sports

Baseball chatter with Jim On Things podcast

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I don’t write about baseball as much as I once did, and that means I don’t talk about it on radio or podcasts as much either. So I was grateful when Jim Irizarry invited me on his new podcast, Jim On Things, to talk about the upcoming MLB season and baseball’s woefully slow offseason.

You can listen to the show below, at the Jim On Things website, or through just about every podcast provider available, including Anchor FM, which I’m eager to learn about from Jim. We recorded the show via Zencastr, which provided some excellent sound (maybe too good, when you hear me loudly draw in a breath frequently).

https://anchor.fm/jimonthings/embed/episodes/7—Requiem-for-the-Hot-Stove-e37rab/a-aaj23d

Next time, maybe we’ll get into some of MLB’s proposed rules changes. And of course, we’ll have actual baseball to talk about in a couple of months. Or I’ll try to add to whatever stress Jim is experiencing about his upcoming wedding.

It was always great fun with Jim and Craig Williams (who I knew from one of his previous radio gigs) on their Maximus and the Bartender podcast talking baseball and pop culture. I could talk to those guys for nearly an hour and it felt like 10 minutes. I was bummed out when they had to shutter the show, but I certainly understand when life takes precedence over fun and hobbies, and they had to move on. I’m glad to hear Jim get back in the ring, though.

As someone who’s tried his hand at podcasting and may want to expand what I’m doing there, I’ll be following Jim to see what he does with his new show — not just in terms of content, but distribution. It gets easier each day to find a podcast and listen to it on whatever device you choose. Jim’s not trying to fit in a niche; he just wants to talk about whatever is on his mind and tell stories from his life. I’m intrigued by that.

sports

Michigan’s loss to Ohio State was humiliating, but Jim Harbaugh isn’t a failure

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I don’t know if this goes for most sports fans, but I never feel sillier as a human being than when one of my teams takes a really bad loss. (A visit from my little nieces provided a quick and very welcome change-up that prevented me from spending the rest of the afternoon in a dour stupor.) Man, was I evaluating my choices in life after Ohio State annihilated Michigan on Saturday, 62-39.

Though I believed this was the year when the Wolverines would finally break the chokehold the Buckeyes held them in during the past 14 years, feeling that Michigan was the better team and Ohio State was reeling, I was prepared for the possibility of losing. The game was in Columbus. Urban Meyer always has his team ready to play Michigan.

Yes, I would’ve been upset, given what was at stake for Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines. This was the year that Harbaugh lived up to his hype, showing the nation why it was such a big deal for him to return to Ann Arbor. If Michigan couldn’t beat Ohio State this year, when was it going to happen? Yet I told myself I could’ve lived with a close loss — after getting over the disappointment.

But to lose by 23 points (with the Buckeyes once holding a 30-point lead)? To be outmatched in every aspect of the game?

Where was the offense that dominated with the power running game and quarterback Shea Patterson making big throws and surprising runs? How could a dominant defense not put any pressure on Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins? What happened to Chase Winovich, Rashan Gary and Devin Bush? Why does this coaching staff never seem to make adjustments on either side of the ball? It often feels like Harbaugh and his staff decide on a game plan — run the ball up the middle, play man-to-man defense — and stick to it, no matter how the game is developing.

Considering that Michigan was poised to qualify for the College Football Playoff and contend for a national championship (OK, they would’ve lost to Alabama), it could certainly be argued that this was the most disappointing defeat the program has ever suffered. Yes, the 2007 loss to Appalachian State was worse because Michigan wasn’t expected to lose and never should’ve lost such a game. But 11 years later, I think the gap has closed between the elite and lower-tier college football programs.

Saturday’s disaster was certainly the worst loss of the Jim Harbaugh era. Any delusions Michigan fans held about finally reaching Ohio State’s level among the top teams in the country were demolished. If it wasn’t already clear that Meyer is a better coach than Harbaugh, this game proved so emphatically. Meyer gets Ohio State prepared for this game and puts them in a position to win. Harbaugh coaches conservatively, as if he’s afraid of losing, and that makes his players tight.

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