MSU Ends UofM Streaks: 5-4 BTT Softball Win
May 12th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Michigan State University ended its 19-game winless streak against the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a come from behind 5-4 victory in the Quarter Final of the 2017 B1G Women’s Softball Championship. The loss was UofM’s first at home in 39 straight contests.  The victory against the female skunkbears was it first in Ann Arbor since the 2009 season.

As yesterday’s victory against Indiana (not to be confused with neighboring Illinois) the Spartan’s used a late rally to take lead and then close out the game with defensive shutout in the 7th.

Bridgette Rainey (15-8) earned her 2nd victory in two days both in relief.  Lea Foerster lead MSU of the offensive end going 3-3 with 2 RBI.  However, Senior 1st baseman Sarah Gutnecht walked three times to keep rally’s alive.

MSU advances to the BTT Semi Final against the winner of the Illinois vs. tOSU contest.

The boxscore is [here].

Spartan Softball Advances in BTT – Edges Indiana in Roller Coaster Event
May 11th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

In a game of big innings, the Michigan State Spartan Women’s Softball team garnered the biggest the latest and beat Indiana 8-7 to advance in the 2017 B1G Tournament Championship.

MSU (30-21) takes on the #2 Wolverines of Michigan Friday afternoon in Ann Arbor (4:30 PM EDT BTN).  The box score is [here].  I like their chances in this game.

After taking and losing a 3 run lead, only to come back and tie the game, only to fall behind by 3 after 5 1/2 innings, the Spartans scored 4 unanswered runs in the bottom of the 6th.

While the Spartans are a solid hitting team, it would be their ability to take a Walk that proved to be the difference.  Indiana Sophomore Starting Pitcher Tara Trainer had difficulty finding the Strike Zone; walking nine (yes the number 9) batters in 5 2/3 innings.  Four Walks were granted in the 6th; including three in-a-row.

Junior Bridgette Rainey (14-8) earned the victory – pitching solid five innings in relief.  On the premise the normally reliable Starter Kristen Zalewski (8-6) could handle the (23-31) Hoosiers, Rainey, from Acworth Georgia was likely being held back for UofM (at least that is my guess).  Zalewski struggled… enter Rainey.

Jeff’s Worthless Trivia

Three Spartans were named to the All-B1G team for 2017: Junior Lea Foerster (1st team), Sophomore Kaitlyn Eveland, and Junior McKenzie Long. The full story is [here].

Foerster has had a monster 2017 season; including 14 HR’s and 21 doubles.  Both are #2 in MSU history.  This kind of power has not been seen by TUS membership since ’79 Spartan dominated the Western Nebraska Men’s Over 40 League as SS for the Ogallala, NE (non) Conscientious Objectors. ’79 had been traded to the nCOs the previous season from the North Platte NE RiverRatRafters in the headline making 37 player + Mini Van + Outdoor Grill deal.

A tip-of-the-hat is due to Rainey and Head coach Jacquie Joseph.  Why? For not giving up.  Rainey earned a position in the starting rotation as a freshman.  In almost any setting this is a huge deal – let alone Divsion 1, and B1G Conference Softball. Unfortunately, the Spartans had a horrible season – let’s leave it at that. Rainey was saddled with a 2-15 record.

Georgia Pine Smells Good and MSU Looks Great: Women’s Golf Advances to NCAA Championship Finals
May 10th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Georgia Pine Suits MSU Fine

The MSU Women’s Golf team seems to excel when playing in the neighborhood of the Tall Georgia Pine. Continuing its trend of solid play under pressure MSU advanced out of the Athens, Georgia Regional to the 2017 NCAA National Championship Round to be held in Sugar Grove Illinois on May 19th-24th. A full recap is [here].

Meanwhile the Detroit Tigers of MLB continue their West Coast Trip, taking on the Snakes in Phoenix.  Detroit beat Arizona 7-3 on Tuesday night with newly designated Closer Justin Wilson pitched a perfect 9th – although not a Save situation.  The Tigers are 3rd in the American League Central 1.5 Games behind Cleveburgh.

MSU Women’s Softball (seeded #7) takes on Indiana tomorrow to begin the B1G Tournament Championship.  The game will be broadcast on BTN at 4:30 PM (EDT).  The background story is [here].

For the first time in decades, no Red Wings in the NHL Playoffs.  However, there is a Game 7 being played with the winner advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals.  Follow [here]

A full-“BLOWN” Tiger bullpen will “be discussed”
May 8th, 2017 by Kindle

On Sunday, having already blown a 6-5 lead thanks to a leadoff walk and Jed Lowrie RBI double, K-Rod tried to sneak a 1-0, 89 mph fastball past Ryon Healy, who crushed the game-winning home run. One day prior to that, Saturday, the Tigers led 5-4 with two outs and nobody on when a walk, a double and then a two-run single by Adam Rosales sent Rodriguez and the Tigers to the showers with a loss.



In his postgame media session, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said, “We’re going to have a discussion” about the closer role. That might be news to Rodriguez: Writer Anthony Fenech asked him if he’s still the man to close games.  Francisco answered, “Definitely!” It should also be pointed out that he did apologize to fans and said he was embarrassed by his performance, unlike Joe Nathan a while back who delivered a profane gesture to Detroit fans as he left the field to booing in Detroit.  Can you imagine the booing had Saturday and Sundays’ debacles occurred in Comerica Park?



Should there even be a discussion?

Team management does not seem to be on the same page as their fans.  Al Avila told fans that this team could be competitive this season.  That covers a lot of territory.




Catching up with a Spartan below–Published earlier today, May 8th, 2017, Burress has updated his 2011 message in The Players Tribune

Letter to the NFL Draft Class From Plaxico Burress

Returning to Success: Can MSU Football Get Out of its Own Way?
May 4th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Do we have our head in the sand?

A few days ago I proposed – as a joke – to 79′ that we should add the phrase “3-9” to the words and phrases that are banned from use on this site.  That way we could avoid, in part, re-living last football season.

With Demetrius Cooper apparently violating his plea deal with law enforcement (arrested for consuming alcohol in public as a minor), does it not feel as if MSU Football cannot get out of the way of itself in its desire to return to good standing and a good record.

In the case of Cooper, some would argue the law breaking act is a small and petty violation – ticky tac stuff.  They may or may not be correct.  However, Cooper and MSU worked a deal to keep him out of the legal penalty. And the deal: he would not drink alcohol as a minor. So Demetrius Cooper did not honor the deal or stay true to his word.

I believe there is a large consensus of membership that believe Mark Dantonio as Head Coach is about as good as its gets (e.g., winner, straight shooter, respectful). I am one of them.

However, the MSU Football story-line for some time now is: losers on the field, multiple arrests for violation of the law, multiple criminal investigations for violation of the law, and sudden departures from the program by multiple starters/likely starters for self-admitted improper behavior.  Given these facts and their almost unending occurrence, is it fair to say MSU Football is a program that is out of the control of its Head Coach? Answering yes, would have seemed implausible to me a while ago, but now I am not so certain.

Your thoughts?


Road Trip South: MSU women’s Golf headed to NCAA South Regional on a Roll
May 1st, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

The MSU Women’s Golf Team reacts to being selected and placed in the NCAA Tournament.

The MSU Women’s Golf Team is headed to the NCAA South Regional to be held at the University of Georgia golf course.  I know most of us have come to expect MSU Women’s Golf being practically as automatic for qualifying for the NCAA Championship Tournament as Men’s Basketball, but last fall the situation was quite different.

Last fall the Michigan State University Spartans Women’s Golf Team hobbled by injuries and otherwise poor performances appeared to be in a 2016-17 season death-spiral. MSU was ranked 99th in the nation.  I did not even know there were rankings tracked that low, let alone a Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll team being amongst them.  However, things changed as the spring portion of the season approached.  Players regained their health and the best female amateur golfer residing in the state of Michigan enrolled (as a Freshman) early so as to qualify for the spring run.  MSU now had the best returning golfer in the B1G and the best new golfer in the B1G; ready and available.  Sarah Burnham (JR.) and Allyson Geer (FR) began cutting through courses the as if they had blow torches in their bag and safe made of tin foil was in front of them. The rest of the team members began to follow suit.  By April MSU was arguable playing the best golf of any team in the country.  In the last two tournaments (Buckeye Classic and B1G Championship) the Spartans took the titles; pulling away from national power-house programs at the finish.

Burnham was named B1G Golfer of the Year, and Geer was name B1G Freshman Golfer of the Year last week.  Both are legitimate All-American candidates.

In order to win titles however, the entire squad has to perform well; and they have stepped up indeed.  When Burhman had – what is for her at least – an off day (3+ PAR) on the final Sunday of the B1G Championship, Geer was superb as usual.  The difference? Katie Sharp, Carolyn Markley, Logan Otter and Paz Marfa Sans played superbly while their Northwestern counter-parts faltered.

As for Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll this team is another example for a person has represented MSU as well as any faculty and staff in the history of MSU Athletics. Slobodnik-Stoll is about to receive another honor – she will be inducted into Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.  Not bad for someone in the middle of their career.

Satacy Slobodnik-Stoll and daughter Olivia take in the selection show.

A solid story on MSU and how they are approaching the tournament is [here]

A Beat Without Sound or No Beat at-all?
Apr 29th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

TUS Members are making it clear, that in their opinion, coverage of Michigan State University Athletics by the staff of major media (e.g., Chris Solari of the Detroit Free Press) has slid into gross disrepair and may be moving to oblivion.

While I am not certain about the oblivion part, I have to agree with the status of disrepair.  So why the condition?

We, in great part are responsible for state of the coverage of State.  A free and vibrant press is subordinate to economics. Either money needs to be made directly or through philanthropy often derived as a result of economic success elsewhere (e.g., Jeff Bezos buys the Washington Post) .  This site is a perfect example.  It only exists because we underwrite and contribute to it.

Four decades in the past, a plethora of advertising dollar revenue and the position of the Booth family allowed the news departments of the Detroit News to operate with little encumbrance from family interests or its position editorially.  Readers bought newspaper subscriptions in droves and for two major reasons; 50.7 % for the news coverage and 49.3% for the advertising contained therein.

In the 1970’s daily paid circulation for The News was 883,000+.  It was the largest evening newspaper in the United States and 3rd on Sunday.  It was the largest in the city, state and region. Today its circulation is 114,000.  Advertising dollars have shrunk even more drastically. After sellouts, Joint Operating Agreements, and ownership trades, The Detroit Free Press (owned by Gannett) is now the largest daily newspaper in Michigan with a paid daily circulation of 264,000.  The Free Press at its height of paid daily circulation was 654,000.

The daily newspaper in this period could afford to have beat writers and pay them well. Broadcast organizations (radio, television) were not oriented to the same extent as newspapers and therefore offered limited coverage.

Today, newspapers and any other paid professional coverage provided on a regular basis is a tiny shell of itself.  Look at former sports powerhouse E.S.P.N.  It laid off 300 staff two years ago and 100 three days ago. In the early 2000’s newpaper misfortune became E.S.P.N’s opportunity. E.S.P.N decided to hire the best journalists for its website and print operations.  This week, even those people have been sent packing.  Why? paying subscriptions, eyeballs and ad dollars have gone away.

Paying subscribers desiring sports content written by professionals with premium skills  – continues to shrink drastically.  The new generation consumer of sports content exacerbate this condition given their habits – which are quite a bit different than their predecessors.  Brief streams of info on a media device is their appetite and little more.

To be blunt.  Given today’s environment, having Joe Rexrode as our principle correspondent was an anomaly.  The quality we are getting today is what we deserve.

What do you pay for a subscription to?

Read the rest of this entry »

When No One Else Bothers to Post
Apr 27th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

For the past few days I have been looking at our site in the hopes some member would create a new Post in order to draw a set of comments.

After a few days, I began to long for the time of ChuckFromSt.Johns, Spartan81, SILA, Eyeore, and MSUDersh. This period was followed by a longing for the days when The Marine had a new moniker for every new shiny object in the public eye.  Note:  Paris Hilton texted me the other day.  Paris says she and Niiki currently hold U.S.G.A. handicaps of 2 and 7 respectively and will be at TUS HQ next week for golf.  I told her I would be ready and was impressed she could keep her comments under 14o characters.

I long for the days when I could turn on the T.V. and watch Dirty Rancher starring Northfork Rancher.  Now I have to watch the Tigers Closer be an Opener for the opposing team.

I long for the days when 89 Chemistry would point out my flaws and weaknesses. Now I have to read about every single last one of the MSU 2017 Basketball Recruiting targets select another school – which I predicted in the first-place.

I long for the days of Chuck Long at QB for the the Detroit Lions.  I long for Shelly Long, Huey Long and even Long Duk Dong.

Thoughts, anyone?  Bueller, Long?  Anyone?

MSU Takes 2017 B1G Women’s Golf Championship Title – Spartan Will at its Finest
Apr 23rd, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Like a well trained, well equipped, motivated, and organized force;  the Michigan State Women’s Golf Team decided the 2017 B1G Women’s Golf Championship was their prize to capture. To those who were desiring of holding off MSU – our sincerest condolences.  Oh, and the truck you believe just hit you? It looked to be the color Green – more specifically WEB Color: 18453B.

2017 MSU Women’s Golf Team. Yes, they are smiling. The reason? They know (as do many opponents) that after three rounds they are likely taking a title home with them.

MSU blitzed the competition in the 3rd and Final Round of play to claim the victory at TPC River’s Bend in Maineville, Ohio.  The Spartans overcame #12 Northwestern’s 4 stroke lead at the start of the day and beat them by 2 strokes overall – finishing the tournament at + 2 PAR (866) to the Wildcats +4 (868).

The reward – a sixth B1G Championship for Head Coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll and a trip (for the entire team) to the NCAA Regional Championships.

For the Tournament MSU’s Sarah Burnham (JR) placed 2nd at -5 PAR (211), Allyson Geer (F) finished 4th EVEN PAR (216), Katie Sharp (RS JR) placed (T) 5th at +2 PAR (218), Carolyn Markley (SO) and Paz Marfa (F) placed (T) 25th at +12 PAR (228) and Logan Otter (RS F) finished at +21 PAR (T) 53rd.

Similar to its taking the title of the Buckeye Classic last weekend MSU overcame a national power (Texas last week and Northwestern this week) after spotting the competition a first round lead.

For the 2017 B1G Championship MSU wore down Northwestern’s 10 stroke lead after round 1 in two distinctly different manners.  On Saturday MSU’s Burnham scorched the PAR 72 course with a  B1G Championship and MSU all-time individual round low (-9 PAR 63).  On Sunday the entire MSU squad was the total difference.  MSU adhered to the adage play-the-course-not-the-competition.  Geer, Sharp, Markely shot under PAR final rounds and Otter shot +1 PAR. Burham shot a +3 PAR and Marfa shot a +4 PAR.  Meanwhile Northwestern seemed to do the opposite and faded in the final day as four players shot +5 to +12 PAR for the round.

Michigan’s Elodie Van Dievoet shot a -2 PAR for the final round (-6 210 overall) to claim the individual title by one stroke over Burnham.  It is the second week in a row Burnham placed 2nd in the individual scoring to pace the squad in its title grabbing venture.  Burnham was the B1G Golfer of the Week last week and given her unprecedented round on Saturday will likely receive similar recognition this week.

As for Slobodnik-Stoll it is another B1G Title in a stellar career.  The former MSU player in 20 coaching seasons has led MSU to six B1G Titles, and with today’s victory 18 NCAA Regional appearances.

Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll, alongside her mentor and former MSU women’s golf coach, Mary Fossum. With today’s title, the two have combined to win 12 Big Ten Championships.


Spartan Surge – 2018 Women’s B1G Golf Championship: Round 2
Apr 22nd, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Sarah Burnham

Spartan Sarah Burnham (JR) shot a scintillating -9 PAR 63 on Saturday to lead a surging MSU at the 2017 the B1G women’s Golf Championships on the TPC River’s Bend course in Maineville Ohio.  Burnham’s 2nd round result is the lowest single round score in B1G Women’s Championship and MSU team history. After two rounds Sarah sits at -8 PAR (136) which provides her with a 4 shot lead over Elodie Van Dievoet of Michigan and Emie Peronnin of Minnesota heading into Sunday’s Final Round.

MSU shot a combined -5 PAR (283) to vault into 2nd place behind #12 Northwestern who retained its 1st place standing by shooting a combined -3 PAR (285). The Spartans and Wildcats have three players each in the Top 10 Leader-board heading into the 3rd Round.  The Spartans (+5 PAR) are 8 strokes behind the Wildcats (-3 PAR).

Burnham was not the only Spartan to experience good fortune on Saturday as five of the six team members equaled or improved on their results from Friday’s opening round.  Freshman, and the state of Michigan’s perennial top female amateur golfer; Allyson Geer replicated Friday’s score and stands in 9th place overall.  RS Sophomore Katie Sharp improved three strokes from Friday’s round to shoot an EVEN PAR (72).  Sharp stands in 10 place overall.  Paz Marfa, the Freshman from Barcelona, Spain is in 21st.  Sophomore Carolyn Markley, who hails from the host city of the tournament is in 41st place and RS Freshman Logan Otter improved six strokes from Friday’s round and is in 75th place.

You can follow the championship via live stats [here].

Round 1 Recap is located [here].

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