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Photos - Impressions: Nebraska vs Minnesota Baseball Series

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It was cold. It was a loss. But it was massive amounts of fun.

Jon Johnston

I spent a good amount of time last weekend at Siebert Field at the University of Minnesota for the Nebraska - Minnesota baseball series. I thought I’d give all y’all a rundown of the series, impressions and otherwise.

Friday was a little colder than anyone would have liked, but they started the series on time at 4:00 pm. It wasn’t bad as there was little wind. It was a excellent game by both teams, tied 2-2 in the ninth and headed into extra innings. Nebraska had a chance to score with runners at the corners with one out, but batters struck out to end the Husker threat.

I headed to the park on Saturday. It was around 30-32 degrees with a brisk wind. I didn’t realize it, but there is a Big Ten rule that you cannot play baseball unless the “Real Feel” temperature according to AccuWeather is above 28 degrees. (I am not sure they require AccuWeather, but I heard the phrase “Real Feel” several times and was pointed towards the AccuWeather app which is now on my phone.)

It was definitely not above 28 degrees. I spent some time in the media booth discussing the Fred Hoiberg hire with other Nebraska guys. They were all very excited about the hire. I had to admit I remained skeptical. I understand the excitement. Nebraska has never hired a coach with this level of success and experience, and don’t give me some crap about some guy from the 1940s. I welcome Hoiberg and I hope he brings us much success, I’m just wary about putting up statues before the wins come. It seems to me to be taunting fate, God, karma, whatever you want.

If the wins come, great. If not, we would have to topple those statues and burn everyone in a big pyre. Who wants that?

The baseball game was postponed Saturday; moved to Sunday at 11:05 am.

I returned home and was watching basketball while checking out Nebraska fans’ reaction to the Hoiberg hiring. I noticed people complaining about Darin Erstad and how he should be the next to be fired. I tweeted this:

You can read the thread of responses if you like. I thought the most germane was this:

Because Nebraska fans and media aren’t happy unless they are whining for a coach to be fired.

Here we are in the second Big Ten series of the season, and fans are wanting to the baseball coach fired.

Where did we get this need for constant drama? Where did it start? Where does it end?

I wrote a lot of words defending Erstad, and why moving to the Big Ten destroyed our baseball program, but I threw them away. They don’t matter. If you’re in the “FIRE THAT GUY” camp, words won’t make any difference. What really bugs me is you won’t get any resolution until the end of the season per Bill Moos stated policy, so why can’t you just shut the fuck up and let the rest of us enjoy a season for crying out loud.

Sunday started out rather decent. It was Sunny. There was only a slight wind. The “Real Feel” temperature was in the mid-30s or thereabouts. It was clear baseball was on.

Nebraska smashed Minnesota 10-1 in the second game. The Gophers had a lot of problems on defense. The Husker batters had their way. It was nice.

The weather started turning... oh.... about two-thirds of the way through the second game. There was a biting wind, but only in part of the stadium. It blew down into the Husker dugout and the Nebraska side, along the third base line, was freezing. The Gopher side, the first base line, wasn’t too bad as there is a practice facility directly behind the dugout, blocking the wind from that direction.

As game three started, the weather got worse. It got moist. Moist 30-degree temperature is nasty. Add a wind and it really sucks. It cut into your clothes. It started to snow. It wasn’t a blizzard, but it was miserable.

Nebraska and Minnesota both scored two runs in the first inning, then stayed at that point until the ninth inning. Reece Eddins pitched the first seven innings, giving up two runs on seven hits. Enter freshman Shay Schanaman. Schanaman mowed the Gophers down in order in the eighth.

In the ninth he had problems throwing strikes. Maybe it was pressure. His offense had gotten the potential winning run to third but not been able to produce. Maybe it was the Gopher players screaming at him after every ball. He threw a wild pitch that advanced the Gophers to third. More pressure. Another wild pitch resulted in the play you see at the end of the photo gallery. Luke Roskam desperately tracked down the ball, throwing it to Schanaman, who drops it in a cloud of dust and snow.

It was a really lousy way to lose a ball game, let alone a series. Baseball is a cruel sport that way.

It was an excellent series. Nebraska went on the road and faired well against two All-American pitchers; Max Meyer and Patrick Fredrickson. My impression is that this Nebraska team is pretty good. There is depth in pitching, the defense is pretty good and the offense might surprise us as the season goes on.

Media:

Were you aware that there is very little to no regular Nebraska media at away baseball games? You wouldn’t get that by reading the game recaps. You get quotes which are taken from Erstad’s post-game interviews (most of the time) that are done by the Husker radio network guys.

It leaves a lot out of the games. The reporting is pretty stale, lifeless.

Photography:

This is for the photo geeks. I am still getting accustomed to the Fujifilm XT2. I spent part of the first game trying to figure out exposure only to discover (like a moron) that I’d left the lens on the auto-aperture setting. What a twit.

I shot all of these with the 100-400 Fuji zoom, using that lens for the first time. I admit to applying some Lightroom filters to some of the photos; not very photojournalistic of me, but they’ll look good on social media (Ha!).