With a Crack of the Bat


Celebrate!!! (Photo of Casey Fletcher (3) and Pat McInerney (27) from

The University of Illinois Baseball team has won 17 games in a row — including a sweep of Penn State this past weekend. By winning 17 consecutive games, they’ve set a school record!

Since U of I is my alma mater, I’m celebrating them. Our Champaign boys happen to rank in the top 10 college baseball teams for 2015, and I think that’s pretty exciting. Think about it: they’re right up there with LSU, Texas A&M, Florida, USC — collegiate teams in states where it’s so warm you can dash onto the baseball diamond all year round. That’s not the case in Illinois, where cold weather lasts into April.


Believe!!! (Photo of the University of Illinois baseball team with the Easter Bunny from

I’m so happy to have a baseball team to cheer for. After all, it’s too early in the season to go crazy over the Chicago Cubs or White Sox. And I’m still smarting over the powers that be yanking the 2014 Little League World Series national title from Chicago’s own Jackie Robinson West, two months ago.

So, bring on the Fighting Illini baseball stars. The fantastic pitchers in Tyler Jay, Kevin Duchene and John Kravetz, all of whom have ERAs under 3.00. The pair of brothers, Reid and Ryne Roper, who play second and third base, respectively. The seven Illini starters hitting over .300, including first baseman David Kerian and centerfielder Casey Fletcher.

It’s true…we have our own Casey-at-the-bats, right here in Illinois. And I couldn’t be more thrilled.