Yesterday I spent some time on campus talking with UC's Australian first baseman Nic Spence for a feature that will be posted later this week. I also was able to catch up with manager Brian Cleary to talk about Spence and how the team's been playing to this point. Little known fact about the Cleary, he was a pitching coach for the British National Team in 2007. Turns out, in a country where finding a youth baseball league is harder than finding a democrat on 700WLW, the team was more of a barnstorming collection of baseball-playing gypsys than anything else.
The entire concept of the team he coached in 2007 reminded me of the kicker from the movie The Replacements. Turns out, they finished in second place in the European Baseball Championships in a Miracle on Ice type of run. Had they won the championship game, this interesting collection of players -- many with other jobs -- would have been headed to Beijing for the Olympics. They lost in the championship, but still earned Britain's first spot in the World Cup of baseball since 1938. Had Aroldis Chapman not defected a month before it opened in 2009, they'd been facing him for the Cuban national team, to give you an idea of the competition level.
Anyway, if you ever see Coach Cleary around and want to strike up an interesting conversation, ask him about his British National Team experience. And you'll want to block off an hour or two. Great stuff.
--- It's no secret the rise of UC's football image of the past five years surged recruiting. According to collegefootballmatrix.com, their rise in average recruiting class ranking over the last 10 years far outweighs any other program in the country. Nobody has raised the talent level on campus to the point of UC.
This probably speaks more to how bad the recruiting rankings were prior to the football renaissance of the last decade than how elite they are now. Nonetheless, pretty impressive when looking at the numbers.
--- Brian Bennett looks at the numbers behind the Big East draft class. Looking at draftees per school, they finished in the middle of the BCS conferences. The biggest detriment to this class was the lack of elite draft picks.
--- Spring soccer recap with soccer coach Hylton Dayes. A Tommy G Joint.
--- Not going to fake it folks, not a ton of UC stuff going on right now. The baseball team hosts Otterbein tonight at MSS and Wright State tomorrow. As I mentioned, I'll have a Nic Spence feature I'm excited about later in the week. And of course, Breakfasts every morning.
--- On to some randomness...
--- A.J. Green used his new NFL status and coinciding paycheck to purchase a car. A black Porsche Panamara 4S. Here it is. Over/Under on four months until he's busted for speeding?
--- Learning more and more about the story of how the US tracked down Osama bin Laden is incredible. Navy SEAL Team Six, I can't wait to meet you.
--- Reason No. 4,382,301 why I no longer work for newspapers.
--- I've started to warm up to Justin Bieber the last few months. He's been self-depricating and amping up his street cred. That said, I'd still like to throw eggs at him on stage.
--- A 1986 interview with Beastie Boys. Hearing them talk about Licensed to Ill before it came out reminds me of just how much it changed the energy of music back then.
--- Tweet of the night: From FoxSportsOhio's Zac Jackson on the NBA Playoffs:
ABC has announced the Grizzlies-Hawks playoffs will be seen on TruTv.
--- Huge night for national anthems, but I will always be partial to Jim Cornielson. You probably remember Jim from the Bears playoff games and the Blackhawks Cup run last year. Well, the one last night at the Bulls felt bigger than any of those. The guy is a pro.