Hawks and Shoxby Matthew Namee
April 08, 2004
I had one of those weird moments yesterday. See, I grew up in Wichita and always rooted for the WSU Shockers, but I went to college at KU and still live in Lawrence. This is rarely an issue for me, but last night the Jayhawks played host to the Shockers at Hoglund Ballpark. I watched the game with John Sickels and my cousin Nick, sitting among a bunch of KU fans.
Usually, sitting among KU fans is a normal thing -- I'm a KU fan too -- but this time I felt like I was in foreign territory. I had this strange longing to go sit in the Wichita State section, where I could cheer the Shockers without sticking out like a sore thumb. Nick had a similar problem. Before the game, he had to decide between wearing his WSU hat and his KU hat. Ever the conformist, Nick went with KU (to be fair, he also works for the KU Athletic Department).
Anyway, I got to the game late, but WSU started the game with back-to-back homers. KU answered with 4 runs in the bottom of the first, chasing starter Jerome Foster. Foster was replaced by lefty Tommy Hottovy, who looked great (this isn't just my opinion; Sickels was impressed too). Hottovy threw 4+ shutout innings and struck out 6. Then the usually-good Mathew Jakubov came in for the Shockers and got lit up for 5 runs, and the Jayhawks went on to win 13-6.
When the last out was made, all the KU fans cheered... and I sat there, confused. I'm not too emotionally attached to the Shockers anymore, but to not join KU fans in cheering was a bizarre feeling. Thankfully, WSU comes up to Lawrence only once a year, so I don't have to deal with this too often.
As for the game, I was surprised to see the Shockers struggle as much as they did. They're #10 in the country, for crying out loud, and while KU isn't bad, they aren't great or anything. The most impressive player in the game was Shocker DH Drew Moffitt, who was drafted by the Red Sox last year. He hit a double and a home run, and the two outs he made were both hard-hit balls. Also, WSU first baseman Logan Sorensen went 3-3 with a homer and played fine defense. He might be the best position-player prospect on the Shockers; Sorensen could develop into a John Olerud-type player.
Matthew Namee cofounded The Hardball Times in 2004, when he was working as the assistant to baseball author and Red Sox executive Bill James. Matthew still lives in Kansas, where he is currently pursuing a law degree. He can be reached at mfnamee [at] gmail [dot] com.