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Ball State Sunday News and Notes, The Royal Rumble Edition

Royal_Rumble_2011.2

A BSU Royal Rumble? All my money would be on Sean Baker.

It’s Royal Rumble night at OTP Manor and the one night of the year when friends and folks gather to throwback behavior and passions to a simpler time when all we cared about was getting the newest Trapper Keepers or what was going to happen on the next GI Joe. If you listen to the OTPcast, you know that Jason calls fans of professional wrestling “booger eaters” and the “lowest common denominator” of society. I can say with absolute certainty I don’t eat anything from my nose and there’s bound to be lower forms of existence than getting together with several buddies, drinking too much beer, and tossing out 80s catchphrases from our favorite wrestlers gone by.

I did get to thinking though that if BSU athletics had a Royal Rumble, I’m not sure who I would put as the favorite. If we limited it to current athletes only, I’d say Nick Miles would be my selection. If we open it up to alumni, I’d have to go with Sean Baker. The Souleater knows no quit, and he would be damn near impossible to eliminate. Jason Whitlock would be up there as well, as Rashiki was a real pain in the ass to dump over the top rope too. I’d watch.

Should a Cardinal Royal Rumble ever exist, and I nominate myself and Chris Ulm to coordinate, the amount of funds raised would be HUGE. And speaking of huge funds raised, the Cardinal Commitment Campaign has surpassed its goal of $20M by $600k. While I’d like to say I’m taking some of the credit because of stories we ran, segments on the OTPcast we did, or the fact that a fraternity brother was the chair of the campaign, ALL the credit should go to Cardinal nation for stepping up and putting their money where their mouth is in relation to overall program success. For a lot of years, I’ve heard fans of multiple sports bemoan the lack of champagne results while through a lack of support forcing the U to operate athletics on a beer budget, so it is awesome that friends of the feather stepped up and made this happen.

Some other news from around the Nest…

NewsNotesLogoThe men’s basketball team lost a conference home game to Kent State on Saturday to drop them to 7-10 on the season and 2-4 in the MAC. I am by no means an expert on MAC basketball and frankly, haven’t been exceptionally well versed about BSU’s basketball program since the days of Ray McCallum and Tim Buckley, but it seems like the Coach Whitford era in Muncie perhaps had an even lower starting point than people thought. It appears to my exceptionally untrained eye that this may be yet another in the “prepping for next year” train of experiential learning. Perhaps we can sneak Brian Burns, Theron Smith, Petey Jackson and Matt McCollum back for a few games. I doubt anyone would notice. Right?

NewsNotesLogoThe women’s basketball team also fell on Saturday in their home contest against MAC East leader Ohio 60-53. The Cards sit at 9-9 overall and 5-2 in MAC play, so there is not only a ton of season left, there’s also well-placed belief that the Cards are capable of a post-season appearance and/or run. So that’s some good in an otherwise pretty suck BSU athletics news.

NewsNotesLogoIn what’s more negative news but sprinkled with at least a little bit of optimism, the Cardinals gymnastics squad did lose their MAC opener to CMU, but did score a season high total score in the process. They also set season-high event scores on the vault, the floor exercise, and the bars. I set some high scores in bars at my time at BSU, but I’m fairly positive that this score isn’t about Golden Tee. The Gym Cards are back in action Feb 2 when they travel to Southern Utah.

NewsNotesLogoWomen’s tennis also lost on Saturday, a home contest against Wright State 4-3. Nos. 1 and 2 singles, Courtney Wild and Bethany Moore both picked up wins and are both 2-0 on the season. Well done! Collegiate tennis doesn’t get a ton of publicity or eyes, but it’s really enjoyable. I’d strongly suggest you check out a match if you can. On the men’s side of the tennis ledger, the men’s team dropped two matches to Wisconsin-Green Bay and Illinois this weekend, but Lucas Anderson/Patrick Elliott and Ray Leonard/Andrew Stutz won 1 and 2 doubles respectively, and Anderson won #2 singles. Someone will at some point have to explain to me how collegiate tennis is scored, as it appears 8 matches were completed, but only 7 points were awarded between BSU and UW-GB. Math on a Sunday, or any day really, is not my strongest suit.

NewsNotesLogoIn case you were unaware, it’s men’s volleyball season and your Cardinals have started 2015 with quite the bang, losing only their first match of the season on Friday at Harvard, and rising to #14 in the national rankings. Admittedly, I know nothing about volleyball other than the volleyball players I lived behind in grad school were fun to hang out with. However, even with limited knowledge I can assume that the aura of Harvard carries over to their volleyball team. I would imagine it’s a whole court full of Winklevoss twins, and those guys were yutzes. The Cards did rebound on Saturday and sweep Sacred Heart, so the victory train is rolling once again. Toot chirpin’ toot, indeed. You can catch the Cardinal volleyballers in conference action at Worthen Arena on Friday against Quincy.

NewsNotesLogoIn continuing good Cardinal news, the women’s swimming and diving team got the win Friday against Milwaukee 128-114. Along the way of the double dual meet, the Cardinals posted 14 top three finishes and four event wins. Ever since we had Friend of the Pylon and coach Nick Gayes on, we’ve had a special place in our heart for the Pool Cards. The final women’s swimming and diving home match of the season was Saturday against Miami, a 186-111 win for the Red Hawks.

So, some ups, some downs, but some giant news about improving the infrastructure of Cardinal athletics and the experience of student athletes on campus. Today, much like yesterday was and tomorrow will be, is still a great day to be a Cardinal!

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Wrigley Field Wants Humpday Ball State News and Notes

Wrigley FieldIf you are like me, most of your friends in the business or advertising industry who didn’t end up in Indy ended up in Chicago. For residents of the Windy City or fans the world over of the loveable losers from the Northside, today your Twitter timeline or Facebook newsfeed will be loaded full of celebratory messages for Wrigley Field, home of the Cubs, which celebrates the 100th anniversary of the first baseball game played there today. I think it’s weird to celebrate a building’s “birthday”. A maternal building did not squat down and birth it. No, the Chicago leaders in the fast food of the time and a fish wholesaler brought it to fruition. Two dudes. Wrigley Field had two dads. How progressive! Surprised they didn’t locate the park in Boystown, but I digress.

As a fan of the Yankees and a former resident of the DC/Baltimore corridor, I’ve been quite fortunate to be able to enjoy some modern marvels of ballparks in my time. The new Nationals Stadium and new Yankee Stadium have set the benchmark for innovation, luxury, and amenities, a crown they took from Oriole Park at Camden Yards. But there’s just something about Wrigley Field. Granted, the park itself is a dump, there isn’t plush premium seating options, an outfield sky bar, craft beers throughout, or delicacies like sushi or crab pretzels, but Wrigley is baseball the way baseball was always meant to be.

If my grandfather came back today, he’d just shake his head and walk out of these fancy modern parks with their automation, innovation, and integration. He’d walk out and long for a better day when you wore a fedora to the park, got a good old-fashioned American hot dog made of pig lips and intestines, and had lukewarm American beer. Then he’d go looking for brains to eat because he’d be a zombie if he was out walking around. So there’s that. But happy “birthday” to Wrigley Field. On to the news and notes…

NewsNotesLogoFantastic piece from Ben Breiner at The Star Press about Coach Pete Lembo’s headware decision for Saturday’s Spring Game. Though CPL’s sartorial choices are usually not fodder for press clippings, the connection that he is attempting to foster between the Muncie community is hopefully a long-lasting and productive one. The University town-gown issue won’t be solved by a baseball cap, but any effort is a step in the right direction. (via)

NewsNotesLogoFootball alum Keith Wenning has been quietly building buzz and momentum going into next month’s NFL Draft. Keith is in Cleveland today, working out for the Browns, joining pretty much every top quarterback available for selection. I’ve said all along that I think Keith gets an opportunity on an NFL roster and when all is said and done may be one of BSU’s most long-lasting professionals. It’s all about fit, but no one can argue that Keith isn’t a talented and exceptionally skilled QB.

NewsNotesLogoOn the softball field, Jenny Gilbert continues to romp and stomp through the MAC, winning her fourth Player of the Week honor from the conference and 12th of her career. This season alone, Gilbert has accounted for the winning run in 12 of the 27 victories for the Cards. The softball team swept Ohio over Easter weekend, the same Ohio that leads the MAC. Ball State plays two games against Miami this weekend at home and the conference title is very much in reach. Saturday’s game is at 2pm, Sunday’s at 1pm.

NewsNotesLogoIf you’re a volleyball fan, tonight is a giant night for the men’s volleyball team as they travel to Lewis for MIVA semi-final action. The Cardinals are 22-7, ranked 13th, and have one of the best defenses in the country. The Flyers are 22-6, ranked 11th, and have one of the best offenses in the country. Lewis swept the Cards this season so far, but BSU has a three match win streak in conference tournament play. First serve is at 7pm CT, so be prepared.

NewsNotesLogoIf you are around the Bloomington area tonight I feel sorry for you, but there is hope as the baseball Cards travel to Indiana for a 6:00 tilt tonight. The Cards are 27-13 and I have been told they are remarkably fun to watch. Plus, you get to see the Cardinals beat the Hoosiers in something other than football, so that’s a plus.

NewsNotesLogoMen’s tennis begins the MAC tournament, which they are hosting, on April 25. The Cardinals are the three-seed and will face the second seeded Toledo Rockets. The Cards won the regular season MAC crown in 2013 and last won the tournament in 2011. I’d say they’re due.

NewsNotesLogoFrom the track and field circuit, Ball State’s Courtney Edon was named to the 2014 Indoor Track and Field Academic All-MAC team. She’s a nursing major with a 3.9 GPA which is a difficult task in and of itself. Doing that while running long distances is the definition of accomplishment.

NewsNotesLogoOn the golf course, the Cardinals took second in the Earl Yestingsmeier Memorial Invitational at Delaware Country Club. Toledo won the event, but the Cards put a dent in the lead in the final round, paced by Albert Jennings’ 73. It’s been a while since I’ve played Delaware Country Club, and an even longer time since I shot a 73. I think the exact date of my last one over par was… never.

NewsNotesLogoThe biggest video news of the week, other than OTP’s very own Look Inside the Spring Game, was Joel Godett releasing the below video. It has basically everyone of note in it in regard to athletics and BSU, including Coach Lembo, Bill Scholl, and even President Gora. Enjoy this cover of Macklemore’s Can’t Hold Us and enjoy your humpday.

Cards Halfway Done with Spring Practice Friday, Coaches Named for Spring Game

The scene at my house Sunday-Wednesday

The scene at my house Sunday-Wednesday

Remember that time that you were running a BSU football blog and for like four days you had a wicked bad stomach flu that made you miss work, miss blogging, and basically lay in bed and long for the sweet death that was hopefully right around the corner while subsisting only on ginger ale and Ritz crackers with the hope you’d see neither out of either end in short order? No? Guess that’s just been my week, then.

It’s been agony. It’s been terrible. I have new-found respect for stay at home parents of younger children who I have to believe spend a good majority of their time cleaning up vomit and taking care of other bodily messes that may arise. You people are heroes. As for me, I couldn’t even pull myself together enough to enjoy Price is Right, which is ultimately the only good thing about a sick day, whether you’re six or sixty. The good news? Vomitor the regurgitation God has finally had mercy on me and allowed me to get back to business around these parts. That’s good or bad depending on your evaluation of the Pylon. Here’s what we’ve missed, and therefore, you:

NewsNotesLogo The football Cards wrapped up practice 6 of the spring season yesterday and will get it cracking on practice 7 Friday. In true Indiana fashion there’s been some shifts and schedule adjustments to account for the Indiana weather, which of course opens up the Pandora’s box of an indoor training facility and the need for one. That issue will be raised around these parts in the coming weeks given who we have slated for an upcoming OTPcast, so get an opinion ready for that one.

NewsNotesLogo Speaking of spring practice, the spring game is a mere 16 days away, slated for April 19th at 2pm. That’s a Saturday so you really have no excuse not to be there. We’ll be watching for some very specific things from the spring game and sharing those with you as we get closer. The honorary coaches were announced today as Mike Lecklider and Art Yaroch. I’ll just assume CPL had misplaced my number.

NewsNotesLogo If you haven’t been over at the BSUSports mothership lately, you should give it a once-over. They’ve got some great videos about spring ball and more importantly, some videos to meet the new coaches that are joining the Cards for the 2014 season. There’s a video introducing you to Nick Siatras, the new defensive line coach for the Cards, and I’d advise you watch it. Assuming you can get it to load on your computer (which took me three Flash updates and a browser change. A First World Problem to be sure, but get it together, BSU). It’s funny, there are certain coaches who are just intimidating when you see them. Brady Hoke. Mike Gundy. Randy Edsall. Aaron Wellman. The kind that you are never quite sure what’s going to set them off, but if it does, look out. I wouldn’t qualify Pete Lembo as that. I would with Nick Siatras. Unless he’s not ok with it. Then I wouldn’t. Don’t kill me.

NewsNotesLogo Your 19-10 Baseball Cardinals are at home beginning Friday for a weekend series with EMU. If you’re looking for a good option for some family entertainment, that’s it, boys and girls. Games are free and it’s officially baseball season. Enjoy our national pastime!

NewsNotesLogo If you’re more of a softball fan, those Cardinals are in action this weekend as well. Friday is a home doubleheader against BG, and then this weekend is home games against Toledo. The Cards are 18-12 currently and have had two straight MAC doubleheaders rained out. If you can’t make it out, at least do a little non-rain dance.

NewsNotesLogo The men’s volleyball Cardinals are currently ranked 12th and looking to get back in the win column after dropping two contests to #11 Lewis and #1 Loyola. They take on Grand Canyon Friday and Saturday. I would think the Cardinals have a good shot as large holes in the ground I would assume are not all that good at jumping up and blocking or serving. What’s that? Grand Canyon is a college? Oh. I was hoping this was the first in a series of winnable matches against Big Ben, the Rock of Gibraltar, and Niagara Falls, who has a wicked dig specialist.

Go Cards!

Skeeball Lingerie Parties Want Friday Ball State News & Notes

SkeeBallGameEvery morning I have a digital routine that I do that usually involves checking texts, checking Twitter, and checking Facebook for the various stories and comments that I think might require additional examination on this site. This morning, I was surprised to see a growing outrage over an adults only party at a kids party place (think: Chuck E. Cheese) in Long Island, NY. To be clear, there were no children present, it was adults only, and from as far as I can tell it was more nightie’s and pj’s than Caligula-style horse orgies.

I’ll own the fact that I don’t have children, but I would like to think that if I did, it wouldn’t stop my ability to be somewhat rational about all this. I’m neither a scientist nor a child psychologist, but I’d hypothesize that just because a bouncy castle or a Dance Dance Revolution machine had someone in a nightgown play on it doesn’t make it or its users bound for eternal damnation because OH MY GOD SKIN!!!! And if the concern is your children being in a place where adult activities may have occurred, I might suggest to you to never let your children leave the house. Oh wait… they were born so they can’t stay there either.

Whether or not your delicate sensibilities were offended isn’t really the issue. You can choose whether or not to engage in naked skeeball, and even I would take a pass on that. It’s hard to look sexy when you’re rolling for four straight 50s with laser-like focus. But let’s pump the brakes on acting like this is the worst possible thing that could happen or that some law was broken. Poor taste? Perhaps. Though I would argue that’s a matter of internal measure. But to act like the mere presence of lewdness in an area where children may be TEN HOURS LATER somehow destroys their innocence is beyond stupidity.

Your kids are going to find nudity and adult themes in myriad places like the internet, television, movies, their friends, in their friends’ dad’s game room in the third cabinet from the left, etc. Perhaps all that energy you spend complaining about things like this would be better spent educating your children on how to live in a society where this is a thing (right or wrong) and pursue responsible decisions around it. Because acting like the whole nature of sexuality and/or adult type things is EVILEVILEVIL KILL IT is only going to make little Johnny or little Suzie that much more persistent to try it to see what all the fuss is about.

And for the record, if you’re one of those people who are outraged about the possibility of your child being in a location where people were perhaps thinking impure thoughts or engaging in activities that would make their parents blush and you live in southern Indiana, I’d go ahead and steer clear of the Dairy Queen in Floyds Knobs. Just, uh… go ahead and take Uncle Alan’s word on that one. On to your Cardinals news and notes…

  • The Cardinals football recruiting class that was signed, sealed, and delivered on Wednesday ranks anywhere between 3rd and 7th in the MAC depending on what service you look at. One thing to keep in mind is that the rankings are often impacted by the number of people in the class. It’s a cumulative point system that benefits those who sign massive classes. For BSU to land there with only 19 signees is a great sign about the quality of this class and the players within it.
  • And while the rankings are flawed, OTP did a little research and found that our preferred recruiting service (Scout.com) has kept rankings back since 2002. This 2014 class is the highest ranked Cardinal recruiting class ever. Even with only 19 signees. So be excited for that.
  • If you aren’t up on Ball State softball, you need to be. ESPNW certainly is, as they write a stellar profile on senior pitcher/outfielder Jenny Gilbert, calling her the best-kept secret in the college game. (via)
  • In not so great athletics news, the men’s and women’s basketball teams had a not so good week as the Lady Cards turned in two losses (@Kent and CMU) and the men one (@Buffalo). The men stand at 4-16 and the women at 9-12. It’s going to take a miracle for either squad to reach any form of postseason play at this point, but that’s no reason to stop supporting them. The men play at home on Saturday at 2 against Toledo and the ladies go on the road Sunday to Northern Illinois.
  • If you’re somewhere close to the nation’s capital, BSU men’s volleyball will be at George Mason this weekend to defend their newly minted #15 national ranking. If you’re near Princeton on Saturday, you can catch them also. Both matches start at 7.
  • No Ball State Tweet of the Week this week because most were either lauding a white trash party kegger or complaining about the snow. We have certain hurdles of classy here that we have to clear. (NOTE: We do not. This post started with lingerie skeeball parties)

The Olympic opening ceremonies are taking place as I write this, but because the suits at NBC are cramming a delayed broadcast down our throats, there is no way in America to watch them live. I, for one, welcome our new delayed television overlords. At any rate, stay warm this weekend, Cards fans. And make sure you disinfect your skeeballs. Hit the comments with your thoughts on whether you’re #TeamLingerie or #TeamPurity.

Big Papi Wants Monday BSU News and Notes

ortizOh, Monday. You reared your ugly head once again and the lovely budding relationship with me and the weekend was cut short once again. One of these days perhaps you’ll stop doing that. But since you did, I guess we’d better check in on the happenings around the Nest for the weekend and celebrate some celebrity birthdays, right? Right. Thought so.

As a baseball fan, David “Big Papi” Ortiz is one of the ones I’ll probably be happy to tell my kids I saw play. While I am fully aware a good majority of Americans don’t care for baseball like they used to, thanks largely in part to megahuge contracts and steroids, it’s still the American Pastime, dammit. And Papi is one of the most clutch players to play the game. As a Yankee fan, I’m obviously a little anti-Sox, and no player is more representative of the Sox return to dominance than Ortiz, but to overlook his impact on the diamond over the last decade would be not accepting reality simply because he was cheered for by rude Massholes. And that just wouldn’t be fair. Papi turns 38 today and I would be willing to wager his birthday parties are not at all unfun. Off we go…

NewsNotesLogo As if 2013 wasn’t already the Year of the Cardinal and their wide receivers, Willie Snead was announced as a semifinalist today for the Biletnikoff Award for the nation’s best wide receiver. The other nine names are household ones in college football so it’s nice to see such a talented and deserving player make the cut despite not having ESPN slurp and slobber him all week long. That’s the definition of talent.

NewsNotesLogo Your BSU football team is off from game action for the next two weeks, next taking the field on Black Friday. It’s the final home game for a fantastic senior class, it’s a chance to hit double-digit wins and move the Cards to 10-2, and with a win the Cards are still alive (albeit perhaps not as of Wednesday pending other games) for a MAC Championship. Some people will want to skip the game because they would rather go and buy a bunch of wondersale type things at whatever retailer is around them, but as a former retail employee who worked black Friday: there are very few worthwhile sale items that the employees haven’t already pulled back and reserved and you won’t get what’s left unless you’re there at the asscrack of dawn. Which still leaves you time to go to the game. Excuses? You has none. See you Black Friday.

NewsNotesLogo For those of you who didn’t spend much time on the web looking for BSU things on Friday afternoon, the recreation and wellness center, some residence halls, etc. were put on lockdown after reports of a man with a gun filtered to police. The photos on Instagram and Twitter were scary and working in higher ed while things like  Virginia Tech and NIU happen make you realize just how bad something like that could be. No one and, more importantly, no gun was found in the complex and from all reports, the students and staff along with police and first responders did a great job with a difficult situation. A+ y’all.

NewsNotesLogo Andy Thorpe, who should be your go-to recruiting expert for BSU football, has a great piece about two Cardinal recruits that are on track to play against each other in the Indiana 5A Championship game. You can check that out here.

NewsNotesLogo BSU women’s volleyball clinched a share of the MAC West title and the #3 seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament by beating Western Michigan on Saturday. The Cards are back in action against WMU again on Friday in the tournament. The Broncos are the 7th seed. Oh, by the way, that was the first win by BSU on Western’s home court since 2006. Nice job, ladies.

NewsNotesLogo At the end of last week, the BSU cross-country team had their season end at the NCAA Great Lakes Region Championship. Though the Cards’ season is over, five of the six competing runners posted career bests in the event. I am most definitely not a runner, but the term “career best” is transcendent across every sport. (via)

NewsNotesLogo BSU head baseball coach Rich Maloney announced the signing of eight recruits for the BSU baseball program on Friday. Welcome to the new Cardinals and batter up! Unless you’re a pitcher. Then it’s batter down. But you get the point. (via)

NewsNotesLogo BSU men’s basketball is back in action tonight at 7 at home versus Southeast Missouri. Game tips at 7 and you might as well jump on the BSU Basketball Bandwagon now while there is still space.

NewsNotesLogo Your BSU Tweet of the Day comes from @jessica_moak:
BSUTotDIt’s funny, but I hear that from alums all the time and usually from people who thought once they were done with BSU they would kick that Muncie dirt off their shoes and never look back. Yet, even now, a decade later, there are crisp fall days or sunny and bright spring days when I would give just about anything to be back in Muncie and reliving some great years. Don’t take it for granted kiddies.