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Better Know a CWS Team: Michigan

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THE LEADERS AND THE BEST

Former President Gerald Ford Dies At Age 93
It was my understanding there would be no math.

The School: The University of Michigan wait what the hell is a Big Ten team doing here?!

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan. “Ann Arbor” sounds like the name of that bookish girl in your 9th grade English class who you were pretty sure had a crush on you but would never say it out loud and you would have asked her out but you wouldn’t dare to be seen in public with her. Ann Arbor is also, somehow, the name of a town in Michigan, which had a population of 113,934 at the 2010 Census, or exactly 1,175 less than the record crowd ever to watch a football game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. And UT fans like to brag about the size of their stadium...

The Mascot: The Wolverine. Michigan used to keep a pair of live wolverines named “Biff” and “Bennie” on campus, and then (per Wikipedia):

The University of Michigan Athletic Department reports that Biff and Bennie “grew larger and more ferocious,” leading Yost to conclude, “It was obvious that the Michigan mascots had designs on the Michigan men toting them, and those designs were by no means friendly.”[1] Accordingly, the practice of bringing Biff and Bennie into the stadium ended after just one season. One of the Wolverines, Biff, was put in a cage at the University of Michigan Zoo.[1] National Geographic reported that “Yost had not accounted for the rapid growth or the ferocity of the animals, and when his players were no longer willing to carry the wolverines around the stadium, one live mascot, ‘Biff,’ was turned over to the University of Michigan Zoo so that the students would be able to visit—and be inspired by—him.”[2]Though some sources report that Biff and Bennie were paraded in cages around Michigan Stadium for only one year, an article from the Bentley Historical Library states that the two live wolverine mascots were brought to the stadium for “a number of years.”[4] The Bentley account also states that both Biff and Bennie lived for a time at a small zoo near the Natural History Museum, “but eventually became too vicious to remain on campus and were moved to the Detroit Zoo.”

Well that would have been cool. Instead, Michigan has no mascot. We just wanted to point out that Michigan once had a mascot named “Biff.”

Record: 46-20, 16-7 in the Big Ten. That somehow merited a 3-seed in the Corvallis Regional, which tells you a lot about how much the NCAA thinks of Big Ten Baseball.

How’d they get here? Won the Corvallis Regional and somehow did this without beating regional host Oregon State, then won 2 of 3 over #1 national seed UCLA. In other words, LOL PAC-12.

Best win: Counting the Dodger Stadium Baseball Classic in March, Michigan has played UCLA — the team that the NCAA deemed the best team in the country, mind you — four times and beaten them thrice. This... actually, this probably says more about UCLA than anything else.

Most embarrassing loss: In keeping with the tradition of its football program, Michigan lost the one game it played against an SEC team, 7-4 at Kentucky on May 14. Kentucky isn’t even a good SEC team.

Most famous alumni: Gerald Ford, the 38th President of the United States, and I only bring this up so that I have an excuse to post this:

Most terrifying batter: This is a virtual tie between junior OF Jordan Brewer (.338/.396/.586, 12 homers) and sophomore OF Jordan Nwogu (.327/.442/.580.) I can’t even go with the guy with the more intimidating name here.

Pitcher most likely to randomly befuddle an SEC team: Junior righthander Karl Kauffmann has 101 strikeouts in 114.2 innings this season, and yet, he also sports a 2.59 ERA and opponents are hitting just .213 against him. Plus, his name is “Karl Kauffmann.”

Actually, you know what? The sheer absence of any weird Southern private school names on Michigan’s roster (you know the ones I’m talking about, “Emerson Hancock”) is sort of refreshing after playing SEC teams all year.

Best NCAA Tournament result: They won it all in both 1953 and 1962. Somehow, Michigan is the only team other than Vanderbilt in this year’s College World Series that’s actually won the College World Series.

On the other hand, this is their first CWS appearance since 1984. Barry Larkin was on that team. Barry Larkin was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012.

Should Vanderbilt be scared? Of a Big Ten team? Are you kidding me?