Happy Monday morning, everyone. Hopefully you’re enjoying some much needed R and R this Memorial Day Monday. And hopefully you’ve all spent your free time this long weekend soaking up some sun, kicking off summer and reveling in the glory of Iowa Baseball’s first Big Ten Tournament Championship in program history.
You read that right, the Hawkeyes brought home the hardware from Bloomington yesterday. If you haven’t paid a ton of attention to the baseball program this year (or recent years, really), you’ve been missing out. This is an incredibly fun group to watch. Not only have they been winning games with a combination of great pitching, excellent fielding, and a heavy dose of the long ball, but they’ve been really enjoying themselves along the way.
We’ll have a full breakdown of the journey to the championship later today, but here’s the cliff notes:
- Literally everyone on the roster contributed. It was a team effort the entire tournament. Four Hawkeyes made the All-Tournament Team
- Chris Whelan was named Tournament MVP.
- There was some excellent pitching, headlined by starter Ryan Erickson and reliever Josh Martsching.
- And as great as the pitching was, the fielding was even more spectacular.
- It took regular season MVP Jake Adams a bit to get going, but he showed up big in the championship game. He hit a HR in the 7th.
And another in the 8th.
- As great as the play was on the field, the dugout and post-game shenanigans were worth watching on their own. Here are some highlights.
It’s all fun and games until you need your rally cap back.
Seriously, this group is a hell of a lot of fun to watch. If you haven’t gotten on the bandwagon yet, fear not, there’s plenty of room. The NCAA Tournament selection show kicks off at 11am today. If you’re in the Iowa City area, there’s a watch party open to the public in the Feller Club Room in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. If not, you can catch it on ESPN2.
NCAA baseball selection show tmrw at 11 a.m. (CT) on ESPN2. #Hawkeyes will host watch party in Feller Club Room inside CHA. Open to public.— Dargan Southard (@Dargan_Southard) May 28, 2017
Really amazing stuff. Excited to see this team in the NCAA Tournament. And really enjoying watching some Hawkeye baseball again.
In an effort to get back to the roots of what Overreaction Monday was born to be, this is an attempt at real overreaction to the events of this past weekend. This isn’t how I actually feel. This is me mocking people on the internet who, apparently, feel this way. The fact I have to preface this with an explanation is face-palm-worthy. But it’s a holiday, so I’m cutting you all some slack. For now. Don’t make me quote this in a response to you calling me an idiot.
So, not that Rick Heller has been to back-to-back Big Ten Tournament Championships and brought home the first championship in school history, don’t we think Barta should get to work on locking him down? I mean, he’s going to have opportunities soon. If this team makes a run in the NCAA Tournament, who knows who will come calling.
And when’s the last time Kirk Ferentz or Fran McCaffery brought home a Big Ten title? Seriously, they get paid somewhere between four and a million times as much as Heller and you don’t see them strutting around with a Big Ten Championship of any kind from the last 5 years. So why are they getting big time money and extensions if they can’t close out a season and deliver the hardware?
Maybe if Barta gets the can after all the legal issues facing the department, the new guy will figure things out and prioritize baseball!
OK, end sarcasm. That’s about as far as I can go with this and keep a straight face. Seriously, I think Rick Heller is a hell(er) of a baseball coach. I love what he’s done for the program. Four straight Big Ten Tournaments, back-to-back title appearances, and now a Big Ten Championship and an NCAA Tournament berth. It’s incredible. And the fan support for this team is really starting to pick up.
I do think it would be wise for Barta to lock him in and drive some extra dollars into the facilities and the program. I really don’t need another Iowa sport to invest my time with, but if they could stay consistently relevant, it would only help the rest of the department. Congratulations to Iowa Baseball on a hell of a year. I’m looking forward to watching the rest of it and investing a little more time in the regular season next year.
In other news, The American Institute for Economic Research doesn’t know what it’s talking about. Iowa City is pretty clearly #1.
Pivoting just a bit, we received word last week there will be no Game Time League in North Liberty this year. For those of you wondering what the hell that is, no worries, you don’t have to watch. For those of you who knew, I’m sure you’re sad to see it go. Prime Time League will, however, continue. The draft is slated for June 10th with games kicking off on June 18th. You can see the full schedule here. Note that the games are split between North Liberty and Waterloo so plan your trips accordingly.
The incoming freshmen for Iowa Basketball can be seen alongside the names we know and love. That is, except for Connor McCaffery. The coach’s eldest son revealed a few more details about his plans to play baseball and basketball in an interview with HawkeyeNation last week. There’s been plenty of speculation that Connor won’t ever play a minute of basketball of Iowa. I think that’s a decent bet. But he seems pretty adamant about his plan as of now: play both sports for two years with a focus on baseball in year one and basketball in year two. No scholarship unless one becomes available in basketball. He’ll be getting some academic money, but mom and dad will be footing the bill otherwise. And after two years he’ll either continue playing both or pursue the one with the best outlook if it feels necessary. Not a bad strategy. We’ll see how it plays out.
'I think they’re going to have to play him.' Luka Garza could plug a big hole for Hawkeyes. My story: https://t.co/6Q9Tej3bBd— MarkEmmert (@MarkEmmert) May 26, 2017
Mark Emmert had a good read on HawkCentral last week about incoming big man Luka Garza. We heard over and over about Caleb Swanigan’s story with weight loss and it sounds like Garza has a similar one. Swanigan and Garza don’t have very similar games, but if a big guys dropping some pounds and finding more quickness and explosion, I’m on board. I really like Garza’s game, even if it may take him some time to adjust to the level of competition.
And in other breaking news, Joe Wieskamp is going to be good at basketball.
On the the gridiron. New (old) QB coach Ken O’Keefe was on the HawkCentral podcast last week. The whole thing is worth the listen, but I thought it was interesting to hear him talk about adjusting to the college game from being in the NFL. KOK mentioned he didn’t want to have unrealistic expectations of the QBs given the talent level and refinement he saw in the NFL (WTF man, it’s overreaction Monday, that’s what we do!) so they’ve taken out the old tape of Ricky Stanzi and Drew Tate and compared that to what they have from practice on Nathan Stanley, Tyler Wiegers and Ryan Boyle.
Essentially what they did was look at 4 different base routes the team runs and watch from the snap through to release to help know exactly where they were at in the spring. Going forward, that will help them know what needs to be done mechanically for each. They’ll share the feedback with the players when they are back in summer.
His takeaways from the film study will surely shock anyone who’s followed Iowa Football for more than a season: Everybody has work to do. Things to clean up. Stuff to improve on. There may have even been a snort or two.
Seriously, it was a pretty decent listen. Things are slow in Iowa sports these days (the baseball thing notwithstanding) so any chance you get to hear a little something out of the coaching staff is worth a download in my opinion.
In other news, Jaleel Johnson put his pen to work last week. First he signed with Nike.
And then he signed with the Vikings.
Now it's official! Thank you to the Minnesota Vikings! truly blessed!! pic.twitter.com/ZRuGGbc4V9— Jaleel Johnson (@leellxvii) May 26, 2017
I really think that dude has a career trajectory like Mike Daniels. But what do I know?
CJ Beathard spoke a litte about his transition from the Iowa Hawkeyes to the San Francisco 49ers. We like to think of Iowa as running a true, pro-style offense, and they certainly do compared to most other college teams with their picture cards and calls from the sidelines, but there’s still an adjustment to the language, terminology and the speed.
At the end of the day, CJB still remembers how to check down.
I don’t know what’s happening in Nebraska, but it seems like there may be a problem. First, Iowa TE and Omaha native Noah Fant is held at gun point in a park.
Iowa Hawkeye Noah Fant threatened with loaded gun at Omaha park.https://t.co/maSFp6hIuB— WHO-HD Ch. 13 News (@WHOhd) May 25, 2017
Then we find our Nebraska WR Stanley Morgan Jr. and S Antonio Reed were arrested in Florida and charged with felony possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana. Those charges were later reduced to a misdemeanor.
Oh, and Nebraska can’t beat Iowa at anything. Like, literally, anything. Get it together corncobs.
Iowa is now 16-4 against Nebraska in the last 20 combined games in football, men's basketball, and baseball.— Dan Corey (@DanCorey5) May 26, 2017
That’s about it for this week. It’s a shortened work-week (hopefully), but that doesn’t mean you should stop short. You don’t want to look like this guy.
You have to put in the effort all week. But it can’t just be the effort or you’ll look like this guy.
No, you’ve got to do the work and know your stuff. If you don’t you’ll be this guy.
when the graphics guy has no idea how good you were pic.twitter.com/MZLBuqdq2X— Liam Santamaria (@Liam_Santa) May 27, 2017
Don’t be these guys. Know your stuff. Do the work. Get to the weekend. Oh, and vote, dammit! We need your votes for Iowa City Eat-A-Palooza! Voting ends this Wednesday and the bracket will be revealed Friday. Hamburg is holding a slight lead on Bluebird. Pancheros has some legitimate contenders. Make your voice heard! #Democracy
Happy Monday. Go Hawks. Big Ten Tournament Champions. Suck it, Nebraska.