Some interesting dialogue with the readership since last week on high school football, the Buckeyes, and “why are you writing about Ohio State baseball six months before baseball season?”
There’s always brisk readership on fall weekends, but none more than this past when we set new records for stories on the OHSAA regional finals, Ohio State football, and even Ray Reilly’s post about pheasant hunting (or the lack of it) in Ohio.
We’ll start with this comment on our final edition of the Friday Night ‘Picks’ page…..
“You wrote that you got 28 of 31 games right (in the playoffs), but missed on the Coldwater game with Liberty Center. I think you were the only person I saw who picked against Liberty Center. Why?” … Larry Henry
(Ed. Note: Probably because we’ve seen Coldwater beat so many other favored teams over the past 14 years. I go back to the Cardinal Mooney game in 2007. Coldwater was 13-1 under John Reed at the time, but no one in the state of Ohio believed they’d beat Mooney. They did, 28-27. In 2012 Coldwater was undefeated and Kirtland was favored to beat them. Final score: Coldwater 10, Kirtland 9, on a field goal. In 2013 Bishop Hartley was favored to win the Div. V title game, and Coldwater mauled them, 24-7. And more recently, when they won their last title in 2020, there were people who believed that New Middletown-Springfield had more athletes than Coldwater. Coldwater won that one, too, on a walk-off field goal, 38-35. To answer your question, it’s hard to pick against Coldwater or Marion Local because they compete against anyone. And I’ve seen teams with more athletes, but never better-coached teams than Coldwater and Marion.)
“What was your real opinion on the Ansonia team this year? And were you being generous when you only picked Marion Local to win by four scores?” … Bob Smith
(Ed. Note: What I loved about Ansonia was as much the Ansonia community, itself, as the football. The Tigers enjoyed their best year in the history of the school and their fans soaked up every moment of it. I wasn’t there, but my guess is they sold every ticket for every game. It was ‘old school’. A lot of people take winning football and basketball for granted, but I sensed none of that from Ansonia. A lot of people give lip service to the term ‘we believe’. But the people from Ansonia really did believe, for the sake of their athletes, as much as themselves. They’ll be talking about that team, and that year, twenty five years from now. And in my experience, only a few communities are so blessed as to appreciate something that special for so long. As for the Marion Local score, I was surprised that it was 7-0 at the half, but not that it got lopsided the way it did so quickly. The Flyers just have so many tools in the box…and so much experience. And they also have a lot of class. They’re good winners.)
“Is there anyone in Division VI, or VII, who can beat Marion Local now. And don’t you think it’s time for them to play teams of at least equal ability, even if it’s outside the state?” … Mike Bachelder
(Ed. Note: Of course someone can beat Marion Local. All it takes is an injury, or a turnover, or a team that really believes in itself, like Marion has believed in itself for the past 20 years. I think if Nate Bruns had not gotten injured in the Kirtland game a few years ago they would have had 14 titles, already. So believing does matter. Sports and competition is not that cut and dry. You have to play the game, and you take no one for granted. Can it happen? Ask New Bremen, three years ago. Blocked punt, touchdown, and ballgame in the regional final. Do I think it’s time for Marion to play in a bigger division? Not unless the enrollment at Marion meets the standards of other Division III or IV schools. And who’s nutty enough to want a school that small to drive to Indianapolis to play a high school football game, just because you’re tired of seeing them win? You wouldn’t care if they were better in math. And you wouldn’t care if it was their band that was better. So why can’t the game come to Marion, instead of Marion Local devoting that much time, travel, and budget to more formidable opponents because you want to see them get beat?)
“Do you guys have any thoughts about Ohio State and Michigan this weekend?” … Harvey Butcher, II
(Ed. Note: You guys? I can’t speak for Jeff Gilbert, except to say that he’s one of the best ‘straight up’ journalists I’ve seen where it comes to writing what he sees. If you’re looking for bias, that’s not Jeff’s thing. I’ve been to a dozen Ohio State-Michigan games over the years and I expect this one to be the most hostile environments of any of them. Sad, but true. This year has become about a lot more than football. Just a reason to get drunk and hate someone over a football game, and for what? When they actually play, Michigan is going to have a fierce emotional edge, because they really believe that it’s Michigan against the Big Ten, the NCAA, and the world with Harbaugh missing and the threat of the NCAA closing them down. If Ohio State wins they have to play dominant football. They have to be able to run the ball, kill clock, and keep Michigan’s offense off the field. That’s not Knute Rockne talk, just plain common sense. Don’t give up the big plays like you did last year, and put your marquee guys like Marvin Harrison and TreyVeyon Henderson in position to make big plays. If they can play like they did against Georgia, I believe they’ll win. Anything short of that will play into Michigan’s emotional edge.)
“I know you love baseball. I know you played for the Buckeyes. I like your website, but why are you writing about Ohio State baseball in the middle of football season?” … Marc Disch
(Ed. Note: If you were a baseball player at that level you’d probably understand better. Those guys are just as good as what they do…their season coming up means as much to them as football does to the football guys…and yet baseball gets absolutely ignored by the local media, even in baseball season. Recruiting in baseball means nothing to Ohio State fans. But let a five-star linebacker in football get a million dollar NIL deal and drive a Porsche, and they lose their mind. Baseball kids like Nick Swisher get drafted, go to the big leagues, and no one even knows they’re there until they come back and write a big check to the university…and even then Buckeye Nation doesn’t care. I laugh when I hear sports administration at schools talk about how baseball dreams are important, not just football and basketball, because baseball doesn’t pay bills. But high school players like Mason Eckelman (freshman from Walsh Jesuit) and Zach Brown (freshman from Los Angeles) come to Ohio State to pursue their dream? So, for the sake of that and other high schoolers with dreams, we write baseball in November because those dreams do matter. Just different strokes, for different folks.)