The following is a satirical article that was published in the April Fool’s edition of the newspaper.
Last Wednesday started out like any other balmy day in Orono, but by the time twilight rolled around, the University of Maine baseball team had created a shockwave that has put the Athletic Department in a complete tailspin.
On Wednesday afternoon, the team had sent an almost laughable proposal to University of Maine hockey coach Tim Whitehead. Inside that flimsy little envelope was the challenge of all challenges: The baseball team wanted to settle all scores and prove to all to that they were the best hockey team on campus. But even more ridiculous than the team’s absurd offer was Whitehead’s own response. He accepted. Doing the baseball boys one better, he quickly arranged for the setting and date of the challenge.
“When I saw that proposal, I knew there was only one answer,” Whitehead said. “I figured I would do them one better and schedule the game, I didn’t want this to fester.”
The date of the tussle will be at 8 p.m., April 15 at the Alfond Arena, and fans have already begun the push for tickets. The event has quickly become the hottest ticket in town and as of Sunday afternoon several students had already started camping out. Sophomore Noah Monaco, who has been camping out since late Monday morning in front of the Alfond ticket office, was eager to comment on the excitement surrounding the match.
“This is just sensational, the chance to see [baseball head coach] Paul Kotsiopoulos try to out-coach Tim Whitehead is spine-tingling,” Monaco said.
If the coaching match-up is not enough to make your mouth water, the player duels will surely wet your wet whistle. Senior hockey captain Todd Jackson will go head-to-head with All-American Aaron Izaryk and pitching standout Mike MacDonald goes up against offensive superstar Greg Moore, not to mention crowd favorite Colin Shields matching up against confident Scott Robinson. When asked to dissect the challenge of going head-to-head with Shields, Robinson answered with a sly smile on his face.
“Quite frankly, I haven’t been too impressed with Shields this season,” Robinson said. “Yeah, we all know he is quick and has a stellar shot, but come on man, he has never faced the competition he is going to face when he butts heads with me.”
When asked to respond to Robinson’s comments, Shields said he did not want to honor Robinson’s words with a statement. Instead, freshman Michel Leveille took the chance to send a message to the entire baseball clubhouse.
“If those guys think they can come into our house and push us around, they got another think coming,” Leveille said. “This is our ice and we will defend it.”
As for the goalie match-up, it is unclear who will go for the hockey team but baseball goalie freshman Matt McGraw is sure hoping it’s going to be Jimmy Howard.
“I am tired of hearing that Howard is the top young gun on campus,” McGraw said. “This is my chance to outshine the prodigal son and show the masses where the real spotlight should be.”
If the baseball squad is coming off as over-confident, it is because they are. They say they have been waiting for this moment since the minute the first puck dropped at Alfond. They have been practicing twice a day on ponds and outdoor rinks all over Old Town and Orono, sophomore Greg Norton said. When called upon to discuss his team splitting time between the diamond and the ice, Kotsiopoulos’ secretary said the coach was busy working on game plans and time was of the essence. The team instead issued a brief press release stating: “We are delighted to get a chance to go skate with their guys but this is no media stunt. We feel we can skate with these guys and give them a game for the ages.”
If the excitement isn’t peaked high enough, word is buzzing around campus that Fox Sports Net has been talked to about covering the game live across the nation. This news has excited senior Mark Reichley about getting some national attention.
“I feel this is my one shining moment to show the public how talented I am,” Reichley said. “This could be a real launching pad for me.”
With the buzz surrounding the athletic department and all the interest in the Baseball/Hockey Ice Battle, men’s basketball coach John Giannini took the opportunity to try and create some attention for his own squad. In unprecedented fashion, Giannini quickly established a campus-wide chess match that even Bobby Fischer would be proud of. The chess match is being held to prove that the basketball team has its own title, “The smartest team on campus.” Giannini has formed a field of 64 that will allow all student-athletes to go head-to-head against basketball standouts Kevin Reed, Chris Bruff, David Dubois and Olli Ahvenniemi. Giannini believes the other student-athletes will be hard-pressed to contend with the chess-playing skill of 6-foot-10-inch Ahvenniemi.
“Ollie is our big dog in the competition,” Giannini said.
With the ripple effects of the hockey challenge being felt throughout the various sports programs, it will be hard to find a more excited and delirious athletic department. The football team has even gotten in the mix.
The team is currently in the works organizing a game of tea-bagging against any eager opponent. The team has been practicing the delightful move against other teams in its conference and is hoping to expand to even bigger squads. What will come next?