Got two things I've been sitting on for a little bit and then one that can't wait til tomorrow, because it's about tomorrow's game with Arkansas and that's important stuff.
I don't do a lot of horn-tooting or self-promotion, but since the birthday celebration is still going on in the form of the poll which you should vote in if you haven't already, I thought it'd be fun to offer up a little bit of a peek into the blog's first year. Specifically, geographically speaking.
In one year of existence this blog is a lot better traveled than I am, and I've been around. Google Analytics reports hits from every continent not populated solely by penguins and slightly nutty scientists, and 51 countries around the globe as well as all 50 states - though, Montana and Wyoming record exactly one each. Top five states: DC (it counts separate, yes), North Carolina, Georgia, New York, and, obviously, Virginia, which accounts for 40% of all hits on the blog. I bet you're surprised.
Drilling down a bit by city, Charlottesville accounts for 41% of all hits from Virginia and 17% of all total hits. I bet you're totally surprised. Other than Charlottesville, within Virginia the top five cities are Richmond, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Glen Allen, and Arlington; nationwide (again, besides Charlottesville) the top five are NYC, Washington, Richmond, Norfolk, and Atlanta by just a smidge over Chesapeake and Philadelphia; this last, I suspect, is almost entirely the work of a certain very classy three-man operation, because there aren't that many Hoos in Atlanta, are there?
By now it's no secret that the president of the University plans to retire. That little bit of news showed up on Friday in the inboxes of those on any kind of alumni mailing list. By now also, the opinion of the fanbase in general is completely clear and follows this rule almost entirely without exception: if you did not attend the University, you see John Casteen as an obstacle to athletic success and are happy to see him go, even celebratory; if you are an alum, you may or may not agree with the obstacle thing but you aren't in a celebratory mood.
As a proud alum, naturally, I fall into the second category. I have always been very pleased with Casteen's commitment to student self-governance, a pillar of the University's principles. Simply put, he doesn't meddle - a temptation too great for many university presidents to overcome. I don't know how many university presidents open the doors of their residence for an open-house for incoming first years, but I was always impressed that Casteen did. I believe John Casteen is a man of integrity and honor - the latter, obviously, a very important distinction at UVa - and I salute him for his stewardship of the finest University in the land.
I'm going to take this one step farther, though. Here's the thing. In most situations that engender strong opinions, I might think your opinion is wrong but I don't think you're wrong to have that opinion, if you follow. For example, I didn't think either Leitao or Groh deserved to be fired after these last seasons, I think Groh was right to have Vic Hall at cornerback these last few years, and I hate the idea of a college football playoff. Obviously, not everyone agrees. I may argue, but opinions are opinions and people have them, and I don't begrudge them. Usually. I make an exception here: if you are in the camp that's happy to see Casteen go because you think he's been holding back the football and basketball teams, you're wrong. Not necessarily wrong that he's meddling with the teams (I don't know for sure nor do I greatly care to what extent he does) but wrong to have this opinion in the first place. Casteen's job is the school. It's irresponsible to judge him based on athletics. It's not wrong to form an opinion of the man and take into account his dealings with the athletic department; it is wrong, and frankly unacceptable, to condemn him for those alone. "It's a great day to be a Hoo" because Casteen is leaving; that is a sentiment I cannot accept.
Tomorrow, Arkansas; we've already eliminated two Big West teams and one SEC team, so it's only fitting that we continue the pattern and make it an even two here, two there.
Much talk was on the baseball board at TheSabre yesterday of Arkansas's inability to hit a baseball; my considered opinion is that their game against LSU was terribly misleading. Lest we forget, the Razorbacks dropped 10 runs on Fullerton; 16 in two games against Florida State; and 38 in three regional games including 28 in two games against national #7 seed Oklahoma. These guys did nothing but hit until they ran into LSU.
The other bad news is they look to have most of their pitchers available, although that also counts as good news because their pitching is crummy. They don't have a starter with an ERA under 4. Then again, we're probably starting Poutier and don't have most of our best pitchers available either; the lesson here is don't you dare forget to tune in tomorrow at 7 because it's gonna be a barn-burner.
Our own pitching situation is a little tenuous. Hultzen might be available for an inning or so, but if it comes to that we're in trouble anyway. Ideally here's what happens. Tyler Wilson more or less breezed through his inning against Fullerton and should be good for two more tomorrow. Packer and Arico can hold down one each as well; that's the last four. If Poutier starts (I don't know for sure, but I assume he will; like any good coach, O'Connor is being coy about this) and lasts five innings we're golden; we have those three to work four innings, not to mention Carraway who could be good for a couple and Shane Halley in emergency duty. In an ideal world, we'd hang thirteen runs on Arkansas in the first and be able to ride Poutier for a long time - like, seven innings - and maybe even use someone like Halley who has yet to unglue his butt from the bench. In a best-case scenario, I think we get four or five innings from Poutier and scratch out the rest between Packer, Wilson, Arico, and if necessary, Carraway; in a best-best-case, some of those innings are five-pitch quickies and we don't even have to use at least one of those guys. Then we have Hultzen and Morey available to start against LSU in what hopefully turns into a two-game series.