Michigan named defenseman Mark Mitera team captain for the hockey team. Bryan and Packer at mgoblog and the blog that yost built both seem to think this is a good idea, i on the other hand do not. I think that Mitera is not a captain quality player because he does not lead by example, the biggest issue for him is puck handling, he has never seemed comfortable handling the puck in his own zone and leading his team out to the attack from the defensive position, something that guys like Chris Summers and Scooter Vaughn do regularly. He also doesn't get down and block shots like the rest of the team, reminiscent of a problem Jack Johnson had while still playing for Michigan. But of course the biggest problem i have with Mark Mitera is own goals, if he played for the Colombian national soccer team he would have been dead before the end of the season. Two own goals in consecutive weeks, one of them costing the team their big rivalry game against Michigan State. It's just unacceptable in my opinion.
Speaking of State....
The Wolverine baseball team crushed the Spartans at Fisher Stadium this past sunday 27-6 to complete a four game sweep. More importantly, there were at least 2,600 fans at both of the games in Ann Arbor. This should really help Rich Maloney's case for getting Ann Arbor to host an NCAA regional should Michigan make the tournament, i interviewed Maloney before the season started for the Daily and he told me that one of the reasons why they renovated the Fish was so that they could host a regional. The fact that they came within a game of making it to Omaha last year also buoyed hopes as well.
"If we had the Super Regional at Michigan last year it would have been a dream come true," Maloney said. "Our goal has always been making it to Omaha, but this past year, because we came so close, we actually started to believe it."
"We're trying to play as competitive a schedule as our travel limitations will allow us to and that will speak volumes to the NCAA selection committee."
One of the things that he also talked about that day was that only three teams who have made it to the CWS after not hosting an NCAA regional or super regional. Maloney's guys have been making strides lately, drawing 1,000+ for both games of a series vs. Eastern Michigan right after the end of classes. One of the games was a night game as was the game this past friday at the Fish. Clearly night games are going to attract more fans, but will it get them into the clear? The jury is still out.
One thing to remember here is that Fisher Stadium is designed to hold 4,000 people and this past weekend less than 70 percent of the stadium was filled, in academic terms the athletic department is getting a D in their attempts to fill the stands at baseball games. Still if Michigan wins the Big Ten regular season title, they will play the Big Ten tournament at the Fish and that would undoubtedly draw a lot of fans, if not sell the place out. If the Fish sells out and Michigan wins the Big Ten tournament there, then you can punch the ticket for Ann Arbor hosting an NCAA baseball tournament regional.
Hosting these things is key as Mark Rosen, the volleyball coach who hosted a regional at Crisler this past season, will tell you:
"We don't have to travel, and we get more practice time this week. It'll be fun to have our home crowd, and it'll be fun for the players to have their family and friends here to support them."
And when you don't have to travel the jet lag factor that often contributes in losing goes way down.
p.s. i tried that at the baseball game when State swapped pitchers, didn't seem to catch on all that well.