The Sports Monday column ‘didn’t live up to Daily’s sports standards’

To the Daily:

For the most part, I am a big fan of the Daily’s sports section. The writers are usually accurate and their opinions mostly reasonable. However, Steve Jackson’s column, Henson’s baseball stock plummets to all-time low, (11/18/02) didn’t live up to the Daily’s sports standards.

Does Steve Jackson think that he knows more than the Yankee scouts – the same Yankee scouts that discovered Jeter, Pettite, and Soriano? As much as I hate to say anything good about the men in pinstripes, their scouts are the best in the business. And they all say Henson is going to be good.

Here’s why: from the time he quit playing high school baseball in the late spring of 1998, he didn’t seriously play organized ball again (besides a few weeks with Yankees and Reds farm clubs) until he left Michigan football in the winter of 2001. So he went from hitting the hell out of the ball in high school, to two years of football, to playing with a AAA ball club!

Nobody could make that transition! In 1998 he was facing kids like me that were lucky if they threw a pitch 80 mph, then he took two years out for Michigan football, and now he’s supposed to jump back into baseball against many pitchers that will be playing in the majors two or three years from now. That’s too much to ask of anybody!

Steve Jackson’s argument about Michael Jordan is ridiculous. Jordan didn’t average a home run per every 6.9 at bats with only 48 K’s in four full years of high school varsity baseball. Jordan was never an amazing baseball player while Henson was arguably the best high school baseball player ever. As senior he batted .605 with 83 runs, 83 RBI, 18 doubles, 22 HR, 47 walks, 17-for-17 in stolen bases and just nine strikeouts. Nine. I had that in one double-header! Twice!

Jackson’s other argument about Josh Booty and Chad Hutchinson are equally impotent. For every Booty there’s a Todd Helton (quarterback, University of Tennessee), for every Hutchinson there’s a Tom Glavine (fourth round selection, Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League). Some people are amazing athletes and wind up playing baseball, some are amazing athletes and play football and some play neither. There is no significance to Jackson’s long “list of amazing talents that failed to succeed in baseball.”

Finally, let’s compare Henson to another former Wolverine, catcher Dave Parrish. Parrish played three years of college baseball and was drafted in the first round by the Yankees in 2000 – but has not yet made it past the AA level. If Parrish had three more years of organized baseball than Henson under his belt, why is it acceptable that he struggle with AA baseball, but Henson is expected to be the All-American that he was in high school? Because hitting baseballs is really tough, that’s why.

Finally, Jackson forgets that Henson is still only 22 years old. This isn’t the NBA that we are talking about – 22 is just a baby for pro baseball. The best third baseman in baseball today – Troy Glaus, hit .218 with 1 home run in 165 at bats when he was 22. Give the kid time!

All that being said. I will never forgive Drew Henson for lying to us about staying for his senior year and for abandoning Michigan’s football team. I would like nothing more than to see his baseball career end via a fastball to the shin. I’d pay good money to see that.

Dave Beutel

LSA Senior

Hoard’s Dave Matthews Band review ‘worst piece of journalism ever’

To the Daily:

This letter is in response to Joel Hoard’s review of Dave Matthews Band latest live release, Live at Folsom Field. Hoard’s review ranks as the absolute worst piece of journalism I have ever seen. The review gives the impression that Dave Matthews is a semi-talented songwriter, average performer and has an annoying personality.

All of these statements are false. While I can concede that this release is from one of the weaker tour years for DMB, it still has a ton of notable highlights of which Hoard mentions as the “uh, classics.” On this disc are quality renditions of “JTR” (a previously unreleased track from the Lillywhite sessions), “Big Eyed Fish,” “Bartender,” “Two Step” and “Ants Marching.” Apparently for Hoard, “none of those are good either.”

Also Hoard fails to mention that as opposed to shortening the set, this “competent” performer played past the local curfew and incurred a fine all for the enjoyment of the crowd.

What Hoard has done in this article is attacked the frontman of the Dave Matthews Band while not making any musical observations. The lone observation that has any relevance to this release is that it averages seven minutes per song. What does that matter?

Some music fans actually appreciate music and the musicians that play it. To some fans this shit is interesting! It appears to me that Hoard is probably bitter because his last girlfriend dumped him for one of those 16-22 year old “baseball cap-donning” guys. This review is crap, and I suggest the Daily try and find someone who can put some bias aside and write a fair review.

Dan Bernthal

LSA senior

DMB review ‘utterly insulting,’ exhibits lack of integrity

To the Daily:

After reading the review of “Dave Matthews Band – Live at Folsom Field,” I was thoroughly disgusted by the lack of integrity of the Daily’s music reviews. Joel Hoard eloquently writes, “DMB fans are irritating. (They are) tight-clothed females ages 16 to 22 and their baseball cap-donning boyfriends.” He says they are “nauseating.” The only other fans Hoard can think of who “can possibly find Dave’s shtick endearing or humorous” are “wannabe hippies, and Christian teens who wanna rock but not so hard as to upset their parents.”

A critic’s job is to critique the work of an artist – not those who appreciate it. Being quite a DMB fan myself, I am utterly insulted by the lack of decency Hoard possesses. I think it is incredible that such a respectable newspaper would publish such garbage.

A good critic does not base his review merely on his own preferences, but on the quality of the work as a whole. If it is a pop album Hoard is critiquing, for instance, he should remember that whether or not he likes the album is not the question. The question is whether or not the album has merit in the pop music world. The same principle should have been followed when Hoard attempted to critique Dave Matthews Band’s “Live at Folsom Field.”

Hoard also lacks the ability to back up his opinions with any sort of reasonable argument. Perhaps his only support is the phrase, “it isn’t any good,” which he readily uses three times. His only complaint of any substance is that “the jams are mind-numbingly long,” to which one could reply that this length is one of the Dave Matthews Band’s many charms. This brings me back to the mark of a good critic. Obviously, Hoard has not done his research. Fans of the band live for the ten-minute jam sessions, and the diversity of the musicianship.

Hoard’s final message, “maybe I do hate Dave Matthews completely” is the last straw. An attack on Dave himself is the last thing this article needs to show it is of any consequence. It only further proves that Hoard is an extremely biased reviewer, which diminishes the worth of this article to basically nothing.

Christin Siegele

LSA freshman

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