s Internet itself.

Me, I’m no expert, either. Perhaps a budding expert in the realm of Wisconsin football, but only because I was the beat writer, not merely because I’ve watched every game and discussed them at every local bar since setting foot in Madison two and a half years ago.

No, I’m no Red Sox expert, just a fan. But I do know one thing. I have a keen sense for moronic suggestions. It can’t tell the difference from certain aromas, but my nose can detect ignorance from quite a distance. So allow me to clear one thing up, something that’s been bothering me for a few days now.

During my infrequent visits home to the Northeast, I enjoy listening to WEEI sports talk radio. Sometimes callers make decent, head nod-worthy points, but most of the time the nodding comes of the horizontal variety on my part. Especially when it comes to recent Jason Varitek talks.

No, this isn’t another Scott Boras barrage and I’m not campaigning for the Sox to resign their captain – although I think they should. This is specifically about his hitting.

After batting a dismal .220 last season, many fans believe Captain Tek should strictly bat from the right side and forgo the trade of switch hitting. He has, of course, consistently had a higher batting average from the right side of the plate during his career, so why not make the switch from switch? After all, then “he would only have to focus on one side,” I’ve heard. Sounds easy enough, right?

Right. The guy’s been switch hitting since before his days at Georgia Tech with Nomah. He hasn’t seen a curveball or slider break away from him since grade school. Changeups have consistently tailed away from – not toward him for decades.

Varitek may or may not be donned in a Boston uniform come next month. But one thing is for sure: No. 33 will continue to hit from both sides of the plate. “Focusing on one side” would be like telling Phil Mickelson to bury his driver. Sure, he put more than a handful in the woods, but the phrase “lay up” isn’t part of his non-basketball routine. Just like Varitek isn’t about to learn to hang in there on a hook headed for his left ear that ends up on the outside corner.

Strictly batting righty wouldn’t make things easier for Tek, it would be putting the training wheels back on at the tail end of a storied, two-ring career.

Come on Sox Nation, you should know better than that.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Deep into my archives

This blog was started in May of 2008 and has links to all of my Badger Herald articles since. Here are the links to my Herald articles (those that are still working, which is most) that were printed prior to the development of this site, so now everything can be found in one place (organized by genre first, then date; most recent on top):

Big Ten Media Day 2008 Coverage:

Unanswered questions, unfinished business

Spread invades Big Ten


Quick tips for incoming frosh

Zetlin ponders NBA 'what ifs?' (in no way trying to emulate Bill Simmons)

Sports not life or death, unlike Iraq

Kickers provide serious concern

Madison in need of baseball team

Keys to Badgers' football success

Fans can't forget life before Curry

Stop whining, just win games

No more waiting: It's madness time

Attention: Beware of Ryan's Badgers

IU team sends wrong message

Sports' bad boys need punishing

Butch should play more down stretch

Line dominance wins NFL games

Play of Hughes vital for success

Identity needed over offseason

Tiger over Federer in best-ever debate

Spring 2008 Football Coverage:

Starting quarterback job still up in air

Fans get first look at UW

Injured starters give chance for reserves

Receiver spots wide open

Badgers kick off spring practices

Football Features:

Too much of a good thing?

Big men on campus

Under the radar

Kohl Center Feature:

Converting the Kohl

Gridiron Columns (College Football 2007):

BCS Top 2 intact; who's No. 3?

Cinderellas fly under national radar

Senior quarterbacks show potential

USC loss keeps upset train rolling

The year of the upset

Next in line shine under spotlight

Men's Basketball Coverage (Fall 2007):

UW takes Youth Classic

Volleyball News:

UW to host 2007 regionals

Women's Basketball Coverage (2006-07):

Anderson gets last laugh over WKU's Kelly

Stone reaches UW status

Comeback kids: UW erases deficit to win

UW avoids 'one and done' week to advance to WNIT quarterfinals

UW looks to calm Wildcats

No rust in Badgers' WNIT victory

UW says goodbye to tournament bye

No vacation for Wisconsin

41's wild: Anderson, Purdue's Gearlds have day

Tale of 2 games: UW defeats IU

Home at last: UW returns to Kohl Center

Promotion draws big crowd, energy

Pendulum swings Badgers way

Stone raises roof

Buckeyes seek to hold onto Big Ten supremacy

UW foes not too close comfort

Great Dane! UW blows out Albany

Unified Badgers off to hottest start under coach Stone

Stone relying on talented rookies

Badgers rebound against Kansas

'Team Unity' has new feeling in young season

Badgers buck Broncos in nail-biter

Badgers relying on freshman class

Badgers relying on 8 freshmen

Women's Basketball Features:

Money in the 'Banks' for UW

Wisconsin's short but sweet freshman

Women's Hockey Feature (Fall 2006):

Sextet of freshman skaters excel early