The green fields of Vilas Park will run a stained red Friday afternoon, after the vaunted journalists of The Daily Cardinal will once again slaughter their foes from equestrian journal The Badger Herald in the papers’ annual softball contest.
After a year spent wiping the floor with the Herald’s attempts at news coverage, you might think the Big Red Machine was tired of so thoroughly dominating its so-called rivals. But you’d be wrong. Oh, would you be wrong.
Instead, the Cardinal promises to roar through its over-matched opponent on the Vilas softball diamond with the same ferocity it takes to crushing the Herald each day in print, according to DC photo editor and enforcer Stephanie Daher.
“Man, I’ve only been curb-stomping their photo desk, like, every day this semester—if they want that ass-kicking to continue I’m more than happy to oblige,” Daher said, later inviting the Herald to “step up or step the fuck off.”
The Cardinal claimed yet another in a long line of softball victories last spring. Despite the best efforts of beloved former Herald editor Jordan Schelling, whose arguments with umpire Big Red (of Big Red’s Steaks) totally didn’t make him look like a raging asshat, the game slipped away like Adam Holt’s bone from its socket.
Scandal has rocked the Cardinal Athletic Department in the past year, however, as the paper enters Friday’s game beneath the cloud of a “Bountygate” scandal. Allegedly under directives from Cardinal management, former basketball writer Sam Sussman targeted Herald managing editor Ryan Rainey in last year’s football game, attempting to injure Rainey with an unnecessary hit in the game’s final seconds.
Cardinal manager Matthew Kleist said Sussman is no longer with the Cardinal, and has been sent to Siberia for “re-education.” Kleist declined to clarify whether the bounty system was still in place, saying of Rainey only, “If he dies, he dies.”
But Herald sports editor Kelly Erickson said she was not worried about the Cardinal’s hard hits and general badassery, though she really should be. Erickson said the Herald’s line-up of two actual staffers and whatever Platteville baseball rejects stumbled drunkenly out of Silver Mine Subs should provide a decent offense.
“The tantamount of runs should be high,” Erickson said. “That’s how words work, right? I can just add letters to the front of them and they’ll mean the same thing? Cool, that’s kind of my thing.”
The Herald will also have an emotional force behind them, as the team has promised to make a significant contribution to charities serving laid off pubic sector workers if by some miracle they win Friday. BH editor-in-chief Signe Brewster said that, while she knows her team has no chance against the Cardinal juggernaut, just spreading awareness for the cause means a lot to her.
“We know the pubic sector has been suffering,” Brewster said, “almost as much as our copy editors are.”
With 120 years of tradition behind it, however, the Cardinal would appear all but unstoppable. And as a newspaper that quite literally has furniture older than its “competition,” sports editor Evan Ryans knows a second straight victory over the Herald clowns is in the bag.
“It’s going to be a nice little Friday,” Ryans said. “We’re going to go to Vilas Park, kick some Herald ass, do some keg stands, maybe a couple scotchy-poos.”
He later added, “I’m tired of ballin’, punk I’m playing softball.”