Holt: UW softball needs to lose to improve

first_imgWell, I guess it’s that time again. The Badger Herald sports department is pleased to bring you its obligatory “bash the UW softball team column,” courtesy of yours truly.Two years ago, the Badgers limped to a program-record for losses, with a 15-40 mark. That stunning .231 winning percentage is actually a bit better than UW softball’s inaugural season, where it played .223 ball with a 14-39-1 record.It didn’t seem like Wisconsin could do any worse than that. Winning less than 25 percent of your games is no small feat when you’re a Big Ten school.Surely they couldn’t do any worse, right?Apparently someone shared that sentiment with head coach Chandelle Schulte and the Badgers, who responded with a resounding, “challenge accepted!”My tenure as softball beat writer covered the 2009 season, which astoundingly matched that 15-40 record. I saw every kind of loss: Blowouts at the hands of Northern Iowa; bad-luck wind that pushed every Notre Dame ball out of the park and kept every Wisconsin ball in the air long enough for an outfielder to get under it; UW lost on a play at the plate against Illinois and was screwed over by a bad call in extra innings against Ohio State.The Badgers seemed to find every possible way to lose. It was almost poetic in a way, like variations on the story of Romeo and Juliet: You know they die in the end, it’s just a matter of how.But this year was supposed to be different. UW had big recruits coming in, game-changers. The kind of players you can build around, that would make an immediate impact. The future is bright and all that junk.Nevermind, I guess.It’s not that the players are terrible. A look at the stat sheet seems to indicate improvement. Freshman Molly Spence is hitting .379/.448/.650 with six home runs and 23 RBIs to lead the team. Classmate Shannel Blackshear has four homers and 21 RBIs, while fellow freshman Whitney Massey has a respectable .290/.393/.460 line and two home runs.The Badgers had 12 total home runs last season.Wisconsin is hitting .261 as a team, good for seventh in the Big Ten. Last year’s squad hit a miniscule .214, had just a .282 on-base percentage and actually slugged less than that, at a .275 mark. The Badgers have already scored 141 runs, compared to 114 last season.So why then, at 11-25, is Wisconsin almost no better off than it was at this point last season? Pitching might be the problem.Wisconsin is dead last in the conference in ERA, with a 4.77 team mark. Letty Olivarez’ 3.55 ERA would be decent — if this were baseball. In softball, true aces tend to have ERAs lower than 2.25, with Michigan sending out two of the best in the nation, with Jordan Taylor and Nikki Nemitz owning 1.27 and 1.66 marks, respectively.To put it into perspective, seven Big Ten teams have lower ERAs than UW’s senior pitcher. Fourteen other Big Ten pitchers that regularly start games have lower ERAs than Olivarez, who has given up 80 earned runs along with 80 walks.And Olivarez is the bright spot on the UW pitching staff, which doesn’t bode well for the future. Junior Kristyn Hansen and freshman Meghan McIntosh have ERAs of 7.99 and 7.56 in 16 and 20 appearances respectively.The two are third and second-to-last in the conference in earned run average.But despite better hitting and comparable fielding to last season, Wisconsin is primed for disappointment for the third year in a row. The question is, will it be the same kind of disappointment, namely, 40-loss disappointment?I can only hope so.But the Badgers — who need to go 2-15 the rest of the season to match that now-hallowed mark of futility — sadly, might not make it there. Outside of Big Ten play, UW gets Northern Illinois (18-24), South Dakota (12-25-1) and North Dakota (12-28).Chances are UW at least splits those three series, despite my fervent hopes to the contrary.Now why, why would I root against the Badgers, who have a chance to glean something positive as a team out of this season? I don’t hold any grudges against Schulte or her players, so why would I pray for the trifecta of 40-loss seasons?Sometimes you have to burn down the forest before it can re-grow.I don’t know what it will take to turn this program around. Maybe Wisconsin needs a new coach, maybe it needs new players, maybe it just needs to stop trying. But even if UW finishes the season on its current pace, it will still have just a 16-37 record.That’s improvement, but remember, five games were rained out. This club still looks years from even approaching a .500 season.If the program truly wants to turn itself around there are going to have to be big changes and lots of them. But if Schulte and the Badgers display these miniscule improvements, the illusion of progress might be made, and years from now we’ll look back and realize the program just treaded murky, mediocre water.So root, root, root for the home team — if they don’t lose, it’s a shame. Because maybe it’s one, two, three strikes and you’re out — and the club can get a truly fresh start.Adam is a junior majoring in journalism. What’s really wrong with the softball team, and what will it take to fix it? E-mail him at [email protected]last_img read more

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Cueball’s blog: The importance of Christmas was never more apparent this year

first_img Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (11) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. -16 Vote up Vote down cgilbert · 293 weeks ago That’s the problem with a “news outlet” where a single person is writer, contributor, editor. No checks or balances. We get what *that person* deems newsworthy, tasteful, pertinent. And we get his opinions, both in terms of what is published, it’s angle, and his censorship of comments. What we have is a well-meaning fellow imposing *his* way of thinking via e-media in a town dreadfully devoid of other options. A fellow who has had difficulty working within the “constraints” of an organized paper in the past, who now has nobody now to overrule him. Report Reply 2 replies · active 293 weeks ago +25 Vote up Vote down Home Town Boy · 293 weeks ago cgilbert I have to differ with you on no one can over rule cue, We the public do not have to visit this site if we feel it is not worthy of visiting. I love what Tracy is doing for the community and using his experience in journalism to bring us the best he can with what he has to work with. Thanks again Tracy for having this site for us. Report Reply 0 replies · active 293 weeks ago +18 Vote up Vote down Satisfied Reader · 293 weeks ago cgilbert I don’t think you are being fair. I would agree with you if Cue did not allow the public to post on his site differing opinions. I have disagreed with him several times and he sure does post my reply word for word. So while a person may feel he is pushing a certain agenda you certainly have the freedom here to post the opposing view. You can also talk to him face to face if you feel he is wrong. And lastly if you feel the newscow is so out of touch you have the freedom to not punch it up on your computer screen. Keep up the good work Tracy. I look forward to agreeing and at times disagreeing with you and letting you know both! Report Reply 0 replies · active 293 weeks ago +3 Vote up Vote down crusader pride · 293 weeks ago Cgilbert..you say it is a one sided reporters slanted view…ok..when was the last time the Wellington Wednesday, Wichita Eagle or any of the three stations in Wichita sent more than one reporter to cover an event. So basically your getting the same one sides slanted view from that reporter. One thing nice is Tracy is local and knows people. Do I think at times he is full of it and we disagree…absolutely..but like one person said do you agree with all media reports..no. Tracy seen that Wellington and Sumner County was lacking for local news. He has provided a service backed by local advertisers to bring that local news to us…if you don’t like it don’t log on. You basically gave your one sided slanted view and it seems everyone disagrees with you… Report Reply 0 replies · active 293 weeks ago 0 Vote up Vote down cgilbert · 293 weeks ago OK, I can take the criticism. I understand and support the differing opinions. My intent was not to say that he’s not providing a good service, here. I just don’t espouse, as do most media, the notion that one guy should be writer, sole contributor, editor, and jury when it comes to content. The posting of the terrifying 911 call before the child was even laid to rest was, in many opinions, very poor taste and using the “the Eagle did it first…” as an excuse is “weak speak” for “I want web site hits too!” Running police notes about burned out headlights is another one – this practice has no value and does not “deter crime” — it just feeds the gossipy. Thank you for not culling my posts on this matter. Report Reply 1 reply · active 293 weeks ago -3 Vote up Vote down voodoo child · 293 weeks ago Okay, so Eddie Shaw had his moments I am sure. No harm no foul life go’s on and as long as your fair nobody can stand flat footed look you in the headlines and *****. Report Reply 0 replies · active 293 weeks ago +3 Vote up Vote down WHS73 · 293 weeks ago Hmmm. I remember a front page article in the Daily News that appeared probably 30 years ago. It was a report on an apparent suicide that said the name couldn’t be released until family had been notified. And then the article went on to say, “It is rumored” followed by the man’s name. Now how did that pass the editor’s scrutinizing eye? It’s the kind of reporting Sumner Newscow seems to be avoiding with the proverbial 10-foot pole. I doubt we’ll see an “it’s been rumored”here. And I, for one, am grateful. Report Reply 0 replies · active 293 weeks ago +1 Vote up Vote down MJE · 293 weeks ago Cgilbert has a point. I don’t mean about the release of the 911 call- I think that has news value. But when one person is the editor, publisher, and only reporter, how can you offer comprehensive and complete news coverage? Sumner Newscow’s coverage does tend to be uneven. There’s is extensive coverage of school sports, but significantly less coverage of some other school activities. There is lots of coverage of Wellington, but much less of other Sumner County communities. Wellington City Council and meetings are covered, but not those of other Sumner County cities or the county commission. Sure, the guy paying for the webhosting gets to decide what to post, but I’m sure Tracy wants to produce the best news site he can. Report Reply 0 replies · active 293 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments 1. The need for Christmas …This past week was not a hopping one on the news front. We shopped, we wrapped, we met friends and relatives we haven’t seen in awhile, we talked, we reacquainted ourselves with loved ones in different towns and cities. But we didn’t do anything really newsworthy.That’s great, because the week before was one of the most stunning news weeks in Wellington history that included the murder of a 10-year-old boy, and a personal tragedy of a well known young man.This holiday season was bittersweet. Christmas is not only a time to remember the birth of Christ, but it is about our renewal of hope within ourselves. Tragedy struck so quickly and stunningly in the heart of the Christmas season this year in Wellington, that it made it difficult to do that.But for me, the holiday couldn’t have come at a better time. It was much needed therapy. We need Christmas — not just for the gifts we buy, the eggnog we may drink, the food we eat, or the activities we share. We need it to remind ourselves that is OK to love one another.Like the carol says: Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year — especially if we allow it to be. 3. The 911 call… Perhaps the most agonizing decision I made last week was whether or not I should link the Blansett 911 call that evening on this site. This is the one time I’m glad to have comrades in the media business.Emergency 911 calls are open record, and there was immediate discussion with my Winfield partner on whether or not to proceed with obtaining that information. My dilemma was whether it served any purpose at the time for the public at large to listen to the 911 tape and if it would be insensitive and callous for Sumner Newscow to do so.However, KSN-TV, Channel 3 in Wichita would be the first to release the tape publicly on that Wednesday. The Wichita Eagle followed suit, and by Friday other media outlets had done the same. Whether Newscow would release the 911 tape became a moot point since it was about everywhere else. I decided to link it from the You Tube page made by the Wichita Eagle on Friday afternoon.It received little reaction. By that point it appeared the public was oversaturated with murder news and was jaded from a wearisome week.Ultimately, I would have sought the tape had no one else done so. But it was more a case of timing for me. My preference was to wait until the holiday season was over and give us enough time where we could sit down and legitimately look at this particular aspect of the story more objectively.The Wichita media, on the other hand, was quick to get it out into the open. Again, it was another one of those ethical dilemmas where there are no right or wrong reasons.Now do I believe such tapes should be available to the public? Absolutely. The fact Ms. Blansett was the actual person to make the phone call means everything in this case and by making this public clears up a lot of rumors and innuendos.And I have always believed, that reporting truth serves a community a greater purpose in this age of massive distribution of misinformation.4. The Interview… Ratcheting this column way down, The Interview, the controversial movie starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, was released this week after initially being banned because of  threats and computer hacking by North Korea operatives.The movie was released online Christmas Day through digital streaming and a few independent movie houses are now showing it. So far no theater in the Wichita area is showing the flick. It was rather a passive-aggressive approach by Sony Pictures, who looked like dunces through the whole controversy.I told Wellington Regent Theater manager Jerry Fike the other day when the complete ban of the movie was in effect, he needed to find a bootleg copy or find a movie insider that could supply a digital copy so he could be the only theater in America to show the film. Not only could we get Fox News and CNN reporters to come down to our humble community but it would be intriguing to see how much Fike could charge customers who “had” to see this movie.A couple of days ago, I was all worked up about censorship and the wusses who own the theaters. Now my feelings have evolved.The reviews are just coming in and the movie appears to be a dud — with uninspiring writing and acting. It really isn’t that funny.That is ironic because the reality surrounding the movie is hysterical. 2. Why we do what we do…Caleb BlansettThe murder of Caleb Chad Blansett came with many ethical questions I grappled with as a news reporter. My biggest dilemma was what constituted news and what was unnecessary sensationalism.I hope people have come to realize my goal for this website is to record an accurate historical account of the happenings of Sumner County in a timely fashion. It is also a goal to provide in-depth information that you won’t find elsewhere. With the Blansett story, that is nearly impossible because the Wichita media have descended in full force this past two weeks to our community for this tragic story.For the most part, the media have done pretty well telling the story. But I beg to differ on how they have handled the social worker aspect of the story and whether this constitutes as pertinent news.Although I have addressed this before, I’d like to reiterate my position. The Kansas Department of Children and Families had been working with the Blansett family for three years and had visited the family four times according to media reports.But there is no evidence that has been made publicly that the KDCF did anything wrong or if those visits is even relevant to the crime at hand. It might be. It might not. These visits could be the crux of the legal case in the trial of Lindsey Nicole Blansett. But as of Sunday, Dec. 28, we don’t know that to be true, and neither does any other news outlet.The KDCF can’t defend itself because the subject matter on the Blansett cases are sealed to the public, which they ought to be. Therefore, what took place in those private sessions is not for public consumption and is sure in the heck not for media speculation.Sumner Newscow will aggressively report this story. But it is not going to feature speculative news.center_img 5. Shout out of the week…This week’s shout out goes out to my family who spent the bulk of Christmas Day in a car. We woke up early to get to eastern Colorado — a 6.5 hour drive from Wellington — to celebrate Christmas with my mom and dad and family, only to get squeamish about an incoming snowstorm, and return to Wellington that very night.All told we spent 13 hours of driving in a 20-hour span.A family picture of the McCues on their way to Colorado for Christmas dinner.And all I could do is smile. We spent countless quality time with one another in the car. I got to visit with my sibling and saw their families for the first time in over a year, and it was just a great, great time.Christmas is indeed the most wonderful time of the year.Follow us on Twitter. Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Five Cueball thoughts for Sunday, Dec. 18, 2014…last_img read more

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